The Most Awards, brought to you by the most Falcon-y of bloggers.
So 2016 is heading to a close, and The Game Awards have ended. Naturally, Blizzard and Naughty Dog have secured their place in the annals of video game history, and some other games have gotten some nice awards too.
Given the extreme cringe of The Game Awards, with the beyond blatant Schick sponsorship and the strange choice of categories (Trending Best Esports Player?), I decided that I’d like to throw my hat into the ring and give my own accolades for the games that I felt stood out this year.
Now since I’m the only vote that counts (except my wife’s of course (damn straight.. *ahem*)), I don’t have to worry about other people’s opinions at all. Even better, I don’t have any corporate sponsors, so I’m obviously unbiased (not really though).
In all seriousness, these are just some games and gaming news from 2016 that I felt deserve special mention.
Images Note: My wife Jennifer, whom I love very much, took some time off from working on college finals to edit the images I chose. Since I didn’t leave any notes about how I wanted them edited, she proudly winged it. I’ll leave little comments about what she said (paraphrased of course) to me as she was walking me through the images she edited. Enjoy!
The Most Disappointing Game – No Man’s Sky
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, so let’s take some time to kick the long-dead horse that is the No Man’s Sky hype controversy.
I seriously had a huge bet placed on No Man’s Sky. It’s largely the reason why I ended up buying a PS4, though happily (as you’ll later see) I ended up learning that having a PS4 would turn out to be a good decision.
More on point, No Man’s Sky just turned out to be a disappointment in the end. I gave it a moderately favorable review while still touching on the negatives, and even gave some ideas that might make it a better game overall. In the end however, I couldn’t outright recommend it as a must buy. Was it worth it to buy? Sorta. I do wish that I had waited however.
It was disappointing, not horrible. I didn’t rage-vomit or wring my hands in anguish over it. It just didn’t live up to my expectations, which had much to do with what I expected it to be rather than what it clearly was going to be. Hindsight is 20/20 though.
Live and learn.
The Most Surprising Game – Watch_Dogs 2
Don’t get me wrong, I actually liked the first Watch_Dogs. While it didn’t live up to the hype surrounding it (some of which I generated myself while working for GameStop), it was actually pretty fun, despite its flaws. With that in mind however, it also didn’t inspire me to purchase a sequel of it at launch. When Ubisoft revealed that they were working on a sequel that would be available later in the year, you probably could’ve heard my eyes rolling over the groans I let out. Watch_Dogs might’ve been good in my opinion, but it didn’t deserve a sequel this soon.
So I’ll proceed to eat crow, put my foot in my mouth, or eat my humble pie. Take your pick.
I adore Watch_Dogs 2, for reasons that you can easily see in my review. It still doesn’t live up to the hype that Ubisoft heaped onto the original, but they wisely chose to downplay the next-gen talk on this one. It’s safe to say that Watch_Dogs 2 earned a special place in my heart and genuinely surprised me.
Ubisoft, you and I need to talk about this love/hate relationship I have with you.
The Most Hyped Game Released- The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian. What can I say. A decade of development, a console release boosted by the promise of it, and enough bird-dog jokes to fill a tanker.
I’ll begin this one by clearing the air.
- No, I haven’t played it
- I know it isn’t a bad game
- I can understand the charm of it
Holy crap though, The Last Guardian has to be the most hyped game of this year. Actually, of the last decade. I honestly heard more about it than the games that it’s carrying the torch for. Based on the hundreds of articles, thousands of comments, and deluge of comments I heard from customers about how amazing The Last Guardian would be, I could’ve sworn that it would be the greatest game of the century.
But it isn’t. Even going off of the most gushing of reviews, it’s clear that it not only isn’t perfect, but some gaming sites have even lamented that Dead Rising 4 has sold more copies (No link. I will not reward clickbait from Eurogamer with referrals). I feel that probably the best review of the game that isn’t obviously fishing for clicks was from the infamous Jim Sterling.
So, is it bad? Nah. I fully believe that it is a good game with flaws. Did it live up to the hype? Only in the fever dreams of the biggest Ueda fanboys.
The Most Likeable Character – Marcus MO Holloway
Calling back Watch_Dogs 2 to the witness stand, I present Marcus Holloway as the most likeable character of 2016.
He’s just so easy to like. Playing Watch_Dogs 2, I couldn’t help but think to myself “This is a guy I’d want to hang out with”. He’s intelligent, witty, nerdy, sarcastic, quotes video games and movies like a champ, and honestly kinda handsome. Sounds familiar for some reason, I wonder why.
Ubisoft did such a great job with Marcus that despite Naughty Dog doing such a fine job of humanizing their characters in Uncharted 4, and proving that Emily Rose deserves a damn medal by now for her portrayal of Elena Fisher, I feel that Marcus deserves this special mention.
But Elena is definitely the runner-up. I seriously need to write about her as a character.
The Most Intriguing Villain – Paul Serene
I’ll try to not spoil anything but I have to say that Paul Serene, from Quantum Break, is easily the most intriguing villain that I’ve seen this year.
What really determines a “good” villain to me is the motivations behind their behavior. What makes him interesting to me is that he thinks he’s doing the right thing, just as many real-world bad guys do. A villain that isn’t the antagonist for the sake of being evil, one that you can sympathize with, or one that ends up genuinely being in the right, is interesting.
Serene, despite being in a game that apparently was forgotten this year, could actually be seen as the protagonist of his own story. If Quantum Break had made him a fully playable character, it could’ve changed the narrative drastically while still telling the same story.
That, in my opinion, is the signature of a well-written villain.
The Most Interesting Story – Quantum Break
Here’s where I know I’m going to start to take some flak. I really think that Quantum Break had the best story of the games that I’ve played this year.
It hit many high notes, featuring interesting characters and time travel. The manner in which the story progressed made for a captivating experience. The interweaving of the timelines and the way that different science fiction and physics concepts were used made the science nerd inside me giggle with delight.
That and it gave me a genuine sense of dread the first time I saw the optical distortions from the time machine.
Again, Uncharted 4 takes a very close second place in this regard, but only because the story itself seemed uninspired. If I was choosing games based on character development, I’d have to give it the grand prize.
The Most Infuriating News – Modern Warfare Remastered
What’s interesting to me about this category is that while I’ve been writing this article, I just saw news that Activision is patching in microtransactions to Modern Warfare Remastered soon.
Microtransactions in a remaster that didn’t have microtransactions in it. Good job, Activision.
But that isn’t why Modern Warfare Remastered is being awarded this dubious honor(?). No, it’s getting the Most Infuriating News award because Activision stupidly decided to lock the game that people actually wanted behind a paywall, requiring people who want to play it to not only buy Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s Legacy Edition, but keep the game as well. You heard that right. Even if you buy the physical copy of the Legacy Edition, you need to keep the Infinite Warfare disk in order to play Modern Warfare Remastered.
Now I’ve said before that Infinite Warfare actually looks kinda cool to me before the game released despite not being realistic in any way. That said however, the fact that I’d be required to buy a relatively expensive special edition of a game I don’t want to actually spend money on to get the game I actually want to have.
Ridiculous chicanery like this is the kind of BS that makes me want to avoid buying the game based on principle.
The Most Exciting News – Mass Effect Andromeda
Anybody who knows me could probably see this one coming a mile away. Any news about Mass Effect Andromeda is news that I’d love to hear. The information released this year at E3, on N7 day (a most exciting day in our marriage), and The Game Awards makes me giddy with excitement.
It’s shaping up to be what looks like an amazing game. Shown so far are detailed worlds to explore, frenetic combat, friends and enemies to make, and an actually controllable Mako!
I know that I’m definitely biased about this but you have to admit, there has been some pretty awesome news about the next Mass Effect. Everything else has been kinda meh-worthy.
The Most Popular Game I Didn’t Play – Overwatch
Before you say anything, or proceed to grab your pitchforks and start an angry mob, hear me out. I just don’t see what makes Overwatch so popular. To me, Team Fortress has been doing what Overwatch does for far longer. It’s just been created by a different monolithic company.
Sure, I know it has smooth combat and unique characters, but I just don’t understand what makes it a big deal. A good game? I can understand that. Game of the Year? Not so much. Not when there are far better games out there, like Watch_Dogs 2 or Uncharted 4.
And speaking of Uncharted…
The Most Best Game – Uncharted 4
Yeah I know. “The Most Best Game” sounds like terrible grammar, because it is. That’s part of the charm though. The terrible grammar will stick in your mind like a prion that’s destroying your brain and making you insane.
More on topic however, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has to be the best game I’ve played this year. As a clearly Microsoft-biased gamer, I had to suck in my pride a little to admit that Uncharted 4 is a worthwhile experience that I feel everyone PS4 owner should have in their collection. The story might not have been very unique and the characters weren’t always relatable or even that likeable at times, but Naughty Dog clearly understands how to humanize their characters.
The struggles that Nathan and Elena went through, the fight between the excitement tugging at Nathan’s heart and his marriage, and the inevitable rift that caused made for an immensely powerful narrative in my opinion. It struck a chord with me how genuine Nathan and Elena’s relationship seemed, and how conflicted Nathan looked.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the best game of 2016 I’ve played.
What about you?
What’s the “Most” games you’ve played? What came to mind with the categories here? Have any of your own? Did I miss something big?
Take a moment to tell me what you think. Better yet, take this format for your own and make your own list.
Also, a special note to Jennifer: Thank you for taking the time out of your day yesterday to get me some pictures fixed up for my post! You deserve a round of applause.
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