This is just a collection of games I wanted to call out for all of you. It is definitely an incomplete list and a highly subjective list. I don’t like trying to compare apples and oranges too much, so I’m trying to break things into categories to make the smaller chunks more digestible. Some of these categories were clearly created for a specific game because I just want to let you know what I think.
So without further ado…
Holy crap this is a really great game. I followed the development enough to know that they basically scrapped everything they had and started over at least once. That’s usually a really bad sign, but it worked out for them here. This game strikes the perfect balance of invoking the feeling of playing the original Doom games back in the day while simultaneously reinventing most of the actual gameplay. It is just a lot of fun. I love the choices they made that help make the game accessible and still keep it a balls to the wall, speedy, murder fest.
Runner Up: Battlefield 1
Best Third Person Shooter
Gears of War 4
I’ve not finished this game yet, but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. I didn’t realize that I missed playing GoW games until I started playing this one. I’m so glad I can still play thru this in co-op on my PC or XBOne, but I don’t love the hoops we had to jump thru to make that work properly.
Runner Up: The Division
Best Driving Game
This game is gorgeous and surprisingly relaxing. I usually don’t go to ‘racing’ games for relaxation, but something about the open world Australia they’ve crafted is just… nice. I bought a racing wheel just for this game and it is working well.
Best Adventure Game
I loved the first game. But it did end up feeling like there was a right way and a wrong way to play. If you didn’t stick to the stealth, you were doing it wrong. Dishonored 2 does a bit to assuage that feeling. But even better, it gives you a good excuse to come back and play it wrong with a different character. My first play thru was the right way, but I’m still pumped to jump back in and play it the wrong way.
Best Relaxation Game
This game really got it’s hooks in me this year. I probably have more hours in this than most of the other games on the list combined. I think that’s partially because I’ve never played an Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon game before. But I really just found the game charming as hell and relaxing. I mostly played it when I was still at my previous job and I desperately needed my little game time to be relaxing. This game was the right game at the right time.
This game is really good looking. I think it’s worth checking out just to get a feel for the style. And it does have a really good story as well. If you like character driven stories with pretty scenery in what is basically a walking simulator, this game is for you.
I hadn’t heard of this game before I saw the Penny Arcade guys play it. It’s pretty simplistic, but it works. It’s mini-rc racing, only the focus is on drifting. The drifting feels good, but it definitely requires a certain amount of skill to accomplish most of the challenges. It’s not a huge game, I spent probably 5 hours with it, but I enjoyed every second of that.
Best TwinStick Shooter
This is another game that Penny Arcade turned me on to. This plays like a twin stick shooter like Geometry Wars, but the music controls the shooting. This game is mostly a reason to listen to some pretty bitchin dubstep, but I enjoyed it more than I expected to.
No Man’s Sky
I enjoyed this game for what it was. However, if I had paid any attention at all to the marketing and hype surrounding this game, I would have certainly been disappointed. They managed the marketing for this game so bad, they basically out Molyneux’ed Peter Molyneux himself. But since I missed all of that nonsense before I played the game, I was able to enjoy the game for what it actually was, and not the bullshit they were selling.
Best Space Trucking Simulator
This game is great and terrible at the same time. The game IS grinding. That’s what it is. The game is also beautiful and challenging and fun… sometimes. I love it and I also hate it. But man it’s really good in VR.
Best Use of Motion in VR
Superhot feels like it was meant to be played in VR all along. I did enjoy the non-vr version of the game, but it is just cooler when you are actually using your hands to reach out and grab an ashtray, throw it at this guy, punch that guy, grab his gun, shoot that guy… etc. It’s a ton of fun.
Best Intro to VR
This game has a great sense of humor. It also probably scales the best for different sized play areas. The controls are all simple and mostly intuitive. I guess the exit burrito isn’t the most intuitive way to exit a game ever, but it works surprisingly well and it pretty funny. I think it’s a great way to get someone lost in VR for the first time.
Runner Up: Vive Intro
Best VR Art App
This is the art game for people who suck at art like me. I like Tilt Brush and Quill, but I feel completely hopeless in those games. Medium actually makes me feel like I can do something workable. If I jump in and think, I’ll make a teapot, I can actually make a serviceable teapot. I’m very intrigued by the idea of creating something digitally in medium, then exporting it and printing it out on a 3d printer. I cant wait to try that.
Runner Up: Tilt Brush
Best Overall VR
This is the game I just keep going back to. It’s so easy to jump in a play a couple of songs and then drop out. I’ve enjoyed the new tweaks to the difficulty settings. I’ll often hear a song during the day and think, ‘oh I bet that’d be fun in AudioShield.’ And then I can’t wait to get home and try it out.