2016 was a big year in many ways and it was especially so for gaming, so here are the top five games that left an impression on me in the year that has just gone past.
- Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright – Like its previous installment (Awakening), this game held my attention for hours on end. I played through the previous Fire Emblem game on casual and this time I decided to take a risk and play on traditional mode where the characters permanently leave the game if they are defeated in battle. This was a great decision as it made me really think about how balanced out my team was and where my weaknesses were. I would spend a good 5-10 minutes carefully planning out my next moves and who to send out first to lead an attack. Several improvements have been made to the system introduced in Fire Emblem Awakening; weapons no longer break after use so this saves money in the long run for weapons that may be useful in certain situations and they made pairing characters a bit more worthwhile as now pairing characters gives more defensive bonuses and you can use this to protect your weaker characters in a pinch by using a more defensive character to protect the other character when they are low on health or are near an enemy that they have a severe disadvantage against. You can also build up your own stronghold so that you can buy more weapons and smith upgrades to existing weapons which can be quite useful later in the game. Overall this game has so many complex layers to it that you can get lost in it.
- Bravely Second: End Layer – The sequel to Bravely Default. This game follows on from the events in the first game and has two characters that you will be familiar with if you’ve played through the first game and two new characters introduced as well. I think at this point I’ve played through about half of the game and I am enjoying the story so far and all the character’s unique personalities. The job system from the previous game also makes a return and there are more customisation options than ever. I personally love the Catmancer ability and the utilisation of different items to cause status buffs or debuffs on your characters or enemies as well as the spellcraft ability where you can add additional effects to your spells. For those who want to explore different combinations of jobs and abilities there is now a favourites system where you can save your preferred presets and try something new without having to worry about spending a lot of time re-customising your characters. If you are a fan of story based RPGS like Final Fantasy, I would definitely recommend this game.
- Dragonball Xenoverse 2 – The sequel to Dragonball Xenoverse. This game’s story is very much like the first; protect the history of the Dragon Ball Universe by going back in time and preventing changes in history. It certainly presents a lot of interesting “what if” scenarios at pivotal moments of important battles between heroes and villains. However this game’s strong suit is the sheer amount of quality content there is. In this game you have a much bigger city to explore with vehicles or by flying. You also have improved access to instructors to learn different types of skills that you can use in battle. You no longer have to wait until certain instructors to appear to get them to teach you brand new skills, once you have gone through certain parts of the game or met certain conditions they are always available to you. On top of Parallel Quests, you have Expert Missions which are much more challenging. You also have side missions where you can join up with the Frieza force and work your way through the ranks or help Majin Buu create a family of miniature Majin Buus to get rare key story items and awoken skills. There is also an NPC that teaches you all the combat mechanics you need to get through the game. The combat in the game has also been cleaned up and runs a lot more smoothly too. I’ve spent so much quality time on this game already and I am only three quarters through. If you like the Dragon Ball series and want a decent and easy to pick up fighting game then this one is for you.
- Rhythm Paradise Megamix – You will remember that I mentioned this game in my review of PAX. I was lucky enough to borrow a copy of the game from a friend of mine. The premise of the game is simple enough, follow the rhythm in each of the mini-games and get a good enough score to pass. As you go through the game, the mini-games get increasingly difficult which provides an interesting challenge. This is a fantastic game to play with other people as well and is a great way for people to have fun while learning about rhythm.
- Pokemon Moon 3DS – The seventh generation of Pokemon was released this year and while there weren’t too many new Pokemon that weren’t already revealed, I thoroughly enjoyed playing through this game. It was quite a departure from the previous Pokemon games, gone are the gyms and the Elite Four which have since been replaced by the Island Trials and Grand Trials at least in this game. Honestly after X and Y I felt like Pokemon needed a bit of a change-up so I’m glad they decided to try something different with the trials. While I was hesitant and scoffed at the fact that the trials consisted of battling beefed up version of pokemon, I was pleasantly surprised when I actually started struggling with some of the trials and had to change my movesets several times to make my Pokemon team run more efficiently and I found myself having to grind a bit to keep up with the Pokemon trainers on the different islands as I progressed through the game. Boy did Game Freak bump up the difficulty of these games, it’s almost a similar difficulty to that experienced in the first generation of games which was fantastic because it kept me on my toes. What I found most interesting was the emphasis on the story and origins of Alola and the journey around the four islands with my Pokemon which made the battles towards the end seem more memorable and satisfying. Because of the effort I had to make with my Pokemon to keep up with the level jumps, I felt more connected to my Pokemon as each of them had a role to play in my victories. This is definitely one of the better main series Pokemon games to be released in years.
So those are my top five games for 2016 and one of my resolutions for 2017 is to do a comprehensive review for all of these games so look forward to that. What were some of your favourite games for 2016?