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Total Gaming Network's Top Games of 2016

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  • Total Gaming Network's Top Games of 2016

    2016 was one hell of a year for all the wrong reasons. Due to the always wonderful Electoral CollegeTop 10 Games of 2016



    Hitman is a late entry onto this list. I actually put off playing Hitman throughout the year as IO Interactive rolled out what looked to be a very content packed six episodes. I deeply regret not playing this game sooner.

    What IO Interactive accomplished here is nothing short of impressive. Each episode (there are six main episodes) offers up a varied and beautiful setting. These locations are far larger than I expected them to be, featuring a number of on-site weapons and tools that can be used to improvise when things inevitably go south. For most people, no two playthroughs of a mission will be identical.

    In the off chance that you dotooSuperhot

    SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. TIME ONLY MOVES WHEN YOU MOVE. I wrote up my thoughts on Superhot in a review posted back in February. Ten months later and Superhot is still an absolutely fantastic game and I still want more of it all over my face.

    Those with VR headsets canStardew Valley

    Do you want to fish? You can do that in Stardew Valley. Want to grow crops and raise farm animals? You can do that too! Maybe you just want to spend your days mining for rare gems? Yep, you can do that too. Maybe you want to do all of those. Go for it. Then maybe you take a day off from all of that to talk to your neighbors. Maybe you get to know them. Maybe you start up a relationship with them, then get married, then have kids.

    You can do that in Stardew Valley. Borrowing heavily from Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley is the best game I never knew I wanted. This game was completely off my radar until I saw someone streaming it right near release. I picked it up immediately and fell in love from the start.

    Stardew Valley is perfect for those times you have just 15 minutes to play or hours. Just be careful because you might find yourself wanting to play for "just one more day" with this one.

    Dark Souls III

    I already covered my thoughts on Dark Souls 3 in my review from June. Simply put, Dark Souls 3 is right up there with the original Dark Souls. It may even slightly edge out the original by shear virtue of having additional years and iterations to refine and almost perfect many of the combat and gameplay mechanics.

    Uncharted 4 is another game that I shared my high praise for back in the middle of the year. Naughty Dog once again delivered a game that had thrilling set pieces, a well-paced narrative, and some drop dead gorgeous visuals. If anything, I just wish they toned back some of their usual gameplay scenarios (wall climbing segments where grips break away to force tension into the scene, as an example)

    Final Fantasy XV

    Final Fantasy XV is another late-ish addition to the list purely by virtue of its late release date and also because I simply haven't had much time to sit down and play. Sure, I have over 20 hours sunk into the game but I'm still less than halfway through the main campaign.

    The musical score is perhaps the best in the entire franchise. The visuals can pull off some really impressive feats and feels fairly smooth at all times. I hear there is some frame pacing issues on the vanilla PS4 but I haven't really noticed anything during my play sessions.

    Sadly, the biggest shortcoming of the game is the main story. At best, it's a bit confusing. At worst, it's just head scratchingly obtuse. I've never played a Final Fantasy title where it was near impossible to follow the main thread of the story, but here we are. The stories contained in side-missions are all well contained and straight forward. Those aren't an issue. The issue is how the story segments jump from person to person or event to event without much rhyme or reason. Square Enix even had to add in segments from the CG Kingsglaive film to fill in some of the gaps in the story and I still don't really know what is going on half the time. There was also at least one instance where the story made a big production over the death of an incredibly minor character that had maybe one line. Of everything in the game, the story is the element that feels the most rushed.

    Fortunately, every other aspect of the game really pulls the game back from being terrible, especially the combat system. When Final Fantasy XV, as we know it today, was shown off, I was not a fan of the combat mechanics. I was one of those sticklers for the turn-based JRPG from yesteryear. In fact, I didn't even bother to pre-order Final Fantasy XV until about two weeks prior to its release. I'm glad I did though because the action focus on the combat is incredibly satisfying. Though every battle feels intense, ones against massive bosses and world enemies are cranked up to 11, a feeling that just wouldn't be possible with turn-based mechanics.


    Doom is almost everything a fan of old-school and new-school could possibly want in an FPS. It's fast, it's brutal, its soundtrack gets your blood pumping, and it uses elements of the original releases while still feeling like a totally fresh experience. It's unapologetically brutal and everything about the single player is just flat out fucking amazing. It's a game that leaves you wanting more the moment you complete the story.

    Really, Doom would be the undisputed best game of 2016 if it weren't for the woefully disappointing multiplayer and post-release DLC that focused only on the multiplayer. Yes, the multiplayer has improved from launch but that really isn't saying much.


    When it comes to competitive multiplayer games in 2016, the undisputed champion is Blizzard's Overwatch. This is a game that I have sunk (at the time of writing) 197 hours into. 197 hours for a game that came out in late May. Let that sink in a bit. I haven't found that much enjoyment out of a game like this since Team Fortress 2.

    Of course, there also hasn't been a game where I have rage quit as much as Overwatch. It's by far the only game that actually caused me to rage and exit the game for the day. Yet I know I'll just be right back at it in less than 24 hours. The game has its hooks in me that deeply, and I'm not just talking about that damned broken Roadhog hook. DO YOU HEAR ME, BLIZZARD? FIX IT! I'M TIRED OF GETTING HOOKED THROUGH WALLS AND FLOORS AND AT 90 DEGREE ANGLES, DAMN IT!

    The game already features a wide variety of memorable characters, each with their own unique play styles, personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. It's one of the few class based competitive games where I feel like I can switch to a role that our team needs and play them fairly well should a situation arise.

    With Blizzard promising to deliver more in the way of characters and content in the months ahead, the game will probably continue to be my most played throughout 2017.

    Titanfall 2

    You may have noticed that I don't do numbered lists for these. I don't like having to pick certain games over others when some of the best games of the year are just so incredibly enjoyable in their own ways. However, if I were to pick a "Total Gaming Network Game of the Year 2016" it would undoubtedly go to Titanfall 2.

    While the single player campaign for Doom was amazing, it lacked a solid multiplayer to complete the package deal. Overwatch is my most played game but it only features multiplayer. Titanfall 2 offers one of the year's best single player FPS experiences of 2016 and includes some of the best multiplayer hands down.

    To say I was pessimistic about the game after the disappointing multiplayer beta, might be an understatement. As a fan of the original game, the beta felt like it was moving in all the wrong directions.

    Fortunately, Respawn seems to have taken many of the complaints about the beta to heart and made some significant changes to the multiplayer prior to the game's full release. What came is out nothing short of a Titanfall's fan wet dream. After a few updates, the game is also incredibly well balanced to the point where I don't believe there are any particular "overpowered" or "underpowered" weapons or abilities. That's not even mentioning that all major content releases (maps, weapons, or whatever else they decide to add) is free to everyone. Remember when games used to release new content like that for free? I do and hot damn am I ever glad that Respawn went this route with Titanfall 2. There are optional microtransactions but only for cosmetic items that have no effect on the gameplay.

    This is all on top of the game's short but sweet single player experience. I wasn't expecting too much from the single player campaign prior to release but it generated a lot of positive buzz from reviewers and consumers alike. Once I dove in, I fell in love. The friendship that develops between you and your Titan, BT, is nothing short of impressive. I felt things (vague to avoid spoilers) throughout the campaign that I did not expect to feel from a Titanfall campaign. I might go so far as to say that the story rivals certain elements of The Iron Giant. It even seems to draw some inspiration in the interactions between Freeman and D0g throughout Half-Life 2. Plus, there is at least one moment in the Titanfall 2 campaign that I would say is probably the single best moment and subsequent level in any game released this year.

    It's a great game. I just cannot stress that enough. I just wish EA didn't send the game out to die by placing its launch between Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. This game deserved far better than that.

    These are the games that I felt were decent but came up just shy of being in the "top 10" best games of 2016 for one reason or another. Just as the case was with (most of) the top 10 games of 2016, these honorable mentions are also presented in no particular order.

    Punch ClubWorld of Warcraft: LegionFirewatchshould have happened versus what actually happened.

    Devil Daggersback in February, what are you waiting for?

    Darkest DungeonXCOM 2The Technomancer

    The Turning TestSee my review.

    VirginiaThrough the WoodsSee my review.

    Ultimate Chicken HorseLet It DieAsemblancePokemon GoForza Horizon 3Civilization VI

    American Truck SimulatorBattlebornShadow Warrior 2Black Desert OnlineBattlefield 1this damn technical nightmare almost every single time I play the game.

    Well that and the game really could have used more maps at launch. It's also a damn shame that DICE and EA have once again gone with the Premium Pass route instead of taking a cue from Titanfall 2 and offering the new maps for free. The fragmentation in the player base once those expansion packs start to hit will once again be a major annoyance.

    AbzuSee my review.

    The WitnessThat Dragon, CancerLayers of FearSee my review.

    What's next? Well, perhaps we'll take a look at 2016's biggest gaming disappointments. Stay tuned for that (once I actually write it...)!