I missed doing this last year, but I am not allowing myself to make that mistake again. So below you will find my personal Top 10 games of 2016. There are a few other categories to kick off this post, so please enjoy and feel free to let me know how much you love, or most likely hate this list. You can come discuss it with me in my discord server, G-Nitro’s Beer Garden. Also, there are possible *SPOILERS*.
Most Disappointing of 2016: Blade & Soul
So I had been hyped for Blade & Soul for quite a while based of its combat system and art style, so when it finally launched I jumped in and had a blast for a good amount of time. The reason why this game gets called my most disappointing game of 2016 is the Weapon progression system. Before an update that changed how it works, you were forced to grind out PvP levels to get your weapon past a certain point. The biggest issue with this was the lopsided PvP on various servers, which was a tremendous issue on my server. By the time they updated this progression system, I was expected to start over from scratch to pick a different weapon path to not have to rely on PvP grinding. Another big issue was if you bought an outfit it was per character, even though they had a Premium subscription that gave you a wardrobe perk that you could keep the outfits in. Their decision to remedy this was to make you pay for transfer tickets. Needless to say after a few months of playing hardcore, I uninstalled the game completely fed up and filled with profound sadness.
Early Access: Golf With Your Friends
If you are looking for a game that will provide a ton of entertainment with friends, then Golf With Your Friends is it. Only in Early Access currently, this game manages to provide a lot of fun with a group. As of the end of 2017, there were four courses with 18 holes each. Plenty of challenges are provided by the various holes, and you can even ramp up the insanity by changing variables in the settings before starting a match. This is a game I keep a constant eye on for new content, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Top 10 Games of 2016:
10. Layers of Fear
Layers of Fear is a horror game that made me feel truly involved, and created a tension that made the scares affect me much more than most games of the genre. They managed to do this by forcing the player to use their mouse to open doors, drawers, cabinets and more. This gives you enough interaction with the environment, that when a jump scare hits, it really delivers. This game also had plenty of creepiness, as well as a couple laughs. My only issue with this game that kept it from placing higher was the way the last portion of the game played out. They stepped back from the jump scares, and started going doing a path of being a tripped out mess. This not only removed the tension that the game created so well, it started giving me more of a headache and making me question why the hell they would even change directions that negatively impact the experience. At one point, the camera was spinning so much I had to keep looking away. A great game, that just kind of lost itself at the end.
9. Nekopara Vol. 2
Sometimes I just want to sit back and relax with cat girls, and Nekopara delivers exactly that. I have always been a fan of visual novels, and while I prefer ones that let you make choices to determine the outcomes, Nekopara is a great kinetic visual novel. Volume 2 deals with two of the older cat girls, and their struggles in their relationship. While this all goes down following very common tropes within anime, manga and visual novels, I never felt like it took away from my enjoyment. While I know there is an adult version of this game, I played through the all ages version on Steam, so I can not speak on how they delivered that content.
I was hyped up for Firewatch, and through most of the game it really delivered everything I had anticipated. The characters, the conversations, and the experiences that unfold were all very intriguing and engrossing. Everything looked beautiful, yet playing the game on XBox there were definitely optimization issues that caused serious frame rate drops. In terms of the way Henry and Delilah build up a relationship, or not, depending on how you choose, made me feel like I was in control for most of the game. The ending was a big disappoint me for me, but mostly because I felt like the game falsely lead me to believe my choices mattered, but they kind of rip the rug out from under you and made me realize the direction I took my relationship meant nothing.
7. Forza Horizon 3
I rarely get sucked in by racing games that aren’t a pure arcade title like Burnout Paradise, but Forza Horizon 3 did a really good job of mixing arcade and just enough simulation to keep me playing. Horizon 3 is a gorgeous game and while I know many had issues on PC, I did not suffer a similar fate, and enjoyed it in full Wide screen UHD glory. The music was great, and the world was vast and beautiful. I didn’t “finish” this game, but instead I play it as something on a day when I just want to relax and not focus too much. Also being able to play on my PC, then go lay out on the couch and play via the XBox is a great experience.
INSIDE was a game I was unsure if I would enjoy. After a rough start due to the game refusing to hold your hand and causing some rage fits, I eventually found myself completely engulfed with what was happening in game. Dark gloomy, and sometimes downright disturbing, INSIDE does a great job of relaying a story via gameplay, mechanics and setting with no real conversations at all. The ending was a little odd, and ridiculous, but I thought it was fitting nonetheless.
5. Gemini: Heroes Reborn
I bought this game around release due to a female protagonist, but put it off until the end of the year. After finally sitting down and playing this game I was upset I hadn’t played it sooner. Gemini: Heroes Reborn is based off the Heroes Reborn TV series, and follows Cassandra as she tries to find detail on her family and a burned down facility. As she digs deeper she uncovers hidden powers, like Telekinesis, and the much cooler time travel. Not only can you jump between the time of the facility before it was destroyed and present day, you can also peek in to it prior to your jump to sneak up on your enemies. It’s not a AAA title, but I was impressed how well the mechanics were done, even if the graphics of the characters were a bit dated. I almost finished the game in one playthrough, but I ended up having to force myself to put it down to go to bed.
Sometimes you just need a game to sit back and relax. ABZÛ gives you exactly just that. The game is absolutely beautiful, and I don’t just mean its graphics. Alongside stunning graphics is a beautifully scored soundtrack and captivating game play. I constantly found myself seeking out every corner of almost all of ABZÛ’s stages to make sure I didn’t miss a single creature swimming around me.
3. Titanfall 2
I didn’t do a lot of Multiplayer with Titanfall 2, but man is the campaign just fantastic. Every mechanic Titanfall 2 threw at me made me feel like a bad ass. And everything just reacted perfectly with every button press. For a shooter, Titanfall 2 managed to create a campaign that was fun and very enjoyable. BT was a fantastic character, and the relationship between him and the protagonist felt natural and never forced. With only one Titan fight being completely annoying, I had a ton of fun with this one.
I know having Battleborn at number 2 will shock and bewilder many, but hear me out. After poor marketing by Gearbox, I ended up grabbing this game at around $20, and I’m glad I bought it. This was a hugely underated gem. The MOBA like leveling of characters and abilities, mixed with a huge, fun variety of characters, and typical Gearbox humor made this an absolute blast to play through with friends. I replayed many of the levels repeatedly as friends kept picking up the game, and they never get boring. The style of the game is also great, with the opening cinematic just looking wonderful, and then they throw in some Deltron 3030 for music. People may not believe me after how badly this game fell at launch with the titan Overwatch standing over it, but this is a game that is a joy with friends. The only downside is the multiplayer isn’t that populated, and just never hooked me in outside of running bot matches with friends.
I’ll admit this now, I am a huge fan of Young Adult science fiction stories. As a teenager I read a lot of Christopher Pike books, and his Last Vampire series is one of my favorite book series of all time. Oxenfree scratched this itch perfectly. Following a group of teens on an island in which everything starts going to hell when they open a portal with a radio, the game does a fantastic job of exploring the strange phenomena and their relationships. The conversation system feels extremely real, as you can actually cut off people as they are talking and say what needs to be said, or even nothing at all. Oxenfree takes what the developers learned at Tell Tale, and creates an even more natural style of a conversation system. The use of the radios to not only solve the mystery, but also find secrets that expand upon the events, is super engrossing. Oxenfree was the experience I had been looking for in games, and it delivered it perfectly. The musical score was so good, I ordered it on vinyl the day after completing the game.