So it’s that time of the year again, 2016 is coming to an end, it’s getting (or already is) cold out, and people want to know what other people think was the best game of 2016. As you can probably tell from the title, and what I’ve personally focused on news wise since I started writing here, my pick for 2016 is Blizzards team objective based shooter Overwatch. If you have a mid-range PC, PS4 or Xbox One, this game’s been available to you since May 24.
Whilst the plot isn’t immediately present, there is an interesting story being told through a collection of animated videos, comic books, and even in-game quotes and interactions between characters. They tell the story of how a collection of robots known as Omnics began waging a war on humanity, called the Omnic war, spurred the countries of the world to create a special taskforce to combat these massive threats. That taskforce was named Overwatch, and it only accepts the best members, making it an unstoppable force.
Unfortunately, after the Omnic war finished, a bombing caused Overwatch to be disbanded, with the leader requiring extensive cybernetics to survive, and the second-in-command supposedly dying. After an unspecified amount of time, a terrorist organization known as Talon begins committing high level crimes with the purpose of greater destruction. After hearing this news, several former members of Overwatch come together to reform the task force and stop Talon.
Now you’d probably never know any of this if you didn’t pay attention to any of the external media, and chose to just play the game, and that’s the great thing; it’s an amazing game even without knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s incredibly fast paced, an insane roster of characters to choose from (so everyone should find a role that they like), and has multiple maps available. The dynamic interplay with all of the incredibly diverse characters and team combinations make for some serious and incredibly fun moments.
Very little will feel more satisfying than canceling an enemy’s ultimate ability with a well timed hook pull. Whether you prefer 1 v 1, with each of you getting the same heroes to fight with, 3 v 3 where you can pit your team tactical skills directly against another, or the classic push or defend the payload mode, there’s plenty to choose from. Not to mention, on top of all of that, new maps, modes and even heroes are completely free. The only DLC is micro-transactions that are absolutely cosmetic, and can all be acquired for free if you play the game normally. Plus it doesn’t take hundreds of hours to get a legendary skin that you want. For reference, I’ve put 60 hours in, and have 15 different legendary skins, either from loot drops gained per level, or gold gained from duplicates.
As previously mentioned, I’ve sunk dozens of hours into this game, and would undoubtedly have many more if it were at all possible. This is one of the few games that has been able to draw me in several months after its release, and still hold that same level of excitement. Not to mention, it’s the only multiplayer based game that I’ve ever truly gotten into.
Now for all of those out there saying they can’t stand a game without a campaign, or some sort of good offline mode, I want you to know this is completely opinion based. Also, that I’m someone who truly appreciates a campaign mode, as I’ve always preferred single player over multiplayer, but Overwatch is so good that I truly don’t care. Its characters give off so much personality in such spurts that they feel like I’ve played a whole campaign with them already. So if you’re someone who used to be like me who usually disregards a game for not having a story, and refused to play Overwatch for that reason, I highly recommend you give this a shot.
Taking all of this into account, this is a game that has a rich backstory, amazing gameplay, and a beautiful look artistically that does not rely on next-gen graphics to look amazing. In a world filled with over-hyped messes, unfulfilled promises and wallet busting season passes, the world needs heroes, and Overwatch fills that positions perfectly. That is why it is absolutely my pick for Game of the Year 2016.
Runner Up: Pokemon Sun & Moon
I’ve played every iteration of Pokemon releases at one time or another, so I feel like I have the background to properly place this game. Whilst I would normally be with the masses, lauding how the older Pokemon games had more heart in them, and generally more creativity, I have to give Game Freak credit on the innovation that they’ve brought to the series.
Putting aside some of the new Alolan forms, which are goofy to say the least, there are some real gems, and in all honesty, some of them could’ve used a redesign (I’m looking at you Muk). Even though some are touting laziness as a reason for the redesigns, I’d honestly say most of the new Pokemon introduced are either incredibly awesome looking (Golisopod, Kommo-O, Salazzle etc…), have some serious abilities competitively (Drampa, Dhelmise, Wishiwashi), or are combinations of both. Every die-hard Pokemon fan finds something about the new line-up to complain about, but I feel like this generation gave every Pokemon a use in some way shape or form.
With all of this in mind, I have to say the one reason this made it as my runner up is due to the new PokeRide system. By letting the player ride various Pokemon to get across the terrain, it completely removes the necessity for HM moves. These are moves that are generally sub-par, are necessary to traverse the terrain and aren’t easily forgotten. With that system now done away with, you can actually have your party be full of Pokemon that you want. Before you would need an extra 1-2 Pokemon that were useless in battle, but knew all of your HM moves. For this reason, and the others stated before, Pokemon Sun and Moon is my runner-up for Game of the Year 2016.