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Posted on Dec 16th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC, Favorite, 2016


Wow... 2016 is coming to an end. Already! Maybe I'm getting old, but it felt like one of those years that just flew by. And what a crazy year it was for gaming. As a pretty much exclusively PC gamer, I saw some really wild developments this year. I guess the biggest one would be the real deal retail release of virtual reality as a thing that is now kind of, but not totally, normal for people to have in their homes. Indeed, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive along with PlayStation 4's PSVR and Samsung's GearVR are all making VR gaming a more normal reality. This year also saw Nvidia and AMD both put out super beefy and super cheap graphic card lines - most likely to help usher in the "VR revolution." Additionally, this year saw a shift in the way console makers seemed to view PC gaming. Microsoft seems to be pushing towards a shared ecosystem for Xbox One and Windows 10, while Sony has launched the PlayStation Now streaming service for Windows that allows PC gamers to play PS3 games. Even Nintendo... well, I mean Nintendo saw a hit with Pokemon Go and is bringing a Mario game to iOS and Android. So that's something.

Anyway, enough rambling I suppose. Within all that craziness I also played a lot of games this year. So let's take a look at the ones that really stuck with me. There's some surprises here, and some totally obvious ones. But these are the ones I honestly played and enjoyed the most. So here we go!




1. XCOM 2

Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. The first XCOM game that Firaxis released was one of my favorite games of all time. It is still my most played Steam game with a staggering 168 hours clocked. I had anticipated its sequel for a long time, and yet upon its release I had a strange feeling of apprehension. There was no way that XCOM 2 could be as good. Could it? What I found out was that somehow XCOM 2 was better than the original game in pretty much every conceivable way. They managed to fix things that weren't broken and still make it amazing. I highly recommend this one to fans of strategy or killing aliens.


2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

Alright so it's kind of cheating to call Skyrim a 2016 game. I get that. But I didn't get around to playing it until this year, and certainly we can get away with calling this new Special Edition a new release. Right? Great. Skyrim is (still) incredible. It is quite possibly my favorite RPG of the last decade. Probably it is. The proof of just how much I adore the world of this game is that I never utilized fast travel. Instead, I found myself so in love with the game that I'd happily (and slowly) traverse my way from checkpoint to checkpoint. Many of my favorite moments of Skyrim were the ones I stumbled upon by accident. Most importantly, this is one of the games that I have no expectation to uninstall any time soon. It's the sort of game I'll come back to every month or so and sink more hours into at a leisurely pace.


3. House Of The Dying Sun
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I don't own many virtual reality games so far, but House Of The Dying Sun is the one that has really given me the experience that I had hoped for. A game that is all well and good outside of VR becomes a totally "OMG THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING" moment inside VR. Basically, this is a more action-paced take on something like Elite Dangerous or Eve Valkyrie. Missions are fast paced and thrilling. There's nothing quite like flying through space and looking straight up at stars or seeing the bright flash of an enemy ship exploding and reflecting off the cockpit windshield.


4. Duelyst

This is the game that finally cleaned me of my Hearthstone addiction. Duelyst is not as immediately inviting, but once it clicks with you, it becomes totally compelling. Instead of just being a card collecting game, it also incorporates a game board. This means that you'll be playing pieces in some elaborate game of chess. Think of like a cross between Magic The Gathering and Final Fantasy Tactics. What's really great is that while it's free to play, it is constantly getting updated with new cards and features. I've played many hours this year and had a blast without ever spending a penny. Highly recommended.


5. Lucky's Tale

This is the game that came bundled with the Oculus Rift. And while it might seem odd to show off virtual reality using a 3D platformer a la Mario 64, it's actually brilliant. Using your head as a camera is totally natural and makes blaming the camera angle obsolete. Lucky's Tale plays wonderfully. Though never truly challenging, it is a fantastic game to get you comfortable with VR. My wife was especially impressed with this one as well.


6. Planet Coaster

Last year I had Cities Skylines. This year Planet Coaster is my comfort game of choice. I have no interest in theme parks personally. But man, building one slowly is so zen. I've lost (literally LOST) hours in this game placing happy little trees around, planning the best flow of gift shops and snack stands, and of course, riding the attractions in first person mode. You can make this game as intense as you like. I've never bothered building my own ride from scratch, but you can. Or you can import ones from the Steam Workshop. You can even add your own music for each ride!


7. Rise Of The Tomb Raider

While I admit that this one feels a little "same-y" when compared to its predecessor, I still had a great time with it. I really think that Crystal Dynamics has done awesome things with this series and they have really made me a fan of Lara. There's something very satisfying about the ease in which you can hunt with the bow and arrow or cling on to a wall with a spike. If you like Tomb Raider games, then you should definitely like this one.


8. Doom

Alright I think we *kind of* expected this to be good. I mean, Wolfenstein: The New Order was great. But... wow. We didn't see Doom (4) coming did we? This game was everything we could have wanted Doom to be in the 90's had our PC's just had the power to deliver such a thing. It's loud and brash and violent and non-stop, but also excellently paced with well-thoughtout level design. Really, any fan of Doom or just 90's FPS games owes it to themselves to play this one.


9. Killing Floor 2

Off all the games I played with my buddies this year, it was Killing Floor 2 that really did it for me. Sure it's basically just a revamped Killing Floor. And sure, that game owes a lot to Left 4 Dead. But man, what a great game this is. The guns! The Zeds! The buckets of blood! Oh and of course it's a game that thrives on teamwork and strategy all the way down to preserving bullets and knowing which weapons to upgrade and when to use them. I suspect this will remain a co-op staple for some time to come.


10. The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain

And finally there's this. A digital remake of an old Choose Your Own Adventure book. But it is so much fun! It's simple as heck, but really makes you want to keep trying. Luckily, doing so will unlock new adventurers. At its most base, Warlock is a game of making decisions, but it also incorporates some neat, little strategy battles and boat loads of charm.


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Comments
 
Good list. XCOM2 is on my top 10 of the year for sure, though XCOM EU/EW is on my top 3 games of all time, I liked that one a bit better. DOOM was also awesome and a complete surprise for me.

I'll have to check out some of your others Warlock of Firetop Mountain looks cool. And Duelyst- does that have a single player mode?
 
Duelyst has single player training modes and daily challenges. But the meat of the game is PvP.
 
Still love seeing Rise of Tomb Raider on lists like this. The XBOne version would have made my 2015 list. You hit the nail on the head, a little bit more of the same but in a good way. And some of the fine-tuning really pays off.
 
Great list, noise.  I still haven't played XCOM 2 but now that it is mac compatible I may grab it on a steam sale and play it on the wife's macbook or imac since my gaming PC is no more Sad

Totally with you on Skyrim.  I cannot believe how well the game holds up.  It might be my favorite game of all time and I was a little worried that the cracks would show when I returned to it but I was instantly back in the world that I love to much.  It feels like I've been playing it this whole time. It's amazing.

I forgot about Planet Coaster, maybe I can convince the wife to zen play it with me.  When my kids are a little older I'd love to design something like that with them.

Kind of surprised that Destiny didn't make the list.  Weird.
 
OH right, not on PC
 
haha, yeah. I don't own consoles. So if something isn't accessible on PC (or Android) then I've not played it.
 
@noiseredux:  There is a rumor that Destiny 2 will be on PC...
 
Didnt recognize some of these titles (nor would I) but Xcom2, was easily, my favorite Console release of 2016.
 
Nice to see a list that has more than what I'm seeing a lot of out of the top 10 lists I've been seeing lately. Doom totally blew me away with how great it was.

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