While it doesn’t feel like I played a lot of games in 2016, it turns out I played more than I expected. This year has been full of ups and downs personally, which made me turn to games in ways I hadn’t expected before. Below is not the definitive list of every game I played and liked this year but these are easily the games that had the most effect on me.
Honorable mentions: Titanfall 2, Forza Horizon 3, Dishonored 2
5. Planet Coaster
Ever since the release of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, I’ve been looking for something that would be even better, that could offer the type of amusement park building experience that is both more complex but still fun to play. Games like NoLimits have continued to offer as true of simulation you can get when it comes to the nitty gritty mechanics of what makes real roller coasters work. Planet Coaster brings back the feel of RollerCoaster Tycoon with just as much charisma and flourish to make it feel fun and fresh. Yes, you can build advanced coasters with all the twists and turns of any real life thrill ride but it also has thrill rides, park management, and people who make your park feel more alive than ever. I’ll be playing this game for years to come.
As much as it might be easy to dismiss Parkitect as being a “lesser” Planet Coaster, it feels much more like the kind of game I want to sit down and play for hours upon end. What Parkitect steals from classic RollerCoaster Tycoon (We’re talking the first and second games here, not 3 or *sigh* World) is its ease of play so you can just grab your creativity by the horns and just make what you want to make. Parkitect is still only in Alpha but it’s already eaten up so much of my time I’m almost scared to see what the full version eventually looks like. Like a pair of comfortable shoes you’ve had for years, you don’t care if the replacements are all that different, you’re looking for comfort.
If you’ve ever wanted to know why everyone tends to talk badly about Doom 3, all you need to do is play the new DOOM. While adding plenty of fresh new gameplay features, it manages to keep the wonderful feel of the original two games in-tact. There’s no creepy, empty hallways full of jump scares or flashlight banging. Instead, you’re left with hallways and vast hellscapes full of demons ready to crush your skull at any moment. Equipped with an arsenal that would make Rambo jealous and heavy metal, hell is no match for DOOM Guy.
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
A common complaint I see regularly about modern action films is that the heroes are often too human to be special. Uncharted 4 is about humanizing Drake in a way the series hasn’t before. Drake isn’t just a treasure hunter, he’s a husband, a dad, and eventually discovers what is most important may not be his latest wild goose chase. This humanization of Nathan connected with me in ways it hadn’t before, and I genuinely enjoyed the way the series (appeared to) wrap up. Not to say the game doesn’t play well, because it does, but it’s everything you’d otherwise expect from an Uncharted game.
I think I can definitively say HITMAN was my favorite game of 2016. Hitman has always been a series I’ve casually taken an interest in but never grasped the mechanics until this version hit. Everything is great, from the incredible ways you can pull off a kill, to the compelling Elusive Target system, the enticing Challenges and everything in-between. I was as skeptical as anyone about the new episodic system employed here but it works to the best abilities of that distribution medium. Just when I think I’ve finished the game, it pulls me back in and begs me to keep playing it. Bring on whatever’s next.