Ah yes, another year passes by. Gonna be honest-in regards to politics, celebrities dying and random other stuff I’m sure, it’s been a kind of shitty year. In regards to games however, it’s been quite a good year! It’s been a year of D’s and surprises, with games that I wanted being somewhat disappointing and games I didn’t really have interest in kicking all sorts of ass. Here I will put my thoughts to paper, and sum it all up. Also its probably obvious, but if it’s not, this is for games I played this year. Didn’t get around to everything, but I got around to a fair amount of it.
Best Game overall
DOOM is a series that I have no real experience with outside of cultural osmosis-I never played a single game in the franchise except a bit of the third at a friend’s house ages ago. When DOOM was getting close to release most people were expecting a fairly mediocre or bad game-the colors were muted in earlier trailers, id’s last game Rage was pretty disappointing aside from gameplay, the lackluster cover art and the lack of prerelease code-all signs pointed to it being a flop.
As those of you who have interacted with me or seen my review know, it was nowhere near a flop. I purchased this game in June and it’s still on my mind right now-the music, the gameplay, the visuals. No game has ever stuck with me this hard except maybe Fallout 3-it’s crazy to me how much I have it on the brain even this far down the line. Its fast brutal combat is cathartic, its heavy metal soundtrack is intense and makes every fight feel like its going full tilt, the colorful visuals/enemy design is top notch and the combat is so fun as to be almost unparalleled for me. This game is probably the best FPS I have ever played and this year it was my favorite game hands down, and it should be an industry standard.
Most disappointing game of the year
I really was excited for Dishonored 2-even with my excitement being tempered by the loss of the original Outsider voice actor and the return of Corvo and Emily in a similar story set up to the last one, I was willing to give it a try. And for a while I was having fun-but as I noted in my review it all crumbled to dust when I beat the final target and I realized how disappointing the game had been overall. I didn’t want to dislike this game-but the stuttering, PC issues and story just killed it for me and I’m just left shaking my head as I ponder when to replay the original again to try and wash the second’s taste out of my mouth.
Dark Souls 3 was a game I did not expect to be good-the lackluster sequel let me down, and I had seen some concerning elements even if some of the stuff I had seen was pretty neat. Thanks to a certain bemustached CM on Dtoid-*cough* Mike *cough*-, however, I was able to get the game early and cheap. And I fell in love-till the wretched state of the game at release forced me to wait on pushing ahead for a while. It was telling that I still wanted to, despite those issues-and indeed I really liked this game. The graphics are the best they’ve been, it’s obvious that at least parts of the main team have been helping make this one as good as it is and the music is some of the finest in the series. The game has some issues, and I don’t know if I would rate it higher than Dark Souls-but it’s pretty close and some of the designs here are wonderfully grotesque or beautiful. There were things that amazed me in ways I haven’t been by much for a while, beautiful vistas and interesting lore that helped paint a picture of a ruined and dying world. I loved the game, and I’m so very happy that it turned out to be a winner with perhaps the finest final boss in the series.
Best Handheld RPG
Darkest Dungeon is a game I’ve had my eye on for some time-the visuals, the concept and the nightmarish creature design all scream that I should sit up and pay attention so I did. I waited for the game to come to vita, as for Indies it’s my go-to platform and despite some issues I would rate it pretty highly. The visuals, the music, the sound design is all really fun and I look forward to digging more into it as I try to defeat the venerable dungeon in question and restore things to be less shitty in the hamlet than during the horrible onslaught. It’s a good looking game, and there’s nice touches-as your torch goes dark the background sounds get louder and eventually you can hear all sorts of horrible things if its extinguished. It’s a brutal game…perhaps a bit more than it really should be at some points but generally I have a good time with it and I’m going to keep cracking at it till it’s done.
Best MP only game
Killing Floor 2 came out this year as a full release from early access-amusingly the second game on my list to do so this year-and I had some fun with it. Its got surprisingly good looking visuals, the enemy design and strategies one most use to survive on higher difficulties mix up tactics-it is a fun time with lots of classes and ways of dealing with the onslaught. The music is some pretty fun metal that helps with the tone, enemies are relentless and strong, and there’s good class variance for you to figure out what you like before heading into the fray. Horde mode is always a fun mode to play through in most games, and when it’s done this well it makes a meaty experience. Community seems pretty active and I haven’t noticed all that much toxicity-it’s a good time and that’s coming from someone who never plays MP all that much.
Best SP/MP competitive game
Titanfall 2, yet another surprise of this year. I’m going to see about getting a review out for this and…just so many other games-the backlog is real-but yeah this one is a gooden. Released by EA at the worst possible time-sandwiched between Call of Duty and Battlefield 1, I originally missed the game when it first came out. It wasn’t doing super well in sales, and so when black Friday came around it was going for around 20-30 dollars on amazon. Tragic, because it’s really fun game-the gunplay is pretty fast and fluid, with parkour, double jumps and rocket powered slides allowing rapid transit. The SP isn’t a masterpiece of story and drama, but it is a fun ride that I had a good time with and was a story with mostly enjoyable characters. It has some fun mechanics, good gameplay and interesting level design that keeps it fun the whole way through. The MP is ridiculously fun and fast and again, while I normally don’t get into this sort of thing I play bounty hunt with Amna Umen-a pal o mine-on the Dtoid network on PC quite often and it’s a blast to run around and try to get one over on the other team.
Witcher 3 Blood and Wine, while the weaker of The Witcher 3’s DLC packs, is a pretty impressive effort. The map is huge and colorful, the music is pleasant and calm, and there’s so much to do and explore. It’s really pretty impressive how much you’re getting here at the price point, and even if the story is lackluster it’s still an alright tale that gives a wrap up to Geralt’s journey and lays the series to rest. As the end to probably the best game of last year and its series, it’s a solid enough jaunt and I had plenty of fun with it. Colorful, pretty, and full of stuff to do-not better than Hearts of Stone, but that released in 2015 so this will do.
Best Vita game
Dragon Quest builders is fun, and a good relief from some of the more stressful vita games this year…Darkest Dungeon for instance. I still haven’t beaten it, but the writing is charming and amusing as well as the gameplay being mostly solid. There’s room for improvement-I think building could use a bit of fine tuning and convenience features could be a bit better. Also chapter 3 has brought into sharp relief that combat needs to be fixed up a bit so that enemies are easier to attack without taking damage due to getting touched but overall it’s a good take on the Minecraft formula. Advanced things are pretty common and need to be built, there’s a story and characters and overall the design is good-these are all improvements on the formula and I think they are most welcome. The music is good, the design is good, the story has some interesting twists and despite some issues-no co-op or MP?-it’s a charming, fun game that I plan on chewing through. And somehow I doubt its going to only be found on my GOTY list.
Pony Island was a game I had no intention on playing-however Zalno was kind enough to gift me a copy and out of morbid curosity I decided to play it. And I had a lot of fun-its writing and story conceit is a fun one involving the devil and a soul based monetization scheme with all sorts of fourth wall breaks. The glitches are fun, the eerie/lighthearted music and visuals are almost always enjoyable on some level and its overall a pretty fun dive as the game gets more and more into what the core of the matter is with some clever and fun puzzles as the game gets tougher and tougher. Its a fun time, and I'd reccomend it as well as trying to go in somewhat blind.
Best Stealth game
I wasn't expecting much from Deus Ex Mankind divided, given some of the reviews and issues I had been hearing about storywise and microtransaction wise. So I decided to just consider getting it later-lo and behold just a few months later its dropped for the steam winter sale to 20 dollars which...could be worrying in the speed of that. Regardless I finally grabbed the game and dug into it, only to find a game with a ton of polish both gameplay wise and visuals wise. With new experimental augs and some returning favorites the game allows you to keep having fun with its systems while beefing them up a bit more and only improving what needed it for the most part-that being the visuals and gunplay which is actually good now. Additionally non-lethal weapons are actually far better in operation and the level design is nice n meaty. I'll give more thoughts in an upcoming review but despite this games issues I had fun sneaking around and finding solutions to the various puzzles the game put before me. Its far better than I expected and I think its worth a looksie-especialy considering how much more enjoyable it is than that...other stealth game that released this year on this list.
And there it is, my top games of the year! Preciate ya reading, heres to hoping next year is a better one in general and that we get more good games.