5. Pokemon Sun & Moon
2016 graced us with yet another fantastic Pokémon game. The newest installment of the series was released this past autumn after the phenomenon of Niantic’s Pokémon Go swept the world. Hundreds of new players joined seasoned Pokémon veterans in the warm isles of Alola. But this Pokémon game felt like a whole new experience to old and new players alike.
The world of Pokémon always centered around a young trainer battling leaders at various gyms in order to become the very best. Every region had their gyms. Every region had their Elite Four. And every region had their team of clichéd bad guys. While the team of baddies stayed pretty consistent in Pokémon Sun & Moon, the rest of the game felt completely different. Instead of gyms, your trainer battled “Totem Pokémon,” “Trial Captains” and Island “Kahunas.” The challenges weren’t the only thing changed either. Pokémon X & Y’s “Pokémon Amie” got a makeover as well. Now known as “Pokémon Refresh,” you have the ability to cure your pokémon of any ailments after battle (as well as brush their fur/feathers/scales/whatever clean.) You can also, of course, feed your pals “pokébeans” that help grow their affection. As is tradition in every game, new pokémon are introduced for the player to catch and trade, but Pokémon Sun & Moon also revive some fan favorites and others (looking at you exeggutor) with a brand new look. These are the “Alolan” versions of Gen 1 pokémon, a gesture appreciated by 90s kids everywhere. The best change to the pokémon though? Probably the fact you can finally fly on a charizard and on any beck and call. Heck, you can even ride a tauros and have it smash through rocks to find treasures.
Pokémon Sun & Moon introduced a whole Pokémon game to fans and they really delivered on the different part. Many old fans tend to get bored of the repetitive nature of Pokémon games, but Pokémon Sun & Moon has successfully ignited the child-like excitement and fervor older Pokémon fans haven’t felt in years.
4. Titanfall 2
Taking home the crown of our FPS Game of the Year, Titanfall 2 re-imagined Titanfall with a successful and highly touted campaign addition, as well as some of the fastest and smoothest mechanics I’ve ever experienced. The multiplayer is an effort from some of the industry’s best designers, and it shows. Titanfall 2 redefined the way multiplayer shooters should work, and its legacy should be remembered for multiplayer shooters to come. Just like Titanfall forced the hands of Call of Duty to jump into enhanced soldiers, I believe Titanfall 2 will force other prominent shooters to change their formula.
From the moment we saw those Pixar quality Overwatch shorts on YouTube, we knew we were about to experience something special. If there is one universal opinion of 2016 that just about everyone can agree with, it’s this: Everyone loves Overwatch. Blizzard’s foray into the first person shooter was more than just a success. Overwatch has firmly planted its place as one of 2016’s greatest games, and one we’re not going to stop playing anytime soon. Whether it’s the diverse cast of characters, its strong online experience that quickly gets you from game to game or seasonal events. Overwatch seems to do everything it set out to do right. Don’t take our word for it (or even the countless game of the year awards it received among critics). Try the game yourself if you haven’t already. It’s gonna be hard not to fall in love with the world, lore, and characters. It may not be our choice for number one, but it gets the play of the game.
What makes Inside stand out is its ability to make you feel; it’s a nightmare come to life, with surreal elements and horrifying moments. As far as gameplay, the puzzles and platforming are a joy: entertaining players without becoming frustrating. And even the most seasoned gamer will feel like they barely scraped by due to the game’s impeccable timing and intelligent AI. The visuals of Inside emphasize the environment, with its attention to detail, and demphasize the people, with its lack of faces. This artistic choices accentuates the fact that you’re continuously venturing into the unknown because the one thing you are familiar with–people–starts to look foreign. The sound design brings this eerie atmosphere to life; each water splash, dog bark, and gunshot is a reminder that you’re always in danger and completely alone. This game disgusts, frightens, and enthralls me all at once: from pulling things off pigs and watching bodies drop from the ceiling to evading an underwater girl cloaked in her own black hair and becoming a sort of experiment yourself. Inside is nothing if not memorable.