What a weird year in gaming. This is the first time in recent memory that a shooter has been my favorite game of the year. It was also the third year in a row that seemed light (at least to me) on big releases, particularly big first-party releases. It occurred to me, however, that this might be because Nintendo has been such a non-factor lately. Sure, there was a new Pokémon game for the 3DS, but that was about it. The new Paper Mario game did nothing to shore up the now dead Wii U, and the decision to delay The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for a simultaneous release on the Switch—while understandable—didn’t help the company’s presence this year (especially when Nintendo devoted its whole booth to that game at E3). 2017 will see the release of said Switch, however, and the new competition will likely make the other companies step up their game. So, here’s to the best games of 2016. You were great, but I can’t help daydreaming about next year.

#5
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV both inspires and bugs the crap out of me. I truly love all of the new twists to the FF formula. The melding of more tech like cars and cellphones with the familiar fantasy tropes, like the game’s beasts and magic, make for a satisfying mash-up. The new battle system, while occasionally overly hectic, injects a nice level of action into the whole affair. I am bummed by how much they dumbed down the magic system, and the summons are obtuse at best (though they look and work great). The story too falls apart later in the game, making it frustrating to wait for the promised DLC that will address this. Ultimately, the game won me over with its massive open-world and personality. Despite its flaws, I really enjoyed the whole experience, and look forward to seeing where the series goes from here.

#4
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis Games
Platforms: PC
Civilization VI
Confession: I didn’t seriously play a Civilization game until its fourth iteration. While I enjoyed strategy games, the world-building of Civilization was more complex than I really wanted to spend time learning. Once I got into it, however, I really enjoyed that world-building and the diverse victory conditions. Now, Civilization VI expands on everything that I like about the series while making it more accessible for the average player. The idea of unstacking cities and adding districts devoted to different areas like science, religion, and the arts was an inspired choice. Other tweaks (bye bye Workers—hello Builders!), while not being as game-changing, were still well-conceived and appreciated. I still wish Civilization were more of a pick-up-and-play kind of game, since I don’t always have the time to dig in. But when I do, it’s the most satisfying strategy experience out there.

#3
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Playground Games, Turn 10
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Forza Horizon 3
I spent far too many late nights searching for one more race, one more barn, one more massive jump in Forza Horizon 3. It turns out Australia makes a great setting for the Horizon Festival, with more varied landscapes (and therefore more varied tracks) than previous installments. The sheer number of roads to find, and nooks and crannies to explore, are mind numbing. And just when you think it’s all over, Microsoft drops some DLC that actually opens up more area! It doesn’t sacrifice the amazing cars either. There are more of them than ever, giving gearheads a motive to keep earning money to fill out your collection. The game sets a new standard for racing, and it will take a pretty amazing game to replace it as my go to car porn.

#2
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Platforms: PS4
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
I don’t want Uncharted 4 to be the end of Nathan Drake. What can I say, I like the guy. Somehow he manages to be cool and capable while still projecting a normal-guy vibe. It features the best free-running mechanics in gaming (sorry Assassin’s Creed, keep trying), great third-person shooting, and puzzles that are neither too obtuse nor so simple that you feel like a monkey trying to get to the banana. The series’ signature big moments look spectacular on the PS4, enhancing an already solid experience to one that really immerses you in its world. Uncharted 4 checks off all the boxes that make it a must play—and replay—for me. It will stay in my collection, and will be revisited many times.

#1
Publisher: EA
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Titanfall 2
How good is Titanfall 2? Well, shooters are my third or fourth favorite genre, I’m not much into mechs, and I found the first game largely forgettable. What sold the sequel for me was its single-player campaign. I enjoyed the story, the opportunity to ease into the gameplay, and the solo action. Once I was through that, I had no problem transitioning to the multiplayer, and was more competitive than I usually am at these endeavors (did I mention I’m not the best shooter player either?). It all comes down to the balance between the mech and non-mech gameplay. Inside a Titan, I’m a weaponized superhero, a real badass. Somehow, I still feel completely capable outside of the armor, with enough moves to justify my measly, human existence. Titanfall 2 superbly took me on an adventure I wasn’t expecting, and continues to entertain me today.
Re-release of the Year
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past
I appreciate re-releases. Bioshock, Batman Arkham, Darksiders, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare were all worthy choices in 2016, but my favorite re-release wasn’t on a high-powered, latest-generation system—it was for the Nintendo 3DS. Two of my favorite JRPGs were Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII. Released this year, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past reminded me why I loved the game in the first place. With enough tweaks, enhancements, and new content to keep things interesting, I really appreciate being able to play it wherever I can sneak away with my 3DS. Best off all, DQ VIII finally drops early next year, right when I’m going to need a new game. Long live Dragon Quest!
Most Over-Hyped Trend
VR
Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR all released in 2016. These—particularly PSVR—really brought VR to the masses. But to what end? Most of the experiences fall somewhere between neat looking and meh, and don’t really provide any real gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed stepping into the Batsuit for a couple of hours and diving down to an impressive ocean. Unfortunately, none of these experiences really inspired me to revisit them. I would love to have a VR version of the Louvre to explore, but I’m not sure about a playing a 50-hour game. I’m hoping next year will help change my mind, but until then, VR gaming will remain not ready for primetime.

Trend That Deserves More Hypr
High Dynamic Range
Both Microsoft and Sony released new incremental systems this year: the Xbox One and the PS4 Pro. Along with offering a little more power—particularly on Sony’s side—these systems offer compatibility with 4K TVs, including upscaled graphics (or even native 4K with some PS4 games) and, more importantly, HDR compatibility. For me, high-dynamic range is more noticeable than the increased resolution of 4K, bringing a wider color gamut and improved contrast to game graphics. Games are just starting to adopt HDR, but if releases like Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, and Final Fantasy XV are any indication, designers will quickly figure out how to make the most of this technology—and soon, our games will look noticeably better than ever before!
EGM’s Best of 2016 Coverage
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2016 all week, from Christmas day through December 30th. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2016, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.

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About Marc Camron

view all posts

Marc somehow survived E3. The crowds were big, the games were loud and somehow he managed to get a sunburn on the top of his big, bald melon. Yet, despite all of this, he had a blast, seeing people he only sees once a year, playing all of the new games, and staying up way past his bedtime. Next year he might even have a beer. Find him on Twitter @RkyMtnGmr

EGM’s Best of 2016: Marc Camron’s Editor Awards

Marc gives his thoughts on the year in gaming that was 2016

By Marc Camron | 12/29/2016 01:00 PM PT | Updated 01/4/2017 11:04 AM PT

Features

What a weird year in gaming. This is the first time in recent memory that a shooter has been my favorite game of the year. It was also the third year in a row that seemed light (at least to me) on big releases, particularly big first-party releases. It occurred to me, however, that this might be because Nintendo has been such a non-factor lately. Sure, there was a new Pokémon game for the 3DS, but that was about it. The new Paper Mario game did nothing to shore up the now dead Wii U, and the decision to delay The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for a simultaneous release on the Switch—while understandable—didn’t help the company’s presence this year (especially when Nintendo devoted its whole booth to that game at E3). 2017 will see the release of said Switch, however, and the new competition will likely make the other companies step up their game. So, here’s to the best games of 2016. You were great, but I can’t help daydreaming about next year.

#5
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV both inspires and bugs the crap out of me. I truly love all of the new twists to the FF formula. The melding of more tech like cars and cellphones with the familiar fantasy tropes, like the game’s beasts and magic, make for a satisfying mash-up. The new battle system, while occasionally overly hectic, injects a nice level of action into the whole affair. I am bummed by how much they dumbed down the magic system, and the summons are obtuse at best (though they look and work great). The story too falls apart later in the game, making it frustrating to wait for the promised DLC that will address this. Ultimately, the game won me over with its massive open-world and personality. Despite its flaws, I really enjoyed the whole experience, and look forward to seeing where the series goes from here.

#4
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis Games
Platforms: PC
Civilization VI
Confession: I didn’t seriously play a Civilization game until its fourth iteration. While I enjoyed strategy games, the world-building of Civilization was more complex than I really wanted to spend time learning. Once I got into it, however, I really enjoyed that world-building and the diverse victory conditions. Now, Civilization VI expands on everything that I like about the series while making it more accessible for the average player. The idea of unstacking cities and adding districts devoted to different areas like science, religion, and the arts was an inspired choice. Other tweaks (bye bye Workers—hello Builders!), while not being as game-changing, were still well-conceived and appreciated. I still wish Civilization were more of a pick-up-and-play kind of game, since I don’t always have the time to dig in. But when I do, it’s the most satisfying strategy experience out there.

#3
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Playground Games, Turn 10
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Forza Horizon 3
I spent far too many late nights searching for one more race, one more barn, one more massive jump in Forza Horizon 3. It turns out Australia makes a great setting for the Horizon Festival, with more varied landscapes (and therefore more varied tracks) than previous installments. The sheer number of roads to find, and nooks and crannies to explore, are mind numbing. And just when you think it’s all over, Microsoft drops some DLC that actually opens up more area! It doesn’t sacrifice the amazing cars either. There are more of them than ever, giving gearheads a motive to keep earning money to fill out your collection. The game sets a new standard for racing, and it will take a pretty amazing game to replace it as my go to car porn.

#2
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Platforms: PS4
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
I don’t want Uncharted 4 to be the end of Nathan Drake. What can I say, I like the guy. Somehow he manages to be cool and capable while still projecting a normal-guy vibe. It features the best free-running mechanics in gaming (sorry Assassin’s Creed, keep trying), great third-person shooting, and puzzles that are neither too obtuse nor so simple that you feel like a monkey trying to get to the banana. The series’ signature big moments look spectacular on the PS4, enhancing an already solid experience to one that really immerses you in its world. Uncharted 4 checks off all the boxes that make it a must play—and replay—for me. It will stay in my collection, and will be revisited many times.

#1
Publisher: EA
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Titanfall 2
How good is Titanfall 2? Well, shooters are my third or fourth favorite genre, I’m not much into mechs, and I found the first game largely forgettable. What sold the sequel for me was its single-player campaign. I enjoyed the story, the opportunity to ease into the gameplay, and the solo action. Once I was through that, I had no problem transitioning to the multiplayer, and was more competitive than I usually am at these endeavors (did I mention I’m not the best shooter player either?). It all comes down to the balance between the mech and non-mech gameplay. Inside a Titan, I’m a weaponized superhero, a real badass. Somehow, I still feel completely capable outside of the armor, with enough moves to justify my measly, human existence. Titanfall 2 superbly took me on an adventure I wasn’t expecting, and continues to entertain me today.
Re-release of the Year
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past
I appreciate re-releases. Bioshock, Batman Arkham, Darksiders, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare were all worthy choices in 2016, but my favorite re-release wasn’t on a high-powered, latest-generation system—it was for the Nintendo 3DS. Two of my favorite JRPGs were Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII. Released this year, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past reminded me why I loved the game in the first place. With enough tweaks, enhancements, and new content to keep things interesting, I really appreciate being able to play it wherever I can sneak away with my 3DS. Best off all, DQ VIII finally drops early next year, right when I’m going to need a new game. Long live Dragon Quest!
Most Over-Hyped Trend
VR
Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR all released in 2016. These—particularly PSVR—really brought VR to the masses. But to what end? Most of the experiences fall somewhere between neat looking and meh, and don’t really provide any real gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed stepping into the Batsuit for a couple of hours and diving down to an impressive ocean. Unfortunately, none of these experiences really inspired me to revisit them. I would love to have a VR version of the Louvre to explore, but I’m not sure about a playing a 50-hour game. I’m hoping next year will help change my mind, but until then, VR gaming will remain not ready for primetime.

Trend That Deserves More Hypr
High Dynamic Range
Both Microsoft and Sony released new incremental systems this year: the Xbox One and the PS4 Pro. Along with offering a little more power—particularly on Sony’s side—these systems offer compatibility with 4K TVs, including upscaled graphics (or even native 4K with some PS4 games) and, more importantly, HDR compatibility. For me, high-dynamic range is more noticeable than the increased resolution of 4K, bringing a wider color gamut and improved contrast to game graphics. Games are just starting to adopt HDR, but if releases like Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, and Final Fantasy XV are any indication, designers will quickly figure out how to make the most of this technology—and soon, our games will look noticeably better than ever before!
EGM’s Best of 2016 Coverage
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2016 all week, from Christmas day through December 30th. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2016, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.
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About Marc Camron

view all posts

Marc somehow survived E3. The crowds were big, the games were loud and somehow he managed to get a sunburn on the top of his big, bald melon. Yet, despite all of this, he had a blast, seeing people he only sees once a year, playing all of the new games, and staying up way past his bedtime. Next year he might even have a beer. Find him on Twitter @RkyMtnGmr