2016: A dumpster fire of a year that finds a way to keep on burning. While some experts maintain that there has never been a better time to play video games, I've had to watch a number of releases flyby due to circumstances beyond my control. That said, while I don't believe these 5 games were the "best" games released this year, they are absolutely the best games that I have played this year.
Favorite Game Released before 2016, Played in 2016: Dying Light
Zombie games have been and continue to be all the rage in gaming, and while most tend to aim for the same survival/crafting aesthetic, Dying Light set itself apart for me in the most important of ways: parkour. The ability to run fast and amble up the side of nearly any structure, thereby escaping the zombies cause 'dem bastards can't climb. Ok, well most of them can't, the crazy rage beasts that are loose at night can and do climb and will chase you where ever you go. Regardless, I loved the hell out of this game.
5. Street Fighter V
This is not going to end up on many GOTY lists, and for good reason. The release was weak, with almost none of the stuff you expect to come with a fighting game included when it went live. My reason for including this: I love watching this game. Probably more then playing it, but that's just because I am not that good. I love the fighting community around it, the tournaments that stream it, and the story they eventually released (some 4-5 months after February) was just DUMB enough to be awesome.
4. Total War: Warhammer
Why this was not called Total Warhammer is still beyond me, but this game captured my attention and imagination more then any RTS has since the first Starcraft. My Dawi, led by the Grudgethrower himself, were invincible on the battlefield, holding firm against the legions of Chaos with the same fervor and gumption that led to the decimating the Greenskins. While I was not thrilled with the price points of the additional races that were later added, I think what came "in box" was well worth my time and the gallons of dwarf blood spilled.
3. Batman: A Telltale Series
Having just finished this for review, I was a bit worried that its closeness to GOTY time was unduly influencing where it fell on this list. But after looking it over, Telltale's Dark Knight adventure is not only one great Batman story, but one heck of a "Telltale style" adventure game. Their spin on the mythos and the ability to make choices to mold my own version of the Caped Crusader put this one in a class by itself.
2. XCOM 2
The aliens came as what little there was of the Florida winter faded into memory, and the roughly week and a half I had to play this prior to release were golden times. Many a good soldier were lost in pursuit of freedom, but none make that sacrifice worth it like Firaxis. Eventually, we drove back the threat, only to discover that another one lurked deep below the waves. We don't yet know the identity of the monsters in the dark, but you can be assured, when they come, XCOM will be ready.
1. World of Warcraft: Legion
I was done, Blizzard. I was out. It had been almost two years since I had put any real time into WoW, and there was no way, NO WAY, you were dragging me back in. And then you released Legion, and with one click of the mouse, reversed years of pent up aggression and just flat out bad feelings. I mean, I don't know if I'll invite you over for dinner yet, but I haven't stopped playing you since you released, and I think that tells you all you need to really know. Extreme once asked for "More then words to show you feel" and I think my continued subscription meets that ask.
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!