While 2016 has certainly been a year for the history books, it was a fantastic year to be a gamer. Not only did we finally get titles that we’ve been waiting years to get our hands on (in some cases a decade), we also were treated to some incredible surprises along the way. And though there were some anticipated titles that either didn’t live up to the hype or got delayed to next year, there was plenty of absolutely incredible games to play.
Usually, I try to avoid conventional “Best of” lists when reflecting on the past year, but these games are so much fun that they are certainly worthy of their own list. Without further ado, here’s what I consider to be the top 5 games of 2016. These games are in no particular order, as they are all equally amazing in their own right.
For about two weeks straight I could not stop playing this game. What is essentially a love letter to Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley is so much more than a farming simulator. It’s got fishing and quests. It even has dungeon crawling when you head off into the dark and dangerous mines. I wasn’t expecting to play a game like Stardew Valley this year, and I look forward to picking it up again in the new year with all the new content updates. Maybe even play one of the console ports.
There are so many reasons to like Overwatch. Whether it’s the incredible lore, the diverse cast of characters, the fantastic gameplay, or the amazing community, Overwatch can easily be considered one of the best titles of 2016. Blizzard’s first foray into first-person shooters was a smash hit, yet another for the company that knows how to make the best games. Even though it was only out for virtually half a year, 2017 looks to bring us even more amazing stuff from Overwatch. More heroes, more maps, more seasonal skins for us to throw our money at. Who knows what is in store for us. Now the real question is, How many loot boxes do we have to buy to make a movie happen, Blizzard?
So mysterious that we’re still wrapping our heads around it, PlayDead’s latest game Inside is an example of the power of simplicity. While more complex than it’s predecessor Limbo, Inside feels wonderfully polished, allowing for the player to feel completely in control of this strange boy as he travels through this incredible dangerous dystopian world. You can finish the game in about four hours, but this game accomplishes more in that period of time than many others have tried to this year.
It’s no secret, I love Civ and Civ VI is no exception. A real balancing act of new and old mechanics, Civilization VI feels like a brand new game every time I play. I’ve played several games now, and I feel like I’m learning something new with every different civilization meaning you never default to old strategies or exploits. I know that I’ll be playing this game for years to come. Or at least until Civ VII comes out I guess.
Final Fantasy XV
Are you even surprised that this is on the list? I’ll admit that I was a little nervous about getting my hands on FFXV after waiting so bloody long for it. After all, a decade is ridiculous no matter what you’re waiting for in this day and age. But all fears were pushed aside when I got my hands on the final product. From the stellar combat to the incredible variety of things to do in the vast open world of Eos, FFXV was pretty much worth the wait. I go into more detail in my review, but long story short this is truly a Final Fantasy for fans and for first-timers.
While there are plenty of other games that could have made the list, these five are what I consider to be the best of the best. 2016 was an incredible year of gaming and 2017 is looking to be no different. Here’s to more incredible games next year!