Jason Oestreicher's Top 10 Games of 2016

Posted on 12/30 13:13 in | 0

Jason is known lovingly as "No, The Other-Other Video Guy" at Giant Bomb. He has participated in bar brawls, knows most of the words to Grease 2, and thinks he saw a ghost once.

Not being a fan of first-person games and being terrible at stealth in general, 2012’s Dishonored was a surprise hit for me. I grew to love the characters, adored its painterly look, and eventually found a play style that gelled with me. I played through it twice.

Dishonored 2 is quite simply more Dishonored, for better or for worse. It doesn't raise the bar, but I had already placed that bar pretty high. Environmental storytelling is a standout, the game's a looker, there's a ton of gameplay diversity, and... this all sounds great, right? It mostly is. But some missteps really prevented it from rekindling my love. In particular, the story beats were mostly dull and new characters seemed analogous to those in the previous game.

I don’t think I ever exhibited masochistic tendencies prior to playing this game. During, however… I don’t know. Maybe? I would have to, right?

Your party members are subjected to truly abhorrent situations both by their dark selves and the grotesque Lovecraftian creatures they encounter. It’s stressful. I feel pangs of guilt as I push these poor souls on. But still I push them. Why? It’s a hell of a challenge. And the cartoony macabre aesthetic is unique and really cool looking and… these sickos probably deserve it anyway.

I’ll take the heat for putting a remaster on my list. Certainly a remaster that is done this well. Odin Sphere was already a fantastic game. Signature Vanillaware art, music, combat. I could just kiss it - warts and all. But a lot of those warts got removed with Leifthrasir making an already near-perfect game even more near-perfect-er and a joy to play through again.

Listen, I’ve aired my grievances several times. I’ve had my heart broken and, frankly, am embarrassed by the state of Street Fighter. And yet, here it is on my list. And pretty high up too. Well, I’ve always maintained that, at its core, Street Fighter V is a pretty damn good fighting game. So while I’m still salty about things like the price of DLC and input lag, I can’t deny that I had a blast playing. Simple as that. That’s all I’ve got. Want a better explanation? Go check out what Patrick Miller had to say.

Listeners of the Bombcast who tolerated the God Eater Minute segments knew this would likely show up on my list. However, I wasn’t so convinced. Each year that I do one of these, I briefly entertain the notion of presenting my critical picks. Then I take my head out of my ass and just put down what feels right--guilty pleasures and all.

Despite being a big fan of Monster Hunter, I guess part of me is feeling a bit of fatigue from it and the dedication it requires. I needed a break and God Eater 2 was there for me. It’s extremely solo friendly, light on busy-work, and, hey… some days I just want to come home, fulfill a pledge to my gigantic sword-gun, sprout sparkly anime wings, and listen to some fucking J-Rock, OK?

I know teens. I was one. I’ve watched all of Dawson’s Creek and think Joey ended up with the right guy (come at me). I also know ghosts. Pretty sure I got pushed by one once.

Oxenfree’s got both. Not ghost teens, but teens AND ghosts.

In my expert opinion, Oxenfree does a hell of a job of depicting each doing what they do best. The teens are (convincing) drama-filled shitbags and the ghosts are pretty spooky.

There is something so special about Hyper Light Drifter. A lot of what makes me smile about Hyper Light Drifter is the overall feeling I get while playing. Reductively, there’s a little bit of 2D Zelda and maybe some Fez. It evokes 16-bit aesthetics, yet doesn’t set into a mold. Instead, its masterful sprite work, animation, and soundtrack feel modern and unique. Hyper Light’s minimalistic approach to storytelling and user interface is effective and helped immerse me in its world.

When I’m there, I’m IN there. The look, the sound, and the feel. Combat is surprisingly challenging, but when I mess up, I own it--it feels like my fault. Likewise when I do well. I feel like a badass when I clear a room and The Drifter punctuates it by spinning his sword around and planting it in the ground AS A BADASS DO.

I’m a big fan of Ska Studios and their brand of 2D. I also enjoy me some Souls games (so do they, obviously). So when you tie these together it is very much like getting the proverbial chocolate in my peanut butter and very very much something that I find delicious.


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