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My favourite games of 2016

2016 is coming to an end, so it’s time to take a look back at all of the games that came our way over the course of the year. We have had some highs, some lows and some surprises this year, so today, I am going to be talking about some of the games I enjoyed the most over the last 12 months. 

To preface this list, I want to point out that these aren’t listed in a particular order. On top of that, there are some games left off simply because I haven’t had a chance to play enough of them.

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Gears of War 4 was on my most anticipated list several months ago and while most Universal Windows Platform games have been poor on PC, Gears 4 broke that trend and knocked it out of the park. The in-game options menu alone puts many other games to shame and as my previous game analysis shows, the game runs like a dream on most GPUs.

The new cast of characters brought in a few more humorous moments compared to past games in the Gears of War series. However, Gears 4 is still packed with action set pieces and gruelling battles, it’s also a fairly good jumping on point for new players, which is especially important for the PC crowd who missed out on Gears 2, 3 and Judgement.

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided arrived towards the end of August and while the game is quite demanding on PC systems, it is also quite the graphical showcase thanks to the new engine. This sequel has been in the making for five years and while it doesn’t stray too far from Human Revolution in terms of core gameplay, a lot of time has been put into building the world this time around.

The scars left on society following the ‘Aug Incident’ remain fresh, leading to plenty of segregation and prejudice in the hub world. As for Adam Jensen’s missions, Mankind Divided focusses on providing player choice and encourages plenty of exploration and experimentation with different power ups. The levels are incredibly well detailed and even some of the side missions are fairly interesting. It’s certainly a game that gives you your money’s worth.

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SuperHot. SuperHot. SuperHot.

This game has been one of my biggest surprises of the year. SuperHot started out as an experimental title that could be played in a web browser, focussing on a core mechanic- time only moves when the player moves. This transforms the faster paced first-person shooter genre into more of a carefully planned puzzle or strategy game. Not only is this a wonderfully fun mechanic, but the final paid version of SuperHot features quite a mind-bending story that is well worth diving into.

If you are looking for a new game to pick up in the Steam Winter Sale, then I would definitely recommend this for your wishlist.

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The Division is perhaps the most unique game on this list because it could slot in as one of my favourite games of the year as well as one of my biggest disappointments. I put around 50 hours into this game after it first launched and while the main story line and initial levelling process was a joy, the end game content was absolutely riddled with bugs. The amount of times I attempted to do my daily missions only to hit a progression halting bug was frustrating to say the least.

Patches came but it seemed that Ubisoft Massive was only interested in updating the game with new content, rather than fixing what was already there. Eventually, The Division’s player count became a shadow of what it once was, forcing Ubisoft to change its tune and prioritise fixing the game over future expansions. This new approach seems to have paid off too, not only are people playing the game again but it is actually working as intended, without any roadblocks to progression.

On top of that, the Underground and Survival expansions are both really fun and offer great ways for players to gear up outside of the Dark Zone/PvP area. The fixes and additional content has prompted me to put an additional 50 hours into The Division, making it one of my most played games of the year in total. If you dropped out of the game earlier this year, it is well worth revisiting and if you never gave it a chance, then you may want to jump in during the sales.

Those are the games that made the biggest impression on me this year but there are some honourable mentions I would like to make:

  • DOOM: This game runs beautifully and plays like a dream. Unfortunately, the multiplayer died out fairly quickly and I haven’t had a chance to complete the campaign. That said, it is a game I definitely want to return to soon.
  • Watch Dogs 2: The original Watch Dogs didn’t blow any minds but the sequel is much improved. The cheesy hacker humour may not be for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed the new cast of characters and overall story. While guns are on offer, I found the game to be more engaging while taking a stealthy approach.
  • Final Fantasy XV: The story might be a little all over the place but Final Fantasy XV has done an excellent job of reinvigorating the franchise. For me, the new combat system is a welcome change from the old turn-based mechanic, the dungeons are awesome and the boss fights are massive. It truly is a Final Fantasy for new and old fans alike.

Unfortunately there were some games I was looking forward to that didn’t make the cut for me. Dishonored 2 had such a poor launch on PC that I have yet to play past the first three levels and unfortunately, South Park: The Fractured But Whole was pushed back to 2017. That said, looking back on it, 2016 brought us some pretty great games.

KitGuru Says: There were some great games released this year and as much as I have enjoyed a lot of the big budget games, I do wish I had made a bit more time for some indies. I would have liked to play Owlboy and Pony Island alongside a few other games. What games have you guys enjoyed the most this year? Are there any titles you perhaps missed but would still like to play?

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