Hey folks. 2016 sucked, but away from the death and misery we got some truly fantastic video games. Here are my favourites from Twenty Sixteen. This list is in no way ordered, although I’m sure you’ll be able to intuit my favourites. Lets begin.
It’s a racing game, and a racing sim at that, but for whatever reason I spent entirely too much time playing this game for me to not have it in this list. As I’ve written before, if you allow this game to punish you for your mistakes, the rewards are absolutely worth while.
It’s rare that I play racing games, but F1 2016 pulled something out of me that I didn’t knew existed. I wanted to be challenged, I wanted to be punished for making a mistake. I usually run away from that sort of video game, and yet I spent upwards of 80 hours over the course of 9 weeks playing this game religiously.
F1 2016 is a fantastic racing game, and if you’re into games that demand focus, present a challenge and require you to be at your best for extended periods of time, then F1 2016 is just that.
Atmosphere. Inside is all about atmosphere. From moment one your thrust into this dark, cold, frightening world as a small boy on the run from..well everything.
Inside improves upon almost everything its predecessor (LIMBO) achieved 6 years ago. Whilst puzzles are still a defining part of the experience, instead of the long, often tedious ones that plagued the final hours of LIMBO, they’re relatively easy to solve and show the world to the player rather than become annoying obstacle en route to the games conclusion. Insides art style, whilst similar is fleshed out in ways you won’t notice until you see the game in motion. The level of detail involved in the protagonist animations, the way light and colours are used all combine to make the world seem real in ways we’re not used to seeing.
I don’t think its perfect; the final 20 minutes just didn’t land for me, but that aside Playdead have delivered a game that I’ll not only be replaying again at some point, but a one that will be referenced time and time again as a lesson in atmosphere done well.
I don’t like competitive shooters. I don’t like how impenetrable they can be, I don’t like the performance anxiety they tend to breed in me and most of all, I don’t like how toxic their communities usually are.
Overwatch however is a completely different kettle of fish. It’s a game that goes out of its way to make its player feel great about themselves through a feedback loop that emphasis the positives whilst almost entirely ignoring the negatives. Instead of punishing a teams worse player, the game chooses to focus on your successes, no matter how small.
The characters themselves are all beautifully rendered, acted and animated. They’ve all got their own unique back story, they all play completely differently and require hours of playtime to master. It’s a game with a surprising amount of depth, depth that isn’t obvious until you’ve spent some time with it.
I don’t like competitive shooters. I love Overwatch. I love the characters. I love the community and I love the way the game treats its players. Overwatch isn’t perfect, but it’s damn near close. And any game that can make me play for 100+ hours is a game that’s worthy of my Game of the Year.
If Overwatch is favourite game of the year, Superhot is a close second. In the 13 or so hours I spent with the game I experienced something I rarely feel with video games; the sense that I needed to tell someone, anyone about Superhot.
It’s a Puzzle game masquerading as a First Person Shooter, and I adore it. From its beautifully minimal aesthetic to its incredibly tight and polished gameplay, Superhot had me hooked from the very first moment.
Virginia does a couple of things very well. Firstly, it’s arguably my favourite game of the year from a visual and audio stand point, and whilst the story is a little..hard to follow at times I really do admire it for trying something different.
That difference comes out in the way the game tells it’s story. The game features no dialogue, nothing, nada. It’s completely devoid of a script, and I love that. However that’s also the games biggest failing, as much as I appreciate what it tries to do, it’s sometimes a little off with how it tells its story. However, I’ve got nothing but admiration for the fact that they tried.
The game is about as linear as they come, however that allows them to do things with structure that you rarely see in gaming, they can edit scenes much in the same way a film might. Why bother making the player walk from location to location when you can cut and edit their way to the next plot point? Add in a haunting score and some smooth visuals, and Virginia comes oh so close to being perfect.
I admire Virginia for it’s attempt. It doesn’t entirely stick the landing but it comes close enough that I think it should be seen by anyone who appreciates video games on deeper level.
What are your favourite games of 2016. Drop us a line in the comments, or tweet me Daniel Holt.