Player 2’s Favourite Games of 2016
As the year winds down it is only natural to look back on what conspired in the months past. We have already looked back at our disappointments, surprises and favourite indie titles so now it is finally time to reveal our favourite gaming experiences of 2016. It is important to be aware that this list isn’t a GOTY list, more about what games the writers of Player 2 enjoyed the most. With that in mind, let’s move onto the titles:
Jenn – Fire Emblem Fates
I really wanted Final Fantasy 15 to be my favourite game of the year, but in all honesty, it would have to be the Fire Emblem Fates titles. There were three in the series and I bought and proceeded to play the shit out of each and every one. I sunk more hours into those games than any other title so there’s no other contender this year for me.
James – Dark Souls 3
Hidetaka Miyazaki has been making subversive games for years now, and Dark Souls 3 feels like a culmination of that. It’s precise movement and combat mechanics that make anything else, frankly, feel lazy and sluggish, has been honed and tightened. The Kingdom of Lothric is a lurid and macabre place, but the horror elements in Dark Souls 3 never undermines the gameplay, instead adding to it with its incredible art and character design. The boss challenges are a some of the most difficult I can remember facing, making victory over them all the sweeter. A supremely challenging and gratifying experience almost every step of the way.
Glen – Dark Souls 3
No surprise here Folks, It was, of course, the latest offering from FROM SOFTWARE, the mighty Dark Souls 3 (+DLC). Now I know the Dark Souls series isn’t for everyone, but it just ticks all the boxes for me that I am looking for in a game. Challenging, Richly detailed world and lore and most importantly can be played for a short time or a long time (you know, if the baby stays asleep). The release of the DLC in October was just a cherry on the top of the sweet juicy delicious cake that is Dark Souls 3.
Matt – Xcom 2
Sublime strategy is an understatement when talking about Xcom 2. I adored what Firaxis brought to this turn-based sequel. They took the already excellent original and made a host of subtle and sweeping improvements that made it one of the best games I have ever played. Building a team, taking them on missions, losing them to alien fire, crying, recruiting a new soldier. This is the gameplay loop that will have me hooked for many more years to come. Many think that the Civ series is Firaxis’ crowning achievement but as much as I love that franchise, Xcom 2 steals the crown. A true desert island game.
Stevie – Uncharted 4
If you’re familiar with me at all, you probably won’t need three guesses as to what my favourite game of 2016 is. In my opinion a near perfect blend of gameplay, graphics and narrative (both entertaining and dissonant), Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was just the perfect bookend to the Uncharted series. Using a recipe they’d spent years perfecting, Naughty Dog took the story-telling of the first game, the gameplay of the second, the visuals of the third and then stirred in some new surprises to create a wonderful game I may or may not have already finished four times, for reasons that have nothing to do with Nolan North’s voice acting, so don’t even ask. I’d write more, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t finished it yet (I was going to say those who haven’t played it yet, but I just can’t imagine people like that actually exist).
Stephen – The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
While JRPGS’s used to be my bread and butter during the PSX and PS2 era, the PS3 onwards saw my interest in them decline sharply and it’s been a struggle to finish anything in the genre. Following on from the fantastic Trails in the Sky, Trails of Cold Steel is one of my favourite JRPG’s of the last decade, up there with the Persona series. A compelling story, interesting characters and uncomplicated battle system meant that the 60+ grind-free hours I spent with the game were a pleasure and I can’t wait to dig into the sequel over the Christmas holidays.
Paul – Uncharted 4
I could have told you before 2016 kicked off that I’d be declaring Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End to be the best game of this year. I also would have told you that it would be the best by a considerable margin. So consider my surprise as I played game after game that entered the same stratosphere as Naughty Dog’s latest creation. DOOM, Ratchet & Clank, Inside, and Gears 4 resonated with me on levels far greater than I had expected, making this an extremely difficult choice to make, toss in there the best DLC I’ve ever seen in The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (DLC to my 2015 GOTY) and I’m suddenly loaded with choice. Nathan Drake’s (supposed) final act must get the nod though ahead of all these though. Naughty Dog had mastered the art of the popcorn action game a couple entries ago, so Uncharted 4 represents continued refinement of everything that had already made the previous games great, whilst simultaneously putting the cherry on top of Nate’s story. Incredible action, rollicking set pieces, and a breathtakingly gorgeous world ensure’s that my top gong for 2016 once again goes to Naughty Dog – the best studio in the business at the moment.