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The Best 2016 Video Games You Didn't Play

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With 2016 nearly at an end, it's time to take stock of some of the best games of the year that went under the radar. Here's Game Rant's pick of the games that deserve more recognition.

In a year full of such incredible games as Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Overwatch, it seems as though video game fans have had a huge pick of incredible gaming experiences to choose from. However, with so many choices available, it's understandable that many games have managed to fall through the cracks. After all, when Dark Souls 3 has a gamer captivated, it's unlikely that another game will be able to shift attention away.

Much like 2015, however, there have been a large number of phenomenal games that have seen release this year without much fanfare, and without the massive commercial success that they perhaps deserve. Here's Game Rant's choices for the best games of 2016 that slipped through the net of many gamers.

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The Flame in the Flood Wolf
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9 The Flame in the Flood

The Flame in the Flood Wolf

Dystopian and post-apocalyptic worlds are pretty well-traveled by video game players, as seen by the success of such series as Fallout. However, there have still been some great examples of developers doing something unique with the premise of a world on the brink, as seen with The Flame in the Flood.

The debut game by a group of former BioShock developers under the name of The Molasses Flood, The Flame in the Flood thrusts players into a flooded world, scavenging supplies from tiny islands of land and running the gauntlet of dangerous rapids. It's a challenging, and sometimes harrowing, survival game, but one that is propelled by both a stunning art style and haunting score.

8 Zero Time Dilemma

zero time dilemma review

The PS Vita is an often-forgotten device among the other examples of gaming platforms, yet it was home to one of the most interesting games of the year. Zero Time Dilemma, which was also released on PC and 3DS, forms a part of the Zero Escape series, and is just as polarizing as some of the games that have come before it.

However, Zero Time Dilemma is also a great title in its own right, offering up a fantastic hybrid of simple gameplay styles that come together to help form an incredibly compelling narrative. This one may have gone unnoticed, but it's certainly worth checking out.

7 Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon Damage Prevention

For some gamers, it might be hard to think of Darkest Dungeon as a game that was released this year, given that the title spent so long in the public eye in its early access form. It's perhaps that reason, then, that the title did not become as much of a powerhouse as it truly deserved - in spite of some truly impressive sales figures for an indie title.

Those that forgot about the game after its crowdfunding promotion, though, should certainly feel compelled to give it another look, with hard-as-nails gameplay and a grim aesthetic. Just remember to check out a Darkest Dungeon Survival Guide to ensure that any adventures aren't short-lived.

6 Severed

severed ps vita review

Once again, the PS Vita proved to be a place to find some real gems this year. In the case of Severed, the game was originally only available for Sony's handheld platform, although thankfully the title saw wider release across the Wii U, 3DS, and iOS devices. Even so, the game still didn't quite get the attention it deserved from gamers.

Combining a wonderful art direction with a great story and fairly unique gameplay, this action RPG won the hearts of many who took the plunge and checked it out. Although it perhaps outstayed its welcome a little, Severed still packed one heck of a punch, and more than earns a place on this list.

5 Furi

It's rare to come across a game that feels entirely fresh, but that's exactly where Furi sits. Mixing together a vibrant graphical style with an emphasis on unique boss battles, this PS4 and PC title kept those who played it occupied when it launched earlier in the year.

In spite of initial support, perhaps propelled by the game's immediate inclusion in the free PlayStation Plus games roster, unfortunately many players have overlooked the title. However, those after an atmospheric and challenging game with a low price point can do a lot worse than checking it out now.

4 Hyper Light Drifter

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Furi was far from the only game to make full use of neon-tinged art this year, however, as shown by Hyper Light Drifter. This title, which was nominated for Best Independent Game and Best Action/Adventure Game at The Game Awards 2016, was without a doubt one of the prettiest of the year, utilizing retro graphics to full effect.

However, it's in the gameplay that Hyper Light Drifter truly shines. Mixing RPG elements and action gameplay with aplomb, and a moreish quality that made it impossible to put down, this title is more than deserving of the praise it has received.

3 Hue

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As critical darling Inside showed, the video game community still has plenty of time for artistic platformers with a maudlin tone. Another example of a game that played with those themes this year was Hue, albeit without the same level of attention.

That is a pity in itself, however, as Hue truly is an indie marvel. The title's unique game mechanic, where the player is able to swap out the colors of the world around them, creates some of the most engaging and rewarding puzzle platformer gameplay this side of Braid, creating a simply beautiful title to enjoy.

2 Salt and Sanctuary

salt and sanctuary review ska studios ps4 dark souls

Old-school gamers who have criticized modern games for being too easy have been offered plenty of challenges of late, with the Dark Souls series sitting as a notable example. Those who would prefer the same gothic feel but with 2D gameplay, however, could do much worse than playing Salt and Sanctuary.

Just as challenging - and maddening - as From Software's acclaimed titles, Salt and Sanctuary offers up precision gameplay for any who want a major challenge. What's more, the game is truly a wonder to behold, with characters that will stick long in the memory - albeit through nightmares.

1 Honorable Mention: Titanfall 2

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Although Titanfall 2 is a much higher profile release than many of the games on this list, it certainly deserves a mention. The title is a huge improvement on the original game, and it combines one of the best multiplayer experiences of 2016 with a fun campaign mode.

Unfortunately, sales are not matching the game's quality. Titanfall 2 was sandwiched between the huge releases of Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and between those two behemoths of the FPS genre it seems as though Titanfall 2 has potentially missed its best chance of making an impact. Even though EA has defended its release date, it does look like the game has missed out on the launch user base that it deserved.

That bring us to the end of our choices for 2016, but no doubt 2017 will also throw out a few surprises along the way. What do you think of our list? Do you have any personal recommendations that you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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