2016 was a pretty eventful year for many people, some of those people being gamers and game developers. So many amazing games were released throughout the last year and despite all the things going on in your world, you can always count on a great game to be there to take a much needed break from everyday life. Here are 10 incredible games to help you escape, relax, play with friends or just plain enjoy.
Before you panic at the lack of The Last Guardian on this list, I have not actually had a chance to play it so I can’t rightly say it was any good –even though we all know it is likely great and probably deserves a spot on this list. And so, in no particular order:
Unsurprisingly this years Game of The Year winner at 2016’s The Game Awards makes the cut on our top 10 list. Blizzard has always been a top tier developer, setting trends and raising the bar in game development. With Overwatch they spared no efforts and managed to create a game with a world and characters so rich and fascinating that you find yourself constantly wishing for comics, an animated show or anything related to this amazing IP that you can sink your teeth into while you’re not playing. On top of having top notch visuals and audio, its also insanely fun to play. Its got something for everyone and earned its place as Game of The Year.
The spiritual successor to Playdead’s Limbo is nothing short of genius. From the moment the game loads to the final credit scroll you’ll find yourself constantly felling some kind of ever changing emotion. Sometimes you’ll laugh and sometimes you’ll want to stop and take in the beauty of it all. At other times you’ll be truly scared but mostly find yourself thinking, “wtf??” Inside is a short 3 – 4 hour game but builds one of the most intriguing worlds I’ve ever experienced. It’s confusing, fun and will take you on an emotional journey that will leave you feeling satisfied yet longing for more. But ultimately, Inside is a game that absolutely must be experienced for yourself.
Another winner at this years The Game Awards, I am confident in saying that Forza Horizon 3 is the best racing game I’ve ever played. While it may not satisfy extremely hardcore racing sim fans, I am confident that most racers will find it very easy to get exactly what they need out of this game. Like you have come to expect from the Forza series, it boasts amazing graphics with an insane attention to detail, features a truly massive and gorgeous open Australian world that takes an absurd amount of time to drive across, but along your way you’ll find so many things to do that your drive will be fun each and every time. Horizon 3 is very diverse and will allow players to experience many types of racing from Rally to high speed Super Cars to Buggies to JDM imports. If you don’t see a race you like, you can customize it to one you do, even if you feel like driving a Ferrari through a bumpy desert road at 200mph. Horizon 3 is an exciting, dynamic and fully personalized experience for any racing fan.
Nathan Drakes final adventure came out this year from Naughty Dog on PlayStation 4 and is easily the most polished of the series. It features the same thrilling story telling and action that players have come to expect on top of the incredible voice acting known throughout the series. Uncharted 4 make a lot of improvements to game play allowing players to take a more stealthy approach to the game while still enjoying the action of this great action adventure game. They also implemented a multiplayer mode that is an absolute blast and a newly developed co-op survival mode. Uncharted 4’s campaign is more like a interactive movie, its a perfect place for new fans to jump into the series and is definitely a game that all PlayStation gamers should experience
Pokemon Go was riddled with flaws from the moment it was released. Many people were disappointed by the game and developer Niantic’s lack of communication with decisions, bugs and downfalls but that didn’t stop Pokemon Go from being one of the most revolutionary games in history. Using a unique AR and location based system, it brought people who didn’t even like gaming or Pokemon together with life long fans of the series. It some cases, it revitalized public spaces that had otherwise been forgotten, but most importantly it gave people a push to get out of their homes. While it wasn’t the most thrilling game play of the year, the impact the mobile app left on the world is what earned it a spot on this list. Pokemon Go gained success from millions of people of all types from all around the world like no other video game has done in recent memory and while the fad has certainly died down, the game is still going strong with many people finding themselves unable to resist checking for Pokemon anywhere they go.
This visually stunning adventure mystery game wasn’t high in action like most of the games on this list but that doesn’t stop it being anything short of amazing. Set in the forests of Wyoming, Firewatch is backed by beautiful art that does the perfect job of setting the tone for every moment of the game. There aren’t a lot of characters in the game and that’s part of what makes it so powerful. The relationship you build and the journey your character goes on make for some of the best video game writing you’ll experience this year if not of all time. This is a game everyone should be experiencing.
Building on the solid stealth game formula of the original Dishonored, this years sequel makes the franchise even more exciting. Giving players the option to play a stealthy pacifist, an in your face assassin or some kind of hybrid of the two is what players expect from the series and Dishonored 2 doesn’t fail to deliver. This time however, you can chose from two playable characters giving you more opportunity to tailor the game and its story to your liking. The options you have only add the the replay-ability of the game giving you ample opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonderfully designed levels. As a bonus, Dishonored 2’s NPC chatter is some of the funniest you’ll hear in a video game.
What is cooler than Samurai? Ninjas? How about both? Cause that’s exactly what you get and more in Shadow Tactics. squeaking in on this last at literally the last moment, this amazingly designed stealth strategy game has some of the coolest designed characters I’ve played since Overwatch came out. You get to work your way to your goal using tactics you think up by controlling 5 awesome characters from the Edo period in Japan. It can be frustrating at times but the sense accomplishment you feel when you finally get passed a hard part makes you want to keep playing for hours just to get a spec of that feeling of success.
Another Pokemon game? Absolutely! Sun and Moon aren’t just this years new Pokemon game. They are the best new Pokemon games in a very long time. Instead of just throwing a bunch of new Pokemon at us like usual, players get to hunt for Pokemon we know and love, re-imagined in a way that feels fresh and new. Most of the new Pokemon take hints from the classic generations and are equally appealing to hunt down. The games have a lot of improvements to the core system and bring players into a region that is exciting to adventure and hunt for all your favorite Pokemon. The story isn’t anything to rave about but most people don’t play Pokemon games for the story. Sun and Moon breath new life into the series and are showcases of how a old, exhausted franchise can be reinvigorated and appeal to classic and new fans alike.
A farming sim doesn’t exactly seem like the type of game that should be on this list but luckily for us, Stardew Valley is so much more than just a farm sim. Blending the harvest moon farming with classic RPG elements, players will constantly find themselves with plenty of fun things to do. Its not just the amount of content in Stardew Valley that makes it so great, but more how it all works together to create something bigger. Having meaningful interactions with the people of this village and RPG like quests give an otherwise boring sound game a lot of depth and after dozens of hours, you’ll never feel like you’re falling short on things to do. Every task you take on may seem like a chore but in the end, it becomes some of the most rewarding gameplay you’ll come across this year.