2016 has been a year of ups and downs. Luckily for those into games, it has been mostly positive, with some of the most anticipated titles finally releasing and some surprises along the way. Here at Marooners’ Rock, we’ve been bringing some great content all year long. We’ve covered some awesome events like PAX East and got to spread the word of some underdog hits.
As the year winds down, now is a time for reflection. For us that means sharing the best games of 2016, at least according to our staff.
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD – Joe Siemsen
There were a number of games I am very interested in playing from 2016 that I didn’t get to play. Games that may have edged this game out of the spot. From what I did play from this year, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD easily takes the top spot. Everything from new models, textures, better rendering, and extra content and gameplay options, this remake did everything you could do for a remake and did it well. Nintendo updated the visuals without changing how the game feels. New gameplay that enhances the experience rather than get in its own way. (Seriously, managing your items and tools or having a map up with the Wii U gamepad is absolutely amazing.) Releasing an exclusive Amiibo, and adding some bonus content to add to the adventure pushed this remake to a new level above others. All of this helped me connect to this game on a level I just didn’t ten years ago when I played it the first time on the Wii and may have taken the crown as my favorite Legend of Zelda game. To learn more about my pick, read our review!
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Josh Pedroza
Unfortunately, it is not too often where a beloved series gives its fans a memorable and satisfying ending. Whether it be TV, film, or video games, endings are never easy. Luckily, Naughty Dog was able to wrap a nice tidy bow on the their epic series. The developers took full advantage of the PS4 and it clearly shows in the visuals. From Scotland to Panama, and even Madagascar, the breathtaking views had me in awe. Let’s not forget the facial animations; characters in video games no longer need only words to display emotions. I was able to fully understand characters’ motivations and feelings thanks to the groundbreaking motion capture.
The combat was smooth and easily the most satisfying of the series. A new easily accessible stealth mechanic was added, giving players options in certain encounters. Each area had creative level design, letting Nathan Drake pull off some insane and stupid moments straight out of a summer blockbuster. The set-pieces were exciting and intense, such as the one of the most exhilarating car chases ever in a video game. As for the story, the series has always been a character driven epic, focusing on the relationships they build on these dangerous journeys. This story concluded the tale of Nathan Drake, giving fans a satisfying sense of closure to one of the beloved characters in video game history.
There were so many good games this year. Everything from AAA titles to indie titles. If I HAD to give GOTY to ONE game it would have to be Overwatch. Out of all the games I have played this year it is the one I consistency go back to and have a great time playing. The community support, continued updates, seasonal events, and competitive seasons offer such replayability.
From Software’s flagship franchise has always shown amazing attention to detail, crafting a challenging and intriguing experience in an incredibly focused way. Dark Souls 3 continued that trend, taking the lessons learned from the masterpiece that was Bloodborne, and applying them into the dark fantasy world of Dark Souls. When Dark Souls 3 launched, I was instantly obsessed, pouring hours upon hours into exploring the game. I avoided every online guide, using only my friends, and only occasionally taking a peek at the strategy guide. Honestly, Dark Souls 3 is most enjoyable when experiencing it with little knowledge about it, which is what made my time with it so special. The game’s mysteries and tight combat continues to beckon me to step back into the role of the Ashen One, death after death; it’s a worthy edition to the franchise and a masterful game.
I’ve been playing Pokemon games since they originally came to the USA and this is the first generation in a very long time to keep my interest well beyond beating the main story. I’ve logged more hours into Sun (at only one month into it existing) than I did anything in the previous generation. The story keeps you wanting to know more. The change-up of the usual progression brought a fresh take on the usual “Gym and League” system. The new Pokemon are not horrible either, bringing 81 new species, as well as a ton of “Alolan” forms of first generation Pokemon. I love the little jokes and prods at long-time fans, like the characters Red and Blue showing up at the Battle Tree. The game felt challenging without being frustrating, then takes it up a couple notches once you beat the game.
Pokemon Sun and Moon also have something you don’t see too often; post-game story depth. For instance, there was an event that opens up in the post-game involving a troop of aging Eevee trainers, each with their specific Eevee-lution. The entire point is to earn a Z-crystal for Eevee and it really isn’t a difficult challenge, but the event is very heartfelt for those that have been playing the games for nearly 20 years.
For me, game of the year was DOOM. It paid tribute to the original, didn’t let the new story get in the way of gameplay, and above is one of the most fun to play games that came out this year.
After fighting in World War 2, Vietnam, modern day, and the 22nd Century; Battlefield went back to “The Great War”, The “War to End All Wars”: World War 1.Battlefield 1 is really two games in one package. The first is a single-player game that puts you in the shoes of soldiers in some of the bloodiest, most intense battles of the war. The stories are dramatic, tense, and frequently heartbreaking. You don’t always feel like a hero, often you just feel desperate, hoping to survive the upcoming engagement.
The second game is the multiplayer that the Battlefield series is known for. Moving back to the bolt-action rifles, early machine-guns, and lethal melee weapons of the period gives the action a slightly slower pace. Fragile biplanes and triplanes weave overhead, battling gravity as much as each other. On the ground, early tanks lumber about, lethal to any who get in their way, but highly vulnerable to grenades, AT guns, and coordinated attacks.
Battlefield 1 has pulled me in like no other Battlefield game since 2006’s Battlefield 2142. I’ll be returning to the trenches and fields of France for quite some time in 2017.
Honestly, Stardew Valley consumed a good solid month of my life. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I first started up the game, but I instantly found myself passionately engrossed in it. This charming RPG-style farming simulator is a nod to the game Harvest Moon and is a highly addictive masterpiece that is simple yet complex. What makes the game simple is that it was designed for anyone to be able to pick up and play without any proper goal. What makes it complex is what all the game allows you to do. Players are given the freedom to do what they want, when they want in their world, and aren’t strapped into a linear story.
It’s so clear that the developer, Eric Barone, poured every inch of his heart and soul into the creation of Stardew Valley. It runs beautifully and I find it fascinating how layered and thoroughly detailed the game is. It is stuffed to the brim with content and packed with a wide variety of short-term and long-term goals for players to achieve on their own time. Everything from the farming, building, crafting, social interactions, quests, and even the music is polished and fleshed out to create a uniquely relaxing and sensational experience that will provide players with hundreds of hours of playtime. I can’t rave about this game enough and that is why it has earned its place as my favorite title of 2016.
Furi – Douglas Spears
I knew this game would be something special from the second I saw it at PAX East. The art style, character design, and music were all unique. The soundtrack I actually bought and listen to frequently. It may not be the longest game (11-12 hours) but if you want to master the fights, you can spend way more time with it. One of the most unique parts of it is that once as you improve your fights and get better rankings, you unlock pieces of the character concept art for that fight. It ended up being the highest ranked game of the year for me, just slightly under a 10 due to a couple of hiccups here and there. If you like a challenge, then why haven’t you picked this game up yet? High difficulty, high reward.
7th Dragon III Code: VFD – Andrew Peggs
Atlus has really been kicking butt this year with games such as 7th Dragon III Code: VFD, Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse and others. (Personally, I’m waiting to play the living heck out of Persona 5 in 2017.) I’ve put hundreds of hours into 7th Dragon III Code: VFD, which could be due to tough bosses and dying a lot or just that I had fun playing when I could sneak in a few hours each day or when I had a free day to sit back and play some games.
If you’re looking for a fun and entertaining RPG that will take some time and lots of grinding you’ll want to check out 7th Dragon III Code: VFD for the Nintendo 3DS as soon as you can.
Conclusion and Reflection
This year, despite all of its ups and downs outside of the gaming space, has been an incredible year for games. We’ve seen the release of games that have had several years of development and awesome indie games pop up out of nowhere. The games each of our writers have chosen are worthwhile experiences for a multitude of reasons, more so than we can put into words sometimes. Yet, there are still a ton of amazing games we may have simply missed out on or didn’t get to spend as much time with them as we’d liked.
Next year may be even better, with VR systems settling in and Nintendo’s next console releasing in March. Surely we’ll find awesome new games next year too! However, its important to remember that even games that are decades old are often worth playing too. Some of these games will continue to live on as classics and we may discover some others along the way.
Either way, video games continues to prove their worth year after year as an artistic medium worthy of praise. Here at Marooners’ Rock, we’ll keep bringing some of the best news, reviews, and features. We shall strive for greatness every single day.
Thank you all for reading and being a part of our humble site. From everyone at Marooners’ Rock, thank you.