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 are 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 virtual reality titles of 2016, pick up the Best of 2016 issue.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
(Reviewed by Melanie Emile)
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is an easy recommendation for horror fans, even more so for those who truly enjoyed Until Dawn. Supermassive Games has managed to recapture the feel of Until Dawn while pulling off a first-person, on-rails shooter, centered around a masked psycho and whatever craziness haunts their mind. This ride is definitely worth the price of admission.
Here They Lie
(Reviewed by Elias Blondeau)
Here They Lie is a joy, then, that it’s not only a great VR title, but a flat-out great game too. The Tangentlemen’s commitment to Lynchian surrealism and Cronenberg-esque body horror has produced one of the more engrossing titles of 2016. Here They Lie is scary and provocative in equal amounts, and features things I’ve never seen done in this medium before.
(Reviewed by Brendan Frye)
Even with its relatively short playtime Rez Infinite is a game that is a must own for PlayStation VR owners, or people who just love this sort of experience. Rez has never looked more mesmerizing or been this fluid. If you skip out on Rez Infinite, you are doing yourself a disservice. Go pick up this game and experience why Rez is a classic for this generation.
(Reviewed by Chris Carter)
It’s weird having played Superhot on PC before I played the virtual reality version, because the latter truly feels like it’s everything it was meant to be. Although it’s only available exclusively on the Oculus Rift, this FPS is unlike anything I’ve played before on the platform, mostly because of the entire premise of “nothing moves unless you do.” What was once a browser game is now a full-on Matrixsimulator, and it’s glorious.Not quote a tech demo but not quite a full adventure, Superhot VR is one of the best virtual reality games you can buy right now.
(Reviewed by Jed Whitaker)
I haven’t found a more satisfying multiplayer experience yet in virtual reality. Chasing a player down while boosting around debris and physically turning your heard towards them to keep track of their location is exhilarating. Finally getting the kill after chasing someone for minutes is so satisfying, as is dodging rockets or escaping a pursuer. EVE: Valkyrie is currently the best multiplayer experience on the Oculus Rift.
Batman: Arkham VR
(Reviewed by Melanie Emile)
Batman: Arkham VR totally immersed me as Batman. Standing on rooftops, gazing upon the landscape of Gotham City and even while snooping around a cold, creepy morgue. The visuals are impressive. The environments felt reminiscent of the dark and gritty world of the comics. The scenes felt fully fleshed out physically, as if I could walk around them like real life. Batman: Arkham VR is a jump forward in gaming. I recommend this to any Batman fan who has the chance to play it.