My top games – games we all love to play
So I won’t be picking, like, a #1 favorite or anything like that, but you’ll be able to tell which games I enjoyed a whole lot more than some of the others, I think. And if I sound a bit sick, it’s because I *am* sick. But anyway, let’s get straight to it, starting with… Project Highrise. SimTower fans rejoice! While it’s not quite the same type of tower-building business management sim, the basic concept of SimTower remains. Plan, build and micromanage a skyscraper to your heart’s content. But there’s a clear shift in focus here, where instead of paying so much attention to angry individuals and elevator manipulation, it’s much more about exploring the intricacies of resource allocation for construction and broader tenant management. Combine this with its straightforward modding and all sorts of other cool features that I talked about in my review, and it is well worth the time for SimTower fans and people that just like business management games. Doom! As a lifelong fan of Doom ready to tear this one apart,
I was happily surprised. In what is possibly my favorite game of 2016, Doom is a premium flavor of silly that only comes along every so often. A prime example of how to reboot a series with fresh ideas while remaining faithful to its core values. That is the single-player, at least. And compared to how great that is, the multiplayer was pretty forgettable and unengaging. But other than that, I have so few complaints with Doom 2016 that I can’t help but recommend it at every chance to anyone that likes first-person shooters. Firewatch. Some of the most engaging storytelling and character interaction I’ve seen all year. It’s a simple setup where you play a park ranger in the woods looking out for fires, and there’s another ranger nearby to talk to over a walkie-talkie. But the voice acting, the pacing, and the weirdness that always seems to be looming *just* out of sight made this game a standout favorite of mine. So, maybe it has a polarizing ending that just sort of… ends, but for the type of rather adult story that Firewatch tells, I thought the ending made sense, and I really liked it. Uncharted 4. While it’s on the opposite side of the storytelling spectrum as Firewatch,
Uncharted 4 also has some of the most engaging storytelling and character interaction I’ve seen all year. Naughty Dog has taken things to an area that’s shock-and-awe on the technical level, yet still finds room to flesh out these characters we’ve come to love over the years. The gameplay is largely unchanged and one could understandably argue that the formula has gone a bit stale. But if your playing for the same reasons that you go to see a big-budget popcorn flick in the theater, you are gonna have a good time with this. Planet Coaster. This isn’t just an awesome game compared to the abysmal Roller Coaster Tycoon World released around the same time, it’s an awesome game, period. Planet Coaster picks up right where Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 left off, and seeing as it’s made by the same developer, that makes sense. It’s pretty much the ultimate in 3D theme park sims at the moment. And short of a few qualms I have with finicky item placement and a lack of difficulty, it’s easily the most fun I’ve had with any game of this type in many years now And I– uh, it’s good stuff. Play it.
Carmageddon: Max Damage. The reincarnation of Carmageddon in 2015 left much to be desired in terms of technical aspects and breadth of gameplay options, but thankfully the Max Damage edition now exists, on consoles and PCs. And the gameplay remains positively awesome if expectedly simplistic. Max Damage is a solid entry in the Carmageddon series in my book. And if you’re like me and missed this kind of chaotic immaturity in racing games, this update is well worth a look. Keep in mind that it only runs at 30 FPS on consoles, though, so get it on PC if you can.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. In my opinion, the most enjoyable Civilization game on launch since Civ III. Now that’s not to say it’s perfect, because it’s not, since even with the latest updates, it still has some crappy AI and the interface needs work, among other things, but the changes made to the classic formula are worthwhile. I really enjoy the unstacking of citites and extra strategic planning this introduces. Although there’s a good chance this will turn off certain longtime players, depending on how they played for this long time. But while Civilization VI has its issues, it shows tremendous promise for the future, and I spent more time with this game – both online and offline – than almost any other this year.
Forza Horizon 3. This is up there with Doom as potentially my favorite game of 2016. Forza Horizon 3 is getting dangerously close to my ideal open-world racing game. It’s finally playable on PC, the new Australian maps to explore are fantastic, there are more vehicles and customization options than ever, and the career finally lets you play through it in almost any way you please. All this player-led progression does come at the cost of any real narrative structure. But if your main focus is to screw around with all the cars that *you* want to, and just go nuts without restraint, then Forza Horizon 3 is my recommendaton all day, every day inside.
I’ll admit I wasn’t a big fan of the previous game from these guys, Limbo, so I passed on playing Inside until a few weeks ago. But dang it, I am glad I got around to this because Inside takes similar ideas to Limbo and goes to some delightfully strange and captivating places. I got a very similar vibe to the game Another World, which is one of my all-time favorites, so I could not put this one down until I got to the end. It only took me a little over three hours to finish, and it wasn’t exactly challenging but, wow, was it captivating! And yeah, not only is the whole thing just fantastic up to the end, but the bizarre ending alone is probably worth your money. Certainly was to me!
Watch Dogs 2. As much as I ended up *truly* disliking the first Watch Dogs, I enjoyed the crap out of this sequel. Watch Dogs 2 is the most detailed urban open world I’ve seen so far and it’s actually full of likable main characters and interesting NPCs, instead of a bunch of cardboard cutouts. And yeah, there’s a lot of the jokes and the humor and some of these people that I thought were just gonna *really* get on my nerves, but for some reason, with almost a Saint’s Row kind of vibe going on, it just worked! And unlike the first one, I’ve actually found the gameplay here to be a lot of fun. Imagine that. Well, it is if you play all stealth-like, because the combat and shooting is, once again, just abysmal, But since you play a nerdy hipster hacker type, going stealthy and non-lethal makes sense. And playing that way made Watch Dogs 2 one of my favorites this year.
Job Simulator. The demo for this was one of the first VR games I played on the HTC Vive back in 2015, and the fact that the full version is still one of the best VR experiences, makes me happy to include it as the first virtual reality game on any of my end-of-the-year lists. The idea is simple: select from a number of jobs like office worker, convenience store clerk, mechanic and cook, and then accomplish mundane tasks. Well, at least they would be mundane in theory, but what makes this stand out is the humor not only from the top-notch writing but the emergent silliness that occurs in virtual reality. The number of weird little things you can do simply by reaching out and interacting naturally and playing with the systems involved, is fantastic and I just love this. It’s a must-play for anyone that I’m introducing to VR.
Dishonored 2. Plain and simple, if you liked the first Dishonored and its throwback to the gameplay of Thief, but left wanting more, then you’ve gotta grab this one. And if you weren’t so fond of that one, then this is not gonna change your mind, because it’s pretty much a straight-up continuation of the first game. Almost to a fault, since the changes are minimal enough that it can be hard to tell the two apart sometimes, if you’re playing as Corvo. But you also get the option to play Emily this time, providing some new abilities and unlocking a slightly different narrative. Either way you play through it, though, Dishonored 2 is superb with some of the most memorable and expertly crafted level design I’ve seen in a while.
And finally… Superhot. Ever since I played the seven-day FPS version of this in 2013, I’ve been waiting for the full version to release so I could include it on a best-games-of-the-year list of mine. Because, dude all the statements saying this is one of the most innovative first-person shooters in years– It’s true! All of it! When you move, they move, just like that. Leading to combat strategy game of sorts that has you dancing around bullets and pulling off moves that would be impossible in real time. This is such a cool idea for a game. A real masterwork of depth through simplicity. Well, anyway, that is all for my list of Best Games of 2016. And as always, this is just *my* list, so let me know what *your* list would be in the comments below. I’m curious what I might have missed out on and I’m also curious why you enjoyed some of the games that maybe I played and didn’t like, like Overwatch, Dark Souls III. I dunno, I just can’t get into those kind of things. Never have. And as always.