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dsheinem
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What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by dsheinem Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:39 pm

I know we had a thread discussing games that we PLAYED in 2016, but I wanted to create one specifically for the best games that we played that were RELEASED last year. I'd love to hear what people thought of one of the best years for gaming in recent memory.

Here's my list:

GAME OF THE YEAR. Bound – I realize that this is a fairly unconventional pick for game of the year, but I found it to be unmatched in its marriage of surreal visual ideas and an unconventional topic for video games. I wrote a fairly lengthy thing on it earlier this year shortly after beating it, and have a lot more to say about the game there: https://medium.com/@DrHeineman/bound-is ... .91zfrvw2w. I would just add that the game also offers a VR mode, and everything that was visually impressive about the game on a screen is doubly as mesmerizing in VR. This is not an experience to be missed.

2. Doom (2016) – Though this year saw a fair amount of innovation in the generally stagnant FPS genre, Doom’s return to former glory was probably the best experience I had shooting things this year. There’s a quickness to the game that matches much of the pace of the original classics (DOOM and DOOM 2), a retro-influenced philosophy of level design that returns a sense of agency to the player that is largely missing from most modern military-based shooters, and enough additional content (arcade mode, interesting enough multiplayer, etc.) to keep you coming back. That it managed to meet and exceed some weighty expectations is no small thing, and I’d like to think that the best ideas here will spark further experimentation in the genre.

3. Thumper – In a year where I first picked up VR, this was easily one of the best experiences to be had on the device. Thumper is a trippy and intense sensory experience that throws you full throttle down a psychedelic track of deadly obstacles, forcing you to overcome them with some easy to learn/difficult to master rhythmic machinations of the controller. The soundtrack offers a range of spacey, metal-tinged, and pulsating tracks to accompany you as you try to stare down ever-more challenging levels, and the game offers several hooks (score attack, New Game+ mode, etc.) to keep you coming back.

4. Uncharted 4 – Uncharted 4 is really a masterpiece of visual storytelling, and it borrows the best ideas from the series and blends them together into what may serve as its fitting finale. It was gorgeously presented and realized, well directed, well written, well-paced, and had a satisfying variety of sometimes challenging gameplay. Uncharted 2 is still the high-water mark for Naughty Dog’s marquee franchise, but this one is a close second.

5. Abzu – I’ve seen this game described as “Journey, but underwater.” While there’s some validity to that thinly-veiled slight, I think that the game has enough original ideas to certainly be worth considering as a novel experience. Much like the more-ballyhooed game Inside, Abzu really plays with your sense of space – disorienting you, moving you in new directions, giving you new options for interaction along the way, etc. It keeps you intrigued at the level of gameplay while keeping you entranced with well-placed audio and some of the more gorgeous underwater visuals ever realized in a game (I kept hitting my screenshot button through the whole thing).

6. Far Cry Primal – This was probably the most fun I had playing any game this year. Far Cry Primal puts you in the shoes of a prehistoric human and asks you to forge spears, bows and arrows, knives, and all other kinds of weapons from the environment, forces you to forage for supplies to survive, and gives you animal companions that you can use to attack the enemy. It does all this in the typical Ubisoft/Far Cry open-world wrapper, features some witty writing and stunning visuals, and gives you a sense of freedom that most open-world games fail to deliver. The end result was my favorite Far Cry game that isn’t Far Cry 2.

7. Titanfall 2 - I poured many hours into the original Titanfall, and like many who enjoyed that game I also bemoaned its lack of a single player campaign. Titanfall 2 offers just about everything a veteran of the first game could want from a single player campaign in a sequel, and this game is arguably the best FPS put out by the industry this year (even if it isn’t my personal favorite). There are excellent parkour sections, puzzle and physics-based sections that reminded me of a game like Portal, and a few decent firefights. Importantly, everything flows smoothly and the game demands quick reflexes in order to persevere. Like Doom, it offers lots of new ideas, builds on some old ones, and signals some potential changes in the genre. This was an excellent year for the FPS genre.

8. Forza Horizon 3 – I typically think of this series as “Skyrim with cars” and FH3 offers more of the same. This time it is set in Australia, somehow crams even more ideas into the open-world racing concept, and looks better than any racing game I’ve played on any system ever. There’s many hours to be sunk into many cars here, and I expect this to be my go-to racing game for the next year or so.

9. That Dragon, Cancer – In terms of the future of the medium, this game was arguably the most important one put out this year. It is easily the most personal game I have ever played. I don't mean that in a "it touched me personally" kind of way (other games have done that better), I mean that in the sense of I have never played a game where I really felt that the game's creator(s) were laying their life bare before the player...certainly not like this. The game is basically a series of vignettes in which you follow a family through several years of dealing with a child who has cancer. The game brings together lots of surreal visuals and unusual mechanics, some traditional game ideas (kart racing and platforming, for example), and a copious amount of spoken and written text to convey a variety of emotions and experiences in a way that seems very raw and very sincere. Detractors may argue that the game is pretentious, preachy, arty, or that it doesn't really qualify as a "game," but I found it to be a vital example of how the medium can be pushed in new directions. I would like to think that this game will help people who are going through similar ordeals, that it would be recommended by various counselors and therapists to families grappling with the subject matter, and that it will encourage more personal, intimate games of its ilk.

10. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood - I know that this was a great year in gaming when a game like this - a VR game where I felt like I was on a roller coaster in a haunted house, holding a gun in each hand, blasting zombies, monsters, clowns, demons, and other horrific beasts in an intense thrill ride – ends up so far down on my list. This game was anything that I ever loved about stuff like Sega’s House of the Dead series, amped up to 11, and with a great sense of motion and speed. It is odd sitting on your couch and feeling like you are moving fast on a roller coaster while trying to shoot things that are coming at you from all sides...but this game delivered that sensation in a pretty compelling way. 

Honorable Mentions: Inside, Bullet Hell Monday, Assault Suit Leynos, and Superhot.

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isiolia
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Re: What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by isiolia Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:20 pm

Well, my list of games to choose from is pretty short, since I only beat 25 games in 2016 - fewer than that if you discount replays. Of that, only six were actually released in 2016.

So, while it's not necessarily reflective of my 2016 in gaming as a whole, it does make slimming things down to a top five pretty simple. :lol:

Game of the Year: DOOM
For the most part, this is credit where credit is due. When I first saw this shown, I didn't really care. I'm not particularly big on old school FPS design, and the Glory Kills and such just looked to be gratuitous. The positive feedback on it when it came out got me to grab it and try it out, and it really did live up to it. It's a great blend of old and new, basically (to me) combining relatively fast FPS combat with mechanics from things like Devil May Cry, putting a layer of strategy on it.
Where basically everything else I played from 2016 is an improved-on version of the game that came before them, DOOM seems to come more from deconstructing the genre and building it back up with a level of care usually associated with Nintendo, Blizzard, or the like. That's what earns it the nod for the top spot.

Uncharted 4
Per usual for the series, Uncharted 4 stands out a lot more on technical and artistic merits than it does for gameplay, which is more on the "perfectly serviceable" level. It's a routinely stunning game, and a satisfying conclusion to the franchise (or, at least, to Nathan Drake being the star).

Dishonored 2
A great sequel to the original, albeit one that doesn't really do a whole lot new. Options are expanded a bit, graphics are better, but the really creative additions are confined to single missions. While I didn't run into any technical issues, they did seem to hinder a lot of other PC players.

Dark Souls III
I find DS3 to be an overall solid game, and it's easily the one on this list I'd be most likely to replay (again). Outside of the dramatic visual jump, it doesn't do a whole lot new, almost serving more as a best-of for the Souls series. Still, personally, I feel it's pretty consistent in a way that most of the other games in the series aren't.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
There are a lot of retro style platformers out there, deliberately using older aesthetics or difficulty curves. This game is more along the lines of what a modern version of older games would be. Gorgeous graphics, CD quality sound, and (mostly) tuned for a younger audience (IMO).


(dis)honorable mention: DOAX3 Fortune Edition
My list could have had six games on it. It has five. This is a phoned-in entry to the DOAX series that relies entirely on the fact that the systems it was released on can make prettier graphics. There's just generally less all around, presumably in part because of wanting to sell DLC (of which there's a lot). Even then, physics are lazy, game modes are fewer, and it's just generally not that good.
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Re: What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by Erik_Twice Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:50 pm

I don't think I've played any great games released in 2016. I would say Factorio, but it's an "Early access" title.

What can I say, I played very few games this year :(
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Re: What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by noiseredux Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:31 pm

1. XCOM 2

Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. The first XCOM game that Firaxis released was one of my favorite games of all time. It is still my most played Steam game with a staggering 168 hours clocked. I had anticipated its sequel for a long time, and yet upon its release I had a strange feeling of apprehension. There was no way that XCOM 2 could be as good. Could it? What I found out was that somehow XCOM 2 was better than the original game in pretty much every conceivable way. They managed to fix things that weren't broken and still make it amazing. I highly recommend this one to fans of strategy or killing aliens.



2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

Alright so it's kind of cheating to call Skyrim a 2016 game. I get that. But I didn't get around to playing it until this year, and certainly we can get away with calling this new Special Edition a new release. Right? Great. Skyrim is (still) incredible. It is quite possibly my favorite RPG of the last decade. Probably it is. The proof of just how much I adore the world of this game is that I never utilized fast travel. Instead, I found myself so in love with the game that I'd happily (and slowly) traverse my way from checkpoint to checkpoint. Many of my favorite moments of Skyrim were the ones I stumbled upon by accident. Most importantly, this is one of the games that I have no expectation to uninstall any time soon. It's the sort of game I'll come back to every month or so and sink more hours into at a leisurely pace.



3. House Of The Dying Sun
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I don't own many virtual reality games so far, but House Of The Dying Sun is the one that has really given me the experience that I had hoped for. A game that is all well and good outside of VR becomes a totally "OMG THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING" moment inside VR. Basically, this is a more action-paced take on something like Elite Dangerous or Eve Valkyrie. Missions are fast paced and thrilling. There's nothing quite like flying through space and looking straight up at stars or seeing the bright flash of an enemy ship exploding and reflecting off the cockpit windshield.



4. Duelyst

This is the game that finally cleaned me of my Hearthstone addiction. Duelyst is not as immediately inviting, but once it clicks with you, it becomes totally compelling. Instead of just being a card collecting game, it also incorporates a game board. This means that you'll be playing pieces in some elaborate game of chess. Think of like a cross between Magic The Gathering and Final Fantasy Tactics. What's really great is that while it's free to play, it is constantly getting updated with new cards and features. I've played many hours this year and had a blast without ever spending a penny. Highly recommended.



5. Lucky's Tale

This is the game that came bundled with the Oculus Rift. And while it might seem odd to show off virtual reality using a 3D platformer a la Mario 64, it's actually brilliant. Using your head as a camera is totally natural and makes blaming the camera angle obsolete. Lucky's Tale plays wonderfully. Though never truly challenging, it is a fantastic game to get you comfortable with VR. My wife was especially impressed with this one as well.



6. Planet Coaster

Last year I had Cities Skylines. This year Planet Coaster is my comfort game of choice. I have no interest in theme parks personally. But man, building one slowly is so zen. I've lost (literally LOST) hours in this game placing happy little trees around, planning the best flow of gift shops and snack stands, and of course, riding the attractions in first person mode. You can make this game as intense as you like. I've never bothered building my own ride from scratch, but you can. Or you can import ones from the Steam Workshop. You can even add your own music for each ride!



7. Rise Of The Tomb Raider

While I admit that this one feels a little "same-y" when compared to its predecessor, I still had a great time with it. I really think that Crystal Dynamics has done awesome things with this series and they have really made me a fan of Lara. There's something very satisfying about the ease in which you can hunt with the bow and arrow or cling on to a wall with a spike. If you like Tomb Raider games, then you should definitely like this one.



8. Doom

Alright I think we *kind of* expected this to be good. I mean, Wolfenstein: The New Order was great. But... wow. We didn't see Doom (4) coming did we? This game was everything we could have wanted Doom to be in the 90's had our PC's just had the power to deliver such a thing. It's loud and brash and violent and non-stop, but also excellently paced with well-thoughtout level design. Really, any fan of Doom or just 90's FPS games owes it to themselves to play this one.



9. Killing Floor 2

Off all the games I played with my buddies this year, it was Killing Floor 2 that really did it for me. Sure it's basically just a revamped Killing Floor. And sure, that game owes a lot to Left 4 Dead. But man, what a great game this is. The guns! The Zeds! The buckets of blood! Oh and of course it's a game that thrives on teamwork and strategy all the way down to preserving bullets and knowing which weapons to upgrade and when to use them. I suspect this will remain a co-op staple for some time to come.



10. The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain

And finally there's this. A digital remake of an old Choose Your Own Adventure book. But it is so much fun! It's simple as heck, but really makes you want to keep trying. Luckily, doing so will unlock new adventurers. At its most base, Warlock is a game of making decisions, but it also incorporates some neat, little strategy battles and boat loads of charm.
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Re: What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by Juan Aguacate Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:47 pm

I hope no one minds a few pics

A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV (PS4)

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A great beat 'em up with nice enemy variety and they all require different tactics which keeps the game from getting stale. The game smartly doles out your abilities gradually in story mode while introducing new enemies so the game feels fresh all the way through to the end with each stage introducing something new. The game has a pretty good soundtrack too that sounds like an old SNES game, and the story is a charming tale inspired by The Princess Bride. And once you finish the game, you unlock some fun combat challenges. Oh, and the game even has a targeting system eliminating the obnoxious problem of poor hit detection in these old school beat 'em ups. It sucks recommending this game because I know most people can't play it due to pre order exclusive bullshit. It's a shame, because I can guarantee that if you like Final Fantasy and you like beat 'em ups, you will like A King's Tale.

Ronin (PS4)

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Basically, someone took Kill Bill and made it a game. The gameplay is really interesting. It's sort of a turn based, action game with a little bit of stealth thrown in. It's sort of Mark of the Ninja meets Gunpoint. It sort of reminds me of Hotline Miami in that this is a game where you will see amazing action sequences play out where your character will kill everyone in an area like a ballet of death. And like HM, one mistake equals death. The difference here is that the turn based nature of the game actually gives you time to think of what to do next, unlike Hotline Miami. The game has a high learning curve IMO, but once you start mastering it you will feel like a bad ass.

Ratchet and Clank (PS4)

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I played this with a friend on his PS4, it's a great remake of the original game, released on PS4 to coincide with the movie. It looks gorgeous and it's classic R&C gameplay. The first game was always the weakest in this series, and this remake rectifies that with additions that bring it more in line with the other R&C games. Too bad they couldn't throw in a combat arena though

Batman Return to Arkham (PS4)

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I think the Arkham games went downhill after Arkham City, with Arkham Knight in particular being a total mess with all of its Batmobile nonsense. And I think Asylum is the best one. So I love that this gives people another chance to play the two best games in the series, even though the ports do have some issues

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered:

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I could go on and on about this classic. It's nice to see it remastered with added trophy support, which the original never had. Hopefully, some gamers will get to try it out on PS4 for the first time. VC is pretty much a perfect game in my view and probably my favorite strategy rpg.
Last edited by Juan Aguacate on Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by BogusMeatFactory Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:53 pm

It was a good year for adventure games. With the likes of The Witness, Firewatch and Obduction, it was continuing proof that the genre is back in action with amazing puzzles, great world building and entertaining and witty dialog.

Although I did not play many games released this year, my favorite has to go to Obduction. Made by Cyan Worlds, creators of the Myst franchise, this kickstarted game gave further proof that crowd-funding can be a source of good in releasing a quality product. In Obduction you play a hiker on Earth, hitting the trails late at night during a violent electrical storm that reveals this odd vessel that transports you to another world. That world is odd and obscure. An old west town encased in a bubble perfectly preserved amidst mystifying alien landscapes. It seems other humans across time have been transplanted here for some odd reason. Their task is to take care of this supernatural tree.

There are other alien races who were placed in other alien bubbles with a similar task which you can teleport to and work with. With FMV actors, meticulously crafted and well-grounded puzzles and stunning visuals (which are also playable in VR), there is something otherworldly to this game that can only be described as Myst-like. It made me so happy to see Cyan pull up from the dive bomb that was their dire financial status and encouraged me to continue to love and support their works. They are back and better than ever and can only hope that some day soon, we will see more of the Myst franchise.
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Re: What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by TSTR Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:54 pm

I have nothing really to offer for this thread, but I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye here for things to wishlist!
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Re: What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by Xeogred Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:45 pm

BogusMeatFactory wrote:It was a good year for adventure games. With the likes of The Witness, Firewatch and Obduction, it was continuing proof that the genre is back in action with amazing puzzles, great world building and entertaining and witty dialog.

Nice! Do you think someone that isn't familiar with the Myst games can jump into Obduction? Giant Bomb turned me onto that one and The Witness, they look really cool and like something that could click with me.

Firewatch was awesome and I'm starting to love these new first person adventure games. I would say SOMA is the peak from what I've played of them so far. Gone Home and Layers of Fear were great too.
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Re: What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by Exhuminator Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:01 pm

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PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Re: What is your GOTY for 2016? (*RELEASED* in 2016)

by Tanooki Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:28 pm

I couldn't think of anything, so I went poking on google and discovered that wikipedia has a conglomeration of every single gaming news event worth it and every game released for any system in 2016 here if anyone needs help: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_in_video_gaming

Sadly the only game out this year I think that deserves mentioning I played a good bit would be DOOM. I'd give it hours wise by far to Pokemon Go but it's a freebie for the phone. It was thin at first but they keep adding to it improving the experience.

Had I the time(free) because of backlog I would have picked up No Man's Sky on GoG and also Mario Maker on 3DS so maybe they'd qualify? NMS is my type of game but no hours to commit.

Can I count a game that was out on Steam a couple years ago and appeared on GoG this year? Torchlight II is fantastic, made by the Dialbo1/2 team after they moved along. Another along those lines would be Diablo 3 but I couldn't play that until early 2016 as I bought it then got sick at the end of 2015.

Modern console gaming does nothing for me with PS4 so I quit on it as the good stuff hit PC too so I'm there. Nintendo stands alone with console/handheld but the WiiU is a memory. Wish I could be more useful in suggestions but I mostly looked back this last year.
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