2016 has been, to say the least, a pretty crazy year for me. I actually took steps to get to the career I want, I got rejected when I applied, I restructured my efforts, and I started writing on a volunteer basis at another site. If you remember me from a few months ago, you’ll notice that I stopped posting here somewhat abruptly. That’s because I started writing over at That VideoGame Blog where I’ve written editorials, news stories, reviews, and so on. It’s been a great learning experience and I have felt my writing abilities grow significantly in the few months I’ve been there. Here's a compehensive list of everything i've written so far for that site if you are interested in things like that.
I’ve been meaning to write here again, but things have been busy. I try to keep up with school, family, and writing at TVGB that things kind of fall through the cracks. But I’m here now, writing the 2016 version of my very first blog here at Destructoid. So without further ado, here are my personal top 10 games of the year.
Here is my list in a video form if you don't quite feel like reading the whole thing.
Pony Island, One of the first releases of 2016, is an intriguing as all hell game that jam packs twists after twist into a short 2 to 3 hour experience. In Pony Island you are trapped in an arcade cabinet trying to out-hack the devil in his favorite game about ponies blowing kisses to butterflies and jesus. As you strip through the layers of the arcade cabinet, you uncover a backstory to your character and how his soul became trapped in the devils arcade. Pony Island blew all of my expectations out of the water and has made such a strong impression on me that I desperately felt it needed to be included on this list.
The Deadly Tower of Monsters is a fairly standard twin-stick shooter that has possibly one of the best premises I’ve seen in a game. The game is framed as a director’s commentary on a DVD of a cheesy 70’s action movie; complete with discussions on stretched budgets, stop-motion dinosaurs, casting their producers’ cousins, and overworking the poor unnamed/unpaid robot actor. As a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater, the aesthetic of Deadly Tower of Monsters is right up my alley and I loved every minute of it.
Suda51 is one of the most eccentric game developers of our time and he continues to deliver oddball hits like Shadows of the Damned or Lollipop Chainsaw. Let it Die is no exception to that impressive streak of strange. In this free to play game you traverse a deadly tower in search of treasure. In order to do this, you engage in a Dark Souls-esque combat system to hack and slash through mutated enemies and fellow players who have died in the tower; lovingly dubbed “player haters”. To guide you through the tower you have the assistance of good ol’ Uncle Death as well as an insurance company to back up your items in the highly likely chance you die. Let it Die is an oddball with loads of charm and it’s definitely worth a look.
Ahhh Unravel, one of my most anticipated games this year after the wonderful trembly man presentation at E3. This was actually one of the first reviews I have covered in a video; so check that out if you have time. Long story short, this game is beautiful and endearing in the message it presents and tone it delivers throughout.
Black Friday can be hell, even more so when your money infects you with a deadly virus and effectively destroys your city. But that’s the case in Tom Clancy’s The Division, an ambitious third person shooter MMO. You play as a Division Agent in charge of finding a cure for the virus and keeping the city in order. While doing that, you can help civilians, go rogue in the dark zone, or just stick to your missions to gain bigger and better loot. Ubisoft has continually shown that they have interest in keeping this game fresh by providing several expansions and countless balancing patches and bug fixes.
Some stories never get old and Mafia III tells a revenge tale as old as time. Bad guys hurt your family, you hurt bad guys. But it wouldn’t keep in tradition of the Mafia series if this were the climax of the plot. No no, not at all. Mafia III touches on several key social issues on race and inequality in the late 60’s that can still be felt in our modern age. It’s a place that a lot of triple A games don’t shine a light on, but Mafia III does so fantastically. I reviewed Mafia III over at That VideoGame Blog.
Have you ever cooked a meal while screaming at your friends? Have you ever cooked a meal with a raccoon in a wheelchair? Well Overcooked delivers this on all fronts. In this hectic couch co-op game, you are tasked to fill increasingly difficult orders in a variety of map layouts. You could be in a kitchen that gets hit with an earthquake, or is covered in ice, or one that slides at random times. In a time where local co-op is falling out of style, Overcooked delivers a fantastic experience that gives you and your buddies a challenge.
Another game that I reviewed earlier this year makes this list! DOOM was a phenomenal return to form for the series after the divisive Doom 3 as well as the questionable betas that were launched before this game’s release. DOOM shows that you can hold on to nostalgic FPS sensibilities, while also adapting to what has become the norm of the genre in this era. The campaign of Doom is a high-action, fast-paced, gore fest that goes full throttle from start to finish; and is one of the best experiences of the year.
Titanfall 2 has proven to be one of the most addictive games of the year for me. It also gave me a strange fixation with Mountain Dew. Titanfall 2 has a fantastic and varied campaign that rivals my third place finisher, DOOM. What sets Titanfall 2 ahead is how it is able to take the best parts of the campaign and put them to full use in the multiplayer; something DOOM wasn’t able to do. This game controls smooth as butter and gives you an intense sense of speed and skill. It’s what I have always wanted the futuristic Call of Duty games to be. I have reviewed Titanfall 2 over at That VideoGame Blog.
Coming in at my very top spot and taking home the gold is Uncharted 4! Admittedly, I have been a fan of the series since the very first game in 2007, so there may or may not be a bit of bias here. However, don’t let that give you the impression that Uncharted deserves any less than the top spot on this list. Uncharted is a technical marvel. The scenery looks amazing and the character models have went above and beyond anything I’ve seen in a video game. This may be the first video game I’ve played where the subtle, understated facial cues of a character can reveal so much of that characters personality. Uncharted 4 is truly an advancement of storytelling in the medium. So congratulations Naughty Dog, you’ve earned it.