Reflect on a busy year in PC gaming with our retrospective montage of 101 games from 2016 in four minutes (opens in new tab).
Our get more difficult to pick every year. With approximately 38% of all Steam games released this year alone (opens in new tab), playing them all is impossible, but we do our best to review a cross-section of releases we think will both appeal to our audience and represent the majority of quickly multiplying corners throughout all genres in PC gaming.
Last year, we cut off the list at scores above 80%, but because there were so many games that made the cut, we’ve upped our standards to 84%. These games were reviewed by many different people with varying perspectives, but all according to our . As such, try not to sweat it when scores don’t correlate across the board. And if a favorite game is missing, swing by our to find it or let us know in the comments.
Release date: Nov 11, 2016 ▪ Developer: Arkane ▪
Despite some technical troubles—which are steadily being patched out—Dishonored 2 is one of our favorite games of the year. It's no secret that we're big fans of systems-driven games at PC Gamer, and we've celebrated Metal Gear Solid 5 and the new Hitman thoroughly for that reason. Dishonored 2 is another for the list, even better than its predecessor and one of the best stealth/action games we've played.
Football Manager 2017
Release date: Nov 3, 2016 ▪ Developer: Sports Interactive ▪
If you’ve ever played Football Manager, then you already know what to expect in the latest version. It’s a refinement that makes important information easier to access so you spend more time living the stories of your teams instead of processing dense screens of statistics, but it doesn’t entirely upend the formula. Why would it? Football Manager 2017 is the best entry in a well established series, so far unparalleled. If you want to manage some football, Football Manager 2017 is the way to go.
Hitman: The Complete First Season
Release date: Many ▪ Developer: IO Interactive ▪
We were all a little surprised when we found out the new Hitman would be episodic, but as Phil says in his review of the full first season, pulling back on Absolution's story focus was a boon. While there's still a story, what's at the heart of new Hitman is "a standalone series of sandbox murder playgrounds," as Phil put it. Blood Money fans should be pleased.
Release date: Oct 28, 2016 ▪ Developer: Respawn ▪
With the addition of a single-player campaign and no season pass to divide the community, Titanfall 2 sheds two common complaints about the original—and also does what it does fantastically. "If this were a game from the late nineties or early noughties, we'd likely look back at the mission 'Effect and Cause' as one of the greats of the genre," wrote Chris in his review. The multiplayer is better than before as well, but there's one worry—Titanfall 2's population could suffer from its proximity to Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Let's hope it doesn't.
Release date: Oct 21, 2016 ▪ Developer: DICE ▪
The leap back in time to WWI had good results, as Battlefield 1's focus on infantry combat pairs well with , and its finicky guns slow things down a little, giving us more time to move and more pride in our good shots. The campaign is enjoyable too, which hasn't quite been the case in a Battlefield game for some time.
Release date: Oct 21, 2016 ▪ Developer: Firaxis ▪
There's of course , but Civilization 6 is nevertheless the "ultimate digital board game," as we put it in our review. It's the most transformative version of Civ so far, changing the rules of city-management and tweaking just about everything else. And Civ 6 will only get better with expansions and user-made additions—even though the mod tools aren't out yet, the .
Sunless Sea: Zubmariner
Release date: Oct 11, 2016 ▪ Developer: Failbetter Games ▪
In any Lovecraftian narrative, the descent always gives way to more unspeakable madness and horror, which is exactly what Zubmariner accomplishes. As an expansion to the oceanic exploration text adventuring of Sunless Sea, it sends the player beneath the waves and on the path to unraveling the mysteries of the flooded world. As scary as it is, there’s nothing spooky about more of an already excellent thing.
Forza Horizon 3
Release date: Sep 27, 2016 ▪ Developer: Playground Games ▪
One of the best racing games on PC, with a huge open world Australian playground (that's also full of irritating personalities) and over 350 gorgeous cars. As it's published by Microsoft Studios, Forza Horizon 3 is only available on the Windows Store—but at least Chris managed a smooth 60 fps, and didn't have many technical issues despite the Universal Windows Platform's rocky start.
World of Warcraft: Legion
Release date: Aug 30, 2016 ▪ Developer: Blizzard ▪
Legion had a lot of work to do after the disappointing Warlords of Draenor, but even before all its pieces are in place, it succeeds. The quest writing, new order halls, and improved class identity are all high points. "For the first time, I don't just feel like I'm playing a druid—I am a druid," wrote Steven in his review.