What a year we gamers are having. We have had AAA games that have actually delivered, indie titles that have exceeded all expectations, and the dawn of VR has opened up a whole new world, especially once PlayStation VR comes out. The infamous drought of 2014 feels like it was decades ago.
It’s possibly been the busiest year for new game releases in quite some time. Managed to beat one game? Oh, look at these other fifty that are just as worthy of your attention. My library is pretty much overflowing with games that I have played religiously and those that I swear I will, but we all know that’s probably not going to be the case. The modern gamer is spoilt for choice and 2016 is the year that will see people seeing a record low amount of sunlight.
2016 still has a lot to offer. We have No Man’s Sky, Dishonored 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Battlefield 1, Gears of War 4, and Titanfall 2 to still look forward to amongst many others, so many so that this list is probably going to look quite different come December 31st.
I decided to take a look at some of 2016’s best games so far that I have had the pleasure of playing. No re-releases, DLC expansions, or reboots make the cut because that’s just cheating, otherwise Dying Light: The Following and The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine would have a place here.
Have you played something that I haven’t which should have made the cut? Drop a comment below and we’ll waggle some chins.
10. Street Fighter V
Squeaking into the top ten by the skin of its choryuken, Street Fighter V was no stranger to controversy upon its release. Many lamented its lack of content, including myself in my review, but there was no denying the fighting itself was as good as we’ve come to expect from the legendary series. Now that casual players finally have something to sink their teeth into thanks to the recent update, SFV should remain the king until the next challenger comes along. Word of warning: don’t play online unless you’re skilled and have a decent control of your temper.
9. Far Cry Primal
How do you take away guns from one of the most bullet-orientated franchises out there and ask people to still stay interested? Ask the guys at Ubisoft. Primal is an enjoyable, though admittedly flawed, romp back to prehistoric times that surprised many. It isn’t quite as refined as its bigger Far Cry brothers and it does stick to a similar open-world formula, but that doesn’t stop Primal from being a blast. Plus, you’re mates with a tiger.
8. Enter the Gungeon
Looking like The Binding of Isaac and Hotline Miami had a disgusting but charming baby, Enter the Gungeon might have been missed by many. A “roguelike” game (a term that needs to get in the bin before this year is done), Dodge Roll managed to create an incessantly challenging and frustrating twin-stick shooter that rewards patience. Sink one hour into it and see if you can tear yourself away for the next ten. I can’t be held responsible for my recommendation resulting in you throwing your controller out of the window after yet another failed run with Enter the Gungeon, though.
Where the hell did this come from? A few hours into my playthrough, I realised Furi would have to make the cut, and how could it not? It’s one of the most refreshing games I’ve played in a long time; a thoroughly retro slice of heaven with a killer soundtrack and a difficulty level that creates euphoria once you’ve managed to best the boss that’s been giving you angina for the better part of an hour. It’s free on PlayStation Plus for July, so check it out if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.
Gorgeous. That’s the word that first comes to mind when you think of Firewatch, the triumphant debut effort from Campo Santo. Action fans might be left wanting, but Firewatch’s strength lies in its sense of adventure. See that horizon? Take out your map and compass and go there. So much time can be spent appreciating the landscapes that you often forget to take part in the story, which itself is captivating, in no small part thanks to two of the greatest voice-over performances in recent memory.
It’s not often that I trust my PC to run a modern game; it’s seen one too many winters. However, with something as hyped as Superhot, it’s worth the risk. It’s a game unlike any I have ever played before, one that continues to change the rules once you think you have it nailed down. Superhot’s blend of puzzles and shooting makes for an exasperating, enthralling game that deserves all the attention it received. You might not play anything else like it all year.
And they said it would be terrible, a disgrace to the series. DOOM is the perfect example of why you shouldn’t base your opinion on a beta, especially when it is for the multiplayer, which has never been what the FPS monster has been about. DOOM knows you’re sick of the same on-rails introductions with lashings of exposition you see in every modern FPS, so it throws you headfirst at demons, hoping you won’t ask questions later.
DOOM has been a huge success because it hasn’t leant on pretense or anything that requires to really think, which simply adds to the experience. And yes, multiplayer is light, but still hugely fun if you can find tweezers big enough to take the stick out of your arse with.
It’s breathless and ridiculous, like an 80’s movie meets a big mound of cocaine and several gallons of Red Bull. That’s totally fine by me. The gaming industry needs more DOOM. Welcome back.
3. Dark Souls III
I’ve never been able to truly “git gud” at Souls games. Even though I’ve played most of them, each battle feels like a cinematic showdown to save the world, which is certainly the case with Dark Souls III.
Mixing the best of the Souls series with some elements of Bloodborne, From Software’s final adventure into a macabre, challenging world could be its best one yet. The bosses are as memorable as they’ve always been, the art design is simply impeccable, and the Lovecraftian lore to uncover verges on the obsessive.
Just don’t mention the poise stat and we can all stay friends.
2. Uncharted 4
The perfect example of why developers should be given all the time they need to polish off a game. Uncharted 4 is the triumphant finale to one of most beloved series’ in PlayStation history, so you better believe that Naughty Dog went all out.
The action is almost unbelievably smooth, the story is as interesting and emotional as we’ve come to expect from the franchise, and, although I know it’s not the be all and end all, the graphics are astounding. No wonder my colleague Kieran gave it a perfect ten out of ten in his review. The multiplayer is no slouch either.
I am not joking when I say there are several voices in my head compelling me to go and play Overwatch instead of this. It’s a game I shouldn’t like, but I do, remorselessly. Several working days have disappeared all thanks to Blizzard’s new drug, but I find that hard to complain about. Overwatch is one of the most refined, smartest dumb shooters you will ever play.
Knowing how to “game” the game is half of the battle. You can have the best trigger finger in the West, but if you can’t work well with others, you’re not going to be in for a good time. Teamwork drives Overwatch and is rewarding to embrace; managing to revive most of your team as Mercy during a pivotal play is almost as pleasing as taking out swathes of enemies with your Ultimate.
Even though it’s fairly low on content, Overwatch somehow never bores, even forty hours in. I’ve played the same map countless times, pushing the same payload an innumerable amount more, yet it hasn’t left me jaded for even a second. I will be very surprised if Overwatch doesn’t top this list at the end of the year.
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