I’ll preface this list with a little bit about who I am. I’m a YouTuber, an entertainer. I play games (mainly the Souls games) to entertain myself and others. I’m not a critic, and this list should not be taken as a critical summation of all the major games released this year. My list isn’t going to surprise anyone. These are the games that I’ve tweeted about, recorded Let’s Plays for, and defended via spirited online debates. They gave me the most joy to play and share.
4. Stardew Valley
My favourite games growing up were those in the Harvest Moon series. They were so peaceful. No guns, no frustrating deaths (things have changed a bit in this respect…*cough* Souls *cough.*) In Harvest Moon all you had to do was building up your farm in a quiet little town, watch the seasons change, and court a pretty lady. Stardew Valley doesn’t quite capture the magic of Harvest Moon for me, but it comes pretty close. It’s shamelessly borrows and iterates upon the Harvest Moon formula and I think that’s great. I hope the success of the game will encourage other studios to produce Harvest Moon clones because I really don’t think I could ever get sick of farming simulators.
3. Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked
I’m cheating a little here by calling a piece of DLC a new game, but I think the size of Shipwrecked warrants its inclusion. I absolutely adore Don’t Starve. It’s a mischievous little rogue-like developed by Klei “rhymes with play” Entertainment and is just jammed packed with content. Seriously. I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into the game and still don’t understand everything about it. The gameplay and art style of the base game is phenomenal, and the Shipwrecked DLC introduces a whole new aquatic environment with complete boat travel, tons of new items, and new boss battles. I was obsessed with learning it’s secrets this year.
2. Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods
Cheating again. Is it my fault that many of the games I love don’t just have single release dates, but are constantly evolving over time? 2016 was a monumental year for Hearthstone. The Whispers of the Old Gods expansion brought us not only a new card set, but two new game modes that completely change the way Hearthstone functions for competitive players: Standard and Wild. Blizzard made old card sets unplayable in Standard, allowing the meta to evolve past certain over powered cards (*cough* Dr. Boom *cough*), giving them room to innovate with the introduction of each new set. It’s a great change to Hearthstone, a game that I play pretty much every day.
1. Dark Souls 3
It should come as no surprise that Dark Souls 3 is my Game of the Year. I broke into the gaming industry by playing Dark Souls on the internet, and the games still make up the core of my YouTube channel. With a new Souls game, I can share a thousand new experiences and stories with my audience. It’s like Christmas, Thanksgiving and my birthday wrapped into one game case. Dark Souls 3 is a great addition, and perhaps ending, to the Souls series. Though I have issues with the level design in some areas, the boss battles, weapon customization and lore are as enthralling as ever. There’s a level of polish and depth to FromSoftware’s games that’s hard to beat. I can’t wait to see what projects they have to announce in 2017.
Thank you so much for checking out GOTY week on OK Beast! Make sure to stay tuned for more lists and holiday surprises!