Gamesear's top 5 PC games from 2016 cover art

With 2016 now well and truly over it is time to engage in one of the most well-renowned of Internet traditions - the totally not pointless top 5 list. As such, allow me to show you which games I enjoyed the most throughout this past year, and most importantly, which games I plan to continue playing well into 2017 as well.

Naturally, all of this is just my opinion and its based around the games I've actually had the chance to play, so don't be surprised if your favorite is nowhere to be found. Furthermore, the whole ranking business is mostly meaningless because I enjoy all of these games for separate reasons, so don't waste your time arguing why X is better than Y. And with all of these disclaimers now out of the way, let's get down to the fun stuff:

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun official artwork

Ever since I first laid my hands on the original Thief I've been in love with stealth games. The constant danger, the thrill of the hunt, and the knowledge that all of your plans can go awry at any second - all of this makes stealth games so much more absorbing than your run-of-the-mill strategy/puzzle game.

As such, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to hear that I had an absolute blast with Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - a Commandos inspired strategy game that's all about sneaking around, making elaborate and well-thought-out plans, and then trying to resolve the mess that occurs once those plans inevitably fail. And since that description doesn't really do it justice, allow me to show you why exactly I've spent the past week toying around with Shadow Tactics.

Killing Floor 2 official cover artwork

I've spent well over a hundred hours playing the original Killing Floor, a fact that I consider quite amusing given that I bought it by pure accident during a Steam Sale many moons ago. While I initially hated its guts due to the simplistic design and lack of any sort of story campaign, the Firebug class and its amazingly realistic flamethrower kept me from simply uninstalling it. But as time went by, and the pile of charred corpses grew ever larger, I completely forgot I was supposed to hate Killing Floor. I was having way too much fun to worry about such nonsense, and before I knew it, I was hooked!

Given how much I love the original I must admit I was rather ecstatic when I heard that Killing Floor 2 has finally left the confines of Early Access a couple of days ago. Could it possibly match the excellence of the original, what does it bring in terms of gameplay innovations, and more importantly, how glorious does the flamethrower look in these fancy new HD graphics? Well, let's go and find out!

Tyranny artwork showcasing where you stand in the hiearchy

In most movies and games the good guys win through either the power of love, a magical McGuffin, or some sort of ancient prophecy they discovered 10 minutes ago. But have you ever wondered what would happen if the clearly superior villain ended up being the victor in that grand, climactic battle between good and evil? Would that be the end of all, or would the bad guys establish a new set of laws to govern the now unified nations of the world? And what about all of the armies of monsters and men that have suddenly found themselves without a cause to rally behind?

If you're interested in the answers you'll be glad to hear that it is exactly these topics that Tyranny explores, but not in a superficial and patronizing way, but with a surprising degree of nuance. The 'good guys' aren't all that pristine and will gladly resort to devious methods in order to achieve their goals, while the majority of the 'bad guys' are simply terrified cogs in the machine. All of this serves to make both sides feel like actual people, rather than overly simple representations of concepts such as good and evil, which goes a long way towards making the world of Tyranny all the more intriguing.

But since this is a game we're talking about after all, I'm sure the big question on everyone's mind is whether Tyranny is any fun to actually play? Well, allow me to show you what exactly its all about, and you can hopefully work it out from there!

Blossom Tales haunted forest screenshot

Blossom Tales is a 2D action-adventure heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda. As you might expect given its influence, Blossom Tales features numerous dungeons to delve, a variety of monsters to defeat through either sword or sorcery, and naturally, a whole bunch of puzzles to solve via the generous application of bombs. Wrap all of that up with some charming visuals and a surprisingly catchy soundtrack and you've got yourself a rather intriguing adventure game.

Before you get too excited, however, allow me to just say that Blossom Tales is still under heavy development, and as such isn't expected to arrive before 2017. On the positive side, I recently got a preview copy to try out and so I would love to give you a glimpse of what Blossom Tales is all about, what it does well, and what areas still needs improvement. So without further delays, let's jump in!

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game official artwork for Geralt

[Update]: Gwent has now entered Open Beta alongside a ridiculous amount of changes. As such, I have now created a more up-to-date review in order to cover all of the new features. You can find the Open Beta review over here.

I've spent well over a hundred hours playing The Witcher 3, and I would even go as far as to say that I consider it to be one of the finest RPGs ever made. However, while I've certainly done my fair share of exploration and monster slaying, I am willing to wager that a good portion of that time was spent in taverns rather than out in the wilderness. You see, in my world Geralt didn't really do as much monster hunting as he did card hunting, because lets face it, demolishing yet another damnable nest of Nekkers isn't going to help me complete this Gwent deck!

But no matter how addictive and creative The Witcher 3's Gwent minigame was, it still suffered from a limited amount of viable cards and balance holes so large you could drag a Wyvren through them. Most of the decks were based around the same few overpowered cards, while the rest of the collection simply rotted away in Geralt's backpack alongside a variety of monster heads and body parts. Even back then it was obvious that what Gwent really needed in order to become truly great was a standalone release - an entire game dedicated to the concept and filled to the brim with brand new cards, mechanics, and a whole host of balance changes. And as luck would have it, that little wish came true about a week ago as Gwent: The Witcher Card Game entered closed beta!

So now that we have a standalone version of Gwent I'm sure the big question on everyone's mind is whether its any good or not? Well, let's find out!

Shadow Warrior 2 review screenshot

Shadow Warrior has always been a silly game, both in terms of weaponry and in terms of humor, but Shadow Warrior 2 takes things to a whole new extreme. Not only are the weapons even more destructive and extravagant than ever before, but the jokes are so cheesy they are just about ready to topple over!

So how ridiculous is Shadow Warrior 2 when compared to its predecessors? Well, let's just say that you can wield a giant flaming chainsaw and a grenade launcher enchanted with so much miss chance it quite literally hits everything except your target, while pretty much every sentence that comes out of the main character's mouth is in some way guaranteed to be related to wangs. In other words, Shadow Warrior 2 definitely manages to live up to its heritage, and good lord is it fun to play!

World of Warcraft: Legion's Illidan

During the first part of my review, about a month ago, I made the claim that World of Warcraft: Legion was an absurdly massive game. When I said that I was only being half-serious, because let's face it, how big can a game truly be? Well, as it turns out - pretty damn big! 

I've been playing Legion daily ever since it first launched, and only now can I truly say that I have experienced everything it has to offer. As such, it is time to use all of this newfound knowledge in order to delve deep into Legion's endgame and see whether it will stand the test of time, how it compares to Warlords of Draenor, but most importantly, is it any fun? 

Battlerite review and critique of the early access version

Back in the ancient times of 2011 my main multiplayer obsession was Bloodline Champions, a game so well designed I felt I could never truly master it. All of the characters were almost perfectly balanced aganist each other, pretty much every team composition worked as long as you played with its strengths in mind, and to top it all off, not a single element of gameplay was in the hands of random chance! Alas, due to publisher greed and a couple of misguided patches Bloodline Champions abruptly transformed into something... different. Something I and many others simply couldn't enjoy any longer, and so with a great deal of sorrow I ended up leaving a game I spent a good hundred hours with.

While Bloodline Champions still remains a mere shadow of its former self, I am glad to say that there is hope on the horizon as Battlerite is about as close as you can get to the original Bloodline Champions without wearing its skin as some sort of freaky mask. It features the same cast of diverse characters, the same intricate balance, the same frantic combat, and most importantly, a pretty damn good matchmaking system that actually managed to consistently pair me with equally skilled players.

Battlerite is currently in Early Access, however, so while all of the gameplay mechanics are present and accounted for there are still some missing features and a definite lack of polish. With that in mind, allow me to show you what exactly Battlerite does right, and what still needs to be improved.

Sorcery! Part 4 - Crown of Kings moon serpent screenshot

When it comes to RPGs, I am a simple man. All I want is a well written story, some unique and interesting characters that can't be described in a single cliche, a world that consistently follows its own rules, and most importantly, the ability to make a personal impact on the story.

Now that I've written all of that down it sure doesn't seem very simple, but there are some games out there that easily fulfill all of these demands. As you can probably guess from the title alone, the Sorcery! series belongs among that rather esteemed company, especially Sorcery! Part 4 - Crown of Kings as it represents the final evolution of everything the series has put forth so far. The stakes are higher, the atmosphere is much more intense, and the entirety of the experience is far more immersive than ever before.