The Game Rant staff counts down its choices for the 10 best games of 2016, an especially hard task given how great the year was for gaming of all types.

While 2016 will likely be remembered for completely different reasons than the success of its entertainment, it’s hard to deny this wasn’t a good year for video games. From sequels to reboots to new IPs, there was a lot to enjoy and a lot to talk about, which makes picking 10 favorites all the more difficult. This was also the year that VR games finally broke into the mainstream, with a few titles standing out from the pack.

Here are Game Rant’s Top 10 Games of 2016!


10. Gears of War 4

top 10 games - gears of war 4

What we said: Gears of War 4 is a worthy successor to the trilogy that came before it. The story features a familiar face or two, but remains focused on the new line of characters. The online component adds new and altered multiplayer modes, but keeps the gameplay locked into what made the originals so endearing. Gears 4 is a painstakingly crafted love letter to those that have a meaty soft spot for the franchise.”

Why you should play it: With a new developer, on a new platform, and with new heroes, Gears of War 4  took a lot of risks, but luckily The Coalition was able to deliver a game that feels like a perfect continuation of the franchise that came before it. Intense single player gameplay, a multiplayer that feels just as visceral as it always did, and a horde mode that’s incredibly deep and dynamic all make for an experience that fits the title.

Available on: PC and Xbox One


9. Battlefield 1

top 10 games - battlefield 1

What we said: “There’s no doubt that Battlefield 1 is an expert execution on the premise that made it so highly anticipated to begin with. Electronic Arts and DICE have provided consumers with a beefy multiplayer game that impresses at every corner and features a brief campaign that will stick with fans longer than previous franchise attempts.”

Why you should play it: Battlefield 1 successfully takes players on a trip back to World War I, with a campaign that sheds light on the brutality of the conflict and a multiplayer that emulates the period but still retains that trademark feel. While most shooters are pushing further into the future, Battlefield 1 found success by looking into the past, and it’s arguably one of the best franchise entries in quite some time.

Available on: PC, PS4, and Xbox One


8. Firewatch

top 10 games - firewatch

What we said: “Even without much motivation to replay the short campaign, Firewatch is still well worth the $19.99 price tag for the beautiful landscape, compelling mystery, and amazing character development. Firewatch isn’t a game for everyone, but if you love a good mystery, this is a must play.”

Why you should play it: Firewatch is the rare experience that feels more like an interactive novel than a video game. With strong acting, an intriguing story, and a visual style that’s distinct and beautiful, Firewatch knows exactly what it wants to do, and developer Campo Santo executes on those ideas with near precision. If you’re a fan of adventure games or the Telltale brand of storytelling, Firewatch is not to be missed.

Available on: PC, PS4, and Xbox One


7. Final Fantasy 15

top 10 games - final fantasy 15

What we said: “After a decade of work, Square Enix has succeeded in delivering a Final Fantasy experience that can please long-time fans, while simultaneously luring in a new generation of adventurers. The game isn’t quite perfect, but it is close enough that it will very likely be a game of the year contender on many lists.”

Why you should play it: Final Fantasy 15 might have some flaws in its execution, but the game helps bridge the gap between the series’ past and its future. The combat is a mix between the classic JRPG style and a modern hack-and-slash, and its story delivers the types of connections that fans have come to expect. Whether the game was worth the wait will vary from player to player, but for many this is sign that Final Fantasy is still alive and well.

Available on: PS4 and Xbox One


6. Pokemon Sun & Moon

top 10 games - pokemon sun and moon

What we said: Sun and Moon are the biggest changes that the core Pokemon series has ever attempted. Removing gyms, Hidden Machines (HMs), and altering original Pocket Monsters was a huge gamble – and all of it has paid off. Honoring the franchise’s past while looking to the future must have been a difficult ideal for Nintendo and The Pokemon Company to nail down, but the end result of this undertaking is a pair of lovingly-crafted, must-haves for fans new and old. Truly, this is the celebration of Pokemon that gamers have been waiting for.”

Why you should play it: While past games have only iterated on the formula slightly, Pokemon Sun and Moon take some pretty big leaps forward in meaningful ways. Of course, it introduces new characters and pocket monsters to collect, but it’s the changes to the gameplay and the design that make the game so special. Pokemon GO might have been the most-talked about Pokemon game this year, but Sun and Moon are the ones every fan should be playing.

Available on: Nintendo 3DS


5. Dark Souls 3

top 10 games - dark souls 3

What we said: “Like previous games offered by From Software, Dark Souls 3 offers a unique experience that blends subtle storytelling, dark settings, and painfully difficult encounters to stand out from the crowd of other action games. The challenge is well worth the countless deaths and hours of practice for players who have the patience, but is likely one that should be skipped by gamers who prefer to get things right on the first try.”

Why you should play it: Dark Souls 3 isn’t going to be for everyone, but in times where few games pose any real challenge, From Software’s titles always push players to their limits. Boasting refined combat, stellar visuals, and a world that’s worth exploring, Dark Souls 3 is the pinnacle of the franchise in terms of its experience. It’s also arguably the best entry point for the series, with many of the smaller flaws ironed out.

Available on: PC, PS4, and Xbox One


4. Doom

top 10 games - doom

What we said: “There’s no question that – despite uncertainty among the most diehard of fans – DOOM‘s reboot has managed to piece together an enjoyable experience. Its combat is as relentless and fast-paced as fans have come to expect, and this helps it stand out amongst a number of other shooting titles. The adrenaline-fueled gameplay and the ample replayability featured within the campaign makes this a standout entry in the FPS genre – let alone a worthwhile resurrection of DOOM.”

Why you should play it: With a pumping soundtrack, brutal gameplay, and imposing enemies, DOOM is pure fun of the highest order. It’s the type of game that engrosses the player and will keep them coming back again and again. What’s most impressive about DOOM is that few expected it to be as successful as it is, let alone a game of the year contender. It just goes to show what tight gameplay and a well-executed concept can do.

Available on: PC, PS4, and Xbox One


3. Titanfall 2

top 10 games - titanfall 2

What we said: Titanfall 2 has succeeded in surpassing the original title in every way. It delivers an emotional, action-packed single player experience that will leave fans new and old feeling satisfied, and the fluid combat mechanic both in and out of one’s titan packs plenty of punches and doesn’t hold back when it comes to the visceral brutality of pilot warfare.”

Why you should play it: While most expected the Titanfall 2 multiplayer to deliver based on the first game’s success, it is the single player campaign that is the biggest surprise. In a year when many argue that other shooter franchises fell short with their campaigns, Titanfall 2 succeeds at building a connection between the player character and his robot companion, and wraps that with numerous exciting set pieces.

Available on: PC, PS4, and Xbox One


2. Uncharted 4

top 10 games - uncharted 4

What we said: “Independent of the hype or the series’ legacy, Uncharted 4 is worth the recommendation on its own merits. From the tremendous environments to the incredible character work to the globetrotting story, the design of the game is second to none, setting a new bar for interactive experiences. It’s true that Naughty Dog puts a lot more stock into story and character, but even then Uncharted 4 is pure, unadulterated fun.”

Why you should play it: Chances are if you are a fan of the franchise, then you have already played Uncharted 4. But those who might feel like the series is not for them may find Uncharted 4 enjoyable on numerous levels. Most will come to Uncharted 4 for its campaign, but the multiplayer and recently added Survival mode are equally polished and offer additional hours of entertainment. Truly, though, it’s the culmination of Nathan Drake’s story and the loving care Naughty Dog put into the game that makes Uncharted 4 one of the best of the year.

Available on: PS4


1. Overwatch

top 10 games - overwatch

What we said: Overwatch turns the shooter genre on its head by delivering a bright, colorful world full of 21 unique heroes and game modes that demand players to work together if they want to pull off a victory.”

Why you should play it: Whether it be the power of Blizzard, the strength of the design, or some combination therein, Overwatch succeeds in appealing to almost every gamer, engrossing them in its world and addicting them to its gameplay. Outside of Pokemon GO, no game was so frequently talked about or regularly played as Overwatch, and while others faded Blizzard’s game still remains. Everything about Overwatch feels so carefully crafted that it’s hard to find fault with the product, and even when there are flaws Blizzard is quick to address them. But the biggest reason Overwatch gets our game of the year nod is its staying power. Out of all the 2016 releases, Overwatch has the best chance of remaining a high profile title in 2017, 2018, and beyond.

Available on: PC, PS4, and Xbox One


Choosing just 10 games is always a difficult task, but these 10 represent our favorites from the year – the titles that engrossed us, moved us, or have become staples of our rotation. It was no doubt a great year for gaming and an interesting year for console owners, but 2017 promises to be even bigger. Make sure to read our choices for the Most Anticipated Games of 2017.

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