The end of the year is upon us, and looking back on 2016's games reveals a mix of new IP, huge sequels, quality ID titles, and plenty more remasters. What did you play over the course of the calendar year? We'll be conducting our annual Game of the Year awards on TrueAchievments in the coming days and weeks, but for now we'd like to share the top games played among our community members for the year of 2016.
In this first of two parts, we'll be counting down the bottom half of the top twenty games, while taking a look at how they may have gotten there. Some big AAA titles simply earn their spot through general hype and excitement, while other placeholders tell a different story.
Below you'll find a graph visualizing the figures for games 20 through 11. For reference, we've pulled the numbers for this feature from December 6th. Take a look at the visual below, then read on for each game's top twenty story.
20. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - 28,771 Players
Infinity Ward's polarizing shooter went to the stars and beyond this fall with Infinite Warfare. Despite releasing just a few weeks ago, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that the latest in the record-setting series made the list, but it's worth noting just a day before we pulled stats for this story that it was seated at #21. A day later made all the difference as it's made the cut now. What these numbers can't tell us: How many of those playing did so because it came with the more beloved Modern Warfare Remastered?
19. NBA 2K17: The Prelude - 29,085 Players
Tell members of this community that there's a game offering an easy 1000 G to be had and watch them migrate toward it. Tell them that same game is completely free and watch them sprint toward it. 2K's annual basketball sim is consistently one of the best sports games year after year, so when they released a prologue to their MyPlayer mode for the cost of only some hard drive space, we here on TA couldn't resist. It helps that the game was actually fun, too, even if the cutscenes were a bit cheesy at times, "Prez". If you somehow missed this freebie, you can still get it, so don't miss out!
18. ReCore - 29,813 Players
Microsoft's debut Play Anywhere title sadly didn't receive the reception they were hoping it'd get. We scored it a middling 3/5 which ended up being about how the gaming community as a whole saw it, too. The game has its fans, however. These numbers were certainly inflated a bit when a free 30 minute trial released to Xbox Live just a few weeks back. Achievements are enabled for the trial, so many like myself have it on our cards without owning it yet. If you're in that same group, will you be returning to Far Eden to play the full game?
17. Dark Souls III - 30,762 Players
One of the highest reviewed games of the year is also the apparent conclusion to the years-long masochistic franchise, so you knew battle-hardened players had plenty for which to return. We gave it a glowing 4.5/5 back in April. Since then DS3 has provided fans with more punishing DLC. Unlike the last two entries on this list, no free elements were involved here -- just a fan favorite series drawing its players back in for one more perfection-seeking round. As someone who has avoided the entire series, I'm curious, how does this one stack up to its predecessors?
16. FIFA 17 - 31,618 Players
The first of several EA games that will make the top twenty is its only sports title to do so. It had a free weekend just two weeks ago, plus it's an EA Access trial title, meaning, like ReCore, plenty have tried before they may have bought it. All that aside, however, FIFA is consistently adored and played religiously by plenty of gamers year after year. It maybe would've cracked this list without the help of its subscribers or the free weekend. Absent from the top 20 is (spoiler) its main competitor, Pro Evolution Soccer. They were met with identical review averages according to OpenCritic.com, so this shows you how it pays to have the name value and the backing of EA's marketing budget on your side.
15. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 - 32,716 Players
PVZGW2 makes back-to-back EA Access games, and this one also offered up a ten hour trial for anyone, not just Access subscribers, during the month of August. That's not to say the sequel wasn't worth your time. We scored it a 4.5/5 while its average on OpenCritic is a respectable 81. It still boasts a devoted base of online players ready to matchmake with you too. While the open trial is no longer available, the game is still fertilizing in the EA Access program.
14. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - 33,352 Players
Skyrim's remaster is the first (and only?) such release to appear on the list, and for good reason. It was one of the biggest and best games of its time, according to pretty much everyone, including this community. We gave it our second annual TA Game of the Year award in 2011. The remaster brought better textures, lighting, mods, and, of course, a new achievement list. Bethesda is known for making RPGs that demand our lives be put on hold, and it's clear even five years after its initial release, plenty of us are still totally fine with that arrangement.
13. Unravel - 37,685 Players
Completing EA's free trial trifecta is the emotional journey of Yarny. In Unravel the aptly named protagonist of Coldwood Interactive's puzzle-platformer travels across a wonderous land of birds, insects, baskets, and lanterns, all the while manipulating his threaded self to overcome obstacles. A trial was available to Access members ahead of the game's release. That same trial then went live to all Xbox users before the game became accessible in full to those aforementioned Access users. Its numbers and placement here were surely inflated by those circumstances, but it soared above the others in its program and on this list because of its charming visuals and unique mechanics. EA and Coldwood appreciated their collaboration so much that they've since agreed to develop more games together.
12. Far Cry Primal - 39,308 Players
Primal had the benefit of releasing very early in the year and coming with a built-in fanbase for its IP, but it plays unlike those before it. Foregoing firearms in favor of stones and spears, Primal's greater focus on survival was a hit with many. Its reviews settled in the seventies on OpenCritic with which you could say we agreed after scoring it a 3.5/5. Whether you enjoyed Primal or not, fans of Far Cry as a whole have to be wondering where the series might go next, as they'd shown an interest in one-offs before Primal came along. To where do you hope Far Cry ventures next?
11. ROBLOX - 41,507 Players
The last of this half of the list and the first of them to crack 40,000 players is a free-to-play creative suite in which users build their own games and socialize. Comments on site during the game's run-up to release were largely negative, but that couldn't slow ROBLOX from soaring up the list of games played among TA'ers. The Xbox One version offers several ready-made popular game modes right away and gives players the tools (and sells optional in-game currency) for them to create more for themselves and their RO-BROS. Those of you who have the game on your list, are you a dedicated player or did you only sample it because it was free?
That concludes part one of our 2016 recap. What surprised you most so far? How many of these have you played? Any guesses as to what will take the top spot? No spoilers! Look for the conclusion of this countdown in the days ahead as we look back on the year for the ever-expanding TA community.
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