As 2016 comes to a close it’s time for us to take a look back at all the amazing, and well some not so great, games that released. This year was packed full of blockbuster titles but as previous years have proved, remakes and new iterations of a successful title does not always solidify the game as Game of the Year worthy. Which amazing title will it be this year? Perhaps an indie game that revolutionized a genre? Maybe a new IP that took the world by storm. The team at Gamer Assault weekly has picked their favorite games of 2016.
Director, Reviews/Editorials, Resident Over-Planner
Game of the Year – Overwatch
Many very fun games released in 2016, and unfortunately many which met with some very strong criticism. At first, my pick would have been The Division. I for one absolutely loved the story, as it was a realistic scenario. Single player gameplay was fun, and had just about everything I was looking for. However, it released with some very poorly implemented multiplayer aspects once you reached max level. Then, I considered Doom. Now this was a massively beautiful, thrilling, exciting game. Were we doing an award for best soundtrack, Doom would win hands down. But just as The Division, the multiplayer was abysmal and left virtually nothing to be desired.
In the end though, I have to say the winner for Game of the Year is Overwatch. So much was done right with Blizzard’s foray into the competitive shooter. Simple enough that it’s accessible to anyone, yet complex enough that teams can come up with strategies and plays to fully utilize unique abilities. In addition, it’s receiving constant love from consistent balancing as well as skin updates for events. From the Rio Olympic Games and most recently the Christmas update, Overwatch is a shining example of how publishers should care for their babies. Create something wonderful and nurture it, and watch it flourish into an all around fun game. I find myself going back with friends and picking it up, playing a few games and having a blast, then setting it down fully satisfied. With few games able to deliver such consistent updates and replay-ability, it’s a no brainer for me. Make Mei Great Again!
Editorials and Reviews Manager, Neither Holly Nor Jolly
Game of the Year – Overwatch
If you had asked me for several weeks after it came out, I probably would have told you Tom Clancy’s The Division would have been my favorite to get Game of the Year. Unfortunately, that game seemed to get worse the more the developer attempted to ‘fix it’. Every update made all the skill trees and weapons more convoluted, if I have a gun that registers at 300,000 DPS I should be wrecking everyone I come across. Instead, however I was being eviscerated by some panty waist with barely over a 200,000 weapon. Seriously as soon as I would round a corner nine times out of ten I would be killed instantly despite what my armor rating was.
Thankfully Blizzard released Overwatch and now The Divivsion just seems like a distant memory I will do my best to repress. This game is my Game of The Year for far too many reasons for me to sit here and list so I’ll stick to the highlights. Blizzard cares a lot about the game, and the effort shows. Free maps, free new characters and seasonal updates and gifts. If there is even the slightest issue they will put a fix out for it in record time. Even when I am having a bad match in Overwatch I am still having a ton of fun. The only time I have ever had a bad experience with Overwatch is because I have a terrible internet provider (scowls menacingly at Century Link router) that causes me to rubber band a lot. I look forward to what Overwatch has planned for 2017 and the years to come.
Senior Staff Writer
Game of the Year – Abzu
In my opinion, there were only 3 good games that came out in 2016, and the best of them by far was Abzu. Abzu was created by Giant Squid, the same studio that made Journey, and it’s very apparent. It has the same graphical style, but is much more colorful than its predecessor. In Abzu you play as a black and yellow being I like to call Scuba Dude. What do you do in Abzu? All you do is swim around and interact with the wild life, find little robot friends, and save the ocean from some sort of alien technology. The only complaint about the game I have is that the puzzles are a little too simple, but that doesn’t take away from the over all experience the game has to offer.
The soundtrack, composed by Austin Wintory, is one o f the most beautiful musical scores I’ve ever heard for a video game. As I swam through water currents and seeing all of the colorful fish and wildlife, I had chills going down my spine and a giant grin on my face. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous with amazing saturated colors all over the ocean, making it not only fun to play but amazing to look at. After long study sessions at the library, I’d like to go to my room and sit in front of my TV and sit on one of the meditation statues and fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean. It really is a relaxing game that can put you in a good mood at the worst of times.
My runner ups for this year are Dark Souls III, and Doom (2016). They were both awesome games that I will be playing for years to come. But they both had too many technical issues and design choices that I just disagreed with too much. But, again, they are definitely amazing games.
Boss Lady/Cat Lady/Lady
Game of the Year – Doom
It’s the end of 2016 and I have to say, GOOD RIDDANCE! Like the rest of 2016, game releases were big but didn’t do much for me in the way of entertainment. There were several that stood out to me. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare made some strides in the right direction this year and Titanfall 2 finally hit the mark with it’s new campaign mode. Battlefield 1 is also worth a mention for it’s massive online multiplayer experience and here were a slew of great indie titles that came out that made passing the time between big releases really fun.
However, I have to award my Game of The Year to Doom. When you talk about well rounded games you have to think about gameplay, mechanics, graphics, sounds and music, pacing, story, all the small things that together make a video game and Doom hits every point right on the head. Doom created a very deep, intense atmosphere where the environments were literally on fire. Hell was the setting and while you travel down to it’s deepest darkest pits you have to take on fearless monsters, tearing through each with massive weapons all while following the story line to close the portal to hell. The game was fast paced, very reminiscent of the original game, and included some of the best in game music I’ve heard. The game also had a really fun online multiplayer that challenged you to stay on your toes and well equipped as you raced to take out enemies. For me, there is one word to describe Doom and that is ‘badass.’ I felt like one when I played and the game itself is badass.
Review and Editorials Writer/Mostly Console Pleb
Game of the Year – Titanfall 2
Call me a sucker for shooters, but that’s where all the action is right? Although Titanfall 2 released just a few short months ago, it certainly wasn’t too late for Respawn Entertainment to leave a mark on the genre this year. We’ve all heard the saying, “the only place left to go is up when you’ve hit rock bottom.” It’s no secret that the first game in the series fell absolutely short in March 2014 after the initial launch hype died down. Titanfall simply lacked options for players across the board—very few weapons, even fewer attachments, and an exclusively-online campaign? Oh no you didn’t, Respawn. 2016 was the time to get it right, and I truly believe these guys answered back this year. With a variety of weapons that puts the original’s to shame alongside pages and pages of camos to unlock, Titanfall 2 has proven that the developers are listening to player feedback. This goes without mentioning any and all DLC released for the title will be absolutely free—a feature that easily won me over as most competing titles still rely on post-launch DLC and micro-transactions to generate revenue. While it is true that Titanfall 2 released right alongside the shooter powerhouse that is Battlefield 1, there is a place for this sucker. If you’re looking for futuristic combat sporting advanced movement systems done right, Titanfall 2 should be your first pick.
Chief Operating Officer/Bearded Grinch
Game of the Year – Overwatch
The year was full of Bethesda games that rocked my socks off. There was plenty of raiding, killing, stealth, and discovery coming from the mid to open worlds that those genius’ have created. Hell, even Ubisoft created an amazing world that I fell into with FarCry Primal. I lost plenty of hours playing the well written adventures from both companies, unfortunately for them one game stole my heart from its wonderful characters, lore, and game mechanics.
Overwatch. Blizzard impressed me so much with its content updates, their attention to details, and their fan service. Overwatch is the colorful, fast-paced MOBA game that no one asked for but everyone loved the second they started to play. After its release in May, Overwatch has gone through several updates to nerf or buff characters where needed and not to mention the amazing holiday updates with new fun game types and costumes for fans to win through gameplay. The game invokes the best kind of comradery and the worst kind of ‘I want to physically jump through the internet and strangle this A$$H01E because he clearly licks wallpaper’ rage at the same exact time. Which keeps players coming back for more and more. The game is like Vegas, when you are up you are waaay up and winning enough to feel unstoppable. However, when you are down…You might as well ask Satan what kind of wine he wants from his cellar. Anyway, it is clear, as great as some of the AAA and indie games that came out are no one can hold a candle to Overwatch, at least in my opinion.
Jr. Staff Writer/Squidward in a Santa Outfit
Game of the Year – Fire Emblem: Fates
I hopped on the Overwatch train a little too late in the year, but I can sing its praises for days. There’s no doubt I’ll be playing it into 2017, and or that it’s shaping the industry by influencing competitors into developing more class-based shooters like Overwatch. I’d like to use my spot, however, to talk about my personal game of the year. That title would go to Fire Emblem: Fates, which I’ve logged some of the most hours into this past year.
Fire Emblem: Fates doesn’t really try to broaden its niche appeal, and I don’t mind that. For those of you interested in a solid strategy RPG, Fates will be recognized as one of the best titles among Fire Emblem‘s two decades of games. Fates‘s gameplay is beloved by newcomers and series veterans alike. This latest title is chock full of unique mechanics and map design choices that make each mission feel like a distinct challenge. Fates had a lot of levels across its three stories, but I never once felt that the level design suffered from trying to develop a lot of missions. I’d also say that this game had my favorite final boss fights of the year, as I slogged through to keep my fighters alive. “End of All~ Sky/Land/Below,” the final stages’ theme, gave me the chills once I first heard it and set the stage for an amazing final battle.
2016 was a strong year for a few new entries in franchises that I love, but here’s where Fates really shined and why it deserves my Game of the Year nomination. It fixed where the formula was broken. Fire Emblem: Awakening, the previous entry, introduced tons of mechanics that predominately favored the player. Awakening was fun, but the strategy was dumbed down greatly. Fates brought those mechanics back, but perfectly balanced it and introduced ways for those mechanics to possibly screw over the player– giving way to some great strategical choices. Fates struck a perfect balance for both hardcore and casual players alike, and brought its gameplay forward in a huge ways even compared to other sequel titles this year. For that, I owe Fire Emblem Fates my GOTY nomination. I look forward to the next Fire Emblem— or even a new Advance Wars, but not likely– because Fates proved great things to come.
eSports Director | Diet Pepsi Enthusiast
Game of the Year – OZMAFIA!!
As someone who felt like 2016 completely dropped the ball when it came to putting out good games, I was pretty hard-pressed to find a game that stood out that actually felt worthy of a GOTY title by more than just default. Thankfully, I was informed that North American localization can count as a release date. This is where OZMAFIA!! comes into the picture, an otome visual novel created by Poni-Patchet SY and released in the US early this year.
What drew me in to OZMAFIA!!‘s world was the intricate society that permeated the game’s themes. The festivals and rich, lively culture are only just enough to veil the dark and violent atmosphere that is held at bay by a peace treaty between the mafia families, which only continues to further drag you in to their universe as you play out each character’s routes. With few truly happy endings, most being heart wrenching, disturbing, or bittersweet at best, OZMAFIA!!’s several tales supply you with a feeling of gloomy anticipation as you enjoy a lovely moment while understanding that all it takes is a single click to bring it all crashing down.
When it came to the actual characters themselves, what I found to be very interesting was how they were supposed to be modern takes on – or heavily inspired by – classic characters. The most obvious characters were the Red Riding Hood ones, such as Scarlet and Caesar, but it was definitely much more subtle with the rest of the cast. Our four main characters were created to represent the cast of the Wizard of Oz, with Fuka being Dorothy, and the entire cast of the characters in the brothel were inspired by Oscar Wilde’s creations. We’re given a very diverse and very unique characters that are impossible to not feel connected to while playing through each route. Visually, whether it be the green-haired Kyrie, the extravagantly-dressed Alfani, or the purple-haired catgirl Pashet, no two characters are the same and they’re created with enough creativity to where you could very easily point them out among a collage of other characters.
Combine this with an exquisite visual design that utilizes a watercolor-style of digital painting that created captivating, immensely detailed, and just downright astonishingly gorgeous scenes one after the other, stellar voice acting, dozens of hours of replay value, a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, and you have my game of the year.
Game of the Year – Overwatch
There you have it! Gamer Assault Weekly’s Game of the Year goes to Overwatch. In May Blizzard released the game to an overwhelmingly positive response from players. While the game did have some small struggles to overcome it quickly became a staple game for many players. Overwatch offers an experience for every type of player at every skill level with their character variety which makes the game very accessible, it also brought a strong need for teamwork and having a game to play with friends was refreshing. The game also became an excellent title for professional gaming and has become popular in the eSports community. The vibrant graphics, quirky characters, fun soundtrack and outstanding gameplay makes Overwatch worthy of GOTY.