Building and then moving home took up most of my year, so there was precious little time for gaming, and what there was often ended up being on handheld. At least half of my gaming is backlog, anyway, so the number of games from the current year I play is actually quite small; especially since I tend to not play AAA titles. I'm mostly into more niche games, like .. ya know .. JRPGs and indies.
Some games I played that did not make the shortlist:
Gone Home (PS4) - I found it good but not outstanding; however, I did find myself still thinking about the story and characters for several days afterwards, so there's clearly quality here in the writing. Two games I reviewed for DDNet: Ittle Dew 2 (PS4) and Demetrios: The Big Cynical Adventure (Vita); both are good, solid games with much fun to be had, but not GOTY contenders. Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven, a charming, somewhat kooky little SRPG, and Return to PopoloCrois (both on 3DS), an even more charming fairy-tale adventure RPG with a sadly misjudged level of combat simplicity. Dragon Fantasy: Black Tome of Ice turned out a surprisingly funny, well-constructed retro RPG. Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus (PS4) is my Honorary Mention; a retro-pixel platforming puzzle adventure game that simply stole my heart. And finally, there's my sleeper hit for 2016: Legend of Legacy (3DS EU). It flew very much under the reviewers' and players' radar, but I started playing it earlier this year, and I'm still playing it and no doubt will continue so in 2017.
I played and dropped FF Explorers. I haven't yet played World of Final Fantasy, nor Digimon Story Cybersleuth, nor I Am Setsuna, nor Odin Sphere or Tales of Zestiria, all of which are likely contenders for me. Likewise for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, and Severed, Trails of Cold Steel II, Yomawari and Steins;Gate 0 for PS Vita. The follow-up title - Bravely Second - to one of my top games from last year (Bravely Default) is also waiting in the wings.
I haven't played The Last Guardian, and I am waiting on playing FF XV until some time next year. It looks like Square Enix will be adding content and features to XV for a longer-term gaming experience, so probably just as well!
And I still haven't got back into The ESO, which I really enjoyed when I tried it earlier this year.
I whittled down my favourite games to a shortlist of 8. Then it got difficult! I had to make a tough decision on which one(s) to drop ... and the unfortunate victim turned out to be FE Fates Birthright. I know it's sacrilege ... while I got quite addicted to it and poured 100 hours into it, I don't 'feel' it the same way as FE Awakening. It seems a very solid FE game to me, but lacks that spark. I very much expect that the 2 Fates follow-up games will make the jump to that special level for me.
So here's my final list - and it's a cheat's list because I was stumped choosing between 2 titles for both 3rd and 2nd position. Normally, an Atelier game would win hands-down with me (being a long-standing fan of the franchise); but with Sophie, the first game in a new Atelier trilogy, Gust made some changes to core mechanics that don't sit so well with me (alchemy!). So it's only fair that a Gust newcomer muscles in on that spot. As to the no. 2 spot: Exist-Archive is a visually stunning love letter to the Valkyrie Profile combat system, and it took me by surprise. Stranger of Sword City is possibly the most beautiful dungeon crawler yet by Experience Inc. (I love and play all their other titles). I hope you can see how impossible it was for me to choose; I love them both equally and play them in equal measure.
The winner, however, was easy. No question, no quibbles, no regrets. Just complete delight and total addictiveness. The Wii U's swan song, and what a song it is.
5 Steam World Heist (PS4/Vita) - a turn-based strategic squad-based shoot-em-up I simply couldn't put down!
4 Gravity Rush Remastered (PS4) - even lovelier and better than on the Vita!
3 Tie: Atelier Sophie & Nights of Azure (PS4)
2 Tie: Exist-Archive: The Other Side of the Sky & Stranger of Sword City (Vita)
1 Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Wii U)
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