So the resident dictator (read: Chris Harding) here at Pure PlayStation has ordered me to cut down my original game of the year piece. In a year full of disappointments, smaller games making it big, and the introduction of the PSVR left a lot to be discussed. Needless to say, my best game of the year article ended up being explanations for not choosing bigger titles and why otherwise great games didn’t get said honor. If you would like to know why a game didn’t get my GOTY, be sure to leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to pull up my notes. In the meantime, my winners will be decided by best PSVR title, best game overall, and best game not DLC.
Battlefield 1 was an amazing resurgence for the franchise and showed respect for its content. The campaign was actually interesting, unless you were chugging a broken tank along, and the multiplayer was intense and gratifying. Which can’t be said for another great title released this year by Blizzard that only had dedicated online modes. The story for Battlefield 1 didn’t last more than five hours but it was the most fun I’ve had in a first-person shooter’s story in quite a while. I actually felt for the characters with each passing chapter and some of the set pieces were incredible. A fiery blimp crashing into another fiery blimp in mid-air over London? Yeah, that’s pretty badass.
Online was even better. The maps were logically designed and that’s not mentioning their beauty. Running around in chaos between broken down buildings knowing you’re going to die and just delaying the inevitable has never been better. Using surround sound headphones also enhanced the experience. All the sound effects orchestrated with explosions, shots, vehicles, and thundering footsteps would make any audiophile proud. It’s definitely an all-time, top ten shooter for me and easily the best Battlefield title to date. Battlefield 1 is my 2016 GOTY if we’re excluding DLC.
The PlayStation VR unleashed some killer experiences on the world back in October/November like Robinson: The Journey, Headmaster, Sportsbar VR, and Holoball to name a personal few. However, the best for me was RIGS: Mechanized Combat League. The head tracking aiming worked exceptionally well, maps were designed perfectly, and the 3v3 mech shooting action just came together in a way that shouldn’t be possible on a new piece of hardware. Sadly, the fun wasn’t supported by lasting content; the game shipped with only four maps and three games modes at launch but there were a lot of mechs to pilot.
Still, the title acted like one big career mode. Anyone obsessed with EA’s or 2K’s similar modes will be right at home here. You could play offline to beat challenges, seasons, championships, and the playoffs while earning money, mechs, and fans. Online was all about taking your unlocks to face other mech wielders. As a launch title goes, it’s definitely worth owning and showing what the PS VR is capable down the line. RIGS: Mechanized Combat League is the best virtual reality title out right now.
You must be wondering what my best overall experience of 2016 is though. I’m also sure that quite a few figured out what I meant when I used the term DLC. There are only a few games that had full-fledged DLC expansions and only one’s DLC that could contest for Game of the Year. That would be Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine expansion. I can’t really think of any big negatives, and the finale to Geralt’s adventure was handled with class. This 20-hour adventure ups the stakes with a complex villain, political and social consequences, memorable side quests, and a final boss battle that pushed all gamers to their limits. Let’s just say it made Geralt feel inferior for once. Not to mention the countryside locale was simply stunning and offered some of the best views in the entire Witcher 3: Wild Hunt world. It’s not often that DLCs are this amazing, let alone subjectively better than all full releases in a year. But after writing my thoughts and feelings down, Blood and Wine is the best video game experience one can play in year 2016.