Before we get to the Top 7, here are a few things that just missed the cut...
Comic Book Movies, DOOM, Theme Park Games, Voodoo Donuts, Super Mario Run, Cheddar Habanero Quesarito’s, The Flintstones Comic and Star Wars Rogue One.
With that out of the way, here are my Top 7 favorite things of 2016...
I know what you are thinking but stick with me for a second. Yes, No Man’s Sky was and still is a hot mess. It’s missing features that were highly publicized, had performance issues, was not as visually striking as we were left to believe and was a shell of the game we expected. But...I also had a blast playing it. That first night when Chad, Toby and I streamed and learned what the game was all about was pure magic. I honestly spent the next few days exploring planets, tagging plant life and wondering what the universe was going to hand me next. Sure that “next” never really panned out, but that doesn’t take away from the great time I did have before the game completely fell apart. This is also the only game I platinumed this year.
I am going to make this short and sweet. XCOM 2 is more XCOM and that’s a good thing. Building on the success of the first game Firaxis didn’t re-invent the wheel, instead they honed in on what worked, expanded on some systems, created some new bad guys to fight and crafted a great story. And while that story is a neat twist on what we normally get in a sequel, it’s the story in a story that XCOM allows you to craft that really makes this game fun. Watching a soldier grow from lowly grunt to deadly warrior is rewarding as hell. Watching that same soldier die on the battlefield is heartbreaking in a way you don’t expect. If you have never played an XCOM game, pick this one up, it’s great.
I thought I was going to have more game related content on this list but outside of Stranger Things, nothing really rocked my world this year...unless of course you count the amazing delicacy that is Torchy’s Tacos. I swear I didn’t get any ad money here, but Torchy’s makes this list solely on the fact that I have not been this obsessed with a chain since my chubby little fingers first wrapped around a McDonalds cheeseburger. The taco’s are big and ludicrous (the Trailer Park- make sure to get it “trashy” - features fried chicken, pico, queso and bacon) but the chips and Queso should be the reason you make the cross country trek. Obsessed doesn’t begin to describe my devotion to this Texas based chain.
While I have enjoyed Hitman games in the past, I had fallen out of love with them over the last couple of releases. When I first heard that Hitman was moving to a timed release schedule, I had succumb to the fact that my stance on Hitman wasn’t going to change. Then I played Episode 1 and everything I loved about Hitman came rushing back. The ability to play out missions, I don’t know about you but I tend to start each mission trying to be stealthy and end it covered in hundreds of enemies blood, in a variety of ways was handled in a way that actually taught you how to play the game. Little nuggets of information allow even the most daunting sounding goals to become achievable as you “learn” how to become a better Hitman player. And you better be a good hitman player because the amazing timed assassinations, where one slip up ends your shot to put a bullet in Gary Busey's dome forever, disappear once you fail them. Play this game.
When Overwatch was first announced I wrote it off as just another team based shooter. The characters looked generic, the description of the game read like another Team Fortress clone and the overall feel of the game didn’t appeal to me. Then I played the last beta and everything changed. After four or so rounds I set the controller down, shot the team an email telling them that they needed to play this game and proceeded to watch my afternoon disappear. This wouldn’t be the last time Overwatch consumed all of my free time. Once the game launched, and the whole team got together, the game took on a new life on the site. Overwatch Tuesday’s ruled the summer as Blizzard constantly doled out new content, balanced the game and gave us reason to come back. If you haven’t checked out Overwatch yet, do it, the game won our coveted Game of the Year after all.
I first strapped on a VR headset at CES a few years ago, the tech wasn’t quite what it is today, but that didn’t stop my jaw from hitting the floor when I hooked up VR in my home for the first time. It’s hard to describe just how awe inspiring VR is to someone that hasn’t played it. Saying that you are transported to another world doesn’t begin to describe the immersion that happens when you finally strap the headset on. I could sit here and talk up VR all day long but none of that is going to matter until you try it for yourself.
2016 was a huge year for the site which culminated in a new look and our first trip to E3. From laughing my ass off as people became excited for a new Call of Duty because they thought it was a new IP, to the rush of being one of the first people to play Breath of Wild, to the creepy Airbnb that we recorded from, to watching #UbiChad go viral, it was an amazing week. And being able to bring you guys news from the floor of E3 was one of the best experiences I have had working on the site. I’m excited to show you guys all of the fun and crazy stuff we have planned this year!