So far, 2016 has been a phenomenal year in gaming. With a nonstop flow of quality games, and more to come, this year has been one of the most memorable in recent memory. With tons of great exclusives, and some of the hottest third-party games, here are the top 5 games of 2016 to date.
Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment’s highly anticipated team-based shooter, is filled with larger-than-life characters and intense 6v6 combat. Set in a near-future version of Earth, a robotic uprising has been squashed by an elite international task force named “Overwatch.” The diverse cast of playable characters ranges from warriors, to scientists, to robots, to oddities, and each combatant has their own personality, fighting skills, and abilities.
Emphasizing pick-up-and-play gameplay and supercharged fun, Overwatch is highly accessible for newcomers while providing the action and layers of depth that first-person shooter fans love. Join a team of six as you compete across a wide range of futuristic arenas inspired by real-world locations. Each map has its own layout and specific win conditions, including Assault missions where the objective is to capture a series of critical targets, and Control missions where two teams battle it out to hold a single control point.
This sequel to the 2012 reboot is better, bigger, and more rewarding than its predecessor is in virtually every way. With new tactical options that influence your tactical gameplay, XCOM 2 is quite possibly one of the best turn-based tactics games of all time.
The year is 2035, two decades after the first game, and XCOM has been reduced to a fringe who surrendered to the aliens. The once lively urban streets are now patrolled by the ADVENT Administration, who heartlessly subjugate humankind into obedience. As Commander, it is your duty to build a global resistance network large enough and with the technical skill to push back against these powerful, alien oppressors.
With the ability to operate below the radar, XCOM’s mobile base known as “The Avenger” serves as your central headquarters. Here you can customize your soldiers, direct your scientists’ research, construct new facilities, and upgrade your unit’s weapons and armour. Every micro-decision you make within your mobile base directly affects the ongoing war between humans and aliens. With no right or wrong choices to make, it is up to you to balance immediate priorities with your long-term strategic approach.
With so many different ways to develop your capabilities, and the virtually limitless ways you can approach combat situations—strategy fans will instantly fall in love with this game. Add in a dynamic camera that emphasizes pivotal battle moments, along with intriguing new alien threats to face, and you have an exceptional strategy game that will keep hooked and coming back for more.
Life is Strange Limited Edition
In this must-play episodic adventure, you follow the story of Max Caulfield, a photography senior, who discovers her ability to travel through time and uses this newfound talent to investigate the mysterious disappearance of her fellow classmate Rachel Amber.
This story-driven experience unfolds in a similar manner to hit Telltale Games franchises, like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, requiring you to make tough choices (and seemingly innocuous ones) that can reverberate throughout the remainder of the story. In Life is Strange, the butterfly effect of your actions can be very significant and alter the story in dramatic ways. This is a game where every decision must be thought through carefully, as your choices play a key role in how the narrative unfolds.
This special Limited Edition contains all five episodes on disc. In addition, you get a 32-page artbook that includes unreleased concept art, the entire Life is Strange soundtrack, plus the original score by Jonathan Morali and director’s commentary. Life is Strange tells an emotional journey of a young girl given the extraordinary power to rewrite history, and is a game that you should not pass up.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre: Action adventure
ESRB Rating: M (Mature, 17+)
Exclusively for PlayStation 4, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the final chapter in Nathan Drake’s fortune hunting story. In what was quite possibly one of the most anticipated PlayStation 4 games of all time, Uncharted 4 takes you around the world on an edge-of-year-seat adventure where you uncover the long-forgotten secrets of legendary pirates. Naughty Dog ups the ante with the most breathtaking environments, slickest choreographed action, deepest story, smoothest controls, and greatest multiplayer experience in franchise history—in beautiful 1080p high definition.
Everything that you have come to love about Uncharted‘s gameplay is back and is better than ever. Drake’s rock climbing skills have been tweaked to perfection, allowing you to climb hopelessly steep terrain with relative ease. The newly introduced grappling hook allows you to latch onto tree branches and other jutting objects, and then swing across wide gaps with dazzling flair.
Moreover, for the first time ever, the layers of Drake’s past are peeled back to give us a wider, holistic perspective on this beloved and legendary character. Uncharted 4 is a much more introspective, emotional journey exploring Drake’s troubled past as a young orphan. The story jumps between different time periods in Drake’s life to provide layers of perspective on the complex character of Nathan Drake.
Once you have finished the breathtaking campaign, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has an online Multiplayer mode that will keep you coming back for more. There are 8 initial maps and free DLC, 4 core modes—Ranked, Command, Team Deathmatch, and Plunder—plus a warm up playlist for newcomers. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has it all: edge-of-your-seat cinematics, breathtaking graphics, frenetic gunplay combat, top-notch motion capturing and voice acting, and the best multiplayer in franchise history.
Gears of War 4
Platform(s): Xbox One
Genre: Shooter, 3rd person action
ESRB Rating: M (Mature, 17+)
Gears of War 4 comes from Vancouver-based developer The Coalition and Microsoft Studios and is the start of an all-new saga in the Gears of War franchise. Gears of War 4 introduces a brand new cast of characters who are on a mission to rescue those closest to them and discover the source of a horrifying new threat. The game’s epic campaign features co-op play with vibrant 1080p high definition graphics, smooth 30 frames-per-second action, and two-player co-op with friends locally via split-screen, over Xbox Live or LAN.
Gears of War 4 takes place 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3, where humanity has begun to rebuild itself after the disastrous losses suffered during the Locust War on planet Sera. After a series of unexplained disappearances, JD Fenix, son of the legendary Marcus Fenix, sets out with his best friends to uncover these mysteries. JD Fenix, a former COG lieutenant, must learn how to embrace his father’s legacy while taking on a frightening new enemy.
Gears of War 4 introduces innovative new cover mechanics and a powerful arsenal of new weapons to use that builds upon the world-renowned Gears franchise gameplay. New weapons such as the Dropshot, which fires aerial mines that fly across the battlefield and descend with explosive force, and the Buzzkill—a deadly shredding machine that deploys ricocheting sawblades, have been added.
The iconic Gears of War Versus Multiplayer returns, and is better than ever with all-new weapons, modes, moves, and maps—at a blisteringly fast 60 frames-per-second on dedicated servers. Online Versus Multiplayer was built with all types of gamers in mind, from newcomers all the way to eSports pros. Everyone regardless of skill can enjoy online play including new modes like Dodgeball, Escalation, and Co-op Versus.
As you can see, 2016 has been an amazing year in the gaming industry so far. Let me know in the comments section below what your favourite game of 2016 to date is.