2016 had a solid lineup of video game experiences that helped to make the past 12 months shine. From January kicking things off with the likes of Final Fantasy Explorers, The Witness, and Oxenfree all the way to December bringing us the long-awaited The Last Guardian as well as the zombie-fest that is Dead Rising 4. Even July, a normally slow month dead in the middle of summer, had some big titles for players to jump into such as Monster Hunter Generations, Hyper Light Drifter, and I Am Setsuna.
Exclusive releases also held down the fort quite well, with each platform putting out some of its biggest releases throughout 2016. Sony bolstered the library of the PS4 with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, The Last Guardian, and Ratchet & Clank, showing off the diversity on offer on the PS4 and delivering some of the best titles of the year. Microsoft also put its best foot forward for the Xbox One thanks to Dead Rising 4, Gears of War 4, and Forza Horizon 3. Nintendo isn’t to be forgotten either, even if its offerings on the Wii U were pretty light. Pokken Tournament and Pokemon Sun and Moon made sure Pokemon was always at the front of your mind throughout the year that marked the franchise’s 20th anniversary. Meanwhile, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE gave fans the Shin Megami Tensei/Fire Emblem crossover they’d been waiting for, and Fire Emblem Fates proved that the classic franchise is still a force to be reckoned with.
Then you have all of the amazing third-party titles that released throughout the year, whether they were full games or just mesmerizing expansions. Blood and Wine is one of the best video game experiences of 2016 and it’s not even a full game. Overwatch took the world by storm, winning several GotY awards and birthing a new esport pretty much overnight. Dark Souls III closed off the brutal series in grand fashion, bringing the challenging journey full circle. Shooters shined this year as well thanks to Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2. And we can’t forget the game that was over 10 years in the making. Final Fantasy XV proved to be worthy of the franchise name and was well worth the wait.
Of course, 2016 wasn’t without its low points, but thankfully there weren’t too many. No Man’s Sky had a very rough launch that is finally being addressed now. Homefront: The Revolution was riddled with bugs and other issues leaving the game largely unsatisfying. And if you were looking for multiplatform titles on the PC, chances are that you didn’t have the greatest experience over the last 12 months.
Still, for every bad game, there were three or more solid reasons to game this year. VR joining the scene in a big way in 2016 opened up libraries to a world of opportunities not previously possible and that may have made this year the best when it comes to game releases that we’ve seen in quite some time.