The past year has been quite an eventful year for video gaming. We saw the simultaneous release of two games which we never thought would actually see the light of day due to constant delays, being The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy XV. We even saw the release of several highly anticipated sequels including Gears of War 4, Dead Rising 4, Titanfall 2, and Battlefield 1. There were a lot of quality game releases this year, far too many for me to get around to playing them all. Some titles I still wish to play are The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, Pokémon Sun and Moon, Forza Horizon 3, Dishonored 2, and XCOM 2.
Without further delay let’s take a look at my personal best games for 2016, please keep in mind that this is my list based on my thoughts alone for games that I have personally played. Your thoughts may differ from mine and your list may look different, so if you have anything you wish to add then please feel free to speak with me in the comments section. Now on to my top 5, counting down from five through one.
5. Titanfall 2 – Respawn Entertainment
The original Titanfall was a title that I looked forward to with extreme anticipation when it was first announced due to my love for mech inspired media, so the fact of being able to play as a mech pilot running around gunning down my enemies and jumping into my own mech whenever I felt like was like a dream come true. While the first entry in the series was a welcome change of pace for many FPS fans, there was no denying that it was unfortunately quite a shallow experience. There were only a handful of maps and mechs to utilize coupled with some uninspired game modes. The biggest flaw in many gamers eyes was the lack of a single-player campaign, instead the title chose to try and integrate the story into the multiplayer matches, this proved to be more of a hindrance than it was fascinating.
The recently released sequel fared much better with critics and users alike, improving on almost every aspect of the original by providing more weapons, mechs, and customization options for players. The biggest addition to Titanfall 2 was a fully fleshed out single-player campaign that was actually enjoyable to play through, had a likable ‘titan’ lead being BT-7274 that had his own sense of dry humor, and added to the series ongoing lore. I have thoroughly enjoyed my hours upon hours of multiplayer matches, there is no feeling quite like running, jumping, and sliding your way around the map killing enemies to then be able to call in your mech with a deafening landing and jumping aboard to further enhance your killing options. I highly recommend this title to anyone who loves the more futuristic based Call of Duty entries, or any FPS fan for that matter — you will not be let down.
4. Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration – Crystal Dynamics
The aptly named Tomb Raider reboot which was released back in 2013 received critical acclaim for its step into darker territory and presenting a younger, more vulnerable Lara Croft to the world. This sequel continues the adventures of this version of Lara, and once again is an absolute masterpiece. Rise of the Tomb Raider takes what made the reboot so successful and builds further on the survival ideas and frantic action that originally captured gamers attention to fantastic effect. I recently bought this title during a local game shop sale, and since this time I have not been able to put it down. I have been absolutely engaged in this title, from the combat to the clearly Uncharted like ledge climbing and world traversal, to the constant hunt for scrap and materials to upgrade my weapons.
The graphics are amazing, especially the facial and the character of Lara is one I am interested in following and discovering where the story leads her. The bonus fact that the PS4 received a special “20-Year Celebration” release which includes all the previously released DLC as well as some extra items was a nice little touch for me (note: the “20-Year Celebration” version was also released on the Xbox One). If you are a fan of the reboot or of the Uncharted (which itself took inspiration from the original Tomb Raider trilogy) series then I would highly recommend you do yourself a huge favor and check this title out for yourself.
3. Quantum Break – Remedy Entertainment
Another game that saw delays with its release date, originally slated for 2015, it was later delayed until April 2016. I am not one to generally pre-order as I have been burnt in the past pre-ordering), so when I do put my hard-earned money down to pre-order a title, it is for one simple reason: I have extreme faith that the studio will not let me down and deliver on its promises. Remedy has been a favorite of mine since their release of Max Payne back in 2001, followed by the impeccable and enthralling Alan Wake in 2010 (another title I pre-ordered). Remedy constantly stated that they were aiming to redefine the way players experience video games by intertwining gameplay and a live-action tv series into one. Did they succeed on this promise? In my opinion, yes they did.
Quantum Break may not have the most coherent story, the best gunplay I have ever experienced, or even the best dialogue, but what it did have was something I cannot explain, something that just glues you to your seat unable to put the controller down. From the very first moment I started to play this game I was blown away by the near lifelike character models of Shawn Ashmore, Dominic Monaghan, Lance Reddick, and Aiden Gillen. The gameplay was serviceable but intense, and the time-based powers were a fresh touch to utilize mid-combat. The real treat was playing as Jack Joyce (Shawn Ashmore) fighting my way through various foes and reaching the end of the chapter to then sit back and watch as the character I had just been playing was now in live-action form. Prior to viewing these episodes players are able to make a choice at “junction points” which ultimately affects the proceeding story depending on the choice made. The actual episodes themselves have a certain charm to them, feeling more like a low-budget sci-fi movie, but it interested my tiny mind. Overall I had an absolute blast playing through this title and found it hard to walk away from, a true testament to how captivated I was.
2. Overwatch – Blizzard Entertainment
A fantastic title released by Blizzard which took the world by storm and captivated many players, so much so that a different title released just a week prior from Gearbox Software, Battleborn, was all but destroyed by the now enormous and constantly growing Overwatch fanbase. Battleborn is now sadly regularly seen in bargain bins across the globe and has few to no active players. I have already extensively covered my reasons for loving Overwatch in a “love letter” piece.
1. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Naughty Dog
I have already covered this title in-depth in a previous article, you’ll definitely want to can read the article to learn why this is my number 1 choice for 2016.
That concludes my list of the best titles released in 2016, I suspect that I would have added other titles in if I had a chance to play them, or my list would have expanded to a top 10. What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my list, or do you have your own top 5 titles? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.