The Bubble’s favourite games of 2016

2016 was a great year for gaming. Amazing games kept on coming all year and we were spoilt for choice as gamers. With that in mind it is certainly a difficult task to choose favourites, but there were some games which really stood out. Here are five games which the Bubble Gaming contributors really enjoyed this past year and you might enjoy too.

Geralt looking rough

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Game Of the Year Edition) (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has won over 800 awards since its initial release for graphics, design, gameplay and storytelling. In 2016 a Game of the year edition was released with the additional expansions Heart of Stone and Blood & Wine, while the 16 other DLCs are freely distributed unlike other games. What is enticing about The Witcher series and particularly this last installment is the challenging gameplay and mature story which is consistent with the violence in the books. The open world is bigger than Skyrim’s and like Dishonored the decisions from every mission affect the world, the fate of Geralt and his unexpected alliances of the underworld. The depth of the character development is not influenced by a morality meter of choices and the world responds greatly to seemingly trivial quests which offer profound insight to the setting. It makes the experience and exploration more satisfying as players are unable to predict the outcomes. Gameplay is not only driven by action but also by strategic use of magic powers in combination with medieval weapons. The new skill system is quite flexible and upgrades are quite impactful on non-squad members and on results of battle. -Michaela Atanassova

THE DOOMSLAYER

Doom (2016) (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)

If the original Doom kick-started the FPS genre, then this reboot from ID software is a total reinvention of it. Far from the many boring cover shooters that the FPS market is clogged with, Doom throws you into the action in the first 30 seconds and it doesn’t stop coming until you have finished the game. I loved tearing through demons with both my vast arsenal of weapons and ripping them apart with my bear hands using the glory kill system, which never became boring. This game makes sure you are always on your toes by gaining health and ammo from killing demons and having fluid, fast paced movement. Add in a brilliantly gory art style, and one of the most viciously thumping soundtracks I’ve ever heard and you’ve got yourself one hell of a game. -Rowan Evans

Leaping from Building to Building

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

Although Mirror’s edge Catalyst is a disappointing prequel from a storytelling point of view, the gameplay is heavily interactive with the environment in a clever way as the player does not have the option to use weapons. Fans’ expectations were not met when it came to character progression because Faith shows little personality, is driven by contrary motivations and chooses to fight a clichéd evil corporate leader. However, the movements of the player are more intuitive and fluid, even though the so called ‘Runner Vision’ may mislead you off a building. The new combat system focuses on hit and miss, where melee attacks injure bystanders as you are able to effectively hurl the opponent against others. The main attention in gameplay has been shifted to parkour moves which give entertaining options of attacks which are unfortunately repetitive. The open world comes at a cost as the numerous side-quests are mainly involved in running and the player can easily distinguish the various sectors by their colours which diminishes explorations. Overall, it is entertaining to play once when in the mood for some kick-ass and fluid parkour system which still has fruit in it if it is presented more uniquely.  -Michaela Atanassova

Agent 47 – representing bald assassins everywhere

HITMAN: Season 1 (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation)

At first I wasn’t sure about buying the latest instalment in the Hitman franchise because of “always online” single player requirements, and the monthly release of each level (or episode I guess). However late into the year, once the game was fully released, I decided to bite the bullet and finally get it. This game certainly did not disappoint. Feeling more like a spiritual successor to 2006’s Blood Money than 2012’s Absolution, this game puts you in the shoes of Agent 47 and tasks you with assassination in many different locations around the world. What I loved about this game was the giant levels where you complete your missions, all just brimming with different options of how to make the final kill. Every location packs a different punch with missions ranging from Paris Fashion shows to infiltration of military bases. Having extra challenges and player made contracts this game has a massive amount of replayability. I am very much sold on buying season 2 if IO interactive can keep up this high standard of game making. –Rowan Evans

Probably the happiest game on this list

Stardew Valley (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)

I’m a huge fan of simulation games, and had always envied those who played Harvest Moon as a child, so Stardew Valley immediately became a hit for me when it came out in February. You inherit your grandfather’s farm in a remote village and begin a new life in the idyllic village of Stardew Valley. As you plant crops and raise animals, you become integrated with the tight-knit and simply adorable community, becoming attached to the entire town and its individual characters. What captivated me most about the game is the sheer range of what you can do and how productive it always feels: you can spend days gathering ores in the mine, or fishing in the river, or just watering the plants and rearranging your house’s furniture over and over, and the game will never say you’re wasting your time! It’s so easy to become completely engrossed in the game and can be hard to stop playing, which is often a struggle when you’re meant to be doing the whole degree thing, but has been one of my most relaxing outlets of 2016, and one of my favourite games ever. -Amie Key

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