You had plenty of amazing games to play in 2016, and that’s a problem because you probably missed out on some other amazing games because you just kept booting up Titanfall 2 and Overwatch again and again.
But that’s why you have us. We’ve picked out some overlooked games that you should go back and try now that the year is over and we’re in the midst of our GB Rewind. You can get most of these on sale now — especially if you act before the seasonal discounts end on Steam and the Xbox and PlayStation stores. So go out and give these a shot.
XCOM was one of the best games of 2012, so why did so many of us skip out on its sequel earlier this year. XCOM 2 debuted in February for the PC, and it didn’t make a huge dent with the gaming community’s collective conversation. That’s possibly because it wasn’t on consoles until much later or because it looks like it’s maybe just an expansion for the original, but after finally putting some time into XCOM 2 myself, I discovered that developer Firaxis has made a tactical alien-battler that improves on every aspect of its predecessor. You should all play it so we can get an XCOM 3.
Dragon Quest Builders
By now, you know if you love Minecraft or if you hate it. If you love it, it’s probably one of the only games you play. If you hate it, you don’t want much to do with it or any other game like it. Except you shouldn’t jump to conclusions with Dragon Quest Builders, which combines Minecraft-style building with a more guided, objective-focused progression system. It’s Minecraft for people who were born before the year 1999.
Hitman was a surprise. This franchise has a long history, but for this entry, developer IO Interactive went with an episodic release schedule that gave you weeks to explore every nook and assassination possibility in each stage as they rolled out. And getting familiar with each environment is so rewarding because the world is so dense with different ways to eliminate your targets. And having only one episode at a time forces you to get familiar with these spaces in a way you wouldn’t if you could just instantly move on to the next target.
Kirby: Planet Robobot
Kirby never gets enough respect. He’s not in that top-tier of Nintendo franchises, but his games are always consistently entertaining. This year’s Planet Robobot for the 3DS was one of most charming 2D platformers I’ve played in some time, carrying over the success of Triple Deluxe by taking advantage of the portable’s 3D capabilities to create some interesting puzzles. Also, you can ride around in a giant robot that also has the power to absorb enemies’ abilities. Suck on that, Titanfall 2!
Bravely Second might have come out too early in the year, in April, for most to remember. It’s also a traditional, turn-based Japanese role-playing game, which puts it a tad on the niche side. But, man, do I love this game. It has the same great Job system as Bravely Default, which allows you to change a character’s class while retaining some abilities from other Jobs that they’ve already learned. It also had a charming and likable cast, and didn’t suffer from a repetitive second half the same way its predecessor did.
Fire Emblem: Fates
Apparently, I’m championing the 3DS here. Fire Emblem: Fates wasn’t as memorable as its predecessor, Fire Emblem: Awakening, but it was still an excellent strategy game. The three versions of the game allowed you have vastly different experiences with unique characters and scenarios, and each one was long enough to feel like a complete Fire Emblem adventure. Sure, it borrowed a lot from Awakening, including the way you developed relationships with your army members (and hooked them up so they could have kids that could fight with you too), but all of that stuff still made for a fun time with hours of challenging battles.