Many are considering 2016 to be one of the worst the world has ever seen. Games, however, have been pretty freaking great all year round, so at least they’ve helped keep people entertained while all sorts of chaos takes place in the real world.
Here are a few of my personal standouts. Are some of yours among these?
The Hitman franchise has been a staple in my gaming portfolio ever since the first release back in 2000. I’ve played every single one, and with one exception, I’ve loved them all to death, doing my best to finish every single objective as perfectly as I possibly could. The new episodic series came about at the perfect time. I could spend countless words going on about how great this new release format is for replayability purposes, not to mention the periodic inclusion of new side content, including the amazingly fun and tense elusive targets. HITMAN is freaking great. And season 2 is just around the corner. (episode one review)
I’ve sorta fallen out of love for Hearthstone in 2016. I still play til ranked level 20 every month, but haven’t been keeping up with the meta at all. Maybe that’s because of another Blizzard game that just came out this year. Overwatch has been my much anticipated return to online gaming, to shooter at that. Personal darling Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory didn’t come close to the time I’ve already spent getting turrets set up and nuking fools in this game. It’s just ridiculously fun to put in a few matches in every so often, win or lose. I don’t expect that it’ll be going away anytime soon.
Sid Meier’s Civilization V
I’ve always wanted to dabble with the Civilization games, and to an extent, I already had given a Sid Meier game a shot in the past with Pirates!, but never a Civ. So came a day this year when I double clicked that ignored game on my Steam list and *bam*, I was hooked for days. My first game had me controlling a randomly chosen nation, Morocco, against a few others in a mid-sized map. It took me well over eight hours and two separate sittings to finish. Civilization V is truly an amazing game, worthy of all the praise it’s has gotten over the years (it came out in 2010). I can’t wait to dive into VI in 2022!
Dark Souls 3
The promised conclusion to Souls was an epic journey for me because I played it for release day review, meaning I had practically no help making my way to the end. Granted, since then I’ve partaken into a lot of jolly cooperation, but no experience will come close to reaching a particularly difficult boss gate and find no summon signs to speak of. It was extremely rewarding to finish this one. I loved every single bit of nostalgic tributes thrown in, too. What’s next for Miyazaki-san and From Software? (review)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown was my personal favorite old game of 2014, so it’s no surprise its sequel is among my favorites this year. XCOM 2 improves on its predecessor in every single way, while still retaining all of its best (and worst) aspects that we fans love (and hate). I had an amazing time playing it to completion. Snipers are still da best, but rangers, man, rangers are right up there too. I hope there’s more XCOM to come in the near future.
I always go back and forth in regards to Pokémon. Yeah, they’re mostly the same game released over and over again with little improvements in each iteration, so what I tend to do is skip a few releases before giving the franchise another shot. The Sun & Moon (Moon in my case) generation proved to be one of the best so far. It looks gorgeous on the 3DS screen thanks to some brilliant art direction. The new continent we get to explore is pretty darn cool too. Now, if only 90% of the new Pokémon weren’t so damn unlikable. Oh well, can’t win them all, I guess…
I’m a big fan of Drinkbox’s games like Guacamelee and Tales from Space: About a Blob, so I’m not surprised at all that I liked Severed so much. Their sense of art and game design is incredibly unique and is absolutely beautiful. I really enjoyed getting the chance to catch up what I was missing when this was finally ported to Wii U earlier this year. (review)
Deus Ex GO/Hitman GO
I finally picked up a decent Android cell phone this year, and one of the first things I did with it was install Hitman GO. I’ve always wanted to play the GO games (the Square Enix ones, anyway!), but never quite had the hardware that could handle them. Hitman GO proved to be incredible, and Deus Ex GO was even more fun. I’ll get to Lara Croft GO next year… (review)
Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
Monster Hunter Generations (review)
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (review)
The Witness (review)
Yakuza 5 (review)
What I didn’t have a chance to play much of this year that I’m planning to in 2017
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Heroes of the Storm
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
The Last Guardian
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End