- Darkest Dungeon (PC, PS4)
A strategic role playing game rendered in gorgeous retro graphics, featuring a stunning soundtrack and amazing voice work. Everything you love about video games meets everything you hate about, well, real life–stress, disease, injuries, neurosis, fear, anxiety, jealousy and depression. Sure the guy in front of you has gone monster slaying 100 times but he can’t be right in the head after so many trips to the depths of hell. Right? There aren’t any cutscenes, no Hollywood-sque production values and yet the game is perhaps the most addicting and consuming I’ve played all year.
- The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
The Witcher 3, a massively open world role playing game based on a Polish fantasy novel, came out last year. While most games charge an arm and a leg for tiny installments of extra content, the makers of Witcher 3 delivered deep game updates, tweaked the finer points and delivered DLC that capitalized on everything the base game does right. The Witcher 3 was a classic–add its DLC and it’s a world you might never want to leave.
- That Dragon, Cancer (PC)
A small game about an enormous topic. The game puts you in the shoes of a couple trying to treat their son who has terminal brain cancer. The gameplay is mostly exploration based–you guide the family to the hospital and through late nights comforting their son. In the end the player is helpless to console the baby and that of course is the ultimate lesson told by a game written and coded by a couple who went through the ordeal in real life.
- Dark Souls III (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Known for culling hardcore gamers from the casuals, the Dark Souls franchise puts plays in control of a customizable warrior and throws them into a fantasy world where death always just seconds away. Dark Souls 3 percents the formula by presenting stunning visuals, intricate level design and terrifying enemies. This is a game where memory, muscle memory and stamina all matter. In Dark Souls death is your friend because you can learn from it.
- Dishonored 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
In this steampunk fantasy you can use mystic powers to trick and terrify your foes into submission, or murder them outright like the monster they already assume you are. The citizens will be watching
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
A cyberpunk thriller full of William Gibson’s ideas and hiss piss and vinegar. Maneuver through a dystopian Prague while trying to solve and head off terrorist attacks. But don’t forget you’ll make enemies no matter what path you choose.
- XCOM 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
A slick and intelligent revival of the classic real time strategy classic. The game puts you in charge of the remnants of earth’s resistance as they try to push back an alien invasion that has already put its claws deep into the planet. Both thought provoking and visceral the game is also deadly challenging.
- TitanFall 2 (PS4, Xbox One)
An absolute tour de force of a modern first person shooter. Titan Fall’s level design is brilliant, its controls crisps and its ideas actually fully baked. Ever wanted a pet mech? This is the closest you’ll likely get to experiencing that.
- Far Cry Primal (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Since the second installment the Far Cry series has strived to present violence in a political and social context. In Far Cry 4 the game can end before it ever really starts if you agree to a non violent settlement with the game’s villain. In Far Cry 2, your character travels to Africa to assassinate a war lord, fails, catches malaria and has to scurry around completing missions while worrying about taking his medicine. Far Cry Primal is much simpler–you play a caveman looking to establish your lost tribe. You hit things with rocks, craft weapons out of sticks and learn to train sabretooth tigers. Its absurdly fun.
Doom (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Taking all the elements that made the first great first person shooter great and dragging them kicking and screaming into 2016, Bethesda delivers an adrenaline junkie’s wet dream. Time to make some grunts to the chain gun chacha!