There’s no denying it: 2016 was a great year for video games – especially the latter half. The amount of money we’ve spent in the last six months on new games is a little ridiculous and our bank accounts are weaping for it.
But we’ll be the first people to admit that it was totally worth it. From Uncharted 4 to Pokemon GO to Battlefield 1, there are some really amazing video games available this year. We got some truly amazing online experiences and some pretty great single player campaigns as well.
It really was a good year to be a gamer.
Now, we’re going to be honest with you guys. We are primarily console gamers here at Nerdophiles and we’re admittedly slaves to the AAA titles for the most part. But at least this year was a good year for them!
Check out our list and let us know what you thought were the best games of 2016!
Our Favorite Video Games of 2016
Release Date: October 28, 2016
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, XBO, Windows
Shortly after the Xbox One first launched Respawn Entertainment released Titanfall – their ambitious, new IP featuring giant mechs reminiscent of your favorite, old school anime series. The original game was met with generally high praise but there was a lot of room for improvement moving into the future.
The sequel, Titanfall 2, was released this year and managed to fix many of the mistakes of the first game, especially when it came to the campaign. Whereas the first game was entirely online, Titanfall 2 once again embraces the single-player campaign mode and offers a satisfying narrative on top of the much improved online experience.
One of the best multiplayer games of the year, Titanfall 2 more than earns it’s place on this list. And while it’s unfortunate that Microsoft lost the title as a console exclusive, the cross-platform launch has allowed PS4 players to enjoy the game as well!
Gears of War 4
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Developer: The Coalition
Platforms: XBO, Windows
Playing Gears of War 2 in co-op mode with a friend back in college was the first experience that really made me love video games. I have always enjoyed them but it wasn’t until I came across this franchise that I realized how much I could love them. After playing through the original trilogy, I had eagerly awaited some sort of sequel on the Xbox One.
Gears of War 4 doesn’t disappoint. It introduces a new, deadly enemy and a new cast of characters while still holding on to the original characters and storylines that we first fell in love with. It feels like playing one of the original games but with everything just a little bit newer and improved. Between the campaign and the online options (particularly the Horde mode), Gears of War 4 has become one of my favorite overall experiences on the Xbox One so far – if not my all together favorite!
Release Date: November 18, 2016
Developer: Game Freak, Nintendo
All right, so, spoiler alert: there are two (technically three) Pokemon games on this list. Pokemon Sun/Moon earned it’s spot on this list (or it’s spots?) by being the first game in the main series to drastically deviate from the established gameplay and narrative.
While games in the Pokemon Dungeon and Pokemon Ranger franchises have offered up unique stories that are vastly different from the color, element, and otherwise themed titles from the main series, those games were relatively similar.
But our journey into the Alola region in Sun and Moon has been very different. Now, a lot of the basic mechanics have remained mostly the same, no one is going to deny that. Still, the folks behind the Pokemon franchise managed to mix things up just enough that these entries in the series offered up a refreshingly new journey through the Pokemon world. This is easily our all-ages pick of the year! (As it probably always will be because we’re serious Pokemon nerds.)
Release Date: July 6, 2016
Platforms: iOS, Android
The other Pokemon game on our list, Pokemon GO absolutely changed the way people play mobile games. Based largely in part off of Niantic’s earlier but less ubiquitous game, Ingress, this game encouraged people to hit the streets in search of Pokemon on a real-life quest to catch them all.
While out visiting Pokestops in person, players were able to meet each other and make new friends. They were able to share an experience in-person with people they never would have met before. Players explored their own towns and every place they visited, seeing all kinds of monuments and art installments.
While the excitement of the game has died off since it was launched and Niantic has failed to really follow up on the game’s promise, it’s influence cannot be denied. And while a lot of people may have stepped away from the game there are still plenty of folks out there still playing for fun, catching Pokemon in the real world and battling for gyms for Valor, Mystic, and Instinct!
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Developer: Naughty Dog
If there’s any franchise that should sell you on the Playstation line of consoles it’s going to be Uncharted. One of the best video game series around, Uncharted 4 serves as an epic finale to Nathan Drake’s adventures. The story managed to offer both insight on to Nate and Elena’s present and future while delving further into Nate’s often enigmatic past. It brought back new characters, like Nate’s brother Sam, as well as old favorites in what ultimately felt like a well-rounded send off.
There aren’t too many games I can sit down and finish in just a few sessions (I have a notorious tendency to wander away from games and pick them back up periodically). This one, though, hooked me from the beginning and kept me interested right through to the end. There’s a reason that this game comes bundled with most of the PS4 consoles you can buy these days. (Though I do wish they came with the first three, too!)
Release Date: October 1, 2016
Platforms: PS4, XBO, Windows
When Battlefield 1 was first announced it felt like something special. A video game set during World War I was just unique enough to catch our interest. But with each trailer we admittedly got caught up in the hype so we’re pretty happy to say it fully met our expectations.
The introductory mission – as short as it is – absolutely blew me away and obliterated any last minute skepticism I may have had. In just minutes Battlefield 1 manages to offer up one of the most profound experience I’ve had in a war game. “You are not expected to survive,” is still ingrained in my memory even months later.
The full campaign is a great experience – even if it’s very short at just about six hours. The online gameplay, though, is what really makes the game worth it’s $60 price tag. It’s an insane experience with fast-paced, dynamic maps. I can spend hours playing it and still be in awe. (I still suck at it and am almost always the weakest link on my team but it’s such a great experience that I don’t really mind.)
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, XBO, Windows
While there were a ton of great, new online multiplayer experiences this year, Overwatch is easily one of the best. I’ve honestly never been the biggest fan of six-versus-six team games but I took a chance on this one and Overwatch quickly won me over.
I just love the bright, colorful look and feel the game has. While I’m admittedly pretty bad at it, it’s a really enjoyable game to just pick up now and again with friends. Overwatch includes a quirky cast of very unique characters with all kinds of varied abilities and skills. You can spend hours playing the game just learning the ins-and-outs of each one.
The gameplay is face-paced and the maps are incredibly well designed. The game modes are entertaining no matter how many times you play through them. Blizzard has done a really great job with this one and they’ve done a lot to support the game so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll do with the game in the coming years.
Far Cry Primal
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Platforms: PS4, XBO, Windows
The Far Cry franchise is well known for its rich vast open world environments and when Ubisoft announced that Far Cry Primal would be set in the Stone Age, I was immediately hooked. Primal is unique in almost every aspect and unlike its predecessors, it gives you control over ancient weapons, primitive animals, unique abilities and more.
My favorite aspect of the game is the new beast taming ability, which allows you to tame saber-toothed cats, bears, wolves, lions, mammoths and more to become your companion in the game and in battle. Set in 10,000 BC you play as a tribesman named Takkar who must rebuild his tribe and defeat warring enemy tribes.
The story may not be the strongest in Far Cry history but the open world environment, visuals and gameplay elements certainly make up for it and have made Far Cry Primal one of the most immersive and most fun games of the series. — Elise Koszarek
Rainbow Six: Siege
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Platforms: XBO, PS4, Windows
While I know this game actually came out last year, the bulk of our play time with Rainbow Six: Siege has been in 2016 so I say it still counts. And in fact if there’s one game those of us here at Nerdophiles have logged the most time on it’ll be this one.
We love it. We love everything from the cooperative gameplay modes to the multiplayer to the free DLC Ubisoft has been rolling out periodically. The game gets better and better with time – and with the second season of DLC already announced for 2017 it can only get better.
At a time when so many games are bleeding gamers dry with paid DLC, it’s nice to have a game that you can pick up and play with friends or strangers online on the fly knowing that you’ll get all the new maps and operators regardless. We can’t wait to keep playing this game far into the next year!