GOTY 2016
December 24, 2016

I played a lot of good games in 2016. One thing I want to say is I really loved Street Fighter V a lot and probably played it more than any game this year, but it also came out at $60 missing many features and STILL doesn't have an Arcade Mode 10 months later. It really doesn't deserve to top 10 spot for being such a mismanaged early access release. But back to this list. It was a pretty good year. The top 4 this year I'd say are phenomenal, but my #1 and 2 from 2015 (The Witcher 3 and Bloodborne) were both better than anything on this list.

Special Awards

Best Graphics: Final Fantasy XV
Best Art Direction: The Last Guardian - Runners-Up: Severed, Dark Souls III, Dishonored 2, Final Fantasy XV
Best Soundtrack: Furi - Runners-Up: Severed, Shantae: Half Genie Hero, The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy XV
Best Writing: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - Runner-Up: Uncharted 4
Best New Character: Trico (The Last Guardian) - Runners-Up: The Stranger (Furi), Necalli (Street Fighter V)
Game I Clocked the Most Hours On: Street Fighter V - Runner-Up: Dark Souls III
Most Disappointing Game: Mighty No. 9 - Runners-Up: ReCore, Street Fighter V

Honorable Mentions (in alpha order): Attack on Titan, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Fire Emblem Fates, Gears of War 4, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator, King of Fighters XIV, Pokemon Sun/Moon, Shantae: Half Genie Hero, Street Fighter V, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

10) Furi - 10 unique, fast-paced boss fights. Amazing soundtrack & atmosphere. Good stuff. A short game, but one I've come back to multiple times since release.

09) Severed - I liked it substantially more than the studio's much better received Guacamelee. Beautiful artwork and atmosphere. Really unique battle system that effectively played up the strength of touch controls. Couldn't put it down.

08) DOOM - I thought this was going to suck ass. What a surprise. A solid throw back to the older style of FPS. Speed, strafting, no hiding behind cover. A solid length campaign full of action and gore with a surprisingly competant upgrade system. Multiplayer is trash though.

07) Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE - Do you like Persona 3 or 4? This is basically those games with Fire Emblem stuff and some of its own gameplay twists. It's really Japanese though. If you don't know what idols are, this might be a bit too cringe-worthy for you. Really fun turn-based JRPG with "just right" challenge & depth that Atlus RPGs tend to have. Drags a bit near the end of the game with filler.

06) Dishonored 2 - The sequel to what was my GOTY in 2012. I love this series' gameplay and gameworld. There are some really amazing levels in Dishonored 2, and Emily's new powers are pretty cool. But this one didn't really leave me with the same impact as the original. It's just not much of a step forward mechanically, and it does't help that I never much cared for the direction of the story starting with the first game's DLC. There's nothing overtly wrong with Dishonored 2 but I do wish it was a bit more.

05) Final Fantasy XV - A game that was on the fast track for the #1 or 2 spot until I hit the second half of the story. Huge open world worth exploring. Satisfying real-time combat. The best graphics of any console game. Stellar soundtrack. But then the game falls flat when it goes on rails and generally feels rushed and unfinished. The story is actually good but very poorly executed. What a shame.

04) Titanfall 2 - I'm not a huge FPS fan but this one is fantasic. Best single player campaign since maybe Half-Life 2? Mechanically feels amazing. Tons of mobility options. Plays fast. Plus it has mecha! Absolutely love controlling the Titans. The multiplayer is ridiculously fun and feels balanced. All future add-ons are free. It's a complete package and I'm bummed it sold nowhere near as well as Battlefield and COD.

03) The Last Guardian - A lot of people complain this long-awaited puzzle platformer feels old and it does. Mechanically the controls and platforming feel like they were ripped straight from ICO, but this is a memorable experience that I'm much more likely to return to in 10 years than probably any other game on this list. It's basically about managing your AI companion to solve puzzles only your AI companion is an incredibly likable bird-dog with immaculately crafted animation. It's basically a game about growing a bond with an giant dog, so it resonanted with me emotionally pretty easily. The art direction is similar to ICO and Collosus with a great orchestral score.

02) Hyper Light Drifter - It's basically The Legend of Zelda with well-crafted and challenging combat that feels extremely satisfying. Great sense of exploration too. Really beautiful pixel art with haunting atmosphere and soundtrack. Fantastic game.

01) Dark Souls III - If you know me, you knew this would be #1. I'm a huge Souls fan. Bloodborne is my favorite in the series. DS3 is basically a best of Souls series adding in some of the speed and aggression of Bloodborne. I played through NG with 6 different builds over the year. It's the best Souls game mechanically - certainly has WAY better atmosphere and level design compared to 2. It's pretty close to being tied with DS1.

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honestgamer honestgamer - December 25, 2016 (09:42 AM)
Thanks for the Hyper Light Drifter recommendation. From your description, it sounds like my kind of jam. I'll keep it in mind for a possible purchase down the road. Honestly, I've been keeping an eye on most of the games in your top 10, and I actually own several of them, but I haven't played any of them. There's a reason I'm not inclined to put together a top 10 of my own this year. Maybe next year...

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