5. Bravely Second
Few games in recent history launched by industry giant Square-Enix have sold well enough to have “sold well”. In Square’s eyes, anyway. So when Bravely Default released in the U.S. years ago, fans were stunned to find out that Square-Enix, impressed with sales figures, announced Bravely Second, a sequel that would actually make it to the west. Retaining the innovative combat system from Default, Bravely Second builds on the mechanics and world of the first game, while really creating something special. Everything works in Bravely Second, from the hand drawn world, the cutesy sprites, the riveting soundtrack, and the very clever narrative to the battle and system mechanics that made the original popular in the first place. Bravely Second is a sleeper hit of 2016 that deserves a spot on this top 10.
The expectations for Doom were so astronomically high, it’s a miracle that this reboot ever saw the light of day. Yet somehow, someway, Doom managed to not only meet those expectations, but actually exceed them. id Software made sure not to lose any of the heart of soul when reimagining the Doom Marine. The gameplay is fast and arena-based, but plays with modern mechanics. The level design is complex and maze-like, but still simple to navigate. And both the campaign and multiplayer offerings are substantial in content. The community map maker, SnapMap, also offers a near limitless resource of new content. Doom is a shining, blood-soaked example of how to do a reboot.
Dark Souls III marked the culmination of From Software’s brutal medieval fantasy RPG and was a worthy conclusion to the trilogy. Successfully combining the best parts of Dark Souls with elements from the PS4 exclusive, Bloodborne, created one of this year’s most memorable gaming experiences. The graphics are gorgeous, the environments are intricate and well designed, and, unless you’re careful, death awaits around every corner. Most importantly, the boss battles are truly epic. Dark Souls III moved past the boring designs of its predecessor and made each boss a unique experience. Each boss has multiple stages and are incredibly difficult. But all this leads to the most cathartic of experiences when you finally plunge your sword into the monster’s chest and watch it crumble before your eyes. No other game will simultaneously make you intensely happy and ridiculously depressed as Dark Souls III. It’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Blizzard had done it again by adding another major franchise to their repertoire with Overwatch. The fast-paced first person shooter has blown up on the scene this year, offering fans a tactical team vs team experience we’ll still be playing for years to come. If another major title hadn’t been released this year, Overwatch would’ve easily been considered game of the year at this point. The team-based shooter takes a lot of inspiration from previous games like Team Fortress 2, and adds a personality of its own, with 21 playable heroes to choose from (ranging from attackers to support) and a massive backstory decorated with Pixar quality animations. You’ll play many games this year, but I’m while you might stop talking about some of them, Overwatch is one you’ll keep coming back to again and again.