Greetings, fellow Game Fanatics! I am Cameron Irby, one of the many writers here on the Game Fanatics. I’m usually in charge of the ICYMI stuff and some of the more recent board game reviews. One of the things we have been planning for a bit here on the site is a series of personal Game of the Year lists. I would like to stress that these are our personal, individual lists. My list will differ from many others, and we will each have some varying opinions on some games.
All of the following are games that I played. That said, allow me to inform you all on some of the rules I have set for my Top 5 Games for 2016. Firstly, I did not add any game I did not play to this list. All of the following are games that I played. Second, I restricted my list to PC, 3DS, and mobile games. There were many brilliant games for every console such as DOOM that could have gone on this list, but I simply do not own any consoles. Lastly, I am taking DLC or expansions into account, as the gaming industry seems to be shifting towards updating their games rather than coming out with an immediate sequel. And now, on with the show!
5. Skyrim: Special Edition
This one might seem like a bit of a cop-out. Skyrim has been out for ages, so why does its rerelease get to be on a GOTY list? Personally, I am okay with rereleases, so long as the developer does something new in addition to it. I had considered Bioshock Remastered, but I realized that it was just the original with a new coat of textures. Skyrim may still be the buggy mess that it was with some upgraded graphics, but Bethesda also made things significantly easier for mod makers (and mod players) by fixing up the game’s code and allowing for bigger and better mods for both PC and consoles.
Let’s ask a different question, then. Why isn’t it higher on the list? Skyrim: SE sadly does not have the critical SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender) mod that enables more unique and fantastical mods that its not-special edition twin brother is capable of. There is also the whole fiasco with Sony only allowing a single gigabyte of mod storage on the PS4, and even then Microsoft only allows for a fraction more. PC users are exempt from most of this, but now the modding community is fractured into even more denominations, as those who refuse to migrate to Skyrim: SE battle against those who are stuck using Bethesda.net and those who want to make Skyrim Special again. Plus, Skyrim: SE could have changed more than a handful of small graphical things. Perhaps SkyUI, one of the most popular mods for the original Skyrim, could have been integrated into the PC release. Maybe the character models could have had a few tweaks. Since they weren’t, I’ll be modding my Skyrim to oblivion.
4. Civilization VI
I’ll start off with my complaints about Civilization VI first. It has an obnoxious obsession with combat compared to Civ V. More passive players will be overwhelmed with the lack of non-aggressive victories. The end-game has a lot of busywork that could have been solved with Civ V’s alert feature (which was later patched into the game last month). Does that make Civilization VI bad? Not at all! In fact, I have a lot of fun playing it.
A lot of Civ fans were worried that VI was going to be a less balanced version of V, but I was surprised that it felt like a different game. Its style, while much less realistic than V, makes the world seem vibrant and colorful, and the new adjustments to combat make warmongering more manageable than before. With more DLC on the horizon, I can expect that Civilization VI will be getting a lot more love in the future, but I’ll give it some affection now by making it my number four pick.
Superhot is the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years. I have no doubt you’ve heard that before, but there is a reason for it. Superhot is a unique puzzle game that focuses on a simple concept: time only moves when you move. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, as time actually slows to a crawl, and things move when your character moves from where they stand or when they act on anything. It sounds easy, and it was at first. Then I got put on an elevator with three different dudes getting ready to gun me down if I didn’t think fast. Odd, having to think quickly about a game that stops time. There are also a bunch of challenge modes to add to your excitement, and I will admit the main story is a tad short for full price. That said, I definitely enjoyed playing Superhot and will likely return to try again in 2017.
2. Pokemon Sun and Moon
Pokemon Sun and Moon made me pick up my 3DS for the first time in a year. Yeah, it has been that long since I wanted to touch the thing! I enjoyed my 3DS, but I found that there were only so many games I was interested in. Fire Emblem Fates looked like fun, but I would have to buy three separate games just to get the full experience. Pokemon SuMo (NOT to be abbreviated as Pokemon S&M) got me excited. I had enjoyed X&Y, and I thought ORAS’s post game was enjoyable for a while, but I couldn’t find a reason to get them back out until SuMo was announced. I was hyped, I was ready, and I was very happy with the final product. The main story was finally good for the first time since Pokemon Black & White, the characters were memorable and well-designed, and the fandom surrounding the game is surprisingly positive. There are hardly any discussions on bad Pokemon designs or “the first games were better” or anything like that because everyone who enjoys Pokemon enjoys SuMo. I do feel like SuMo’s post game is a little lackluster, but I have to admit I’ve still been picking up my 3DS to play it, if only for a moment or two.
Honorable Mention – Pokemon GO
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Today I went to Santa Monica Pier to catch a few Pokémon, thinking I would be one of the few there playing the game… I was wwaayy wrong! There were hundreds upon hundreds of people, all playing on the pier! It was amazing, people jogging up and down, laughing, yelling "I caught it!", and plenty of folks making new friends. What I find amazing is that most of these people would probably just be at home watching TV if this game didn't exist. My favorite past time as a little kid has returned and is actually making people get off their butts and do something! It's a beautiful thing… What are you waiting for people, get out there and catch them all!!! #PokemonGo #Pokemon #Phenomena #VideoGame #AugmentedReality #AR #SantaMonica #Pier
I can appreciate what Pokemon GO did for the gaming world. For a single summer during a year that was not hiding what a dumpster fire it was, the world was united in their passion. We all picked a side, we all battled for supremacy in a (mostly) friendly competition, and we all worked together to find where that Dratini was. While the game’s user base has dropped due to various frustrations, I doubt anyone will forget what a phenomenon it was.
Honorable Mention – Hearthstone: Mean Streets of Gadgetzan
It might be a bit early for this one, as it came out this December, but I think this expansion deserves some praise. After months of stagnation due to the implementation of the Standard format and lackluster sets, the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan provided some much-needed brevity into Hearthstone. There are more viable decks than ever, and it seems like many more will be popping up when the old sets rotate out. It certainly isn’t perfect *coughpiratewarriorcough*, but it does make me want to play just one more game.
Honestly, it feels like Overwatch has been here for more than just seven months. Yet, it was only released in May, and it still persists to be one of the most fun games I’ve played all year. Like Pokemon GO, Overwatch made the summer of 2016 much more fun than it should have been. Unlike Niantic’s outing, however, Blizzard’s Overwatch continues to attract more and more fans while releasing new content, balancing the PC version and console versions of the game separately, and promoting a diverse cast of characters that people around the world can love/hate/ship to their heart’s content. And I mean diverse! How many games can you name that have a cowboy with a robotic arm that speaks with a Southern drawl, a time-travelling British lesbian, a French version of Spiderman’s edgier days, an actual edgelord named Reaper that throws his shotguns away and pulls new ones from… somewhere, and a hyper-intelligent and friendly gorilla that came from the moon and loves peanut butter? I certainly cannot.
I hope you enjoyed my Game of the Year list! If you disagree with my choices, let me know in the comments, and the same applies to if you agreed! I wish I could have played more so I could have added them to my list, but now I’ll have to be content with being a bit behind when 2017 starts. Until then, stick around to the Game Fanatics!