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The Official Rllmuk Awards 2016 - VOTING IS CLOSED

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Game of the Year

1. Mirror's Edge Catalyst

"Flawed. God knows it's flawed - an extremely weak opening, exacerbated by a poorly-thought-out levelling system and a sterile open world. Another tedious story, albeit very slightly better told than the first game. But when it gets going, there's nothing to touch Catalyst's free-running, and that sterile open world becomes an atmospheric landscape of bold colours and harsh, striking spaces to explore. Frequently exhilarating, utterly captivating."

2. Rez Infinite

"I ummed and ahhed about putting this ahead of Mirror's Edge Catalyst, and even ended up changing my vote over the course of the month. This expanded remake has done enough to push Rez from 3rd to 2nd in my 'all time greatest games' list, taking what as already an astonishing game, then elevating it with VR (plus a fantastic new level). But, at the same time, it is 'just' Rez again, and while it is my favourite game that came out last year, that is just enough to prevent it being my game of the year. Still brilliant."

3. Hitman

"If 2016 hadn't been a ridiculously strong year this would have been a very suitable first-place entry. A shocking return to form, finally improving on Blood Money's template, using its episodic structure to give each area massive attention to detail. A wonderful range of approaches, some brilliant areas to explore, and some very entertaining setups to work your way through. A triumph."

4. The Banner Saga 2

5. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

6. Tyranny

7. VA-11 Hall-A

8. Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak

9. Total War: Warhammer

10. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice

11. Assault Android Cactus

12. The Witness

13. Oxenfree

14. Dishonored 2

15. Firewatch

16. Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator

17. RIGS

18. Fire Emblem: Fates

19. DOOM

20. Abzu

 

Soundtrack of the Year

S1. Mirror's Edge Catalyst

S2. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

S3. VA-11 Hall-A

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. Mirror's Edge Catalyst

V2. Bound

V3. The Witness

 

Writing of the Year

W1. The Banner Saga 2

W2. Oxenfree

W3. Tyranny

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Game of the Year

1. Rez Infinite

2. Skyrim Special Edition

3. Star Fox Zero

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Soundtrack of the Year

S1. Skyrim Special Edition

S2. Rez Infinite

S3. Star Fox Zero

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. Rez Infinite

V2. Star Fox Zero

V3. Skyrim Special Edition

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Skyrim Special Edition

W2. Star Fox Zero

W3. Rez Infinite

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Game of the Year

1. Rez Infinite

"So it turns out that Rez was originally released more than a decade too soon, because after playing Infinite it’s hard not to think that it was always meant to be played in VR. The immersion from dimming the lights and wearing big headphones now pales in comparison to the headset experience, and the Tron-like aesthetic is perfectly suited to what has been an impressive debut for a device that’s delivered VR to people who can’t afford the PC upgrade for Oculus or the house extension for Vive."

2. Amplitude

"Even though I’m absolutely terrible at Frequency and Amplitude, they’re excellent rhythm action games, and it was great to witness the new version grow from an optimistic Kickstarter project into a final PSN release. The lack of familiar names on the song selection seemed to be a cause of concern for some people, but I’ve enjoyed a lot of the music in the soundtrack, and the presentation is excellent throughout. I’ll never meet the demands of those higher difficulties, but I’ve still had a lot of fun with the game."

3. Street Fighter V

"Wait, come back! I’ll freely admit that this hasn’t come close to Super Street Fighter IV in terms of the impact a single release has had on my gaming schedule, and the launch of the game was a personal lowlight of gaming in 2016 for me, but eventually the rest of the game got patched in and the end result is a bit more enjoyable. It says something about the game’s unique draw when I’m considering picking up the second season pass despite such a love-hate relationship with this title."

4. Quick, Draw!

"Is this a game? Last November Google unveiled what can only be described as single-player Pictionary, in which you are given a word, draw it onscreen and an AI guesses what you are drawing based on other players’ doodles for that word. There are win and lose states, I guess, and a high score of sorts to reach (six out of six correct guesses by the AI), and the fact that you never know which words are going to come up makes it something you can come back to again and again. That said, I think I’m faring a bit better now that I’ve dusted off my old pen and tablet."

5. Let It Die

"Okay, this is a confusing mess of tutorials, menus, systems and clashing styles; however, I can’t help but be fascinated by the roguelike elements and drawn back by the opportunities for better equipment and further progression. The game formerly known as Lily Bergamo was originally revealed sometime in 2013, and it seemed like there were many long stretches of silence where nobody knew if the game was still a thing, Anyway, I’m stunned that it came out in any form, and whilst the F2P nature is obvious, it’s still an interesting curio."

6. Destiny: Rise of Iron

"I’m one of the most casual Destiny players around and whilst I do enjoy the meat of the gameplay I kind of feel duty bound to pick up each expansion because my brother plays the heck out of Destiny and appreciates having a co-op buddy without having to roll the dice with faceless internet people. Even so, I’ve really enjoyed the campaign content of Rise of Iron, and the quest that sees you building the Gjallarhorn was one of the most satisfying gaming moments of this year. I’m never going to hit those new Light caps or find the super-rare equipment, but I’ll still have a lot of fun shooting guns at things."

7. Tumble VR

"The game that introduced me to new VR, or 21st century VR. Maybe we could just call it Post-Oculus VR? Anyway, I wouldn’t have imagined that a game about stacking blocks would be so moreish, but this is a great game to start with if you haven’t had a chance to try any of the goggles that are on offer. It’s something you can play at your own pace, and you do nothing more complex than pick up, rotate and stack blocks. It’s also a fun and engrossing game in its own right, and it’s perfect for showing to other people who are new to VR."

8. Furi

"I think the main reason this isn’t higher up the list is because I really haven’t given it as much time as I should. Wartech: Senko No Ronde for Xbox 360 was a really interesting approach to the 1v1 shoot ‘em up format, and until Furi was released there weren’t many other games quite like it. Furi has one on one duelling, it has intense bullet patterns to negotiate through, it has satisfying dodging and melee strikes, and it has a wonderful aesthetic. I kind of got burned out by the lengthy boss phases as you don’t really get much room to improvise and instead have to perfectly dodge several minutes of attacks until a brief window to counter is available, but I still enjoyed what I played."

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Soundtrack of the Year

S1. Amplitude

"Don't get me wrong, Rez has some top tunes and is a more interesting journey, but Amplitude has more tracks and more variety, and the way the music and gameplay are so tightly connected mean that it has to take the top spot..."

S2. Rez Infinite

"...but yes, this still has a great selection of tunes after so many years. The Area X theme might be a cheesy hangover from Child of Eden, but the build-up towards the final sequence is unforgettable, and the alternate mix (by going for the other ending) is worth a listen too."

S3. Furi

"Even though I'm pretty bad at playing the thing, Furi has amazing aesthetics married to a great selection of music. The transitions and changes you hear in the tracks as the boss battle moves between phases are a nice touch as well."

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. Rez Infinite

"Rez Infinite's VR treatment is a joy to experience - taking the player through a world they once peered into from the outside. The enemy patterns influence where the player is looking, and so at a subconscious level they're always taking in more and more of these abstract landscapes. The particles and free movement of Area X make for a superb finale, delivering an environment that you never want to leave." 

V2. Street Fighter V

"At first I wasn't sure about the game's looks; several years of SFIV's brilliantly expressive characters made me wonder if anything else could match it. However, after playing it for so many months I've really taken to the style; hit sparks and effects coming off moves look great, and the stages and characters are excellent, from donut-munching Birdie to floppy-haired Karin."

V3. Amplitude

"Rarely is audiovisual information so crucial. An Amplitude successor always needed to balance a vibrant environment with clearly defined note charting and assistance for recommended lanes, and the reboot is a wonderful demonstration of smart visual design. Pillars of light replace the green arrows of before, the effects never obstruct the notes, and the worlds still look great."

 

Writing of the Year

W1.

W2.

W3.

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Game of the Year
1. Uncharted 4
2. Dragon Quest Builders
3. This War of Mine The Litte Ones

4. Deus Ex Mankind Divided
5. World of Final Fantasy
6. No Man's Sky

7. Rise of the Tomb Raider

8. Ratchet & Clank

9. Lego Star Wars - The Force Awakens

 

Spoiler

Uncharted 4 - No contest nothing else I have played in 2016 came even close to this in every aspect from writing, visuals to enjoyment. Naughty Dog have raised the bar yet again!

 

Dragon Quest Builders - Not on my radar until the PS4 Demo was released & after 10 minutes of playing it I knew I have to get it on release, many many hours later it was the perfect blend of Minecraft & a JRPG. Fiendishly addictive & joyously fun.

 

This War of Mine The Little Ones -  Oh my! what a game, harrowing experience that still has me thinking about it even now many months later. Adding kids to it just tugged at my heart strings.

 

Deus Ex Mankind Divided - It is not as good as Human Revolution hence why it is 4th on the list & the ending was a bit abrupt but it has one of the best video game soundtracks released in 2016 & some lovely designed levels that you give you total freedom to explore.

 

World of Final Fantasy - What is not to love? It brings back all the old FF Characters you know & love. You get to revisit old FF locations & play a pokemon catch em all JRPG along the way. I am currently still playing but have played enough to put in at number 5.

 

No Man's Sky - Very divisive but for me it was still an amazing experience & I would buy PSVR in an instant if this game got VR support.

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider - I was a bit sour by having to wait a year to play it, nothing special but does the usual TR checkbox exercise.

 

Ratchet & Clank - Gorgeous looking old school platforming fun.

 

Lego Star Wars Force Awakens - More of the same you know & love.


 
Soundtrack of the Year
S1. Deus Ex Mankind Divided

S2. No Man's Sky

S3. Uncharted 4

 

Spoiler

Deus Ex - Just listen to this below !! This has been my most played video game soundtrack on youtube last year. Synth Techno Overload !!

Deus Ex Mankind Divided Sountrack

 

No Man's Sky

The noises & sound effects you get from visiting an alien planet followed by some lovely music by 65daysofstatic

 

Uncharted 4

That Naughty Dog perfection to detail is applied to every aspect of this game

 
Visuals of the Year
V1. Uncharted 4

V2. Deus Ex Mankind Divided
V3. No Man's Sky

 

Spoiler

Uncharted 4 - Eye Candy do I need to say anything else?

Deus Ex - Some amazing visual with so many different locations & styles.

No Man's Sky - Still an amazing achievement by such a small team, maths made graphics. 

 

Special Mention because @Wiper said I can't have a 4th is Ratchet & Clank, it's a cartoon !! look at it !!


 
Writing of the Year
W1. Uncharted 4
W2. This War of Mine The Little Ones

W3. World of Final Fantasy

 

Spoiler

Uncharted 4 - Naughty Dog fail to disappoint yet again, brilliant writing & fitting end to the Nathan Drake games.

 

This War of Mine The Little Ones - The dialogue between the various characters will just make you stop at times & got WTF this is a harrowing game but so true to life of what many humans suffer during conflict.

 

World of Final Fantasy - How the hell do you get all the Final Fantasy Characters & Locations & make into into a new JRPG?. It's a simple pokemon catch em all affair but they did a pretty decent job.

 

 

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1 minute ago, dataDave said:

Writing of the Year

Star Fox Zero

:lol:

 

In sincerity though, no numbers before your votes = they won't be counted, so please do keep that part of the form!

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Thanks for doing this Wiper!  And while it's a shame that you won't provide as much entertaining commentary as in previous years, but I'mlooking forwardto the results regardless! 

 

One question though: first thing I thought of seeing 'writing of the year' was Blood & Wine. That was released in 2016, but is it not eligible with it being an expansion? 

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1 minute ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

One question though: first thing I thought of seeing 'writing of the year' was Blood & Wine. That was released in 2016, but is it not eligible with it being an expansion? 

 

Surely it qualifies as a major expansion? (see also Destiny bits and bobs).

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Game of the Year

1. Dishonored 2

"Everything I wanted from a sequel to an already great game, and 100% more. The unique stylised graphics are more colourful & beautiful, the levels are intricate and fun to explore, with plenty of secrets to find. The new powers are a joy to use, and open the game to wanting to replay it again & again thanks to New Game+. I've put nearly 300 hours into this fantastic game, at the time of writing this. With the new Iron Mode plus hopefully more story DLC to come. I can see me playing this well into 2017. My GOTY no question. ( I reckon @Mr. Gerbik would love the stealth gameplay now, thanks to the customisation options available via Iron Mode ;) )."

2. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

3. Inside

4. Rise of the Tomb Raider

5. Uncharted 4

6. Forza Horizon 3

7. Gears of War 4

8. Doom

9. Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome Amiibo

10. The Division

11. No Man's Sky

12. Firewatch

 

Soundtrack of the Year

S1. Dishonored 2

S2. Inside

S3. Rise of the Tomb Raider

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. Dishonored 2 

V2. Inside

V3. Uncharted 4

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Dishonored 2

W2. Inside

W3. Uncharted 4

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2 minutes ago, Cosmic_Guru said:

 

Surely it qualifies as a major expansion? (see also Destiny bits and bobs).

Just asking to be sure,  I started to wonder because it's not on Wiper's own list :)

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Game of the Year

1. The Last Guardian.

 

"An utterly absorbing, overwhelmingly beautiful journey into another world that made me laugh and cry and reminded me why I play videogames."

 

2. Final Fantasy XV
3. The Witcher 3 - Blood and Wine

4. Dying Light: The Following

5. Forza Horizon 3

6. Mafia 3

7. Watch Dogs 2

8. Fallout 4 - Far Harbor

9. Inside

10. The Division

11. Firewatch

12. Uncharted 4

13. Oxenfree

14. Mirror's Edge Catalyst

15. The Final Station

16. Rise of the Tomb Raider

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Soundtrack of the Year

S1. Mafia 3

S2. Watch Dogs 2

S3. The Last Guardian

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. The Last Guardian

V2. The Witcher 3 - Blood and Wine

V3. Forza Horizon

 

Writing of the Year

W1. The Last Guardian

W2. The Witcher 3 - Blood and Wine

W3. Mafia 3

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Oh yeah, I think Amplitude got some votes in the 2015 poll because there was a "get an early access copy" backer tier which released in late 2015 - I assume votes for this are fine?

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:D Wondered when this would show. Might as well do it while it's quiet in work...

 

Game of the Year

1. The Last Guardian - a big surprise, this. I had tempered my expectations after its prolonged development, but it's almost perfect (bar the dodgy camera). It's a one time only thing for me - I'll never play it again. But what a journey. Incredible.

2. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE - the best Persona game without Persona in the title. A great old school JRPG with a fantastic J-Pop soundtrack and great visuals. 

3. Hyper Light Drifter - I bought this in the sale at the end of the year and loved everything about it. Great art style, fantastic score and excellent combat in a neon green and purple overworld that was like a cross between a 2D Zelda and Dark Souls. 

4. Dark Souls 3 - I really struggled to put this in fourth place. It's Dark Souls so it should be higher. It just shows the quality of the other releases that it only got to 4. Still, a great, great game.

5. Axiom Verge - it got a Vita release in 2016 so it counts. The best Metroidvania game which doesn't have Metroid or Castlevania in the title. 

6. Inside - I far preferred this to Limbo. Great puzzles and a good length story that is incredibly dark in places.

7. Firewatch. Probably my favourite of all the 'walking simulator' games I've played. A nice story that ratchets up the tension very successfully.

8. The Witness - line puzzles, line puzzles everywhere! A game that sounds about a million times worse on paper than it actually plays. Never have I had so many 'Eureka!' moments from one game. 

9. Picross 3D 2 - about 70 hours on the clock and still not done. Gotta keep tapping at those blocks to reveal a strangely cubic penguin.

10. Uncharted 4 - yeah. Was decent. Not amazing and a bit too long, but incredibly pretty with great dialogue and a fitting end for Nate and Co. 

 

Soundtrack of the Year

S1. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

S2. Hyper Light Drifter

S3. Axiom Verge

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. Uncharted 4

V2. Forza Horizon 3

V3. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

 

Writing of the Year

W1. The Last Guardian

W2. Firewatch

W3. Uncharted 4

 

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16 minutes ago, Qazimod said:

Oh yeah, I think Amplitude got some votes in the 2015 poll because there was a "get an early access copy" backer tier which released in late 2015 - I assume votes for this are fine?

 

Yep, early access and episodic games are allowed if they either initially launched or finished in 2016; I'll add that to the first post.

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Will edit these later and put in an actual order... so difficult this year to think of games I liked.

 

Game of the Year

1. Titanfall 2

I was already to give this to Inside, but the more I thought about it, the more Titanfall 2 just made sense. The single player aspect of the game was a right throwback to the likes of Half Life where the FPS side of things was a just a vehicle for telling a story. I felt a connection with the characters, without the need of cut-scene after cut-scene to break things up. It will usually take ages to finish a game, but this kept me entertained right the way through. I wanted more and still hope for more!

 

The MP is something special too. With most FPS games I feel like I am awful and holding everyone back, including games like Battlefield which allow you to succeed in different roles. I needed to team up and often I just didn't have the time. This though manages to make me feel like a gaming god, with lack of a K/D score on the screen rubbing it in. I can go from a bad game to a cracking game within minutes. 

 

The pace of the games also works wonderfully well, everything is frantic, yet controlled at the same time. I am still playing on and off when I get the time and it still feels great It deserves better than what it is getting right now. 

 

2. Inside

So the only reason this game came in second and not top, was because Titanfall 2 has lasted me a lot longer and continues to scratch an itch. Inside is just a sublime experience, but when it is done (fully) it is done. 

 

It does live on though, so many theories and questions that keep you thinking about the game itself even when done. I ended up going down a rabbit hole looking for theories on the theme of the game and the story. It got into my head in a similar way to Her Story last year and when a game can do that, it is just something special. 

 

3. Duskers

I almost needed reminding this was a 2016 game but I loved it. The only shame is that it is PC only, as I would love it on the Vita (because I would love everything on the Vita) but in all honesty it makes sense as to why it is a PC only game, as using command line to control drones makes you feel like a proper engineer in a retro sci-fi film.

 

It is pretty damned tense too, considering you are controlling simple drones and that is it. They do have a personality and you do grow attached. So good... I might go back for another play! 

 

4. Superhot

Got to say, I just loved this game, started off very simple, then added in the meta game type stuff that has become popular recently, but it worked so, so well. 

 

5. Overwatch

Had to sell this to fund some other stuff, but I really do miss it. Along with TitanFall 2 it is the best MP experience of the year. Others will likely go into more depth and explain why it is so good better than I will, but I just want to add, it taught me how I should approach different classes in games properly, so I may even give a MOBA a proper go now!

 

6. Trackmania Turbo

Wonderful fun, I really should go back and try and complete all the tracks, but for the time this was at its height of popularity, I loved the back and forth of trying to beat my friends times on all the tracks. Doesn't quite have the overall longevity of original Trackmania titles, but still bloody fun. 

 

7. Alienation

Another game I need to actually finish, but again one I really bloody enjoyed my time with. Twin-Stick action RPG of sorts? Lots of loot drops and upgrades. Again, just a ton of fun to play. 

 

8. DOOM

Not much I can add to what others will say, but this is how you do a shooter, brough back some glorious memories of DOOM, Quake, Unreal and their ilk. 

 

9. Not A Hero

Loved this, loved the art-style, the 'comedy' and the gameplay. Vey simple shooty platformer title. Highly recommend giving it a go.

 

10. Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2

First game was brilliant and this is more of the same on the whole with some additions that work and some that don't. Kind of got lost in the sea of MP only games out there and I regret almost picking it up on release since it got added to EA Access, but still a fun time to be had when I do dip in. 

 

11. Tumblestone

Competitive puzzle games are my jam and it has been a while since they have really been a thing, having to import Puyo Puyo Tetris so I could get my fix. This isn't perfect, but I did enjoy the competitive games I had, just a shame it died a death online in the end. 

 

12. Tricky Towers

This was fantastic, building towers using Tetris style items, with a nice variety of game modes to keep things fresh. Another competitive puzzle game that lost its online audience far too quickly, shows maybe I am in the minority on this style of game. 

 

13. Battleborn

Because fuck you... I liked it OK!

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Soundtrack of the Year

S1.

S2.

S3.

 

Visuals of the Year

V1.

V2.

V3.

 

Writing of the Year

W1.

W2.

W3.

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Game of the Year

1.Rez Infinite

"When you play Infinite in VR, you feel like you are playing the game that Mizuguchi had in his head during the devlopement of Rez on DC all those years ago. When you play Area X in VR, you feel you are playing the ultimate version of the game that can now exist thanks to technology catching up." 
2.Uncharted 4

"I'm a sucker for the Uncharted games, and this was a thrill a minute ride that gave Nate a deservedly epic send off. Grapically, the best game of 2016"

3. Titanfall 2

"The most enjoyable online FPS in years, and the best single player FPS campaign in...forever"
4.Witcher 3 Blood & Wine.

"Great writing, as always, and an expansion that truly broadens the Witcher 3 world. Remains the best Wesern RPG ever made"
5.The Last Guardian

"Can't actually believe that not only did this come out, but it is actually excellent. Team ICO DNA running all the way through it, the best realised AI buddy in gaming history and a genuinely beautiful game"
6.Driveclub VR

"Driveclub VR with a wheel is the best videogame driving experience ever."

7.FFXV

"Made me realise how much I had missed a genuinely good JRPG. Superb battle system that is simple on the face of it, but wonderfully complex once you get used to it"

8.Batman VR

"Crap game. But the first time I played it, took me back to childhood levels of actual wonderment. "

9.Rush Of Blood

"Genuinely good on rails shooter. Made 100 times better/More scary by VR"

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Soundtrack of the Year

S1.The Last Guardian

"For Soundscape rather than soundtrack. The sound design is excellent"

S2. No Mans Sky

S3. Battlefield One

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. Uncharted 4

V2. The Last Guardian

V3. Battlefield One

 

Writing of the Year

W1.Firewatch

W2.The Witcher 3 - Blood and wine

W3. Uncharted 4

 

 

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Game of the Year

1. Dishonored 2 - not done with this yet by any means.  Just exquisitely designed and realised throughout.

2. Quantum Break - want a meaty story with innovative combat and some jaw dropping visual effects?  Look no further.  Sets a new standard for image capture too.  The shifters are amongst us!

3. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine - fairly tale setting maybe but the reality is as dark as ever.  Very satisfying conclusion to the saga.

4. Inside - WTF? 

5. The Witness - another finely designed game (bit of a common theme in all the above)

6. Final Fantasy XV - manages somehow to meld the engaging and the fairly dire to create something with a warm heart and an ample appetite.

7. No Mans Sky - I'm flying this spaceship!!! I'm skimming over a planet's surface!!! What is that over there????

8. Deus Ex Mankind Divided - suffered a bit from being the middle part of a trilogy, but some really cool side quests along the way.

9. The Technomancer - neat little SF RPG

10.  Forza Horizon 3 - dem Australian skies!!!

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Soundtrack of the Year

S1. Mafia III - I doubt there will be another licensed soundtrack to ever match it - Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, The Beachboys, CCR......

S2. No mans sky

S3.

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. Dishonored 2 (visual design, not necessarily pixel count)

V2. The Witcher 3: Blood and wine

V3. Forza Horizon 3

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Quantum Break

W2. The Witcher 3: Blood and wine

W3.

 

Underwhelming year on the writing front, frankly.

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 Game of the Year

1. DOOM

2. Batman VR

3. Keep Talking and noone explodes

4. Sports Bar VR

5. Inside

6. Tumble VR

7. Forza Horizon 3

8. DriveClub VR

9. TrackMania Turbo VR

10. Lethal VR

11. Rez Infinite

12. Bound

13. TitanFall 2

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19.

20.

 

Soundtrack of the Year

S1. Bound

S2. REZ infinite

S3. Inside

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. Forza Horizon 3

V2. Rise of the Tomb Raider

V3. Gears of War 4

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Rise of the Tomb Raider

W2. Batman VR

W3. Inside

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There are so many games released this year that would probably find their way onto my list had I found time to play them yet. FFXV, Dark Souls III, Dishonored 2, The Last Guardian, Hyper Light Drifter, Mirror's Edge, Dragon Quest Builders...

 

It feels pointless making a list at this point.

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Game of the Year

1. Rocket League

"Someone made a game about playing football with cars, and I thought that game looked pretty silly - something I'd try for a few hours perhaps, and then never touch again. But after playing it for 300 hours or so, I think it might actually be the best game I have ever played. It's wonderfully simple to grasp how to play, but the skill ceiling is endlessly high. Normally that would put me off completely, but in Rocket League's case, failing is often as fun as succeeding, and as you learn from your mistakes, you see yourself slowly becoming better, and eventually you are pulling off stuff you once marveled at when other players did it. Simply put, the game never fails to entertain and amaze me, not least because I often surprise myself in terms of what I am able to do, but also because I can always laugh at myself when I fuck up. Rocket League is the game I've played and enjoyed far more than any other in 2016, and an easy pick as my GOTY."

2. DOOM

"The only thing wrong with this game is that it's not called DOOM 4. I couldn't have imagined a better sequel to my favourite 90s FPS games. The gameplay is fast and furious and forces you to be on the move constantly, the weapons are amazing (the Super Shotgun being the best one, of course), the enemies are varied and move around the environment constantly to pursue you, the level design is great, the secrets are fun to find, and overall this is just an utterly superb singleplayer campaign from id software who should once again be considered the masters of the genre."

3. Titanfall 2

"I can't recall having played a better paced campaign since... the first Portal, maybe? The game is short, for sure, but not a minute is wasted. There's some great ideas and gameplay gimmicks in here that other games would have built their entire campaigns around, but Titanfall 2 confidently catapults you from one exciting scenario to the next before repetition sets in. The multiplayer is great, too - it's nice to have a properly fast-paced multiplayer FPS with wall-running and mechs. My only real complaint here is the completely unnecessary grind that seems to make it into pretty much every multiplayer FPS."

4. Stardew Valley

"I always liked the concept of both Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, but could never get into them as I felt they either put too much pressure on you to do certain things within a time limit (in the case of Harvest Moon) or had too much aimless wandering and not enough goals to work towards (in the case of Animal Crossing - which also had that thing where time in-game passes in realtime... fucking awful idea if you ask me). Though it is obviously more inspired by Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley feels like the perfect middle ground between these two: There's loads to do, but you're never put under pressure to do one specific thing. I cannot think of a more pleasant, relaxing game to play. It's the perfect antidote when you get stressed out by the more challenging or competitive games out there."

5. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

"CD Projekt Red brings back the classic expansion pack that actually, you know, expands significantly on the main game rather than the barebones DLC packs that are predominant today. Blood and Wine might not bring much new to the table in terms of mechanics, but Touissant is a wonderful - and massive - new area to explore, and in terms of quests and content in general, the expansion is basically of the same high standard you'd expect after playing the main game and Hearts of Stone."

6. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

"This might have a pretty disjointed structure if you follow the main story (which I found confusing and boring), and it has some of the most unlikeable characters of any game in recent memory. But the level design is absolutely stellar. Prague certainly surpasses the hub worlds in Human Revolution with its intricate design, filled with hidden routes and ways to get around that you'd easily miss if you don't explore the environment, and some pretty great side missions. The individual levels in the main story are of a generally high quality, too, and on the whole I'd say this is the Deus Ex game I've enjoyed the most since the original."

7. Tyranny

"I'm not actually far enough into Tyranny to properly evaluate it, but what I have played is promising enough that I'm putting it in my top 10. I really like the premise of being a kind of fantasy version of Judge Dredd who works for an evil cunt that has taken over the world. The idea has been executed quite well with the focus being on choices that affect your reputation with characters and factions who each have their unique world views and perspectives on how you should do your job, rather than generic good/evil/neutral choices. The game might lack the exploration of larger areas that Pillars of Eternity had, but on the other hand, this allows for a more focused game that gets you to the best bits fairly quickly without a lot of downtime in between. Looking forward to playing it some more."

8. Total War: Warhammer

"This is one of my favourite strategy games of the last few years, which is quite a bit of a surprise to me since I know virtually nothing about Warhammer, had little interest in playing the game, and always thought the various historical periods that each Total War was based on was a big part of the appeal of these games. But the Warhammer setting proves to be one of the best things to happen to the series: The difference between factions is the main thing that makes it so great, whether it's the unit variety (which makes battles more tactically interesting than previously) or the unique ways each faction plays on the strategic map. In addition to that, the game has been nicely streamlined, cutting some of the tedious stuff from previous entries (like naval battles, and there is generally less micro management on the strategic map - less time is wasted, and each decision matters more). The end result is possibly the best Total War yet."

9. Shadow Complex Remastered

"I guess I had forgotten how great Shadow Complex is, because I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did when playing through it again. I feel it's one of the only metroidvania games that really gets what's great about these types of games. Specifically, the level design in Shadow Complex is 100 times better than what I've seen in other indie metroidvanias, and some of the upgrades you get, like the foam gun, are ridiculously fun to use and make it easier to progress in a non-linear fashion. The only thing it's really lacking is a decent art style and a more atmospheric world, but I do enjoy the sillyness of the storyline. Plus, I like the way enemies go flying when you punch them in the groin."

10. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen (PC)

"This was my first time playing Dragon's Dogma (other than a demo on 360). I liked the combat a lot (especially when playing the rogue/archer type classes) and thought the pawn system was a breath of fresh air when it comes to RPG party mechanics, even if it could get a bit frustrating at times when the pawns did stupid things like pick up a useless rock or whatever. I was properly addicted to the game for a while but did eventually grow a bit tired of it - I feel the game world was perhaps a bit sparse in terms of unique locations as eventually I just felt I was trudging through the same areas and fighting the same enemies over and over. Still, the game deserves major credit for the unique mechanics it introduced as well as the combat, which is much better than what we see in the majority of RPG's."

11. Enter the Gungeon

"One of the more enjoyable roguelikes I've played. It takes the basic structure of The Binding of Isaac, but adds combat that is actually good, making it a far superior game. It's tough as nails, but it's fun finding all kinds of insanely powerful weapons and just unleash hell while trying to dodge bullets. Where the game falters a bit is in terms of pacing, as I feel there is a bit too much traipsing back and forth between empty rooms to make sure you've searched everywhere and found every chest possible on the current floor. The game would've benefitted from putting a bit more pressure on the player (like the time limit in Spelunky, or the way levels are pure combat arenas in Nuclear Throne, meaning you are never safe until the level is finished since enemies can hunt you down whereever you are), but still, Enter the Gungeon is very enjoyable as it is."  

12. XCOM 2

13. Overwatch

14. Enderal: Shards of the Order

15. Grim Dawn

16. Oxenfree

17. Devil Daggers

18. Pac-Man 256

 

Soundtrack of the Year

S1. Stardew Valley

"Love this soundtrack with its simple, but varied and memorable tunes that made me feel quite nostalgic at times. It's yet another impressive aspect of Stardew Valley's development: Usually when you hear of these one-man projects, they got someone else to do the art and/or music. Not in this case - Eric Barone did everything himself, including this rather wonderful soundtrack."

S2. Enderal: Shards of the Order

"Very impressive stuff. Some of the tracks reminded me of the music in Morrowind, but Enderal's music definitely has a style of its own. I like that it's generally more subdued than the bombastic soundtracks you get in many RPG's."

S3. DOOM

"The music in DOOM will blast your ears off. It fits the intensity and brutality of the gameplay perfectly. Something you might not notice when playing, but is worth looking up, is how It adapts to the rhythm of the gameplay."

 

Visuals of the Year

V1. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

"Witcher 3 is still one of the best-looking games out there, and Toussaint, with its more vibrant colours, delivers a visually nice contrast to Velen and Skellige."

V2. DOOM

"The visuals in DOOM are overall superb, but special mention goes to the animations. Ripping a demon's face in half has never looked better!"

V3. Rocket League

"I didn't play a lot of visually dazzling games in 2016, so I'm just going to put my favourite game in here. It's not Witcher 3  levels of technical and artistic wizardry I guess, but it does look quite nice for a game that doesn't have much going on visually other than cars chasing a giant ball."

 

Writing of the Year

W1. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

"Not quite as compelling as Hearts of Stone and the best bits of the main game, but the writing and storytelling in this expansion is still head and shoulders above most games out there."

W2. Tyranny

"As you'd expect from Obsidian, this is a pretty well-written game with an interesting world and characters, and the lore is presented in a convenient way (basically by hovering your mouse pointer over key words during dialogues) that doesn't bog down the pacing of the story with too much lenghty exposition."

W3. Oxenfree

"A compelling ghost story, but what's particularly impressive here is how well the dialogue is written and the way it flows naturally by letting you interrupt the other characters."

 

Great year for gaming overall. I only wish I had played the new Hitman as it looks pretty amazing and everyone seems to like it, so it would probably have made it onto my list.

 

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@JohnnyRyall

 

Well, you've got a month to try and get them all played!

 

(I know that problem - there are plenty that I haven't played that I imagine could change my list(s) - Hyper Light Drifter, The Last Guardian, Inside, Firewatch, Blood and Wine and Virginia are all games I can see doing well if I play(ed) them)

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