2016 has been an interesting year, to say the least. I tend to look more on the positive side of things and try to see the good in everything. However even I can admit that 2016 has been a rough year for the world at large (Bowie?! Really??!!) In saying that, my personal life continues to go from strength to strength. My career is going well, I have the ability to invest time into things I am passionate about, we have a roof over our heads and food on the table. Not to mention my family is amazing and I love them more than I could ever properly express in written words. On the gaming side of things I am lucky enough to be revisiting one of my all-time favourite franchises after 10, long years, in the form of Final Fantasy 15! Which is something I was beginning to think would never happen. I said goodbye (maybe?) to one of my favourite protagonists, Nathan Drake, earlier in the year. And I spent whole lot of hours laughing with friends within the various multiplayer games that were released throughout the year.
So, yeah, 2016 has been a weird one. But without any further ado, here are my personal winners of the various Ultra Super Mega, Game of the Year categories for 2016.
Game of the Year
Nominees: Uncharted 4, Final Fantasy 15, World of Final Fantasy, Dark Souls 3, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
Winner: Uncharted 4.
This one might come to a shock to anyone who knows me as Final Fantasy 15 should have been a shoe-in for this. But there is one thing holding FF away from the title, the fact that I haven’t finished it yet. For my game of the year, I told myself that I would not give the win to any game that I haven’t had the pleasure of trying to skip the end game credits on. And as much fun as I am having with Noctis and the boys, in my heart of hearts I just couldn’t bring myself to grant FF the win when so much of the game is left undiscovered.
Not to say that Uncharted 4 is not worthy of the win! In fact, even IF I had managed to finish Final Fantasy 15 by this point, I would have a hard time deciding between the two anyway. Drake’s final outing is an adventurer’s opus. A symphony of incredible set pieces, brilliant storytelling and one of, if not the best ending to a series of video games I have ever had the pleasure of playing. From beginning, to end, the Uncharted series has amazed me and stolen my heart in the most incredible way. So thank you Naughty Dog, and Nathan Drake, for letting me share this adventure with you all. My game of the year for 2016, is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
WTF Award – Biggest WTF moment of 2016
Nominees: The Stacking Mechanic: World of Final Fantasy, The Hello Games Meltdown: No Man’s Sky, The Pokemon Go Launch: Pokemon Go, “Fuck You Konami: Guillermo Del Toro Tweet.
Winner: Pokemon GO Launch
What the fuck indeed. The Pokemon Go launch was unlike ANYTHING I have ever seen in terms of a media related release. It is hands down the most successful video game release of all time and as it stands now, I cannot fathom another game having a similar impact for a long, long time. The entire world went batshit, fucking, crazy in the months post-release, with coffee shops offering discounts for players, parks and walkways being clogged by would-be poke’ hunters, families venturing out every weekend to catch their favourite pokemon and videos of hordes of people rushing, zombie outbreak style, across fields, parks and even motorways to catch rare spawning digital monsters.
Not only that, but Nintendo stock skyrocketed even though they had nothing to do with the actual game.
Seriously, we witnessed a cultural phenomenon earlier this year. And it was brought on by the release of a Pokemon game… What the fuck?
Just Stop – A trend or series in gaming you wish would stop
Nominees: Skyrim, Remasters, Releasing Broken Ass Games, Large Day 1 Patches, Anything with a name that has One (1) in in when it’s not the first.
Winner: Releasing Broken Ass Games
Seriously, fucking stop it. This really doesn’t need a paragraph to explain why this needs to stop. But it’s 2016, we’ve been at this a long time, and if you haven’t got your shit sorted out by now then get fucked. I am over long-ass loading times and hard crashes. I am over the frame-rate drops and fucked up textures. If your game isn’t ready, then don’t release it! I would personally, much rather wait an extra few months and experience a finished game, than get home from a midnight launch and sit through a 5 minute loading screen then watch some dude fall through the floor.
Not releasing broken ass games also helps fix one of the other nominations on this list, Large Day 1 Patches. If your game is ready to ship, then you really shouldn’t need to release a fucking 9GB large patch the same day!
Seriously, just stop it.
Choo Choo! – The most hyped game of 2016
Nominees: No Man’s Sky, Final Fantasy 15, Street Fighter 5, The Last Guardian, Overwatch, The Division.
Winner: No Man’s Sky
This category was another hard one to judge. Personally, the hype surrounding Final Fantasy XV was greater than anything this year. (the 10 year wait had a lot to do with it). But one cannot ignore the hype surrounding No Man’s Sky in the lead-up to the game’s disastrous release. People were frenetically discussing the endless possibilities that No Man’s Sky seemed to offer. I was having conversations with people at work about the cheapest places to purchase a PS4 specifically so they could get No Man’s Sky. The game was poised to be a console mover, a phenomenon of gaming, 2016’s game of the year! The Hello Games team were being spoken about as if they were some kind of development deities, their planet generating algorithm seemed like something from the future. “You’ll never have to play another game again!” was being screamed from the windows of the fast moving hype train, to anyone that would listen.
And, well…. Yeah. Choo Choo.
Have You Got Your Receipt? – Most disappointing experience of 2016
Nominees: No Man’s Sky, The Division, Street Fighter 5, Battlefield 1, One Piece: Burning Blood, Pokken Tournament
Winner: The Division
Wait, what?! I can almost hear people’s heads exploding from here.
“But Perko..” You might suggest. “WHAT ABOUT NO MAN’S SKY?!”
It’s rather simple really, while I agree that No Man’s Sky was a rather large letdown and that the game was hyped to shit before release with empty promises and fake game-play trailers. I myself never really bought all THAT much into the hype, I was expecting it to be better than it was and even though I was disappointed by the game as a whole, I still poured around 30 hours into its universe. Which is a LOT more time than I spent in The Division. Man, oh man. Where do I even begin with this giant, steaming turd of an experience. From the broken as fuck launch, to the incredibly repetitive game-play. The Division promised me so much and delivered fuck all. Bullet spongey bosses, generic cover based shooting, a loot shooter with the most uninspired, uninteresting loot I have ever seen. I remember buying the game, and getting so bored within the first 10 hours of my experience, that I started playing fucking Solitaire instead. The Division attempted to anchor itself in reality, and in doing so cornered themselves with human enemies that appear to be able to take thousands of rounds to the head before expiring, something I’m reasonably sure shouldn’t happen in real life. I have heard that the experience has gotten both better, then worse, then better as the year has progressed. But my core, glaring issue with the entirety of The Division remains, it’s just so fucking boring. So well done Ubisoft, you managed to take out my most disappointing experience of 2016, over one of the most over-hyped games in existence.
Kali Ma Shakti De – Best Indy Release of 2016
Nominees: Party Golf, Stardew Valley, The Witness, Grim Dawn
Winner: Stardew Valley
I feel like I somewhat neglected the Indie space in 2016. Maybe it’s due to oversaturation of a once, relatively smaller subset of games. Or maybe it’s because we have been spoilt this year with a slurry of abaove agerage AAA releases. Whatever the reason, I didn’t really play too many games from indipendant developers this year. What was surely lacking in quantitiy though, was far from lacking in quality, as the few titles I did manage to play through, are easily in some of my most memorable experiences in recent years. From the Witness’ gorgeous design and mind breaking puzzles, to Grim Dawns fantastic portrayal of the classic Action-RPG formula and even Party Golf’s frenetic and fun take on the usually chill game of golf. It was hard to decide which game stole my heart more. But after checking my played time for each title, and realising I spent over 100 joyous hours tending to my farm, romancing townspeople, braving the mines, surviving the winter, collecting rare gems, fishing, exploring and loving the world that Stardew Valley let me create and build, the decision became a whole lot easier. Seriously, if you haven’t given Stardew Valley a chance, you are doing an injustice to yourself. This game is as fantastic as it is relaxing, as interesting as it is beautiful, and now that it has been released on PS4, I might just have to dive back in for another 100 hours.
John McClane Award – A game that defied the odds.
Nominees: DOOM, Final Fantasy 15, The Last Guardian, Mighty No 9.
The Winner: The Last Guardian
How the fuck did this game actually get released?! It’s easy to select Final Fantasy 15 as the winner of this category, but that would be overlooking the fact that FFXV was backed by a really large studio with multiple Final Fantasy titles under their belt. Sure, it took a long time, but there was never really any tanglible doubt that FFXV wouldn’t get released. The Last Guardian on the other hand? Man, I was certain this game would never see the light of day. So not only did The Last Guardian actually GET released after a near 10 year development cycle, multiple development troubles and years of complete radio silence, but it’s not all that bad in terms of being an actual game and by all accounts, is actually quite good?! Bravo, Last Guardian, Bravo.
In Your Shadow Award – Most Underrated release of 2016
Nominees: Titanfall 2, Battleborn, World of Final Fantasy, God Eater 2.
Winner: World of Final Fantasy
I feel like I’ve been spoiled somehow. I waited years to play a new Final Fantasy game, and I get not one, but TWO in the span of a few months? I just about fucking fainted. Not only that, but World of Final Fantasy is really good. Like, scarily good. I was lucky/unlucky enough to get really sick at the time of its release, so I was able to spend about 50 hours in the gorgeous world of Grymoire, and I am so thankful that I did, because after I got passed the initially annoying companion, the weird as fuck stacking mechanic and the cutesy chibi character design. I discovered an incredibly rich and endearing experience that I fell in love with. A true love letter to Final Fantasy fans everywhere, World of Final Fantasy is a World of Fucking Fantastic.
Test of Time – New life breathed into an older game with patches/content or one that you just can’t let go of.
Nominees: Dota 2, Path of Exile, GTA V
Winner: Dota 2
Fuck you Dota 2. Stop being incredible with your game changing patch updates, incredibly in depth play and steep as shit learning curve.
Stop being so good. Fuck.
You Keep Doin’ You – Developer of the Year
Nominees: Square Enix, Naughty Dog, ID, CD Projekt Red
Winner: Naughty Dog
It’s pretty rare for a studio to have a track record as impeccable as Naughty Dog. From Crash Bandicoot, to Uncharted, through to The Last of Us, Naughty Dog have cemented themselves as one of the most exciting devs in the AAA scene. Crafting superb, cinematic experiences with rich storytelling and fantastic set pieces, playing a naughty dog game is truly an experience to remember. There are other devs that have put more out this year and released more content in general. But I feel as if nothing released this year was quite as polished as Uncharted 4. And for that, Naughty Dog get my vote for Developer of the year.
2017’s Game of the Year – We predict 2017’s game of the year based on information we have now.
Nominees: Red Dead Redemption 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Destiny 2, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mass Effect: Andromeda
Winner: Red Dead Redemption 2
It’s no secret that when it comes to game releases, everyone gets the fuck out of Rockstars way. Every release is a juggernaut of sales, generally breaking records. And that is because every game they make is fucking fantastic, in both scope and gameplay. I can’t recall a major Rockstar title ever being left out of Game of the Year contention, and I seem to recall them winning a shitload of those awards as well. Not to mention, if there was a ‘Game of the Generation’ award, Red Dead Redemption would be a major contender. The only game announced that could even attempt to knock RDR2 out of the way at this point is Breath of the Wild, but c’mon, Game of the Year 2017, really, is there any doubt?