The time has come to crown The Game Fanatics’ top 10 games of 2016! At the start of the year, we started publishing our own personal game of the year lists and the results have been tallied and used to create the granddaddy of all GOTY lists. Staff members who did not write a list were also invited to vote and help whittle down the list into a jam-packed top 10.
Without further ado, here are our picks for the top 10 games of 2016 using the highlights from everyone’s personal lists.
Let’s hope 2017 is even better!
WATCH: The Game Fanatics Top 10 Games of 2016
10. The Witness
“I thought long and hard about including The Witness on this list, not because it lacked the qualities, but because it felt almost like a dream that I even played it in the first place. The game starts itself as a standard puzzle-style game until it becomes apparent that you must gain knowledge, of the island and the puzzles themselves, to further unwrap the mysteries of the game.” – Matt
“Sometimes I’d wake up out of a Witness-fueled gaming binge four hours later and surrounded by post-it notes formed into Tetris shapes and think, “I might have a problem.” That’s pretty much how my entire 40 hours with The Witness went and I loved it.” – Ben
“Firewatch was the interactive drama this year that made me hopeful for what video game narrative can be in the future. A truly mature and sobering journey of one man wanting an escape from the complex and emotionally taxing troubles of life– particularly the deteriorating mental state of his wife. Personally, I found it to be a moving and powerful, yet solemn and subtle experience with a lot to say about game narratives from the perspectives of conflict and resolution. Also Turt Reynolds is the best name ever for a turtle and no one can tell me otherwise!” – Tyler
“In my review, I referred to it as the first “Great American Video Game.” In Firewatch, in America, the past is fuel, the present is in flames, and the uncertain future lies in the smoke that rises, obscuring the watchtowers that contain mementos Henry and Delilah left to burn, and leaving only you and what you chose to take away – whether that’s a turtle, a drawing, a camera, or only the truth of what happened below.” – Richard
8. Civilization VI
“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.” – Cameron
“Civilization VI likes to dominate your mind. You’ll spend days thinking of your next turn, plotting out your research and expansion. You’ll try your best to make treaties and not upset your enemies too much.
“There is nothing else, only Civ. The experience draws you in with its strategy and tactics before refusing to let go as you can sense your end goals in sight.” – Jake
7. Watch Dogs 2
“I love the fact that you could take many different approaches to situations and missions. I never stayed consistent. Sometimes I was stealthy and hacking, other times I went in guns blazing through enemies hoping to live when my ammo was gone. The large open world, creative gameplay, and engaging story made Watch Dogs 2 my most surprising pick for my top games of the year.” – Logan
“Ubisoft created something special with this original tech playground…and built on the positive achievements of its predecessor. Watch Dogs 2 delivers a diverse gaming experience that’s fun and inventive. When I say diverse I mean a game that deals with social issues of color and class in the modern era. The fact that I am black, or a person of color for you politically correct folk out there, really made this game hit home for me.” – O’Dell
6. Battlefield 1
“With so many great shooters on the market, Battlefield 1 managed to deliver a solid campaign mode and a tremendous multiplayer suite. Battlefield 1 feels raw, hopeless at times, and incomparably tense especially during the final moments of a Rush match.” – Carlos
“The all-out-war nature of the First World War setting lends perfectly to the hectic madness of Battlefield. There’s enough destructive power in the vehicles, ships, aircraft, and artillery to introduce chaos to any situation, and limits on firearms create focused, class oriented combat.” – Richard
5. Pokémon Sun
“The introduction of regional variants of Pokemon was an inspired addition to the franchise, helping to bring certain undersold Pokemon from older games back into the spotlight. The story mode was a bold diversion from prior installments that added a lot of heart and warmth to a series that could have easily become by the numbers.” – Tyler
“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.” – Cameron
“Pokémon Sun and Moon took everything I loved about the Pokémon series and made it great again. I can go on and on about the new additions and changes, but my point is they are very welcomed. Pokémon Sun and Moon recaptures that magic I felt when I played Pokemon Red as a child, and that’s why it is my game of the year.” – Logan
“[I]t became one of the most satisfying throwbacks to the seminal action series by keeping things simple and focused. Chaotic and exciting gunplay, face-melting visuals optimized to near-perfection, a single-player story that had more going on than necessary, and an absolutely metal re-imagining of the infernal hordes and the iconic Doom Marine made this game a screaming bloody good time.” – Tyler
“This is the game for the old-school crowd who remember booting up DOOM in DOS. This is the game for the modern gamer who is tired of the familiar FPS setting. This is the game that can still bring a smile to my face as my head bobs to the music while playing the campaign. This is the game that I get most excited about and tell everyone, “Seriously, play this game. You won’t regret it.”” – Jake
“This is the design equivalent of driving down the wrong lane of the highway at 90 miles an hour. It is brutal, simple, and ridiculously entertaining – so entertaining, so simple, and so brutal, in fact, that you could almost make the mistake of calling it dumb.
“The correct word for Doom is eloquent. This is the John Wick of video games.” – Richard
“As someone who never really got into the DOOM games of the past, I went in with no expectations. Figured this quasi reboot/sequel would be a good chance to play a DOOM game from start to finish. And oh my lord, what a great decision I made!
“DOOM is fantastic, an absolutely thrilling ride from Mars to Hell and all the bloody guts left behind in my wake. People owe it to themselves to play DOOM at least once.” – Marcus
“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 hearts’ content.” – Cameron
“You don’t have to be good at shooters to play Overwatch and that’s what I love about it. The objective of each game mode is fairly straightforward and the hero pool is amazingly diverse, so diverse that it never lets you feel bored. Each match is different because you never know what characters you’re going to be playing with or against, and it becomes a battle of who can adapt the quickest. So many variables makes it practically endless fun.” – Funké
“Blizzard’s newest IP may just be their best thanks to an accessible playstyle that makes everyone feel like they’re doing something beneficial for their team.
“I could talk on and on about Overwatch, but consider this: I own it on multiple platforms (PC and Xbox One) and I’m also considering getting it for PS4. That’s probably the biggest recommendation of a game I can make.” – Jake
“Blizzard managed to make an online shooter not only fun for hardcore players but welcoming to those who have never before been interested or skillful enough to enjoy them. It’s rare we can say a game is the complete package that nails every aspect of what an online multiplayer game should be, but it feels like Overwatch is as close as you can get to perfection.” – Matt
2. Titanfall 2
“What makes the sequel even better is that Titans feel far more balanced; you’re not an overpowering machine of destruction anymore and often you have to be far more careful than you would on your feet. The result is an online experience that rivals any other shooter on the market.” – Jake
“It also had a really kick-ass single-player campaign! In a landscape where too many high-profile shooters continuously shove spectacle down your throat to keep you amused like a large novelty pair of toy keys, Titanfall 2’s campaign was well-paced and sharp… While I played Titanfall 2 for its online, its campaign has become the new gold standard for modern shooter campaigns.” – Tyler
“It is the unknown quantity of Titanfall 2 that places it this high on the list, and topples the other AAA shooters of the year – the single player story. You’ve heard this before from elsewhere, but it bears repeating – Titanfall 2’s campaign is an actual, legitimate masterpiece. Titanfall 2’s ridiculous “boy meets mech” story shouldn’t end up being legitimately compelling, but here we are – one of the simplest, finest stories told in a shooter in a very, very long time.” – Richard
1. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
“I honestly didn’t think Uncharted 4 could live up to the hype, but I’m human so I’m allowed to be wrong from time to time.” – O’Dell
“Everything about Uncharted 4 was perfect. The story, the gameplay, the graphics, the animation and the attention to detail. This game was the reason I bought my PlayStation 4 and it was worth every penny.” – Logan
“Uncharted 4 is exactly the game people had told me Uncharted was for all these years. I love everything about it from the pacing, to the new stealth mechanics, to the story. Almost every single moment is perfectly executed. … I was glued for the entire ride in a way I never was in the previous entries. Uncharted 4 is unbelievably good and I never thought that be something I’d say.” – Ben
“Uncharted 4 is not only the best game to come out this year, it’s also one of Naughty Dog’s crowning achievements. Oh, did I mention Uncharted 4 made me shed a tear at the end? Because it did, big time, and it was glorious.” – Carlos
“Probably the best ending to a game’s franchise I’ve ever witnessed, Uncharted 4 tugged at my heartstrings and did not let go.” – Marcus