2016 in review – Top 10 Games

Plenty of good games again this year so let’s not beat about the bush, instead we’ll get straight to the meat and potatoes – my top 10 games of the year. Once again, I’m only counting games I’ve played so unfortunately FFXV, Civ VI, Doom and many others don’t qualify. Also, no remasters. Let it begin!

Honourable Mention – King’s Quest Chapters 3-5
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The episodic King’s Quest reboot definitely deserves some recognition which it hasn’t received this year – The Odd Gentlemen managed to add character to King Graham and the inhabitants of Daventry while also being a love letter to the series’ previous outings.  It looks great, the story is surprisingly touching and the voice acting is actually of a very high calibre. Well worth looking at for lapsed fans of the series.

10 – Oxenfree
oxenfree_screen_4
In the last few years, the adventure genre has gone from strength to strength thanks mainly to indie developers adding their own stamp on proceedings. What Oxenfree brings to the table is some of the most natural dialogue I’ve experienced in a game, all tied together with an interesting horror theme and great aesthetics – full thoughts can be found here

9 – Overcooked
preview_screenshot1_120682Simply put, one of the best couch multiplayer games in recent memory. There’s nothing quite like the cacophony of being told to get the ingredients for an order, serve and wash up plates, all while trying to navigate some of the most logistically displeasing kitchens ever created. Great fun

8 – Inside
inside-ending-2Inside weaves a great story through your actions and the game’s aesthetics, and manages to leave itself open to interpretation in a satisfying way. Definitely something you’ll want to discuss with others when you finish the game

7 – Firewatch
firewatch-2Beautiful scenery, an engaging character focused story and some excellent post-release support has helped Firewatch poke its head above the rest of the trees in the forest. Once again, the look, feel and sound of the world only add to the experience, as do some excellent vocal performances and scripting – you can read my full thoughts here

6 – Titanfall 2
3076991-screenshot2016-06-12at10-27-56amWhile the overall story is by the books when it comes to first person shooters, Titanfall 2 succeeds in two regards. Firstly, the developing relationship between pilot and Titan during the campaign was surprisingly endearing and secondly, the level design and associated gameplay elements make the single player campaign the best in an FPS this decade. Plus, wall-running still feels super fun.

5 – Overwatch
overwatch-origins-edition-screen-05-ps4-us-03mar16Frantic, colourful and addictive, there’s a reason Overwatch became the pick-up-and-play game of 2016. Each character feels unique and I;m still finding fun things to do with each of them and while it would be nice to have a few more arenas it’s still immensely satisfying getting your target

4 – Hitman (2016)
15704583408609-021-163cf929a75abdcc0cbc4de4be6d77e0There was a lot of concern about the episodic model Hitman was going to follow this year – turns out, we needn’t have worried as Hitman may well be the perfect game to play through in installments. Of course it helps that the series has maintained its sense of humour as well as a wealth of options on how to take out your target, thanks in part to some very good level design

3 – The Last Guardian
the-last-guardian-14The tale of a boy and his flying cat/dog, and my what a flying cat/dog Trico is – quite possible the most realistic portrayal of an animal I’ve seen in a game (and yes I am aware of my use of the word realistic here when talking about a flying cat/dog). Sometime the controls can feel a little 2006 but the experience the game provides is absolutely worth it.

2 – Uncharted 4
813iswhjcjl-_sl1500_Naughty Dog are magicians. That’s the only way I can explain them making a game that looks this good on a PS4 – in fact, I spent a good chunk of my playtime messing around in photo mode. The way Uncharted 4 deals with its characters stand  above many of its AAA contemporaries, and the game feels like a fitting conclusion to Nathan Drake’s tale.

1 – The Witness
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 I could wax lyrical all day about the puzzle design in The Witness – the way the game teaches you the rules for each new component you’re introduced to in such a natural way, how the environment is used (and hoe you’re taught to use it) to solve certain puzzles , the visually arresting beauty of the world. But the best part of the game is the ‘A-HA’ moments when you realise what you’re looking at is something else and when you finally find the solution to the games hardest puzzles (in my case using pen and paper). With time to reflect, I think it may be one of the best puzzle games ever made. You can read my more expansive thoughts here

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