With 2016 thankfully behind us, sleepy January is the perfect time to reflect on the best games of the past year. If you've missed any of these games throughout the year, and who could blame you with the sheer amount of releases last year), this quiet time in the gaming world is the perfect opportunity to catch up.
As with previous Top Ten lists, this is my opinion, so it won't simply be the ten most popular games of 2016 and the list is also in no particular order, number 10 is just as deserving of its place as number 1.
Let me know what your favourite games of 2016 were because I'm sure you won't completely agree with me!
Battlefield 1 Intense trench warfare with incredibly detailed visuals and some of the best sound design in recent gaming memory, Battlefield 1 is one of the best games in the series, and an excellent addition to 2016 and the best Battlefield game since Battlefield 3 in my opinion.
Forza Horizon 3 I’m not much of a racing fan, but the Horizon series is so much fun, it’s impossible not to get sucked in. It genuinely makes you feel like you're there, part of the world, especially as the Drivatar’s use your friends' Gamertags and drive the way they do. The cars look amazing, the open-world gameplay and festival building mechanics work flawlessly, when you combine it all together with a great soundtrack, it’s easy to see why Forza Horizon 2 is the best racing game of last year.
Titanfall 2 I fell in love with Titanfall back in 2014, adding it to my Top Ten games of 2014. Titanfall 2 changes a lot of what I loved about the original, but ultimately for the better, alongside adding in new mechanics, game modes, weapons and Titans to polish the fast moving, parkour formula to a tee.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided I definitely did ask for a Deus Ex: Human Revolution sequel, having completed that game twice when it launched in 2011. Mankind Divided has a slightly weaker plot, but Adam Jensen is still a great character, the voice acting is superb throughout the story and the option to be as lethal or non-lethal as you like gives you plenty of chances to complete the huge and complex map areas. A brilliant futuristic RPG.
Stellaris Paradox Interactive are renowned for huge, complex games like Europa Universalis IV and Crusader Kings 2, both of which I love, so the prospect of bringing that level of strategy to a space-based game immediately got my attention. It’s true the game was buggy and lacked some necessary content on launch, but the game has been patched numerous times since, and even before the patches, the good shines through. Taking your race from one planet to dominating the entire galaxy isn’t easy, but it’s any Star Trek or Star Wars fans’ dream come true, be you good or evil…
Rimworld If you imagine being on board one of your ships in Stellaris while it blows up above a planet, sending you and two other survivors to the surface where you’ve got to survive, that’s the gist of Rimworld. It’s part Minecraft, part Prison Architect, part unforgivingly brutal. Everything might be going ok in your new colony and then suddenly, a band of pirate’s attack, or one of your colonists goes crazy and attacks the others. Each colony turns out completely differently and each time you play you’ll have a new story to tell.
Overwatch I must admit, I absolutely fell in love with Overwatch from the moment I played the beta. The Heroes are each so well designed, balanced and have amazing voice actors. The gameplay is not new and revolutionary, but a combination of ideas from across the shooter genre, tuned to almost perfection. Blizzard have already added two new characters, two new maps and with free seasonal events like the recent Winter Wonderland event which each bring new skins, emotes and temporary game modes, it shows that Overwatch isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Civilization VI Civilization has always been the juggernaut of the strategy world, and although Civ V is great now, it wasn’t the best game upon launch. Thankfully Civ VI had a much better launch, and aside from problems with diplomacy, is a stellar entry to the series and the 4X strategy genre overall. Plus, playing Civ VI lets you jump forward in time in what seems like an instant!
HITMAN There was genuine worry and concern when the next Hitman game was announced as an episodic title with a season pass, and although I still don’t completely love the format of release, it’s hard to deny that each episode is fantastic. Each episode has a huge map with an almost endless array of methods to take out your target. Add to that challenges and timed elusive targets and a decent overarching story and HITMAN more than makes up for the mess that was Absolution.
Planet Coaster If you grew up playing Rollercoaster Tycoon like I did, you’ll be glad to hear that Planet Coaster is essentially the latest and greatest incarnation of it, with some of the leading talent from RC even working on this game. The simulation ends of the game are a little bit light and it can be too easy in that regard, but the level of customisation here is mind boggling. You can simply plop-down pre-made rides and rollercoasters if that’s enough for you, or you can spend hours creating the most detailed Pirates vs Redcoats battle for your Pirate rollercoasters like I did, or go even further and create rides and scenery to upload for others to download and use – it truly is open to whatever you can imagine.