Regardless of your preferred platform, genre, or commitment level, you had no shortage of great stuff to keep you busy all year. Even long running franchises seemingly oblivious to change got a shot in the arm. I mean, Mario got a runner game? Call of Duty has starfighters AND an emotional punch? Skylanders lets you mix and match your own characters without buying an army of figures? Uncharted replaced action and adventure with walking around and looking at stuff? Heck, The Last Guardian came out! Quite a year indeed! While RimWorld might have run away with our coveted Golden Giant Fire-Breathing Robot Baby GOTY statue this year, there were a few other titles we just couldn't let go unrecognized.
From laughter to tears, XCOM 2 is one of those afore mentioned franchises that took some unexpected risks. I'll be honest, it took a good six hours or so before I could decide if I even liked this game or not. Firaxis' freshman outing on the XCOM series presented a game that brilliantly tricked players into thinking it was harder than it truely was. XCOM 2, however, comes at you with teeth bared. Big, sharp teeth dripping with poison. A bewildering array of strategic level options and a tutorial that railroads you into a critical 'Black Site' mission WAY before you're ready for it, doesn't do the game any favors. Top it off with new enemy powers and a heart-racing timer on most missions, and you've got a game that, at first, may make players wonder if the computer is having more fun playing than they are.
All hyperbole aside (A difficult task for me), XCOM 2 is the finest turn-based tactics game yet produced. Much like its predecessor, it impeccably balances options and constraints while keeping the scale manageable but adds a layer of real danger lacking in it's paper tiger parent.
It also has an amazing main menu, and you know how much I love a flashy main menu scene ;)
Had RimWorld alpha 13 not blow us all away, XCOM 2 was a shoo-in for 2016's Game of the Year. If you have any interest at all, don't miss it!
Finally, Superhot is ready to deliver both laughter and tears was we round out our little best-of-the-rest feature. Born from the indie game jam scene three years ago, it is an understatement that Superhot was eagerly anticipated. The brilliant "Time only moves when you do" gimmick was a masterstroke that put even its original three level prototype on the hit list of players around the world. Superhot is an amazing deconstruction of the FPS genre that turns the normally twitch-centric gameplay into a pressure cooker of a puzzle game.
If you've been waiting for the next Portal, look no further than Superhot.