2016 may not have been the greatest year in general, but when it came to video games, it was pretty phenomenal and one of the best years to be a gamer in recent memory. In fact, it’s gonna be tough for 2017 to surpass it, but Resident Evil 7 is off to a great start and Breath of the Wild is just around the corner. It wasn’t easy, but let’s get to it. Here are the Top 10 Games of 2016.
10. I am Setsuna
Ah, the beauty of I am Setsuna. When the crew behind I am Setsuna began recruiting employees, they never revealed that behind the tragic RPG was the mega-giant Square-Enix. In doing so, the studio was able to maintain an indie feeling that allowed I am Setsuna to shine where many AAA titles can not. I am Setsuna sent fans of classic RPGs into nostalgia-land with traditional turn based combat and beautifully rendered sprite-like characters. I am Setsuna, in my opinion, offered the best soundtrack of 2016, too, with a piano soundtrack that embodied the themes and emotions of the game. If gamers were looking for a story to remember, I am Setsuna would be one of the best 2016 games to play.
9. The Last Guardian
Fumito Ueda and Japan Studio’s latest (and ridiculously long awaited) title following Ico and the timeless Shadow of the Colossus on the PS2 is by no means a perfect game. The Last Guardian is held back by less than desirable pacing and some big AI problems. Whether the game lives up to the hype after 6 long and agonizing years (part of which we assumed the game was essentially cancelled) is up for discussion. What’s more difficult to deny, however, is the emotional attachment you feel thanks to its two mostly silent protagonists and how the game loves to tug at your heart strings moment after heartbreaking moment, in a way that only video games can, giving us one of the most memorable experiences of 2016.
8. Stardew Valley
We all dream of kicking over our corporate cubicles and moving to an inherited farm to live out the rest of our lives as happy farmers. Well you’re in luck, beloved Indie game Stardew Valley gives you the chance to role-play that exact situation. An adorable 16-bit role-playing game that feels eerily similar to the SNES Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley is exactly what it seems — a farming simulator/RPG. The player must manage the character’s time in order to harvest crops, take care of their grandfather’s farm, cultivate relationships, and just live the simple life. It’s a wonderfully comfortable game that brings people back to the ever-popular Harvest Moon.
While the gameplay seems fairly straightforward, it does not take away from its incredible addictiveness. There’s something about taking care of crops and romancing villagers that is just so relaxing! I’m not the only one who thinks so either. Stardew Valley has sold over 1 million copies and is planned to be released for Nintendo’s Switch console/handheld hybrid. Now you can bring your farm with you wherever you go (like Facebook’s FarmVille but a zillion times better.) There’s something to be said for relaxing RPGs in today’s gaming world. These games have existed for quite some time and definitely have a special place in some people’s hearts (this lady included.) There’s an odd sense of accomplishment one gets when achieving simple tasks and goals in a 16-bit virtual world. Helps to slow down the rest of life for a bit.
7. Final Fantasy XV
How nice is it to see a game that was so mired in development hell it almost died find its way on a top 10 lists of games for any given year? Final Fantasy XV certainly earned its place in our list by paying its dues to longtime Final Fantasy fans and newcomers alike. Featuring one of the largest (it felt that way, anyway) open worlds in video game history, some of the best looking visuals of all time, and content that could keep you busy for over 100 hours (replete with plenty of post-game content), Final Fantasy XV accomplished exactly what it set out to do. With a story that, while not the most memorable of Final Fantasies, holds its own and offers plenty of dark twists and turns, Final Fantasy XV was one of my favorite 2016 releases, and its scores around the globe reflected that.
Another game resurrected from the 90s, Doom took the world by storm and introduced new players to a great old Bethesda game. While Bethesda is better known for their Sci-Fi and Fantasy RPGs, Doom is a first-person shooter with only one objective: survive. You battle demons from hell on Mars as an unnamed marine and continuously glory kill until nothing is left standing. The gameplay, graphics, and single-player campaign are among the reasons why Doom performed so well in 2016. The gameplay and graphics were quick and fluid, allowing a better experience for players. There’s nothing worse than lag when you’re battling demons in space. The visuals were beautiful as well, which is a bit weird to say for a game this graphically violent. The main issue people had with the game was the multi-player mode, which was received as underwhelming by both critics and fans.
Doom was a great game and an even better resurrection of an old 90s game. Old fans and new fans can agree this game is well-deserving of the title “Best Action Game” in 2016.