Chances are that you already have a good idea of what the best games of 2016 were. Whether it is an incredible indie title like
Stardew Valley or an amazing AAA experience like that of DOOM, you know for sure that they are games that will be discussed and remembered for years to come. However, with so many great games to choose from, there are others that get overlooked or just flat out forgotten in all the hubbub of progressing into a new year. A lot of these games are absolutely solid experiences that deserve to be played and enjoyed, even if you don’t see them on a top five or ten list. So without further ado, here are five games from 2016 that you really need to play before 2017 gets out of hand.

5. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Of all the games on this list, Blood and Wine is probably the most irregular to include. This is largely due to the fact that Blood and Wine is a single player DLC pack for a game that came out in 2015, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. What makes Blood and Wine so special, however, is how well it sends off series protagonist Geralt of Rivia.

I don’t just mean how the DLC ends, either (though it is pretty special). The entire journey throughout Toussaint is arguably one of the best adventures that the monster hunter has ever been on. Players will discover the underground world and social structures of the vampire race, demonstrate all of the virtues of a warrior to receive a legendary sword, and even find an old man who stole the testicles off of a statue to keep as a totem towards his own virility. Every moment of the 20+ hours you spend in Toussaint just adds to the overall immense pleasure it is just to play
The Witcher 3.

I honestly cannot stress how much I love
The Witcher, and this game, especially Blood and Wine, just cements how fantastic and wonderful the entire universe is. If you have not yet played The Witcher 3 or its DLC packs, you absolutely owe it to yourself to do so.

4. Ratchet & Clank

Let’s be honest here: the Ratchet & Clank movie, while it can be entertaining, was not a cinematic masterpiece. Yet Insomniac Games’ video game tie-in is nothing if not a masterful and highly enjoyable entry into the long-running franchise. While it was not expressly advertised as such, it is a complete remake of the very first Ratchet & Clank game on the PlayStation 2. Do not let this deter you, though, as this is easily the absolute best adventure the lombax and robot duo have ever been on.

Rather than simply updating the visuals like so many remakes do, Insomniac completely retold the story from Captain Qwark’s perspective. To avoid spoiling too much, the PS2 original, while a classic, never really did a good job with the character. I’d argue Qwark’s complete narrative overhaul is this remake’s strongest point, as it is much easier to empathize with him and the decisions he makes throughout the story. This game actually humanizes what has otherwise been one of the silliest and most one-dimensional characters in video game history while still keeping all of the quirk of Qwark intact.

Beyond the narrative changes, it is just an absolute blast to play. Everything fans love about the series, from its weapon upgrades to its fluid platforming, are just utterly perfected in this game. Oh, and it’s also a budget title. So go out there and save the galaxy, cadet!

3. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth

I wouldn’t blame you for not knowing that this game actually exists, or that it even launched in America (it almost didn’t). But Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth does exist, and it is a treat to play for all classic turn-based RPG fans. Perhaps Cyber Sleuth‘s strongest selling point is the sheer amount of content one gets out of the game. I have put over 100 hours into it and have still yet to actually complete the story.

All of this content begins with the simple concept of collecting digital monsters (not to be confused with pocket monsters, of course). Every
Digimon fan will be happy to know that almost every Digimon you grew up with in the show or otherwise is in this game. A lot of the gameplay is actually devoted to raising and digivolving them into completely new monsters to deck out your custom team with, similar to how Digimon World 3 worked way back on the original PlayStation. Couple that with some downright gorgeous visuals and a surprisingly dark and entertaining story, and you’ve got the makings of a modern classic JRPG.

2. Dragon Quest Builders

When Dragon Quest Builders launched back in October, I wrote up a review round-up on it discussing how its review scores put it on par with Minecraft, at least from a critical perspective. While many reviews did compare the two games, some even expressing that Builders was objectively better, after spending some time with the game I would argue that this is probably the wrong comparison to make. Builders certainly takes its voxel-ated inspiration from the popular builder, but Dragon Quest Builders really managed to become its own thing.

The direction the objectives send players in is completely different than that of
Minecraft. Rather than being given tools and told to run wild, you are given very specific goals that actually completely change up how you approach this style of game. In one world, you will focus on creating turrets and spikes to help against tower defense-like waves of enemies, while in the next you will build a hospital and find sick people and nurse them back to health using crafted potions. Within these objectives, the same core goal of building whatever it is you can dream up is ever present, making it a very unique take on the formula.

1. Watch Dogs 2

The original Watch Dogs is often remembered with distaste. Some people felt the promotional material was not a fair representation of the final product while others just thought it was not a very good game in the first place. I thought it had a great soundtrack, but I don’t have much of an opinion beyond that. Watch Dogs 2 literally fixed everything that was wrong with the first game, and it still boasts an awesome soundtrack to boot. The characters are more likable and relatable, the world is more exciting to explore, the hacking is more intuitive and varied, and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that is how fantastic this game is.

Every little touch, from the faithful recreation of San Francisco (down to some of its wilder denizens) to a hilariously self-deprecating joke of an in-game Ubisoft accidentally leaking yet another game, just screams charm and character. It plays well, it feels good, and it’s just a fantastic experience all around. Of all five games on this list, I recommend
Watch Dogs 2 the most, especially if you ignored it because you still feel burned by the original.

Do you agree with all of the games on the list? Do you disagree? What are some games from 2016 you think deserve to be played? Let us know in the comments below!

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