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October 2018

About Judy

As WP's managing editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.


'WorthPlaying's Top Games of 2016' - Countdown, 20-11

by Judy on Feb. 2, 2017 @ 2:00 a.m. PST

So far, we've revealed the honorable mentions. Today, we're starting the countdown of the top 20 titles. Be sure to tune in tomorrow to see what WP considers to be the best game of 2016. Read more for the results!

20. Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright is a fantastic addition to the series and easily one of the best Fire Emblem games. The new mechanics and combat changes are almost all for the better, and they go hand in hand with the awesome level design and engaging gameplay. The only real flaws are some lackluster story beats and a rather half-baked system for bringing back child characters, neither of which comes remotely close to souring the game. Fans of the franchise will find a lot to love here, and newcomers should find Birthright to be an excellent place to be introduced to the franchise's strong points.

19. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (ALL)

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens probably would have sold well enough on the license alone, but TT Games wasn't content to coast on this one. The company put its best foot forward, and players are the ones to benefit. I haven't had this much fun with a LEGO video game since LEGO The Hobbit. Even if you weren't completely impressed by some of the recent LEGO titles, give this one a go. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is well worth your time.

18. TIE - Dragon Quest Builders (PSV/PS4)/Oxenfree (PS4/XOne/PC)

Dragon Quest Builders is an excellent example of a game that can take after something more popular but retain its own personality. There's no mistaking the Minecraft lineage, but there's just as much Dragon Quest in Dragon Quest Builder's DNA as there is Minecraft. It's charming, it's funny, it's accessible, it's easy to play, and it has enough of its own strengths to be worth playing even for die-hard Minecraft fans. Only some nagging flaws and annoying camera issues drag it down slightly, but it's still worth playing. For Dragon Quest fans, it's a great introduction to the genre, and even for those who aren't, it offers a structure and sheer playability that many Minecraft clones don't.

Oxenfree ends up being a great experience for modern adventure fans. It may have a lot more dialogue than puzzles, but it is so well written that you miss it in the silent moments. The interesting story is backed up by likeable characters, and the whole thing is wrapped up with a presentation that bleeds style. Unless you want to wait to see if the issues are addressed in a future patch, Oxenfree is worth checking out now.

17. Planet Coaster (PC)

Your opinion of Planet Coaster will be completely dependent on what you're seeking. As a management simulator, it hits the basics but doesn't introduce anything revolutionary. As a creation game, it shines because the design tools are powerful and the amount of structures that can be used is almost limitless thanks to a vibrant and active community. Ultimately, the game is fun once you get a grasp of the tools, and it's an excellent title to jumpstart a revival in theme park simulators.

16. Tyranny (PC)

Although it's conventional in some ways, Tyranny feels fresh. The theme has been explored before in other games and genres, but not to this degree. The characters are extremely interesting, whether they're tragic or humorous. Dialogue choices are expansive, and the sheer number of permutations that can arise from your decisions give the game near-limitless replay value. Supported by solid RPG mechanics, Tyranny is a game for those who couldn't get enough of Pillars of Eternity and its ilk.

15. TIE - Battlefield 1 (PS4/XOne/PC)/Gears of War 4 (XOne/PC)

The blessing and curse of Battlefield 1 is that it is another well-polished entry in a series that clearly follows a sacred gameplay formula. Fans who have enjoyed the series thus far will find the same enjoyment in this latest entry, and aspects of World War I have clearly been carefully curated and incorporated into the game. However, it does feel that the series is playing things too safe. As good as the multiplayer is, I'm hopeful that future entries will take more risk. In the meantime, Battlefield 1 is another great offering that follows the series' enjoyable gameplay template.

If anything, Gears of War 4 shows that The Coalition can handle the series going forward. From the single-player to the co-op and multiplayer, every aspect of the game sings with quality as they successfully blend old traditions with new mechanics. There's already a ton of content in the game, which is great at giving you many possible ways to access it all. While the PC is the preferred platform to play the game, the Xbox One version is no slouch, as it still comes up with a solid experience. Overall, action fans will have a blast with this title.

14. Steamworld Heist (3DS/WiiU/PSV/PS4/XOne/PC)

SteamWorld Heist continues the series' tradition of being simple yet compelling. The game may be easy to grasp, but it delivers a nice difficulty boost that feels fair. The aiming system proves to be a great way to add some strategy to the title while also solving the limits of the 2-D perspective. The whole thing is fun to play, and with a good presentation accompanying a great game length, SteamWorld Heist is a worthy addition to any game library.

13. Quantum Break (XOne/PC)

As a game, Quantum Break is solid. There's a good balance between the shooting and exploration sections, and while some people may dislike the simplicity of the core shooting, the time-related powers augment it enough to make it fun. As a TV show, it does a good job of staying interesting without wearing out its welcome. As a whole, the story nicely melds together both pieces, and the different avenues the tale takes gives you a reason to replay it. Quantum Break is another excellent game from Remedy, and it belongs on the shelves of all adventure game fans.

12. Inside (PS4/XOne/PC)

Inside shows that Playdead has a knack for the short but powerful puzzle-platformer. The puzzles are logical and challenging, while the story is told well without a reliance on the usual things like dialogue and cut scenes. The balance between both creates a game that has a ton of memorable moments, and the flow is smooth enough that you're compelled to keep playing until you reach the thought-provoking ending. With a presentation that adds greatly to the narrative, Inside is well worth your time.

11. TIE - Stardew Valley (PS4/XOne/PC)/Tom Clancy's The Division (PS4/XOne/PC)

On the surface, Stardew Valley can seem like an attempt to bring Harvest Moon to the PC crowd. Give it a little time, and you'll find that it goes way beyond simply taking care of crops and livestock. The side activities, like mining and fishing, are certainly good distractions, but the people you meet around town and your relationships with them are what make this game truly click. On a platform already rich with farming simulators, Stardew Valley will have fans of all types coming back to again and again.

My final point comes back to the story. While the pacing and spread-out nature of the narrative serve the game well, it does itself a slight disservice with a soft ending that hints at more to come. It doesn't ruin the game, but when a game demands the kind of legwork The Division does, you expect a little more of a payoff. I was pleasantly surprised at how much everything worked coming out of the box. I'm also probably going to head back into Tom Clancy's The Division in the weeks or months to come as more content emerges and bugs get fixed. Ubisoft has something with serious potential, and it'll be intriguing to see what shape this world takes. I also want to see what stuff awaits in unexplored corners of the Dark Zone. That's really it.

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