Best of 2016: Top 5 Game Consoles


2016 was a year of transitions for console gaming. With at least one – possibly two – machines on their way out and another pair going through significant physical changes, there was a lot on offer for owners and prospective owners of the five main dedicated gaming consoles alike this year. Because it’s fun to do so, I will now rank them once again. Exclusive games on each were plentiful, helping to draw lines in the sand between the consoles, but I’m also counting versions of non-exclusive games that I feel are different enough from their siblings to warrant a mention. Needless to say, new versions of existing hardware weigh heavily as well.

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s strange. Fun, but strange. Respectful disagreement is very welcome.



5. Wii U

(LAST YEAR: 3rd)


At the start of 2016 there was a pervasive feeling that the Wii U was on its last legs, but we had no way of knowing just how barren the year would be for the ailing console. Its relatively bare schedule of major releases throughout the year only kicked off in March, and though Pokken Tournament turned out surprisingly well, a slightly-tuned HD remaster of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess wasn’t exactly the kind of release to attract new buyers (even if that remaster was pretty damn good). Then April marked the death knell for the console, as that brought with it the combined disappointment of Star Foz Zero and the announcement that the Wii U’s successor – then codenamed NX – would release in March 2017.  From then on, only three first-party games came out on the platform at all. Admittedly, Paper Mario: Color Splash and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE were fantastic, but that simply isn’t enough to make a year worth celebrating, sadly. Onward to the Switch, then?


4. PlayStation Vita

(LAST YEAR: 5th)

The Playstation Vita seems to be pronounced dead multiple times a year, at least since late 2013. It keeps on trucking, however, bringing out a ton of indie and/or Japanese gems at every turn. Alas, this year marked the actual end of production for the battling handheld (meaning it might actually be dead) but even that didn’t stop it from having its best year since that 2013 highlight reel. Portable forms of popular JRPGs Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, World of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest Builders and both Trails of Cold Steel games accompanied the highly-anticipated visual novels Zero Escape 3 and Stein’s Gate 0, adding up to hundreds upon hundreds of hours of gameplay for those inclined. The likes of Darkest Dungeon and Salt & Sanctuary led the portable indie-port highlights while the excellent Severed even enjoyed a brief period of exclusivity on the Sony portable. Weirdly, despite its discontinuation the Vita already has some tantalising 2017 stuff on the horizon, too.

3. Nintendo 3DS

(LAST YEAR: 2nd)

Speaking of 2013, the 3DS had a hell of a year and that was mostly due to the clockwork-like manner in which it paraded out a flood of sequels to 2013 games. That was a show-stopping year for the Nintendo handheld in terms of quality, so success in 2016 is hardly all that surprising. Pokemon Sun & Moon, a breath of fresh air for the franchise and a direct follow-up of sorts to X & Y, undoubtedly led the charge on this front, with Fire Emblem Fates, Bravely Second, Monster Hunter Generations and a substantial amiibo-enabled update to Animal Crossing New Leaf following in its footsteps. Kirby Planet Robobot, Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice and Rhythm Paradise Megamix also brought the quirky quality, while the likes of Pocket Card Jockey, BoxBoxBoy! and Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 lit the eShop up. The year was even bookended by a handful of superb JRPGs from Atlus and beyond, making 2016 arguably the best year to get a 3DS in a long time.


2. Xbox One

(LAST YEAR: 1st)

Ooh, this was a tight race for top spot. Microsoft’s carefully measured efforts to get one up on their main console rival Sony resulted in a masterstroke of a console revision that, if anything, was under-marketed despite some impressive latter-year sales. The amount of value added to the standard Xbox One SKU by the Xbox One S – which is then sold for a cheaper price – is striking, with a lighter frame, a slight performance boost across the board, 4K upscaling, full 4K blu-ray playback and a removed external power brick. It all adds up to a significant step forward for the Xbox brand in a year that also featured the charming 3D platformer ReCore, value-laden Gears of War 4, reimagined mass zombie-slayer Dead Rising 4 and undisputed king of open-world driving games, Forza Horizon 3. 


1. Playstation 4

(LAST YEAR: 4th)

It took three years, but the Playstation 4 finally had a substantial enough year in 2016 to back up its immense sales record and top this list of mine. Though the PS4 has had its fair share of first-party exclusive titles since launch, they have in my opinion fallen short of the general quality benchmark – and indeed even quantity – of Microsoft’s annual slates. This year they were a touch more competitive on that front, bringing out two of this generation’s best-reviewed games almost back-to-back in the form of Ratchet & Clank and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The PS4 also served as the final landing pad for The Last Guardian, which regardless of quality is a bit of a miraculous release on its own given its well-documented development troubles. Sure, they had a bit of a mess on their hands with the Xbox-free No Man’s Sky, but before the year was out they managed to snag Microsoft-first gems Oxenfree and Inside, while keeping The Witness to themselves. When you add in the three new pieces of 2016 PS4 hardware – the streamlined Slim, the surprisingly affordable powerhouse Pro and the potentially game-changing Playstation VR headset, you have a tremendous year from the Japanese gaming juggernaut and a worthy list-topper.

t took .



One response to this post.

  1. For me, the Play Station 4 is best of the lot. It’s a powerhouse when it comes to gaming and I simply love it. Now I am even more eagerly waiting for the Play Station 5


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