Top 16 Games of 2016

For all the flak 2016 has (probably justifiably) received, there’s no denying one thing: a whole lot of really good games came out this year. How many? Well, we here at Gaming Age voted on the list below, and a whopping 77 different games were nominated. Here are the ones that we collectively liked the most:

16. Firewatch

Our review: A+

A messy plot with more than a few strands that never got tied up. Awkward relationships between characters that start off in a grey area and only get more complicated from there. An abrupt and unsatisfying ending.

For many people, those are just a few of the reasons why they didn’t like about Firewatch. As far as I’m concerned, those reasons are precisely why it was one of the best games of the year. And it didn’t hurt that it was one of the prettiest games of the year, either. (Matthew Pollesel)

15. Watch Dogs 2

Our review: B+

One of the best open world crime drama games of the year, and a huge improvement over the original game. (Jim Cordeira)

14. Headlander

Our review: B+

I expect Headlander to reach that cult classic status like many of Double Fine’s prior titles and it?s well-deserved. This is a must-own for fans of the genre. (Paul Rosselli)

13. Pac-Man Championship Edition 2

Bandai Namco’s newest arcade-style Pac-Man title was addictive and a heck of a lot of fun. Pac-Man in any form is always great though. (JC)

12. Inside

Our review: A-

This relatively short indie follow up to Limbo managed to both wow and intimidate me with the amount of character and narrative that it managed to pack into such a short experience. Even after several playthroughs I am not sure I have found everything or fully understand the game, but love it nonetheless. (Tyler Nethers)

Simply one of the best puzzle platform games out there. The story plays out without a word being spoken and by the end I really felt everything that the little boy experienced. (Benny Rose)

11. Hue

Our review: A

Hue was the biggest and best surprise of 2016. The simple color mechanic is taken to incredible heights with intuitive puzzles, a soundtrack that marries each level appropriately and narration that makes it feel like more than a puzzle game. (BR)

10. The Division

Our review: C-

Even with some issues that needed ironing out at the beginning, Ubisoft’s online 3rd person shooter RPG impressed with intense missions and solid co-op play. (JC)

9. Batman: The Telltale Series

Our review: A

This game gave me a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the 5 episodes. A completely different take on the lore makes this game one worth playing. If you enjoy Telltale style games and a fan of the Dark Knight, you wont be disappointed. (BR)

8. The Last Guardian

Our review: A-

The long-awaited follow up to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus was worth the long wait. A magical, emotional journey of a boy and his beast. (JC)

The Last Guardian is another 2016 game with a decade of anticipation behind it. It didn’t shine as brightly as FFXV did, but still managed to make a statement of its own. Control and camera issues plagued what could have been up there contending for game of the year based on the merit of its story. Issues aside though, this game runs very much in the same vein as its predecessors and is something I believe will be looked back on fondly as we move away from 2016. (TN)

7. Final Fantasy XV

After a decade of waiting and wondering, FFXV came out and blew me away. With the amount of anticipation I had going into this release it was hard to imagine an game that could live up to my expectations. More than 100 hours of gameplay later I am beyond happy with the final result. (TN)

I’m actually surprised that Square Enix pulled this one off. I had long given up hope that a game that had gone through as many development shifts as Final Fantasy XV had any hope of being fun, but here we are, and for the most part FF XV works. Does it have a few problems? Yeah. But from the moment you’re let loose in that open world, to the point that a mountain turns into a giant monster, you’ll likely have a hard time wiping the smile from your face. (Dustin Chadwell)

5 (tie). Overwatch

Our review: A

Picks up the multi-player slack left in DOOM’s wake. Blizzard shows that they can apply their level of expertise and skill to virtually any genre they want, both entering and dominating the FPS competitive market within the span of a year. (DC)

5 (tie). Dead Rising 4

Our review: B+

Easily the game I spent the most hours on this year. While far from perfect, Dead Rising 4 has a plethora of content for both the single player story mode as well as the online multiplayer. The controversial removal of the series’ time limit was one of my favorite changes. (BR)

4. Doom

Our review: A

DOOM is, quite frankly, amazing. It features a stellar single-player campaign that absolutely shames every other shooter released in the past few years, and manages to strip away all the bloat we’ve come to expect from the genre, distilling the experience into a white-knuckled rush of gaming adrenaline. (DC)

A heavy metal soundtrack, incredible graphics, brutal over-the-top violence and the oh-so-satisfying shotgun blast make Doom the number 1 shooter of not only this year, but of this generation. (TN)

3. Titanfall 2

Our review: A

Titanfall 2 manages to combine the best of both worlds when it comes to single-player and multi-player experience. Despite having one of the worst spots to fill in an already crowded month of like-minded releases, it managed to stand out as the best option this Fall for anyone that enjoys the FPS genre. (DC)

I was shocked with how good the story mode was. After the lukewarm reception that the first received for the lack of a real single player, the developers outdid themselves with a solid story, memorable companionship between the main characters and one of the best uses of a time manipulation mechanic out there. (BR)

2. Dark Souls III

Our review: A-

To me, dark souls III was the near perfect blend of the previous “From Software” games including Bloodborne. Tons for existing fans and also a potential entry game for fans of Bloodborne. A great way to close the series. (BR)

Dark Souls 3 is the perfect culmination of everything that has come before it. It was a great send off to the Dark Souls trilogy that also managed to incorporate all of the things that made Bloodborne so unique and great. Dark Souls as a series is something I have spent over 1000 hours investing into, so getting such an amazing finale was a great feeling. I could not be happier with how Dark Souls 3 turned out, it is hands down my only A+ of this year. (TN)

1. Uncharted 4

Our review: A

Probably the most visually astounding game of 2016, Uncharted 4 brought Nathan Drakes story to a close in a way that fans can be happy with. Newcomers to the franchise were not left in the dark either, and now have plenty of reason to pick up the remastered collection and play through that as well. (TN)

Nathan Drake’s “final” adventure was everything we hoped for. A gorgeous, fun to play cinematic action-adventure that is just all-around amazing. (JC)