My 10 Favorite Games of 2016

What a year! 2016 marks another incredible year in videogames. While I didn’t play Dishonored 2, Overwatch, Final Fantasy XV and Battlefield 1. I did play enough amazing videogames to make a top 10 list. As always, to make my top 10 I had to finish and complete each game before 2017. So without further ado here are my top games of 2016.

MY TOP 10 FAVORITE GAMES OF 2016

10. Chase: Cold Case Investigations- Distant Memories (3DS)
A short episodic downloadable eshop game running around 90 minutes. While brief it was great to return to the character Kyle Hyde. Who stars in the excellent Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Last Window: Secret of Cape West on Nintendo DS. Be sure to check them out if you like visual novels. They’re among the best. While a little bit of the Hotel Dusk magic doesn’t transition to 3DS. Such as the novelty of holding it like a book and the cool pencil shading A-ha style cutscenes. The new color graphics on 3DS look great and the game now resembles a Telltale game. While the gameplay is light. I like the question interrogation playstyle. At only about 90 minutes it’s pretty short which explains its $5.00 price tag. Yet, I’m rooting for its success so I can enjoy a few more episodes of one of my favorite detectives.

9. Star Fox Zero (Wii U)
Not as terrible as you heard, but not great either. Videogame critics are right that Starfox Zero controls suck. But they’re not insurmountable. In fact, I got the hang out of switching between the Wii U screen and TV screen after a few missions. Starfox Zero is the best Starfox since Starfox 64. Because it’s a reimagining of that game a la Goldeneye(Wii) and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories(Wii). There are some surprises too like the Walker which is pretty fun. And the Landmaster having full on air capabilities this time around is pretty cool. I also like the increased focus on boss battles, which were very intense, even though a few dragged on a bit.

Where it falters for me is the lack of strong replay value. I played the shit out of Star Fox 64 back in 1997. And despite its short length, I got three playthroughs out of it. I explored every planet, got the second ending, and then got all the gold medals to unlock expert mode. Star Fox Zero does have unlockable missions and branching paths. But, most of them are battles with Star Wolf or short missions that don’t feel very epic. I felt done with Starfox Zero after one full playthrough. Still, besides Zero not having long legs like Starfox 64 I’m glad it exists. And I hope Nintendo takes the lesson they learn from this one and give Star Fox another chance on Switch.

8. Far Cry Primal (PS4)
I loved Far Cry 4’s open world and using a bow in Tomb Raider. So the fact that Far Cry Primal takes the best bits of both games makes it one of my favorite games of the year. The prehistoric setting is refreshing with no guns seen at all. And kudos to Ubisoft for telling a convincing story with a new language. Going through the game as a stealthy archer and throwing clubs at enemies worked best for me. This made the game much more enjoyable versus going the ultra aggressive route. Which entails fighting large groups of enemies with melee attacks. And running away often to recover health.

Still, you can’t be a ghost the whole time either. For example, in boss battles, you must be offensive to win. Speaking of which those bosses battles drag on way too long. It’s one of my only complaints with the game. Other than the annoyance of animals attacking you while exploring the open world. Yet, despite its flaws, I’m not tired of the Far Cry formula and I’m excited for the eventual Far Cry 5.

7. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PS4)
Once you’ve played one Lego game you’ve pretty much played them all. Still, I appreciate Travelers Tale changing up the formula a little bit this time. For example, there is a cute Gears of War cover system. Some neat Star Fox style ariel battles and other surprises. The graphics also look great and like other Lego games, it’s always a treat to watch the cutscenes.

I haven’t had a chance to jump into all the various DLC released. But after beating the main game you’ll definitely want to go back and collect gold bricks to unlock new levels. Which explain what happen to Pao, how C-3PO got his red arm and more backstory not shown in The Force Awakens. So, if you like Lego games and Star Wars definitely check this one out because it’s one of the better ones. I can’t wait for the eventual episode 8 and 9 Lego Star Wars games.

6. Mirrors Edge Catalyst (PS4)
The original Mirrors Edge is one of my favorite first-person games. So when EA green lit a sequel I was very excited. Well, a reboot anyway. They definitely fixed the first title’s biggest weakness. The combat. Which turned the game into a first- person shooter that didn’t mesh well with the parkour gameplay. And as a result, Catalyst is a less frustrating game than its predecessor. Stylized graphic cutscenes are also removed in favor of regular in- game cutscenes. Also, the game has gone open world. What hasn’t changed is the awesome techno style music and the thrilling parkour gameplay.

No game does parkour better. And running around and jumping across buildings is an exhilarating experience. Where the game falters is the optional busy quests common in many open world games. Running around for time trials is exciting, but delivering packages not so much. Also, I didn’t dislike the storyline, but it’s nothing to write home about either. Again, these are minor issues. So if you want to play something unique and fun give Mirrors Edge Catalyst a shot.

5. Attack on Titan (PS4)
What a pleasant surprise. Attack on Titan is much better than I was expecting and it nails the look and feel of the show. After beating the game I’m still not tired of zipping around the environment like Spiderman. Missions are short and like the show, you must target the neck of the Titan to bring them down. A resource management system keeps you from feeling overpowered too. Since you must track your health fuel and blade strength to survive.

One of my favorite features of the game though is you can choose from many characters. Who each has unique strengths and weaknesses. Eren the main character, for example, can transform into a titan. Armin can issue orders to your squad to take down titans and Levi is very powerful. Where the game loses steam is after you beat the main story. To unlock the last five missions you have to play dozens of side missions. Unfortunately, they aren’t very interesting. Plus they weren’t worth the effort to get the true ending. Still, I enjoyed my time with Attack on Titan. And if you’re a fan of the anime definitely play it.

4. Quantum Break (Xbox One)
I loved Alan Wake so I couldn’t wait for Quantum Break. Remedy found a clever way to merge TV and video games together to create something wonderful. The time travel plot isn’t revolutionary, but it does lead to interesting gameplay. Like the ability to surround yourself with a bubble shield to block bullets. A time dash to sneak up on enemies, charging shots, freezing time and more clever uses. It’s definitely the best gameplay Remedy has developed. The TV portions where you watch 20 plus minute episodes between chapters aren’t bad too. The acting isn’t bad either with performances from Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from X-Men). Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger from Game of Thrones) and Lance Reddick from( The Wire).

Unfortunately, Quantum Break doesn’t deliver on its promise. Previews made it look like your choices changed the content of the TV show and gameplay. After playing it twice the TV portions were almost identical. The gameplay as well was pretty much the same. Only minimalist stuff happen. Such as side characters changing roles, different emails, and changes in the environment. I was hoping for two unique playthroughs and different TV content. And I didn’t get that with Quantum Break. But at least I got some more achievements. And the satisfaction of beating it on hard by playing it a second time, though. But, the game’s ending does tease an upcoming sequel which I hope is on the way soon.

3. Doom (PS4)
A huge breath of fresh air in the first-person shooter landscape. Doom is a fast and visceral experience that brings back the glory days of first-person shooters. What it lacks in strong narrative it makes up for in thrilling gameplay. The enemies get more aggressive the further you get and the weapons bigger and more deadly. I appreciate Doom’s emphasis on offense to gather more health too. Where staying still and hiding behind cover gets you killed. Although the game is difficult, you can adjust the difficulty at any time. Versus restarting the whole level like in other games which help reduce frustration. Bosses are creative and imaginative too and will test your trigger fingers.

Downsides? the multiplayer is forgettable. I only played a few hours of multiplayer and got tired of it pretty quick. Also, while the campaign is great, it lacks surprises in the last third. And instead of introducing more new enemies it throws more of ones you already faced. But, Doom is a great return to form. And if you like it definitely check out the fabulous Wolfenstein reboot games too.

2. Titanfall 2 (Xbox One)
It was a tough call to decide which is better Doom or Titanfall 2. But Titanfall 2 won because for me mechs are cooler than demons. The campaign is always showing you something new and motivates you to keep playing. Whether its varied levels with time traveling mechanics. Jumping between factory lines a la Prince of Persia style. Or more surprises I won’t spoil. Titanfall 2’s campaign kicks ass. The character development between Titan BT-7274 and the pilot are great. No joke, you will give a shit about your robot and miss him when you’re separated from him. Finally, like Doom Titanfall 2 has some amazing boss battles. And there are enough titan configurations to keep combat from getting stale.

While I would have liked some more sword combat there is not much else to complain here. Multiplayer is fun, but like the first game, I felt fulfilled after playing a few hours. And I didn’t feel compelled to play more. For me, the single player is the real gem. Not to fault Titanfall 2 or anything, but I’ve never been addicted to multiplayer shooters.

1. Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One)
It’s been too long since I’ve played a good arcade racer. I miss the Burnout and Project Gotham Racing days. So Forza Horizon 3 is a welcome blast from the past. The gorgeous countryside of Australia is impressive. And it’s refreshing to see a racing game explore uncharted territory not seen in most games. Out of all the varied country landscape, the outback is my favorite. I love the freedom to chose which events I want to progress in the campaign. If I want to do races I can to that. If I want to do stunts, drifting, time trials I can do that. The car selection is great and the game has an awesome soundtrack that got me driving around just for fun.

It’s not perfect, though. I grew tired of the game after dozens of hours. And didn’t feel compelled to 100% it. Or race online very much. But, any game gets boring after you play it too much. So the fact that I got so much enjoyment out of Forza Horizon 3 is a testament to its quality.

There you have it my favorite games of 2016. Check back in 2018 for my favorite games of 2017. January 2017 is already looking pretty busy for me with Zelda, Persona 5, and more. So 2017 is off to a good start already and looks to be one of the best years in video games ever.

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