2016 Year in Review – Leng’s Top 10 Games

2016 was a strange year in the industry and video games. While it had plenty of highs, it also had plenty of lows. And after another year of playing video games, here’s a listical of my favorite games of the year.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Civilization VI – Just one more turn.
  • Attack on Titan – Everything I want from an AoT game.
  • Superhot – SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT.
  • Final Fantasty XV – Enjoyable for what I played of it, but will wait till the game is “complete.”
  1. Fire Emblem: Fates (Nintendo, Intelligent Systems; 3DS)

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Fire Emblem Awakening was my #1 GOTY for 2012. As enjoyable as Fates was, it also came plagued with issues. Censorship, cutting content, and script changes made that changes entire characters may be petty issues and not effect majority of the people playing the game, but as someone who followed the game since announcement it was a major disappointment.

The release I played was the Japanese release with a fan-translation. It’s the closest I’ll get to the original game. I didn’t care much for being a self-insert character with the story revolving all around myself, but the companions are where I really enjoy the writing as each character grow and interact with each other. Gameplay is enjoyable and tense. Losing a character is devastating (unless you’re one of those reset abusers). All in all, the game with still a Fire Emblem game, an epic tale, brutal unforgiving combat (if you played on Hard/Classic), and lovable/hateable characters.

  1. VA-11 HALL-A (Ysbryd Games, Sukeban Games; Windows [Vita soon])

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It’s 207X, and you’re a bartender doing cyberpunk bartending action. It’s a visual novel, but it also has some gameplay elements; so take it for what it’s worth. It has a lot of stuff that I enjoy: beautiful pixel art, cyberpunk, super chill soundtrack, and waifus. Each character that you interact with are fun interesting characters from different backgrounds that paint more and more of this dystopian future. All in all, it’s not a game for everyone. It doesn’t shy away from mature themes of sexuality or the inevitable future of robot waifus. But if that is your cup of tea, kick back and grab something to drink. It’s going to get comfy.

  1. Stardew Valley (Chucklefish Games, ConcernedApe; Windows, OS X, Linux, PS4, XB1, Switch)

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As with VA-11 HALL-A, Stardew Valley is comfy. Being an avid fan of the Harvest Moon/Story of Season series, Stardew Valley was an instant hit. The pixel art a reminder of the best Harvest Moon, Friends of Mineral Town, combined with the soothing soundtrack is absolutely comfy. The townspeople are fun, the bachelors and bachelorettes are great in their own rights, filling a trope for just about anyone playing. Seeing your farm grow as you play is rewarding, from a field overran by weed, trees, and rocks, to your perfect little farm. Grab a blanket and cocoa (or tea or coffee), it’s time to get even comfier.

  1. LET IT DIE (GungHo Online Entertainment Inc, Grasshopper Manufacture; PS4)

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When you see a Grasshopper game, you know it’s a Grasshopper game. Their game has that style and aesthetics you can’t find anywhere else. LET IT DIE being their newest games, is definitely not an exception. Being a F2P game, there are micro transactions in form of a premium currency, Death Medals, and Express Passes. Death Medals allow you to instantly revive in the game or expand your storage and an Express Pass allows you to ride a premium elevator as you make your ascension in the Tower of Barb (regular elevator rides cost Kill Coins, the in-game currency) and raid other players Waiting Room with no entry fee. It is the example of when you take the mobile F2P model, but make an actual game out of it.

But why is a F2P game in my Top 10? It’s punishing. It’s rewarding. It’s addicting. It is definitely not an easy game to get into. There are a lot of mechanics to learn, and it’s going to take patients. You’re going to die. You’re going to die a lot. You’re going to grind. You’re going to grind a lot. Log in everyday and receive your log in rewards. The game offers the premium currency a plenty. Protip: Don’t use them to revive until you’re much higher like Floor 30+. If you enjoy the game, throw the dev and publisher some money. I sure did. (I also needed more storage space.)

Also, Uncle Death’s the best.

  1. Shin Megami Tensei 4: Apocalypse (Atlus, Atlus; 3DS)/Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (Bandai Namco Entertainment, Media Vision; PS4, Vita)

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SMT4A and Cyber Sleuth share spot #6. That’s probably cheating, but Cyber Sleuth is essentially a SMT game with a Digimon skin on top of it, that said Digimon is cool.

You collect demons/Digimon, train them, grow them, battle with them. It’s a grind, and you get cool strong demons/Digimon to use for your team. Story is engaging enough to keep you involved. That said, Apocalypse has several tropey characters that I don’t care for in a main line SMT game.

  1. Monster Hunter Generation (Capcom, Capcom; 3DS)

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It’s a Monster Hunter game. You hunt a monsters. You make weapons and armors out of them. You use those armor and weapon to hunt bigger monsters. You make weapons and armors out of them. You use those armor and weapon to hunt BIG monsters. You make weapons and armors out of them. You use those armor and weapon to hunt giant monsters. You make weapons and armor out of them. You use those armor and weapon to hunt even more monsters. 10/10 git gud

  1. Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment, Blizzard Entertainment; Windows, PS4, XB1)

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I haven’t enjoyed a multiplayer shooter this much since my days of playing Team Fortress 2. That said, Overwatch is what I enjoyed about Team Fortress 2 before it went F2P and everyone on the server I played on left. It’s not a twitch shooter like the “realistic” shooters. It has a strong sense of style. The characters stand out from one another. Each characters plays differently playing different roles. I don’t have to be the best aimer, but I can still contribute to the team effort.

  1. Pokemon Sun/Moon (The Pokemon Company, Game Freak; 3DS)

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The games are not without flaws. The game holds your hand way too much. There are too many unskippable cutscenes. Many of the opposing Pokemon don’t even have 4 moves, even in the late game. Hau, is a mediocre/bland rival whose starter is weak against yours. Pew. You always making =^) face no matter the situation while everyone else has varied of facial expression. No National Dex. Aside from Nilihego, the Ultra Beast serve no purposes and sectioned off to a short post-game with no depth. No real post game.

Flaws aside, the game is refreshing with the change in format of Gyms to Trials. The selection of Pokemon is varied and nice. New Pokemon, new moves, new ability, new meta. Rebalancing of abilities (Talonflame, had a wonderful 3 years of being on top.) and moves. And I just really love Pokemon.

  1. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma (Aksys Games, Spike Chunsoft; Windows, Vita, 3DS)

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The most confusing naming convention of a trilogy ever. There’s no 1, 2, or 3 and the first game, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors didn’t get branded Zero Escape till the second game, Virtue’s Last Reward, came out. Science fiction, Time travel, multiverse, and room escape. Mix all that together and you get the Zero Escape series. A wide array of characters you’ll love and hate. A gripping tale surrounded by mystery and questions. It’s a fantastic ending to the trilogy. Leaving behind the visual novel aspect of the first two game, Zero Time Dilemma took a cinematic approach full with voice acting and 3D character models. It even has dual audio for people who don’t like dubs.

  1. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (Capcom, Capcom; PS3, X360, PC)

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Dark Arisen is the 2013 expansion and re-release of Dragon’s Dogma which came out 2012. So why is a 2013 game my game of the year for 2016? The game got its official PC release at the very beginning of the year on January 15, 2016. With the release of the PC version, it fixes the issues that plagued the original release, such as terrible texture quality and frame rates that dipped into the single digit.

Dragon’s Dogma is pseudo open world game action adventure RPG. Starting with the basic three classes of any fantasy game: Mage, Fighter, and Strider(Rouge). They each have an advance class each: Sorcerer, Warrior, and Ranger. Also with that, you have hybrid classes that mixes those classes together: Assassin (Fighter+Strider), Magick Archer (Strider+Mage), Mystic Knight (Mage+Fighter). Each class performs differently and have different roles. Along with you, the Arisen, you have the ability to recruit any Pawn to your side. Pawns are NPC companions that follows you along your journey. They can also be spec’d into any of the classes available (Assassin being an exception). The game has an asymmetric multiplayer; you don’t play with other players but you can recruit their Pawn to your game. That’s where Pawns really shine. If you make your Pawn a healer, then it’ll be a healer for other players. If you make it a tank, it’ll be a tank for other players. If you make it a support/buffer, it’ll be that for other players. They also retain any knowledge they learn while they adventure with you or other players, passing along knowledge from players to players.

Dragon’s Dogma has everything I want. I hate open world sandbox as they have no direction, but love the beautiful vibrant pseudo open world I’m presented with. The creature designs are fantastically designed (pun intended). Combat is intense and fast pace. The story, generic, but great. The twist unexpected.

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