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The Year in Fandom Awards: Vote for the Best Game of 2016

2016 was an incredible year for games. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 entered into their golden years, the PC was home to the majority of the biggest hits on consoles, while Nintendo put the Wii U out to pasture. And they all were host to some incredible titles that will be remembered long after this year is in the history books.

But what were the best games of 2016? After talking it over between Game Editors Henry Gilbert and Bob Mackey, we decided the top 10 games of the year. Read on to see our list. Then, why not vote for which of those 10 you think was the very best in 2016.

Stardew Valley

Best Games 2016

If, at the beginning of the year, we told you one of the greatest games of the year would take the form of an indie farming sim made by one person, we’d fully understand your confusion. But, over the course of 2016, Stardew Valley fully won over our hearts with its laid-back, yet still highly addictive take on Harvest Moon. Though it draws most of its ideas from another beloved series, Stardew Valley manages to improve on the Harvest Moon formula in every way by eliminating every trace of tedium while giving the player so many more worthwhile things to do. And now that it’s available on most major platforms, the magic of Stardew Valley isn’t just limited to PC gamers anymore. [Bob Mackey]

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

After doing so well on the PlayStation 3, it took a surprisingly long time for the Uncharted series to make its way onto the PlayStation 4. But it was worth the wait, as the big budget blockbuster of a game delivered amazing visuals and a surprisingly heartfelt story. In Uncharted 4 we got closer that ever to Nathan Drake, seeing his life and family from a new perspective. It gave an impressive, emotional undercurrent to all the gunplay and leaps of faith. Though the climax left the series with places to go, if Uncharted 4 is truly the last game, it's a lovely end for the series. [Henry Gilbert]

Fire Emblem Fates

After Fire Emblem: Awakening gave the series a new lease on life, Fire Emblem Fates grew on that success with not one but three new strategy campaigns. The 100-plus hours it took to complete every version of this branching adventure was worth it, whether for the complex combat or the deceptively simple dating sim elements. The battles in Fire Emblem Fates are as stupendous as any in the previous entries, but you care so much more about your units after coupling the many unique personalities through the dozens of chapters. Even after seeing all three ways that the central choice can play out, you're still ready to return to the DLC and battle all over. For no other reason, you keep playing just to make sure every team member is married. [Henry Gilbert]

The Last Guardian

The fact that The Last Guardian exists stands as nothing short of a miracle, but this game doesn't just get points for trying. Originally announced in 2009 as a PlayStation 3 game, The Last Guardian went through development hell and emerged as a stunning creation. Though it has its frustrating moments, the evolving relationship between the unnamed boy protagonist and his massive bird/dog/dragon companion remains The Last Guardian's absolute highlight. Even if the beast Trico amounts to a collection of AI routines, somehow, The Last Guardian makes you believe he's a thinking, feeling creature. This all pays off during the highly emotional, heart-rending finale, which will make even the most stony-hearted gamers out there weep like little babies—and for all the right reasons. [Bob Mackey]

Hitman

For as long as it's been around, Hitman should be a known quantity: For the most part, every game features Agent 47 donning a number of costumes as a means of getting closer to his human prey. But this soft reboot of the series features the most elegant take on Hitman's stealth/adventure combo yet. Essentially, Hitman gives players a series of modestly sized sandboxes to play in, and emphasizes replays by doling out rewards for taking out your targets in increasingly creative ways. Ultimately, Hitman creates a sort of murderous take on the movie Groundhog's Day: with each new dive into a level, you become increasingly familiar with people's schedules, the environments, and the location of weapons and items, making your own knowledge as vital an asset as Agent 47's bag of tricks. [Bob Mackey]

DOOM

The Doom series seemed like it was left to get dusty in the history books of gaming's past. Then the series came rocketing back into Hell with a gory, clever, and (above all) fun reinvention of the series. DOOM finds surprising artistry in its gore, making every encounter as twitchily fun as the first game while maturing the visual design. Not only that but the developers at id found a very clever way to use the very simple story of the past and make it work as both a tribute and a parody of the previous games. Even if the multiplayer wasn't great, blasting demons in the campaign along to the incredible soundtrack will always be a bloody good time. [Henry Gilbert]

Overwatch

Overwatch isn't just a fantastic multiplayer shooter; it also defied the conventional wisdom carried by its genre. Instead of forcing players to gradually unlock every character and weapon, Overwatch dumps them all into your lap up front—and without any single-player campaign to speak of. But even if Overwatch took a more conventional approach, it'd still be a blast to play. The mix of great, distinct characters and a focus on teamwork over individual accomplishments gives Overwatch a welcoming, light-hearted atmosphere that flies in the face of your typical aggressive online multiplayer experience. Plus, all the free content drip-fed to players—with more surely on the way—makes Overwatch the gift that keeps on giving. [Bob Mackey]

Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2 defies all the rules of an FPS sequel. There's no multiplayer and it's a series of stages instead of the more predominant open-world design. And it's all the better for it because Dishonored 2 focuses on its strengths for a slow paced, stealthy gameplay. As in the first entry, you sneak around the steampunk world and plan out your attacks, though multiple paths in the game will take you to the end of the mission. There are great new powers, skills, and a new twist on the story of Corvo Attano and Emily Kaldwin that's compelling to new players without being confusing. An underrated gem from a year full of great shooters. [Henry Gilbert]

Monster Hunter Generations

Granted, Monster Hunter is an acquired taste. Not everyone has the patience to learn it many rules, many of which the game never teaches explicitly. But even with this sharp learning curve, Monster Hunter Generations stands as the best and most accessible Monster Hunter release to date. With this latest release, Capcom did an amazing job at identifying lingering annoyances and eliminating them completely, while adding worthwhile features that fit well, rather than feeling like additions for the sake of additions. While just about every Monster Hunter fan craves a big-budget console version of the series, Generations looks fantastic on the 3DS, even putting certain first-party games to play. If you're willing to do a bit of homework beforehand, don't be surprised if you find yourself devoting hundreds of hours into the world of Monster Hunter. [Bob Mackey]

Tokyo Mirage Sessions

For fans of Japanese RPGs, having no Persona 5 this year was definitely a bummer. But the Wii U had the next best thing -- a long, complex, and (best of all) fun role-playing game from the same developer. Atlus' Shin Megami/Fire Emblem crossover, Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a vibrant musical journey through modern day Tokyo. The teens at the center are well-realized, the combat combines the best part of Fire Emblem with Shin Megami, and it has one of the best soundtracks of 2016. Many overlooked this final big game on the Wii U, but those that took the time were treated to the best role-playing game of the year. [Henry Gilbert]



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