Well hi there! Welcome to my GOTY awards! I wrote this up on a whim yesterday for fun, and thought I'd share it with you kind folk here on Granny's very own Destructoid. I’m keeping this one short and sweet, no lengthy introductions. Fellow Dtoiders, here are my picks for the best games of 2016.
10. Darkest Dungeon
Grinding is hard to do right in a game. It’s a concept that has to ride the line between being tedious and incrementally satisfying, without much room for error. Darkest Dungeon does it right by letting you grind away in the early game to build up your characters while you get to know the game, and only making you delve back into the grind if you manage to lose a party member. Since the games difficulty is balanced pretty well, losing a party member is usually your fault, and gives the play incentive to play carefully, and be afraid of what is lurking out in the dungeons.
Also, the art style perfectly matches the Lovecraftian themes infesting the entire game.
Firewatch is how to do a walking simulator right. The problem with most games like this is that the world doesn’t feel alive; the player doesn’t have enough to chew on for them to stay engaged. Firewatch goes in the opposite direction by giving you some good characters to fall in love with, a convincing world to immerse yourself in, and a poignant story about how life never plays out like it does in the movies. Again, the art style is colorful and vivid, but sad, complementing the story. Don’t miss this one.
8. Dark Souls 3
From Software has been damn busy these past couple of years. The re-release of Dark Souls 2 was vastly improved over the original version, Bloodborne turned the Souls formula on its head, and Dark Souls 3 delivered something of a greatest hits experience for the series. Don’t let that fool you though, Dark Souls 3 is no rehash; in fact, it boasts some of the series best bosses and areas, plus a retooled multiplayer component that is as savagely entertaining as ever. There are more ways to play the game than ever before, and the lore is as intriguing as it’s ever been. I’ve put in around 70 hours into this one, and I’m sure to put in many more in the future.
7. The Banner Saga 2
Most games tend to take one route or the other to keep a player entertained; have in depth gameplay mechanics to master, or have an excellent story to follow. The Banner Saga 2 is one of few games in recent memory that marries these two concepts. Not only is gameplay satisfying, but the stakes are high for your caravan, and the mechanics at play here reinforce the dire nature of the story through gameplay. You can feel that you’re struggling to survive, not because the game tells you that you are, but because you feel it when you see your morale dip, your fighters fall, and your caravan get robbed by bandits. The overarching story is a great piece of work as well, giving off some distinctly Tolkien vibes while still being its own kind of story. I’d recommend this game to anyone, regardless of whether you’re into tactical RPG’s or not.
I have little introductions to give to Furi. This game wasn’t on my radar at all until it released free for PS Plus members, and I’m glad it did because I might not have played it otherwise. In Furi, you fight bosses. That’s it. These fights were given a lot of attention by the devs to make sure they all felt unique. No boss really gets beaten in the same way. Your move set isn’t very expansive, but the bosses will force you to master the moves until you come out on top. This game is challenging, but not unforgiving, the player gets at least 3 tries to defeat the boss, which can be replenished for every bar of health your shave from the boss. It’s a great system that keeps the game from becoming too frustrating, and allows the player to observe their opponents moves and find ways to hammer their weak spots. Top that off with my favorite soundtrack of the entire year, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
This game is about as close as one can get to feeling like they’re starring in a John Woo movie. Superhot draws you in with its unique premise, and snags you with playground-like feel for pulling off sick stunts. Since time only moves when you do, setting up your next trickshot feels like you’re directing your own action movie, disposing of your red nemesis’ in the coolest way possible, feeling like a total badass in the process. The replay value is high with this game too, since you can make the same level play out in so many ways before it becomes stale. If you like first person shooters, check this one out.
A lot of people forgot about Hitman. Since it released in small chunks at a time, it easily dropped off most everyone’s radar after the first piece hit the market. However, Hitman has made a damn good name for itself, and is the best Hitman game to come out since Blood Money. Each level is huge, and has so many different disguises, weapons, and environmental hazards that assassinating someone never plays out the same way twice. The game also takes itself a lot less seriously than Hitman: Absolution did; a welcome change for a lot of people just wanting to snap people’s necks disguised as a masseur. This game has flown under the radar, but if you’re looking for an entertaining romp that keeps on giving, consider checking this one out.
Overwatch was a big surprise to me. Originally, I wasn’t very thrilled about Blizzard cobbling together a shooter from the carcass of the game they intended to make, but damn did it turn out well! You can figure out how each character is supposed to function after just a minute of playing them, and the skill ceiling is so high that there’s always tangible room for improvement. Not to mention that every character is memorable and fun to play for everyone (yes, even supports). The maps all feel distinct, and once you get a feel for the layout, you can use heroes that best utilize the level design to get the upper hand on your enemies (For example: who doesn’t love booping people off the edge of the Nepal map as Lucio or Pharah?). And when your team succeeds, it’s because you and your teammates were all pushing hard enough with the right team comp, and almost never just because one person was good as Genji. I’m glad this one turned out so damn well, and I’ll be playing this for years to come.
I was certain this game was going to be shit. Games stuck in development hell rarely turn out to be any good, and with no review copies in sight and a lukewarm multiplayer beta, not many people had high hopes for this game. We should’ve known better that if there was any game that could’ve come ripping and screaming out of hell, it’d be DOOM. The single-player campaign is the best single-player campaign I’ve played in a long god damn time. The character of Doom Guy is so hilariously expressed through his body language that it’s hard not to giggle watching him slam an imps face into a table. The combat is brutal and fast, thanks to the glory kill system which encourages players at low health to be more aggressive. Hell, even if that system wasn’t in place, the soundtrack by Mick Gordon would keep your ass moving. The monsters feel intimidating, but Doom guy is more intimidating with the Super Shotgun in his hands. Blasting through Hell Knights has never felt this good, and it's a welcome return to form for iD Software. You will have fun playing this game, and then you’ll punch a hole in your TV because you’re that hyped.
And my number one game of the year is….
1. Rainbow Six Siege
‘Did that come out this year?’ is probably what you’re thinking, and no, it didn’t, Siege released in December of last year, but since the cutoff for GOTY nominations is late November, Siege is qualified as a 2016 title. Sorry if that ruffles some feathers.
This game released in bad condition. The glitches, bad NET code, and inclusion of micro transactions seemed to doom this game from the very start. And yet, somehow, through all of that bullshit, this was still my favorite game of the year. Why? The gameplay is just that good.
Rainbow Six Siege is a game of paranoia inducing information warfare, and of twitchy shooter reflexes. It’s a game about setting up the perfect defense, only to have it crumble (literally) in front of you. It’s a game about outsmarting your opponents as much as it is about shooting them. Every match feels like a live grenade; even a year later I still feel on edge when I play it. Operators counter each other much like in Overwatch, and the destructibility of the environments has you shooting people through holes in the floor and bringing down a reinforced garage down to create a new problem for the defenders. This game is tense, it’s smart, it’s satisfying, and it keeps getting better with more operators being added. (you CAN buy them, but if you play the game enough you unlock them for free at a steady pace, so it’s not bad)
I love this game. And despite its rocky release, I’m still head over heels for one of my favorite experiences in a multiplayer game, ever.
And that’s it! Those are my picks for my favorite games of 2016. Let me know what your favorite games were in the comments, or tell me why the games I chose suck. Or tell me that I’m stupid for putting Siege in there. I don’t care. I love you anyways.