Top 10 Best Video Game Levels Of 2016
Thanks to decades of innovation, Hollywood-aping and craftsmanship, the video game levels of the modern era are often better than ever.
10. The Jeep Chase – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
There are many, many awesome levels in Uncharted 4, from exploring the sun-drenched Madagascan islands in At Sea, to crashing through the window during an elegant gala-turned-firefight in Once a Thief, but the one that I guarantee will command jaws hit the floor is Hidden in Plain Sight.
Ostensibly being the ‘sequel’ to Uncharted 2’s jeep chase in terms of gameplay, once again you’re free to leap between moving vehicles, except this time round your options to ‘customise’ the chase are increased. Nate can leap onto cars full of enemies and toss them to the dirt below, ram others into the rocks that line the side of the road, hang precariously off the end of his grapple hook or even shoot tires out to watch the opposition pinwheel off into the distance.
9. Classic Maps – DOOM
Like including a shrine to Quake in 2011’s RAGE, id Software know exactly how to pay homage to their legendary lineage.
Case in point: DOOM’s semi-hilarious but ultimately fantastic secret levels that are beat-for-beat recreations of various old-school DOOM 1 and 2 maps from 1993 and 1994 respectively.
You’ll find the first one in the opening UAC level, as like the Wolfenstein 3D throwback in 2015’s The New Order, the game engine doesn’t change – only the level geometry. 2016 enemies and explosive barrels pepper these touched-up and blocky designs, resulting in a brilliant nostalgic hybrid that’ll make any old school fan go all warm and fuzzy inside.
8. Sapienza – Hitman
What IO Interactive created in 2016’s Hitman is nothing short of extraordinary. That opening sentiment I described of modern games being intricate clockworks of code and authorship? It’s right here, to a degree that no other developer can match.
Now, every fan has their favourite map, but I’m going with Sapienza, simply for the sheer variety of ways to play. At any given time you could be role-playing a chef and poisoning the soup, impersonating a golfing coach to brain your target with a club, sniping them from across the city or convincing your target the ghost of his dead mother is back again, before offing him in his own bedroom.
7. The Hand – Furi
Furi is one of the most taxing and purely ‘video gamey’ experiences you could have from 2016. A top-down hack n’ slasher twinned with twin stick shooter controls, gameplay switched on a dime from asking you to monitor enemy animations and strike accordingly, and how to evade screen-filling swathes of projectiles and attacks.
The whole campaign is designed around a series of boss battles (to which every fan has their favourite), but one of the most pivotal in the story overall is The Hand – a warrior who looks like an Elder Scrolls/Blade Runner hybrid.
Learning his fairly basic initial moveset allows for the perfect pace to be set as the two of you size each other up, The Hand’s young son watching from the sidelines. It’s here where you’ll start to question just what’s going on in Furi’s world, and whether your character is actually on the side of good overall.
6. Breakdown – Battlefield 1
Like Uncharted 4, Battlefield 1’s campaign is a rollercoaster ride of spectacle and solid characters. Whilst personally I didn’t feel like there was anywhere near enough of it, each story chapter still comes with a number of standout moments.
Let me know your own in the comments below, as I’m going with this excellent sequence from Through Mud and Blood, where DICE channel their inner Medal of Honor to deliver a mission that feels like a throwback to Frontline’s excellently open-ended Needle in a Haystack from 2002.
5. Day 77 – Firewatch
An absolute masterclass in building a slow release of tension, Firewatch’s “What’s really going on in the woods?” mystery hits a couple of high-points right around the middle of its thoroughly riveting narrative.
First you’ll get clocked upside the head by an unseen figure, putting you on the back foot and confirming earlier suspicions that there is in fact, someone – or something – else in the surrounding wilderness.
After you and your compadre have been thoroughly spooked, Day 77 is the specific chapter where the story takes its most spooky and eery turn, as you discover what appears to be a surveillance tent full of detailed records, as though someone has been spying on both of you this whole time…
4. Why Take The Chance? – Mafia III
Mafia III’s opening is easily one of the most impressive and memorable I’ve played in quite some time.
A deft combination of faux-documentary style footage blends a number of gameplay sequences with cutscenes featuring various characters in the future, letting you interact with them in real time, before leaping ahead to get an idea of where they end up.It also allows the writing team of Hangar 13 to play with narrative framing, seeing characters describe something in a foreboding manner. “What happened next changed everything…” for example, as the game cuts back to your thrilling bank heist, only adding to the action as you genuinely get the feeling you’re ‘playing a movie’
3. The Swamp – The Witness
Jonathan Blow’s brain-meltingly cerebral game is one that’ll separate the hardcore puzzle fanatics from the rest. Seriously, many of these will divide rooms upon rooms of people into those who ‘get it’, and those who feel completely baffled.
Whilst the game eases you into its various grid-based quandaries, the Swamp area is the first time you’ll really have to think outside the box, providing a sequence of symbol-based puzzles that both teach you the fundamental steps on how to solve them – providing you’re paying attention – and blow your mind shortly after.
2. Get Out – Gears Of War 4
Gears 4 saw new developers The Coalition revive the franchise by mostly sticking to their guns, whilst occasionally injecting proceedings with some very well thought-out and enjoyable set-pieces.
In many other games, such things wouldn’t be playable, but a latter third act moment where the gang must escape from an underground infested mine sees them latch onto some elevator cables, before rocketing skyward out of the chasm at what feels like lightspeed.
1. The Escape – INSIDE
A large part of what makes INSIDE so affecting and flawlessly assembled comes from its bleak, Orwellian tone. The dilapidated structures you’ll explore, the scrabbling, primal animations of the boy you control – it all builds to a finale where the tables are turned on your oppressors as you’re consumed by a powerful amorphous ‘blob’, breaking free from some sort of public confinery.
You’ll hear the shrieks and screams from the Victorian freak show-esque onlookers, all as you struggle to manouvre and control this wretched ‘thing’ you’ve unwittingly become. It’s a real mix of body horror and vengeance as you do everything from crush various workers in the facility to cornering someone who looks like the boss in their own office.
Source – Whaculture
#Top 10 Best Video Game Levels Of 2016