Games of 2016, a list I've been switching and replacing this past month. My entries had to suffice in two categories: fulfillment and enjoyment. Like most lists, they're hard to order and still I find myself wanting to tweak it ever so slightly. This isn't set in stone, but it's a conglomeration of my favorite gaming moments of 2016. Time to dive into my top ten:
10. Paper Mario Color Splash
#PaperMario games have always had the laugh-out-loud-humor and #ColorSplash doesn't disappoint. This game is seriously funny and it takes itself none too serious in the best of ways. The toads throughout the game are amazing and Huey the paint can is a close second. The world is vivid, beautifully created as a swan song for the Wii U. Whats makes this game shy away from being stellar is the battle system. It can be tedious and the gestures tiresome. At least the thing cards are a nice edition (kind of like summons from Final Fantasy games, but over the top ridiculousness, especially the plunger) to combat. Excellent characters, interesting world, a plethora of humorous experiences, it's a game worth checking out, even if it's not up to snuff to previous entries in some capacities.
9. Titanfall 2
One thing is certain, #Titanfall2 is better than I expected. I never played any of the multiplayer from the original release and I don't think it inhibited my perspective on this game—it's just fun. When it first came out, people boasted it had one of the best single player campaigns ever created in the fps genre. I don't think I would put it up on a pedestal, but I will give it a strong merit. Between a time paradox level, one where you climb up homes amidst construction in the air, to a no-holds-bar Titan battles, the campaign had me gearing to blast through the levels. Multiplayer had its hooks in me for a wee bit, but nothing to keep me coming back weekend after weekend. I liked the Titan vs Titan modes and a few others so I do see myself jumping back in a few more times, mainly when they add more free DLC. I'll get some more time out of this good game before I put it on the shelf permanently.
8. Uncharted 4
The game I thought I'd have put further up on my list. I loved this game, I have to say that up front. Between the frantic action scenes and the on point character moments, I enjoyed this game thoroughly. The #Uncharted series has been one of my favorites ever since #AmongThieves on the PS3. I didn't know what to expect when concluding Nathan Drake's story, but it was a worthy end. The end, being my favorite part of this game—an unexpected surprise. One thing I've learned from Uncharted Games is once I'm done, I'm done. I experience it once and then I'm finished with it. I've meddled around with the multiplayer a bit, but I never dive in deep. This series offers great games and #Uncharted4 was probably the best of the lot. They just happen to never stick with me for long after the ending credits drop, but I'm glad I experienced it.
Never would I have thought a modern game could translate the retro feel of an old IP with such fluidity. #DOOM is fantastic. The soundtrack is bonkers wild and makes you want to smash your face into your controller while smiling. Weapons, all the classics, enemies, all the originals, epic boss battles included, and arenas to obliterate hordes of demons while the soundtrack pumps blood into your ears—definite check. The aesthetic of Doom is on point and #Bethesda's attention to detail for fans of yore is a warm fire in a cold world of rebrands and remakes. Doom lives up to my expectations and exceeds in most degrees. Multiplayer will keep many busy with its frantic pace and Snap Map will keep the creativity brewing for some.
6. Steins Gate 0
The Steins Gate games hold a special place in my collection. I was blown away with the first few hours I'd thrown into the sequel, it's everything I loved about the first. The characters are well portrayed even when a few get shoehorned into pigeon holes at times, but the ones that break the mold stand out as some of the very best. The story is what drives these "games," for gameplay is limited, #visualnovels are story first and gameplay basically non-existent. The plot of the first was such a simple concept and it flourished into an engrossing, stab you in the heart, keep on playing hours upon hours till morning comes, game. I expect the second iteration, #SteinsGate0 to do the same and most likely shoot up to a further spot on my list, but I've only begun to meddle with the experience, but knowing it's already at number 6--I have no doubts I'll love it (the Anime for the first game was well done--English dub, stellar).
5. Gravity Rush Remastered
This game shouldn't be this high on the list at a first glance, but I couldn't help but be sucked into the gameplay. There is something undeniably fun about soaring through the town and flinging citizens every which direction. Flying around never got old, never. I liked it from the onset and until the ending credits. It's what drove me to play and the scatterings of purple jewels to collect within the world appeased the collect-a-thon games of the N64 days scratched a dormant itch. The quirkiness of the main character Kat, comic book style cutscenes, anime aesthetic, and interesting environments kept me involved. Combat is its weakest facet, move set wise, I felt it was fun, but not enough added elements to shine on its own. #GravityRush2 comes out tomorrow and I'm eager to jump back into Kat's world for another round.
4. I am Setsuna
#Iamsetsuna is a call back to the #JRPG s of the PS1 era and it shines in its simplicity. The more I stepped away from this game the more it gestated and the more it grew on me. My first impressions were positive, with minor things holding it back. Overall the only improvement, far removed from beating the game, is the enemy variation. A couple more creature designs could have helped it stand out a bit more. The cast of characters are varied and I easily picked out my favorites from the get go (Aeterna is my girl!). The whole theme of the game revolves around sorrow and the end game truly ties it together, I think this one shined towards the end and beginning, slightly muddled somewhere in the middle, but mostly pure JRPG goodness. I am excited we have a new studio, (Tokyo RPG Factory) dedicating their work to these types of games, especially if this is the quality we will be receiving from now on—make a physical release next time, though, it'd be much appreciated.
3. Dark Souls III
The Souls Series is one of my favorites since the dawn of #DemonSouls in 2009. The series is centered around learning from your mistakes and also known for having an akin difficulty to the early years of gaming. The aspect I always found most enticing with the difficulty is, you die because you messed up not because the enemy A. I. is broken or cheap. It's a driving force for the series and knowing there are archaic methods of gaming (no voice chat, enemy re-spawns when you die) encapsulated within the experience, it insatiably fits the gritty tone of the world and lore throughout. #DarkSoulsIII is the perfect balance between the Souls series and its spiritual iteration of #Bloodborne. Not as quick as Bloodborne, but not as lethargic as Demon Souls, a perfect balance. The designers worked wonders with the variety of bosses, enemies, and locations throughout the game. Dark Souls III will test your patience, but it's worth the trek through its devastated brutal world.
2. Final Fantasy 15
One of the most divisive games of 2016, #FinalFantasyXV was one of the high points of the year for me. Does it seem like there is some instances where it was rushed—yes. Are their small issues throughout the game—yes. Does it take away from the whole experience—a little. At the end of the day I was left with a Final Fantasy worthy of the name, it tried new things, some worked and some didn't quite hit the mark. When the final credits hit, I realized I truly liked the game, especially the ending chapters (another divisive point for gamers on the interwebs). I enjoyed the main cast of characters and their banter throughout. The story, simple at first, but then develops into a branching arc that ties in most of the elements throughout the game's world. And it gets dark and things go bad. I love the despair and I love the main villain's reasons for targeting your group. The main villain is up there with Kefka, Sephiroth, and Caius—that's the highest compliment I can give for a Final Fantasy game. I enjoyed the open world chapters in the beginning but found myself more enthralled with the later chapters. Which is fantastic, because I was having a blast with the earlier chapters, except jumping every time I wanted to pick something up—bad control setup making your command action also be your jump button. It's not without its flaws, but I embraced them and came away satisfied.
Honorable Mentions & Games Needed To Play
Before I get to number 1, I'd like to give you a short list of some honorable mentions scrapped from my top 10.
- Severed (PSVita)
- Jotun (PS4)
- Wand Wars
- Zero Time Dilemma (PSVita)
Each of the games above had the elements I love in games, whether it be the atmosphere, multiplayer fun (local co-op is the best), game play or basically an RPG, I'm a sucker for them (Severed is a unique for RPG standards). They just didn't stand against the others in ways of fulfillment and entertainment. Overwatch is the only one that might sneak its way into the list as time goes on, I've been itching to get back into it. Time will tell.
Games I still need to play from 2016
- The Last Guardian
- Gears of War 4
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Kirby Planet Robobot
- Pokemon Sun and Moon
Onto my number 1!
1. Ratchet & Clank
My biggest surprise came relatively early in the year (April) and I knew it was something special. The game hit a special mark within me, collecting for days whether it is cards for upgrades or nuts and bolts that bounced around on screen--a marvelous sight to behold. The animation is salivating worthy - the game looks absolutely fantastic, it gives me that feel feeling up my arms akin to when I play a Super Mario game. And above all else it's a pure joy to play which is hands down why it's my number 1. The controls are phenomenal, tight and responsive, something much needed when so much can happen on screen at once. The game surprised me time after time and even though I played the original #RatchetandClank game back in the day, albeit a bit later than most. Even though this is a remake/reboot it's on another scale compared to the original, it capitalizes on the successes of the first and tosses out the mishaps (and I love that within the game they make fun of what this game is supposed to be—little 4th wall breakage is always fun). This game launched at $40 and it's a steal for that price. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up, it won't disappoint.
The end of the line, that's what grabbed my attention in 2016. I'm sure you don't agree with my list, it's the beauty about opinions and the plethora of games we are graced with each and every year. So what games of 2016 brought a smile to your face?