It’s time to close the book on 2016’s gaming history. A big year for game releases is behind us, with several massive franchises popping up throughout the year… and a lot of pleasant little surprises too. We had some games that had been over a decade in waiting, and others that we only found out about weeks before their arrival. Games of all genres graced our consoles and computers, with sequels, expansions, reboots, and brand new titles all coming out this past year.
What amazed me this year was how few games were quite what I was expecting. Several games I expected to love I wasn’t terribly fond of, while others that I was concerned about I ended up being blown away by. Picking the games for this year’s list had a few obvious spots, but there are about 7 games fighting for those last couple slots, none of which are clear picks.
So without any further delay… let’s jump into the Best Games of 2016!
The world is suddenly invaded by a strange species of aliens. These ‘Neuroi’ appear out of nowhere and start taking over parts of the world, and humanity’s primitive 1940s technology is insufficient to do them harm. Fortunately, young girls with magical power called Witches appear to combat this threat!
Yep, you heard me… 1940s alternate history. Witches. Again. Don’t worry though, it’s not the same show. Or maybe you should worry, since Izetta was quite good. Will Brave Witches be able to live up to the bar set by this season’s other World War 2 witch show?
Izetta: The Last Witch is an alternate Earth anime that takes place in the fictional alpine country of Eylstadt at the dawn of World War 2. Our titular character is the last surviving member of a clan of witches who swore to not intervene in mankind’s fate in any way after one of their numbers turned the course of a similar war long in the past. This witch came to be known as the White Witch of Eylstadt, and has become a legend and a symbol to the country.
Fast forward to the current era, and Izetta is the last of her people, and the last descendent of that legendary witch. When war threatens Eylstadt, and nobody else seems willing or able to help Eylstadt against Germania, Finé – Crown Princess Ortfiné Fredericka von Eylstadt to be specific – is reunited with Izetta, who she met and befriended at a young age… and Izetta faces a difficult situation. Does she respect her late Grandmother’s wishes and honour what her clan long ago swore, or does she protect her dear friend and enter into what will later become known as a World War.
Key, the studio who brought us both Angel Beats and Charlotte, are back with another visual novel adaptation. This time they’re bringing the beauty of ‘Planetarian’ to anime lovers everywhere. Planetarian is the story of a nameless ‘junker’ in a post-apocalyptic world. Junkers are people who scavenge the dangerous machine-infested cities of the world for material goods for a living.
Our junker makes a trip into the city and, after a brief encounter with some of the automated war-machines, takes shelter within the fictional Flowercrest Mall where he discovers a planetarium that has power for 1 week (168 hours) out of every year. Stumbling inside to rest, he meets its robotic attendant Yumemi Hoshino who treats him as if he were just another customer coming for a visit to the planetarium.
ReLife Laboratories, a strange research organization working on a way to rehabilitate unproductive members of the world – people who are paying little more than lip-service to society, while not actually participating in it. Sounds like a noble goal, and a worthy one. The weird part is their methods… they have created an experimental drug that makes people look like teenagers so they can attend another year of high school in an attempt to reintegrate them into life itself.
During this year, they’ll have their basic needs provided for and based off of how their time at school goes, they might even get offered a permanent job. The catch? They can’t let anyone know about ReLife, and as soon as the ReLife program ends – either at the end of the year or if something goes wrong – everyone they knew will apparently forget about them. Our protagonist, Kaizaki Arata, is 27 years old and has become a recluse since quitting his first real job after only 3 months. One day, after drinking himself into a stupor, he’s approached by Yoake Ryo, a representative of ReLife, who offers him the opportunity to enter the program.