Jason's Overlooked Gems of 2016

Here are some of Jason's favorite games of 2016 that didn't make the Games of the Year cut.

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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.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

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    December 28, 2016 11:00 AM

    Jason Faulkner posted a new article, Jason's Overlooked Gems of 2016

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      December 28, 2016 12:52 PM

      As much as I enjoyed the energetic and brilliantly paced carnage of Doom, this was game of the year for me. As soon as I found out you could revisit each chapter zone after completing the story, I began spending an inordinate amount of time building up each of my towns and completed the game's quests at a more leisurely pace. A lot of my enjoyment came from the fact that the original Dragon Warrior was my first and all-time favorite RPG, and for fans of that game the soundtrack and the monster gallery were a trip back in time. Fantastic game if you are a fan of building games and aren't turned off by a simplistic RPG.

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        December 28, 2016 1:18 PM

        Which game are you talking about?

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          December 28, 2016 1:19 PM

          probably dragon quest builder

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          December 28, 2016 1:31 PM

          Haha, one of cylinders is misfiring today. Dragon Quest Builders.

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            December 28, 2016 2:00 PM

            This really appeals to me. Just don't have a ps4. This and world of FF. Oh man.

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              December 28, 2016 2:24 PM

              I bought the PS4 specifically for DQ: Builders and I don't regret it at all. Never had a PS before, so I also bought and completed the Uncharted Collection, which was great. I am going to start Uncharted 4 tonight.

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                December 28, 2016 2:44 PM

                I got some money for Christmas, and I keep going back and forth between getting a ps4 with it (it's not enough for the game), or waiting for the Switch, which I might have a job by then to afford a game or two. I expect I'll find more titles that are kid friendly on the Switch so that's what I'm leaning towards right now.

                But, stuff like this keeps my eye on the ps4. I may try to grab a use Pro next Christmas or something.

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              December 28, 2016 3:13 PM

              World of Final Fantasy is also really good. It's like super complicated Pokémon mixed with ultimate Final Fantasy nostalgia.

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                December 28, 2016 7:20 PM

                I've never played anything having to do with Pokémon or monster training. I wonder if I'd still like it.

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        December 28, 2016 2:04 PM

        Dragon warrior was my first RPG as well. I just got Dragon Quest Heroes from Ratalon and am really enjoying it so far!

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          December 28, 2016 2:25 PM

          I bought that during the holiday sale and am going to give it a shot soon.