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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.