Matt’s Top Ten Games of 2016
This is my favorite time of the year, when I get to look back on all the great publications that have been made in the world of gaming over the last 12 months. I am going to be unbiased with this list, so that means no console exclusives. I don’t want to waste any time stalling this, so let’s jump right into it.
Honorable Mentions: Dishonored 2, Far Cry Primal, Firewatch, Bioshock The Collection
10. Homefront: The Revolution
Little known studios Dambuster and Deep Silver deliver a great sequel which has been a long time coming. Set in an alternate future in the city of Philadelphia, PA, North Korea has taken over the United States, and transformed it into a military police state. You are Ethan Brady, a new member of the Resistance who jumps into action when the leader of this resistance is captured by the Korean People’s Army in order to rescue him. Utilizing stealth and concealment, Brady weaves through the streets of Philadelphia avoiding as many KPA patrols as possible and utilizing guerrilla warfare when necessary. The gunplay is not as quality as some of the other shooters to come out this year, however the story and patriotism it inspires as you lead America’s second revolution are awe-inspiring.
9. Tom Clancy’s The Division
This entry in the Tom Clancy series puts you in the shoes of a nameless sleeper agent of an organization known only as The Division. After a biological attack on the city of New York, you are activated and your mission to “save what remains” begins. This is a fun third person online shooter with a storyline that is able to be suspended almost indefinitely. While operating within the story area, you are apparently the only agent who exists, completing various missions in order to further supply your headquarters, which acts as a shelter for the survivors of the bio attack. Inside the games “Dark Zone” is where you will play alongside and against other agents, securing supply drops which contain items and XP to upgrade your character. A great entry to the series, and a true standout among online only games.
Agent 47’s return to the screen takes form in this episodic entry of the series developed by IO Interactive and Square Enix. Although met with heavy criticism for releasing an unfinished game, the developer has captured everything that a stealth game should be. Making the game much more of a sandbox than its predecessors, Hitman follows a less obvious, less linear story. Placing 47 in environments such as a Paris fashion show or Colorado, USA, almost everything in the environment can be manipulated or utilized, creating almost an infinite amount of ways to complete your objective. This entry isn’t done yet, as a second season of episodes has recently been confirmed to be in development, so you can rest easy knowing there are more targets coming in the near future. The game encourages creativity and quick thinking to truly be a top assassin.
This team based shooter developed by Blizzard takes an entirely new approach to the first person shooter. Players can choose between 4 different primary classes: offense, defense, support or tank. Players are also placed into squads of at most 6 players, and are even notified if their squad is lacking certain classes, giving them the opportunity to balance out their squads. Like other shooters, points are awarded for kills, kill assists, team defense/healing, and playing the objective. This is a shooter that is loads of fun especially for the less experienced player as the game gives players without much experience the opportunity to be just as good as even the most experienced of players.
The reboot the franchise deserved, and it was done so beautifully. Developed by iD Software and published by Bethesda, this remake was everything players and critics hoped it would be. Fighting like hell has never been so fun. You wake up strapped to a table on Mars and must fight through waves of demons to close a portal to Hell. The weapons and new player progression system are a welcome touch to the series. The game even takes a tip from Halo, adding in a new forge system, which allows the player to create and publish their own Doom levels for other players to download and play. This was an amazing new entry, giving the series that set the tone for all shooters some much needed new life.
5. Watch Dogs 2
I’m sure if this game had come out before a few of the others on this list, it’d be farther up my list. I just had too much time to fall in love with other games, but I digress. Ubisoft has made an amazing sequel to the 2014 original. Assuming the role of Marcus Holloway in Oakland, CA, players are able to hack the environments around them utilizing Marcus’ smartphone, and are even able to complete the game solely using the hacking ability. The driving has been upgraded and made much more accessible this go round, and the environment is much larger than the originals depiction of Chicago. With many more tools at Marcus’ disposal than Aiden had in the original, this game gives much more replay value, and more avenues of completing the missions presented in the story. A huge step up from the first entry, and a must play.
4. Mafia III
Hangar 13 and 2K Games have definitely hit it out of the park with this one. Playing as Lincoln Clay, an orphan and Vietnam veteran, his goal is to build his own crime family and rival the Italian Mafia in the city of New Bordeaux, which is a reimagined version of New Orleans. The game allows the player to approach story missions with stealth, or to go in guns blazing. It even offers surprisingly realistic driving mechanics and sounds for vehicles from 1968. With a map larger than the previous two entries combined, there is no shortage of areas to explore, and no shortage of things to do. While it does not surpass Mafia II (as I think that is the best mobster game ever made), this game is hands down one of the best role playing games to come out this year.
3. Dark Souls III
This is absolutely the best Souls game to come out. Bandai Namco has delivered one beast of a game. Get ready to die all over again as you guide the Ashen One through the Kingdom of Lothric, in an attempt to return the Lords of Cinder to their thrones in Firelink Shrine. No one else seems to know what that means either, so don’t worry you’re not alone. I’m still shaky on the plot myself, but that doesn’t really matter because you’ll be too busy raging and dying thousands of times that even if you do understand the plot you’re going to forget about it after the same boss kills you for the 50th time, and 60th time, and so on. Come on, it’s a Souls game. Killing and dying is all that really matters.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
This is the ultimate remaster. Bethesda gives Skyrim the makeover it deserves with this special edition. With no new content, but bringing mod support to the consoles (a long awaited feature), players step back into the boots of the Dragonborn, a mortal warrior with the soul of a dragon, and set out on a quest to save Skyrim from the evil dragon Alduin. Nothing was left untouched by Bethesda for the updates, and even players with the most hours logged back in 2011, won’t be bored with this. I guarantee it.
1. Battlefield 1
This was far and away my favorite game of 2016. It’s not even close. First person shooters have always been my favorite genre of games, but I had lost interest in recent years. EA DICE came out with a major home run here. I have never had more fun with a shooter in my entire life, and I’m a newcomer to the series. Future and space warfare of other shooters such as Call of Duty and Titanfall had been getting very repetitive. A trip back in time to a much less explored World War 1 is a very refreshing change of pace. Battlefield 1 embodies everything a shooter should be. This game is fun, chaotic, panic inducing, gut wrenching and even forces the player to question their moral standings at times. Perfection has been achieved here and I literally can’t say enough about this game. Bravo EA DICE, bravo.