-by Dylan D
I remember being in 8th grade with not a worry in the world. It was 2011 and everyday during recess me and my friends would discuss what games we’d play on Xbox Live that night (perhaps we should’ve been playing tag or something). To me 2011 was the best year in gaming, but 2016 is the closest year I’ve come to hitting that same mark. There’s no question that I’ve could’ve added more games to this list, ones I didn’t even play but was endlessly captivated through let’s plays; but I didn’t think it was fair to add a game I didn’t personally experience. I also won’t be added games I didn’t see all the way through (sorry Final Fantasy XV. These five games took away chunks of my life this year, and I don’t regret it one single bit.
5. Pokémon Sun and Moon:
There’s no other video game franchise I’m nostalgic for more than Pokémon. I have countless memories battling gym leaders, exploring worlds and always failing at catching them all.
Sun and Moon did a great job at not only celebrating the series’ 20th anniversary, but also at spicing things up by getting rid of gym leaders, adding variants to certain Kanto Pokémon and giving us an Hawaiian theme, which feels totally unique for the series. I certainly wouldn’t say the games are perfect, but they got me addicted once again. I love the trials replacing gyms, I love the lack of HM’s, I love the Alolan forms and most importantly I love Alola. This duo may be the swan song for the 3DS, and it’s certainly a good one.
4. Stardew Valley
I was never that big into the Harvest Moon series; and maybe it’s all the crappy ones they make for 3DS or the endless farm games for mobile, but I lost all faith in this type of game.
But anytime an indie game gets a lot of hype I decide to check it out and man did Stardew Valley captivate me. It’s not entirely unique since the developer has stated obvious inspirations from Harvest Moon, but Stardew Valley takes certain concepts and makes them it’s own.
Running around and trying to become rich while starting from nothing is an exciting and also motivating goal. I had fun chopping down crops and selling them, or going into the mines and seeing what treasures await me. On the flip side, socializing with the villagers and learning more about them was quite interesting. I swear, it feels like I’ve met these types of people in real life.
I’m not the type of guy to sink two or three hundred hours into my favorite games, my usual is twenty unless I replay it. Stardew Valley kept me interested for almost fifty hours, which is impressive considering it’s main concept.
3. Uncharted 4
Can you hear that incredible theme music yet?!
Seriously there’s just nothing like sitting back with an Uncharted game; they’re so simple and yet so fun. Naughty Dog obviously can make complex games a la The Last of Us but with Uncharted they keep it easy: shoot and puzzles. Somehow with that simplicity they’ve created some of the best characters I’ve come across during my virtual travels.Elena, Victor Goddamn Sullivan and Chloe all make great supporting characters.
Uncharted 4 takes all the things I loved about the series and added more great tools and optional mechanics like stealth, lassos and a special rock climbing tool.
I won’t say too much more because the story is like the biggest focus here, but damn if Uncharted 4 almost didn’t make me cry. I love it and Naughty Dog showed the world how an ending is done.4 and 2 fight for my favorite spot of the Uncharted games. If you haven’t played any of them you seriously should, they’re so easy to pick up and play now on PS4. I hope to see Nate Drake once more…
I like games that take risks, and in such a stale genre like the FPS, Overwatch took a risk. Gone are the days of gray repetitive shooters. Blizzard has created the newest huge franchise to take off with fans. Even though my days as an Overwatch member are over (refuse to pay for PS Plus anymore), I had so much fun sinking over thirty hours into the online just blasting away friends and trying to secure the damn checkpoints.
I definitely wish the sweet Loot Boxes weren’t such a paywall but other than that I can’t think of much to dislike in Overwatch. It’s exciting and it’s different. It’s cool to play an FPS where the main point isn’t just killing one another but to actually work as a team.
I hope Overwatch keeps growing with DLC throughout the next few years because it’s a great time to be had.
1. The Witness
You may not like him or this game but Jonathon Blow’s The Witness is revolutionary in game design. Gone are the stupid text tutorials that flood your screen, or the baby hand holding. The Witness just drops you in the middle of this mysterious world which is literally one giant puzzle.
It’s up to you with no help at all to figure everything out. I think what I enjoyed the most about The Witness was the genuine sense of growth and learning I gained with absolutely no help, everything I learned and everything I did was a product of my own thoughts (except like the twenty puzzles I looked up…)
When you’re solving that last puzzle before the credits it’s amazing to think back on the very first puzzle you did and to see how far you’ve come.
If you’re a story buff, well then The Witness may be one of two things to you: boring or endlessly fascinating. It’s a minimalist tale with many areas open to interpretation, I love that.
You seriously can’t go wrong with Jon Blow’s mind-bending adventure game.
Well guys, that’s it for my top five games of 2016! Sorry it’s been so long you’ve heard from me. I’ve decided since it’s just me running the site (sometimes my friend Vinny posts articles here), that I’m going to be posting more quality blogs over quantity. Expect a post every Sunday about either current games, movies and media. Thanks so much for reading and here’s to a great 2017!