Top 10 Games of 2016

By staff writer Brenden Dalipe

2016 was an eventful year, including video games, to say the least. There were lots of ups and downs, but we all made it to 2017! Almost everyone… May all who passed last year rest in peace… On the bright side, the gaming industry didn’t disappoint last year (for the most part)! I’ve compiled a list of some of the most mind-blowingly awesome games released last year, and now I’m sharing my top 10 favorites!

Believe me, there were a lot of games to choose from, and this was really hard to do. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get all of them, because there were definitely more than 10 good games last year! Downloadable content and remakes don’t count. In addition, if you want to check these games out, some of these games contain mature themes that aren’t suitable for some of you, but I’ll let you know before you read about them. One last thing: This is my opinion, so you may not agree with me – that’s totally fine! Anyway, on to the list!

Trackmania10: TrackMania Turbo (PS4, Xbox, PC)
One of the more wild racing games, TrackMania Turbo takes you to a world where colorful environments, huge jumps, tight curves, and cars with a top speed of almost 435 miles an hour rule! TrackMania tries to go for a feeling of a game you’d find in an arcade in the 90’s, and it certainly nails it, with its tight controls, easy to play but hard to master gameplay, and the little “insert coin” joke before beginning a race. Plus, there is tons of content and innovation like Double Driver, where two drivers must control one car! However, to me, it seems like a forgettable game, and a bit repetitive. I still recommend you pick this game up, however. It’s a great time waster!

Batman9: Batman: Arkham Underworld (mobile)
Changing your perspective of the Batman universe and playing as the villains instead of the heroes, Batman: Arkham Underworld is a free-to-play mobile game where you build your criminal hideout while taking down your enemies and avoiding Batman. Arkham Underworld feels like it’s basically Clash of Clans with a Batman skin. This is better than most mobile games, however, that’s for sure. Check out Arkham Underworld if you have the space on your phone – it’s half of a gigabyte!

Asphalt8: Asphalt Xtreme (mobile)
A spin-off of the main Asphalt series, Asphalt Xtreme is an arcade racer where you race off-road muscle cars, monster trucks, pickups and more! Drift, smash, and hit the nitro for victory! Fulfill goals, win races, and participate in multiplayer to earn money for upgrades and new, faster and tougher cars! You can race in mud, sand, or snow! All tactics are accepted in this Xtreme face-off!

CSR27: CSR Racing 2 (mobile)
The sequel to the critically acclaimed CSR Racing, you play as a drag racer climbing the ranks looking for the thieves of your crew’s prized possessions – their cars, decked out for ultimate drag races! Build up your car collection and face crew members and the leaders owning different areas of the city! Tune and upgrade your car to perfection, to the point where you are unbeatable! Customize your car to make your opponents jealous! Compete in Live Races with real people in real time and join crews to race together for unbelievable prizes, including extremely rare and supersonic cars! Enter the Rare Imports and use Keys to open crates for upgrades and new cars! Install cool new Fusion parts to upgrade your car even further! Build your reputation and become the most famous and unbeatable drag racer in history!

Firewatch6: Firewatch (PS4, Xbox, PC, Mac, Linux)
An adventure game with an interesting story, Firewatch is for the few who enjoy watching the scenery and an outstanding story describing horrible events, like forest fires, and illnesses. You never know what’s out there, it’s your job to just explore! Firewatch is a calm (while somehow a game keeping you on your toes) game. I’d love to see a sequel, if possible!

phoenix wright5: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice (3DS exclusive)
The sequel to the well-known Ace Attorney games, Spirit of Justice takes you to the kingdom of Khura’in, where Phoenix Wright, a defense attorney, reunites with Maya Fey, a spirit medium, but finds himself in a pickle when he learns that trials in Khura’in don’t have defense attorneys! After his tour guide is falsely accused of stealing and murder, Phoenix decides to prove to the kingdom of Khura’in that not all defendants (people accused of something during a trial) are guilty, and not all defense attorneys are evil. Not all of the game revolves around Phoenix and Maya – another plot happening at the same time is back in the game’s original location, Los Angeles, where defense attorneys Apollo Justice and Athena Cykes must protect old and new clients’ innocence after they have been falsely accused of something – most of the time, murder. The game doesn’t completely take place in a courtroom, but sometimes you can investigate scenes of the crimes or places related to suspects and defendants – in 3D, meaning you can change your perspective of the scene! In the courtroom, some things have changed from the last game as well. Like normal, you must disprove witness’s testimonies with evidence from investigations, use the Magatama and evidence to break Psyche-Locks to find deep, dark hidden truths of witnesses, defendants, and even your fellow defense attorneys and rivaling prosecutors! Coming back from the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney game is Perceiving. Every once and awhile, Justice’s bracelet on his wrist will tighten, meaning that the witness or defendant speaking at that moment is lying. With the power of Perceiving, you must detect small movements at the exact moment someone is lying – don’t worry, you get to Perceive in slow motion, so you don’t need fast reflexes, but you do need an observant eye. Another thing coming back from Dual Destinies is the Mood Matrix, where Athena Cykes has the power to sense emotional cues in witnesses’ and defendants’ voices, then, using a computer necklace (sounds weird, but it’s true) named Widget, examines them to determine their mood and find new testimony! Although the story is great with unexpected plot twists, I find that the Ace Attorney games are really just the same games, with some different final touches. However, still pick this up if you’ve got a 3DS – the music is the best I’ve heard in a game in a while.    

superhot4: Superhot
Time only moves when you move. Superhot is an innovative indie game, where you try to eliminate all of the enemies in the area, but they move when you move, giving you time to try and plan your strategy, like punching someone and taking their weapon, then using it on them! There’s also a bit of a story where you converse with a mysterious stranger through the computer! Like a YouTuber by the name of ProJared said in his video, “Top Ten Games of 2016 – ProJared”, “it makes you feel like an… action movie star!”

Mr President3: Mr. President! (PC)
A silly little casual game where you protect the president, Ronald Rump (a play on the name Donald Trump, if you didn’t know), from being shot, Mr. President! has some hilariously horrible physics (on purpose, for laughs), ridiculous scenarios, an actual storyline, and some fun mini games like wrestling with Rump! If you’re looking for something to make you laugh for minutes nonstop and cheer you up, you have to get Mr. President!

Watchdogs2: Watch Dogs 2 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
One of the many Ubisoft games released in 2016, Watch Dogs 2 was a huge improvement from the first game. Watch Dogs 2 has a more light-hearted tone, which is probably one of the reasons the first game was pretty mediocre, it got rid of the reputation system (which I had a love-hate relationship with – I loved it because it was a realistic depiction of the public’s opinion of you, but hated it because I wanted to be the good guy, but do a bit of mischievous stuff, too), gave you car customization, multiplayer co-op, the bounty hunter mode (where you hunt down real people in the game who are being naughty), brought back the hacking invasion mode (a multiplayer mode where you steal someone’s data and try not to get detected), better characters (plus some returning characters), better graphics… I could go on about this. Watch Dogs 2 didn’t disappoint us like the original. I (surprisingly) was one of the only people who had high hopes for this, even though there was a chance it was going to end up like the original – a boring disappointment. It really surprised me with how amazing of a sandbox game this is! If you want a game where you can do pretty much anything you want in the Bay Area, you must get Watch Dogs 2.

Now, revealing my absolute favorite video game of 2016…

Forza1: Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox Exclusive)
YES! The game where drifting down a mountain at night in a Japanese Drift Machine makes you feel like a pro (even though you’re just sitting on your couch pressing buttons) and where upgrading your car to reach 300 miles an hour in 4 seconds takes a minute reaches #1! Forza Horizon 3 is the sequel to the spin-off series of the Forza Motorsport series, Forza Horizon. You’re the boss here in Horizon 2016 in Australia… you know what that means. Drag races on the airstrip, rally races in the outback, freeway fiascos with Bugattis and McLarens, photography at Byron Bay, and extreme mountain races with GT-Rs, RX-7s, and Truenos! Upgrade and tune your car to perfection, then finish it off with some detailed customization! If you’re feeling generous, sell your masterpieces at the Auction House to other people! #Forzathon is introduced in this addition to the series, meaning if you complete certain challenges in a limited amount of time, you get prizes like new cars, money, XP, or Wheelspins! Wheelspins are where you can either spend money or use your hard earned Wheelspins to try and earn a huge amount of money or rare cars! Skill trees also make a comeback in Horizon 3. Barn finds make an appearance too, where you find hidden barns with rare cars in them! You can use Drone Mode, where you can get a bird’s eye view of scenery or look for barn finds! Online, you can complete the campaign with real people! You can listen to your own music via Groove Music in-game! This is just the beginning of all the features in-game, so check it out for yourselves! It’s totally worth the (about) $60! Even you non-fans of cars will love this entry in the series!

Honorable Mentions

stardew valleyStardew Valley (PS4, Xbox, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC)
Rated T for Teen
You know, I really wanted to put this up at #1. However, there was one game that just had no competition! Stardew Valley (if you were a gamer back in the SNES era) brings you back to the times of Harvest Moon – a peaceful farm simulation. Unlike those yearly Farming Simulators, Stardew Valley has a beautiful pixelated environment, complete with an interactive village of friendly people. You have just moved to Stardew Valley, where your grandfather’s farm is located. You’ve inherited his farm, and there’s a whole new valley to explore! Go mining, fishing, foraging, or meet your neighbors! Keep an eye on the calendar and prepare for birthdays and festivals! Stardew Valley is one of the best indie games, time wasters, and overall games out there!… all made by one man. That’s right, one guy made this wonderful, peaceful game to relax us and let us forget about the horrors of last year…

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-11-00-06-pmBattlefield 1 (Xbox, PS4, PC)
While Activision and Infinity Ward are making basically the same Call of Duty every year, EA decided to innovate in the industry by making a World War I shooter. It worked, to say the least. The campaign is as much fun as I had in a first person-shooter in a while, the multiplayer is as addicting as the other Battlefield games’ multiplayer (which is a very good thing), and EA innovated even more. As Andrew Wilson, EA’s Chief Executive Officer, said a while ago, “With Battlefield 1, we’ve set out to deliver the biggest and most innovative Battlefield game ever, with a deep story and unprecedented variety in the gameplay powered by our Frostbite engine.” I can see that Battlefield 1 is one of the most successful entries of the series, but one thing I noticed is that I don’t like first-person shooters as much as the next guy, unfortunately.

overwatchOverwatch (PS4, Xbox, PC)
Rated T for Teen
Overwatch is a first-person shooter by Blizzard Entertainment set in 2030, where a team of heroes are considered dangerous and not allowed to fight evil anymore. Since then, terrorist attacks have been increasing and the team, known as Overwatch (hence the title of the game) will not just take it anymore. Featuring 23 characters and 4 different categories of heroes (attack, defense, tank and support – there are 7 attack heroes, 6 defense, 5 tank and 5 support), each and every one of the heroes has defining characteristics, loadouts, and appearances (for instance, Tracer is an attack hero with time travel abilities, and Mercy is a support hero who can heal and revive deceased teammates, but has offensive weapons just in case). You can fight either AI (artificial intelligence) or real people in real time, though real people would give you more of a challenge. While Overwatch is one of the best games of 2016 (as well as the last decade), there is a lack of a campaign (which is solved – sort of – with a series of shorts explaining the plot on YouTube), as well as the fact that, like Battlefield 1, I’m not the biggest fan of FPSs (first-person shooters).

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-11-01-49-pmXCOM 2 (PS4, Xbox, Mac, PC, Linux)
An extremely difficult (I MEAN IT) turn-based tactics game, XCOM 2 is the sequel to the original XCOM. XCOM 2 takes place 20 years after the humans have lost to the aliens in the war (what the first XCOM was about), where aliens have completely taken over Earth. With a small group of soldiers and resources, you must fight back against the aliens and their “Avatar Project”, which will end the world if completed. Fighting with such small odds, you will most likely lose a few soldiers – did I mention this game is really hard to beat?!


Wow, 2016 was an outstanding year, and there were definitely a lot more where these came from! Hopefully 2017 ends like this… and isn’t filled with the sort of garbage that came out of last year… Wait, I have to do a list on that?!