The Games Brian Shea Finished In 2016
I love playing through as many games as possible each year. Though I know I'll never get through every big or worthy release in any given year, I feel like it's part of my responsibility as a game critic to play through as many games in my wheelhouse (and some that aren't) as I can. This year, I went in wanting to keep pace with my fellow editor Andrew Reiner in his yearly quest to complete as many games as possible, but I got somewhat sidetracked.
I'm usually a single-player console/handheld gamer. In fact, I'd say that holds true for me 90 percent of the time. Occasionally, I'll get sucked into a multiplayer game for a few weeks, but it's not the norm. 2016 not only saw a dramatic shift in how much time I spent online competing against other players, but also a huge jump in how much time I spent gaming on my phone.
I thoroughly enjoyed Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare when it released in 2014, so I knew that I would likely pour a considerable amount of time into Garden Warfare 2 when it hit in 2016. What I didn't expect, however, was for a game like Overwatch to hit and consume my free time with reckless abandon. I've never been a big hero shooter fan – Team Fortress 2 never really sucked me in the way it did others – but Overwatch just clicked for me. I spent nearly every evening since it came out in May in front of my Xbox One escorting payloads, capturing objectives, and unlocking as many skins, emotes, and sprays as possible. It's been a long time since a game grabbed me like Overwatch did in 2016.
The strangest turn for me was my dive into mobile gaming. I've spent tons of time with games like Plants vs. Zombies and Game Dev Story in previous years, but it was always something I did to pass the time when my consoles weren't around. This year, I found myself neglecting my consoles at times in favor of free-to-play mobile titles. Clash Royale, with its maddening, yet addictive gameplay, and Pokémon Go were the kings of my iPhone in 2016. I have no way of knowing how much time I spent with these games, but my active time playing each of these is probably better measured in days rather than hours. I became obsessed with unlocking the new Crown Chest each day in Clash Royale, or hunting down a nearby rare monster in Pokémon Go. I even planned day trips around Pokémon Go, heading to parks to take advantage of the high spawn-rates or going on long walks to hatch some eggs.
My devotion to these games has greatly impacted how many other games I completed in 2016. That said, I still think I did a good job knocking off a bunch of games that I wanted to play. I'm beyond proud that I was able to complete long, time-consuming adventures like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Final Fantasy XV, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (my first time all the way through Twilight Princess, surprisingly), and two complete Pokémon games. If I had to say, the best games I played through were Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Both of those titles are amazing achievements for the medium. The worst game I played through was, by far, the terrible Ghostbusters game released alongside the movie. Man, that was bad and you shouldn't play it.
As I look forward to games I missed in 2016 that I want to start up in 2017, I've got my eyes on finishing Forza Horizon 3 and Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas (a fun, colorful little game that plays a lot like old-school Zelda, but with modern, Wind Waker-like graphics), while starting Dishonored 2 and Dead Rising 4. I better get on it, though; 2017 is coming out swinging right out of the gate.
There are no weird restrictions for what counts on this list; as long as I completed them between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016, I counted them. I also included campaigns like Street Fighter V's added cinematic single-player mode, as well as Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2's single-player campaigns. Check out my full list below and let me know what you completed in 2016!
- Rise of the Tomb Raider (XB1) - 1/3
- Tales from the Borderlands (XB1) - 1/14
- Klaus (PS4) - 1/22
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (XB1) - 1/30
- Lego Star Wars (360) - 2/2
- Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (360) - 2/18
- Far Cry Primal (XB1) - 3/25
- Unravel (XB1) - 3/27
- Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Single-Player Campaigns (XB1) - 3/28
- Action Henk (XB1) - 4/5
- Star Fox Zero (Wii U) - 4/6
- Stories: The Path of Destinies (PS4) - 4/12
- Severed (Vita) - 4/18
- Quantum Break (XB1) - 4/20
- Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4) - 5/19
- Doom (XB1) - 5/30
- Kirby's Dream Land (GB) - 6/3
- Time Machine VR (Rift) - 6/8
- Superhot (XB1) - 6/26
- Inside (XB1) - 7/1
- Street Fighter V: A Shadow Falls (PS4) - 7/1
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U) - 7/8
- Limbo (XB1) - 7/12
- Ghostbusters (PS4) - 7/14
- Hyper Light Drifter (XB1) - 8/6
- Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS) - 8/19
- 140 (XB1) - 9/5
- Pokémon LeafGreen (GBA) - 9/6
- Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (3DS) - 9/14
- Minecraft: Story Mode (XB1) - 9/14
- The Turing Test (XB1) - 9/29
- Rock Band 4: Rivals Rockumentary (XB1) - 10/12
- Gears of War 4 (XB1) - 10/23
- Titanfall 2 (XB1) - 11/11
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (XB1) - 11/30
- Pokémon Sun (3DS) - 12/15
- Super Mario Run (iOS) - 12/19
- Final Fantasy XV (XB1) - 12/23