Although we’re coming up to the end of January 2017, I thought I’d let you all know what I thought of 2016. Better late than never, eh?
Last year was a strange one, huge political upsets across the world notwithstanding. Nintendo dropped the Wii U like a stone, set out their aims for the future with the announcement of the Switch and kept the 3DS ticking along with several key releases – all whilst helping in bringing the world the phenomenon of Pokémon Go. Sony and Microsoft, meanwhile, carried on their own paths with the PS4, Vita and Xbox One respectively, boosted by the likes of new Call of Duty and Battlefield titles, Final Fantasy XV and (finally) The Last Guardian.
What were my favourite games of last year, I hear you ask? Scroll on down to find out.
10: Worms: W.M.D
Hey, everybody, Worms is back. Team 17’s golden boy, Worms, has been struggling to find form in recent years, with efforts often trying too hard to innovate. It turns out however, that what the series needed the most, was a return to its roots. Like Revolution before it, Worms: W.M.D doesn’t do much to shake up the formula, but that is no bad thing. With graphics akin to Rayman Origins, weapon crafting and drive-able vehicles, W.M.D is the best Worms game in years, and the best party game on the PS4 or Xbox One.
9: Metroid Prime: Federation Force
For being one of the most hated games of all time, Metroid Prime: Federation Force is really rather good. It’s not a traditional Metroid game, but boy is it fun. It looks fantastic, runs buttery-smooth and carries an eerie atmosphere, all while allowing four players to get in on the action in short but oh so sweet levels across a variety of planets. If even reading someone say they like Federation Force is making you angry, I suggest you actually play the game. You might come away pleasantly surprised. I know I did.
Unravel is beautiful and melancholy in equal measure. Taking Yarny on pleasant strolls through an old woman’s memories is a memorable experience. The folks at Coldwood Interactive crafted a stunning world full of exciting moments, serene images and a lot of quality physics-based puzzles. EA have the ability to completely knock something out of the park every now and then, and Unravel is their best game in years. Essential.
7: Batman: A Telltale Series
Telltale games may have become a tad stale nowadays, but that doesn’t mean their individual quality has gone down. Turning their attention to Batman, Telltale gives us a chance to live in the shoes of Bruce Wayne and the Dark Knight. This is a game full of tension, violence and tough situations, but you are in control. Picking and choosing what Batman, and Bruce Wayne, does and says is a surreal experience, but one that I am relishing. Telltale have definitely still got it, but they do need to work on their graphics engine!
6: Kirby: Planet Robobot
Oh, Kirby, where do I start? Your games are always fun blasts of energy that come in to liven up my days. And this time, following on from the excellent Triple Deluxe, they’ve only gone and given you the chance to enter a Kirby mech. That’s right. Along with all the brilliant power-ups, new ones included, Kirby can enter a big robot that can copy abilities too, as well as completely kick all kinds of arse. Planet Robobot is a gorgeously animated, insanely fun game that’s up there with the best of the series. A 3DS must.
DOOM feels like a classic shooter, through and through. It’s brutally hard, quick and even has armour, ammo and health packs on the floor. It’s an intense experience, sure, but it’s stupidly good fun. Slicing demons in half with your chainsaw, exploring large maps for hidden secrets, punching a head so hard it explodes: It’s all there in DOOM. This is just the singleplayer, too. The game comes with a level creation tool, and a solid online outing that feels like it’s been plucked straight out of Quake III: Arena.
4: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
I love DOOM, but in my opinion, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare just about trumps it. The campaign is classic Call of Duty, full of bombast, cracking set-pieces and dubious characters, and the online is outstanding. The upgraded movement, including jet-packs and wall-running, may be a turn-off for some people, but I love it. The campaign is smarter than older entries, too, with a spaceship to explore, incredible gadgets and even flying space-fighters. The customisation options online and a solid Zombies mode all add up to. Infinite Warfare is quality in every department.
3: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
I loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and so far, Mankind Divided is at least on par. With brilliant stories, where choice is paramount, incredible gameplay and a stunning world to explore, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided demands, and gets, your attention. Mixing the best of Fallout, Splinter Cell and Telltale adventures, Square-Enix have a big ace up their sleeves with this series. I’m only three hours in, but so far, it’s a masterpiece – just as Human Revolution before it.
2: Pokémon Moon
Who knew the Pokémon series needed to be given a fresh coat of paint? Game-Freak, apparently. Pokémon Moon (or Sun, up to you) is as instantly inventive as it is recognisable. Yes, Gyms may be gone, and the grid-based world might be a thing of the past, but walk into a wall, and that sound you know and love plays back at you. This is different, but still wholly and undeniably Pokémon. No matter if you’re a huge fan, or this is your first time, I strongly recommend picking up Pokémon Sun or Moon.
1: Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
Fire Emblem is quickly becoming my favourite Nintendo franchise, and rightly so, they’ve been pumping out like no-one’s business since the surprise hit, Awakening. Employing the same engine as Awakening, Fates offers players a big choice: stay and fight for your adopted family? Or split off and fight for your true family? No matter what you choose, you’re sure for an amazing experience full of fantastic characters, brilliant writing and tense, difficult gameplay. Birthright follows the path of going to fight for your true family, to rid the world of the evil King Garon and is full of crushing moments, tough fights and amazing writing. I’m not sure if this is quite as good as Awakening, but Fire Emblem Fates is one of the best titles on the 3DS, and the best game(s) of 2016.
There you go. My personal top ten videogames of 2016. There were some tough calls, but I had to leave out Trackmania Turbo, Project X Zone 2, Pokkén Tournament and Street Fighter V, which would probably take up ranks 11, 12, 13 and 14 in my list, respectively. I also left out the spectacular Rise of the Tomb Raider, as it’s a 2015 game really, despite the re-release on PS4 last year.
Do you think my list is the ramblings of a mad man? Any games you’d recommend? Have a go in the comments.