ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER LIST..
But the moments we spent this year gaming, well, they’ll live on forever. Or at least stay in our achievement and trophy lists. 2016 was an epic year for gaming, especially in comparison to how slow new releases were in the year prior. Gaming this year had it’s ups and downs, with some highly anticipated titles leading to quite the disappointment on day one, but this year was still one for the books. This list is in no particular order and covers everything from PC gaming, Xbox/Playstation, and even mobile gaming. Think something else should’ve made the list? Let us know in the comments below..
If you’ve followed some of the Overwatch coverage online or on our blog, it should come as no surprise that Overwatch is on our list for one of the best games of 2016. In case you have been living under a rock for most of 2016, or too depressed with the current political state of the US – Overwatch is a team-based shooter from Blizzard that managed to net over 20 million players worldwide since it’s launch on May 23rd, 2016.
Overwatch has 23 heroes ranging in 4 specific categories: Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support. Even within each of these character types, the abilities of each character vary significantly which truly allows for team building throughout the matches. Recently, Blizzard introduced an arcade mode which helps break up the monotony of quick play and competitive by allowing players to get mystery heroes or play a previously created brawl. And even more recently, Overwatch has taken home to Blizzard HQ the ‘Game of the Year’ award and has been named the top game of 2016 by numerous publications.
Overwatch is available on PC (Windows only), Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Mario Run was released on December 15th, 2016 – just barely making it into the running for the best games of 2016. Mario Run is a side-scrolling platformer for iOS (Android coming soon) where Mario runs and leaps over simple objects and enemies automatically, but it’s up to the player to jump and go for the high score. While the downside to Mario Run is that you must have an internet connection to play, it does allow for you to not only sync to your Nintendo ID but also compete with players from around the world to get the high score on specific maps. This mode is called ‘Toad Rally’ in Mario Run and allows for you to collect coins as well as bring in new Toads to populate your castle after Bowser’s typical rampage through it.
It’s no surprise that Pokemon Go made our list for best games of 2016. Since it’s launch in July 2016, Pokemon Go has combined the power of AR (Augmented Reality) with our love for all things nostalgic by allowing us to see and capture Pokemon in the real world. A (short-lived) fitness craze swept the world as we managed to get off our couches for once and out in the real world to meet friends, take over gyms, and capture rare and unique Pokemon throughout the city. The game has also worked to keep things somewhat fresh by recently releasing next-gen Pokemon into the game – allowing you to now catch 100 new Pokemon from the later series. Pokemon Go also made headlines by releasing an Apple Watch compatible app at the end of December 2016.
Within the first week, Planet Coaster was launched onto Steam, we had already sunk 21 hours of playtime into it. Planet Coaster is a highly addicting theme park management simulator that allows you to create everything from customized buildings, line queues, and your own rides. The mechanics to this game are extremely user-friendly and intuitive, which allows you to create coasters with ease and mold terrain without having to have a rocket science degree. Planet Coaster is a must for anyone who has enjoyed titles like Sim City, Rollercoaster Tycoon, City Skylines, and many others. In fact, we would go as far as to say that Planet Coaster is everything Rollercoaster Tycoon should have been all those years ago.
Grim Dawn is quite possibly the most underrated game of the year, and frankly, is what Diablo 3 should have been. Despite our general enjoyment of Diablo 3 and Reaper of Souls (Diablo 3 expansion), Grim Dawn has raised the bar of what an excellent action-RPG should be. In true, RPG fashion, what you do throughout the game directly impacts the storyline and how other characters interact with you, despite the story not having much going for it, to begin with. It may quite possibly be the only game out there that will allow for you to battle the undead and progress to another land where you take on rogue cowboys in open fields – all the while making complete sense.
Firewatch is an absolutely gorgeous first-person adventure game that tells the story of a young man, Henry, who takes up a position as a Ranger in the Summer of 1988 at Yellowstone while trying to cope with the recent and traumatic diagnosis of dementia for his beloved wife, Julia. From the title screen, players will find themselves captivated by the beauty of Shoshone National Park and the various situations that arise from the day to day tasks of being a Ranger, and continue to stay intrigued from the mystery and danger that keep you in suspense until the credits roll. The choices you make in the game directly impact the adult rated narrative between yourself and another Ranger by the name of Delilah. Despite most tasks taking you from point A to point B, you will often find yourself getting lost in the scenery as if you were actually hiking through the hills of Yellowstone. Firewatch is a must for every player’s library and is available on PC, OS X, Linux, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
LEGION – WORLD OF WARCRAFT EXPANSION
While Legion is a continuation of the World of Warcraft game, the expansion was able to breathe fel-life into the once stale and potentially cataclysmic Warcraft universe. On its’ August 30th launch, Legion saw 3.3 million copies sold – which was an all-time high for the franchise, tying with the record set by the Cataclysm expansion in 2010. The expansion was also coupled with the release of the ‘Warcraft’ movie, which received mixed reviews from critics but was widely enjoyed by fans and gamers around the world.
Battlefield’s formula for large-scale, objective-driven warfare is as intense and theatrical as ever against the haunting, archaic backdrop of World War I. The single-player campaign is a short but pleasantly surprising anthology of small, human stories that does a good job spotlighting some of the key technology of the era. But it’s the exhilarating multiplayer that most strongly capitalizes on the potential of this old-school arsenal, bringing a number of subtle changes that keep the combat balanced and smart while still allowing for the hallmark chaos that makes Battlefield such a fantastic first-person shooter series.
RATCHET AND CLANK
Ratchet and Clank is definitive proof that there is still mileage to go in the 3D platformer genre. While you may want to think that this game is a reboot of the PS2 version, it’s not. Ratchet and Clank for PS4 is more like a return to the form while revitalizing the franchise. New and innovative weapons help to keep an old story fresh, while next-gen graphics boost the environment and make a visit to Veldin or Kalebo III feel like the very first time.
Doom is everything you could want and more from a nostalgic driven game. Doom has just the right amount of ammo and health packs to leave you feeling desperate and anxiety-ridden, just like the good old days. The single-player campaign is everything you could want out of a first-person shooter, while the multiplayer and arcade modes give you something new. Doom is a great game that doesn’t have to be taken so seriously. So kick back, relax and enjoy the hunting of demons on your PC, Xbox One or PlayStation 4.