Another year has passed, which has become much maligned, thanks to celebrity deaths, elections and splits about leaving the European Union. For the game, however, it has been more of a mixed bag. Microsoft can be called a quiet year, but a good one for Sony, while Nintendo announced its new, exciting console. For PC it seems to be getting even stronger, despite a ton of crappy launches that reveal what developers and publishers still feel like they’re doing for the platform.
Like every year, this time too I got many titles, many of which probably had a very good chance of making it to my list. I am mainly speaking of Overwatch, Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2, all of which were critical hits and all were commercial successes as well. As usual I’m a PC and Xbox gamer, which means I’m missing Nintendo and Sony exclusives, such as Mighty Unrated 4. And it’s also not to mention the myriad of small indie games that slip through the net There are many that I hope will be able to play by 2017.
So lets go through some honorable mentions first, shall we? Click on the game name to read my full thoughts.
Planet Coaster: Hundreds of amazingly expressive A’s while swinging in the animated crowd of this theme-park creation suite. As characters they venture around your park, dine, ride tea, buy merchandise and eventually walk on the custom rollercoaster you spent making ages. Very, very addictive.
Crazy Games Tycoon: A game about making games. It’s like the Inception, but without the headaches of Christopher Nolan. This is also a very rough around the edges indie game developed by a person who probably had a lot of time on his hands.
Seraph: Getting the target out of a side-scrolling shooter seems like a bloody stupid idea. As it turns out, it was not. The seraph is a blast from beginning to end.
Raj: The mechanized reign is not really worthy of being on this list. This is a mobile game in disguise, with one concept: left or right? Each one matches the choice, which can often boil down to yes or no. And all. However it is incredibly good.
Offworld Trading Company: This is war, but with economic buildings instead of infantry and tanks. If that sounds boring to you then you are wrong. Surprisingly, it is a very enjoyable little strategy game.
Layers of Fear: This is one of those people who often abandons moving simulators, besides it takes great pleasure to play with the constant perception so that when you turn around suddenly everything has changed, Or maybe even just one thing has changed.
Blood and Wine: This cannot make a complete list because technically it is an extension for Witcher 3 and not a complete game. But it is amazing. And Witch 3 is still amazing. So basically it’s twice as wonderful.
Okay, let’s go with the proper list along the way with honorable mentions. As usual this is in no particular order, and this is my own personal list, so the games you like may not be here for many reasons.
I would very much like XCOM 2 to fail not only in sports but in life in general. Something like its predecessor Mercy XCOM 2 has only heard of the passage and is quite convinced that giving hope to the weak and the pathetic is nothing more than a myth. This hurts the merciless nature. But soon that pain becomes part of you, and gives way to beauty.
Without a doubt in my mind, XCOM 2 was the best strategy game I’ve played all year, and a title I’m most looking forward to returning in the coming quiet months. It is a masterclass in making every decision important to the war effort. Sometimes it can be frustrating because a decision you make early can bite you in the ass, without warning much later, and it can be unfair when you had no way to look at it. However, most of the time, it seems incredibly satisfying. Chances are you will fail on your first run-through. And possibly many times. Eventually, you’ll win, though, and you’ll feel like you’ve earned it right.
But victory is no more important than the sheer enthusiasm and grief that the game can make you realize how disrespectful you have become to the soldiers under your command. Many of them will die during the game, but due to the fact that respectable soldiers are very good and the gameplay is so tense moment by moment that you will feel every loss. The men and women you field will create stories around them, forcing their own legends before falling into just a few stray shots or an epic final stand. You will remember them, and remember them. Few strategy games ever made me feel like this.
Dishonored 2 includes, not one, but two examples of the best level design in 2016. I am definitely referring to the beautiful clockwork mansion and the mechanically luxurious.