07. Jan, 2017
It’s that time of year again. The PlayStation Nation writers have done their preliminary voting for the Golden Minecarts, and many are eagerly campaigning for their chosen games. It only seemed fitting to give the writers a chance to tell everyone why their respective game of the year is the one everyone should vote for.
To shine a light on the best games of 2016, I asked the PS Nation writers:
What is your game of the year?
This question has been on my mind for a month or two and it’s a hard one to answer. I think I have to go with Gone Home: Console Edition. This title was originally available to the PC world in 2013 but it came to consoles in 2016. It then became available for PS Plus in June, and this is when I discovered the title.
I won’t go into specifics so you can discover what’s inside for yourself, but I will say it’s not what you will expect. It’s fairly simplistic in its approach, but does it in spectacular fashion. This title surprised me and I still think of Gone Home several months later.
This was a difficult choice, with 2016 being a great year for games. But at the end of the day it beat out Ratchet and Clank for my favorite game simply due to the story and how it was told. This title should not be missed and I am fairly confident you will feel the same.
So here it goes, that time of the year when we’re all tasked with trying to pick THAT game, the one release that grabbed our attention, our minds, or our hearts the most with a kung-fu like grip and wouldn’t let go.
There’s a lot to choose from and the decision really is tough. I could go with the reboot of the classic Ratchet & Clank because who doesn’t love furry little space critters, witty humor, great level design? I could go with something like the most anticipated release over the last ten years and pick The Last Guardian and side with the boy, his dog-cat-bird creature and their journey into timelessness.
I could go the easy route and pick the godfather of the modern FPS and select Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered because guns, ghillie suits and more guns. Or do I go with something a little less obvious and pick The Witness, Inside, or Gone Home… the decision isn’t an easy one one really, as we were given so many games to choose from this year.
For me, MY Game of the Year is Tom Clancy’s The Division. This was probably one of the most anticipated titles that really intrigued me from the start and that I kept going back to. The story is amazing and somewhat believable, the setting and environments are on point with their real-life counterparts in Manhattan, and the depth of gameplay for weapons, armor, and crafting takes a PhD to understand.
The game has enough variety to the levels & missions and the sheer amount of collectibles is extraordinary. Sure, it did have its issues with enemy toughness/balance, lack of direction for end-game content, and various bugs, but Ubisoft still delivered on additional content both paid & free throughout the year.
For me, post-pandemic NYC was where I spent a lot of my time and I’m definitely looking to go back to it with friends to explore the additional game modes & content in the upcoming year.
While it’s definitely not common for me to pick what can fall into the category of DLC as game of the year, The Witcher: Blood and Wine quite literally had more content and polish than some full games that I purchased this year.
Not only are you introduced to a completely new environment, but an entirely new cast of characters join your adventure. And what a quest it was! With the now-expected sidequests that held more intrigue than the full campaigns in other RPGs, new sets of Witcher armor to hunt for, and plenty of distractions to keep you busy for hours, this DLC is more worthy of Game of 2016 than some full releases.
I had a lot of close favorites: Uncharted 4, Ratchet and Clank, Odin Sphere, and Thumper. Honestly there were enough good games in 2016 that it’s hard for me to pick definitively. But if I haaaaad to, I think I’d say World of Final Fantasy.
I don’t know that it was actually my favorite, and I haven’t quite finished it yet, but it has been thoroughly enjoyable thus far and the relative lack of hype around it makes me want to champion it. The characters are quirky and there’s a lot of humor in both the story and the side stuff.
Mechanically, World of Final Fantasy is solid, combining a Pokemon-like system of catching monsters with an Active Time Battle-esque fighting system. There are lots of throwbacks to other Final Fantasy games too, with characters and monsters from older games worked into this one. Oh, and you stack the monsters on top of one another because why not have a chocobo and a moogle on your head?
Batman Arkham VR, because it really puts you in the role of a character in a way that no game has done before. It truly makes you feel like you are Batman.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 set a new standard for the series, and saw it blow rival FIFA away for the first time in a decade. Granted, there are still many off-field problems such as licensing and online infrastructure. But the actual gameplay is simply stunning, perfectly capturing the sport though its animations and flow, while nailing aspects like passing, movement, and goalkeepers.
I was also fortunate enough to cover PES 2017 from its very first preview day right through to the latest DLC in December. Watching it evolve and return to the PS2 glory days was really satisfying, and although I’ve possibly played ‘better’ games in other genres during the year, none have been as fun as Pro Evo.
Overwatch, Overwatch, Overwatch. At one point in my gaming life I was deep into multiplayer games, but over the years I’ve found myself too busy to keep up with them and I’m now more drawn towards story driven games. That was the case this entire console generation until Overwatch released. Now I am absolutely hooked on it.
It’s a damn near flawless competitive shooter. It has a deeper than expected multiplayer experience. Sure it’s just another shooter, but the variety in character types (classes) makes the game almost have the feel of a fighting game or chess match.
Every character is strong, but can be countered. You can main a specific character, though you better be able to move to another character at any given time based on what your team needs from you. Teamwork is essential, but there are enough ways to communicate with other players without using a mic, making it ideal for me because I hate trying to talk to people with screen names like 420blaze69it.
I have put dozens of hours into the game so far, and with Blizzard backing it with tons of support and fresh content, I can see myself playing it for dozens more.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End hands down. There are some valid criticisms of the game, but those complaints are easily overshadowed by everything else that makes this Naughty Dog’s masterpiece. The world is absolutely gorgeous. I was blown away by the motion capture, voice acting, and story.
Nathan Drake is commonly seen as a care-free bachelor, but here he felt like a real person. You could feel his love for Elena and adventuring and how those were pulling him in different directions. Has there ever been a more satisfying ending to a game? What a way for the series to go out.
Thanks as always to John Payant for editing.