Top Games of 2016
Tyranny is one of my favorite games of the year simply because of how it treats cause and effect. It's a game that literally makes you think about what you want to be and how you want to become it. It feels like a tuned up version of the studio's previous games and that's a very good thing.
Tyranny isn't for everyone but it's definitely well worth your time. It's an evil and often times depressing adventure that uses player choice and consequence better than most games in recent memory. It's definitely not for everyone but it's wildly entertaining in all of the worst ways.
I did a lot of wandering in The Witness, but I never felt lost. That's thanks to fantastic level design that kept me wondering what was around every corner but never made me feel like I was taking the wrong direction regardless of where I went.
Jonathon Blow's sophomore effort couldn't be more different than Braid but it's just as engaging and had me guessing from the moment I started until the credits rolled, even if I'm still not completely sure what exactly happened. The Witness is different sure, but it's more than worth your time as one of the best puzzle games I've played in recent memory.
It's a stellar work of not only video gaming ingenuity but in expressionism, and surrealism at the same time. It's an artistic look at just what a game can be and what it can achieve by forgoing the traditional rules of what a game can be.
It may not seem like it but Battlefield 1 may be the biggest gamble of any game released this year. Yes, it's built on the DNA of one of the biggest shooter franchises perhaps of all time but it does so in a way we've never seen before. Yes, Battlefield 1 feels like the latest installment in Dice and EA's long running series, but it also feels like something completely different, something with an identity all its own and it's no question something worth your time.
By daring to do something different with Battlefield 1, EA distances itself from the competition and has a bonafide hit on its hands.It could have been a mess, but Battlefield 1 is a remarkably dramatic and fun experience. It's miles ahead of anything the series has done in recent years and manages to do things most war games can only dream of. I didn't expect to write this sentence but Battlefield 1 is one of the most well-rounded shooters I've played this year and I can't recommend it enough.
Much like it's predecessor, XCOM 2 is sure to take years off of my life. In the few days I've been playing it for review I've already mourned way too many soldiers and stressed far too much about moves that could put what's left of the human race in danger. XCOM 2 takes the formula set by Enemy Unknown, keeps what worked and throws in enough change to make things feel feel fresh and new.
Above all else, XCOM 2 retains the addictive battle system that made the original reboot such a classic to begin with. With XCOM 2, the key word is more. This is a sequel that's more inventive, more customizable and more strategic than ever before, and it's a damn good game as a result.
From the moment I started playing DOOM, I didn’t want to stop playing Doom. It's a fun and visceral throwback to a time gone by in a genre that I love. This is DOOM for a new age but somehow it's also back to basics. You've played this game before for sure, but DOOM has a way of making everything feel like it's own. One hell of a shooter experience.
DOOM is frantic and fast paced and if you don't learn to juggle the game's different types of attacks confidently, you're going to die...a lot. DOOM is at it's best when you're tossing grenades at a horde of enemies, while shooting your modded weapons at the next wave while quickly moving in for a series of glory kills that will make your mom squeamish.
It may be a predictable formula; kill one group of enemies to advance, rinse and repeat but it's one hell of a fun experience that manages to create it's own identity while paying tribute to its storied past. Seriously, just go play DOOM.
I've been playing Civilization V for years now and it's highly likely that I'll be playing VI for a similarly long amount of time. It has the depth and customization options that the series is known for, but with extra features that help tweak the Civ formula. The best part? After all this time with Civilization VI, I feel like I've only skimmed the surface and that there's always so much more to discover.
After nearly seventy hours and more turns than I can count, I think I'm finally coming to terms with the changes developer Firaxis has made to the long standing strategy series and the result is a better game. It's still unclear if those changes make this the best Civilization game to date since I've had so much time for previous games to become ingrained into my life but Civilization VI unquestionably belongs in the stellar lineage of it's predecessors.
Inside is quite simply like nothing else I've ever played before and so many times during my roughly five hours with the game I became amazed at just what was happening and how easily the game took complete control of my emotions. Brilliant and haunting in utterly every way, Inside is the follow up that Limbo so rightly deserved but it's also an instant classic in it's own right.
Five years from now you'll be playing the remastered version of Inside. Much like with Limbo before it, Playdead has crafted what can only be considered a modern classic. It's emotional, remarkably smart and will stick with you long after the credits have rolled. I know that with reviews everyone looks at the score. Don't look at it, it doesn't do the game justice...just take my advice - play this game.
There’s a moment in the midst of Uncharted 4’s explosions, car chases and giant set pieces that will take you by surprise. You, as famed adventurer and explorer Nathan Drake...sit down on your couch with your wife and eat noodles while playing video games.
It may seem like a strange choice but it’s evidence to the fact that Naughty Dog has created one of gaming’s best franchises in recent memory. Don’t worry though, it still does the Uncharted stuff great, perhaps better than any game in the series has before. Uncharted 4 is the rare action game that puts its heart first...sometimes.
Titanfall 2 is the game I wanted to play when the original launched over two years ago. It does what any great sequel should, expand upon the lore and mechanics of what came before it to create something that feels new but still familiar enough to the original to please returning fans.
While some of the ideas don't work nearly as well as they should, others soar and make Titanfall 2 feel different than most other shooters on the market. Fans of the original or just plain cool shooting mechanics won't be disappointed in the world Respawn Entertainment have created. I didn't expect it to be but Titanfall 2 is one of my favorite shooters of the year.
No game had as big of an impact on the gaming world and beyond in 2016 as Blizzard’s competitive multiplayer shooter. Blizzard's first foray into the world of first person shooters seems to have found the perfect balance of depth, accessibility and charm. From all of the remarkable characters to the world they're in; Overwatch succeeds wildly. The game shows no signs of slowing down either, with aggressive plans for expansion into next year and beyond, Overwatch is going to be one of your favorite games for quite some time.