GOTY 2016 | Number 1 — Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

No joke, I lis­ten to the Uncharted theme while walk­ing by myself fairly reg­u­larly, because I like to pre­tend I’m off on an epic adven­ture. Need­less to say, I have some feel­ings for this par­tic­u­lar series. If you’d asked me at the end of Uncharted 3 that there was any way they could suc­cess­fully make another Uncharted game with­out mess­ing it up badly, I would’ve been hard pressed to take the leap. Thank­fully, the team over at Naughty Dog man­aged to stick the land­ing on Nathan Drake’s final adven­ture for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Focused on deliv­er­ing a nar­ra­tively dri­ven final chap­ter, the game makes good on devel­op­ing Nathan Drake as a char­ac­ter and shines in some of the qui­eter moments just as much as the beau­ti­ful set pieces.

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GOTY 2016 | Number 2 — Doom

The one PC game that has always held a spe­cial place in my heart is Doom. After such a lengthy devel­op­ment cycle, I was on the fence about get­ting it at all. In the end, id Soft­ware made it worth the wait and the new Doom is a phe­nom­e­nal game. Chan­nel­ing just about every­thing that made the orig­i­nal Doom games great, it updates the for­mula per­fectly and brings a clas­sic game into a new gen­er­a­tion just as well as the likes of Oca­rina of Time. Frankly, it was all out war between Doom and my num­ber one game, with the decid­ing fac­tor being that I got side-tracked and haven’t fin­ished the entire Doom cam­paign. Even still, this game well deserves as high a spot as it got on my list.

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GOTY 2016 | Number 3 — Dark Souls III

Devel­op­ing some of the tough­est and most reward­ing games out there, From Soft­ware hit another one of out of the park with Dark Souls III. Using the same engine from Blood­borne, this game shines on both the PC and con­soles. This game ticked off every box I was look­ing for in a new Dark Souls game. Con­tain­ing a dark and gor­geous world filled with some of the tough­est bosses I’ve faced thus far, I’m look­ing at you Name­less King you bas­tard, this is eas­ily the game I sank the most time into this year.

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GOTY 2016 | Number 4 — Thumper

Effec­tive games always invoke a strong response from the player, whether pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive. Vir­tual real­ity has the added ben­e­fit of total immer­sion, which really ramps up any of those feel­ings. The game thus far that had the biggest effect on me has eas­ily been Thumper. Hurtling the player down the lane at break­neck speeds, this trippy rhythm vio­lence game suc­ceeds at feel­ing immensely oppres­sive. The speed of the game feels equally impres­sive, espe­cially with the VR head­set strapped to your face.

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GOTY 2016 | Number 5 — Hitman

If I’ve learned any­thing from play­ing video games over the years, it’s that I would make a ter­ri­ble assas­sin. Trans­lat­ing being a badass con­tract killer into game­play is very dif­fi­cult and I had bounced off of nearly every Hit­man game to date. As such, I didn’t have high hopes when the new Hit­man was announced. This is one of those rare instances where I’m not even quite sure what to tell you they did right this time. Some­thing about the for­mula in this par­tic­u­lar entry clicked with me in a way it just hasn’t before lend­ing to one of the best stealth games out there.

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GOTY 2016 | Number 6 — Layers of Fear

Look­ing back at my list from 2014, I actu­ally gave the top spot on my list to a demo. This Playable Teaser, or P.T. if you will, fea­tured some inno­v­a­tive ideas about hor­ror games that left me reel­ing when the full game was even­tu­ally can­celled. A few games have attempted to live up to the promise of what Silent Hills was going for and the best among them thus far is Lay­ers of Fear. Tak­ing the sim­i­lar con­cept of tra­vers­ing sim­i­lar areas and apply­ing its own brand of mind-bending visu­als, Lay­ers of Fear is full of the right kinds of scares.

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GOTY 2016 | Number 7 — Job Simulator

Vir­tual real­ity plat­forms saw their first major retail releases in 2016 and they were plenty of excel­lent games to try out with the new hard­ware. Job Sim­u­la­tor was one of the most uni­ver­sally loved titles amongst those released. It is almost always the first thing I boot up to show off vir­tual real­ity to some­one new to the concept.The approach­able nature of this game is sec­ond only to the humor that it exudes in every level. Job Sim­u­la­tor takes the mun­dane con­cepts of work­ing a bor­ing job and makes them hilar­i­ous by rein­ter­pret­ing them from the per­spec­tive of a com­puter who has only read about what they’re like. The result is so deftly exe­cuted that you can’t help but laugh out loud at every job.

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GOTY 2016 | Number 8 — Overwatch

An out­side observer might have expected Over­watch to be sig­nif­i­cantly higher on my game of the year list. The actual truth is that this game exist­ing on my list at all is a tes­ta­ment to how well it does its job. I can count on one hand the num­ber of multiplayer-focused games I’ve got­ten into over the years. Bliz­zard takes any con­cept they work on and pol­ish it to a high sheen and Over­watch is no excep­tion. Not only are the char­ac­ters tons of fun to see and play with, but the whole game feels a lot more friendly and inclu­sive than oth­ers of its kind. It’s easy to get into, dif­fi­cult to mas­ter and cel­e­brates all of the play­ers with­out putting any­one down in the process.

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GOTY 2016 | Number 9 — Zero Time Dilemma

One of the most impres­sive things about my num­ber nine game of the year is that it almost didn’t hap­pen at all. One of my per­sonal favorite visual novel series, the Zero Escape series to be exact, left at a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of its sec­ond entry. Fran­ti­cally won­der­ing when I would get to know the con­clu­sion, I searched only to find that they may not have the fund­ing to release the finale. Thank­fully, with a com­bined effort from Aksys Games and Spike Chun­soft, Zero Time Dilemma was released this year and it was fan­tas­tic. Dou­bling down on the nar­ra­tive hooks that made Virtue’s Last Reward so inter­est­ing, this game had me hooked from start to finish.

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GOTY 2016 | Number 10 — Superhot

One of the first games I ever backed on Kick­starter, Super­hot was def­i­nitely one of the hottest games of 2016 for me. I was sold based on the premise alone, eas­ily spot­ting an awe­some game­play mechanic from its ear­li­est stages. Other games on this list have a clear edge with time spent play­ing, but the state­ment that Super­hot is able to make in the short time it takes to com­plete makes it well worth rec­og­niz­ing. Com­ing up with a truly orig­i­nal idea in a sea of remakes and sequels, Super­hot shines in almost every cat­e­gory and is a true crowd-funding suc­cess story.

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