2016 has been an interesting year, that's for sure. But despite the tense political climate and the loss of Ziggy Stardust, it's been a stellar year for video games. I always believed games had a larger impact than we gave them credit for. I mean, they're works of art you can interact with. If that's not cool, I don't know what is. Whether you're looking to sneak your way into a royal palace or befriend a giant beast, this list covers all kinds of meaningful games.
1. The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian is not your run-of-the-mill shooter. In other words, you're not going to slaughter everything in sight and tuck yourself away behind conveniently placed barricades. It's a unique puzzle game that favors story over complicated game mechanics. Though it might not be your cup of tea, this game really leaves a lasting impression. I'm currently playing it, and I can't seem to get enough.
You play as a young boy covered in mysterious tattoos. At the beginning of the game, you're tasked with pulling spears out of injured beast that resembles a griffin. Once you've gained the beast's trust, you and your newfound friend spend the rest of the game escaping the dangerous world you've both found yourselves in. If you're looking for a game that inspires, well this is it.
I'm usually not one for online games, but I really like Overwatch. It might seem like a straightforward game at first, though. All you have to do is select a hero and then the game will assign you a match. Easy, right? Well, it's surprisingly strategic.
I regularly play with a group of friends, but my role is pretty specific. My team relies on me to deal a lot of damage, as that's how I cripple the opposing champions. Though my character can take a lot of hits, the drawback is that she moves slower than the other heroes. In another words, a fast moving character might exploit my weakness and take me down. I have to play to my character's strengths, but I also need to familiarize myself with the other heroes and their abilities. If you're aiming to win, collaboration is vital.
3. Dishonored 2
Do you like sneaking around? I sure do! In Dishonored 2, it's possible to play the entire game without being seen. I've tried it before, but it's super difficult to accomplish. You can either play as a fallen Empress or her father, the royal protector. At the beginning of the game, your world turns upside-down when an unlikely usurper takes the throne from you.
The game levels were especially impressive. In one level, I had to navigate a clockwork mansion where the rooms spun and changed. At one point, I ended up in a backroom area where I watched how it all worked. The level design was so complex, I had a hard time wrapping my head around it.
4. Rocket League
Ah, Rocket League. If you like car soccer, well, you're going to love this online game. It's fun if you're looking to shut off your brain for a night or two, but there's not much substance to it. Unlike the other games on this list, this one isn't too complex. All you have to do is pick a car, enter a match, and drive the enormous soccer ball into the opposing team's goal. It's silly, but this game makes for a fun co-op experience. You can even personalize your favorite car by dressing it up. For example, my car wears a wizard hat!
5. Final Fantasy XV
There's nothing final about the Final Fantasy franchise, really. I've been playing those games since I was a kid, long before the jump from 2D to 3D. Final Fantasy XV, the latest installment, looks stunning. The landscapes are gorgeous and the characters are incredibly life-like, but that's not very surprising. This franchise is known for its theatrical cinematic moments and unique monsters.
I haven't played the game yet, so I can't speak to the plot or game mechanics, but I hope there are chocobos. For those who are new to the Final Fantasy franchise, chocobos are enormous chickens you ride on like horses. It sounds ridiculous, but don't knock it until you try it.
6. Rise of the Tomb Raider
Lara Croft is one of the most famous video game characters of all time. I adored her as a little girl. The archaeologist is adventurous, smart, and brave. Did I mention she lives in a huge mansion? Rise of the Tomb Raider is the most recent game in the series, and it focuses on her first tomb raiding expedition.
This action-adventure game is great if you love ancient cultures and heart-stopping battles. In previous games, Lara's a flat character. She rides a motorcycle and raids tombs, but beyond that, we don't know much about her. But in this game, she's more developed. The game deals with her post-traumatic stress disorder in a very real, but respectful way.