2016 was the year in which multiplatform games ruled the roost.
The reign of exclusives over console gaming is at an end- barring in house first party games, and the odd collaboration with some third party, every major game released these days is a multiplatform title. Representing the bulk of game releases in any given year, multiplatform games also represent the bulk of the industry’s talent- so is it ever any surprise that they are as incredible as they are? Multiplatform titles are, indeed, often also the very best games within any given year- so being the best among the best is truly a stunning achievement worth commemorating.
Watch Dogs 2
The original Watch Dogs was a disappointment, but with Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft paid heed to the complaints, and delivered a fresh, bold, daring sequel that is as much an improvement over its predecessor as Assassin’s Creed 2 was over the first one back in 2009.
No one expected DOOM to be as good as it turned out to be- and yet, id Software, with an admirable focus on just how the game plays, and on game design, modern conventions and expectations regarding first person shooters be damned, ended up delivering what is quite possibly the best first person shooter we have had in a long, long time.
Deus Ex Mankind Divided
Deus Ex Mankind Divided may have disappointed fans of Human Revolution with its abrupt story, but in every other way, it represents an improvement over that game- every mechanic has been polished, there’s more content, and all flaws of that game have been addressed. Mankind Divided is a dark horse candidate for being one of the best titles of the year.
We knew Overwatch would be big, but we could never have guessed that it would become the kind of phenomenon that it has. Overwatch permeates mainstream consciousness, and commands a legion of fans across all platforms- and all because it was able to deftly deliver an incredible, amazingly fun and addictive multiplayer first person shooter that anyone could get into, but few could master.
All odds were stacked against Hitman- the game was utilizing a controversial episodic model for no reason that anyone could conceivably justify, it was coming right off ofHitman Absolution, a game so bad it nearly killed the franchise, and it looked like the world in general had moved on from the game. And yet, Hitman, with its brilliant mix of emergent gameplay, and sandbox stealth mechanics, ended up delivering what might be the best game in the series, and one of the greatest stealth games of all time.
Titanfall 2’s multiplayer tests were so bad, that everyone lost hope in the game- especially since it was sandwiched right between Battlefield 1 and Infinite Warfare, two games that people felt would be much better. But people were wrong, because Titanfall 2 is quite possibly among the most inventive, most progressive, best first person shooters ever made- and any fan of the genre more than owes it to themselves to actually play the game, and see what is inarguably Respawn’s best work.
By throwing away all the trappings of modern shooters, and letting players just blast their way through waves upon waves of enemies, by delivering lightning fast action and a tongue in cheek story firmly aware of how seriously modern AAA games take themselves, id Software delivered a reminder of just how fun and great first person shooters used to be before they became homogenous- and in the process, delivered a game that is far more fun to play than any other modern shooter released this year.
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.