Web Wombat 2016 Game Of The Year!
By Steve Polak
2016 is finally done and dusted and we thought the holiday break was the perfect opportunity to look back over the year that was and dissect what has been on offer when it comes to gaming goodness.
So without further ado here is the Web Wombat Game Of The Year breakdown.
Below are ten of the most influential, technically impressive and downright fun games to lob our way from the past year.
If you missed any of these titles in 2016 you’d be doing yourself a service if you grabbed them for some extra holiday fun.
We have listed the games in our top ten from ten to one, with the top dog, our Game Of The Year 2016, listed at the bottom of our countdown. Try not to scroll down to the number one title straight away!
10) Kirby: Planet Robobot (3DS)
Tired? Old? Formulaic? Hell no! This latest Kirby experience managed to deliver some surprisingly enjoyable and fresh gameplay moments, as you combined smaller battles, challenges and boss fights into a single experience that felt familiar, but was structurally quite different. The often complex robotic world is full of challenges and Kirby’s myriad of transformations and weapon upgrades are just so much fun to experiment with. This isn’t a difficult game, but it is so much fun to stomp, blast and overpower your foes, as a mechanised magically powered up Kirby, it is hard not to play till the end. The colourful graphics just add the icing on the cake.
9) Doom (PS4 / PC / Xbox One)
Some games just don’t give a stuff about entry level players. Some games dare to be vicious right from the get go. None do this in as uncompromising a fashion as Doom. This reboot of the original demonic shooter delivered the goods and was a super intense blast fest from start to finish. Powered by a powerful hard techno soundtrack and a ‘welcome to Hell, you will never make it out alive’ sensibility, Doom’s reimagining kicked butt from the get go.
8) Skylanders Imaginators (WiiU / PS4 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 / PS3)
The latest and longest lasting ‘toys to life’ offering delivered a lot for fans of the series. The single player narrative might have been a little short, but this minor quibble aside Imaginators delivered some great concepts, with the grand daddy of them all being the way you could easily create your own often truly nutty Skylanders and send them out to battle the minions of evil half pint villain Kaos.
7) Paper Mario Colour Splash (WiiU)
Combining real time action with a clever turn based combat system, Colour Splash delivered depth and some nifty environment tweaks by (for example) rolling the cardboard levels up and folding them into new creations all of the time. Being one of the few games that made proper use of the WiiU touchpad was a bonus too. The game was also utterly gorgeous and oozed charm and funny side plots. Every character you met had something to say! A great game for those (like myself) who love to play with their kids.
6) Battlefield 1 (PC / PS4 / Xbox One)
Proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks, this reboot of the Battlefield series added a lot to what was a fairly tired formulaic approach. The game dared to present a new setting in the form of a WWI milieu. It also had the chutzpah to deliver a compelling and at times emotionally draining single player mode to boot. Battlefield 1 is the best ‘semi realistic’ historic shooter in some time. Sure there are a lot more machine guns in the hands of soldiers than was really the case for the period and your biplane in the aerial battles was nowhere as flimsy as the real world items from The Great War. However these minor conceits to the gods of good gameplay didn’t detract from a World War One experience that was utterly compelling in single player as well as multiplayer guises.
5) XCom 2 (PC / PS4 / Xbox One)
This turn based alien bashing strategy game managed to achieve the seemingly impossible. It took a turn based strategy game, based on an original blueprint that dates back to the 90s and gave it a contemporary feel that was not just effective, but was also extremely addictive. XCom 2 delivered great depth in terms of character and base development. On top of this the game delivers genuinely tense and stressful moments as you take on forces you do not know or understand and hope to prevail (although it was often not necessarily so). With the possible exception of the current Civilisation, which we sadly didn’t get to review this year, XCom 2 is an amazingly playable yet deep strategy game that just oozes menace.
4) Dark Souls 3 (PC / PS4 / Xbox One)
Extremely tough, foreboding and full of atmosphere, few videogames are as taxing or compelling as the current Dark Souls. The game will likely to see you hurling your controller at the screen after you have died dozens of times, yet you will still be compelled to return. The bosses are some of the most amazing to see the light of day in a videogame and they are absolutely deadly.
3) Forza Horizon 3 (PC / PS4 / Xbox One)
Set in our backyard this superb Aussie racer features a host of locally produced cars, some truly great stunts and plenty of variety and racing thrills. Horizon 3 was a graphical tour de force that blew every other racing game in 2016 into the weeds. Local Fords and Holdens were everywhere and I could even drive through areas I had explored in real life! The variety of racing experiences combined with some superbly detailed locations, seamless online play and some real ‘wow’ moments combine for a racing experience that is going to take a lot of beating.
2) Overwatch (PC / PS4 / Xbox One)
Fast, full of variety when it comes to player characters and capable of pleasing entry level players as well as seasoned pros, Overwatch marked a major departure for the strategy game supremos at Blizzard and the bold move in a fresh direction absolutely paid off. Just like the venerable Starcraft, this new shooter is a game we could well see being played for the next decade or so, such is the quality of gameplay.
1) Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4)
How do you finish a series that has arguably been the most luscious visually, the most epic in scale and the most emotionally engaging? By doing everything Uncharted has become renowned for even better! If you have never enjoyed the odd adventure with Nathan Drake, then this amazing final 3D adventure is the perfect introduction. No other game released this year delivered as comprehensive an adventuring experience than A Thief’s End. The controls are flawless, the visuals breathtaking and the way the game blends storyline developments with gameplay moments, is unsurpassed. On top of this Uncharted 4 had a decent multiplayer element, another step forward for the series. A very worthy Game Of The Year and rollicking experience that you will most likely enjoy more than once.
So there you have it! Ten games that were heavy hitters in 2016. If you can’t find something from this list that you absolutely love perhaps you’d better take up macramé.