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2016 has been a year of ups and downs. There were some soaring highs with the likes of Overwatch and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and some disappointing lows with the whole No Man’s Sky debacle. However, I think overall 2016 has been a decent year for gaming and gamers. We got several top quality titles, VR headsets, a new set of powerful, affordable graphics cards, and the release of the PlayStation 4 Pro. Sadly, several games that I was looking forward to playing got pushed to next year, but that just means that I have more to look forward to in 2017.

#5
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Massive
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Tom Clancy’s The Division
The Division only just made it onto my list due to its troubling post-launch support. However, if I spent almost 100 hours playing, it must have done something right. The 1-30 experience is where The Division truly shines, with satisfying shooting, constant armor/weapon upgrades, and the beautiful backdrop of a snow-covered Manhattan (I love nice video game snow). However, after level 30, the game relied heavily on very little content with a massive grind, which led me to stop playing for several months. Since then, developer Massive has worked hard to address the grind, and now the game appears to be realizing its potential with the recent Survival DLC release. Had the changes introduced since update 1.4 been made a lot earlier, The Division would have ended up much higher on this list.

#4
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: IO Interactive
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hitman
Many thought that IO Interactive’s decision to turn Hitman episodic would result in failure, but it turned out that it was a fantastic idea in the end—because it gave the team time to create the huge sprawling levels that Hitman needs. These open levels offer freedom and choice, which plays an important part in making Hitman great. At first, I was playing with full opportunities and hints turned on, but that quickly became stale and felt far too linear. After I opted to turn them off, I opened up a whole world of possibilities for myself, and actually felt like an assassin—not just some guy following orders like a puppet. I strongly suggest that you do the same as soon as you get the hang of things. Sure, the episodic format has its downsides, but overall it balanced out into one of the best Hitman games to date.

#3
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Platforms: PS4
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
I’ll admit it: Until this year, I’d never played an Uncharted game. I know, I know, I’ve been missing out. However, when I finally got round to playing through the series, it meant that the entire story was fresh in my mind going into the conclusion. Uncharted 4 shows how both Naughty Dog and Drake have grown and matured over the years, and is the perfect send-off for the series. The graphics are phenomenal, the movement has finally been perfected, and the performances of North, Baker, Rose, McGonagle, and the rest of the cast are near perfect. While overall it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Uncharted 2, Uncharted 4 is still a blockbuster from start to finish that should not be missed.

#2
Publisher: Playdead
Developer: Playdead
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Inside
Playdead did it again! I didn’t think it would be possible to even get close to the quality of Limbo with Inside, but the developer pulled it off. From the moment the little boy ran up to the glass and pressed his nose against it, I was hooked. Inside brought up a lot of the same questions I had while playing Limbo: Who is this little boy? Why is he running? What is this place? All of that (and more) made me want to press on to try and discover the answers. The game is a simple puzzle-platformer at heart, but its atmosphere, art style, animations, and mysteries make it so much more. If you loved Limbo, then playing Inside is a no-brainer.

#1
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Overwatch
Blizzard just seems to understand what makes a genre tick. When I first heard that Project Titan had been canceled and the remains would be used to create a shooter, I was pretty disappointed. However, that all changed once I got my hands on Overwatch during the beta. The game has everything you could want: colorful characters, tight, balanced gameplay, satisfying weapons and abilities, and, most importantly, it’s fun to play. Couple all of this with Blizzard’s continued support for the game with new modes, characters, maps, and constant balance tweaks—all for free—and you’ve got a hit. If I had to call out one negative, it would be that ridiculous Sombra ARG. Don’t ever do that again Blizzard.

It Wasn’t That Bad
Mafia III
Mafia III did not enjoy a very good launch, with middling reviews and some very unhappy PC players thanks to a 30FPS lock. However, it wasn’t the terrible game that some people made it out to be. Was it as good as Mafia II? No. Did it have its fair share of issues? Yes. But despite these things, I enjoyed my time with the game. The story and characters were good—especially Lincoln Clay—the pre-rendered cutscenes looked beautiful, and the stealth and combat was decent. It had a lot of negative points, but it’s worth picking up in a sale.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Rocket League
Last year, I gave Rocket League my Game of the Year, and a part of me wishes I could do it again. I’ve clocked more than 200 hours of playtime this year—more than any other game in 2016—and I’m still yet to get bored. Frustrated and angry, yes, but never bored. Developer Psyonix has continued to support the game throughout 2016 with new arenas, cars, modes, cosmetics, and more—most of which has been free—which is why it has earned this award. Will this continue in 2017? I sure hope so!
Deserves a Mention
Final Fantasy XV
At the beginning of the year, I was convinced that Final Fantasy XV would easily take my Game of the Year—and for the first few hours of gameplay, I still held that thought. However, by the time I reached the final few chapters, my mood had changed. The loss of the open world, the disjointed story, and that damn thirteenth chapter soured my experience. Don’t get me wrong, Final Fantasy XV isn’t a bad game, which is why I felt I had to include it somewhere in my GOTY wrap-up—but there were too many niggling issues for it to make my top five.
EGM’s Best of 2016 Coverage
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2016 all week, from Christmas day through December 30th. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2016, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.
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About Matthew Bennett

view all posts

Matt is one of the longest-serving members of the EGMNOW team. An ability to go many hours without sleep and a quick wit make him ideal for his role as associate editor at EGMNOW.com. He often thinks back to the days when the very idea of this career seemed like nothing but an impossible dream. Find him on Twitter @mattyjb89

EGM’s Best of 2016: Matthew Bennett’s Editor Awards

Matthew gives his thoughts on the year in gaming that was 2016

By Matthew Bennett | 12/28/2016 01:00 PM PT

Features

2016 has been a year of ups and downs. There were some soaring highs with the likes of Overwatch and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and some disappointing lows with the whole No Man’s Sky debacle. However, I think overall 2016 has been a decent year for gaming and gamers. We got several top quality titles, VR headsets, a new set of powerful, affordable graphics cards, and the release of the PlayStation 4 Pro. Sadly, several games that I was looking forward to playing got pushed to next year, but that just means that I have more to look forward to in 2017.

#5
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Massive
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Tom Clancy’s The Division
The Division only just made it onto my list due to its troubling post-launch support. However, if I spent almost 100 hours playing, it must have done something right. The 1-30 experience is where The Division truly shines, with satisfying shooting, constant armor/weapon upgrades, and the beautiful backdrop of a snow-covered Manhattan (I love nice video game snow). However, after level 30, the game relied heavily on very little content with a massive grind, which led me to stop playing for several months. Since then, developer Massive has worked hard to address the grind, and now the game appears to be realizing its potential with the recent Survival DLC release. Had the changes introduced since update 1.4 been made a lot earlier, The Division would have ended up much higher on this list.

#4
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: IO Interactive
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hitman
Many thought that IO Interactive’s decision to turn Hitman episodic would result in failure, but it turned out that it was a fantastic idea in the end—because it gave the team time to create the huge sprawling levels that Hitman needs. These open levels offer freedom and choice, which plays an important part in making Hitman great. At first, I was playing with full opportunities and hints turned on, but that quickly became stale and felt far too linear. After I opted to turn them off, I opened up a whole world of possibilities for myself, and actually felt like an assassin—not just some guy following orders like a puppet. I strongly suggest that you do the same as soon as you get the hang of things. Sure, the episodic format has its downsides, but overall it balanced out into one of the best Hitman games to date.

#3
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Platforms: PS4
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
I’ll admit it: Until this year, I’d never played an Uncharted game. I know, I know, I’ve been missing out. However, when I finally got round to playing through the series, it meant that the entire story was fresh in my mind going into the conclusion. Uncharted 4 shows how both Naughty Dog and Drake have grown and matured over the years, and is the perfect send-off for the series. The graphics are phenomenal, the movement has finally been perfected, and the performances of North, Baker, Rose, McGonagle, and the rest of the cast are near perfect. While overall it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Uncharted 2, Uncharted 4 is still a blockbuster from start to finish that should not be missed.

#2
Publisher: Playdead
Developer: Playdead
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Inside
Playdead did it again! I didn’t think it would be possible to even get close to the quality of Limbo with Inside, but the developer pulled it off. From the moment the little boy ran up to the glass and pressed his nose against it, I was hooked. Inside brought up a lot of the same questions I had while playing Limbo: Who is this little boy? Why is he running? What is this place? All of that (and more) made me want to press on to try and discover the answers. The game is a simple puzzle-platformer at heart, but its atmosphere, art style, animations, and mysteries make it so much more. If you loved Limbo, then playing Inside is a no-brainer.

#1
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Overwatch
Blizzard just seems to understand what makes a genre tick. When I first heard that Project Titan had been canceled and the remains would be used to create a shooter, I was pretty disappointed. However, that all changed once I got my hands on Overwatch during the beta. The game has everything you could want: colorful characters, tight, balanced gameplay, satisfying weapons and abilities, and, most importantly, it’s fun to play. Couple all of this with Blizzard’s continued support for the game with new modes, characters, maps, and constant balance tweaks—all for free—and you’ve got a hit. If I had to call out one negative, it would be that ridiculous Sombra ARG. Don’t ever do that again Blizzard.

It Wasn’t That Bad
Mafia III
Mafia III did not enjoy a very good launch, with middling reviews and some very unhappy PC players thanks to a 30FPS lock. However, it wasn’t the terrible game that some people made it out to be. Was it as good as Mafia II? No. Did it have its fair share of issues? Yes. But despite these things, I enjoyed my time with the game. The story and characters were good—especially Lincoln Clay—the pre-rendered cutscenes looked beautiful, and the stealth and combat was decent. It had a lot of negative points, but it’s worth picking up in a sale.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Rocket League
Last year, I gave Rocket League my Game of the Year, and a part of me wishes I could do it again. I’ve clocked more than 200 hours of playtime this year—more than any other game in 2016—and I’m still yet to get bored. Frustrated and angry, yes, but never bored. Developer Psyonix has continued to support the game throughout 2016 with new arenas, cars, modes, cosmetics, and more—most of which has been free—which is why it has earned this award. Will this continue in 2017? I sure hope so!
Deserves a Mention
Final Fantasy XV
At the beginning of the year, I was convinced that Final Fantasy XV would easily take my Game of the Year—and for the first few hours of gameplay, I still held that thought. However, by the time I reached the final few chapters, my mood had changed. The loss of the open world, the disjointed story, and that damn thirteenth chapter soured my experience. Don’t get me wrong, Final Fantasy XV isn’t a bad game, which is why I felt I had to include it somewhere in my GOTY wrap-up—but there were too many niggling issues for it to make my top five.
EGM’s Best of 2016 Coverage
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2016 all week, from Christmas day through December 30th. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2016, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.
0   POINTS
0   POINTS



About Matthew Bennett

view all posts

Matt is one of the longest-serving members of the EGMNOW team. An ability to go many hours without sleep and a quick wit make him ideal for his role as associate editor at EGMNOW.com. He often thinks back to the days when the very idea of this career seemed like nothing but an impossible dream. Find him on Twitter @mattyjb89