For gaming, 2016 was truly a year of growth. The AAA space started to evolve in major ways, the indie scene produced some truly interesting gemss, and long-gestating passion projects finally saw the light of day. While there’s still much for developers and publishers to learn in practically every area of design and storytelling, this past year truly felt like a further maturation of this medium we love to get lost in, to lavish praise on, and to sometimes tear apart.
Here sre some of the games that grabbed us in 2016. The ones that pushed us to question what videogames were really capable of, that gave us pause and made us reconsider our standards for what truly great gaming is.
To discover even more of the best multi-platform titles of 2016, pick up the Best of 2016 issue.
(Reviewed by Jed Whitaker)
Overwatch is a very easy to pick up and play. The characters are diverse and just as colourful as the levels where battles take place. Overwatch is an extremely colourful breath of fresh air, in stark contrast to most first person shooters that come out these days. I especially love the character designs as there is truly something for everyone. Want to play as a cowboy? You can do that. A gorilla scientist? Yup. A robot with a bird buddy? Surprisingly yes.
Dark Souls 3
(Reviewed by Brendan Quinn)
With Dark Souls 3 we bid adieu to Lordran (for now anyway) and while it’s not exactly the epic send-off some were hoping for, it’s a fitting end to a series restricted to its own original innovations. Dark Souls 3 goes back to its roots in both story and gameplay, and will certainly help fans wash the bad taste of Dark Souls II out of their mouths.
Watch Dogs 2
(Reviewed by Mike Cosimano)
The code powering Watch Dogs 2 could use some work, but the game itself is excellent and maybe the best open-world game available on current-gen consoles—yes, I’m saying I think Watch Dogs 2 is better than Grand Theft Auto V, if only because it’s a rare example of a big-budget game looking to make a statement. Even more rare, it succeeds by starting with a central thesis and communicating ideas through player action. That it also manages to be a rip-roaring good time is almost irrelevant. You can patch a framerate, but you can’t patch a story or gameplay, and on those fronts Watch Dogs 2 is nigh unimpeachable.
(Reviewed by Cole Watson)
The key ingredient that made me fall in love with the original Dishonored was the land of Dunwall, and the new setting of Karnaca feels even better. Brimming with colourful detail, architecture and even richer lore than the first. Dishonored 2’s world and gameplay feel just as tight and diverse as the original and will still be loved by fans of the original who have been craving for more since the game’s reveal at E3.
(Reviewed by Jordan Biordi)
Doom is a big, goofy action game, it knows what it is, and it does that best. It reminded me that games used to just be fun. It’s a polished and incredibly enjoyable game that blends old-school sensibilities with new-school quality. Doom captures the feeling of nostalgic fun without being cynical. Brutal, intense and incredibly fun.