Giraffe Feels Top Games Of 2016
I will try to keep this pretty brief…these are in ABC order…a few are from the end of 2015 that I missed until 2016.
- Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (Steam)
I have spoken highly of this game ever since it first came out. I played through both the original version Dragon’s Dogma and the expanded Dark Arisen on the PS3 before picking up the Steam version this summer. This game is the ideal blend of hack and slash game play with a pretty open world (that does not scale, which is really fun). The best part is when you reach the Bitterblack Isle expansion, which is a brutal gauntlet of dungeons with many rewards. I cannot recommend this game any higher!
2. Dragon Quest Builders (Vita)
Mixing Minecraft, Animal Crossing, and, oh yeah, Dragon Quest is an interesting blend for what ended up being a fun game. I still have not finished this game, but am having a blast picking it up once or twice a week for a little bit on my Vita. Not an essential game, but definitely worth checking out.
3. Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)
Turned based tactical games like Fire Emblem Fates (and a few more below) are likely to be my favorite games of any given year. Fates was a solid follow up to Awakening from a few years ago, which I spent a winter break burning through a few years ago. I definitely enjoyed the story line to the Birthright version a lot more than Conquest, which became a needless bloodbath that fits the rubric of “the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain” I hate so much in modern video games.
4. Gauntlet Slayer Edition (PS4)
I downloaded Gauntlet: Slayer Edition when it was a freebie on the Playstation Network during the winter. I spent the first few days of winter break playing through the game, which is true to old school Gauntlet but also will remind newer gamers of games like Diablo III. I had a lot of fun playing this game. The online co-op mode is a neat approach to having a multiplayer mode. I would love to play another Gauntlet game in the future. At some point I would love to do an episode about this game and the Gauntlet series in general.
5. I am Setsuna (Steam)
“Chrono Trigger” is what is used to describe this game most often and that is very accurate. This game brings us back to my beloved Super Nintendo era for a modern take on the classic 16 bit role playing game. I love the endless winter aesthetic and the Valkyria Chronicles style watercolor visuals.
6. Mega Man Legacy Collection (3DS)
I already owned this collection on the PS4, but I also picked up a copy for my 3DS. We did an episode on Mega Man II earlier in 2016 and part of that discussion was how well the game has held up over the years. The 30th anniversary of Mega Man is coming up in December and we will be doing episodes on Mega Man III and IV sometime this year.
7. River City Tokyo Rumble (3DS)
River City Ransom is one of my favorite games of all time and I was happy to back a new game in this series. It is a bit more expansive than the original, but keeps close to the aesthetic while adding some modern ideas. I like the addition of a dodgeball game ala Super Dodgeball, which was a Technos game that used very similar sprites to River City Ransom (another was Nintendo World Cup). My only problem with this game is that the analog stick on the 3DS is not that helpful for some character actions, which frustrates me at times. My fingers have 30ish years of NES Advantage use programmed into them that makes what the 3DS offers control wise a little bit lacking for this game. It would play a lot better if it had an actual stick like the Vita does.
8. Stardew Valley (Steam)
This Harvest Moon style game does not warm my heart quite as much as Animal Crossing New Leaf still does to this day, but it is still enjoyable. Increasingly I really enjoy playing simulation games like this where I can slow down and enjoy the day to day tasks of life. This game is also out for consoles now. We are going to do an episode about the calm joys of simulation games later this year.
9. Stella Glow (3DS)
Super anime inspired tactical turn based games are one of my big things. Stella Glow is great and super fun to play with a decent story. More of this please.
10. Valkyria Chronicles Remastered (PS4)
I have spoken at length over the years about how good this game is and it seems to finally be getting the recognition it deserves. Valkyria Chronicles offers a unique take on turn based RPGs that Sega does not even seem to be able to replicate. The narrative weaved through the seventeen chapters of this game is interesting, moving, and at times absolutely heart breaking. I gave a talk about this game at an academic conference in the fall that I would like to get into the podcast feed soon.