It’s only the midway point but 2016 is already looking to be a great year for gaming, filled with high profile successes, unexpected surprises, and a really strong lineup of indies. In fact, the first half of the year has delivered some truly impressive interactive experiences, many of which will likely stand out for years to come. And so, without further ado, here are the top 10 games of 2016 so far.
10. Quantum Break
What We Said: “Quantum Break makes for what can easily be considered one of the best console exclusives that the Xbox One has seen thus far, and this is the result of a number of different gameplay mechanics and story-telling decisions. It’s true that the narrative can be a lot to take in as a result of cutscenes and the live-action television show, and even more of what is happening in the world surrounding Jack Joyce is found through collectibles and in-game emails – which some may simply just not want to read. Taking the time to understand what’s happening in the game is well worth it, though. Meanwhile the story-altering decisions may not be as impactful as fans had hoped, but they do help to see certain side characters through (at the very least) to the end of the game.”
Why You Should Play It: Quantum Break is an experiment in combining video game and TV series that, while admittedly full of stumbles, offers something unique. It’s gameplay calls back to the days of Max Payne in some fun ways, the time travel story is well thought out, and there are some clever visual flourishes throughout. Those who own an Xbox One owe it to themselves to give the game a try; they might find more than they were expecting.
Available On: Xbox One and PC
9. XCOM 2
What We Said: “At the end of the day, XCOM 2 is the poster boy of the modern turn-based strategy game. The game can feel unfair at times, but Firaxis has crafted a dynamic experience with virtually limitless replay value and a constant level of challenge. Fans of the series will find plenty of enjoyment watching the XCOM troops struggle to protect mankind once again, and Firaxis can pat themselves on the back for making one of the most addictive and rewarding strategy games of all time.”
Why You Should Play It: Despite a few hiccups at launch, XCOM 2 builds on the refined strategy experience that Firaxis Games delivered a few years ago. There’s more depth to building your squad, greater tension to the battles, and a story that goes in some really unexpected directions. Even those who may not be intrigued by strategy titles should give XCOM 2 a look.
Available On: PC
8. Tom Clancy’s The Division
What We Said: “The real strength of The Division is that it offers something for so many different types of gamers. The game plays incredibly well as a single player experience, the PvP zones are unique and game changing, and the end game offers a challenging grind that is complex enough to keep the hardcore fans engaged. All of that, in combination with the game’s many little touches like a brilliant sound system (play this game with headphones or surround sound and you won’t ever go back), great sense of humor, and a mysterious story, make The Division a must play for just about any type of gamer. ”
Why You Should Play It: Tom Clancy’s The Division has experienced some soaring highs and crushing lows since its launch, but either way it’s hard to discredit the hype surrounding the game. Exploring evacuated New York City and collecting loot was an instant appeal to the game, and the promise of a deep endgame experience kept us grinding away. If nothing else, the introduction of The Division’s Dark Zone should stand out as a unique approach to PvP and one that we hope more games “borrow.” Yes, the game has struggled to keep its players happy, but great strides have been made to improve the core experience. And now there is a lot of content for newcomers to explore.
Available On: PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
7. Ratchet and Clank
What We Said: “For younger gamers who missed this franchise the first time around, Ratchet and Clank is a perfect starting point. By the same token, veteran fans will be equally pleased at the opportunity to return to a familiar environment that doesn’t feel repetitive. With a stellar new game and a movie on the horizon, hopefully this is the first in a new chain of adventures for our favorite Lombax and robot team.”
Why You Should Play It: Movie tie-in games are notorious for feeling like shameless cash grabs, but Ratchet and Clank bucks the trend by sticking to what the franchise has always done well. Better looking, more refined, and as entertaining as ever, this rebooted Ratchet and Clank origin story is pure platforming goodness. Don’t let the look fool you, Ratchet and Clank packs a lot more action and excitement than many of the other 2016 releases out there.
Available On: PS4