2016 was by all accounts a pretty fantastic year for games. Unless you're me, because I barely played most of them. So many critically acclaimed games released this year that I just didn't get around to playing, or even buying. Games like DOOM, Inside, Uncharted 4, Hitman, The Witness, Superhot, Firewatch, The Last Guardian, Darkest Dungeon, Hyper Light Drifter, Salt & Sanctuary and a whole bunch of others I'm definitely forgetting. I didn't play a whole lot from this year, but what I did I enjoyed. Here are The Top 10 Games That Are Probably Perfectly Acceptable of 2016:
Street Fighter V
If you know me at all, you'll know that I love me some Street Fighter. Sure, V didn't have a particularly successful launch, and sure, it was (and still is) missing quite a few features, modes and quality-of-life that you would expect out of a modern fighting game... but I still like it. I think (some character model clipping issues aside) that it's a really nice looking game, and I certainly enjoy playing it. I think that Capcom need to fix quite a few things, both in the core gameplay and the things surrounding it, but even in it's currently pretty barebones state, it's the game I've put the most amount of time into in 2016.
Blizzard's latest was that game that reminded me that I still like first-person-shooters. After a few years of getting burnt out on the latest Call of Duty releases, and other similar, modern/near-future military shooters, along comes Overwatch to let me know that the shootan can still be fun. And boy, do I think Overwatch is fun. For a game where me play-time in hours is at three digits, the amount of time I've spent getting annoyed and salty is surprisingly low, especially so when I've payed most of that time solo. I also may have bought a few too many loot boxes...
Hot on the heels of Overwatch is another FPS game to let me know that FPS games can still be awesome. Respawn's first attempt at making a post-Call of Duty shooter was very promising, but lacked a lot of that customisation that keeps you coming back for more. It also lacked a single-player campaign. Titanfall 2, does not, and Titanfall 2's single-player campaign is, perhaps one of the greatest single-player campaigns since these guys made a little game called Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The fact that the multiplayer is still really fantastic (albeit with a few little changes from the first game I'm not a huge fan of) and a bunch of visual customisation, Titfanfall 2 is absolutely the game Titanfall 1 should've been. I just hope it can maintain a healthy player population for more than a few months.
Dark Souls III
I played a decent amount of Dark Souls. I didn't play it to completion, nor come close, but I put a solid chunk of time into it. I didn't play a decent amount of Dark Souls II, in fact I barely played any of that game. I played a lot of Bloodborne. It was one of my favourite games of last year, perhaps even my favourite. Dark Souls III, I played a decent amount of. I played it to completion. It's a game that has clearly come after Bloodborne, but still retains it's identity as Dark Souls. The combat isn't as fast and hectic as Bloodborne, but there are some hints of influence there. The way the game looks as well, with the environments very dense with detail also looks like something informed by FromSoft's previous game. I still think that Bloodborne is my favourite out of all these games, but DSIII is definitely a solid offering.
VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
I adore this game. I adore it so much I wrote my first review in over three years about this game. VA-11 HALL-A is a visual novel through-and-through, but it's not something typical of the likes you see coming out of Japan. It isn't 400 hours long for one thing. There aren't any shoehorned in sex scenes for another. The plot is delightfully small in scope, dealing with a decently sized cast of well realised and fleshed out characters that feel somewhat like real people and not just vaguely anime-shaped pixels on your screen. The player choice is interestingly obtuse, though ultimately doesn't have a whole lot of effect on things. The retro-Snatcher-esque aesthetic is nice and the tunes are banging.
Imagine that there was a guy who really liked Harvest Moon. He liked it so much, but he thought he could do better. Imagine this guy, dreaming of a Harvest Moon game where, not only can you farm, you can do a whole bunch of other stuff. Collecting wood, fishing, mining, hunting monsters, interacting with the locals and forming relationships with them. Well, imagine no longer, because that guy is real and Stardew Valley is that game what he made that is exactly what I just said. It wins the coveted Jeo Dot Me Oh Lemme Just Play One More Day Wait Now It's 6.30am What Award.
You know me. I love Pokémon. A new set of Pokémon games came out, so of course it's going to be on this list. Sun and Moon shake up the formula of these game in the most dramatic way since... well, ever. I mean, you're still a little kid who gets a pokémon from the local professor or whatever and leaves home to go on a journey collecting pokémon and making friends and fighting trainers and stealing their money and all that shit but the overall structure just isn't quite the same as it always is. Pokémon gyms are gone, replaced now with the Island Challenge (the region in these games is a set of islands modelled after Hawaii) where you have to undergo and pass a bunch of trials which consist of a variety of things ranging from different minigames to just "beat this strong pokémon". Sun and Moon shake things up enough to make things feel fresh but still familiar. Also the story, something you don't normally expect too much out of a Pokémon game, is pretty good. The characters are great. Lillie is a cutie.
Seven years after the original visual novel, Steins;Gate 0, the first (and lets be honest, likely only) real sequel is out, and available in English in relatively short order no less! Steins;Gate was a time-travel story and so, the sequel, rather than being an arbitrary continuation of that story, takes place in another worldline (timeline, to grossly simplify things for the uninitiated) from the original, and details a lot of events that allow for the true ending to the original game to come to pass. I can't really go more detailed without spoiling some things, which I don't like to do in these posts, so I won't. I can say however, that if you were a fan of the original, you will undoubtedly enjoy this latest offering. I do have a few somewhat relatively small complaints, and I don't think it matches up to the, quite honestly, 10 out of 10 original game. But those were huge boots to fill, and 0 is still by-and-large, very great.
Guily Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-
Let me say this up front: I am terrible at Guilty Gear. Like, really bad. Capital G Garbage. It's a fighting game that's so far removed from what I'm used to playing (Street Fighter) in terms of movement, options available to you and just the general speed of the gameplay that it kind of overwhelms me. There's a lot to like though: The soundtrack is choc-a-bloc full of ridiculous J-metal; It looks fantastic, they way Arc uses 3D models to emulate sprites is a technical marvel; The character designs are nuts, and not just visually, but from a gameplay standpoint also: There's a character that's basically just a tower-defence game imported into a fighting game. There's another character that fights using pool balls; The single-player offering is plentiful, including a really good tutorial and a bunch of combo trials and missions to help you get a handle on the game. I'll never be as good at this and most anime fighters as I am at Street Fighter (and I'm not even that great at that), but it's hard to not like Guilty Gear. If I may be cliché for a moment: it oozes style.
Final Fantasy XV
I'll admit, I haven't finished Square Enix's latest yet, probably not even close. However, in the 10 or so hours I've put into it so far, I've liked what I've seen, more so than most other modern Final Fantasies I've played. I have pretty much no idea what's going on in terms of actual plot because... the game doesn't really tell you. There's something to be said about the way it just kind of drops you into this large open world with these 4 pretty likeable characters without really giving it a whole lot of context and letting you mostly just do your own thing. The world so far is fun to explore, and there's a looot of sidequests to keep you busy from just beelining the main story quest. The game does a really good job of showing off the personalities of it's main foursome through mostly natural-sounding and enjoyable banter between them as you go about doing your thing. The general consensus seems to be that the game takes a bit of a nose-dive in quality during one of the later chapters, but we'll see how that pans out. I'm only at chapter 4 at the moment, and I've thoroughly enjoyed the time I've spent with Noctis and his similarly silly-named buddies so far.
And so brings us to the end of 2016. Next year should be a fairly interesting one, what with the launch of a new Nintendo console and all. I wonder if I'll play enough to not struggle to put together a top 10 list.