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By 15 December 2016 | Categories: feature articles

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Despite a spike in pricing, 2016 was a great year for gaming. Whether it was titles from big name developers or indie games by smaller publishers, there was truly something for everyone. 

While a number of games stood out, trying to whittle them down to just five proved a far tougher task than expected. MMO hit Overwatch, the punishing Dark Souls III, and visually rich Battlefield 1 all missed the cut by the narrowest of margins. So if those didn’t make it, which did? Check below to find out.   

5. Dishonored 2

The sequel to Arkane Studio's 2012 hit, Dishonored 2 had a tough act to follow. Instead of trying to overhaul what made the original such a superb game, the developer stuck to its guns and tweaked a handful of elements to keep the core gameplay the same. 

To that end, stealthily stalking around the city streets of Dunwall and striking down your enemies with precision thanks to the supernatural powers imbued from The Watcher, remains key. Another mainstay is a rich storyline, filled with nuance should you take the time to explore everything that Dishonored 2 has to offer. 

If you prefer a more studied approach to your games, while enjoying the visuals that a developer has painstakingly put together, Dishonored 2 is the one.  

4. DOOM

Fast-paced, marvelously bloody and channeling all the elements that made the original so well loved, Bethesda's DOOM new-age reboot proves that classics need not remain limited to the era they were created in, and can certainly have life breathed into them for a new crop of gamers. 

While the storyline was lacking slightly, the gameplay of DOOM is almost unmatched during 2016. Cycling through weapons, mowing down enemies and running through arenas all blended together seamlessly for a game that could match the speed that FPS gamers demand. Add to this a massive armoury of insane weapons and solid multiplayer experience, and DOOM set the pace early for similar first-person shooters this year. 

With more DLC arriving following its launch, DOOM kept gamers coming back for more, and has us eagerly awaiting a sequel.   

3. Firewatch

If you didn't know San Francisco developer Campo Santo before this year kicked off, you certainly should by now. The reason is an indie hit in the form of Firewatch. A combination of great storytelling and stunning visuals, Firewatch feels immersive, with the combination of isolation and trying to solve a mystery immediately drawing gamers in. 

While it's not an episodic title, it has that sort of feel to it, with your journey through the game purposeful and well paced. The interplay between Henry (the protagonist) and his only human connection, Delilah, via a walkie talkie is also well executed, with the developers ensuring dialogue between the two never feels generic. 

If you're in the mood for something a little different, with a larger focus on storytelling than button mashing, Firewatch is hard to beat. 

2. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Naughty Dog knows how to handle a narrative, and despite postponing the release of Uncharted 4 several times, the release of A Thief's End early in the year was well worth it. Gamer favourite, and wisecracker of note, Nathan Drake returns for this installment, as we delve even deeper into his history and how he became the treasure hunter we know today. 

It's clear to see where Naughty Dog spent most of their time doing a final spit and polish on A Thief's End, as the environments that Drake has to run through and buildings he traverses are superbly detailed. So too, is the melee fighting gameplay and the different types of vehicles you control. 

Whether it be exploration, problem solving, fist fights or chase scenes, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is a tour de force.     

1. Inside

Indie developer Playdead may have a short track record, but it's fairly unmatched in the world of gaming. The team behind the atmospheric Limbo, dropped their new title Inside in August this year and it has received nothing but critical acclaim since. Such honours include best art direction and best indie game at the Game Awards 2016 recently, and for good reason. 

Much like Limbo, Inside is a 2D puzzler that is played with the same tense atmosphere, but also dials things up a few notches. Every pixel in this game is beautifully rendered, with painstaking attention paid to keeping the look and feel sterile but rich at the same time. As such, there are few games that look as good as Inside does. 

From a gameplay perspective, Inside keeps things simple in the best way possible while pacing the action perfectly to heighten the tension even further. There aren't many indie titles are as polished as Inside, and its unique mix was just enough to give it the nod as our top pick of 2016. 

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