Jason's Overlooked Gems of 2016

This year was a great one for gaming, which made it hard to narrow down only ten choices for best games of 2016. Some great titles, unfortunately, might have been overshadowed by the bigger name titles of the year.

Not that these games didn’t get any recognition, in fact, they were all lauded at the time of their release. But, for one reason or another, when it came to game of the year lists, these remarkable experiences just didn’t make the cut.

Dragon Quest Builders

Square Enix could have made another Minecraft clone with Dragon Quest Builders, and it probably would have sold like hotcakes. They went a different route, though. Taking Minecraft’s addictive block-based building and crafting, the aesthetic of Dragon Quest, and an original story, Square Enix made a title that is wholly unique.

Dragon Quest Builders allows a lot of freedom, but to revive the various lands you visit, and complete the story you have to complete quests villagers give you. I loved the focus this brought to the building and crafting. Instead of doing whatever I wanted, I had to make sure that these people were safe, healthy and had a pleasant village to live as well as fortifications to protect them from monsters. All this added up to make Dragon Quest Builders one of my favorite games of 2016.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is what the last few Harvest Moon games should have been. This sprite-based life-sim follows the pattern laid down by the original Harvest Moon and expands on it tremendously, but in a way that doesn’t deviate from the core gameplay of gathering items and building relationships.

This game has a unique charm that brings the nostalgia and homeyness of Harvest Moon together with modern game design in a way that makes me want to play for hours. Stardew Valley is even more impressive considering that only one person coded it over a period of four years. Stardew Valley is one of the best indies of 2016, selling over a million copies since its Steam debut on February 26.

Fire Emblem Fates

When I first heard about Fire Emblem Fates, I thought to have three versions of the same game was a little gimmicky. However, once I finished the Hoshidan tale in Birthright and began the Nohrian story in Conquest, I realized just have revolutionary Fire Emblem Fates’ storytelling was. By the time I wrapped up the third version of the story in Revelation, I felt I knew the characters in Fire Emblem Fates better than I have in almost any other game.

Getting to see three versions of the same tale, dividing from one decision is incredible. In addition to the great storytelling, Fire Emblem Fates has the best and most diverse combat system to date and a plethora of new and returning unit classes to choose from. The My Castle system also added a lot to the game, and I had a blast building my castle and visiting others’. Fire Emblem Fates is one of my favorite games, and if you haven’t had a chance to play it yet, I highly recommend it.

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