Monday, January 2, 2017

My Top Video Games of 2016

Another year is over and we're left with more new game releases than we can count. 2016 saw many new options for us to indulge in, covering just about every genre we can think of. That being said, here are my favorite games of 2016 that I played. I'm also going to include some honorable mentions that I have not played, but games my friends loved that came out this year.

My Top 5 Games of the Year (in no particular order):
The Witness
Available on: PC,
PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Developer: Thekla Inc
Publisher: Thekla Inc
Created by:
Jonathan Blow

Initial Release: January 26, 2016

After fully embracing the PC gaming life (and buying a capable tower), The Witness was one of the first games I downloaded to experience on my new machine. I followed the game for most of its development cycle and couldn't wait to get my hands on the creator of Braid's next game. I wasn't let down. The Witness provides a serene environment to explore with mysteries hidden at every corner. Best described as a 1st Person Puzzle/Adventure game, it left me speechless with its aesthetically pleasing surroundings, calming sounds of nature and clever puzzle design. If you love exploration games and using your brain then this one is for you.

Pokémon Sun and Moon
Available on: Nintendo 3DS

Game Freak
Publisher: The Pokémon Company

Release Date: November 18, 2016

I've been a huge Pokémon fan since I was 12 and received a copy of Pokémon Yellow as a gift to play on my Game Boy Color. Ever since that first adventure with my Pikachu by my side, I knew that Nintendo and Game Freak had something special, but little did I know how much sticking power the series would have over the years. Whether I was 12 or in college, I always found something to like about each new version of Pokémon that would come out. Pokémon Sun and Moon is no exception to this and is hands-down one of my favorite Pokémon games of all-time. Some improvements include HM moves being eliminated entirely and a reminder of what moves are effective and ineffective while in battle. Couple this in with an interesting story and the best visuals I've seen in a Pokémon game and you've got one of my top picks of 2016.

Available on: PlayStation 4,
Xbox One, PC (Windows)

Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks 

Release Date: May 13, 2016 

Gamers know Doom as the 1st Person Shooter where, as a space marine, you must take out all the demons of Hell in your pathway before they do the same to you. To survive you must utilize a wide variety of weapons including a chainsaw, rocket launcher, and other moddable guns such as a shotgun and assault rifle. Using quick thinking and an even quicker trigger finger, this game brings back the fond memories of the first two Doom games, while providing an updated take that includes impressive graphics and near flawless gameplay. Look no further than 2016's Doom if you're looking for a fast, satisfying and frantic shooter. Oh yeah the BFG is back too!

Mario Party: Star Rush
Available on: Nintendo 3DS

Developer: Nd Cube
Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date: November 4, 2016

Mario Party is one of my all time favorite game series. I loved the original games on the Nintendo 64 and even the majority of them on the Gamecube, but things started to go south in the Wii releases for Mario and his friends. Mario Party 8, 9 and 10 were all pretty lackluster and somehow lost the magic that I grew to love with the earlier games. Since then I have patiently been waiting for the next great Mario Party title and Mario Party: Star Rush is it. Gone is the traditional everyone take turns and rolls individually format, but also gone is the move as a group mechanic found within the Wii games. Instead we are given a breath of fresh air as every player rolls a dice block at the same time and moves simultaneously within the game board, collecting coins and stars to their hearts content. Mini-games are also abundant and I can happily say that their design is smart and enjoyable, making great use of the 3DS hardware. The best part of Star Rush however is that only one copy of the game is needed for 4 people to play (As long as everyone has their own 3DS!) after downloading a free guest pass. While it isn't without its issues, Mario Party: Star Rush still remains my Multiplayer Game of the Year because it reignited my love of playing games in the same room with my closest friends and family.  

Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC (Windows)

Developer: Playdead
Publisher: Playdead

Initial Release: 
June 29, 2016

Playdead, known as the guys who made Limbo, are back again with their latest effort Inside. Coming out 6 years after Limbo, the game follows the story of a young boy who breaks into a research facility for unknown reasons. Using the same two-dimensional platforming gameplay that was first seen in Limbo, you must control the boy to solve puzzles and avoid being captured by scientists. The whole game has no dialogue, but instead focuses on detailed sound effects and musical cues. One wrong step or move can lead you right to the boy's grisly death. Figuring out why you are there and the motivations of the boy make for a truly engrossing story that can be left up to interpretation. A must-play and a work of art.

Honorable Mentions

Best PS4 Exclusive: 
Best Xbox One Exclusive:

Best Wii U Exclusive:

Best Single Player Experiences:

Best Multiplayer Game:

Best Shooters:

Most Difficult Game:

Biggest Disappointments:
So there you have it, the Top Games of 2016! Do you agree with my list and the honorable mentions? Which games did I leave out that you feel deserve recognition of being great games that came out last year? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Star Fox and No Man's Sky made me so sad. It was a bad year for space games.

    1. I didn't play No Man's Sky, but Star Fox Zero was a disaster. So let down.

    2. great top 5, phil! i agree with alot of these games... except star rush. i was surprised you included that game. also i think titanfall2 is one of the best ps4 games if only it had as much recognition as the original.

    3. Thanks Ahmed! Did you play Star Rush? It's best enjoyed with 3 other people in the same room. The majority of the mini-games I've played are the most enjoyable since probably Mario Party 4. As long as you have the 4 human players, it's great!