Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Three Games that Ruled My 2016

I will be upfront, there was not much time for video games this year; with a new marriage, job change, and new city there was a lot to tackle that kept me away from gaming. Which is difficult, because 2016 had plenty to offer; The Witness, Doom, Titanfall 2, Gears 4, Recore, etc. That being said, I kept it alive best I could with 2015 titles I was catching up on and big releases friends were playing.

3. Destiny: Rise of Iron

You could argue the many faults of Destiny, but for all it did wrong, my friends and I kept coming back for the sheer enjoyment of that shared frustration. The satisfying gunplay, the challenging raid encounters, and the subtle changes that improved the experience kept you coming back throughout the year. Bungie filed out a lot more updates after the lull period upon release of Taken King. Some were minor changes, others were major overhauls to loot and alleviating the grind.

Rise of Iron brought enough to bring many back for another trek for the Traveler. A raid that required strategy and coordination with unique boss encounters, new weapons and armor to grind for and customize, and even new PvP maps and modes. The latest winter event update even brought about changes to engram decryption and the SRL racing event.

Love it or hate it, Destiny made a mark on the gaming world. Despite all it did wrong, I found myself working to make my Titan an imposing force in PvE.

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Seventy-eight hours logged into the world of Witcher 3. In that time I battled monsters three times my size, made difficult choices that were morally gray, and explored vast caverns and haunted ruins. I had crafted armor from materials that were looted from monsters and fallen foe, customized powers to work with my sword heavy play style, and played countless hours of the Gwent card game. The most incredible thing from all of this is that I had barely even scratched the surface of what this game has to offer.

Without a doubt, The Witcher 3 is the single greatest RPG I have played to date. CD Projekt Red crafted a game that not only offered a compelling story and characters, but satisfying swordplay and an immense world filled with activities and exploration. I knew I could have just as much fun riding around in the wild without a sense of direction than I could queuing up for a questline. The sidequests were enjoyable, and usually had just as much of an impact as the main story with tales of love, betrayal, and revenge.

With two expansions under its belt, Witcher 3 is one of the most expansive games I have played in recent memory. Whether I was engaged in a battle with a beast I was hunting down or simply standing over a high cliff looking out into the incredibly detailed world; I was having fun.

1. Overwatch

Team Fortress 2 was my bread and butter for multiplayer, and Overwatch is the first multiplayer game that truly matched or exceeded that experience. Fast paced gameplay that requires communication and adaptation to overcome a choke point. It is an insane experience where no matter what role you play, you feel like you are contributing to some end.

The strong personality of each character, the varying playstyles to match your preference, and the the ever evolving meta of strategy has me looking into reddit posts, studying different tactics, and even dare I say it...practicing. You can always improve, always do more, and the outlying potential gives that dangling carrot to come back for more.

The other plus is that this game is an ever evolving, ever changing experience. This year alone, it has not only added two additional characters to the roster, but brought about new game modes, new skins, new maps, and even changed old character loadouts to make them more useful.

Despite a handful of maps and modes, no two games are alike. It is this constant that keeps Overwatch at the top of the list for my favorite game of 2016, and one I will play well into 2017.