Note: I’ve been trying to write one of these every year but unfortunately managed to miss it last year due to an incredibly busy year. But just for posterity I’ll include my favorite game of 2016 at the bottom of this article.
This year was absolutely nuts with amazing hits coming out seemingly left and right, it was difficult to narrow this down to list of ten games, but I managed to do it! I’d like to preemptively apologize to Fortnite, Splatoon 2, Nidhogg 2, and Disc Jam. I’d love to have included them as well, but then that would be a weirdly long favorites list. Anyways, lets start this:
Favorite Old Game – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
This is always a weird way to start off the list, but why not start it with an old game you enjoyed way more than anticipated? I’ve been putting off playing Phantom Pain for a while since I’ve just never really been able to ‘get into’ Metal Gear. I feel this one came down to earth enough for me to break the surface, plus you get to launch guys into the sky using weather balloons, so that’s always a plus!
10. Super Mario Odyssey
Odyssey is without question a fantastic game, Peach unexpectedly manages to get abducted by Bowser yet again (who’d have guessed?) and Mario figures he might as well go rescue her. Its sort of impossible to make a Mario game without following that formula, but Nintendo was able to have a lot of fun with it this time around. Using your hat, you possess creatures and people against their will and abuse them as a means to an end, great! Nintendo took Mario in such a weird a quirky direction I feel it would have been totally impossible not to enjoy this one. My only real complaint is the control limitations in handheld mode, everything else is superb.
9. A Hat In Time
This is a weird one. I started playing A Hat In Time last week and it just completely sucked me in. It’s fun, whimsical, and has a mildly similar theme to Mario Odyssey (hats are a thing). In A Hat In Time you play as a small space-traveller with hats. Your hats give you various power-ups (speed, projectiles, etc) which you use to complete platforming segments in order to gather your magical hour glasses. The primary villain is even a small girl with a moustache, it’s the perfect kind of weird. A Hat in Time is an incredibly fun and cute game and definitely worth a look.
It wouldn’t be right for me to not include something at least somewhat Dark Souls-ey in this list! NIOH is very reminiscent of a Samurai era FromSoft game. Over-all the combat is pretty much your standard fare, but the additional weapon transformations, attack recoveries, and other small incremental design changes really make it stand out as something special. This is a fantastic game and definitely worth trying for anyone who likes brutally difficult games.
This game really has no business being as good as it is. When the concept for this started leaking out I thought it was just some crazy fever dream that will never happen…then it was announced. This game is a turn-based tactical RPG that becomes far more difficult than you’d expect something with Rabbids to be. The Mushroom Kingdom is suddenly merged with the Rabbid world and you (Mario) must team up with your Rabbid counterparts (and a Roomba) to save both worlds! This is an incredibly fun game and I really hope it isn’t the last.
I don’t think anyone expected a good Sonic Game to exist this century yet somehow a single Indie developer was able to do it. Sonic Mania is a throwback to the 90s era Sonic games without being a total carbon copy. The mechanics slowly expand as you run (hah) through the game without being the least bit overbearing. The music in incredible, the visuals are stunning, and the game even has Sonic CD segments! How can you not love this?
5. PuyoPuyo Tetris
There honestly isn’t a ton to write about this game other than I have had a blast playing it on the Switch. This technically isn’t a ‘new’ release, since back in 2012 I imported a copy for Xbox One (it’s that good), yet with an official US release I feel it’s reasonable to include on a list. PuyoPuyo Tetris feels very close to being a spiritual sequel to Tetris Battle Gaiden, which is the exact type of crazy I want to see in Tetris games! Overall, if you like PuyoPuyo and you like Tetris, then you’ll like this game!
4.The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
When was the last time a Zelda game was this good? Probably never. Every single time a Zelda game comes out, it gets touted as the “best Zelda yet!” then back-pedaled months later. This time, it might actually be true. BOTW is a phenomenal game that truly brings Zelda into the modern open-world era, I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here.
3. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Who would guess that in 2017 Wolfenstein would be one of the best franchises? Machine Games did an amazing job bringing Wolfenstein back in 2014 and managed to do a fantastic job this time around as well. While the absurd gunplay was more the focus the last time around, this time Wolfenstein is more about having a ridiculous story with some of the most amazing action sequences I’ve ever seen in a game. It’s hard to go in-depth without ruining the fun, so I’ll simply say that everyone should play this game.
2. Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon is an incredibly fresh and new game in a world of sequels. It gives me hope for new AAA games not already tied to a pre-existing franchise. You play as Aloy in a world where robotic animals have somehow taken over. It’s refreshing, fun, and just plain good. This is one of the best games I’ve played in years.
1. Golf Story
This was certainly a surprise… Golf Story is fun, cute, and totally different. Who would expect a 16-bit Golf RPG to be so fun and addicting? You play as a washed up wannabe pro golfer who, after a failed marriage, decides it’s time to prove himself on the golf course. You encounter everything from boring tournaments to gophers assisting in raising an undead army. There are even segments of spiteful ex-wife interviews! This is a great game with great humor and without question my favorite game of the year.
Honorable Mention – Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds
I’d love to have included PUBG on this list since I’ve had so much fun with it, but it felt strange to include a game with so many technical issues. PUBG is certainly a fun game with friends and worth a look if your in for some janky fun!
Favorite Game of 2016 – Doom
As mentioned I didn’t play much last year, but I did certainly play Doom. Doom is gorgeous, fun, and most importantly, brutal. Bethesda is doing an amazing job resurrecting old franchises with the showpieces like Doom and Wolfenstein. I can’t wait to see what else is to come with this series!