2016 Game of the Year: Day 1

Welcome to my three day 2016 Game of the Year extravaganza. Over the next three days I will be looking back on the games that shaped last year culminating in my top 10 games of 2016.

We’re a little over a week into 2017 so now is the perfect time to look back on 2016. Overall last year was a fantastic year for games. Everything from small indie projects to the big budget blockbusters had a strong year. I played a lot of great games (and missed several more) this year so to make sure they all get their due I’ll be handing out some special awards leading up to the final top 10.

2016’s Old Game of the Year

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

In 2016 I made a real effort to start working through my backlog and of all the older games I played none stood above The Witcher 3 thanks to its excellent expansion, Blood and Wine. The expansion takes Geralt to the land of Toussaint, a place untouched by the war ravaging the rest of the world. This allows the game to leave behind the drab war torn regions of the base game and instead present a carefree and colorful part of the world the series hasn’t touched on before. Of course, Geralt wouldn’t be there if there wasn’t trouble and underneath the festive tournaments and vibrant cities hides something darker. The expansion continues to provide excellent writing, compelling side quests and intriguing new characters. It’s a fitting farewell to Geralt and The Witcher 3.

Runners up: Destiny, The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

Critically Acclaimed Game I Don’t Get

The Witness

I really wanted to like The Witness. It’s a beautiful looking game and I loved Jonathan Blow’s first game, Braid. Sadly, the game never clicked with me. I could see the appeal but I never felt like I was having fun. The eureka moment that you so often hear about with this game never happened with me and I felt like I wasn’t learning the language of each puzzle. The open-world was daunting and each time I struggled in an area I couldn’t tell if it was because I was bad at the game or just wasn’t supposed to be there yet. The entire experience felt like it went over my head. Hearing the way other people fawn over this game only makes me wish I understood it.

Runner up: Stardew Valley

2016’s 2017 Game of the Year

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Delays are part of the development process. Things don’t always go according to plan and I would always prefer developers and publishers take the extra time instead of releasing a subpar product. However, it seems that over the last couple years the common practice has been to announce your game with an ambitious release date you know you can’t make and then delay it later. It has gotten to the point where I instantly assume a game announced with a “Q4” or “holiday” release window is just going to be delayed into the next year. This year had no shortage of big name games following this pattern but the most painful for me was Mass Effect: Andromeda. As a huge fan of the Mass Effect series I have been waiting for this game since its official announcement in 2015. Here’s hoping it hits that March 2017 release without trouble.

Runner up: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild