What classifies an action title as such? Is it the heart-pounding moments and adrenaline as you rack up kill after kill? Is it stealth and making the right kill? Whatever your definition may be, action as a genre played a huge role in this year’s games, from the sneaky to the cover-based. Here are the nominees for best action game of 2016.
Many were worried that the episodic approach would spell doom but IO Interactive’s Hitman managed to overcome the odds. Returning to a more sandbox-like approach and incorporating a variety of ways to complete missions, Hitman was a return to form for the series. Sure, the inability to play offline and the overall “meh” nature of episode 5 was there but the episodes were by and large a success.
Deus Ex Mankind Divided
While not praised for its ending, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided expanded upon its initial stealth FPS/RPG premise from before, featuring a more involved and densely populated world to explore. Mission objectives offered unparalleled freedom and it certainly helps that the lethal options are improved over the first game.
Gears of War 4
Returning to what made the series great while pushing it forward was the goal for Gears of War 4. The Coalition mostly succeeded, thanks to a compelling new campaign and cast with more fluid cover-based shooting. The gameplay felt incredibly old-school but that wasn’t a bad thing especially when you throw in a revamped Horde mode and awesome set-pieces.
In development for a long time, Quantum Break wasn’t your typical Remedy title (but then again, what is?). Featuring live-action TV episodes interspersed among in-game missions, Quantum Break‘s gameplay focused on time-bending and third person shooting. Its decision-making ultimately influenced the plot and as a trans-media experience, it was certainly a lot better than we thought it would be.
Say what you will about the graphics or the PC issues or how similar it is to the original but Dishonored 2 expands the initial package in so many ways. Offering two playable characters with a large yet familiar world to explore, the combination of political intrigue and high-octane stealth made Dishonored 2 stand out in a year of triple-A releases.
Dark Souls 3
Many will call this an “RPG” but we all know the truth. Dark Souls is a battle for survival where your wits, reflexes and timing will save you more often than a better weapon or higher stats. Dark Souls 3 was a return of sorts to what made the series so appealing with tons of secrets, memorable boss fights and the classic gameplay we know and love.
It’s hard to point out exactly what made Hitman so great. Splitting the main story into episodes still doesn’t sit well with people but being able to overhear possible assassination methods, stealing outfits and committing murder via bathroom drowning? How about causing an entire chandelier collapse during a fashion show? Hitman took the classic sand-box of previous titles and gave us a bigger playground with more tools and challenges to play around in. Lo and behold, it made for a better game than Absolution even with some technical issues. It may be more stealth than you’re used to but as an action game, Hitman is definitely on top for 2016.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.