game of the year

2016 Games of the Year: The top 16 games you can buy right now

It’s been a hell of a year in the games industry. We’ve seen some huge announcements throughout the whole of 2016 and plenty of new hardware to get excited about.

From Sony bringing two consoles to the part in the form of the PS4 Pro and a slimmer standard PS4. Microsoft also joined the party with the Xbox One S, a sleeker Xbox which supports 4K output and HDR gaming. The company also announced Project Scorpio, an uber-powerful new games console set to arrive next year.

While Nintendo remained largely quiet throughout the year, though the 3DS managed to have another solid outing, the company revealed a brand new console of its own in the form of the Nintendo Switch.

The hardware didn’t stop there, though, as Virtual Reality became the talk of the year on both PC and console. PC gamers were treated to two premier headsets in the form of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, while console gamers enjoyed PlayStation VR, all with new and exciting ways to play games.

Speaking of games, 2016 has seen the release of some fantastic titles, and with Santa soon to be squeezing himself into his finest red suit to deliver some goodies, we thought we’d take a look back through the year and highlight the best games that we’d want accompanying the Big Man down the chimney.

16. FIFA 17

Another year, another entry in the long lineup of FIFA games. But this year, EA Sports is doing things a little differently.

For starters, it’s the best-looking FIFA game in years, thanks to a move to the Frostbite engine – the same engine powering games such as Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefield 1. That means better graphics, and facial expressions that give your favourite players more personality than ever before.

You also get a brand-new single-player campaign called The Journey, and although it might be slightly clichéd, it’s an excellent attempt at bringing an element of story into FIFA.

Ultimate Team remains as addictive as ever and gameplay has been injected with a few new features. We’re not convinced the changes to corners and penalties are for the best, but overall it’s a thoroughly rewarding experience.

15. Watch Dogs 2


Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC

After the original game’s promises never quite came to fruition, Watch Dogs 2 was under pressure to deliver. But, by daring to be everything its predecessor wasn’t – colourful, bright, full of personality, fun and with relatable characters – Watch Dogs 2 won the day.

There was an air of self-importance and seriousness with the first game, but with Watch Dogs 2 the series has redeemed itself. There’s a real sense of entertainment here, with Ubisoft even mocking itself and the industry throughout. Our hero, Marcus Holloway, is great fun and has the skills to even knock people unconscious with a yo-yo.

Missions are varied, side quests plentiful – and you have the freedom and hacking tools to tackle them however and whenever you like.

Related: Nintendo Switch News and Rumours

14. Final Fantasy 15

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/?bctid= 5221959186001



Available on PS4, Xbox One
Final Fantasy 15 isn’t like your traditional Final Fantasy game, not even like your average JRPG. It doesn’t really play to its series’ strengths. But that doesn’t stop it from being incredibly engaging and deeply satisfying. It’s one of the best single-player Final Fantasy games in a decade.

The combat system is much more action-orientated than before, but the level of tactics involved give a nod to the old-school Final Fantasy. There’s also a huge open-world to explore, bringing the game and its world to life with hundreds of side quests and a story focused on the friendships between four young chaps.

It’s crammed with character, provides oodles of choice for the player and has plenty to keep you interested for months to come.

Related: Video Game 2017 release dates

It’s safe to say that Final Fantasy 15 is far from perfect, but it’s the most intriguing Final Fantasy game we’ve seen in some time.

13. Doom

Doom
Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC
This reboot gets super-close to being the Doom you’ve always wanted, but never thought you’d actually get to play.

Developer id Software focuses on what’s at the heart of Doom: an all-out action FPS old-school style, with a brutal, ultra-violent personality. But then it adds next-gen visuals and a handful of mod-cons to really bring the game into the modern age.

Related: PS4 Pro vs PS4

It might not totally reinvent the genre in the way of Overwatch, but it certainly draws your attention to all the good stuff.

You’ll buy Doom for its single-player campaign, but stay for the epic multi-player.

12. Far Cry Primal

Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC
Far Cry Primal could so easily have been an entry to dismiss; a spin-off, perhaps, or even an add-on such as Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – but it wasn’t.

This Stone Age entry builds a spectacular world, fills it with dynamic characters and then puts you in a role of power. Everything you do feels both meaningful and potent, making you realise this is more than just a re-skin.

Plus, the new Beast Master feature lets you tame giant wild beasts such as saber-toothed tigers, bears and even ride a baby mammoth. But there are other ways that Primal asserts itself too, particularly with its melee-focused weaponry.

This visceral, primeval adventure deserves and demands to be played.

11. XCOM 2

XCOM 2

Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC
XCOM 2 is a game that really bucks the trend of strategy games, enhancing what its predecessor XCOM: Enemy Unknown did before it.

This is an action-packed, tactical masterclass in sci-fi warfare that puts you in charge of the R&D side of things, while also directing and taking part in manoeuvres out on the battlefield.

The tactical elements are strong, but not impenetrable to those not used to such things, while the combat sees the best extraterrestrial skirmishes since Independence Day (the original movie…).

10. NBA 2K17

NBA 2K17
Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC
The undisputed king of basketball simulators is back, and remarkably, NBA 2K17 is better than ever. It’s actually the best sports game to launch this year – sorry FIFA 17 and PES 2017.

You’re looking at some impressive levels of detail, graphical upgrades and new animations, all the while maintaining the overall feel of a brilliant basketball sim.

Related: Upcoming PS4 Games

The Career Mode is so impressive that you maybe working your way through it for months before you even touch MyGM or MyTeam; you’ll get more than your money’s worth from this mode alone.

9. Gears of War 4

We’ve waited a while for a new Gears of War, especially since Judgment wasn’t quite the Gears game fans wanted.

Gears of War 4 delivers. The single-player – with its new story and new characters, peppered with some few familiar faces – may not be the strongest in the series, but there’s still plenty of action to be enjoyed.

It’s the multi-player that really excels, however. Horde Mode 3.0 is stronger than ever and the visuals are exceptional.

You’ll come for the single-player, but stay for the multi-player.

8. Hitman

hitman

Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC
We’ve now arrived at a point where you can play the entirety of the First Season of IO Interactive’s episodic Hitman. All six episodes are available now, so you can binge on them this Christmas as you would a good box set.

Although the road was initially bumpy, the developer’s determination and conviction has proved that triple-A games done episodically can work – especially when you get so much content between releases.

Constantly evolving live content, even now, keeps the community interested and engaged. But it’s the worlds that IO creates in each episode that will keep you coming back for more. There are so many opportunities and chances for creativity that you’ll spend weeks eeking out every possibility.

And what a range of content, too. From a fashion show in an exquisite Parisian mansion, through the markets of Istanbul, the militia training camp in Colarado, and finishing at a high-tech hospital in the mountains of Japan, Agent 47’s latest adventures take you on quite the journey.

7. Titanfall 2

titanfall 23

Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC
Although the original Titanfall offered some great multi-player action, it was missing something for gamers.

So when Titanfall 2 came along, fans demanded it deliver what the original lacked, and Respawn responded.

Titanfall 2’s campaign is one of the best of 2016. It’s smart, superbly paced and packed with action. It defeats that of Halo 5 and Killzone: Shadow Fall with ease, and even edged out Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare this year.

Put that together with the game’s fantastic multi-player – with all its wall-running, double-jumping, Titan-dropping mayhem – and you have an absolutely essential FPS.

6. Battlefield 1

Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC
Battlefield 1 is brilliant – there’s no other way of putting it. It’s easily the best Battlefield game we’ve seen in years, with both single-player and multi-player simply stunning.

Warfare has never looked so good, from the facial animations to the shelled out landscape that remains after a particularly bombastic multi-player match. It’s brutally beautiful.

But there’s also some excellent gameplay to back up those good looks. Developer DICE has done something impressive with the campaign, known as War Stories, which hit you with an emotional kick and sometimes even pride.

Then there’s the multi-player, which has all the fast-paced, explosive action you’d expect, but set across vast maps that represent major battles from the First World War, plus add in two new excellent modes: Operations and War Pigeons.

5. Uncharted 4

uncharted 4
Exclusive to PS4

Naughty Dog knows how to end a series. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End isn’t another in a stream of progressively more disappointing sequels, or even a lazily put together knot to tie up all the loose ends.

No, this is a game that delivers everything you could ask for from the Uncharted finale. It celebrates everything that came before and everything you love about the series: the puzzles, set pieces, story, comedy and the endearing relationships.

Uncharted fan or not, this is still one of the best games of all time.

4. The Witness

The Witness
Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC
Okay, so if you were going to be really picky, The Witness is a puzzler – where the entire games riffs on one particular puzzle type.

But said puzzles are brilliantly crafted, relentlessly playful and imaginative. They’re also spread across one of the most gorgeous island settings we’ve seen.

Related: The Last Guardian review

Combine those visuals with the audio, the atmosphere and a brilliant structure, and those puzzles transform into a masterpiece of a cerebral puzzler.

3. Forza Horizon 3

Forza Horizon 3 9

Exclusive to Xbox One and PC

Forza Horizon 3 manages to capture the childish glee of playing with cars in graphical form, making you feel like you might actually be messing about with the real thing. It even manages to recreate that adrenaline rush you’d feel if you were actually weaving around in a very expensive plaything for real.

This time around Forza Horizon takes us to Australia, with a map full of stunning and varied landscapes, awesomely crafted showcase races – but with the freedom to take control yourself.

Create your own driver character, customise races, choose your next festival destination and the music that plays; Forza Horizon 3 puts you at the centre of the game.  

Add to that the immense attention to detail and you’ve got yourself a complete arcade racing package.

2. Overwatch

overwatch
Available on PS4,  Xbox One, PC

With Overwatch, developer Blizzard really broke the mould. It’s an FPS that oozes character and charm, but it also offers a tactical layer that runs under the surface and offers gamers a ton of strategy options.

If you’ve recently fallen out of love with shooters, with all its multi-player zaniness, Overwatch might just be the game to draw you back in.

Related: Resident Evil 7 preview

There’s enough to interest FPS players, lapsed or otherwise, and it delivers so many standout moments that we bet you’ll be coming back for more.

1. Dishonored 2

dishonored 2
Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC
Like its predecessor before it, Dishonored 2 is the kind of game in which you can become lost. It’s a fabulously immersive RPG that rewards the thoughtful gamer that experiments and explores.

It might not quite have the edge over the original in terms of the storyline, but it excels in level design and world creation, especially the Clockwork Mansion – you’ll see.

And with the excellent choice of two main characters and all their unique skills and abilities, Dishonored 2 takes its place on our list as the best game of 2016.