10: Fire Emblem Fates: Awakening (3DS) - I'll get out of the way upfront that I don't much care for how this game was sold. The fact that all three campaigns are on a single cartridge but expensive further purchases are required to unlock two of them does not please me. However, despite that, there is still a very solid game here, with some fun character work, a decent enough storyline (Conquest in particular) and some strong strategy mechanics at the core of the gameplay.
9: Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (PC) - This one's a bit obscure, having been somewhat lost among the slew of Warhammer 40K games released this year. It is, however, definitely the best of the bunch. An adaptation of an old space-combat wargame, it's a smart, well presented tactics game, which reminded me more than anything of the old Starfleet Command games. That's probably no coincidence, as those were also based on a boardgame.
8: Overwatch (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - The shooter that got me to play online shooters again (for a while at least). Fast, fun and, for a while at least, refreshingly free of the usual angst and drama of online shooters. Sadly, the community soured from around October onwards, with even Quick Play becoming toxic, so I dropped out of playing. However, Blizzard deserve real credit for managing to blend so many gameplay innovations with such good gunplay.
7: Dark Souls 3 (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - To my mind, the weakest game in the Dark Souls series, leaning too heavily on past glories and requiring too rigid a conformity to a particular dodge-roll-based playstyle. That said, even Dark Souls at its worst is better than most other franchises at their best, so this is still a very good game. Except for the first DLC, which was just plain rubbish.
6: Tokyo Mirage Sessions: FE (Wii-U) - I'd probably rank this as the best game on the Wii-U and it makes a fairly good swan-song for the system as it vanishes into (mostly deserved) obscurity. This isn't quite a full-fledged new Persona game, but it is a pretty good way of tiding things over until next year's Persona 5. As with Atlus's best games, it holds to a very distinctive tone and style. The battle system gets a bit repetitive towards the end, but the aesthetic keeps things from getting too tired.
5: Total War: Warhammer (PC) - I've always found the Total War system strangely inconsistent, capable of swinging from greatness (Shogun 2) to mediocrity (Rome 2) remarkably quickly. Warhammer is a pretty big departure for the series, but it works out very well indeed, with a pleasing blend of familiar elements and novel innovations. Now if only we could have a Horus Heresy-themed 40K version...
4: Final Fantasy XV (PS4, also XB1) - Despite being much-delayed, this came out remarkably well in the end (despite some technical issues - give us a PC version already!). It doesn't feel like Final Fantasy, but then, that's something that was said about all of the best Final Fantasy games when they first released. A couple of the sidequests could do with being a little bit less fetch-questy, but other than that, this is good fun, with a battle system that has a lot more depth than is initially apparent. The Americana-infused aesthetic is also glorious.
3: XCom 2 (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - A really strong sequel to the modern reboot of the classic series. The strategic-game is slightly terrifying for the first few hours, with a bewildering array of options and very little guidance, but push past that point and this opens out into a really satisfying game. The best bit, of course, is what's teased after the final credits...
2: Forza Horizon 3 (PC, also XB1) - A glorious evolution of the open-world arcade-infused spin-off to the Forza series (a spin-off which has now arguably surpassed its progenitor). The availability of PC version is a welcome addition to the series. I was slightly annoyed by the over-focus on off-road racing (and particularly those bloody buggies), but this is still fantastic.
1: Doom (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - By far the best first person shooter I've played for years. It takes every hateful convention that Halo and Call of Duty slammed into the genre (2-weapon limits, regenerating health, linear levels) and throws them in the bin. Fast, gory, frequently ludicrous and insane amounts of fun. Somehow it manages to take the look and, more importantly, feel of the old Doom games and translate them successfully onto cutting-edge 2016 technology. I'm told it has a multiplayer mode, but I haven't bothered to check.
Good but not top-10 material - alphabetical order
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - I seem to be in a small minority for having quite liked this year's installment of Activision-flavoured spunkgargleweewee. The series seems to continue its "shite game, ok game" annual alternation. Don't get me wrong, it's not great (and the space combat bits are awful), but there is still some fun to be had in this ludicrously overblown sci-fi adventure. I also find something curiously endearing in the way it aims for Battlestar Galactica reboot-style gritty sci-fi but misses the mark and ends up as Space: Above & Beyond high camp.
Darkest Dungeon (PC) - I really enjoyed the opening few hours of this strange semi-roguelike RPG. It does get quite tired quite quickly, particularly due to the degree of randomness involved, but those opening hours basically justify the purchase price.
Far Cry Primal (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - A fun attempt to do something different with the Far Cry formula. The generic Ubisoft underpinnings still shine through a little too strongly, but full marks for effort certainly due here.
Gears of War 4 (PC, also XB1) - I enjoyed the campaign gameplay quite a lot here, as well as those bits of the plot that cast of the old games is present for. The new cast is a hateful bunch of millennial tosspots in need of a damned good lancer-chainsawing, but they don't quite manage to ruin the game.
Homefront: The Revolution (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - Yes, you found the only person in the world who will admit to having quite enjoyed this. Admittedly, I picked it up dirt cheap in a Steam sale, after the worst of the technical issues had been patched. It wasn't great (and the setting, which felt just-about-plausible for the original game, has become ludicrous now), but it offered up a reasonable amount of entertainment.
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak (PC) - It's been a good year for strategy games, hasn't it? This only just missed out on my top 10. A well designed and well-presented spin-off from the Homeworld series, which manages to look and feel like a Homeworld game despite the shift to land-based combat. The aesthetic is fantastic.
I am Setsuna (PC, also PS4) - Interesting twist on the classic JRPG formula. Quite short and very story-focussed. Could have done with a bit more visual variety, but still an engaging little game.
Megadimension Neptunia V-II (PC, also PS4) - It's not fantastic, of course, but it is much better than Omega Quintet (Compile Heart's first attempt at leaving the PS3 behind). A perfectly good way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Mirror's Edge: Catalyst (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - I agree entirely with those who complain this lost a lot of what was distinctive about the original. But the moment-to-moment gameplay is still generally solid.
Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir (PS4, also Vita) - The best remake of the year and another game which only just missed my top 10. Very much a remake, rather than a remaster, this substantially improves on the original, by reducing the level grind and improving the flow of combat. The story and visuals remain as amazing as ever, many years after this game was first released.
Pokemon Sun and Moon (3DS) - The first Pokemon game I've stuck with for more than a couple of hours since Silver/Gold. Shakes up a rather stale formula just enough to keep things interesting without compromising the core (and iconic) gameplay. Now if only Nintendo could bring the series to a proper console, rather than handhelds.
Ratchet & Clank (PS4) - A fun remake of the very first Ratchet & Clank game. The weapons and gunplay are as fun as ever, although the decision to drop to 30fps was clearly the wrong one.
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (PS4, also Vita) - A guilty pleasure. Despite the rather dubious trappings, this is actually a really good game. Tightly tuned, well paced brawler gameplay, with surprising depth and an impressive roster of characters with different playstyles. A story mode which wisely lowers the stakes from previous installments, focussing more on comedic escapades with less potential for mood-whiplash. And exploding clothes.
Thumper (PC, also PS4) - Strange, unsettling rhythm game. I've not got a VR headset yet, so I've been playing it on a regular monitor for now. It's a freaky enough experience that way - god only knows what it must be like on VR.
Titanfall 2 (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - Yet another that was a near-miss top 10 contender. The campaign is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it happened to release in the same year as Doom, which just did a lot of the same things better. Hope this gets a sequel, though. If it can ditch the 2-weapon limits and other Halo conventions and embrace the over-the-top lunacy that it often seems tempted by, it could be truly great.
Tyranny (PC) - The most uncomfortable game of the year - an RPG with no way to be "good", only different shades of evil. A decent game, which builds on the gameplay foundations laid by Pillars of Eternity with better writing and world-building. Still a bit heavy on the big-text-loredumps and maybe a bit short, but still very good.
World of Final Fantasy (PS4, also Vita) - AKA "Final Fantasy does Pokemon". A fun, albeit grindy, lightweight Final Fantasy game, which is a real nostalgia trip for series veterans.
Yomawari: Night Alone (PC, also PS4, Vita) - Incredibly creepy top-down survival horror game. Gets the prize for "best tutorial of the year" by a country mile. Seriously.
Battlefield 1 (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - Yes, I thought this was worse (significantly worse) than CoD: Infinite Warfare. The worst campaign I've played in a long time (oh my god that armoured train level) combined with a terrible attempt at WW1 storytelling, which combines Spielberg-saccharine aesthetics with ahistorical attempts to make WW1 look and feel like WW2. This could have been so much more.
Bravely Second: End Layer (3DS) - The original Bravely Default got a lot of goodwill for being "just like the old Final Fantasy games". That schtick has worn thin now and the sequel just comes over as dull and grindy (like like the old Final Fantasy games). The fact that half the sidequests were butchered to incomprehensibility for the Western release via the worst localisation effort in recent history did not help at all.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - A by-the-numbers follow-up to Mankind Divided. The main plot's a mess, the clunking, heavy-handed morality is a million miles from the subtlety of the very first game and the stealth mechanics are often dubious at best. Some well-written sidequests save it from outright disappointment, but it's still not what it should have been.
Mighty No. 9 (PC, also loads of other platforms) - Much hyped advert for the whole Kickstarter thing turns out to be a bit crap. Lifeless visuals, poor level design, cringe-worthy plot and bizarre technical issues. Not fantastic.
Nights of Azure (PS4) - This JRPG looked quite promising pre-release, with an interesting "dark" storyline. Sadly, very poor graphics and dull gameplay frustrate the game's ambitions. The occasional ray of potential shines through, but nothing like enough.
No Man's SKy (PC, also PS4) - One of the most hyped titles of the year, turned into a big pile of "meh". It's not awful and had it been a Steam early-access title for half the price, it would probably have been very well received. As it is, it ended up embarrassing for everybody.
Space Hulk: Deathwing (PC) - This one hurts a bit, because it has so much potential. However, when it slipped out the door just before Christmas, it was in an almost unplayably broken state. Singleplayer functions, but is dull. Multiplayer is effectively unworkable for the moment. Fingers crossed this gets fixed by patches, because the idea of Space Hulk meets Left 4 Dead is an appealing one.
The Division (PC, also PS4 and XB1) - Concentrated mediocrity.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4) - So yeah, I'm out of line with the consensus on this one (though that's nothing to what's coming below). Uncharted 4 a boring, over-wrought story, told in a po-faced "look how grown up we are" style, with plodding narrative beats, and a few on-rails sequences of gameplay grundgingly hammered in between them. Also, Nathan Drake and his shite, unfunny "quips" need to be fired into the sun.
The Outright Bad
The Last Guardian (PS4) - If only it had never come out. Like Duke Nukem Forever, this was a game that was great to have hovering as a cloud of "might be great" unreleased vapourware. Once released, it quickly coalesced into an absolute turd, with poor controls, bland visuals, terrible performance, near non-existent gameplay, endless frustrations and a storyline whose "emotional" impact is cheap sentimentality based on children and animals. Kill it with fire.