It's now 2017 and since we've all had the chance to play video games in 2016, it's time to do what everybody intertubes website does and make a list of all of the video games of 2016 that we think are the #1's. As per usual when I make this topic, you can define your list however you want to. Did you play a game, any game, in 2016? It can go on the list, no matter when it was released, what system it was for, or what kind of game it was. If it was a defining experience for you, it's a #1. Don't forget that for as short as a year feels when it's over, they're surprisingly long where media releases are concerned, so give some love to those games you played earlier in the year.
Here are my #1's:
Best use of Dog
Undertale is popular with a lot of people for a lot of reasons, and I know I'm late to the game on this one, but I finally got around to playing through the game in April of last year. I didn't have the visceral response that a lot of people on the nets have had, but I did enjoy it, and I think it's adorable through and through. I've just never been very good at bullet hell games, and Undertale is no exception. It was so bad that after trying for hours to beat the last boss, I gave up and watched my predicted ending on Youtube. That said, Undertale has the best use of a dog I've ever seen in a game. Here's a spoiler free picture of the moment I'm talking about:
Though most of my playtime was in 2015, most of my dog related play time was this year, and it was ok. I guess.
Best Space Game With Attitude
Space Sims are making a bit of a resurgence in recent years, and most of them are pretty crap. Rebel Galaxy isn't the cure for that, but it is at least pretty fun for 10-20 hours or so until it turns in to an unfortunate slog. That said, those 10-20 hours are really great, and the game is inexpensive, so it all evens out in the end. What Rebel Galaxy does better than most games is making you feel like a bad ass space trucker. Where most space games are loaded with 80s synth and ambient music galore, Rebel Galaxy rocks hard. Turn on your warp drive, start rocking out, and never stop.
No Man's Sky
You know what you did.
Not with a bang but a whimper
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
In this category I'm recognizing a game that has an ending so bad that it retroactively made me hate the entire experience. Yes, this game is 6 years old, but I finally played it last year. It's a shame, because the game starts out with such promise. Excellent animation and well acted characters bring you in to the game, but you stay for the lush, green post-apocalypse New York City. Then about half way through you meet an awful character who won't go away, then you reach one of most mind mindbogglingly bad endings I think I've ever seen in anything. Then you realize that the game had some pretty gross themes all the way through and you hate everything. Oh yeah, and then there's the one and only pre-order bonus (included for free in the PC version, which I played):
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
I really liked this game overall, and I don't mind that the game didn't answer every last question that it asked, but, this game just kind of... ends? There's an overly long voice over by my least liked character that tells you all about your adventures and it's pretty cringe worthy. Didn't stop me from playing the game through a second time, though.
I wish I knew how to quit you
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Seems I'm going to be using this Brokeback Mountain reference to describe my feelings about Skyrim until the end of time. Not even Bethesda's (the parent company, not the developer) rather disgusting attitudes toward review copies and their never ending lawsuits have made me lose interest in playing Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
Even though I have more or less moved on with these games, especially compared to Skyrim, I still booted them up and gave them a hearty play through this year. Damn you Elder Scrolls. Damn you to Oblivion.
Legend of Zelda Award for Being The Legend of Zelda
Because I am OMG hyped for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I decided to replay as many Zelda games as I could last year, and I have mostly succeeded. Thanks to my handy New 3DS, I was able to portably play the first 6 Zelda games, pass on the 7th and 8th, and enjoy the most recent release in the series (A Link Between Worlds). I also put our Wii U to good use by playing The Winder Waker HD. This whole experience really did remind me of what it is I love about these games, especially A Link to the Past and Majora's Mask. Though this spanned 7 games so far, it was easily my most favorite gaming experience of the year as a whole.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild trailers
Game of the Year
Sadly, probably not a game that's going to top too many GOTY lists. That's not a bad thing, really, since there's a lot of good competition this year. But I loved this game. I played through it like 6 times, and that was before any of the expanded content was released. It's an excellent sequel to a game that was already excellent, and it improves on the original in every way. I don't have a lot else to say about it other than that I loved it to bits.
Dishonored 2 is a great game. Like XCOM 2, it improves on the predecessor in almost every way (while oddly still featuring some of the first games narrative shortcomings, but oh well). Had circumstances been different, this might have actually been my GOTY. However, at launch, this game was virtually unplayable on my not really that old hardware. I had 5-10 minute wait times whenever I loaded a new level or save game (and I have an SSD, so this is crazy), and even on the lowest settings I was barely getting 30 FPS gameplay. For a game that's partially about finesse and quick movement, this really didn't work. The patches put out helped tremendously, and allowed me to play through and enjoy the game, but this was unfortunately after my interest had started to wane. I'll have to give it another go eventually, and we'll see how I feel about it then. I guess I really do care, because this blurb is about twice as long as what I wrote for my actual GOTY.