My Top 10 Games of 2016

2016 was a crappy year, but luckily I had video games to distract me from all the negativity in the world. I played a lot of good and some bad stuff this year, and so I wanted to make a top 10 of my favorites. I’m going to be including games that I’VE played this year, regardless of when they were released, since I didn’t play a lot of stuff from this year. I’ll also include games I may have started in a previous year but completed this year.

10) Attack on Titan
This game does a good job of capturing the high-paced combat seen in the anime. It improves heavily on the gameplay of the 3DS game released a few years prior, but the lack of a character creator makes the game feel less immersive than the 3DS game.

9) Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
While this game doesn’t have the character development seen in previous installments, the writing is still extremely hilarious. The battle system is enjoyable, and there’s plenty of content for completionists like me.

A fun game to play in short bursts (I usually play it during class). The game is challenging in all of the right ways, and the soundtrack is phenomenal.

7) Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures
This game perfectly captures the immature humor of the web series and combines it with a catchy soundtrack and fun gameplay. The game’s higher difficulties are kind of a let down though; removing the ability to save makes it difficult to actually attempt these modes, as they must be completed in a single sitting.

6) South Park: The Stick of Truth
Easily the most hilarious game I’ve ever played, Stick of Truth does a great job of recreating the show’s humor and art style. I was continuously shocked at how mature the jokes could get. Having a customizable character as the protagonist adds to the game’s immersion, and the combat system was well-designed, although I feel there could’ve been less emphasis on quick-time events.

5) Pokemon Go
This game is constantly referred to now as a dead fad, but I still use the app every day (Misha reference intended). I love using the app as a time-waster when out and about, and I enjoy training my team, even though I have yet to keep a gym for more than a day.

4) Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon
This game blew me away. I expected a simple, fun Pokemon spinoff. What I got were brilliantly-developed characters, an engaging and deep story, an ending that legitimately left me depressed for a few days, and an extensive post-game that not only wrapped up this depressing ending, but provides plenty of replayability. I cannot recommend this game enough.

3) Pokemon Sun
After Pokemon X left me disinterested in the main series Pokemon games, Pokemon Sun renewed my interest. So much has changed to prevent the game from feeling like a chore (removal of HMs, time-based stat raising, etc.). In addition, the characters are all lovable, and the plot is engaging, although I felt that the ending didn’t live up to my expectations of an epic final battle. The plot also seemingly ends on a cliffhanger, but I’m still doing the post-game, so I don’t know if it it ever gets resolved or not.

2) Xenoblade Chronicles
I tried this game out mainly because it was the only New 3DS exclusive game at the time. I only knew Shulk as the meme-inspiring goofball he was in Smash Bros., but I was pleasantly surprised at the dark story Xenoblade had to offer. I also loved the orchestrated soundtrack, European voice acting, and the battle system that keeps the player engaged. A big complaint I have with this game is the ending; while the majority of the game was a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, the final chapter of the game throws this unique plot out the window in favor of almost every known JRPG trope. But because I enjoyed the rest of the game so much, this ending doesn’t detract from my experience too much.

1) Undertale
Many people, myself included, get annoyed by how much this game is discussed. But it really does deserve all the praise it gets. Undertale has an extremely fun battle system, replayability in the form of multiple endings, well-written dialogue, and what is in my opinion the best video game soundtrack of all time. I do feel that the plot isn’t as polished as it could be, with the Pacifist route having several plot holes and leaving me with a sense of incompletion. The game also relies a bit too heavily on references, with certain segments seeming like borderline plagiarism. But, regardless of its flaws, I enjoyed this game, its lore, and its various fan works too much to not put it as my favorite game that I’ve played in 2016.

So, those are my pics. Feel free to let me know what you think, as well as your favorite games you’ve played this year. My first year on this site has been a good one, and I look forward to more good things (in the world of gaming, because real life is screwed) next year.


Skyrim: (SKSE Skooma Edition) There is no 'SE ’ but there are so many mods this game is new and fresh and things are probably top quality now
XCOM - PirateZ Most epic fanmod ever. complex wicked. addicting.
Hotline Miami 1+2 Fun fast paced gameplay. Feels like a rogue, plays like a classic. Best soundtrack ever. I like the story.
Barkley Shut up and Jam Gaiden Decent controls, funny story, memorable, not long or grindy.
VA11-Hall-A Artsy, pretty to look at. appropriate setting for a genre that doesnt have too much. Good music.
Warsong (Langrisser) Impressive use of Sega’s sound abilities. Nice mix of strat, RPG and involved… Good port.
Castlevania Rondo of Blood smooth fluid not crazy hard. good balance, nice audio, somewhat open, not too long.
Metroid Very classic, satisfying to complete. heck of a game for NES
Stardew Valley Tastefully done, appeals to creative side, fun things to do. interesting events.
Evoland 2 Variety. Well executed minigame modes exposure to lots of types of video games ‘within a game.’ introduced me to Langrisser.

Honorable mentions
Brigador Amazing engine and backstory controls translate well into what you are doing.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines Questy Lore heavy FPS RPG w/ modern vampires. cool original idea.
ARK Survival Evolved crazy online experience that really has the whole tribe dependence thing.
Downwell fast paced and well designed simple 8 bit elements bring tons of Jumpy bumpy blasty mashy fun.
Cladun x2 cool action rpg dungeon crawl that is somewhat unique in it’s approach and concept
Stasis good experience not too frustrating. logical puzzle solutions, good retro feel, and amusing easter eggs
Cybermage Darklight Awakening warren spector open world fps rpg deus ex judge dredd illuminati comic book
Cthulhu Saves the World Fun gimmick and had some features i could appreciate to make a jrpg less gruel/grind

Stardew Valley would probably be on my list if I’d played more of it. I’m about halfway through year 2 right now; idk how much of the game I still have to see.

This is tough, because it’s hard to make a list of favourite games. I could easily do a top ten list of games I played that were released in 2016. If I include games released in any year, that I played for the first time in 2016, it gets muddier. I’ll start with my top ten games released in 2016 (no particular order):

Doom: I am still playing this one, as I only started a few days before the new year, but what a game. I have enjoyed a lot of games this year but this has to be the most fun of hte bunch. Playing Doom is a thoroughly enjoyable time. I am not usually a person who places FPS games at the top of his list but this game is near perfect. It reminds me of the pure fun that was Doom, wrapped in a beautiful contemporary package.

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir: technically an older game, one I’ve previously played, but this refurbishing of the original PS2 Odin Sphere is superb. It is gorgeous, well polished and a great deal of fun to play. It looks beautiful on a big screen, but it also a treat to carry around if you have a Vita.

Ratchet & Clank: no explanation necessary. Good old Ratchet & Clank fun on a new generation console. Stunning graphics and fun to play. It’s no Crack in Time, but it is well worth playing.

The Last Guardian: superb game that pulls many of the strongest elements from Team Ico’s previous games. It is a beautiful game with a simple but moving story. Trico is a marvel, with an AI that I have seldom encountered. Don’t let reviews convince you the game is broken. Team Ico players will be familiar with the control style, which is employed (intentionally, in my feeling) to mimic the awkward or cumbersome movment of a small child attempting to accomplish sometimes terrifying feats. An absolutely wonderful game.

Firewatch: this game was great even before Campo Santo added free roam. I still have images snapped from this game as my work desktop, months after playing the game.

Oxenfree: genuinely creepy with fantastic character writing and a unique and enjoyable game aesthetic. Without a doubt one of the best games of 2016.

Virginia: another aesthetic masterpiece with shades of Firewatch, while pulling influence from shows like Twin Peaks and The X-Files. Virginia deals with difficult subject matter through clever use of atmosphere and ellipsis. The later is borrowed heavily from film language and works well in this short visual narrative. Virginia is both one of my favourite games and favourite experiments in visual art media of 2016.

No Man’s Sky: I stand by this one as the most engrossing experience I had playing a game in 2016. while many may hate it, I loved the state of being lost in the cosmos, skipping from solar system to solar system. I turned to a life of salvage, repairing or tearing down abandoned or crashed ships for fun and profit. No Man’s Sky also has the distinction of being the game in which I captured the most images and videos in 2016.

Unravel: this game will make you cry.

Inside: I called this a masterpiece of the unsettling in my review, and it is apt. There were moments in this game that directly depicted or represented some of my worst fears. I won’t say any more because this is a game best played with as little foreknowledge as possible.

Honourable mentions:

Layers of Fear: a near perfect atmospheric horror. Layers of Fear does far more with atmosphere than the recent trend of jump scare based horror games. While it does have a couple jump scares, it is the quiet moments that are the creepiest.

Stories: The Path of Destinies:a nice little indie gem with decent replay value.

Super Mario Run: far more robust and enjoyable than you might assume before playing. Nintendo created a simple but brilliantly effective way to play Super Mario on a mobile phone. I wish Nintendo would dump the tired cliche of saving the kidnapped Princess and let you play as Mario, Luigi, Toad or Peach from the start (as Nintendo did in Super Mario 3D World). All the same it is a fun game to play that captures the spirit and fun of a Super Mario game.

Steep: Steep mostly loses points for the terrible ad inserts via sponsored goods, but that also applies to a great many contemporary sports games. If I had more time to play Steep it would likely make my top ten because it is one seriously polished open world winter sport game.

Overwatch: excellent game that I sadly don’t have time to play. Again, if I did it would likely rank higher.

Burly Men at Sea: short, sweet and gorgeous.

Dragon Quest Builders: fun Minecraft :wink:


9/01/17: Stories: The Path of Destines moved to honourable mentions to make room for The Last Guardian.

11/01/17: Layers of Fear drops down to honourable mentions to make room for Inside.

1 Like

Now for the best games I played in 2016, released in any year (except 2016, as I will leave out games last year to avoid crossover with my previous list. It makes things easier).

Ghost of a Tail: a wonderful game, and that’s not just because I backed it. It is a gorgeous game made by a tiny team (mostly one animator turned developer) that pits a tiny mouse against a whole fantasy world of foes. If you like mice with swords, this one is for you.

The Last of Us: wow! Who doesn’t this game leave speechless? Outside of the Telltale Walking Dead series, this is one of the few games that makes the over saturation of zombies in the entertainment seem more than bearable.

Until Dawn: this game rocks. We played this one for Extra Life. One full play through in one night. We managed to save three of the kids on that run. I look forward to playing it a few more times for different outcomes.

Super Mario Maker: oh man, I can make my own Super Mario World levels? Sold!

Super Mario 3D World: The best Mario game since Super Mario World. Oh, and you can be a cat! And you don’t have to play as Mario. So many pros to this game.

Mario Kart 8: try to argue that this isn’t the best Mario Kart ever. You can’t, it’s pointless.

Shovel Knight: Shovel Knight is homage done to perfection. It is likely the best retro styled game I have ever played. On top of the main campaign being fantastic, the Plague of Shadows DLC is even better (and it was free). More free DLC are on the way and I can’t wait to play more. Shovel Knight is one of the best games I’ve ever played, in any year.

Life is Strange: I want more of this type of storytelling in games. I want more of the character variation seen in this game, a game that reflects a world that feels familiar despite the supernatural element. Life is Strange told a story about characters I grew to care about, characters I had a hard time deciding a fate for in the end. It also has a soundtrack that dominated my playlist for most of the beginning of 2016.

TowerFall addictive to no end. Simple, and beautiful in it’s 8-bit aesthetic. I am looking forward to Celeste, the next game from Matt Makes Games. TowerFall is so good it might be the new reigning champion of co-op party games in our house.

Beyond Eyes: this was one of the games I most looked forward to playing last year, and I would have a difficult time relegating it to honorable mentions. It uses draw distance to convey impaired vision and the protagonist’s interpretation of space through sound. I think it is an imperfect attempt at conveying the experience of impaired vision, but it is also an ambitious and worthwhile attempt. I am glad for games like this that attempt to communicate subjective experience in new ways.

Honourable mentions:

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: Swift getaways via grappling hook ; murder mysteries; Victorian London; WWI; Evie, one of the best Assassin’s to date. A dashing looking cane for smashing in the head of your enemies. You can’t go wrong with this one. It’s tough, I’d like to rank this one higher but I played too many really great games this year and while this is a great AC game, it just falls short of the experiences I had playing other games in 2016.

The Order: 1886: absolutely stunning game set in an alternate Victorian London full of vampires and werewolves. I love the story, the graphics and the game play.

Grow Home: short and adorable. I look forward to playing the sequel Grow Up.

Volume: I really enjoy Mike Bithell’s games, and this is no exception. Plus Danny Wallace speaks most of the game’s lines, and he is easily one of the best parts of Thomas Was Alone, or Assassin’s Creed for that matter.

Wolfenstein: The New Order: I did not expect this to be as good as it is. It’s no Doom, but before Doom showed up it was the best update of an old school fps that I’d seen to date. It has great compat, a compelling story, and a moon base that pulls all the best of Moonraker, Star Wars, Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey and mixes them with the Wolfenstein aesthetic.

Lara Croft Go: clever and addictive, a truly exceptional mobile game.

Broken Age: I felt like a kid in the 90s again, playing the best of LucasArts and Sierra point-and-click games.

Far Cry 4: Shangri-La is what made me love this game. The world depicted in these segments is beautiful and captivating. The rest of the game is fun, but falls short of the nuance and brilliant satire present in Far Cry 3, or the over-the-top homage to 80s action in Blood Dragon.

Three Fourths Home: some might not call it a game, but the single act of holding down one button, “pressing the gas”, propels you through a story told by a potentially unreliable narrator. I enjoyed the aesthetic of the game, the driving, the storm, and he feelings I experienced as the story unfolded.


Just finished The Last Guardian and it’s definitely a best game of 2016. I suppose this bumps something off my list of best games released in 2016, but I’ll have to think on that a bit.

Hi there! Have you played Uncharted 4?

My GOTY is Dishonored 2 but tere was a couple of really good games that came out this year. Firewatch and Inside are two of them.

Mafia 3 is the biggest disappointment for me.

1 Like

I haven’t yet played Uncharted 4. I plan to, as soon as I pick it up.

Firewatch and Inside are indeed excellent. I played Firewatch on release, and am playing Inside now. Both exceptional games.

What about Mafia 3 was disappointing? The game bugs and glitches?

1 Like

A lot of things were disapointing in Mafia 3. Technical issues, repetitive gameplay…well the game didn’t look like it was finished at all. A major step down from its predecessors.

For what it’s worth, here’s my top 10 games that I played from 2016 (not all of them actually released in 2016). I really wanted to add Soma but unfortunatelyI didnt play it til 2017.

  1. The Witness
    Mind-blowing puzzle game unlike anything I’ve ever played in the genre. The attention to detail in every element of this huge puzzle island is phenomenal. I’ve played it through twice and explored every inch and I’ve still only scratched the surface. They took a simple mechanic and expanded upon it to ridiculous extremes until a point where “simple line puzzle” becomes an almost trascendental spiritual experience. One of the finest games I’ve played in years.

  2. Devil Daggers
    Addictive, crazy, manic, first person bullet hell game. It’s hard, difficult to the point of insanity. Infact, no one has even beaten it and only a small amount of people (maybe less than ten) have even seen the boss. It’s such a simple idea but executed so beautifully. And the sound/art are perfect and fitting. Although each time I play this it’s only a minute or so until I die, I just played that same level (there’s only one level/mode/arena) over and over, and put over 100 hours into it.

  3. Salt and Sanctuary
    I wanted Dark Souls 3 to be the new souls game that I have yearned for. It fell short. But S&S filled that space in my heart. They nailed the mechanics, the difficulty, the mystery. It felt more like Dark Souls than Dark Souls 3 did (in many ways). But they added their own little touches to make it totally unique. The setting, monsters/creatures, bosses, etc. were all very original. There was even a creepy HR Giger alien section. Metroidvania meets Dark Souls. Wonderful game.

  4. Thumper
    This game is unlike anything else ever. Addictive, crazy, immersive… I played it on a normal monitor but it felt more real/3D/immersive than anything I played on my friend’s HTC vive. IT’s such a clever game and it’s very tough but fair. Such a joy to play, this mysterious little beetle, racing through time/space at 1000,mph.Plus the jaw-dropping soundtrack and bizarre tiime signatures. Impossible to describe, you just have to experience it. Best soundtrack of any gave I’ve played in 2016. Impossible to put down. Thrilling experience.

  5. Path of Exile
    A free-to-play game. But they’re awful, right? Pay-to-win? Monthly subscriptions? Trolls and gank squads? Shitty game engine? No, PoE doesn’t have any of these things. You can ignore all the paid things (all just paid cosmetic changes) and you can play single player (but co-op with friends is also fine). Once inside it is a deep, beautiful, dark fantasy world full of horror, mystery and well fleshed-out characters and places. You can build all sorts of crazy characters, I made a Necromancer lady who would summon hordes of creatures to do all my bidding. A very deep game and a lot of fun, though it’s a huge time-sink. This game is free and it’s a masterpiece. So many beautiful and otherworldly places to explore, strange characters to meet and bizarre monsters to fight, and I still can’t believe it’s a free game.

  6. else Heart.Break()
    I chose this game because it’s so unique. It’s a bit like the Sims, but more like Omikron: The Nomad Soul. You’re dropped in this big open world and you’re left to explore. It’s an adventure/puzzle game but you can run off and do anything anywhere. Beautiful colourful art too. But, most of all, it’s just an overwhelmingly relaxing game to play, so explore this strange open-world city, hang around, ride the tram, walk through the park, visit cafes. The town feels truly alive and you can do anything and interact with everything. You can hack almost all objects in the game, even people, and alter the world itself… changing the behaviour and functions of the game systems. You can pretty much break the game but from within the game using the central game mechanic. This game is bizarre and broken, it’s like giving a kid a fragile grandfather clock and then a bunch of heavy duty tools to tear it apart and fiddle with it. Most underrated game of the century.

  7. Resident Evil (Biohazard) HD Remaster
    I never played the original Resident Evil, but now I have via this HD version and now I understand why the series is so beloved. This is survival horror in its original form with the fixed camera angles, sparse ammo, terrifying situations, even save slots are very limited. The environments are gorgeous, the atmosphere is eerie and really spooky, the characters/dialogue are silly and cheesy. Loved every moment of this classic horror experience.

  8. Dead by Daylight
    This is a bad game by most measurements. It’s a fair bit buggy, there are lots of hackers, cheats and trolls. There are huge balancing issues and unless you put 30+ hours into the game you won’t get anywhere since the learning curve is so deep and you’ll just get steamrolled by the dedicated players. Still though, I got hooked and poured my time in and enjoyed it. I ended up spending WAY too much time on this game, about 100 hours. I don’t really like multiplayer games, and this is the only one I’ve enjoyed in decades. Not sure if I’d recommend it, but since I put so many hours into it, and it’s a multiplayer game, I wanted to put it on the list.

  9. Undertale
    Everyone knows about Undertale of else you’ve played it. It’s a brilliant game for so many reasons. It’s also inspiring: a game with such simple mechanics and graphics and yet it’s so deeply engrossing. It inspires me to try harder to go down my path of becoming a crappy basement game developer. I still need to re-play it, since I played blind and didn’t understand the mechanics and I was… playing it wrong? :cry:

  10. Alien Isolation
    This game terrified me like nothing else. I was hiding under my desk and shrieking for most of the time. And that’s something I rarely do when I’m playing games. For decades gamers have wanted a true game based upon the Alien franchise… and after so many horrible disasters (like Colonial Marines) and horrible film remakes (Aliens VS Predator, etc.) it was a breath of fresh air to finally play the _genuine) Alien experience. Not the shoot-em-up Rambo-style marine garbage, instead it perfectly captures that eerie, quiet, horror/thriller atmosphere from the first film. Space isolation at its finest. So spooky.


Favorite games I played in 2016…

  1. Batman: Arkham Knight
    I know it’s divisive, but I loved it. I dislike driving games but I had lots of fun with the batmobile.
  2. Shenmue II
    The Shenmue III kickstarter motivated me to finally play this. It hasn’t aged perfectly, but it was the most moving game I’d played since I finished Journey (especially that last disc).
  3. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
    Soooo very flawed but I had so much fun with it that I didn’t care.
  4. Pocket Card Jockey
    Far more addictive than it has any right to be.
  5. Day of the Tentacle Remastered
    Never played the original but really loved this. Might be my favorite point-and-click adventure now.
  6. MegaMan Legends + MegaMan Legends 2
    Hard to decide between the two (esp. when you play on Vita with analog controls for the first one). They’re both great for different reasons.
  7. Pokemon Moon
    Nothing earth-shattering, but super fun!
  8. Refunct
    A little bite-sized gem of a game. Played on a whim and so glad I did.
  9. Batman: Arkham Origins
    Failed to beat this a year or two ago but decided to give it another whirl. If you push past the first 20% it gets really good… not Arkham City good, but close.
  10. Beyond Good & Evil
    I’d given up on this in years past because I hated the stealth sections. Went back and realized the stealth is actually kinda “diet stealth” once you learn the rules of it. Imperfect but I love Michel Ancel so I give it a lot of leeway.