It’s been one hell of a year, people. We had AAA releases all over the place, a pretty great year for indie games, and also I started writing for NZGamer.com. That’s probably the most important part.
I played a ton of games this year, and these were the best ones.
You know how it is; you go sleep in a big sarcophagus in Hell for a little bit, then you wake up naked on Mars and have to kill everyone. We’ve all been there. The Doomslayer is so relatable.
If you told me a year ago that a DOOM reboot would be on this list, I would’ve told you to go to hell. Instead, I went there, shot a bunch of dudes, and loved every second of it. DOOM is definitely my favourite shooter of the year, and one of the best I’ve ever played. It’s a visceral, fast paced, incredibly cathartic experience, and I loved every second of it. And, not to boast, but it’s the fastest Platinum I ever got, eight days to 100 percent.
OK fine I’m boasting.
If you’re sick of military shooters, or the modern industry’s obsession with every single game being about online communities (although the multiplayer is still pretty damn great), then shooting Martian demons with plasma rifles while listening to metal is for you. Seriously, get your ass to Mars.
Such dark. So alliteration. Many insanities. Wow.
Darkest Dungeon is essentially the gamification of a Rammstein song; it hates you, but it only hurts you because it loves you. And I don’t want it to stop.
It’s like Dark Souls, except it’s even darker and it’s a side scrolling, turn based, and – OK, it’s not that similar to Dark Souls except that it’s incredibly hard and really rewarding when you get good at it.
It’s probably too complex and fiddly to appeal to a casual market, but it’s an absolute must-play for those wanting a challenge. It’s also insanely addictive, so much so that you may join your heroes in madness, but good luck getting me to stop playing now. Red Hook have made something really special here, and it’s definitely worth a peek into the darkness.
I’ve never had an indie project grab me like this, and I wholeheartedly recommend this wonderful, viciously abusive game.
The Fire Emblem games are great if you can’t decide whether you’d like to play a tactical role playing game or a marriage simulator. Personally, I’m usually not a fan of either, but FE: Awakening, and now Fates, have awoken a strategically minded waifu hunter that I never knew slept inside me.
Fates is kind of like a posh person’s house that didn’t really need an extension, but they’ve put one in anyway, and damned if the new kitchen isn’t pretty swanky. Awakening was great, and Fates nudges almost all the pieces in the right direction. You’ll spend hours training recruits, and marrying off your warriors so you can breed an army of Ubermensch. There are also adorable cutscenes, so it’s less creepy than it sounds.
Speaking of creepy, you can also marry your cousins, if you’re into that, like a true Shelbyvillian.
FE: Fates is the best game to release on a handheld this year (shots fired, Pokemon), and everyone with a 3DS should be playing it.
Look, it’s a free house. Yes there’s a vampire in the basement, it’ll cost a fortune to restore, and it’s surrounded by monsters. You know what? Still better than trying to buy in Auckland, am I right?
I’m not even sorry to be including DLC on this list. Blood and Wine is a masterpiece, and could have easily been a standalone game. It gives us a real farewell to the best damn monster hunter in the Northern Kingdoms, as he romps through Monster France to help out people he loves so much that we haven’t seen them outside a single segment in the third book. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
There’s so much to love here. The map obviously isn’t as big as the main game, but it’s still freakin’ huge, and densely populated with interesting/horrifying people and monsters. You want to complete side quests, because they don’t feel like side-quests; they feel like the turning of a page, the end of an era. And, in classic Witcher style, the moral ambiguity inherent in every choice makes this an experience to remember.
Geralt is my bro, and he deserves more than a cutscene to say goodbye. Blood and Wine delivered that, acting as the White Wolf’s swan song, and giving the Olympic champion of griffin decapitating a proper sendoff. It was a highlight of my year, and deserves to be recognised outside the shadow of the Wild Hunt. If anyone ever tries to tell you video games aren’t art, this is the game to prove your point.
I’ll be honest, this would’ve been my Game of the Year, if November hadn’t happened and given us:
Some games you want to be with for a few hours at a time. Others, maybe a week or two. Some games you want to take to Barcelona, propose to in the silvery moonlight, and raise a family of half-human, half-game hybrids.
And, although our forbidden love can never be, Dishonored 2 is the game for me, because this thing is a masterpiece.
I bought the original Dishonored Collector’s Edition at launch, because it looked really cool. I wasn’t wrong. Dishonored was an amazing experience, which gave me pretty much all I could want from a stealth action game. The sequel is superior in almost every way.
I’m not going to tell you that it’s the best game of the year, or that Arkane have again shown that they understand level design and gameplay better than the a-ver-age developer. Except I am, and they do.
This supposed Thief knockoff Thiefs harder than Thief ever could. Every level is fascinating, every playthrough unique. I’ve been through DH2 twice, and will go for another two once the New Game Plus update comes along. The replay value alone is so amazing that, while the game itself is anywhere between 12 and 30 hours long, quadruple that and you might have spent enough time with it. Barely. And that’s before the DLC comes out which, if I’m right, will be LURKing just around the corner.
It’s a beautiful, masterfully crafted world, and the pinnacle of 2016’s games. I can’t wait for this game’s DLC to be my GOTY in 2017.
Feel free to fight me in the comments. C’mon, I can take you.
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