Sean’s Top 10 Games of 2016
Ah Christmas, that time of year where you have so many things to do and so many people to see. So many in fact you don’t get anywhere near enough game time as you’d want for the holiday season. But this isn’t just about Christmas, this is about the latest and greatest from the past 12 months, so on with the list!
10 – Paper Mario Colour Splash
It’d been a while since I properly sat down with a Paper Mario game, and some of the past experiences haven’t been the best *coughs* Sticker Star *coughs*. But that being said as one of the Wii-U’s last first-party titles, what we have been treated to is a vibrant world with the MOST COLOURS OF ANYTHING I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE EVER. Alright, maybe that’s not totally accurate, but the visuals in this game are superb, it has a pretty standard Nintendo story of “Oh noes, the colour has gone, find the giant colour stars to return colour to the kingdom!” with the familiar turn-based battle system with a few new tweaks to boot. By the way, it’s spelt C-O-L-O-U-R, guys!
9 – Uncharted 4
Naughty Dog were always going to struggle with fan-demand for this one. Luckily, what fans were treated to was an incredible ending to the series, that spawned all kinds of interesting fan theories about what actually happened in the jungle. I’m not going to tell you though because I’m not a monster and if you haven’t played it, now you have no excuse. Has that level of intrigue made you want to play it? Good, ’cause you should! It’s a fantastic shooter with a fantastic story with a fantastic ending. Just fantastic!
8 – Quantum Break
What can I say about Quantum Break, except for it took forever to come out and it was all kinds of ballsy in its execution. Imagine playing the game for 2 hours, completing the first chapter of the game and then being treated to a 20 minute live-action episode featuring the same guys that you’ve just been playing. Yeah, it was definitely new to us too. What Remedy actually managed to do was create one of the most unique experiences you’ll ever play in a video game, introducing moral choice in your game-time and then seeing some of the results unfolding in a live-action video. Absolutely worthy of being in this top 10, it was a stellar experience that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Hail Monarch.
7 – Amplitude
Harmonix’s fall-from-grace will always remain as one of my biggest upsets of the past 10 years. Rock Band 4 is good, but not great, and as a huge fan of rhythm games I feared the masters were never going to return. The development team is tiny compared to what it once was and remaking the original PS2 Amplitude game from 2003 wouldn’t have been a problem back in their heyday. That being said, fans had not forgotten about their days of yore and when they set up a Kickstarter to remake the original Amplitude, fans jumped on and funded the hell out of it. What we see this time round is less popular bands and more in-house creations, but this does no way detract from the fact that it is a modern spin on the original game. I think Harmonix, you should take a bow because I know how much you’ve struggled over the past few years, you’ve reignited the spark of your fans from 15 years ago, keep your chin up!
6 – Gears of War 4
When Gears of War Judgment was released, fans thought that it was over for the Gears series. It was a good run whilst it lasted, but it would forever remain in the archives of great games never to return. That is until developers The Coalition decided to remake the original and make a brand new game in the space of 18 months. That was quite the undertaking to start with given that the original was a ground-up remake as opposed to a remastered HD version. Gears 4 didn’t exactly excel at E3 2016 and fans feared that it was going to flop. Luckily that didn’t happen and what we got was a fantastic back-to-roots single player experience and some major overhauls to multiplayer that gave old fans that new fresh Gears smell. Keep an eye on this one, they’ll be doing more in the coming months.
5 – Mafia 3
Mafia 3 has been on the receiving end of some negative reviews, and honestly I do not see their criticisms as all. If you have played Mafia 2, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting yourself in for, and given that Mafia 2 had one of the MOST BONE-CRUSHING ENDINGS OF ALL TIME, you’ll see some familiar faces and nods to the previous game. Think of it as GTA set in the 1960’s with a story that is much much better. And that soundtrack, oh lawdy! Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Aretha Franklin, Status Quo, Dusty Springfield, James Brown to name a few!
4 – The Division
I expected this to be much higher in the list truth be told, but once I’d sunk 80 hours into it that was it, there didn’t feel like much more of a progression to be had. That was until all the tweaks and add-ons that the developers at Ubisoft started making. The overhauls have been so great it feels like a completely different game now, and one that is absolutely worthy of the #4 spot. A developer that listens, is a developer that cares <3
3 – PS4 Pro
*Cue the uproar because it’s not a game*
Yeah yeah, I hear you complaining “But Sean, it’s not a game!” but this is my absolute unsung hero of the past 12 months. Think of it as a PS4.5 in that it does everything a standard PS4 does, but it has the beauty of upscaling (or running native in some cases) full 3840×2160 resolution (4K) and in HDR to boot. Think of HDR as the ability to output a cubic bell-load of extra colours ranging from the darkest darks to the brightest whites. If your game supports HDR, viewing the sun can give you a headache it’s that bright. Tech specs aside, this is an almighty powerful machine, games such as Watch Dogs 2 and Final Fantasy XV can make use of this higher resolution and greater colour scale to deliver the absolute definitive gaming experience. It’s enough to convince some sorry losers (me) to go out and buy a 4KTV. You should though, because the difference is absolutely staggering.
2 – Picross 3D Round 2
When Picross went 3D, I took one look at it and thought ‘It’ll never work’. I wasn’t ready to close the door just yet, so I downloaded the demo off the Nintendo eShop (Seriously, go and do it, it’s free!) and thought it was worth a proper look.
Bought it straight away, lost the next 3 days playing it. Easily in my #2 spot, it’s that good.
1 – Final Fantasy XV
The best 33hrs, 47 minutes and 6 seconds I could ever spend on an RPG. It’s as simple as that. I laughed, I cried, I cared about my team and the world they were in. They took Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii and made it into a fully-fledged AAA title with the might of Square Enix behind it. Believe me when I say that’s not a detriment to Xenoblade Chronicles either, both are in my top 5 JRPGs of all time but FFXV comfortably takes first place by a country mile. Take a bow guys, you’ve done an incredible job with this one. I’ll just casually forget that it took you A SMALL ICE AGE TO MAKE IT.