As we grow older, leisure time becomes shorter and tastes in games as well. While it was an eventual and hectic year, I did have a moment to check out a few games as time could afford. Here’s my top games of 2016.
5. Rise of the Tomb Raider
I was excited, as well as many other PS4 owners, to play Rise of the Tomb Raider when it made its debut this year and boy, it did not disappoint. Crystal Dynamics (and Nixxes Software) never seems to be satisfied with re-releasing a game as is, so the new gameplay mode additions such as co-op Endurance Mode, Lara’s Nightmare, and a playable VR section of Croft Manor made it all compelling for purchase. For the main adventure, anyone who’s enjoyed puzzle solving and exploration will find a lot to discover. Raiding tombs has never been so rewarding.
Best Moment: Fighting a bear while at the same trying to stave off starvation.
4. Mafia 3
While I discussed in my review of Mafia 3’s many shortcomings in its execution, the premise of open-world espionage and mob revenge tale made it somehow easier to bear. Hangar 13 takes plenty of steps in the right direction, weaving together a compelling tale that juxtaposes with the “building your criminal empire” theme quite well. It also helps that Vito, Mafia 2’s anti hero, makes an appearance – tying together the left behind threads comprising the dark, cerebral Mafia storytelling.
Best Moment: Calling in the terminator hit squad.
3. Pokemon Sun
Game Freak made some fundamental refinements to the copy-paste template used over the years with Pokemon Sun. No hidden machines. No gym leaders. Gaining experience. Everything feels a lot more streamlined this go around and as a result, the feeling of exploring and catching Pokemon is as if I was playing for the very first time back in 1996.
Best Moment: When the wild Pokemon you’re battling calls on an ally to ruin your day.
2. Final Fantasy XV
Considering the hopes, dreams, and cynicism built up over the years, it was a surprise that Final Fantasy XV turned out to be, well good? A kick in the pants indeed. Final Fantasy XV goes back to the basics with a battle system that is fun to play, a story that’s grounded, and a party of four that’s enthralling enough to see their journey through. A decade of waiting, time passing from teengers to adults, perhaps it was the decisive moment when Final Fantasy decided to grow up with us as well.
Best Moment: Going into Altissia for the first time.
1. Uncharted 4
Nathan Drake’s adventure ends on a touching note and Naughty Dog proves its willingness to improve with each successive take, and more recently in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The atmospheric environmental adventure segments from The Last of Us take prominence in between the action-packed set pieces, offering more lighthearted and colorful banter to the narrative. This is a much appreciated addition and shows how committed they are to fleshing out not only its characters but the world they inhabit.
Best Moment: Beating Crash Bandicoot with one life left at the end of the game.