The five best video games of 2016, from latest Football Manager to The Last Guardian

In a year when virtual reality began transforming the gaming universe, the retro graphics of Hyper Light Drifter and minimalism of Superhot captivated Pavan Shamdasani. He liked some next-gen stuff too

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 December, 2016, 10:03am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 December, 2016, 10:03am


Virtual reality, the rise of indie games, ultra-powerful consoles, uber-ambitious releases – 2016 was a great year for gaming. Here are the five best I played this year.

5. Football Manager 2017

The only game I was truly obsessed with this year, Football Manager 2017 gripped like no other. Both in its full PC version and life-sucking mobile mode, the management sim perfected its niche sub-genre and stood out as an undeniable addiction.

Review: Football Manager Mobile 2017 – the phone version keeps all the crucial elements of the full game, without the fat

4. Hyper Light Drifter

Sheer frustration balanced by very occasional triumphs – I’m not entirely sure how Hyper Light Drifter ever kept my interest. But it might have had something to do with its gorgeous retro graphics, its mysterious Zelda-like realm, and the feeling that the more I played it, the better I’d somehow be as a person. Strange, but absolutely captivating.

Game review: Hyper Light Drifter is beautiful, mysterious and engaging. And really hard

3. Superhot

Superhot was gaming minimalism at its finest. A cheeky riff on endless first-person shooters, it kept me coming back through chess-like firing mechanics, gorgeously pared-down visuals and a humble all-about-timing concept that never got boring.

Game reviews: Superhot and Fortified - cool and fun

2. Abzu

Both in its gameplay and in my actual review, Abzu struggled to be defined. It looked like a simple diving simulator – but once I lost myself in its hypnotic world, it quickly became a peek behind the curtain of the future of gaming. This is one that’ll go down in the history books.

Game review: mesmerising and artistic, Abzu finds endless depths under the waves

1. The Last Guardian

It’s filled with flaws and I’m slightly biased (Shadow of the Colossus is on my favourite-ever list), but The Last Guardian still ranks as my favourite of 2016. Team ICO’s much-delayed, late-Christmas season capper brings their spiritual trilogy to an incredibly fascinating finale; a groundbreaking next-gen release that balanced big ideas with plenty of small-scale soul.