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.