Wooderon Games of the Year 2016: #1

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I really, really like the top three game on my list this year and funnily enough, none of them were games I was hotly anticipating. In fact, all of them were a nice surprise for me. Even Pokemon weirdly enough. There were a lot of games that took me by surprise this year some new and some older. I discovered Rocket League this year and put a significant amount of time into it in the summer months. Superhot was amazing and only missed out on my top ten by a hair. Dragonball Xenoverse 2 has shaken off the honeymoon feel of the original game, but still managed to make a sequel that improved on the original in a lot of important ways.

Oh and I toyed with putting Skyrim: Special Edition on here, oh how I did. But after a final recap of my top then I’m going to talk about my favourite game of 2016:

#10: Gears of War 4

#9: XCOM 2

#8: Forza Horizon 3

#7: Titanfall 2

#6: Ratchet & Clank

#5: Inside

#4: Firewatch

#3: Pokemon Sun (/Moon)

#2: DOOM

#1: Overwatch

Played on Xbox One | Released 24th May | Developed by Blizzard Entertainment

As I mentioned in my initial post for game of the year, we’re starting to see a change in the video game’s landscape. The Bi-weekly £50 release is becoming a thing of the past, savvy consumers seem less content to spend the money as frequently when many developers are releaseing games that are intended to be played and played for months to come. We’re approaching a time where video games are becoming closer to a service than a singular product. Hitman showed this year that releasing a game in parts can work, and Destiny before that showed me that one game can hold my attention for multiple years.

As support for Destiny dried up, so did my interest in it. Replaced by other games, one of which bubbled to the top to become something of a new obsession for me. Cue Overwatch.

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Overwatch is a team based, objective focused shooter. An easy comparison to make would be Team Fortress 2, a game this has a startling number of similarities to. But like Blizzard often do, they took an idea and polished it to a mirror sheen, then proceeded to do it better than everyone else. At it’s heart, Overwatch is a simple game, and that helps it feel almost infinity fresh. Games are fast, meaning you can put it on for ten to fifteen minutes for a couple of games, although 2 games have a tendency to turn into four, which in turn become eight.

Each game is made up of six players who pick from a cast of 23 (21 on release) “heroes”, all of which have very distinct designs, abilities and personalities. Despite being categorised into offence, defence, tank and support, all have very unique abilities that make them more capable than they might first appear. Tracer is a flanking character, designed to annoy the rear ranks of the opposite team as well as disrupt their support. Then you have Mccree, who is very much a front row fighter with powerful abilities to take down tanks quickly. Despite the limited game modes and maps, each game feels different due to the composition and play style of your and your opposing team.

Lucky me, I found an image with my two favourite heroes in.
Lucky me, I found an image with my two favourite heroes in.

The recipe for this success in my mind is constant support and additional content that Blizzard have given the game since its release. I feel like there is constantly something on the horizon, developers regularly talk about balance patches, character reworks and upcoming events and content. While Destiny started to feel very bogged down in its third year, it was because whatever Bungie were working on, it didn’t seem to be their current game. Since Overwatch was released there have been two new characters, two new maps, and three seasonal events that gave us a ton more variation to the content. And given Blizzard’s track history, it doesn’t seem like support for the game is going to stop any time soon, maybe ever… I mean look at World of Warcraft.

My admiration for the game is helped in no small part by how charming and positive everything is. While the player base does have its problem players (but what game doesn’t at this point), the game itself does everything to make you feel happy about yourself, ending the game with a series of game highlights, medal awards and a performance vote. It celebrates all the positive players while doing nothing to point out shortcomings. Even though I complain about how the fanbase have become obsessed with the characters of the series and the skeletal backstory, seeing people embrace these bright and colourful characters (plus Reaper) and create things about them makes me just like the game even more.

As much as I loved DOOM, I played a lot more Overwatch and I can see myself playing a lot more of Overwatch in the coming year. It’s definitely my game of 2016.

overwatch-winston

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