BlueGartr Staff Picks - 2016
byon 2016-12-31 at 13:32 (1251 Views)
As this year draws to a close, I imagine many of you can agree that it is good 2016 is finally over and are eagerly awaiting the fresh start that January 1st will bring. Still, for all its flaws and issues, 2016 was not without its standout games, and it wouldn’t be the end of the year if we didn’t take a moment to reflect on the year in gaming. As ever, I’ve asked the staff here at BlueGartr to think about the games they played over the course of this year and pick the ones which distinguished themselves from the crowd. Welcome to the BlueGartr Staff Picks for Game of the Year, Good Riddance 2016 Edition!
BaneTheBrawler: Stellaris (PC)
Stellaris, hands down. It's not perfect, but it's fun. A 4X game, Stellaris lets you create your own species and government to conquer a galaxy. I say "a" galaxy because it's not the Milky Way, though if you play as the pre-generated Humans (or if they show up in your game) Sol and a few other nearby stars will make an appearance. Like most 4X games, Stellaris has a lot going on, so I don't really want to go into it all here. But if you enjoy customization in your 4X games, this is a good one.
Byrthnoth: Final Fantasy XI (PC, PS2/3, XB360)
This year, FFXI gracefully transitioned into its true endgame, dropping PS2/3 and X-Box support. Missions finished up and we got a glimpse of what SquareEnix's continued support would look like. The reality was not as grim as many of our predictions. SE has continued to put out new armors/items and a battlefield or two every month, and this month we're getting a brand new event.
As fun as Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition was, I have to go with FFXI as the best game I've played this year.
Brill Weave: Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (PS4)
I think 2016 stood out because of the major fuckups that occurred over the course of the year. With No Man's Sky being a massive letdown and Ubisoft running The Division into the ground you had two major titles crash and burn in magnificent fashion. Granted they were both financial successes, these games did a ton of damage to reputations.
There really wasn't anything that stood out for me and said holy fuck buy me now. With that I'll go with Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II as my game of the year choice.
Sonomaa: Doom (PC, PS4, XB1), Titanfall 2 (PC, PS4, XB1), Civilization VI (PC), Overwatch (PC, PS4, XB1)
I have to go with Doom as my favorite single player game.
Titanfall 2 had the best single player game with an AI buddy.
Civilization VI is best strategy game.
Overwatch best Multiplayer game since TF2.
Ksandra: Overwatch (PC, PS4, XB1)
I have to go with Overwatch this year, despite not playing for a bit. Most fun I've had in a game in a really long time. It met every single one of my expectations. I wanted a newer TF2, and I got a newer TF2. No complaints.
Ragns: Undertale (PC)
I was late into this but had to because the fucking fans wouldn't shut the fuck up about this game. Best drinking game ever if you follow the 1 shot per feels rule. Also most boopable goat of all the years.
Boyiee: Pokémon Sun/Moon (3DS)
As I've gotten older I've found myself playing games less and less. Days I'm off while the wife is at work where I could easily sit at the computer for upwards of 16 hours are now a thing of the past. I've gone from playing a game like WoW 7 days a week to barely managing 7 hours a week to raid. I bought a new computer and monitor and picked up major titles such as Overwatch, Legion, and BF1 but barely touch them at all. I have the privilege of having a job with a lot of downtime where I could play games and I bought a laptop to do just that, it barely comes out of my bag for more than Amazon and BG. I just can't seem to sit down and play anything or have the patience to play anything for more than maybe an hour or two any more.
Enter Pokémon Sun. Enter nostalgia. Somehow I've found myself involved in this friendly and familiar generation of Pokémon. I'm no breeder, or endgame player, but I somehow spent over 25 hours within the first few days of playing just on the first few islands. I skipped every generation since Diamond/Crystal, but there is just something about it this time around. I find myself using every minute of downtime at work to play, and playing until the battery dies in bed even when I have to be up early the next morning. Randomly doing things such as trying to get a Pikachu or Salamance, or an Eevee evolution I hadn't had or seen before. There is just something about this game this time around that I can't put it down. I haven't had this much satisfaction or enjoyment in a game in years and normally I detest games that are played alone or without someone to at least talk to while playing. I don't know if its just bringing me back to a place I haven't been in a while or if it is just perfectly executed, or both. Hands down my game of the year is Pokémon Sun/Moon.
6souls: Fallout 4: Far Harbor (PC, PS4, XB1)
Proper story and difficulty that were missing from the base game although the ending had no clear cut good/evil. I've put many more hours into Far Harbor than any other piece of content available in the game.
Runner-up - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Basically Human Revolution 2, which isn't a bad thing, but it doesn't add much to the overall gameplay. I loved the lore the HR brought and MD expanded upon, but the lack of a clear ending was a disappointment. It's as if SE was getting back at their fans for not wanting to Augment their Pre-order. Also, the single-use microtransactions set a new level of fail and the Breach mini game that was developed while the game was delayed adds nothing to the game other than being a time waster.
Honorable mentions -
The Division - Great single & multiplayer gameplay lvl1 to 30, ending clearly cut to be dlc and not much of a cliffhanger, Dark Zone is complete ass as PVP, game got better with v1.4 but not by much
Skyrim Special Edition - Prettier water, adds nothing to a non-modder, game actually runs worse than the previous version (crash to desktop, unpick-upable items everywhere, general F4 engine quirks)
Nitro+ Blasterz - My favorite fighting game of the year and solid gameplay, unfortunately has a small community due to being an animu fighter
Street Fighter V - Dumbed down enough to make pad play enjoyable, Season 2 seems to be a step in the right direction
Let It Die: Suda51's version of Dark Souls in a f2p concept
Star Trek Online for PS4: Despite having some game-breaking issues that interrupt progression and is clearly missing mechanics found in the PC version, the game is actually fun and adds redeemable lore to the canon
Resident Evil 7: Demo - Make horror horror again
Pokemon Go - Supplemental time waster with clear issues that won't be fixed for a long long time
Ingress - When PoGo turned out to be shit, the oldie picked up the slack and proved that turf wars and creating real-life drama is a lot more fun
Marvel Puzzle Quest - GOTY every year
Serra: Granblue Fantasy (Android, iOS)
Honestly, looking back, this has been a strange year in gaming for me. There is no doubt that there were a myriad of games released this year which, in many cases, I had been anticipating for years. While there were some games (like Fire Emblem: Fates and The Witcher 3’s phenomenal DLC) which met my expectations, others proved themselves unworthy of the anticipation (Final Fantasy XV being the most egregious). That made it especially surprising when a game on the fringes of my radar not only exceeded my expectations, but also carved an enduring place for itself as one of my most played games of 2016. My game of the year is Granblue Fantasy. The not-an-MMO mobile game which draws elements from classic RPGs stood out to me thanks to the beautiful artwork, captivating story, and phenomenal gameplay. It has been my most played game of 2016 and I imagine it will continue to dominate my playtimes into 2017.
Honorable Mentions: Fire Emblem: Fates, Final Fantasy XV (the first half)
Those were the games which stood out to us, but which games helped you make it through the mire that was 2016? Feel free to share your thoughts below or in this year's thread.
Happy New Year, everyone, here's to 2017!