usagi704’s GAME OF THE YEAR 2016 Awards

In my Game of the Year awards for last year, I made the prediction that 2016 would be an extraordinary year in gaming, but as with many other things in 2016 it turned out to be a whole lot less impressive by the second half of the year when so many of the games that made me make that prediction were delayed into 2017. Now 2017 is looking legendary, but the second half the coming year will have to have a strong showing like the first half is now destined to have. Having said that, 2016 certainly had a lot of great releases and many others that I played for the first time from prior years.

THIS YEAR’S RULES FOR GAMES TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NOMINATION
(List of games eligible for this year’s awards)
– THE GAME MUST HAVE BEEN PLAYED FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR
– THE GAME DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY RELEASED THIS YEAR

BEST VISUALS

• Puppeteer (PS3)
• The Last Guardian (PS4)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)
• Doom (PS4)
• Gradius Galaxies (GBA)

RUNNER-UP: Puppeteer (PS3)


Doom’s incredible visuals are a pretty stark improvement over Doom 3, not only in technical excellence, but also in art direction. It’s quite the marvel that id was able to even achieve this on console and at 60 frames-per-second!

BEST MUSIC

• The Last Guardian (PS4)
• The King of Fighters XIV (PS4)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)
• Gravity Rush –Remastered– (PS4)
• Chain Blaster (3DS)

RUNNER-UP: The Last Guardian (PS4)


While the visuals are certainly lacking, the music is anything but. I listened to the premium edition’s soundtrack non-stop for weeks after the game came out. A few stand-out tracks: Tiger & Dragon, Departure From South Town, Survivors Under The Sky, Saxophone Under The Moon, and Soy Sauce For Kodayofu.

BEST CHARACTER

• Greirat (Dark Souls III)
• Trico (The Last Guardian)
• Doom Slayer (Doom)
• Max Payne (Max Payne 3)
• Scree / Abdizur (Primal)

RUNNER-UP: Doom Slayer (Doom)


It’s hard for me to put into words just how affecting Trico is as a companion throughout the adventure, but suffice it to say he’ll likely be a character you’ll have a hard time saying goodbye to.

MOST IMPROVED FOLLOW-UP

• Final Fight Tough (SNES)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)
• The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)
• Dark Souls III (PS4)
• Max Payne 3 (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Max Payne 3 (PS3)


Final Fight started off with a bang in arcades in 1989 and quickly became one of the defacto beat-’em-up classics. Later Capcom decided to continue the series exclusively on the Super Nintendo with a very dull, lackluster sequel. Luckily Capcom continued onto a third game with Final Fight Tough (Final Fight 3). The addition of special moves and even super combos, brought in from the fighting game genre, added a good deal of variety to the solid gameplay foundation. Character variety was also bolstered by two new ones to supplement the returning Guy and Haggar. This game is everything Final Fight 2 should have been.

MOST SURPRISINGLY GOOD GAME

• Dead or Alive 5: Last Round (PS4)
• Chain Blaster (3DS)
• Doom (PS4)
• Project: Snowblind (PS2)
• The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)

RUNNER-UP: Chain Blaster (3DS)


I went into this game expecting a good game, but not as great as it ended up being. The graphics are very impressive for their time and the core shooting gameplay was much better than anticipated. What really put Project: Snowblind over the top for me was the huge variety of weapons and that pretty much all of them were useful and fun to use throughout the entire game.

FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURE

• Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PS3)
• Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PS3)
• Hiryuu no Ken: Ougi no Sho (FC)
• G.G. Series: Score Attacker (DSi)
• The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)

RUNNER-UP: Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PS3)


The Legend of Kage 2 is merely a decent game overall. Running through the stages is just as boring and lame as the game’s decades older predecessor. What this game has that makes it enjoyable at all are the boss battles. Figuring out how to dominate the bosses was a lot of fun for me so after I finished the game, I just kept playing the unlocked boss rush mode. Easily the best thing about this game.

MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME

• 3D Thunder Blade (3DS)
• Shinobi (3DS)
• Resistance 3 (PS3)
• Advance Guardian Heroes (GBA)
• Raiden IV: Overkill (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Shinobi (3DS)


I was hoping with the good things I heard about the single player campaign for Resistance 3 that I would be in for a much better experience than the first two games. It was better, but still mostly very standard and bland. Resistance 2’s online co-op was the only truly standout moment in the series, but the servers were shut down years ago.

WORST GAME

• Devil’s Third (WU)
• Shinobi (3DS)
• City Connection (FC)
• Advance Guardian Heroes (GBA)
• Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus (PSV)

RUNNER-UP: City Connection (FC)


The exact reasons for a game like this existing is why I think it’s the worst. I have no problem with fan service of this kind as long as there’s some substance and fun to be had among all the cheesecake. There’s nothing else here except a shallow, boring action game with zero level design.

GAME OF THE YEAR

• Puppeteer (PS3)
• Doom (PS4)
• Alienation (PS4)
• Max Payne 3 (PS3)
• The King of Fighters XIV (PS4)
• Gravity Rush –Remastered– (PS4)
• Dark Souls III (PS4)
• The Last Guardian (PS4)
• Project: Snowblind (PS2)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)

RUNNER-UP: The Last Guardian (PS4)


My runner-up and winner for Game of the Year couldn’t be more different in every way possible. I love both dearly, but ultimately Doom edged it out for having a robust, complete experience that is excellent technically and in gameplay too. The weapons all have multiple unlockable alternate fire modes that are satisfying to wield. The levels are large and complex like a ’90s shooter and have good reasons to explore them for finding hidden items, upgrades and even throwback Doom easter eggs. The firefights are a great antithesis of most modern shooters. There’s no taking cover, in fact, standing still will get you killed. Movement is paramount as well as quickly switch between weapons depending on the enemies and situation you find yourself in at any given moment. Doom is an example of taking a legendary series and rebooting it in a way that does it’s lineage proud without feeling like a tired rehash or something that feels too out-of-place. Rip and tear.