My Top Video Games of 2016

I have some good coding stuff coming up in the next week or so (using Websphere MQ with C# as well as wanting to write some about Xamarin and Unity). But with the New Year and the fact that I love to reflect on video games I’ve played, I wanted to put together a little post about my top 10 games of 2016.

Now, I don’t get a chance to play every single game that comes out. I’m also not a reviewer. These games are just ones that I got a chance to play in this last year (that released in 2016) and are ones I would absolutely recommend to friends who are looking for a specific style of game. The only criteria I have is the game was released in 2016 and I enjoyed it.

#10 MLB The Show 16 (PS4)

At this point I’m expecting people to stop reading. What, a sports game is in your TOP TEN!? Yes, it is, because it’s honestly the best sports game in my opinion. I love this series and they keep making it better every year. I really enjoy the card buying/selling/market you can do to build your own team and play against other people. If you love baseball this game is pretty awesome and I’ll always recommend it to someone who is just looking for a solid sports game to play.

#9 Superhot (PC)

I had so much fun playing this game. I only have 3 hours of play time on this game but it was an incredible 3 hours. That was just their little campaign mode – there is more you can do with the game that I hadn’t even attempted yet but really should go back and do. It feels like a puzzle game with a bit of first person shooter style action to it and it’s really fun trying to figure out the baddest ass way of killing the red dudes. I loved dodging their bullets, hitting them, stealing their weapon, and then shooting them with it. And it’s even more incredible to watch it all in real time after you did it.

#8 Faeria (PC)

This game is now free to play and I heard about it because their marketing team emailed us on Well Met and said their devs listen to our Hearthstone podcast and were fans of the show and were curious if we’d like to try out their game. I decided to give it a shot. I honestly wasn’t expecting much, but the game play was actually really fun. It had familiar elements of Hearthstone in it without the very frustrating factor that can sometimes accompany Hearthstone (mostly RNG pushing games or just highly overpowered cards coming out perfectly on curve for your opponent).

The downside is the game has a really steep learning curve to it and much like Hearthstone, doesn’t feel like you get a lot of power until you get some better cards later on. However, with a limited number of cards I was able to rank up to 15 without any real issue (their ranking system is very similar to Hearthstone). Another downside is it doesn’t nearly have the amount of players that Hearthstone has as was apparent when I was playing people at rank 9 and 10 when I was around 18.

If you like digital card games with a bit of built in turn based strategy, this game is definitely for you and is one I want to dive in a bit more on.

#7 Super Mario Run (iOS)

This is one of two mobile games I’m putting on my list. If you know me well, you know my love for mobile games is pretty low. I really don’t play them a lot and have a hard time getting engaged in them. Most mobile games tend to use the “freemium” model where you pay to unlock to play more and all that crap. I hate that model.

Another problem I have with most mobile games is they’re not normally developed by AAA studios. So here comes Nintendo with Super Mario Run. I love Nintendo and I love Mario – I instantly fell in love with this game. The fact that it’s $10 and unlocks everything I need to play it, even better.

It got a lot of flack for being $10 and having to be always online to play – but neither one of those bothered me at all. Other than Pokemon Go, this is probably the most I have ever put time into a mobile game as I’m slowly trying to get all the special coins on all the levels (a little over half way there!)

#6 Stardew Valley (PC)

This is an indie title that when I first saw it, I figured I would immediately hate it. But because a good friend of mine recommended it and said I would like it, I gave it a shot. I immediately fell in love with the graphics and wish more developers would use the old sprites for their games like this. I just love the retro SNES style look. The game itself will provide hundreds of hours very easily and is pretty open world in what you decide you want to do. This is another game I need to go back to and “finish”.

There’s just something special about games like this where the object is to farm, sell your goods, and build up your little housing area.

#5 Job Simulator (PSVR)

The game itself is really nothing special other than being pretty funny. But this is the game I use whenever I introduce someone to virtual reality for the first time. As a virtual reality game, it is pretty awesome to play around with and a lot of fun to watch people try it out for the first time.

VR is still one of those things that I don’t feel is even remotely close to being fully explored yet for gaming as everything released really feels more like a demo than anything. Job Simulator also feels kind of that way as well, but the environments are fun for people of all ages and really teaches people how to look around, grab a hold of stuff, and interact with their environments in a way that was really never possible before.

I’m really excited to see what will happen with VR in the future now that consumer viable systems are finally available. I love my PSVR and it excites me enough that I’ve been exploring how to develop for it myself.

#4 Overcooked (PS4)

This game could have very easily been my #1. I wanted a co-op game my wife and I could play on the couch together that wasn’t Diablo 3 and this game more than delivered. It was some of the most fun we’ve had outside of playing WoW and Minecraft together in gaming.

The game is very simple but the challenges can also be quite challenging. The game is very puzzle like but requires a LOT of communication between you and your teammates to complete the challenges. We’ve found that even talking through how we’d approach certain levels after getting beat helped a lot, too.

However, it’s not all fun and games. The game can be very aggravating and you might find you yelling at or getting yelled at as you try and work together through the obstacles. But if you’re able to successfully handle that without it getting out of hand, I very highly recommend this game – especially for the price!

#3 Final Fantasy XV (PS4)

Final Fantasy VI has been by far my favorite Final Fantasy game of all time. Runners up to that have been the original Final Fantasy for NES and Final Fantasy VII. The last Final Fantasy I really enjoyed (but never finished) was Final Fantasy X.

I haven’t been overly happy with the series as of late though. I disliked the combat in XII and XIII was just flat out awful. I’ve also had no interest in the MMOs. From seeing XV and how combat worked, I thought I was going to be highly disappointed again.

With that said, I still absolutely hate the combat in FFXV. It’s terrible – the magic system is awful and I’ve been unimpressed with how summoning works. But most of all, I just really hate the combat and wish they would go back to the turn based system that made me love the genre.

However, this is still #3 on my list and is easily my favorite Final Fantasy since VII. In fact, if the combat system was even remotely decent I’d rank it above VII. I love the storyline – I love the world. I love exploring the world and all the little side quests. The characters are all great and I love the little skills they get. The game is just everything I want in a Final Fantasy game… if they would have just done the combat right.

#2 Pokemon Go (iOS, Android)

This is another mobile game on my list and one I no longer play. However, this summer when it came out, the hype was very real. There were times my wife and I would seek out pokestops and gyms on our trips and sit and play for a while. At DragonCon there was 3 pokestops in our hotel and we’d just sit and play what felt like the entire trip.

The effect the game had on the real world was unlike anything we have ever seen before. The game would flat out be amazing if it was built like an actual Pokemon game or had any kind of real gameplay to it other than catching and hatching Pokemon. The battles and the gym system were just straight up awful and if this was a DS game for Nintendo the Pokemon genre would have died it was so bad. However, Augmented Reality feels like the future of mobile game and this is a huge step in the right direction – and because of the popularity of the game and how it affected the real world, it has to be my #2 just because of it’s impact alone.

#1 Overwatch

This one actually really surprised me. I love Blizzard games. Overwatch seemed interesting, but didn’t seem like my kind of game. I don’t play a lot of FPS games and I don’t really enjoy the community surrounding them. I knew I’d play it just for the simple fact that I would be writing about it here and there on BlizzPro – but I didn’t think I’d actually like it – nor did I think I would love it as much as I did.

For a game that doesn’t even have a single player mode, I have hundreds of hours already invested. I love how different all the characters feel. I love the way the game feels and the different strategies. Even when I’m losing (which happens often because I’m old) I still have a blast playing the game. Best of all, the development team has been one of the most responsive I have ever seen from Blizzard and they just keep increasing the bar every couple months. I feel like Overwatch has a lot more to come in 2017 and beyond and it’s easily become one of my favorite games of 2016 and I’d even rank it in my top 10 games of all time right now. That’s how good it is.

Honorable Mentions

So these 2 games I would place in my top 10, but they’re really more expansions than new games. Those would have to be WoW: Legion and the 3 different expansions for Hearthstone that were released this year. Legion easily has WoW in one of the best places it has ever been. Even though I don’t nearly play it as much as I used to, the game is just really solid right now with new content rolling out at a really good pace, something the game has suffered from in the past.

As for Hearthstone, with the release of Whispers of the Old Gods we saw the introduction to the standard format and rotation of sets out of the format each year. This is still the game I play the most of, write about the most, and even do a podcast about – so it would be silly if I didn’t at least mention it!

Games That Could Be Here

Like I said, I didn’t get a chance to play every game of 2016, or even some that I have been interested in but haven’t purchased or have had the time to play. These are very likely to have been in this list if I ever get a chance to play them:

  • Uncharted 4
  • Dark Souls 3
  • Inside
  • Last Guardian (got this for Christmas but haven’t had a chance to play yet!)
  • Battlefield 1

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