The Top 5 Games I Reviewed In 2016

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The year 2016 was an eventful time for video games. After a decade of development Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian finally came out. Thankfully, by all accounts, both titles turned out better than the much delayed Duke Nukem Forever. Nintendo also announced the successor to the financially disappointing Wii U. Once again the Big N have opted to create a gimmicky system, but on the plus side I must say that a console/handheld hybrid does sound way cooler than a machine with a tablet controller. Finally, gamers were able to experience virtual reality in the home place. Cost has been prohibitive for some players, which may explain why Sony’s cheaper PlayStation VR is outselling the Oculus Rift. Who cares about hardware though? Software is what really counts. See below for the top five video games I reviewed in 2016.

5th) Overwatch: It’s been seven months since Overwatch was released and I am still playing it (something that no other game on this list can claim.) The staying power of this title is most impressive, especially when you consider that I usually detest first person shooters. Blizzard has revolutionized the FPS genre by giving us a mix of fun 6v6 gameplay and some of the most scrumptious digital hineys of all time. To be honest Overwatch was lacking in content when it first came out, but Blizzard has since remedied that failing with regular updates. Since May 2016 new characters, maps and game modes have been added at no extra charge. The seasonal events have also been a big hit. Yes, I’ll admit that I spent cash to secure Mercy’s sexy witch costume. Don’t judge me. I have a weakness for blondes with exposed thighs.

4th) Oxenfree: The biggest surprise of 2016 has to be this 2D walking simulator. In the same way that I dislike most FPS titles I can’t say that I am fond of Walking Sims. Do I loathe the lack of interactivity? Nah. As an overweight chap I just have a natural aversion to walking, or any form of exercise for that matter. Oxenfree has however made me reassess my opinions on the genre. This creepy tale, about five teenagers who are stranded on a haunted isle, had me captivated from start to finish. I especially loved the Telltale like mechanics that allow you to influence the narrative through dialogue choices. Can you get Ren and Nona to hook up by being a supportive pal? Will you use diplomacy to patch things up with Clarrisa? The answer to the last question is a firm no. I hated that cow and just like Emily (from Until Dawn) I tried to kill her off at every opportunity.

3rd) Bravely Second: Just like the original Bravely Default, this sequel from Silicon Studios will go down as one of the finest turn based RPGs that money can buy on a portable system. The tactical combat, highly customizable job system and charming cast of characters easily eclipse the developer’s decision to lazily reuse dungeons from the last game (or the fact that Nintendo censored the Western release.) Best of all, this time round, the time travelling story line isn’t padded out with an end game loop that asks you to defeat the same bosses over and over. Honestly, what were they thinking? Bravely Default was awesome, but repeating the same stages ad nauseam during the finale was frustrating. Completing Bravely Second’s predecessor made me feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

2nd) Zero Time Dilemma: After a four year hiatus Kotaro Uchikoshi finally secured enough funding to complete the excellent Zero Escape Trilogy. It really makes my blood boil that creative directors struggle financially whilst the likes of Keiji Inafune get to squander $3 million on Mighty No. 9. Well, whatever. The wait was worth it because ZTD matches the quality of 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward, thanks to its cerebral sci-fi plot and fiendish puzzles. Only the player’s smarts can save the game’s nine hostages from Zero’s assortment of Saw like traps. Best of all the oodles of text found in earlier titles have been replaced with animated cut scenes. Some fans may not approve, but I am okay with the change. Only a fool would waste their time reading. No wait! I take that back! Keep reading faithful bibliophiles. Don’t abandon my blog please!

1st) Fire Emblem Fates: My top pick may be controversial, as it is generally accepted that Fates is inferior to Fire Emblem: Awakening. What can I say? I am a sucker for a good strategy RPG, and it must be said that Fire Emblem at its weakest is still better than most games. Based on the hours I spent on this gem I have to crown Fates my favourite release of 2016. I’ll even forgive Nintendo for pillaging my wallet by breaking up Fates into three different parts. On the plus side, each version appeals to a different audience. Conquest caters to the hardcore crowd seeking a challenge, Birthright offers a more casual experience and Revelations permits you to draft an army containing characters from both instalments. Best of all weapon durability has been scrapped. Hurrah! I never understood why FE equipment broke faster than a Samsung Galaxy battery.

So there you have it. Those are my five favourite games from the past twelve months. What do you think of my choices? Are there any other titles you think deserve a spot on the chart? Let me know in the comments section below. Or don’t. Everyone has secrets they don’t wish to share. If you genuinely believe that the Ghostbusters video game was the best thing to come out in 2016 you probably should keep that to yourself.

 

34 thoughts on “The Top 5 Games I Reviewed In 2016

  1. Very distinctive and refreshingly diverse list. There are at least a couple in there that I’m going to have to check out. I kind of hate myself now for not having played Fire Emblem Fates yet.

    • I play a lot of handheld stuff and am into niche Japanese games, so my list does differ quite a bit from other top fives you might find online. Fire Emblem: Fates is a solid strategy RPG, although I would recommend Awakening over it. Should you decide to invest in Fates do a little research first and see which version you should buy. I liked Conquest more than Birthright in some aspects, but wouldn’t recommend it to FE newbies due to the difficulty.

      • I need to get a 3DS first! Been putting it off for a while now because I’m so backlogged with video games. Now that I’m cutting down a bit on content over at FFZ, it might be the right time to do it.

  2. Great choices – need to get back to Fates – Birthright and the other two ‘versions’ as well – managed to get my hands on the special edition which came with all three. Also need to finish Oxenfree, liked what I played so far, great soundtrack too. Other than Overwatch and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, I’d add Furi, Uncharted 4, and Final Fantasy XV to round out a top 5. Furi is really hard but pretty rewarding. Lots of good games in 2016 though, my backlog is burning.

    • From what I recall, Oxenfree doesn’t take too long to complete. I would highly recommend going back to it, whenever your schedule allows. If I owned a Wii U I suspect Tokyo Mirage Sessions would have been a contender for this list because I love Persona. Final Fantasy XV may appear on next year’s top five. It came out late in 2016 so I haven’t had the chance to buy it yet.

  3. Nice list! Oxenfree is definitely a sleeper hit, probably a bit too light on the gameplay IMO. I’m about to dive into Dishonored 2 and anyone who’s played it has said it’s deserving of being in any Best Of conversations.

    Oh, man, Ghostbusters… I don’t know how a dev can put out such a mess of a game.

    • Oxenfree is light on gameplay, but as someone who enjoys Telltale stuff I am okay with games that border on being interactive films (providing that the story/characters are up to snuff.)

      I haven’t played the Ghostbusters game, but the footage I have seen is enough to reveal what a stinker it is. Takes me back to the days when movies always came out with a terrible video game tie-in.

    • Fingers crossed that you enjoy the game too. To be honest I suck at aiming, but I still have fun healing teammates. If you need to practice at first be aware that it is possible to play against AI opponents.

      • I go for the healers too and they’re generally very much appreciated by teammates. I just wish they’d try to focus on actually protecting the healer once in a while!

  4. You’re right about Fire Emblem at it’s weakest still being better than most games around. Fates… was disappointing to me because I expected it to be better than Awakening, but it was still good. It didn’t make my top 10, but I still enjoyed it.

    Here’s to hoping that they stick to one Fire Emblem game and don’t try and Pokemon us with the series.

    • Different versions of Pokemon is understandable, to encourage trading between players. In the case of Fire Emblem breaking up the story into three parts did feel like a bit of a cash grab. Despite my protests, as a Fire Emblem fanboy, I still ended up buying all three versions. Fingers crossed that the upcoming mobile game matches the quality of Awakening.

      • I highly doubt that a mobile game will match Awakening’s quality. Maybe it’ll match Fates though…

        I’m a huge Fire Emblem fanboy too. Been playing the series since the Snes.

  5. Funny, I’ve not played any of the games on this list, yet that follows the order of my hype for them.

    For that matter, I own Oxenfree. Picked it up from a Humble Bundle a while back. I should really boot that up.

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more about Fire Emblem Fates! My favourite game of the year as well. I think I’m just a Fire Emblem junkie at this point…I will never escape that franchise! I still need to get through all of Oxenfree, truly one of the underrated gems of 2016. There is another underrated gem of 2016, a little hellish game by the name of Furi. You should check it out! Got it free with Playstation Plus and played it hectically until I finished it. Certainly a hair-puller though. There are two on your list that I haven’t played, and I should get around to starting the Zero Escape games.

    • Thank goodness that you agree. I was starting to question my taste in games because coincidentally, after posting this list, I listened to the lates RPG Fan podcast. In the episode they discussed the previous year’s releases and they spent a long time bashing my top two.

      You are the second person to recommend Furi so I will have to check it out. I have nothing to lose as it was a Plus freebie. The visuals look stylish and all the reviews I have read are positive. Don’t know if I will complete it though, as my threshold for Game Overs is rather low.

    • I am a cheapskate so I settled on buying Birthright and downloading the other two games. After watching an unboxing video I must however admit that the Special Edition’s artbook looks nice.

  7. Your number 1 is fantastic and I feel like a dumbo for forgetting it even came out last year. I guess that’s what happens when a game comes out so early in the year. I was addicted to that trilogy of games like crazy. 3DS is one of my all-time favorite systems s I’m glad to see some love for it here. Oxenfree has recently made it on my radar and I plan on grabbing it soon.

  8. Zero Time Dilemma is indeed excellent but I’m not too sure about the ending though. It appears to me the ending is really rushed, like they are making it obvious that they really want to finish up the story. This series has like years of build-up and expectations though so I would think no matter how good of an ending they came up with, it’s still just as hard to meet the expectations.

  9. As you know, with me being a gaming on the go kinda girl, I only know your top three. For me, Bravely Second made number one, for weeks I just couldn’t stop playing. A sure sign for a hit for me. I did enjoy Fire Emblem though, so I can see why you choose that one. Nice list!

  10. Pingback: The State of the Gamer: 1/10/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks
  11. Excellent choices! Zero Time Dilemma and Fire Emblem Fates also made my top 5 list! I might have chosen Bravely Second, but alas, I still have to beat it. I loved the first one though, so I’ll get to it soon!

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