To start the new year, I wanted to look back and remember my favorite gaming experiences of 2016.
10. Firewatch – A good story with great characterization, this was the best I’ve ever felt about being lost in the woods.
9. The Witness – I am one of the 99%…who had to look up the solutions to the puzzles in the jungle area. Probably the best puzzle game I’ve ever played, the brains that built this see the world in ways I can’t begin to imagine.
8. Dark Souls 3 – Is it strange that Dark Souls is starting to feel familiar and comforting? Its still hard, and it drags your soul through the mud for daring to partake in it, but in some ways the surety that its going to challenge and frustrate have become comfort food for me.
7. Stellaris – This one was something of a surprise. I haven’t fallen in love with a 4X space empire builder since…I’m thinking Galactic Civilizations V? Anyway, I got so into Stellaris for its narrative events and exploration that I even delved into modding it a little bit. As a computer programmer by day, that was a mistake as it took some of the fun out of it for me, but the base game is still a worthy addition to this list.
6. Titanfall 2 – There’s nothing in gaming quite like jumping into your titan in Titanfall. Jumping and grappling across the battlefield, trying not to get picked off by a sniper or splattered by a rocket, then jumping into the safe grasp of your giant mech and wading into battle as after he stuffs you into your pilot seat. I’m so glad this series made if to PS4.
5. Overwatch – Blizzard must have some eldritch crystal ball to guide their development decisions. Seriously, how do they keep landing these hits? I don’t know if it can steal the team character shooter from Valve, but if any game has ever had a chance, I’d dare say its Overwatch. Give it some time and I think they could have another number one in genre hit.
4. Rise of the Tomb Raider – A game so nice I got it twice! Seriously, I couldn’t wait to play this game, so I got it on PC at the beginning of the year, knowing I was going to buy it on PS4 when it eventually came around. I was a huge fan of the first Tomb Raider reboot, and this one was even better. Crossing my fingers they’re not done yet.
3. Doom – Guilty pleasure of the year. I feel like the design document for Doom must have just had the word ‘FUN’ written in huge font in the middle, and everything else kind of branches off from there. If any game was a power fantasy this year, I’d say it was Doom for the sense of speed and lethality it imparts to the disembodied hands of the Doom Marine.
2. Uncharted 4 – As a huge fan of the series, I thought Naughty Dog hit this one out of the park. As the capstone to the series, the sense of closure I felt at the end of Uncharted 4 really made me pleased to see things wrap up. They had me hooked from the first chapter all the way up to the climactic final battle, and I’m stoked to see what they do to fill the gap this leaves in their development lineup.
1. Stardew Valley – No game this year has made me feel as happy as Stardew Valley. I should caveat this by saying this was my first foray into the farming and community simulator genre, but while many of these games I played because they were fun or challenging, this one I played because I felt good while doing so. I’m excited to play through again sometime soon, and if you haven’t had a chance, I recommend paying a visit to Stardew Valley (especially considering its now on consoles)!
Stuff that could be great but I’ve yet to play…
- Dishonored 2
- Salt and Sanctuary
- Hyper Light Drifter
So long 2016! Now, what have we got to look forward to in the coming year?
What was your favorite game of 2016? Anything important I might have missed that I should check out down the line? Leave it in a comment below, and as always, thanks for reading.