We’re well over a year into doing the whole independent game site thing, and I must say… I’ve played a fuck load of games in that time. Disgusting amounts in fact, and it’s as great as it is daunting. I mean, yeah on paper playing games all day sounds great, but sometimes we have to play games that really suck, and we have to play them long enough to form a justifiable opinion that nobody reads because they just scroll to the score and shrug (but none of you lovely readers do that, right?).
Anyway, I digress, we’re here to talk about the cream of the crop from 2016. Tom has already given you his, and his choices aren’t as garbage as 2015, so I’ll agree with him a lot in this piece. Let’s kick this list off with the honourable mentions in no particular order.
Battlefield 1 – I didn’t really have high hopes for the latest entry into the Battlefield series, Hard Line was very meh and the BF1 trailer looked like it was going to shit all over historical accuracy. However what EA-Dice delivered was a great emotion driven campaign that really portrayed the horrors of war, and a multiplayer that still has me hooked to this day. Sure, there are some things that bug me about the game, but it really is one of the better online shooters I’ve played, and that’s really saying something.
XCOM 2 – For a long time I thought XCOM 2 was going to be my number one pick for 2016, but it did come out right at the beginning of the year, so unfortunately got beaten down into the honourable mentions, but still… what a game! This sci-fi turn based shooter has so much going for it, and it will truly test your nerves. Each decision you make is scrutinised, and mistakes are punished to an extreme, with members of your crew permanently dying should you make dicey calls on the battlefield. Just writing about it now is reminding me of the harrowing final mission… I can’t go through this again!
Looks like history repeats itself. Is it possible for DLC to hit the number one spot? Well considering Witcher 3: Wild Hunt took number one last year and I hadn’t come close to completing it, I’d answer yes. It’s no secret that I’m a massive Witcher fan, I still play the game pretty much every week, chipping away at the hours upon hours of quests. When I’m not doing that I’m reading the books the game is based upon, so yeah, Witcher in general gets a two sworded thumbs up from me.
CD Projekt Red really went all out with Wild Hunt, adding free content and two full length DLC components, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine. Both added enough content to the already rich game to be seen as games in their own right, we’re talking 30+ hours at least of additional content. Which is why I justify including Blood and Wine in this list, it really feels like a new entry into the Witcher series and not just a bolted on extra.
The new map of Toussaint is so different from the Northern Realms shown in Wild Hunt, replacing war torn squalor with lush high fantasy. The main story itself is fantastically written, and the side missions are as strong as ever. Not only did the addition bring with it a whole game’s worth of content, but it also overhauled the map and inventory system from the vanilla version, finessing an already fantastic game. Also probably a good place to sneakily mention that the Gwent standalone game is shaping up nicely from what I’ve played in beta, so let’s see if CD Projekt Red can score a trifecta next year.