While 2016 might have been a terrible year for politics, celebrity deaths, the environment, migrant populations and Suicide Squad adaptations, it was good in one respect: Games.
From the start of the year we’ve had a succession of incredibly good games this year, many of which might have been overlooked because they were sequels or reboots. We couldn’t possibly list every game we’ve loved this year but we’ve highlighted the two games that have really stood out to us for being excellent, alongside one that stood out for various other reasons.
As always leave your comments below and let us know what your games of 2016 were!
We play a lot of First Person Shooters and this year has been amazing for them. Call of Duty is surprisingly great with an enjoyable (if cheesy) campaign and an admittedly familiar but very addictive multiplayer, Overwatch proved that Blizzard could stretch out into entirely unfamiliar genres and beat the current champs (I’m looking at your Team Fortress) at their own game, Battlefield somehow made World War One fun, which we’re hoping is a good thing, Titanfall 2 added a fantastic campaign while improving everything about the original’s fantastic multiplayer.
But despite all of those phenomenal games, there was one that stood out for us, and surprised us. Doom
Doom is a reboot of the original game and it manages to get the feel of the originals right while completely updating them for the modern gamer. It looks gorgeous, it flows incredibly well (and ran well on all platforms), it’s a decent length, it’s incredibly punishing on higher difficulties, and the soundtrack was amazing. OK so the multiplayer wasn’t so great (although is far more fun than some would have you believe) but they need something to work on improving for Doom II right?
Best Game of 2016
Despite how much we loved Doom, something much closer to my heart finally came out this year, and complete blew me away. It was Roller Coaster Tycoon World, and it was a disaster. Never has a game so completely underwhelmed me at every turn, and I’m the sort of person that downloaded the RCT mobile version while standing at the gate in an airport about to board a plane the second it went live. Rollercoaster Tycoon World was ugly, ran terribly, had barely any realistic rides and made it impossible to make an interesting park.
Thank god for Planet Coaster. If it wasn’t for PC I genuinely think the theme park sim genre would have been killed off, but with the also-excellent-but-not-quite-finished Parkitect around at the same time, we can just forget about RCTW and move on.
Planet Coaster is nearly everything I have ever wanted in a Theme Park Sim and more. You can build terrain up around a coaster easily, there’s nearly every major manufacturer represented (albeit with fake names), there’s fastpass queues and employee management, the guests actually behave a little bit like real people, they’re updating it constantly, and there’s an incredibly active Steam Workshop section where people are making everything so I don’t have to mess it up. It’s a simply incredible game, it looks gorgeous and the devs have already shown how committed they are to free updates with the fantastic Winter Update a few weeks ago.
If you ever had fun with Rollercoaster Tycoon, get the true sequel that was actually made by the same people, get Planet Coaster.
Winner: Planet Coaster
Most Controversial Game
It would be wrong for us to sum up anything about this year without mentioning the game that clearly brought us the biggest audience. We managed to get an early copy of No Man’s Sky from Simply Games and from streaming this we attracted an audience like we’d never seen before. Those first few days (where I was streaming around twenty hours a day) were incredible and I genuinely loved the game all the way through to our final push to the centre of the galaxy, fighting through getting banned from Youtube and Twitch temporarily until we managed to get the stream working on Dingit and made what I believe was the very first video of the end of the game.
Then the game came out, and the first patch it. This had two weird effects. First of all, it changed everything about the game quite dramatically, so our first experience was very different from everyone else’s. Secondly, it started building a snowball of hate once people started pushing the boundaries of the game and realising you didn’t have to push too far to see the old guy behind the curtain.
So (as we said from the very start) mutliplayer wasn’t in the game. Every NPC interaction was completely static and cookie-cutter, the worlds all ended up looking fairly similar, space combat was extremely limited, there was no real ending, crafting was extremely limited. It was a surprisingly shallow game built on some incredible tech. For all the hatred aimed at No Man’s Sky, it’s hard to deny that some of the blame needs to be aimed at Sean Murray for over-promising and refusing to admit what the game really was, but the majority lies at Sony’s feet. They marketed (and priced) No Man’s Sky as an AAA game, rather than an amazing indie title made by 14 people in Guildford. As an indie game, it is an amazing accomplishment, as an AAA game, it’s fairly disappointing.
Hello Games have returned from their long silence and started updating the game and it’s already much better than it was in the Summer. There’s now an incredibly punishing but exciting survival mode. You can buy huge freighters. Space combat is improving. There’s more variety in the types of planets you can see. You can build bases like in Subnautica. The game is genuinely worth the money now and a lot of fun can be had it in.
Whatever you thought of No Man’s Sky over the Summer, it’s definitely caused a great deal of controversy and will likely always be remembered for that. For us it was the start of something new with our Youtube channel and streams and one of the mose exciting weekends we’ve ever had with the site. We met so many awesome people and had a huge amount of fun exploring the galaxy with all of you.
Winner: No Man’s Sky