Staff: Greg's Top 10 Games of 2016

Greg has been the resident computer administrator and technician at Section 9 since it opened in October 2009.

There is no better time to play video games.

2016 may have been a rollercoaster of emotions and events, but the same cannot be said for video game releases. This year offered a multitude of fantastic games from both indie developers and Triple-A powerhouses.

Full disclosure: my platform of choice is PC and the only other platforms that I currently own (and regret owning) are the Wii U and 3DS.

10. Tom Clancy's The Division

Although this game was initially met with criticism, I thoroughly enjoyed romping through the streets of New York with my friends. The entire process of leveling up in The Division with one or two other friends was a blast. The shooting feels great, the cover system works how you want it, and the gadgets add a nice layer to the action and flow of the game. It wasn't until we had hit the end game content where it fell off. Systems weren't fully developed or realized, end game encounters in PVE content felt lacking and left a lot to be desired. Recent patches to the game remedied a good amount of the problems with The Division, but incursion mechanics could use a little more diversity to them.

I really enjoyed my time with it, but I don't think it's a particularly great game (if that makes sense.) If I had played The Division alone it would not have made this list.

9. Ultimate Chicken Horse

Ultimate Chicken Horse is one of the best local multiplayer games I've played in recent time. The theme is instantly accessible to most people and the controls aren't overly complicated. The aesthetic of the game ties perfectly with the overall theme and gameplay. It's almost as much fun to watch as it is to play.

I am the ultimate raccoon.

8. Fire Emblem Fates

Fire Emblem Awakening surprised me a great deal, so much so that it was my favorite game of 2012 (and made me feel like I hadn't wasted my money purchasing a Nintendo 3DS.) Fire Emblem fates takes what Fire Emblem Awakening established and builds onto it adding in new concepts and some quality of life changes such as removing weapon durability. Building up your castle was a nice touch giving you new ways to control your strategies and interact with other characters.

7. Grim Dawn

A Kickstarter game that delivered on its promise; more Titan Quest in a new (and updated) setting. Titan Quest was a Diablo clone that had a lot of nice changes and new systems, although it lacked the Blizzard level of polish and detail. Grim Dawn is proof that playing a thoughtfully designed Action RPG with a couple of friends is still a very enjoyable experience.

6. Doom

The biggest surprise of 2016 to me was that there was a new Doom and it was actually good. It manages to find the perfect balance between evoking the past and blending the new. Doom is still fast, if not faster, giving you new mobility tools to allow for beautifully executed carnage that feels like second nature. A lot of love and understanding of what Doom really is went into development during a time where publishers push unpolished poorly conceived pieces of nostalgia out the door without a second thought.

I also can't quite believe how much I like the Doom marine. Not because I don't think we'd get along, but because he's an actual character. A character that doesn't have any lines. I don't care who you are, getting an audience to care about a character that communicates exclusively in punching science equipment is a monumental achievement." - Drew Scanlon

5. Battlefield 1

I've always been a sucker for Battlefield games since Battlefield 1942 was released in 2002. There's something about how Battlefield blends both infantry and vehicular combat into one immense map that resonates with me. Battlefield 1 is beautiful game set across several expansive and detailed maps, which creates numerous moments of spectacle. Plus the shooting actually feels good for the first time since Battlefield 2.

4. Stardew Valley

I never played Harvest Moon, but I now suspect that I would have really enjoyed it. I had initially bought Stardew Valley with the intention of playing it cooperatively, but since coop wasn't implemented at release (and still isn't) I played through the singleplayer. I wasn't convinced that I would like the game, but after a few hours I couldn't put it down. The idea of having to plan out the hours of my day, learning NPC routines and making sure that you had given everyone gifts for the week seemed tedious at first. This tedium ended up being very satisfying to me, especially some of the tense moments exploring the cave system late at night. On top of all of that Stardew Valley also offers a wonderful soundtrack that fits the seasons perfectly.

Stardew Valley, for the most part, was developed by one single person; a monumental achievement.

3. Overwatch

Blizzard surprised everyone with Overwatch and proved that they can refine and polish any game of any genre that they want. One of the best parts of Overwatch is the varied and well defined cast of characters that you can play as. All of these characters have unique play styles with overlapping mechanics and are most importantly well balanced (usually.)

2. Forza Horizon 3

When I sat down to create a list of 10 games I surprised myself by placing Forza Horizon 3 so high on it. I've always enjoyed racing games, but I want them to be somewhere in the middle of full simulation and arcade racing (there aren't very many.) I look for some of the facets of simulation games such as tuning your car, swapping out parts, and having to use your breaks occasionally. The problem with simulation games is that cars aren't that fun or easy to control at high speeds, especially without any sort of feedback. Forza Horizon 3 offers the perfect balance between simulation and arcade racing set on a immense open world with hundreds of cars. The game is absolutely stunning visually, if you can manage to get it running well on your system. There is something relaxing about just cruising around in a car you'll never own exploring a compressed Australia while listening to Night on Bald Mountain on the radio. Forza has extensive difficulty settings letting you fine tune how the game plays and challenges you.

*Forza Horizon 3 is also the first full Forza game released on PC and I've always been wanted to experience this franchise.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine

Blood and Wine left me with a feeling of emptiness. The same feeling you get when you finish something truly amazing and you know there probably won't be more of it. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was my game of the year for 2015 and also became my favorite game of all time, beating out System Shock 2. Set in a new and foreign land (for the games at least) Blood and Wine adds a plethora of new characters, quests, monsters, items, and more. What makes The Witcher great is the fact that the protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, is a well defined character with existing relationships, personality, and history. Interactions with many other characters throughout the game feel so much more meaningful and endearing because their relationships or history. Blood and Wine brings in more great characters from Geralt's rich and long history for players to learn more about and interact with. The Witcher 3 achieves excellence in every aspect of what makes a good RPG: world building, gameplay, story, and characters.

Honorable Mentions

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Hitman
  • Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
  • Devil Daggers
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • World of Warcraft: Legion
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