The Bestest Best Games Of 2016 So Far

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We usually do our enormous GAMES OF THE YEAR posting fest at the end of the year (as would seem logical) but because it seems silly to reserve praise for special occasions we’re doing a Games Of The Half Year collection to tell you about everything we’ve loved playing so far. It can double as a summer holiday recommendations list too!

We’ve listed ours in alphabetical order to prevent genre-based punch-ups in the staff chatroom. We’d also invite you to list any gems we haven’t mentioned or might not have played in the comments below.

Just hit the left and right arrow keys to navigate the Games Of The Half Year or click on the arrows next to the images to get started!

From this site

42 Comments

  1. le4slie says:

    GOTHY Edition. Well played RPS.

  2. TimRobbins says:

    The only thing more useless than a goty list is a gothy list, but I’ll stand by anything that gives Gungeon more visibility. &$#*% lich…

    • lokimotive says:

      I am so absolutely terrible at that game. I’ve beaten the first level boss once, and only because it was the relatively easy Eagle guy (the Bullet King slays me), and because I had a laser gun. I am terrible. But I love it still.

  3. Sakkura says:

    This just adds insult to injury as regards the delay of your Hearts of Iron IV review/WIT. :(

  4. Captain Joyless says:

    Isn’t this pretty much “all significant games that came out this year”?

    • Hyena Grin says:

      Er, considering how many titles they mentioned that were either obscure as hell or indie as hell (not to mention a couple that aren’t even games as such), I don’t think this list is just ‘all the notable games this year.’

  5. jroger says:

    Alphabetical order? What is this witchery? How am I supposed to complain that Doom is only on place 13, when it CLEARLY belongs at place 11 AT LEAST?

  6. blur says:

    RPS tribute radio (and sometimes contributers) Shut Up and Sit Down has an interesting interview with Soren Johnson, lead designer of Offworld Trading Company.

    link to shutupandsitdown.com

  7. Urthman says:

    Wow, this has already been a really strong year for games.

  8. BodyByCake says:

    I really love the idea for this list. There are so many games I have never heard of that look amazing and I read RPS almost every day.

    • BodyByCake says:

      Also I love the format, wish we could get some genre tags or descriptions for the games though since I haven’t heard of most of them.

  9. technoir says:

    Ugh, the only not-freeware games of 2016 that I’ve found the time to play are the new XCOM and Dark Souls… Good thing they both turned out to be the best games of their respective series (fight me!).

  10. Blackfyre says:

    No Hearts of Iron? The game is awesome guys! Didn’t you like it enough for the list or was it released too late to be on it? And Factorio?

    • Carra says:

      Was wondering that myself but haven’t seen a review of HoI4 yet on RPS.

    • Sakkura says:

      No review yet probably just means it was really unlucky timing. They can’t really nominate as one of the best games if they haven’t checked it out.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I just wish it didn’t look so drab and gamey.

      For all its shortcomings HoI3 looks sooooo much better. HoI4 unfortunately looks like a video game with small fucking airplanes flying about and ugh, the lack of proper counters.

      I’ll go back to the grog cave now. Wars of Napoleon is calling or something. :)

      • Someoldguy says:

        You can use unit counters if you want to. I quite like the air war playing out over the map. If I happen to notice a pair of enemy fighters shooting down my planes instead of vice versa, I know it’s time to check my air superiority again. 131 hours played already and far too many late nights. A game has not preoccupied me so badly that the hours just melt away since early versions of Civilisation.

  11. ansionnach says:

    Wouldn’t mind having a go on that Apollo 11 thingy.

  12. Premium User Badge

    zigguratvertigo says:

    I can’t help feeling that Hyper Light Drifter deserves to be on this list.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Seriously. Even John’s two kind of negative articles about Hyper Light Drifter gave me the impression that it was better received than a lot of the games on this list. I find it curious that nobody else at RPS played it and enjoyed it.

      • subedii says:

        I may vent a little here.

        Seriously, after reading John’s article about how ridiculous and impenetrable in the worst ways HLD was I went in expecting the worst of frustration and poor gameplay design.

        I went North like John. And I basically nailed the first major boss after some restarts, didn’t feel frustrating at all. To be generous I think I may have restarted that fight 10 or so times, but it never felt frustrating because I was constantly learning and getting further. That’s how you conquer these games. Most of it was just getting a bit further, learning it’s attack patterns, then restarting (and the respawn is literally right outside the boss room). I was probably there less than 30 minutes (I’ll leave you to judge whether that’s an obscene amount of time. To me it’s kind of standard for learning a good boss fight) and after I completed it, not only could I do it much faster afterwards, but I could deal with ALL the combat in general much better than before as a result.

        Had even LESS trouble with the frog boss which I did next.

        Frankly I have no problem saying the complaint was COMPLETE cack. The boss has clear movesets and tells, they’re telegraphed, and you can dodge them. And once you know them, you can defeat the boss.

        I’m not even going to say this is some kind of arrogant swagger “Me so awesome at games” thing. I’m not. To be blunt I’ve not even played Dark Souls (or rather, I went past the first boss fight in the Asylum and never returned to it. So maybe a couple of hours if that counts).

        Those fights aren’t badly designed, they give the player the chances they need and you have the tools to do them.

        • Emeraude says:

          Yeah, that one really surprised me at the time, I really thought the game was on easy side (optional content notwithstanding).

          There was a complete disconnect between what I was reading about the game, and my experience with it.

        • Catterbatter says:

          To be fair, the north is basically devoid of enemies and then suddenly drops you in the middle of a nasty birdmancer arena.

    • Catterbatter says:

      I love it and think it belongs on every list.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It does.

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    caff says:

    Of all of these, Pony Island was the most memorable experiences for me.

  14. Ejia says:

    ???????
    Cookie Clicker?
    Cookie Clicker?
    …Cookie Click-okay yes fine I like it too

    …????????

  15. AngoraFish says:

    I like the click through format, one game per page. Makes it really easy to scan the list quickly for stuff I’m interested in. Nothing worse than 5 games per page over 8 pages, or some such rubbish.

  16. noxohimoy says:

    What a crappy gaming year.

    Years ago, there were more cool games than I could buy. This year I would just pick 4 or 5 of the entire list.

    Doom 2016 was one of the best, but it was repetitive and onedimensional.

    I still have cravings from Alien Isolation, STALKER, Rainbow Six Vegas, Crysis 1, Far Cry 2…

  17. aircool says:

    DOOM – yes
    XCOM 2 – yes
    Overwatch – yes

    DOOM hits my nail squarely on the head. I just keep replaying it, just like I did the original. I’d still be replaying it if Overwatch hadn’t come along and hooked me.

    Single player DOOM is just one of the best games ever.

  18. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Firewatch + Overwatch

  19. Stellar Duck says:

    When doing lists like this (and lists are inherently boring) I really wish you’d keep the image size or whatever consistent so the right arrow didn’t move up and down. It’s really annoying having to find it time and again. And worst of all, sometimes it’s moved so much that another link is there from the text and I end up on some site I have no intention of going.

    Just a small moan, but please, consistency.

  20. Unsheep says:

    Best of 2016 for me personally: Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo, American Truck Simulator, Dirt Rally (console release), Ducati – 90th Anniversary game.

    Plus the various RaceRoomExperience expansions: ADAC 2015, WTCC 2015, GTO pack …

    As for non-racing I’ve really enjoyed Shardlight, Sheltered, Into The Stars and Duskers. They are the perfect kind of games to play in-between my racing game sessions.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Marclev says:

    Unless I’m missing something calling Virtual Desktop a game must be surely stretching the definition a bit?

    In general though, are the VR games actually objectively good, or good for VR? Not having one of the devices makes me curious as to how desirable and accessible the tech is.

  22. rustybroomhandle says:

    I see Brigador getting overlooked again. :P

    Oh well, at least RPS reviewed it.

  23. Murdock says:

    Blood and Wine should win the GOTY. Kind of funny. But so far the expansion was the best thing this year. By far.

    • Someoldguy says:

      I would agree. The first half of the year had been devoted to expansions (Fallout 4, Pillars of Eternity, Witcher 3, EU 4) Only Stellaris featured briefly as a new game, but it needs patches before it’s worthy of winning awards for anything except ambition. Hearts of Iron is much better if you’re into wargaming but even there the AI is erratic enough to make everyone’s favourite Wolfenstein villain look like a well balanced individual. X-Com should have been on my must buy list but I was too busy with Pillars, so it’ll sit on my watch list until it’s discounted.

  24. Bobtree says:

    2016 has been super so far. I’ve bought more games in the last few months than in any other recent period I can recall. And the Steam summer sale is just around the corner…

  25. abomb76 says:

    Technically it’s not a 2016 release, but it came out late enough in 2015 and just released a wonderful expansion, so I’m saying my GOTY so far is Renowned Explorers: International Society.

    More fun than anything else I’ve played this year, including XCOM2. Lovely, deep game. Don’t be fooled by the graphics.

  26. Lintire says:

    A pretty good excuse to give your gallery format a test-run, you can’t deny that.

  27. CartonofMilk says:

    Dying Light: The followign took everythign that was great abotu Dying light and smashed it to bits and flushed it down the toilet. Seriously do not understand the success of this dlc. It’s garbage compared to the base game. HEY LET’S REMOVE VERTICALITY AND ADD A COMPLETELY UNNEEDED BUGGY THAT ADDS NOTHING TO THE GAMEPLAY. Dying light has so much potential as a franchise but if this is where its heading, that will have been a fast drop downhill.