Your Own PIcks For 2016

List 'em of you got 'em. My list is less than comprehensive since there are a number of genres I just don’t enjoy and I only play PC games. Also it was a year of hybrids, so I have a few titles that won in multiple categories.

Strategy (turn-based): XCOM 2
Runner up: Warhammer:Total War

Strategy (continuous-time): Offworld Trading Company
Runner Up: Warhammer:Total War

War Game: Victory and Glory - Napoleon
Runner Up: Sengoku Jidai - Shadow of the Shogun

RPG: Darkest Dungeon
Runner Up: Tyranny

Rogue-Alike: Darkest Dungeon
Runner Up: Tharsis

Board Game (conversion): Twilight Struggle
Runner Up: Eclipse - New Dawn For The Galaxy

Board Game (original): Victory and Glory - Napoleon
Runners up (tie): Gremlins, Inc, and Ortus Arena

Best Game That Drove Me Crazy: Civilization VI
Runner Up: Tharsis

Secret of Vulcan Fury Award: That Which Sleeps

Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me Award: Civilization VI

  1. DOOM (xb1). Far and away the very best single-player shooter experience of the year. It boggles the mind how completely Bethesda misunderstood the draw of this game, given the dearth of single-player campaign DLC and add-ons.

  2. Titanfall 2 (xb1). Best multi-player shooter of the year. Second only to the Tribes series for quality multi-player mobility shooters.

Everything else I played worthy of being on a best-of list is either a backward compatibility title, HD remake, or something from my backlog. And while I did play a few other ok games released this year, I wouldn’t consider any if them best-of material.

I actually typed up and sent some lists to friends this last week, I’ll short hand them here and give you the full top 10 list I came up with for your reading enjoyment.

Strategy: Total War Warhammer
Runner-up: XCOM 2

RPG: Dark Souls 3
Runner-up: Tyranny

Both of those top spots were secured due to playing co-op. If co-op wasn’t a factor, I think they would swap in both category cases.

Action: Dues Ex Mankind Divided
Runner-up: Dishonored 2

Remastered Edition: Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen (PC)
Runner-up: Skyrim Special Edition

And my top 10 with some discussion/reasoning behind the pics.

Flying Heroes right down the line. Best everything of 2016.

Personal GotY Salt and Sanctuary. A beautiful blend of Dark Souls and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Sure there’s no map, and early on some of the builds were a bit unbalanced, but man did I love this game.

Demo of the year : Nioh I can’t wait for the full release next year.

Free to play of the year: Let it Die

Best Adventure Game i played in 2016 award:

  • Dragons Dogma

Teaching you the benefits of pimping, award:

  • Dragons Dogma Peon System

(still the) Best F2P Game award:

  • WarFrame
    Runner up: LOTRO

Must surprising sequel that doesn’t require a flashlight mod award:

  • DooM

Pushed into next year, again, award:

  • Star Citizen

Good xcom remake once I finally got it working, award:

  • XCOM2

That’s what I call optimization, award:

  • GalCiv 3 December patch

I wish they released this in December so it could have retained users, Award:

  • The Division (1.4/1.5 patch version).

2016 games FYI!

Nice list Scott. I enjoyed reading your blurbs. Makes me think I better fire up Deus Ex sooner rather then later.

I didn’t pick up that many new games in 2016. Homefront, Primal Cry, Battlefield, XCom 2, Doom.

XCom2 was pretty great but stood on the shoulders of its predecessor, as did BF. I’ll vote Homefront for GOTY :)

Edit: Blood and Wine!

BTW, save some ammo for the annual Quarterlies list we do here on Qt3.

That traditionally starts polling in January. Just sayin’.

I have so many games I’m getting for Christmas, some 3DS and PS4 stuff, so I’ll have all new experiences to update around then.

GOTY: Stardew Valley and it is not even close.

The rest of the top 5:
Planet Coaster
Darkest Dungeon
Hearts of Iron IV
Grim Dawn

Most overrated: XCOM 2

GOTY : Dishonored 2
Runner up: Forza Horizon 3

Best DLC: Blood and Wine

Something I’ll call “Best ongoing support” goes to Rocket League. The Rumble mode is awesome. Most enjoyable multiplayer I’ve done in years.

We’re going to do the QT3 game-of-the-year voting, right?

Well, in the meantime, here are my picks:

  1. Kingdom: New Lands
  2. Stardew Valley
  3. Oxenfree
  4. Darkest Dungeon
  5. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Some runners-up:

  • Tharsis
  • Dog Sled Saga
  • Aquatic Adventures of the Last Human
  • Grow Up
  • Clockwork Empires
  • Reigns
  • Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings

Some games I wish I’d played this year, but didn’t:

  • Steamworld Heist
  • Firewatch
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Quadrilateral Cowboy
  • Inside
  • Obduction
  • Thumper
  • Duskers
  • Oni and the Blind Forest

Ha ha.

My top 5, might still change as the year isn’t over yet and I am trying to finish up a few 2016 games that I’ve had installed for awhile.

Battleborn , yep I loved it, over 250 hours played this year, I am one of the few still logging in on PC, its so much better than Overwatch.
Battlefield 1 , love that DICE took some risks, the setting is great and it feels so good to play, reminds me of BC2.
The Division , I only started playing after the 1.5 patch, overall NYC is just fantastic to walk around and pew pew baddies.
Dark Souls 3 , they went back to a better world design and I loved it, good boss fights and lots of invasions!
Firewatch , beautiful art style and a good story hooked me early in the year with this game.

The “Somehow They Made It Easier” Award - Pokemon Sun/Moon
Pokemon has never been a hard game but the latest installment really emphasizes that. For the first time in the series your rival picks the Pokemon weak to yours, trainers until the final gauntlet never have more than 4 team members, and the areas are themed so you can grab type advantage right before the next trial. At least there’s still end game.

The “Licensing is Overrated” Award - Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings
Sure this may have been a 2015 game, but I’m making up the award so it qualifies :) RBI Baseball promised to bring back the arcade baseball action that many of us missed, SMB:EI actually delivered on that promise.

Swiffer Presents The “Dust It Off” Award - Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
The only game I turned my Wii U on for this year… and the Japanese only voices made me give it up early. Worth going back to as a holdover until Persona 5.

The “We Paid How Much For Marketing?” Award - Battleborn
This wasn’t going to be GOTY material, but the poor messaging really killed what could’ve been a solid MOBA with Assault co-op campaign.

The “Pixar Dreams Come True” Award - Ratchet & Clank
For years people wanted to know when gaming graphics would reach Pixar movie quality. The new R&C delivers and is a fun game to boot!

Here’s my top 5 list by category.

RPG: Dark Souls III

Shooter: Battlefield 1

Fighting Game: Street Fighter 5

MMO: Division

E-Sport: Overwatch

Wish it had come out in 2016 so it could be on GOTY lists award: Galak-Z.

This came out near the end of 2015, but I didn’t discover it until 2016 when it became part of the PS+ giveaway. I now own it on GoG and on Steam. When games come out near the end of the year, most people have already made their end-of-year lists, and they don’t get included the next year. This happened with DiRT Rally also. Though in that case, I’d been playing it for months already as an Early Access title.

I hope the makers of Star Control are paying attention award: Galak-Z

Seriously Stardock. Play Galak-Z. It’s the best physics-based 2D fighting since Star Control 3, and it works brilliantly using a controller. This should be the template for this kind of space combat for 2D space games from here on out.

Making me fall in love with iD software all over again award: DOOM

I loved DOOM so much, when I was done, I actually went back and bought RAGE, just so that I could experience more id Software goodness. It isn’t as good as DOOM, but you can see the germs of what made DOOM a good game as seeds here in the earlier game as well.

Late to the Party Award: Wolfenstein The New Order

Holy shit, I loved this game. I started it in 2015, but was slow to start liking it. Once the game finally switches over to the 1960s, it gets really entertaining.

Runner Up: Bloodborne - I initially hated this game. But despite hating the setting and art style, I’ve come around to it in 2016 because of the excellent gameplay.

Most Disappointing Award: Just Cause 3

After loving Just Cause 2, Part 3 felt like a step backwards. The graphics didn’t look as good in terms of level of detail transitions, and the setting of the game was in a less varied environment, and the damn wait times when trying to retry a challenge were just ridiculous.

Biggest Surprise Award: Grim Dawn

This is by the guys who made Titan’s Quest? Seriously? But the weight of your actions, the feel of the game, the OOMPH behind every attack that feels so good is diametrically opposed to what we saw in Titan’s Quest. Also, I thought I was done playing ARPGs using mouse and keyboard after the excellent Diablo 3 on consoles. But Grim Dawn showed that if you’ve got the right physics and sound effects, even the limp mouse-click and keyboard tap can be made to feel all-powerful. Well done Crate. You guys have renewed my faith in ARPGs and mouse and keyboard gaming.

Game that set me on an epic journey of pain and awesomeness Award: Dark Souls III

So Tom started streaming games this year. He started with a game called Dark Souls III. Despite loving Demon’s Souls, I never could really get into Dark Souls. But after watching Tom die over and over and over again and be persistent in his defeat in Dark Souls III, it really inspired me to give the original another go, along with several other people here at Qt3. We struggled together but never actually helped each other within the game. But we did help each other with encouragement and camaraderie, which was very much appreciated. In the end I finished Dark Souls, including the excellent expansion content. I finished Dark Souls II, but not the expansion content. And I started Dark Souls III. But I held off on playing it until all the expansion content is out.

Game hardest to keep on the shelf waiting for Expansion Content Award: Dark Souls III

Oh my god, I could continue my game right now. All I have to do is start playing and resume at the point where I left off fighting a giant Tree. But no, I’m going to wait until they’ve finished releasing expansion content. I love the art style so much. Unlike Dark Souls 2, they really did a good job in making things look so much better than the previous game while still maintaining the look and feel of the excellent art in the original Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls. I already love this game, but I know I don’t have time to replay games like this. So I want to play through it only once the expansions are out.

Other awards to come. 2016 isn’t over yet!

Best DLC/expansion of 2016: The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
“All good things…” as they say.

Best Multiplayer That I Didn’t Realize I Wanted: Watch Dogs 2
There I am doing normal open-world screwing around, collecting Ubistuff, and settling into a groove, when suddenly there’s an alarm and some asshole is in my game hacking me. Me! Who does this joker think he is anyway? I drop whatever I’m doing because this cannot stand. I will find the hacker before he completes the download and - OH THERE YOU ARE! COME BACK HERE! Cue Yakkity Sax for the car chase.

Best “Holy Shit!” Moment in Gaming for the Year: Titanfall 2
First-person platforming that doesn’t suck. A riff on Portal. Time-manipulation. A robo-buddy that’s not annoying. Boss encounters with old-school trash talk intros. All this for the sequel to a game that barely had any kind of story campaign.

The 2016 How Did Anyone Think This Was Going to Work Award: Battleborn
I guessed correctly that this game would never make it in a f2p world, especially with Overwatch and every other AAA multiplayer game coming out in 2016, but holy heck. No one predicted this was going to bomb as quickly and as hard as it did. Did Blizzard purposefully gaslight Gearbox’s game? Maybe not, but every time they tried to do something promoting this, Overwatch was right there with some hype event. Battleborn never had a chance.

The 2016 At Least You Tried Award: Evolve 2.0
Kudos to 2K and Turtle Rock for trying to turn this around, but the doom for Evolve’s transition to a f2p model was set long ago. The fact that the effort was abandoned before it ever came to consoles indicates how much of a bomb the revitalization was on PC.

Best Example of a Studio Taking What They’ve Learned and Applying It All Award: Battlefield 1
This is the culmination of DICE’s lessons learned from their Battlefield and Battlefront games. Gorgeous hyper-real graphics, impeccable sound design, and tense, fast-paced, chaotic multiplayer. “Only in Battlefield…” indeed.

The 2016 We’re Not Going to Talk About What’s Happening Award: Skylanders, Lego Dimensions, Disney Infinity, Amiibo
The toys-to-life category of gaming for much of 2013 to 2015 dominated sales, then in 2016, everything changed. Disney Infinity went kaput. Skylanders Imaginators faced weak sales and it’s rumored the franchise may be put on hiatus. Amiibo hype slowed. Lego Dimensions is the only bright spot, but even those sales figures aren’t as impressive as they used to be. Overall, toys-to-life took a bath and no one seems to be commenting on it. When the toy guitar games died, everyone had something to say.

Everyone’s Favorite 2016 Game for a Hot Minute: Pokemon GO
Was there ever a mobile game launch with this much coverage? Mainstream news was breathless with stories about this pocket monsters phenomenon and how it was turning people into phone zombies, while gaming news was going gaga for the app that got people off their couches and out in the sun GASP walking!

Best Depiction of Gamers Within a Game Award: Doom
Doomguy doesn’t give a shit about exposition or excuses. He just wants to shoot demons in the face and chainsaw their chests while thumping bass and sick guitar riffs blaze. A minute into Doom, the player character is introduced to someone blah-blahing their way through some dialogue and he immediately knocks the comm screen aside and stomps off to do some righteous demon killing. Perfection.

Best Waste of Resources Award: Doom
Oh, you thought this was going to a another Battleborn win, right? Wrong! This goes to Bethesda and id Software’s goofball insistence that Doom’s bog-standard arena shooter multiplayer was the hook to hang the game on instead of the 100% kickass singleplayer campaign. A pointless XP grind and cosmetic unlocks? Check! Consumable powers? Check! Map pack season pass? Check! Weapons exclusive to DLC owners? Check! Meanwhile, all everyone cares about is the Doom guy smashing demons in the mouth. What were they thinking?

The “Oh, I Forgot This Came Out” Award: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
This came out in June of this year. This came out in June of this year. This came out in June of this year.