Happy holidays everyone, this year has been huge for gaming. We’ve seen a lot of blockbuster games over the course of the year, and luckily we have had the pleasure to review the majority of them. Some of these games came out of the blue, and some we have been waiting years for with great anticipation, so we at Gaming Respawn have decided to do our yearly Game of the Year feature where a few of us will pick our personal Game of the Year and give the reasoning behind it. Enjoy!
Ian Cooper – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The Uncharted series is Naughty Dog’s ace in the hole, famous for top notch storytelling, incredible cast performances and eye-popping graphics. This year they blew me away with the fourth entry, A Thief’s End, by raising the bar on every level. Harnessing the power of the PS4, Uncharted 4 granted unprecedented graphical upgrades, spot on performances once again by cast members both new and old, and sky high production values that only big blockbuster movies can contend with. It kept my jaw firmly to the floor from start to finish, making it my number one game of this year.
James Haxell – Overwatch
Overwatch is the game that takes my top spot, with it taking up most of my spare time. There is something so addictive to the game. So far there are 23 great characters, with all having unique qualities, giving each game a different feel. Obviously, I play some more than others, but none of them are dull, which is part of what makes it great. Each game is crazy, whacky fun that anyone can enjoy and do well at.
Another reason why Overwatch takes the top spot is because of the free content drops. The game hasn’t even been out for a year, and we’ve had two new characters, two maps, three events and more skins, emotes and voices lines than you can shake a stick at. Blizzard really do deserve a pat on the back with what they’ve done. Lucio Ball, Junkenstein’s Revenge and Mei’s Snowball Offensive have all taken a lot of work to create and are worth the effort.
It might seem that the game could get boring after a while, as it is just online multiplayer, but there is enough difference to keep the fun going. When the excitement starts to fade, they add in something new. The loot boxes are not the grab for cash they appear to be. Sure, you can spend money on them, and they fund the free content drops. But you get more than enough by levelling up or playing in the arcade, if you don’t wish to buy any.
Overwatch is building up to be a great franchise with the comics, short videos and the game itself. If you haven’t played it yet, you’d do yourself justice to; ‘The world could always use more heroes.”
Dom Richards – Ratchet & Clank
2016 has brought us another year of incredible video games full of unforgettable moments and dynamic gameplay. Just look at the games that have been released this year: Dark Souls III, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Gears of War 4, The Division and, of course, the yearly releases of Call of Duty, Battlefield, FIFA and possibly the greatest football game ever made, PES 2017. This year has also seen the release of some amazing indie games, and top of that list is a game yours truly reviewed and gave a prestigious 100%, Inside (which you can check out here). So really, Inside should be my game of the year, right? I mean, I did give it a perfect score, and it is a game I adore and will continue to play again and again, but there is one other game that left a big, big impression on me this year. Sadly, I didn’t get to review this game, as it was released before I became part of the Gaming Respawn team. It wouldn’t have had the perfect 100% Inside was given, but it would have been close. So, in a year where I have played probably my favourite Call of Duty since Modern Warfare 2, continued my journey as Adam Jensen in Deus Ex, and played countless hours of the best football in PES 2017, my game of the year goes to an adventure about a Lombax mechanic who dreams of defending the galaxy and his defective warbot sidekick. My game of the year goes to Ratchet & Clank.
The first Ratchet & Clank game was released all the way back in 2002, and this new installment is a re-imagining of that game. I have always liked the series, and I have generally always liked platformers, but this is the first game that truly blew me away. Everything about Ratchet & Clank is incredible. The story is the perfect mixture of comedy and drama that will keep you gripped until the conclusion. The worlds you explore are diverse and beautiful, and they make you want to explore every inch to find whatever treasures are hidden. All the characters are engaging and entertaining, from the OTT leader of the Galactic Rangers, Captain Qwark, to the dastardly Chairman Drek, leader of the Blurgs who is set on galactic domination. One character stands out as he always does since his first appearance in Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, and he isn’t really a character in the traditional sense, he is a weapon. I am, of course, talking about Mr. Zurkon. Mr. Zurkon’s various quotes are a constant highlight of Ratchet & Clank, even if some of them are a tad unsuitable for what is predominantly a children’s game, a particular highlight being ‘’Why do you hide, stinky aliens? Mr. Zurkon wishes only to kill you’’. All of these positives wouldn’t matter if the gameplay wasn’t as good though, right? Well, fear not as Ratchet & Clank’s gameplay is magnificent, a perfect mixture of exploring, melee and shooting combat and, of course, the bread and butter of platform gaming: jumping.
Ratchet & Clank has it all, and if you are after something new to play, I cannot recommend this game enough.
Will Worrall – Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
This has been a hell of a challenge for me, not because I had so many choices, but because I had so few. Off all the games I devoted my time to over this past year, not very many of them were actually released this year, and the games that were released this year were ones I played either very little or just enough to review because I was obligated to do so. In the end I’ve listed 2 games that I could technically pick from as my Games of the Year.
The first one is Rise of the Tomb Raider. This game has been an interesting one for me. While it had basically the same gameplay as the last game, which I enjoyed, I felt that the storyline was poorly written and executed, and some of the voice acting ruined the experience. Having said all that, it is probably the game I have played the most this year, and that is why despite its flaws, it has come in second place. Also, yes this totally counts as viable, it’s the first time it was released on PS4.
In first place comes Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. So, here we are, my game of the year…and it’s a tournament fighter…riiiight. Most people who keep up with my reviews will know that I don’t tend to enjoy tournament fighters too much, but this series has always been a bit of an exception; firstly because it’s based on a show that I had been watching since I was 12 years old, and secondly because I find the fighting system simple enough to use fluidly. Then, combine both of those points with the fact that this game includes pretty much every single character from the entire series and covers the huge climax to the story that I’ve been following since my formative years. For a fan this really couldn’t get any better, and on top of that it comes with a post-story adventure mode, so you don’t have to stop at the climax! Believe It!
Derek Miller – Battlefield 1
Why Battlefield 1? To start off, it’s important to note that in terms of personal game taste, BF1 would be the least likely game from this year to be my GOTY. I generally dislike the vast majority of AAA titles, and FPS games are usually at the very bottom of the “things I like” pile. That’s how good BF1 is, and I still can’t stop playing the thing. The campaign really sets a tone that pulls you in and actually makes you care about the characters, the opening segment of which really drives home how hopeless a situation it was. There have been moments even in multiplayer that made me stop and think about all the senseless slaughter, the despair and even more hopelessness. That’s something special in a game that does boil down to shooting the other guy before he shoots you.