THE GHGAMER AWARDS [Best Video Games of 2016]: Aw, Shoot!
Eight GHGamers give their Top 5 Video Games of the Year–AAA titles, sports titles, fighting titles, racing titles, indie titles. Xbox. PlayStation. PC. Well…not quite Nintendo. Heh.
But–we also have a new twist this year: Our Nerd Clergy of Cool also tip their caps for this year, with an early look at their Most Anticipated Games of 2017. Enjoy!
(Feel free to click on the highlighted titles to read the reviews.)
1. Titanfall 2 (X1/PS4/PC) – “Running, double jumps, wall running, clambering, sliding, etc. are still as great as I remember. And the new option to grapple and sling up to locations–or onto titans–only adds to the gameplay, providing new ways to get around the area and take down your enemies. More on the Halo side than anything, the single player campaign has that not too serious and not too whimsical feeling in a space epic. It’s great!” – 4.75/5
2. Overwatch (X1/PS4/PC) – Excellent multiplayer fun, with a multitude of varying characters, new types of game modes, and the support and free content is awesome, to boot. – 4.5/5
3. Battlefield 1 (X1/PS4/PC) – BF1 provided a great campaign using a different method of story telling via actual accounts from various people during World War 1. And the multiplayer, while using the same great game mechanics and modes from previous releases, still excites with new modes and historic WWI weapons and vehicles. – 4.5/5
4. DOOM (X1/PS4/PC) – “I don’t think anyone will walk away feeling ripped off or let down from the new DOOM. id Software has definitely listened to the fans, offering a game with properly rendered shadows and lighting, high detail textures, and excellent animation and level design.” – 4.5/5
5. Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One/PC) – “Graphically, it’s hard to disagree that the game looks phenomenal. FH3 is also extreme fun for those that enjoy a racer that isn’t super serious, but still has a lot of the super serious racer qualities.” – 4.5/5
1. Sea of Thieves – What more is there to say about SoT that wasnt already shown? The game looks like great pirate fun with your friends, looking for treasure and looting from other players, all on the high seas.
2. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
4. Forza Motorsport 7
5. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
1. Battlefield 1 (X1/PS4/PC) – “The campaign is amazing and Operations is one of the best new modes they have, not to mention the Multiplayer mode, War Pigeon! – 4.75/5
2. Destiny: Rise of Iron (X1/PS4) – “The Destiny fanbase wish for more content, others want changes to the quality of life aspects of the game, and some want changes to the Crucible; but while the game may have its flaws, the expansion is an enjoyable experience for any guru of FPS…not to be missed.” – 4.5/5
3. DOOM (X1/PS4/PC) – I might have only been able to play for a short time (motion sickness), but Goddamn did I love those fleeting moments! – 4.25/5
4. Overwatch (X1/PS4/PC) – “I could very well see Overwatch being namedropped come New Year’s, but the game has flaws. Although those blemishes are nowhere near as noticeble as, say, Vanilla Destiny, even Blizzard knows they have some stuff to fix.” – 4.25/5
5. Quantum Break (Xbox One/PC) – I enjoyed the hell out of this game. Unlike Bulletstorm, the “gimmick” was enjoyable and felt natural. Most importantly (when you were in the final stage), it wasn’t forgotten. – 4/5
Honorable mention: Call of Duty – Infinite Warfare.
1. Ghost Recon: Wildlands – This game has all the makings for a great game: open world, side quests, objectives laid out like Destiny, but then you remember it’s being made by Ubisoft…
2. For Honor – Another Ubisoft game and this one seems neat: swords and fantasy, brutal action, and multiplayer. But again! Ubisoft…
3. Tacoma – I’ll say this peaked my interest when it was the Game Informer cover story. Let’s hope it’s not delayed.
4. Cuphead – Please be awesome. Please be awesome. Please be awesome.
5. Scalebound – Please be good. Please be good. Please be good.
1. DOOM (X1/PS4/PC) – The gameplay is lightning fast and visceral with each fire fight being a straight up adrenaline rush. The graphics were breathtaking with the Hell levels depicted in all their horrifying glory. The sound design and music were amazing too thanks to Mick Gordon’s stellar compositions. Doom proves that single-player story-driven first person shooters are not dead. – 5/5
2. Rez Infinite (PSVR): Sony released their PlayStation Virtual Reality peripheral this year to mostly positive reviews. I know, I know—Rez isn’t a “new” game, but I’ll be damned if VR isn’t the perfect way to experience it. New to this edition is Area X, which is an area that has been completely retooled for VR. Words cannot describe how absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous this level is as it uses particle effects to the fullest extent possible. Area X is the future of VR gaming and its capabilities. – 4/5
3. Final Fantasy XV (X1/PS4) – “My fears were assuaged after playing the opening ten minutes of this game, watching these four young men push their broken down car to the tune of ‘Stand By Me’ tugged at my heartstrings. It’s refreshing to see some levity and happiness in a JRPG, and the bond they share is palpable and endearing. Though there are still some technical and story pacing issues with this game, it’s a promising step in the right direction for Square Enix. – 4/5
4. Hitman (X1/PS4/PC) – “Although SquareEnix made an odd decision to make this game episodic, they did refine the gameplay and graphics and added a great variety of levels to explore. Hitman has come a long way since its inception.” – 4/5
5. I Am Setsuna (PS4) – Though I love a good open-world RPG, I had been itching to play something decidedly more old school. Instead of just replaying Chrono Trigger for the thousandth time, I gave Square Enix’s I Am Setsuna a try. It’s definitely a love letter to 16-bit SNES JRPGs with its super deformed character designs and active-time battle system. For fans of retro gaming, it’s worth picking up. 3.5/5
1. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – I really enjoyed the demo for this game and it seems like it is going back to its survival horror roots. Plus, it is PSVR compatible and I want to poop my pants in fear.
2. Persona 5 – Persona is the most stylish and batshit insane JRPG series out and I always enjoy the wacky stories and character designs.
3. Ni No Kuni 2 – The first game was adorable and I will gladly take another tip into this world.
4. Star Trek Bridge Crew – I’m a filthy Trekkie and I cannot pass up a chance to be a crew member in virtual reality. That’s like a dream come true.
5. Tales of Berseria – The Tales games are always action-packed and they have some of my favorite battle systems ever. This one looks like it will have a darker atmosphere as well.
1. Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One/PC) – “The game gives you an unparalleled level of control. Players can turn it into whatever type of racing game they want at any time, especially when you start expanding your festival to different sites…between the online features, the different difficulties, adapting drivatars, car clubs, and championships, replayability is not something you need to be worried about.” – 5/5
2. Inside (X1/PS4/PC) – “Limbo‘s world has a constant sense of ‘calm before the storm’–an eerieness and unsettling vibe that can best be described as a near-constant state of tension.” – 5/5
3. Titanfall 2 (X1/PS4/PC) – The award for best improved franchise goes to Titanfall 2. In a year littered with great shooters, TF2 was able to deliver the best campaign in the mix, as well as building upon what was already some solid multiplayer. – 4.75/5
4. *TIE* XCOM 2 (X1/PS4/PC) /// Killer Instinct – Season 3 (Xbox One) – “On top of the improved enemy AI, the maps in XCOM 2 are procedurally generated, so replay value is not a concern at all if you love the genre–let alone this franchise.” And, hey–if that crap SFV can count, the game that did the proper business model first–Killer Instinct–counts on my list. Season 3 brought old favorites (Tusk) and some cool surprises (Raam!) into the fray, adding to an already stellar fighter. – 4/5
5. Battlefield 1 (X1/PS4/PC) – This game tends to be a lot higher in a lot of lists, but here’s my thing: as fantastic as that campaign was–and I loved it–it really is still the same crap multiplayer. – 3.75/5
Honorable mention: Pokémon Sun/Moon, NBA 2K17, Dishonored 2, Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End, Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim, Watch Dogs 2, Quantum Break.
1. Crackdown – I need to drop skyscrapers on my friends–and jump like Hulk across town to stop crimes.
2. Sea of Thieves
3. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
4. *TIE* Scalebound /// Halo Wars 2
5. Kingdom Hearts 3
Honorable mention: Detroit – Become Human, God of War 4, Killer Instinct – Season 4, Pokémon Wtfever, Halo 6 News, Forza Horizon 4 anything, Horizon: Dinobot Hunter.
1. NHL 17 (X1/PS4) – “With amazing graphics and a more challenging GM mode this year, I’m satisfied with all the other improvements EA has made with NHL 17, even if it often feels like the same game.” – 4/5
2. The Division (X1/PS4/PC) – Teamwork was reinvented with this game–the bigger the team, the bigger the challenge. While it didn’t exactly live up to its original promised RPG billing, the game came packed with outstanding graphics, cool gunplay and impressive customization. – 4/5
3. Battlefield 1 (X1/PS4/PC) – The sheer magnitude and realism of the title’s World War 1 battles got me so immersed that my hands literally didn’t stop sweating. Of all the solid shooters in 2016, BF1 had the best visuals to boot. – 3.75/5
4. Gears of War 4 (Xbox One/PC) – While it didn’t reinvent the chainsaw wheel, The Coalition may have put forth their finest storyline and characterization yet. Hell, Gears of War looks great on an Xbox One. – 3.5/5
5. Doom (X1/PS4/PC) – Edge-of-the-seat scary. The return of “old style” Doom offered a fun–if not exponentially long–campaign, along with an assortment of amazing new guns, gouls and upgrades. – 3.5/5
1. Red Dead Redemption 2 – They better bring back hunting and card playing, plus who doesn’t love a massive open world setting from Rock Star?
2. Prey – While I never played the first, I hear they are alike in name only.
3. Mass Affect: Andromedia – I missed the original trilogy. Still reading? At least I have the smarts to trust a true Bostonian. #Moody
4. For Honor – While a toss-up because…Ubisoft, it looks like it could have a lot of potential with epic battles.
5. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – I’m taking a lot of risks with this list–seeing how I was never a fan of the previous–but something tells me next-gen will take this game to next-level.
1. The Last Guardian (PS4) – The long delayed spiritual successor to Team Ico’s ICO and Shadow of the Colossus finally arrived, and it didn’t disappoint this geek. From its beautiful art direction, enchanting score, and to Trico’s behavior and interactions with the player, The Last Guardian feels unlike any other game that was released during 2016. As a pet owner, it’s hard not to get carried away and enamored with Trico’s lifelike animations. – 4.5/5
2. Final Fantasy XV (X1/PS4) – The wait was worth it. Final Fantasy 15 reignites life into a franchise that was almost on its last legs, blending the past and present of the series together into a beautiful package. – 4/5
3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4) – With part 4, Naughty Dog has perfected their Uncharted formula. This one combines the stellar visuals that we’ve been blow away by time and time again, with its next generation gameplay that equates to an extremely satisfying conclusion. – 4/5
Honorable mention: Bioshock – The Collection.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – It’s Zelda. Nuff said
2. Red Dead Redemption 2
3. Mass Effect: Andromeda
1. Dishonored 2 – DH2 is one part graphical refresh from the first and another part brutal espionage masterpiece! By the time you unlock and upgrade a handful of Void powers, this game becomes one of the best of 2017. – 4.5/5
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – A much needed and beautiful final send-off to one of PlayStation’s most beloved characters. Uncharted 4 was easily one of the prettiest in the series and told one of the best humanizing adventures for friend Nate. By the time the end hits you are saying goodbye to an old friend. – 4.5/5
3. Battlefield 1 – In a sea of futuristic FPS games, BF1 is a breath of simplistic fresh air. This results in one of the freshest shooters to hit the next generation systems. With a heartfelt campaign and enough finely-tuned multiplayer adventures makes it a must-play. If only Star Wars: Battlefront had been this much fun. – 4/5
4. The Last Guardian – A vibrant, living masterpiece. Though technical coding issues still arise like previous Team Ico games, everything in this game comes to life — making the simplest atmosphere like the decaying sky or the beautifully mastered Trico a work of art! – 4/5
5. Gears of War 4 – While it may not reinvent the Gear, but it does bring the game back to its roots and makes it feel fresh again. Something we’ve been missing. The campaign does bring an interesting twist with the good guys being bad guys flip, but does fall back on its laurels half way through with an all-to-familiar Hordesque enemy. Though, the plethora of Multiplayer fun more than makes up for it. – 4/5
Honorable mention: Overwatch, Dead Rising 4, Severed, Batman: A Telltale Adventure.
1. Mass Effect: Andromeda – Easily one of my favorite series on the Xbox. Surely, this new adventure will be just as much fun as the last.
2. Vampyr – Dontnod is coming off of their huge success with Life is Strange, and I predict this dark vampire story to be just as beautiful as it is creepy.
3. Injustice 2 – The first one is still one of my favorite fighting games; and now that WB has upped the ante with new characters and upgradeable armor and weapons, my interested is piqued!
4. Spider-Man – This is easily looks like the best Marvel game to hit the consoles in some years, minus anything LEGO.
5. God of War – Hello, it’s Kronos with a kick-ass beard! I’m sold.
1. Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One/PC) – A racing game is your #1 — really, dude? After countless treks around FH3‘s breathtakingly vast and diverse Australian outback… yes, abso-frickin-lutely. With festival locations that range from splendid hilly beaches, gorgeous forest downpours, smooth coastal innercities, and, now with DLC, snow-infested blizzard mountains, never has racing been more exciting. Great rides aren’t as difficult to obtain as previous Forza incarnations, and the usual great paint customization is still there (#N7, bitch!). While the overall sounds are solid, the game’s only minor blip is the lack of playlist shuffling with Groove Music. – 4.75/5
2. NBA 2K17 (X1/PS4/PC) – “Arguably the most impressive addition in a game full of spectacular additions–including a tremendously enjoyable RPG-inspired MyPlayer campaign with Michael B. Jordan–is the regionalized 3-man (and woman) commentary booth, unprecedented for any sports game.” – 4.75/5
3. *TIE* DOOM /// Battlefield 1 /// Titanfall 2 (X1/PS4/PC) – 2017 was indeed “Year of the Shooter”, so much so that even after finishing said games’ bad-ass campaigns, I have absolutely no fuckin’ idea which of these three is better. DOOM‘s hell was visually stunning and rapidly intense; TF2‘s colorful collection of mechs and puzzles offered ultra brilliant gameplay possibilties; and BF1‘s self-contained story vignettes packed plenty of reward, courage and heart. If you were ever a fan of any of these mammoth franchises, go collect ’em all!” – 4.5/5
4. Final Fantasy XV (X1/PS4) – “FFXV is a real treat and, perhaps, one of the best surprise plays of 2016. This side of the Blood & Wine DLC from Witcher 3, I can’t think of more preferred RPG in 2016. For a game that has also had a long run of development blunders, delays and heavy doubters, there’s a lot to be proud of here.” – 4.25/5
5. Gears of War 4 (Xbox One/PC) – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Everything Gearheads adored about their longtime, beloved Xbox franchise is back; while it isn’t quite “survival horror”, GOW4 definitely sticks to those original roots while improving on the grotesque environs, sicker melees, horde mode and just overall personality. The last level is such a treat! Saying anymore would spoil, but you’ll see with bright eyes that the beginning of the end is, alone, worth the price of admission. – 4/5
1. Mass Effect: Andromeda – I’ve never purchased a Collector’s Edition before. That’s going to change come March 31st. Wonderfully cinematic, Andromeda plans to be the “Rogue One” of video games (it sets between Mass Effect 2 and 3); you’ll even have your own Jyn in Sarah Ryder the Pathfinder (or twin brother, if you prefer to play with a male lead). Further impact: return of loyalty missions, fragment-exploding cover, impactful multiplayer, etc. #N7Bitch
2. Cuphead – The most fun game I watched at E3 2016.
3. *TIE* Tekken 7 /// Injustice 2 ///Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite – If 2016 was “Year of the Shooter”, then 2017 will be the “Year of the…
4. Prey – Bethesda’s track record is damned near flawless.
5. Agents of Mayhem – The most fun game I played at E3 2016.
Honorable mention: South Park – The Fractured But Whole, Scalebound, Red Dead Redemption 2, WWE 2K18, Crackdown 3.
***GHG’s Games of the Year***
1. Battlefield 1
3. Forza Horizon 3
4. Titanfall 2
5. *TIE* Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End /// Final Fantasy XV
Honorable mention: Overwatch, Dishonored 2, The Last Guardian, Gears of War 4.
***GHG’s PlayStation 4 Exclusive of the Year***
-Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
***GHG’s Xbox One Exclusive of the Year***
-Forza Horizon 3
***GHG’s Fighting Game of the Year***
-Killer Instinct (Season 3)
***GHG’s Sports Game of the Year***
***GHG’s Indie Game of the Year***