2016 was a mixed year for video games, but it definitely isn’t surprising given how much it had to live up to the amazing year that was 2015. Instead, 2016 was a huge wake-up call to a bunch of developers on the fear of sequelitis, and the growing change in consumer conscience is going to make gamers a lot harder to convince than others. That said, there were still some hard hitters and once again, massive turnaround success stories that happened this year, continuing the trend of games that have risked it all to meet not only audience expectations, but their own.
And yes I am very aware that we are 3 months late
Here are SoQ’s top games of 2016!
Doom (PC, PS4, XBONE) – rgk’s Game of the Year
“While there have been a ton of excellent action platformers, I must admit that DOOM (2016) stole the pedestal and stands out as my Game of the Year. By no means do I pretend that the game is perfect, as it has some glaring issues. The worst problem lies with the secrets, which are tied too deeply with the upgrade system – as a consequence, they hinder the pacing; especially when re-starting the game from a new save. Furthermore, the very first levels are quite tedious, and as a whole the atmosphere could gain from dead bodies and splattered blood staying rather than disappearing. But apart from that? A glorious First Person Shooter that is not ashamed to cater to our most basic instincts, bringing back a beloved franchise while completely innovating the combat system. After the dark ages of the sad cover shooters, I can’t emphasize enough how good the forward momentum from DOOM is, incentivized by the glory kills. Moving and shooting feels amazing, and I truly hope that DOOM represents a landmark that will positively influence the next First Person Shooters.”
Grim Dawn (PC) – Justin Brett’s Game of the Year
“This game only technically came out in 2016, since it was in Early Access for a long period beforehand. But I’d be hard pressed to find a game I enjoyed and played as much as Grim Dawn in the last year; even though I only bought it in August, I currently have almost 500 hours in this successor to Titan Quest. A large part of that is the vast amount of customization possible: of the six classes above, two of them can be mixed and matched to create a large amount of possible combinations, and those combinations can have wildly different builds.
That might not mean as much if the game’s combat weren’t as good as it is, though. Every class has skills that can make the many monsters you’ll fight in Cairn ragdoll, explode, or just collapse, and they all look unique and satisfying. Add in the tons of items, including Epics and Legendaries, and you get a game you could play through maybe a dozen times and still make it fresh. Crate are also incredibly active in updating the game; they’ve already added a lot of new content, and rebalance the game every couple months to give everyone the best experience possible. A major expansion is planned this year which includes two new character classes; that could be a great time to jump in, but if any of this sounds like it would appeal to you I urge you to pick it up in its current state, you won’t be disappointed.”
XCOM 2 (PC, PS4, XBONE) – Abhigyan’s Game of the Year
“I never thought a sequel for the brilliant Enemy Unknown was going to be any good. But XCOM 2 proved me wrong. It improved upon nearly every aspect of its brilliant predecessor and provided a strategy that was near perfect for me. It was plagued by performance issues upon its launch but they have been ironed out now. If you have yet not picked up XCOM 2 and you are a fan of strategy games, do yourself a favour and buy it right now. Killing aliens using your avengers was never this good.”
Pony Island (PC) – RipWitch’s Game of the Year
“With all the game I was able to play this year, picking just one was a difficult choice, especially realizing you played more games that was released before 2016. With the few 2016 games I’ve played, Pony Island is easily my game of the year. While it seems like a straightforward game about jumping over fences as a pony, it quickly shows it is more than it seems. While it doesn’t hide the fact that Pony Island was developed to take souls in form of an arcade game, it runs with this idea every chance it gets. Constructing puzzles forcing you to think outside the box to blasting away enemies with your very own face laser. With everything that could’ve easily gone wrong, it is a clever little game that constantly breaks the fourth wall. If you haven’t played Pony Island yet, I highly recommend it. You wouldn’t want to miss how Pony Island plays out.”
OneShot (PC) – Nikoback’s Game of the Year
“I’ve never played a game more genuine than OneShot, which excels beyond it’s original 2014 release to deliver a truly enticing experience. It’s handful of tricky fourth-wall puzzles are enough to shock you into how they just did that within the confines of RPG Maker, and while the story of a lot of the characters and overall world feels unfortunately shallow, it’s hard to notice it when main protagonist Niko absolutely steals the show. I’ve never wanted to become friends with a video game character more than I did with them, and it’s why to me, OneShot is perhaps one of the most unforgettable adventures I’ve ever completed.”
Tyranny (PC) – Tamaster’s Game of the Year
“Of all the games that came out in 2016, none left me more impressed than Tyranny. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, a well-known and rightly renowned software house behind some of the greatest modern RPGs ever created, (like Star Wars: KOTOR series, Fallout New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity) and this one is absolutely among them. With an astonishing depth of dialogues and overall interaction with NPCs, comparable only to the masterpieces of old like Baldur’s Gate or Planescape: Torment, a very original, dystopic setting full of misery, suffering and war, and finally an in-depth character customization and combat system able to challenge even masters of role-playing, this game will surely captivate any gamer who likes a very good story, stimulating exploration and deep interactions with party members and NPCs alike. This is not the regular RPG you are used to, and even if some of its elements are derived from the Classic RPGs (CRPGs) of old, many elements of the formula are original and are a very good addition to not fall into monotony or “already seen” feeling. Try it and you will not be disappointed.”
SAMOROST 3 (PC, Mobile) – Dangerhighdoltage’s Game of the Year
“Of all the 2016 indie releases I played, Samorost 3 was by far my favorite. The game was like stepping into a childhood dream. There is a very exploratory feel to this game. In most adventure games, you simply look everywhere and try to combine things that may or may not make any sense with a fair amount of pixel hunting. Samorost 3 on the other hand, makes the discovery far more enjoyable with the musical interaction and smile-provoking animation. It’s quirky, witty, and whimsical. The most amazing part is that the entire story plays out without any dialogue or speech. You rely only on animated thought bubbles and interactions.
Also, the soundtrack to this game is absolutely amazing. I don’t think I’ve heard a soundtrack so well composed on an adventure game since the Grim Fandago re-master.”
Stardrew Valley (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One) – JimDeadlock’s Game of the Year
“I ran across this game by pure accident when it arrived in the monthly Humble Bundle. I was not impressed. This was a farming game where you mindlessly click stuff like a zombie, right? So I gave it a try… and 450 hours of gameplay later I think it’s safe to say I was wrong. The best thing about it is that there’s no specific route you have to take through the game. Everything is open to you right from the start and you can choose the activities you like best – farming, mining, fishing, artifact hunting, socialising…
Stardew Valley is a place that you become intimately familiar with. Each of the villagers has a unique personality and rich backstory that you learn by interacting with them. You give them their favourite gifts to gain their friendship and eventually you can marry one of them and have kids. This will not be an arbitrary choice, you will have a favourite.
It’s a sweet, gentle, relaxing game and you can play at your own pace. Nevertheless, there’s a night/day/seasons cycle and you’ll find yourself permanently rushed off your feet trying to get things done before bedtime or end of season, even hundreds of hours into the game. There is just so much to do and none of it feels at all repetitive.
If I go to heaven, I hope it’s like Stardew Valley.”
Zero Time Dilemna (PC, 3DS, Playstation Vita) – Lord Crocosquirrel’s Game of the Year
“Ah, Zero, how we’ve all missed thee. The Saga that began with 9 Persona, Nine Hours, Nine Doors concludes in this fully voiced and animated thrill-ride where *every* ending is critical to the tale… Even the really bad ones. A New Zero, the Second, has arisen, and created his own game of death, sacrifice, and personal horror, including both new faces and old. — Including the two that previously took the mantle of Zero.
Wait, I hear you ask– if this Zero is The Second, how do you have two previous Zeroes? For that is the very least of the mysteries involved. A single snail can change the entire course of the world.”
And there you have it! That’s our favorite games from 2016! While it definitely feels like a middle year for some, there was still a ton of unforgettable and enjoyable experiences that kept 2016 going moderately strong! It definitely had a lot to live up to due to 2015’s stellar year, but I’m sure 2017 will
*checks 2017 releases*
Looks like we’re off to a good start!