Eoin Doyle, Staff Writer
2016 was a pretty decent year for games. We got Final Fantasy XV after waiting 10 years, we got the sequel to my favourite game of the last 10 years in Dishonored 2 and we got the biggest surprise in gaming when ID Software released DOOM, after scrapping the original plans for DOOM 4 and reworking the title completely. The fact that, after a complete rework, ID made a wonderful homage to the original two DOOM titles while adding it’s own little twist and modern take blew my mind. I never had the chance of playing the original DOOM games when they came out due to not being born yet, but having played them since it’s clear that the way in which 2016’s DOOM plays is a perfect way to update the series. DOOM deserves an amazing amount of recognition, and I think it rightfully gets my vote for best game of 2016.
Aaron Frahill, Film & TV Editor
I think it’s fair to say that the First Person Shooter genre had reached its peak of saturation in 2015. If we look back at that year, originality was basically dead, so what 2016 has done for the genre is nothing short of immense. While I played Doom and Battlefield 1, and both are brilliant for their own reasons, I do think that Titanfall 2, even with the plainest appearance compared to the other two games, is the most exciting and invigorating. The campaign has some of the best levels in an FPS since the original Modern Warfare, as the clever level design and the refined character movement make for a great experience. What the game tries to do with its characters is give heart to a robot, which is definitely a trope of modern video games at this stage, but the witty dialogue that takes place between the pilot and the titan definitely leaves you asking for more of the duo by the end of the campaign. Also the DLC is free (except for the cosmetic stuff) and this is something we need back in our lives because season passes can piss off.
Jonathan Soltan, Gaming Editor
I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the original Dishonored back when I played it a few years ago. I don’t really like stealth games, but once I started playing, it really got me hooked. By the time I finished it, I loved it. I was also extremely hopeful for a potential sequel, and even though I loved the original, I knew that Arkane could improve on certain aspects. After beating Dishonored 2 once so far, I can already confidently say that it’s better than the original. So far, I’ve only played as Corvo, so I haven’t even touched on all the cool new powers that Emily has, but Corvo feels as cool as ever – blinking behind oblivious guards and choking them out never gets old. The thing that really knocked this game up a notch for me, though, was the verticality of the levels. I wrote a whole article last year about how Deus Ex: Mankind Divided did verticality well – and it did – but Dishonored 2 is on a whole other level. The Clockwork Mansion in particular is a masterclass in level design. Every environment in the game is just so enjoyable and satisfying to explore. Once I start playing the game, I find it incredibly difficult to stop. It might not be the most polished, high-budget game, but it’s the one I had the most fun with, and for that, it’s my game of the year.
Kieran Barrett, Gaming Writer
My Game of the Year for 2016 is Titanfall 2, the first person shooter / giant robot beat ‘em up from Respawn Entertainment. To say this game flew under the radar is an understatement, as the marketing geniuses at EA decided to sandwich it between the year’s biggest releases in the genre, Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Mars Attacks! This severely hindered the game’s launch, and even I didn’t purchase it until a month after its release (on Black Friday, when it was down to half price). However, due to word of mouth and critical praise, the player base is growing, and it is easy to see why.
My first 30-35 hours spent in the game were focused on the game’s multiplayer, as is usually the case with FPS games. Remember the movie Pacific Rim? Where those two lads got in a giant robot to punch an alien for two hours? That’s how Titanfall 2 makes you feel. You start off on foot, kill a few enemy players, and earn your Titan. The ultimate satisfaction arises when you drop your Titan on another player’s Titan and blow it up (I admit, I am guilty of the occasional tea-bagging of my opponent when this happens, but that’s all part of the multiplayer scene).
I then decided to dip my toes in the single player pond, and I was surprised by how fantastic it was. The creative minds at play here are the same as those responsible for the CoD 4 campaign, and there are moments which may fall into gaming legend alongside that infamous “All Ghillied Up” mission. The gameplay of Titanfall 2 is smooth and it rewards you for attempting those long wall runs and complicated maneuvers, and couple that with the fantastic multiplayer & free DLC and it becomes an easy Game of the Year in my opinion.
Honourable Mentions: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, The Last Guardian, Hitman, Overwatch, Attack on Titan, Watch_Dogs 2, No Man’s Sky and Super Mario Bros 2.