2016 was a progressive year in the games industry.

At E3 in June last year, both Sony and Microsoft pulled the covers off new hardware – are the days of the seven-year console cycle gone for good? We saw Xbox emerge as a home entertainment hub, with the new Xbox One S offering 4K Blu-ray playback, and the hardware blossoming as a true competitor to PlayStation. Sony, on the other hand, introduced VR to consoles and hit 50 million PlayStation 4 consoles sold – that’s the original PS4, the newer, slimmer model, and the PS4 Pro combined. To put that in perspective, that’s more than two consoles per person living in Australia.

Of course we had plenty of great games in 2016 too. Here are our picks of the year.

Forza Horizon 3

forzareview

A racing game set in our own backyard? You beaut! Forza Horizon 3 is a beautifully constructed game, full of enough challenges, races, and barn finds to keep you cruising for as long or as little as you want. A real car lover’s affair.

Titanfall 2

Although short and sweet, Titanfall 2 had one of the most underappreciated and compelling campaigns of 2016. Respawn’s sequel to their multiplayer-only 2014 original title is a must-play for any FPS fan.

DOOM

The formula for the 1993 game combined with 2016’s breathtaking gameplay and visuals makes for a fast-paced, danger-loaded experience from id Software. Fight like hell in one of the most gory campaigns of 2016.

Overwatch

Blizzard Entertainment, the guys that brought us MMORPG World of Warcraft, tried their hand at a first-person shooter. If you’re thinking military, you’re dead wrong. It’s colourful, with a diverse character roster, and it’s a bundle of fun.

Battlefield 1

battlefield1

Whereas some developers looked to the future for their first-person shooters, EA and DICE decided it was time to go back to World War I – and it paid off. A wonderful reenactment that lets you play through a number of different missions at your own pace.

Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2 is a worthy sequel to its Game of the Year predecessor, giving you more choice by adding Emily as a playable character and encouraging a stealthier approach. Of course, we still played through as Corvo and massacred everyone.

Final Fantasy XV

An open-world Final Fantasy unlike any of the titles that have come before it, FFXV has been a long time coming, and it’s certainly been worth the wait. Embark on the road trip of a lifetime with your best mates.

The Last Guardian

If you loved The Last Airbender (the anime, none of that live-action adaptation rubbish), then The Last Guardian is the game for you. We waited so long to get our hands on this adorable tale, and as we’ve matured, so has the game.

Pokemon Sun/Moon

Another year, another repackaged Pokémon game, right? Wrong. Sun and Moon improve the series in almost every way, adding to the battling, Gym system, and of course the Pokémon count, with now over 800 of the critters to capture. Good luck.

STACK’s 2016 Game of the Year – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

uncharted4

Having worked on Uncharted for ten years, developer Naughty Dog decided it was time to move on from the excellent franchise, declaring that A Thief’s End would be the last game in the series. A Thief’s End is high adventure, incorporating shooting, puzzle solving and some of the best writing you can expect to find in a video game. This is in part due to the appointment of The Last of Us writers Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, who were brought on board to direct the game following the departure of longtime franchise scribe Amy Hennig. The result is a well paced, character-driven narrative blending history with mythology and cinema with video games in a rambunctious bout of cavaliering. There are twists and turns at every corner, keeping the gamer invested in the characters and events right up to the bombastic conclusion. If you don’t own a PS4, this game is a legitimate reason for buying one.