Ben's Top Five Games of 2016

Ben's Top Five Games of 2016
 
 

People always say ‘this year was a great year for gaming’, and while often true - it’s a sentiment I find difficult to share this year. Not because the games were necessarily worse, I just haven’t played many of them. I spent much of my time playing Final Fantasy VI, Star Wars Battlefront’s DLC, willing myself through Alien: Isolation, making beefs in Shadow of Mordor, and generally catching-up on last year’s games.

I never got around to Gears of War 4, Dishonoured 2, Dark Souls III, The Witness, Inside, Pokemon Sun/Moon, or Doom. Playing what you ‘should’ certainly has a time and place, but even more so for playing what you want.

5. ABZU

Sometimes a game doesn’t need to do a lot. Sometimes you just need to chill out with a transformative cruise-story about sea-life and Sumerian mythology.

ABZU was relentlessly uneventful for its brief few hours, and refreshingly so. It’s a restful experience that doesn’t demand much of you at all. While I feel like there should have been a dossier, teaching you about each marine creature you come across, you’ll have every tranquil chance to ride hand-in-fin alongside pods of orcas. In ABZU, Journey meets the ocean, and it’s one of the better vegetative games of its kind.

ABZU Review.

4. Ratchet & Clank

This year saw a few games released in junction with cross-media campaigns to promote their sales and expand their stories, and while the films supporting them were either superfluous or incoherent - the games themselves were every part worth it.

In an age when remasters are now breeding faster than humans, it’s evermore relieving when a game is entirely recreated as an interpretation of the original with a current-gen facelift. Ratchet & Clank is probably the best remake I’ve played, in that it feels like a different game – because really, it is.

Ratchet & Clank Review.

3. Overwatch

It’s a testament to Overwatch’s design that I could play it for only a weekend (yes, one of those free ones) and give it a place on my list.

I would like to explain to you why Overwatch is so good, but I can’t. I can say the level design is good, though I couldn’t tell you how. I can talk about character-balance and the niche of skill, but I can barely do that either. Not because I haven’t played the game as long as some people. Rather because I do not have the intimate knowledge of game design techniques to vouch for it with anything other than intuition and ambiguous phrases like "well-crafted."

Hopefully someday I can come back and explain thoroughly why so many people know Overwatch to be good, and properly acknowledge the meticulous work put into this game beyond vague descriptions.

Overwatch Review.

2. Final Fantasy XV

I have to keep pinching myself when I play Final Fantasy Versus XIII. This game was announced when I was 16. I’m well on my way to 30 now. I’m used to it being scheduled for some unbeknownst time, far away in the distant future of ages away - not something I can tangibly take out of its case and start playing.

10 years of development usually doesn’t do favours for a game, so I’ve had time to accept Final Fantasy XV would have some rough edges. But what it’s done better than any other, is camaraderie. Each Final Fantasy has its own identity, its own “thing.” This one is the ultimate trash-talking, bon-fire bonding bro-story.

At risk of sounding edgy, it’s refreshingly non-diverse. It doesn’t care it’s four leads are all white, and it doesn’t care they’re all male, because games reflect culture, and culture reflects games.

Final Fantasy XV Hub.

1. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

I almost feel lazy making Uncharted my game of the year, but I also know I’m not amiss. Trying to outdo your last game is no small feat when every subsequent one is already meant to be the apex of Indiana Jones action. And Uncharted 4 does all these things to the zenith, but it’s the sombre swansong and goodbye to finalise nine years of heartfelt treasure hunting that commits it firmly to memory.

I don’t know many games that explore marital problems, yet a series known for its tokenism was brave enough to do so and human enough to do it with warmth.

The ending was elongated, and I never played more than one round of multiplayer -  nevertheless Uncharted 4 was perfectly poignant for a story every bit excitable and every bit sincere - and I’ll miss that dumb klutz every bit for it.

Uncharted 4 Review.


Those were some of Ben's favourite games of 2016. What were yours? Sound off in the comments below!

Check out some of our other writers' lists:




 

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Comments Comments (16)

 
Posted by cortez72
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 3:14 PM
5
I'm having one of those days where ABZU looks like heaven. Just cruising and chilling. Sadly I don't have a PC gaming rig, so I can only experience it through that screen shot.
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 3:18 PM
3
Abzu is on PS4 no?
I am interested in your thoughts on ffvi Ben. I need to play that myself yet it's the one ff I never got around too.
 
 
 
Posted by darklordfoamy
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 3:35 PM
1
Nice to see Ratchet and Clank on there as will agree it was a very good game.
 
 
 
Posted by Outlaw213
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 4:07 PM
-
Abzu is a great game, I need to play it more.

Great list!
 
 
 
Posted by CloudAxel16
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 4:17 PM
1
I'm loving the Ratchet and Clank support. Even though its based of the first one, its a great game.
 
 
 
Posted by drunk_monk
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 4:24 PM
1
This list is closer to my top 5.

Interesting abzu got a top 5 as it was recieved as good but not much more, it's on my to play at some point list.

I'm not a big overwatch fan, played it during a free weekend and thought it was fine, but I get why it's beloved by many.
 
 
 
Posted by Paorio
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 4:46 PM
-
I gotta say, ABZU is a surprise, it does look absolutely fantastic though, just not for me.
 
 
 
Posted by Benny
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 5:24 PM
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7 December 2016, 03:18 PM Reply to AdamC
Abzu is on PS4 no?
I am interested in your thoughts on ffvi Ben. I need to play that myself yet it's the one ff I never got around too.
This is my third time trying to finish it over the last five years, 'cause I get distracted and move onto something else (I've only gotten halfway).

It's a funny one in that it tops many of the 'best Final Fantasy' lists, but mostly for its influence at the time. I haven't actually found it terribly enthralling, even it's story - and I love most of the Final Fantasy games.
 
 
 
Posted by Bunnny
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 5:59 PM
-
Trying to justify buying ABZU...
 
 
 
Posted by trun39
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 7:33 PM
1
I really enjoyed your list and honesty. I'm going to miss Nathan Drake and co. a lot. Super excited for the Chloe dlc!
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 8:04 PM
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7 December 2016, 05:24 PM Reply to Benny
This is my third time trying to finish it over the last five years, 'cause I get distracted and move onto something else (I've only gotten halfway).

It's a funny one in that it tops many of the 'best Final Fantasy' lists, but mostly for its influence at the time. I haven't actually found it terribly enthralling, even it's story - and I love most of the Final Fantasy games.
Ohh ok cool thanks
 
 
 
Posted by oconnomiyaki
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 8:59 PM
1
7 December 2016, 03:18 PM Reply to AdamC
Abzu is on PS4 no?
I am interested in your thoughts on ffvi Ben. I need to play that myself yet it's the one ff I never got around too.
Just got released on Xbox One.
 
 
 
Posted by Nick2016NZ
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 9:50 PM
-
Yeah it's a brilliant game for sure. Played through it 3 times personally to fully upgrade Ratchet and all the weapons and never got bored of it. Here's hoping for a sequel. Good list by the way Ben!
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Wednesday 7 Dec 2016 11:33 PM
1
7 December 2016, 08:59 PM Reply to oconnomiyaki
Just got released on Xbox One.
Sorry I was refering to where Cortez said he couldnt play it because he doesnt have a PC but he could play it on PS4.
 
 
 
Posted by polarbear
On Thursday 8 Dec 2016 7:52 AM
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Abzu has always captured my attention. I need to get around to it but have so many other big games out right now that I've gotta play through.
 
 
 
Posted by ptys
On Thursday 8 Dec 2016 11:40 PM
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You finished Final Fantasy already, nice (I guess you must have reviewed it).