The Top 5 (Really 10) Games of 2016

2016 has proven to be a monumental year for creativity in the video game industry. The indie scene continues to produce wonderfully unique games that challenge what a game is. A lot of fresh ideas were implemented in the Triple-A/Blockbuster titles, which brought a breath of fresh air into the big budget productions.

Graham and Will agree on most things, however we've put together 2 separate Top Fives, as there was surprisingly little overlap, and we get to talk about more games that way! 

Graham's Top Five

5. Titanfall 2 - 2014 saw the release of Titanfall, a multiplayer-only first-person-shooter that mixed human Pilot and Mech (Titan) combat. It's sequel, Titanfall 2, added a fast-paced, adrenaline-rushed, undeniably smart campaign, and polished up some of the multiplayer gameplay. Titanfall 2 does a lot of things well, from movement and locomotion, to a variety of actually fun weapons. Respawn Entertainment has done a great job of taking the best of a variety of FPS games, and seamlessly blending them into a genuinely fun experience. 

4. Doom (2016) - id Software and Bethesda teamed up to reboot the fundamental Doom franchise in which you play as "The Doom Guy," and kick some serious ass. This is an all-out, guns-blazing, frantic shooter that has you dissecting waves of enemies in the most graphic of ways. You're forced to switch weapons on the fly, close in to melee for the finishing blow to regenerate health, and generally destroy each wave as though it was a puzzle. Another smart first person shooter for 2016, Doom is nothing short of exhilarating. 

3. Gwent (Standalone) - For those who remember, Graham nominated Gwent - the card minigame found in The Witcher 3 - as his game of the year for 2015. Much to his delight, CD Projekt Red released a standalone version this year. Consider this a competitor to Hearthstone, Duelyst, and Magic Online. As of this article's publishing date, the game is still in closed beta, however it shows some real promise. The strategy is surprisingly deep, there are a number of different factions you can play - each with their own style of play, and the cards are steeped in Witcher lore. 

2. Superhot - Developed by The Superhot team, this indie FPS uses time in a very unique way. The shtick is that time only moves when you physically move. So a bullet flying toward you will only close that distance if you move in the game world. Each level is essentially a puzzle, pitting you against multiple enemies armed with various weapons. Superhot gives you all the time in the world to plan your next move, allowing you to combo off in ways very similar to the high-speed combat of Hotline Miami. Superhot offers more than just a Matrix Simulator, as the main missions evoke an eerie feeling of being monitored. 

1. Banner Saga 2 - This is a true sequel. Banner Saga is an indie strategy narrative developed by Stoic Studios whose main plot unfolds over three installations. The first game was a unique blend of story-telling, Oregon Trail, and chess. The sequel, Banner Saga 2, improves on its predecessor in every way. The writing is better. The combat is deeper. The characters and level progression is more fleshed out. Banner Saga 2 is an exploration of loss and hope in a world-ending conflict, and it does a wonderful job of immersing you in that world through its unique art style, beautifully haunting music, and deep characters. 

Will's Top Five

. The Witness - A beautifully sculpted puzzler, The Witness brings back fond (and frustrating) memories of Myst and Riven. Designed by Jonathan Blow, this game pushes the envelope on what is and is not a puzzle. At its core, the player is solving dot and line puzzles, but the systems and rules that build on that are amazing. From colours, to sounds, the puzzles become increasingly complex yet somehow manageable. The Witness was oddly soothing to play as well, as the island you are exploring is full of colour and vibrancy. 

4. Titanfall 2 - 2014 saw the release of Titanfall, a multiplayer-only first-person-shooter that mixed human Pilot and Mech (Titan) combat. It's sequel, Titanfall 2, added a fast-paced, adrenaline-rushed, undeniably smart campaign, and polished up some of the multiplayer gameplay. Titanfall 2 does a lot of things well, from movement and locomotion, to a variety of actually fun weapons. Respawn Entertainment has done a great job of taking the best of a variety of FPS games, and seamlessly blending them into a genuinely fun experience. 

3. Banner Saga 2 - This is a true sequel. Banner Saga is an indie strategy narrative developed by Stoic Studios whose main plot unfolds over three installations. The first game was a unique blend of story-telling, Oregon Trail, and chess. The sequel, Banner Saga 2, improves on its predecessor in every way. The writing is better. The combat is deeper. The characters and level progression is more fleshed out. Banner Saga 2 is an exploration of loss and hope in a world-ending conflict, and it does a wonderful job of immersing you in that world through its unique art style, beautifully haunting music, and deep characters. 

2. Stardew Valley - A spiritual successor to the Harvest Moon series, Stardew breathes new life into the stagnating farming genre. Eric Barone, under the pseudonym Concerned Ape, essentially single-handedly created this beautifully calming game. It is highly addictive, and attracts many types of players to its charming world. Don't feel like farming? Forage for produce! Don't feel like foraging? Take a day off and go Fishing! Don't feel like fishing? Grab your sword and bombs and head into the Mine! Stardew offers up a variety of activities to fill the avid farmer's day. Coupled with the social aspects of the game, Stardew Valley will have you managing your virtual time much more often than you do your actual time. 

1. Overwatch - Blizzard Entertainment's version of the ever popular Team Fortress series, Overwatch is a multiplayer, team-based first person shooter. Blizzard saw a genre that had not had much innovation in it for years, yet was still very popular, and set themselves to improving it. Overwatch offers a variety of roles between Offense, Defense, Support, and Tank; the right mix of which improve a team's chances of completing the map's objective. There are a number of game modes, such as casual Quick Match, 3v3 Elimination, and Competitive, which allow for any player of any skill to enjoy the game how they want to. Overwatch does a great job of opening up the FPS genre to people who simply cannot aim, by including characters that are not aim-dependent. Blizzard has hit it out of the park yet again