‘Sup. 2016 was… An interesting year. Personally I think I accomplished quite a few feats this year, but also we got political strife that’s still gonna resonate in 2017 and many passings from beloved artists, musicians and actors.
For gaming though, it certainly felt like an extension of the glorious 2015. So, I’ll stop beating the bushes and say right away, I didn’t actually get to play lots of new stuff this year, I mostly played catch up, trying to knock down my backlog a notch or two and also play the stuff I missed in 2015.
I’m gonna make something slightly different though, I’m not listing these with an arbitrary numerical order like I did last year, but instead I’ll list them as I played them through the year, not necessarily by release order.
As usual, if it didn’t make it into this list, I simply didn’t played it.
So, without further ado, here’s the 10 best games I played from 2016!
Killer Instinct Season 3
This was definitely a pretty big year for this fighting game that just keeps on delivering; this year saw the release of Season 3, which included 8 new and familiar characters (and a few guest appearances), the excellent Windows 10 port and a meaty “choose your own adventure” style single player mode called Shadow Lords.
So yeah, if you haven’t played this game yet, get the Definitive Edition, I actually believe it’s giving you more for the price it’s asking ($40 USD). Good stuff.
Dark Souls 3
This one I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t finished it at the time I’m writing this; I foolishly didn’t backup my save file before re-installing Windows and I haven’t gathered the strength to play it again.
BUT let’s just say I played long enough (around half way through) to definitely say that this deserves it’s spot on this list; tight controls that enfatize more aggressiveness than ever before (definitely borrowed from it’s cousin Bloodborne), incredible and sometimes downright disturbing aesthetics and a story that’s definitely meant to close the franchise with a flourish (and plenty of fanservice).
And it also sports the honor of bringing one of the best PVP memories I had with this series, involving a giant enemy crab. I’m still looking forward to see the nasty surprises awaiting for me on the dankest depths of Lothric and beyond.
Nintendo ain’t doing Metroid anymore, at least, not as people expect… *cough*
So it falls into the hands of fans to make Metroid great again themselves. You can either do an original game, or remake one of the older entries. The latter option doesn’t sit well with Nintendo unfortunately. AM2R (short for Another Metroid 2 Remake) fully modernizes and improves upon what most consider the weakest of the 2D Metroid entries; Metroid 2: Return of Samus.
What makes this fan remake so special though, is that it completely feels like it came straight from Nintendo themselves, this game just oozes with the care and polish expected from the Big N, the aesthetics are highly reminiscent of Zero Mission, the music is beautifully eerie and atmospheric, the controls are tight and responsive (the rumble even works!) and thank the almighty Chozo Lords, there’s A FUCKING MAP!!!
I highly recommend everyone to give this a try, Ninty took down the official links to download it, but if your Google searching skills are resourceful enough, you’ll easily find it in no time.
At first I was thinking against not adding Superhot to the list; I wasn’t that impressed with it at first, but after thinking about it for a while, it really is one of the most innovative shooters I’ve played in years.
The gameplay twist of “move and the world moves” is simply unique and it really makes you feel like a badass after conquering a hard level, sometimes I was reminded of Hotline Miami in how precise and aware of my surroundings I had to be to conquer some of the latter levels. And the plot is simple, funny, creepy and brilliant at the same time. So… I guess I liked it more than I initially thought.
Brutal Doom 64
The legendary Brutal mod is pretty well known by now, even for casual players. It improves upon just about every single aspect of the original Doom games from the 90’s, almost turning them into completely new games, especially if paired with hi-res texture mods and metal music replacements.
Brutal Doom 64 is the new project from SgtMarkIV, it aims to recreate the entirety of the lesser known Doom 64, which by itself was not just a simple port, but a completely new entry of the series, heck, for a while it was canonically considered Doom 3 before the actual Doom 3 came out.
SgtMarkIV didn’t just slap in the Brutal mod into Doom 64, he went above and beyond to truly modernize it, while also retaining the N64 aesthetics as much as possible, he even added cut content that didn’t make it into the original game due to the hardware limitations.
The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine / GOTY Edition
A meaty expansion for last year’s #1 pick as GOTY? Sign me the fuck on!
In an age where we’re pretty much conditioned and expected to buy short and sometimes shallow bits and pieces of DLC, even shallow Season Passes, CD Projekt RED swoops in and shows everyone what a real “Expansion” should be.
This expansion was pretty much a farewell not only for The Witcher 3, but for the series as a whole, because after this, CD Projekt RED is just done with The Witcher for good to move on with Cyberpunk 2077 (after the Gwent spinoff of course).
This expansion takes you to the weird and colorful land of Tussaint, where knight chivalry is hilariously over the top. Throw in a little bit of fan service for Witcher fans and you got an absolute winner deserving of the imaginary “RPG Expansion of the Year” award.
First KI and now Doom? WHAT YEAR IS IT!? I feel like I’m in third grade all over again!
Seriously though, nobody expected this game to be so successful and so awesome, the game didn’t looked that good in the E3 trailer footages, Bethesda released a multiplayer beta that didn’t impress anyone and they held back review copies until launch day.
But gladly, the game pretty much blew everyone away with it’s fast paced, balls to the wall combat that pretty much went back to it’s 90’s roots by making each enemy unique in that you had to learn the quirks and intricacies to optimally face them.
Also it did a wonderful job of modernizing the franchise in an awesome way by adding upgrades to your armor and weapons (removed in the Arcade Mode) and the famous “glory kills” that rewarded health and ammo for directly facing enemies instead of hiding behind a chest high wall to wait for your health to magically regenerate.
It also boasts a decent and self aware story, an actually decent multiplayer mode (after lots of updates) and a decent cross platform map maker. Only downside is it’s massive installation size, which is now hovering around 72 gb. Yikes! And dat soundtrack though… HMMMMMM… Rip & Tear indeed.
Darksiders Warmastered Edition
A fucking remaster on this list!? THIS MUST BE THE WORK OF AN ENEMY STAND! Meh, like I said, I didn’t get to play lots of new stuff this year, so I’m kind of stretching it a bit. Besides, I got this for free!
In my eyes, this is exactly how a “remaster” should be like, it should improve and polish the code and presentation of the game to the Nth degree, this game runs at a buttery smooth 60 fps almost all the time and although the cutscenes are still pre-rendered, at least every single one of them were re-encoded to 1080p60. Also the devs did listen to feedback, the game ran like shit on AMD hardware, but they quickly swooped in to fix it for AMD users.
Darksiders 1 itself is just as fun as it was back in 2010, but it’s just much more enjoyable this time around due to the smooth performance and improved visuals.
Unlike a certain other remaster that also came out this year, this is one of the very few ones I’d actually wholeheartedly recommend getting (or playing) instead of the original.
Slain: Back From Hell
I love these types of stories; not the game itself, but the story surrounding the game. Back From Hell is actually the second release of the Slain, because the original version, as I’ve heard (never played the original myself), was terrible, with obtuse controls that were never explained how they worked, it was an exercise in endless frustration and misery.
Any other developer would have simply abandoned the game and/or blamed the players or the critics for not playing the game correctly, or if you’re like a certain couple of manchildren asshats, start throwing a tantrum and sue everyone for criticizing your piece of shit.
But not Wolfbrew Games, these guys actually listened to feedback and not only went all the way out to fix and polish the game as best as they could, but re-released it for free to those who didn’t ask for a refund. For that, Wolfbrew Games will forever join the ranks as one of the classiest indie developers for keeping their cool and making the best out of an awful situation, right up there with Scott Cawthon.
Oh and the game itself? It’s pretty fucking metal and I love it!
Shantae Half-Genie Hero
Remember when I said that Half-Genie Hero was going to be a remake of the first one? Those were the days.
In a year where a highly anticipated Kickstarter project failed miserably, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero comes in and reminds of us of the good that can come out of a Kickstarter project. If put on the capable hands of WayForward at least.
Last year, Pirate’s Curse had the honor of being on my 2015 list and I truly believe that Half-Genie Hero deserves it’s spot on this year’s list. First things first; the game has it’s fair share of shortcomings, like the need to do a lot of backtracking and hunt some specific items to progress, even to get the “true” ending, but the first 30 minutes or so can only be described as… “Magical”.
I was grinning ear to ear, just about everything made me overflow with joy, the aesthetics and animations, the music, the witty, light hearted and funny dialogue, the level design, the tight controls and it all beautifully wraps up with the first two boss fights, wich gladly every boss fight afterwards is just as great, if not better than the first two.
This game deserves to be on my list just for the sheer, unadulterated joy that those first 30 minutes brought and I’ll happily overlook the aforementioned shortcomings.
And… That’s it! This year I’ll definitely try to catch up on the stuff I missed in 2016, like Titanfall 2 (loved the 3 day trial), Battlefield 1 and Overwatch. 2017 already looks like it’s gonna be a pretty good year, at least because of Yooka-Laylee, which I really can’t wait to get my hands on.
Bring it on 2017!