It is the end of the year and I figured, because lists are fun (right?), I should do the thing where I make a list of my favorite games I played in 2016. Once I started I realized I really needed two lists, one for games that were really awesome to play alone, and one for games that I really wanted other people around to play.
Super Special Story Shout Out Award:
Life is Strange!
I’ve not yet completed this series; only finished the first three chapters, but right now it wins my award for Best Soundtrack (Doom easily gets second place) and Best Story. Yep, I have not even finished it and I can tell you its story is better than anything else I played this year.
Odd Honorable Mention
XCOM 2 – This is an odd one. I know I played this for several weeks, but I don’t really remember much about it, other than a sense of joy. This game really does everything I enjoy about turn based tactical games and I feel sad that should have given it more time.
Top Games of 2016 I wanted to play with other people!
6. Blade and Soul – An MMO with some really decent action based combat. Alas it was fairly linear with very little optional paths to leveling. Oh and while I did play this solo a bunch, I really only wanted to play it when my friends were online.
5. Atlas Reactor – A cool simultaneous turn based team based game. Crazy I know, but it works and its a blast.
4. Heroes of the Storm – Yes it did not come out in 2016, but these are lists about what I played not when games launched. And I still played a whole lot of HoTS. Granted almost 100% of my time was c0-op .vs Bots, but I don’t care. Bots provide me the level of difficulty I want to mess with and still provides me a ton fun.
3. Overwatch – So, um, ya. It has basically no ‘bot support or co-op (sometimes it does), but for some reason I didn’t care. I actually played a lot (for me) of competitive multiplayer matches. Something about the speed of the game, the simplicity of the game modes, the polish, and the characters (and ability to swap) all just pulled me in.
2. The Division – Yes I did spend a lot of time in this solo, but really I only ever wanted to be playing when I had friends online. This is a really great third person action co-op game. I love the setting, love the gameplay, heck I leveled a couple of characters up to max. Alas I was simply not committed enough to enjoy their end game content and then stopped. Still a great buy.
1. WoW Legion – Yep. Legion (and the lead up to Legion) has been some of the best WoW that has ever WoWed and it sucked me back in. Heck even with my complete aversion of Mythic Dungeons and organized raids, the game has offered me so much to do that I keep re-upping my sub.
Game I love because my daughter fell in love with it:
Pokemon Moon – I have not played a lot of this, but I bought Moon for me and Sun for my daughter and I’ve see enough of the game to understand a bit why the franchise is so popular and enduring.
Top Games I played Solo in 2016
10 Hitman – I’ve spent some time in previous Hitman games, not much, but some, and Honestly I’ve not put a lot of time into this one yet (only a few hours). Though in those hours, and some hours of streams I’ve watched, I completely ‘get’ this game and it is awesome. The combination of stealth, puzzle, and action in such a beautifully wrapped package, is totally worth a buy. If I had played more of this, it would probably be higher up.
09 Titanfall 2 – I spent 6 hours in the campaign, and at the end I really, really wanted more. Heck if they had shipped a campaign that was twice that size this might be higher up on the list, but alas it was over too quickly. It is polished, it is fast, it has some super impressive level design work, and a single level with a mechanic so impressive to play with I was sad it was only a single level. Also BT wins the award for best robot I didn’t think I would care about, but ended up caring about.
08 Quantum Break – I know it won’t end up on a lot of lists, but I’m a sucker for Time Travel stories, and branching stories. I really, really enjoyed this game and was left wanting more. Oh and it was one of the few true multi-media experiences of the year.
07 Rise of the Tomb Raider – I played this very early in the year, and I had a blast with it. But I don’t think it holds up for me as much as the first one did. Heck I played the first game twice. Still this game was a fantastic follow up and easily wins the award for Best Archery.
06 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – I love the world of Deus Ex, and I’ve played the original game several times through; one of my all time favs. I enjoyed the reboot, and was super looking forward to Mankind Divided. Alas this game suffered being played by me after Dishonored 2 since it launched right near Legion, and thus got pushed back in my playlist. Its a good game, a really good game, but something about it just felt lacking. I did complete it, and felt pretty great about the whole thing, but it is not burned into my mind like the top 5 games are.
05 Doom – I just recently played this, and it is super fresh in my mind. This is a pure action FPS, with a super heavy emphasis on the S part. This game nails shooting action, better than every other game I’ve played this year; heck maybe in several years. It is that good. Oh and while its movement is not as good as Titanfall2, though it is very smooth, fast and builds into becoming critical victory. Oh and wrapped in all this action is a decent story. Yep it does have a story, along with some pretty great lore. The downside is it is wrapped in setting that I’m personally not as big of fan of.
04 Uncharted 4 – I’m not going say much about this. It is beautiful, and ends(I hope) the Nathan Drake story almost perfectly. Oh and as with the Uncharted games this is already getting second plays from my wife.
03 WoW:Legion – Yes I know this is on both lists. It earned its position on both, by being a game I could lose hours to both playing by myself and hanging out playing with friends. Also, it is really a whole lot of MMO fun.
02 Dishonored 2 – This series might have surpassed the Thief series for favorite First Person Sneaker games. I probably should write up a full post about why i love these games. As of this writing I’ve put almost 80 hours into two and half runs of the game. The amount of diversity and optional ways through each level are simply amazing. If you have not played this game, first go play Dishonored 1 and the story DLC. They are also great, then come back and play this.
01 Dark Souls 3 – Bloodborne last year was the ‘souls game that finally clicked with me. I played through it twice with different builds, then went and played through the first third of Dark Souls 1. So when DS3 showed up, I was not sure if I really needed more ‘souls game. I was wrong. I did need more. A LOT more. I’m now I’m in the middle of my second full run, and currently sitting at 150+ hours of play on steam and another dozen or so on the XBox. I love how different these games play as you learn more about the world, and enemies as well as using different gear. And few other games have offered me the level of victory joy that the ‘souls games have.
Finally one more list: “Games I hope to play someday”
Dark Souls 2 – Still have not played this, and even if I don’t complete it I really want to give it a go.
Stardew Valley – I’ve watched several people stream this, and it looks delightful. Alas I have simply not been in the building mood.
Dragon Quest Builders – I played the demo and was super surprised by how delightful it was. Though again, I’ve not really been in a building mood.
FFXV – Fine, technically I have played it some this year. Though I have not played enough of it to really ‘get’ it yet and every time I sit down to play get about an hour in and then want to stop.
Battlefield 1 – I finally got a copy for Christmas, but have not had any time to really play it.
Firewatch – Much like other heavy narrative / story based games, I have to be in the right mode and so far this year the Firewatch mood has not hit me.
Civ 6 – Again, I did play a bit of it. I was working through the tutorial until it crashed, but I have simply not felt the desire to play a big empire builder. Maybe next year.
I’m sure there are dozens of games, or more, that I’ve forgotten which is good since it shows how amazingly diverse and proliferate the offerings in game have become since I first played “Combat” on my Atari 2600 back in ’78