2016 has been one hell of a year! Whether we’re talking big AAA releases or smaller indie titles there has been plenty to keep us busy. And as always its that time of year where we run down our ten best/favourite games so sit back relax and prepare to be in agreement or a fit of rage as we reveal ten through eight in our list…
I spent much of 2016 flip-flopping between pre-ordering myself a PlayStation VR and not, even after going hands-on with the device at Gamescom. In the end though I bit the bullet with RIGS being my first real venture into the world of VR.
After my first handful of matches, RIGS immediately brought to mind flashes of Rocket League. Everything from the arcade-like nature of the whole experience to the team-based focus had me optimistic that this could well be the PlayStation VR’s one to beat. Even the way the game presents its concept as a sport of the future is unique enough to help it stand out.
The idea is simple enough, two teams of three battle it out in nimble-ish mechs equipped with a range of weapons where you’ll be competing in one of three game modes – a standard deathmatch, a basketball-like option where you’ll literally try to throw yourself through a giant hoop or making for the end zone in a Transformers version of the NFL. They’re all great fun and whether you’re taking on randoms over the web or making your way through the game’s surprisingly decent single player campaign.
And of course there’s the VR! While I’m certain the game could easily exist without the feature, physically being inside these machines really does add to the emersion of the whole experience. Being blown up and ejected out of your wreck hundreds of feet in the air at breakneck speeds or going toe to toe with a rival gliding through the air as you unleash a series of rockets and lasers are just a few highlights in a game that is constantly creating new ones.
I constantly found myself taking breaks from other titles to have another quick match in very much the same way I did with Rocket League and it’s tough to complain having another game to do that in 2016.
Every so often a video game comes along that I insist I try with the girlfriend. Sure she plays games occasionally but I would never call her a serious gamer per say so finding the perfect one that we’ll both enjoy is often tough. Step forward Overcooked, a co-operative cooking title that requires fast reactions, even faster thinking and above all else good communication.
Just like cooking in any kitchen (or at least mine) timing is key and just like being in a real kitchen, things can and probably will go horribly wrong. It wouldn’t be entirely surprising to hear screams and shouts of stoves being on fire or dishes needing washing and despite all this we would often make it through in one piece… barely. In fact every mission would often start off with a well thought out plan of action before spiralling into manic chaos. And we both loved Overcooked for that very reason.
If everything went according to plan and we both got our dishes out on time with no major issues it wouldn’t be half the fun it is. Yes we would mess up and yes things might even get a little heated especially with multiple players, but in the end when you finally nail that one service you feel such relief and satisfaction you’re eager to take on the next one.
Cool with a partner and absolute chaos with three of them Overcooked is a prime example of co-operative gameplay done well.
8. TOKYO MIRAGE SESSIONS #FE
This is such a Japanese game. I must have spent most of my time completely perplexed by what was actually unfolding on my screen - the insane colours, the random break-outs into J-Pop or odd talk of dreaming to be a villain in a film… but in the end I absolutely loved Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE it has to be said.
While I would have preferred more Fire Emblem contributions and perhaps a little less Shin Megami Tensei, the final product is one full of mystery and surprise helped by my little to no knowledge of the latter series. The Japanese voice acting feels right and even though I was reading what was being said instead of hearing it, I found myself really enjoying the weird and wonderful storyline as it unfolded.
Then there’s the combat itself. Confusing at first sure but once I’d put in the time and effort to really pay this game the attention it needed I found myself getting much more involved and more importantly much more strategic with my attacks. Challenging at times sure but never unfair and I always appreciate a tough game.
The art style too really impressed with bold pastel colours littering everything from the enemies themselves to the menus and environments. It makes such a welcome change from the usual fantasy-like styles we’ve seen so many times before.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was my biggest gamble of the year. RPGs are never my go to genre and this one in particularly looked like an especially heavy one at that. Perhaps the best compliment I can give this game however is that it has made me eager to try Persona 5 next year. A rare turnaround indeed.
And there we have it! We’ll continue to post the rest of the list throughout the week. In the meantime we’d love to hear your thoughts! Sound off in the comments below!