Game of the Year 2016 Day 3 of 3

Game of the Year 2016 Day 3 of 3

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2016 was a hell of a year for games. Long awaited games like The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy XV finally made their debuts. First person shooters received a massive jolt in the arm with the fantastic Doom and invigorating Overwatch. Even long running franchises showed that their respective fourth iterations can be amazing. It was a good year, indeed.

Best Old Game of 2016

Winner: Picross 3D

I had finagle a way to acknowledge the majesty that is Picross 3D. Picross is fine but blow it out into 3D dimensions was a mind expanding moment for me. I wanted to buy Picross 3D Round 2 but seeing how it was $40+ CAD and I didn’t even play the original, I went on Amazon.ca and bought a cart. It’s charming, weird and addictive to boot. The difficulty curve is a bit erratic at times but I feel it’s been fair. I’m playing for the perfect run so I restart any time I make a mistake and chip off the wrong piece.

While I’m technically not done with this game, I feel it’s easily one of the best games I’ve played this year.

 

Best Game of 2016

Winner: Overwatch

It’s my most played game the year but that alone doesn’t warrant the number one spot. It’s also incredibly well designed from top to bottom with its unbelievable ability to entice me into trying new things. Blizzard managed to get me to play a ranked Competitive mode and even convinced me to use online voice chat with strangers on the internet which in itself is a small miracle. 

With a timeless aesthetic and strong free support including seasonal events, costumes, characters and maps, I see myself coming back to Overwatch over and over again.

Runner-ups:

2. Doom – It invokes the Doom games of the past but doesn’t use it as a crutch. The campaign was so tightly designed with systems feeding off other systems, music, story and gorgeous fluid visuals designed for the sole purpose of making me feel like a total badass. 

3. TitanFall 2 – Likely the most complete package of 2016 with both a surprisingly great campaign that invokes Super Mario Galaxy and a multiplayer mode that I thought was a write off after the less than stellar Tech Test. Respawn Entertainment will be supporting the game with free content as well which is a trend that I would love to see continue.

4. The Last Guardian – I love Trico. I wish I could have one as a pet. I don’t own a pet but my patience with Trico is highlighting the fact that I do have the mentality to be a decent owner. All I need is to pet them regularly right?

5. Uncharted 4 – The perfect ending to the adventures of Nathan Drake. If there was a single game that made me feel old and reflect on what I was doing with my life, it was this.

6. Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past – Some of the most depressing stories ever told in an JRPG were found in this epic. You can say it was needlessly long at times and they could have trimmed the fat but the long winding journey was essential to create attachment to characters.

7. Inside – It may not have been as impactful as Limbo but Playdead still knows how to unsettle people with the simple gestures and actions.

8. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided– Iffy performance in the hub world didn’t prevent me from rummaging through other people’s personal belongings, read their e-mails and hack their wall safes. It’s more of Human Revolution than I expected but more of a good thing isn’t bad. 

9. The Division – End game issues stopped my brother and I from returning to The Division but for a very brief couple of months, The Division’s loot driven brand of third person shooting kept my brother and I coming back everyday to do our “dailies”.

10. Gears of War 4 – It’s been years since Gears of War 3 – both in-game and out of it. Creating a likeable cast of new comers isn’t easy but The Coalition managed to package them and the classic Gears of War formula into a game that still plays in 2016. I look forward to the “dark middle” chapter and hope they’ve learned to run around like normal people by then.

Game of the Year 2016 Day 2 of 3

Game of the Year 2016 Day 2 of 3

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I didn’t play many disappointments this year but there were a couple of big surprises that elevated 2016 to one of the best years in recent memory. If you told me in 2015 that a new Doom game would brilliant, Street Fighter V was a bit of a dumpster fire and I would spend a lot of time playing a game reminiscent of Team Fortress 2, I would have called you mad.

Most Disappointing Game of 2016

Winner: Street Fighter V

I had grand plans for Street Fighter V. I was going train on a regular basis and actually compete in ranked matches. I was going to focus on a single character and “master” it. I was going to take Street Fighter seriously like I never did before. But none of that came to pass because I spent more time waiting for matches than actually playing. And even if I managed to get into a match, it was often hitchy and difficult to play.

My issues with Street Fighter V aren’t with the fundamental mechanics or lack of single player content – those didn’t help its case though. My issues stemmed from the game’s poor online play in 2016. I don’t care if I win or lose but I want to be able to learn from each experience. Losing or winning in a lag filled match accomplishes nothing.

Thankfully, I bought a physical copy and was able to sell it.

Runner-up: Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright

Most Surprising Game of 2016

Winner: Doom 

It’s been a long time since an id Software game was worth looking at let alone wow me. RAGE certainly didn’t live up to expectations; I bought a copy for cheap and didn’t even bother to play it beyond an hour. Doom is the anti-RAGE. RAGE was slow and plodding and Doom was in my face and demanded my attention. I had heard rumblings of positivity from hardcore id Software fans but they were the same folks who proclaimed RAGE was a good game. 

Doom blindsided me with its relentless action and gear shifter breaking calm of exploration. 

Runner-up: Overwatch, The Division

Game of the Year 2016 Day 1 of 3

Game of the Year 2016 Day 1 of 3

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If there’s one positive thing that 2016 should be remembered for, it’s the abundance of great games. There were so many games out there and so little time to play them all, so it’s time for me to give nods to games that I should have played in 2016. 

The Game I Wish I Bought & Played in 2016

Winner: Hitman

I’m a long time Hitman fan. I was hooked with Silent Assassin, honed by Contracts and impressed with, the last great entry to the series, Blood Money. I didn’t hear many kind words for Absolution and thus I thought the series’ may have lost its way. Needless to say, I was wrong and this year’s Hitman seemed to be the true successor to Blood Money that we’ve all been waiting for. It even won GiantBomb’s Game of the Year.

I didn’t agree with the episodic nature of the game. I tend to buy entire seasons after all the episodes are out and people can weigh in on its entirety. I should pick up Hitman now but with so many games left to play, I just don’t know when that will happen. This is especially true considering I own the runner-ups and have yet to play a second of two of them.

I started Pokemon Sun but it might as well be still sealed in its box because I just got my Litten. 

Runner-ups: The Witness, Final Fantasy XV, Pokemon Sun

 

Game of the Year 2015 Day 3 of 3

Game of the Year 2015 Day 3 of 3

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We’re here at last. The best sounds, the best year old game and the very best of 2015 can be found in this very post. It’s been real, 2015.

Best 2014 Game Played In 2015

Winner: Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein - The New Order Box Art

I really wanted to play it in 2014 but I felt I could put it off until it was cheaper because it only featured a single player campaign. It was a fantastic title and I loved every minuted of it. It was a wonderful mix of old school and modern shooter mechanics. I loved its devotion to 60FPS. I was intrigued by the alternate universe setting and relished every opportunity to explore the game’s spaces. I sought excuses to revisiting The New Order by completing the Platinum Trophy and didn’t hesitate to grab the standalone expansion, The Old Blood. It’s such a shame they don’t make single player shooter campaigns like these anymore.

This was a very tough choice. Any of the runner ups could win this but there could only be one and that falls to Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Runner ups: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

Best Soundtrack of 2015

Winner: Undertale

Undertale Logo

I was all set to give this award to Ori and the Blind Forest but after playing Undertale and listening to the entire soundtrack daily for four consecutive days, I had to give it to Undertale. The songs are catchy. They transport me back to the best moments of a game that I didn’t enjoyed from top to bottom. There’s also the sheer quantity of different tracks that transition from beginning to end very well; shuffling the track list would be a disservice. Like with Modern Warfare 2’s, I can see myself listening to this soundtrack for years to come and not bother touching the game ever again.

Ori and the Blind Forest was a shoe in until Undertale’s last minute Hail Mary. The soundtrack accompanied every moment with tremendous effect and easily tied the entire game together. It’s also a very pleasant listen outside of the game and will also reside in my iPod for a long time.

Axiom Verge was a weird soundtrack. It felt at odds with the game at times and didn’t mesh as well as the other games but it eventually grew on me. It’s a bit fatiguing to listen to for the umpteenth time while I was retreading areas seeking out upgrades but given a little time, I found myself enjoying each track at least once.

Runner ups: Ori and the Blind Forest, Axiom Verge

Top 10 Games of 2015

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt PS4 Box Art

  1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  2. Ori and the Blind Forest
  3. Life is Strange
  4. Rocket League
  5. Bloodborne
  6. Galak-Z
  7. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  8. Batman: Arkham Knight
  9. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  10. Hitman: Sniper

Despite its early launch issues, I pushed on. Despite the long 2-3 month hiatus, I returned and pushed on. In the end, I still wanted to to play more of it and even considered paying Geralt another visit via the expansion. The breadth and quality in The Witcher 3 was incredible and it was exactly what I hoped for from CD Projekt RED.

What if they didn’t stop making Super Nintendo action adventure platformers like Super Metroid and The Lion King ? What if they continued to refine those types of games to a mirror sheen? The result is Ori and The Blind Forest.

Life is Strange gave me “the feels” and played with the modern day adventure game’s conventions in a unique manner. They turned save scumming into an in-game mechanic! That in itself is remarkable but being able to tackle sensitive topics such as domestic violence and bullying without being overly preachy is equally amazing.

Rocket League is the best representation of soccer in a video game.

Bloodborne was my favorite “Souls” game because it wasn’t plagued with performance issues and inconsistent controller response. I enjoyed the de-emphasis on defense and the introduction to on the fly weapon switching. It was refreshing to see the “Souls” formula get remixed like this. Shame about the frame pacing issues though.

Galak-Z was my first whiff of anything resembling rogue-like genre and I really enjoyed the challenge. It wasn’t as unforgiving as other rogue-like titles out there which I felt was a smart move to entice newcomers like myself. The 1980’s anime inspired nostalgia was a nice touch but I wish they would have extended it to the cutscenes as well.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was a joy to play. You will be hard pressed to find anyone who disagreed with that statement. I felt like I could pull off anything that I wanted to from a stealth or action standpoint — that’s not something any other game let alone Metal Gear Solid game can comfortably say. Unfortunately it wasn’t a great Metal Gear Solid game. It was like the anti-MGS4.

Batman: Arkham Knight was what I wanted Batman: Arkham City to be. It’s the best expression of Batman in a video game form to date. I even enjoyed all the tank combat that Rocksteady threw at me. I still didn’t love the Riddler trophies though. Oh, and Batman should really stop involving proteges in his life. He doesn’t know how to handle them.

I still play Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s multiplayer on a regular basis which is not something I thought I would be saying in 2016. I never played TitanFall so all this wall running is novel to me. I wish the campaign was better but it’s not enough to drag the entire package down from this list.

Hitman: Sniper proved to me that Square Enix Montreal can make just about any title on mobile and I would buy it.

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