2016 Game of the Year

Okay, okay, I know we’re running a little late on this one. Let’s put it down to the distractions of New Year and an over-indulgence in food and drink.

But, better late than never they say, so, let’s get on with this.

Here for your reading pleasure is the Game of the Year feature according to Trevor and Neil…okay, technically Game of (last) Year.

Trevor

Game of the Year is a tough one simply because I didn’t play enough new games. Very little actually caught my attention because, while there were a lot of new, shiny, pretty-looking games, there didn’t seem to be very many that didn’t do anything that I haven’t already seen before.

With that said, though, Tyranny was a welcome surprise and led to my moment of the year, even if I haven’t played enough of it yet for me to say it’s my game of the year. Here’s what happened.

Also, this is going to be a spoiler for a rather alarming incident in Tyranny, so if you haven’t played the game and want to go in spoiler-free, perhaps ignore everything I I have to say from this point forward.

At the very beginning of the game, you’re introduced to Tyranny’s two main factions, the Scarlet Chorus and the Disfavored. The nature of the two factions is established fairly well even at the outset of the game, and it’s clear that the Scarlet Chorus are … unsavoury, to say the least.

So, during the first couple of hours of the game, I found myself in the Scarlet Chorus camp, looking at three strung-up prisoners, one of whom I was supposed to interrogate. I got the information out of her, non-violently because I really wanted to do as non-violent a playthrough as I could. After her usefulness ended, the Scarlet Chorus wanted to kill her. I did not. With my smooth, silvery tongue, I persuaded them to initiate her.

Problem was, I didn’t really think the choice through.

I said the Scarlet Chorus was unsavoury, yes? Well, before the woman was allowed to join their ranks, they required that she bash in her friend’s head with an uncomfortably blunt rock. She did, she was accepted, and I felt completely and utterly horrible about it.

In hindsight, I should have seen this coming. I didn’t. The game offered me plenty of backstory about how the Scarlet Chorus initiates their recruits, but I was so focused on saving her life that it never really occurred to me that perhaps dying was a better alternative than living as part of the Chorus.

For the first time in a really, really long time – since the Witcher 3 in 2015, in fact – a masterfully written piece of story content demanded that I react emotionally to what was happening on screen and that, quite frankly, is why I play these video games.

Tyranny may not be my game of the year, but it gave me my most powerful gaming moment of the year, and that is all I really want from my gaming experiences.

Neil

Before I go into my choice for game of the year and the reasons why I chose the game I did, I first wanted a quick shout out for the also-rans, nearly men, and worthy of mention titles that made the past year not all bad.

Some of these I’ve only recently started playing so couldn’t justify placing atop the gaming calendar tree.

In the honourable mentions we have Gears of War 4. A stupendous return to form for the franchise and a total rollercoaster of high adrenaline and fond memories. Sure, the gameplay remained largely unchanged from previous Gears games, but thanks to great pacing and perhaps a little rekindling of an old love, this was the return of a franchise the Xbox One was crying out for.

Likewise for Uncharted 4. I’m yet to finish the game having only recently returned to the Playstation fold, however, I’m already firmly buckled in for the rest of the ride. Great characters, incredible graphics and slick, interesting, and rarely dull gameplay combine beautifully and once again make Uncharted a ‘must own’ game.

And then there’s DOOM. The first FPS game I ever played was DOOM on the original Playstation, and the fact that in 2016 this game does such a phenomenal job of paying homage to that legendary first encounter fills me with joy! The speed of play is astounding, the little nod to Bulletstorm (another game I loved) is great, but above all else, the Grandaddy of intense FPS games was back on its throne!..well, almost…

In something of a turn up for the books, and despite the above mentioned greatness and other little gems such as Dark Souls 3, choosing my game of the year proved surprisingly simple in 2016. This might be due to having spent less time playing, or maybe it just wasn’t a vintage year, but whatever the reasons, there is only one winner, and that accolade goes to Battlefield 1.

I had waited patiently for a true successor to Call of Duty 3. Over ten years hoping for something that made me feel the intensity and tension I believe a war game should always aim to deliver. And then the first glimpses of the new Battlefield game began to surface.

The shift in timelines back to World War One proved a genius move. Where other shooters felt clean and timid, this beast got straight into the dirt and grime of warfare. The utter visceral assault upon the senses of flying shrapnel and stomach churning screams hanging in the air is staggering to behold. The magnificent use of weather to completely alter the landscape is a masterstroke of taking a simple idea and raising it to incredible heights of wonderful.

I consider this to be the masterpiece of FPS gaming and the fact that despite having put some time into play, I still marvel at the screen every time I enter the fray once more, is testament enough that there could be only one choice for Game of the Year, the Battlefield 1 choice.

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