BEST GAMES OF 2016 (Keenan’s Picks)

I don’t think I have ever been this bombarded with so many games in one year! Although, I feel like I say that every year, this one just feels like it brought a ton of gems! I’m talking games I never thought I would be interested in playing. Now they are some of my all time favorites. 2016 also introduced us to VR! I tried them all out, but ended up going with the Playstation VR  due to property licenses and comfortably. Do any of these new immersive games make the list? Check out the list below!

10. DOOM (Multiplatform) 

This was one game I was real hesitant about before its release. As much as I love Bethesda Softworks, I was not much of a fan of Fallout 4 when it released due to the large amount of hiccups it had on day one. Plus DOOM was not being sent out to reviewers before the games release, which made a lot of us hesitant (Luckily Bethesda has come out and stated that it will no longer send review copies out before a games release). Well rest assure that DOOM was a phenomenal bloody time! The throw backs are all there, it’s polished, controls very well and the multiplayer is just as much fun to play as the story mode!

(I did two Let’s Plays with Lee you can check out here on our Youtube channel!)

9. INSIDE (Xbox)

“First rule of INSIDE. Don’t talk about INSIDE.”
Until now… INSIDE is the long awaited second game from publishers Playdead. You may have played their dark and ambient infused first title, LIMBO. These guys take simple puzzles and add real depth and story to them, while slowly unraveling the games overall mystery. “What am I doing here? What is that? Why is it coming towards me?” These are just a few things you say when you jump into this Microsoft exclusive.*

*Exclusive for now, If anything like LIMBO, it will be on every device in 2017.

8. Dead by Daylight (PC)

I’ve always wanted a recent video game to capture the love I had for classic slasher games like Splatterhouse and Night Trap. Well the developers at Behaviour Interactive must have heard my cries and raised me a few more, (for when I don’t nail those generators).

Dead by Daylight is a pretty simple concept. Pick from six monstrous villains to do some hacking & slashing, or choose from six survivors who can help each other make it through the night…Or not. DbD has a refreshing game play style that keeps things grounded and fun, (match change overs are a breeze!) A quality “hop on/hop off” game. One of my favorite things about DbD are the new characters it has been receiving. Around Halloween, DbD announced that Michael Myers & Laurie Strode from the popular Halloween series was coming to the game. That kept my butt glued to the PC longer than I had anticipated. “You’re telling me I get to run around Haddonfield as Michael Myers!? Sleep is for the weak!”


7. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood (PSVR)

Console release titles can be tricky. Peripheral titles can be even worse! Luckily Until Dawn: Rush of Blood was one of the good ones, and is possibly my favorite intro to VR itself. Rush of Blood feels like a fever dream of the first game. It’s not really a sequel, but it plays around with concepts of the first game. This is an “on-rails shooter” that is down right terrifying! Motion sensor controls with the Playstation Move controllers can get down right janky at times depending how much light is in your room. But for the most part, they are solid. There was a spider infestation level that gave me a damn panic attack, and I’m not even that afraid of spiders… If you are a fan of all things horror, like I am, do yourself a favor and pick this one up!

6. Titanfall 2 (Multiplatform)

In 2014, EA and Respawn released Titanfall to the masses. This was the Xbox One release myself and my Space Dragon colleagues were greatly anticipating. Call of Duty with parkour and Mechs. It can’t fail! While the multiplayer was everything we’d ever wanted, the lack of story and rich history to this interesting new franchise fell flat. Luckily Respawn heard our cries and went to work on Titanfall 2 with a story in mind. This time around the Titans share a bond with their pilots. They take commands and ask questions. This made for one hell of a fun story! I was juggling between this and Gears of War 4 for the number six spot. But in all honesty, Titanfall is just more fun to play and engages the player to take more action, rather than just sitting behind a wall and taking cover. The new titan classes were a great addition, along with the new multiplayer modes including the popular Bounty Hunt. This game easily takes down Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for best shooter of 2016.

5. Final Fantasy XV (Xbox/Playstation)

This game has been in development hell for little over ten years now. It was originally Final Fantasy Versus 13 and within three years of development, plans at Square quickly changed to focus all efforts in releasing Final Fantasy XV and incorporate Versus 13. Time and time again we were shown bits and pieces. When footage of the boys pushing their top down convertible to a cover of Ben E. King’s ‘Stand by Me’ played three E3’s ago, fans were left very confused about entering this new entry into the Final Fantasy universe.

Well the game released this past month and it has been receiving rave reviews! I was definitely hesitant about this title, but decided to give it a shot regardless and I’m loving it! It almost feels more like a love letter to past Final Fantasy games than one itself. The combat system has been upgraded to keep the action flowing. The stats are in your weapons, armor and spells. The game is absolutely beautiful and adds an interesting  day and night cycle to make sure your boys get enough food and rest.

I’m still pushing through this one. But I can assure you that it quickly climbed the charts for me within the first 5 hours of gameplay. With new DLC on the horizon, I don’t think we’ll be putting this one down for a while.

4. Dead Rising 4 (Xbox)

It’s the holidays! And what better way to celebrate them by bashing in the mushy skulls of the undead with non other than Frank West, (He’s covered wars, ya know…)

This is now Capcom Vancouver’s fourth entry into the franchise (the first Dead Rising was developed in Japan) and Frank West’s third full fledged game if you don’t count the fighting games he has appeared in. It was a smart move to bring back West, seeing as he really is the face of the Dead Rising universe.

Dead Rising 4 is set during Christmas and really utilizes the holidays to its advantage, (unlike Arkham Origins.) Other than decorations and randomly placed Christmas trees, we get an entire town and mall decked out! It’s a lot of fun creating special combo weapons themed for the holidays and the epic and sweeping holiday music in your menu is simply perfection. Where a lot of studios try not to center their game around one specific holiday, fearing that nobody will play the rest of the year. Dead Rising embraces this! Who better to do this than Capcom? I’m sure they’ll just release the Dead Rising 4: Off the Record Beach addition come summer 2017 anyway.

3. Firewatch (Multiplatform)

This is one of the games that completely took me by surprise this year. The small team at Campo Santo really made this a love labor project, and it shows.

In Firewatch you play the roll of Henry, a newly appointed park ranger in the tall forest of Yosemite National Park. The other character in the game is Delilah. She is your co-worker who helps you get around the park with your handy dandy radio. Now I know this does not sound like much of a game, but I promise you that the plot thickens like smoke in a forest fire.

Firewatch was directed by Sean Vanaman (The Walking Dead) and artist Olly Moss. If you have not seen Moss’s work, I encourage you to google him right now. You will have that much more appreciation for this beautiful game. Firewatch has been getting a lot of love over the last year, with its unique and down to earth writing style. When I first reviewed this game, I was streaming it and ended up having some of the best interactions with viewers. People wanting to know more and wanting to see how things ended up for our characters. It was a great experience! But things don’t end there. Camp Santo has added a new free roam mode to the game and even more goodies in this years third quarter. Do yourself a favor, on your next day off just play through Firewatch. I promise you will thank me later.


2. Rise of the Tomb Raider (Multiplatform)

When the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition was a free download last year, I knew something big was on the horizon. Square was hot on it’s trail creating another full fledged adventure to throw Lara Croft into. Enter, Rise of the Tomb Raider! A game that is so good, most of you are busy playing, and not talking about it.

Lara has gone through the terrifying trials of the first game and is now somewhat of a seasoned warrior and survivalist. Survival is key in this game. Everything you liked about the first game has been polished and reinvented with easier to play mechanics. One mode I fell in love with was the survivor mode. Lara Croft is dropped off in the middle of a blizzard with no weapons, armor or food. She needs to survive as long as she can. Like in the game “Don’t Starve” as each day passes, the challenges of staying alive escalate. Wildlife starts to appear and they are also looking for food. One cool feature deals with cards that you can attach to your gameplay. Want Lara to have 10x damage deal? Slap on a specific card with a new costume. Want your enemies to be in “Big Head Mode?” Slap another card down. You can only add this at the beginning of your game, so be careful what you pick. There are also cards that deal negative damage, but give you more points in the end for using them. Twitch did an event where viewers could vote on cards mid game. This got messy real quick, but was a lot of fun!

Square has been supporting the hell out of Rise and has been adding DLC almost every other month. One mission in general pits Lara against an ancient witch demon known as the Babayaga. How cool is that? You could honestly buy this game and not play anything else all year long.

1. OVERWATCH (Multiplatform)

I’m going to be honest with you guys. I suck at competitive shooters. Sure I can play them with friends for a while, but they wear out their welcome real quick. You can only be snipped so much and tea bagged until you’re just over them as a casual player. No competitive shooter has ever really grabbed me. I’ve never been big into army garb and stats. Only last year did Star Wars: Battlefront make me say “Ya know what? I’m keeping up with this one.” And that was solely because it was STAR WARS and I was unlocking Scout Trooper outfits and completing Jabba the Hutt’s missions. Well that was good practice for what was coming in a few months.

When I first heard of Overwatch, Blizzcon released a pixar like short film that wrapped you into the world real quick, while also telling you nothing. But through this mini experience, it had heart. It had charm. It had something a lot of games released in 2015 weren’t doing. Just having positive fun! When the game released, friends were instantly divided. You either were a player on the Xbox One, PS4 or the master race. I had a few friends who played on the Xbox so I purchased it for that system. Well I quickly became obsessed! So much so that when my friends were not on, I’d switch over and play on the PC. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a game twice in my life. Blizzard did that. I’m now in talks of buying it a third time to play with my Playstation brethren, (please send help!)

All joking aside, Overwatch has something for everyone. Not good with a gun? Try an electric pulse cannon and jump around like as Winston. Not working out? Help heal your offensive and tank players as Mercy! The options go on and on. Especially when Blizzard keeps things fresh with new characters and maps. Your loot incentives are fun, but get old and tired real quick. Loot is what makes players want to keep playing. Blizzard noticed this and just updated us that we’ll have more room for more emotes and dialogue…which means more loot!

Origins Edition was a great start for the Overwatch legacy and I cannot wait to see what else they have in store for us in 2017. It will take one damn fine multiplayer to pull me away from a game I’ve almost bought three times over. Good luck other multiplayers. You’ll need it.

So there you have it! my top games of 2016 have come to a close. I cannot wait to see what this next year brings with Scorpio and the Switch. New Zelda! Hnnngggg…

Honorable Mentions:

Pokemon Go – You changed the game combining Ingress and nostalgia. I’m close to catching them all. Just hit me up when you release a new update.

Oxnfree – The mystery is out there!

Uncharted 4 – An amazingly beautiful game with a nice wrap up of the series. But I could not remember most of it to save my life. That big angry truck was pretty intense though!

Quantum Break – I really loved this new way of gaming AND watching a series that intertwines with the gameplay. The end boss though was completely broke and made me just want to stop playing. Hey Remedy! Bring back Alan Wake like this.

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