What a way to bring a dead franchise back from the dead. Doom is a perfect blend of old and new systems that makes the perfect recipe for expelling hell spawns. The combat flows incredibly well and chaining multiple kills together feels great. Doom is also extremely smart, what I.D. Software did with the story should not have worked, but it had just the right level of self-awareness to knock it out of the park. Each weapon felt completely unique and useful where they worked best. There are also so many well thought out systems. Glory kills and even the chainsaw had a unique purpose that added a balance of shooting and monitoring health and ammo. Doom kicked open the doors of the first person genre and gave it a super shotgun blast to the face.
I’m a huge Hitman fan and this latest entry in the series is by far the best. While many people were sleeping on this reboot, I was sitting quietly with high expectations. There was so much skepticism with the decision to go episodic, plus the lack of fine details, but I don’t think I’ve seen any episodic game hit on so many promises as Hitman has. Not only that, but Hitman has taken the core concept to a whole new level. The elusive targets are genius, even if I’ve only completed a few. The past Hitman games have been plagued with stingy A.I. and nearly automatic fail points. No longer will running past a guard get you shot, instead Hitman(2016) doesn’t fault you for your mistakes immediately, giving you a chance to eliminate the problem or correct your errant knife throw. The creativity in order to get the job done is also the best in the series. Hitman makes you think in a way that most games only suggest. Plus throwing a fire axe into persons’ skull is satisfying every time.
3. Stardew Valley
I didn’t think I would get sucked into the sorcery that Stardew Valley has, but here I am listing it as my number three. There’s something incredible about Stardew Valley, but I can’t quite tell you what that is. I guess getting my life together in a virtual farm is much better than getting my life together in the real world. Every time I sit down to play Stardew I get sucked in for longer than I intended. Whether it’s tending my crops or traversing deeper into the mines. I always found something worthwhile to do. There is a lot do in Stardew Valley, while only the farming may be extremely deep, they all satisfy something in my lizard brain. Now excuse me while I harvest my parsnips.
4. Street Fighter V
Oh boy as there been problems with Street Fighter V. The abysmal launch and constant controversy around Capcom has been a big problem with the latest Street Fighter. Poor optimization and some very questionable PC ports, which involved a root kit, has led to some big problems among the community. There is one thing that Street fighter V gets right though, and that is the fighting. SFV seems to nail what I want from a fighting game, intense combat between two people. SFV always delivers some of the most nail biting moments I’ve had over the last year. I love what SFV gets right and they only justified my opinion as the year went on, adding characters and fixing the biggest qualms. I’ve watched a lot of SFV and I’ve played a lot of Street Fighter V, what I can say is it’s a great fighting game. I know the support has been sub par, bit I cant ignore my favorite fighting game of the year. You can read my review here.
5. Jack Box Party Pack 3
For the last few year JackBox Games has killed it when it comes to local multiplayer. However this year might be the finest version of the JackBox Party Pack. Every game I’ve put on for my “non gaming” friends and family has proved to be a hit. Whether it’s creating the weirdest tee shirts possible or lying to my family about shaving my legs, Jack Box Party Pack 3 has created the ultimate bundle for anyone trying to get the family together.
6. Uncharted 4: Drakes Deception
Nathan Drake has run his course. I really enjoyed what Naughty Dog did with what they claim is his last hurrah, but they didn’t change much. There was a lot of shooting and a few solid puzzles, that were all wrapped up in an incredible narrative. While the story telling was top notch, I felt that I had been there before. Nathan Drake’s last goal was all too familiar, yet the characterizations of him had never been stronger. The problem I ran into was the gameplay. Too many times was I shooting a large number of enemies with copious amount of body amour. The characters drove me to the end and I’m glad I made the trip, but this makes me excited for Naughty Dog’s next new IP.
7. Enter the Gungeon
I really love me some twin stick shooting and Enter the Gungeon surprised me. The amount of depth behind it is great and every run I learned something new about the game. Controls are tight and diving deeper into this weird bullet shaped hell made me curious what would happen next. I constantly found myself running the dungeon again and again despite the outcome. Bosses are well thought out and recognizing patterns is key the victory. I always loved picking up a new power up or weapon and the sheer amount of new stuff I picked up powered me through the game. Enter the Gungeon doesn’t reinvent the win stick shooters, but a surprising deep and well thought out one.
Cooking is tough. Cooking with multiple other people while trying to satisfy a spaghetti monster is almost impossible, however almost every second I spent with Overcooked was enjoyable. I played with some people who almost knew nothing about games and we still found it engaging. Overcooked balances simple gameplay with very hectic mechanics, yet it always had my friends asking to play more. I doubt it was because of my head chef skills, because all I know how to do is yell how bad it’s going. Regardless it was some of the most fun I had all year.
9. Watch dogs 2
I like Watch_Dogs 2 a lot, but there is something that doesn’t quite sit with me about it. I think it’s the fact that guns even exist in this game. The protagonist Marcus is this happy go lucky hacker, yet he’s ok with murdering tons of people if that’s what you’re into. I played as a pacifist, only using the taser when I needed too and hacking or using the drones. It felt wrong to talk about how corrupt the system was, just to shoot some poor soul dead ten minutes later. The characters are a strong point during the main story and I didn’t think I would like the dude with an emoji mask on. These characters were a driving point for the story and they worked for the most part. However, I didn’t finish it, because I felt Ubisoft really ran into the open world game game problem. There is a too much to do and not enough of it is always worth it. Collecting points to upgrade my character was great, but driving in go-karts, just felt lame.
10. Battlefield 1
You get to play as a pigeon! That might be my favorite moment of the year!