2016 Game Awards: Karl Edition

Welcome to the 2016 Game Awards: Karl Edition!

What makes this Game Awards different to all the other “Best of 2016” and other like minded editorials you’re going to see over the next few days and weeks? Well, I like to do weird shit and run with it. So what you’re going to find within is not just the standard Game of the Year awards for Playstation, Nintendo, Xbox, etc; but some amusing (at least to me) titled awards that might either get you to avoid some games, or pick them up for the reason I give them the award for.

So let’s get to it with some of the more “normal” awards.

Playstation Game of the Year – Final Fantasy XV
Let’s face it, there’s a reason why Final Fantasy XV has sold over 5 million copies in it’s launch period. Sure, it’s a game that still needs patches to make it complete, but it’s still one of the most immersive and mesmerizing games of 2016. You’ll be lost for hours as you ride along with the bros as you take on many many bounties featuring all sorts of creatures ranging from easy little imps to huge fuck-off sized mountain turtles that are meant to take 3 days to defeat; but Final Fantasy XV has enough so far to have you playing for 40 plus hours without even leaving the first area. You can check out our Preview of Final Fantasy XV here.

Xbox Game of the Year – Red Dead Redemption
Ok, I’m going to admit this right here and now: I’m not an Xbox owner of any kind. I don’t know what exclusives have come out on the 360 or Xbox One in 2016. However, I have been keeping up with the news and the one piece of news which makes me wish I did own a Xbox One is the backwards compatibility library. The biggest stand out in this year’s additions is the classic masterpiece by Rockstar, Red Dead Redemption. As a Playstation 4 owner, I’m jealous that Xbox One owners have an easy way to access and play one of the best games of the Playstation 3/Xbox 360 era. Plus it’s the one game that my little brother keeps bugging me about getting a fresh copy of because his second hand copy did not work.

Nintendo Game of the Year – Pokemon Sun/Moon
This is a fucking given. Name me a year that Nintendo published a new Pokemon game that didn’t end up winning Game of the Year for the company? That’s right, there is none. Even after 20 years and a million additional Pokemon later, and Pokemon Sun/Moon is just as fun to play as Red/Blue was on the original Game Boy. Sure, the game isn’t as hard as it used to be, to the point of hand holding you through the first 2 hours of gameplay; but catching those little pocket monsters is still a thrill. You can’t imagine the heart attack inducing moment that is waiting for that third wiggle to end to lock in that catch on some Pokemon you’ve been hunting down can produce. That’s what makes Pokemon Sun/Moon worth it. You can check out our SpoilerCast on Pokemon Sun/Moon here.

PC Game of the Year – Overwatch
What can be said about Overwatch? Not since Team Fortress went Free-To-Play has a team based shooter taken over people’s lives with such ferocity. The simple 6v6 counter balancing picking nature of Overwatch has grown in popularity so much that people are cosplaying characters days before they are announced. The competitive scene in Overwatch has blown up so much that there is going to be official Blizzard sponsored tournaments on DOTA and League of Legends levels complete with ESPN coverage. Over 10 million people still play Overwatch daily; numbers that Blizzard hasn’t seen since World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King many years ago. You can read our review of Overwatch here.

Mobile Game of the Year – Trials Frontier
I’m going to cheat with this one. I’m not much of a mobile gamer. I prefer to either sit with a console or a PC when playing my video games. However, there are a few games that sit on my iPad that I at least log into daily just out of habit; but the one that I make sure to PLAY daily is Trials Frontier. Trials Frontier is nothing more than a Western themed pack for the Trails racing games, but it’s simple and addicting. Just playing through the story is worth it in the beginning before they pay-block you from going any further, but I’m willing to grind gems and coins for upgrades through the PvP mode and daily random challenges that I’ve made it a fair way into things and not really had to pay for anything; which is a big bonus in this age of microtransactions in mobile games.

Now that those basic blocks are out of the way, let’s get onto some of my more fun awards. Now while the awards themselves might not make any sense, nor do some even feature games from 2016. Just remember that these are the more “silly” awards and are born out of my own personal disappointment, weird humor, and other things. If you’re taking anything serious from the awards given below, then please go outside and play in traffic. 

Failure to Launch Award – Mighty No.9
You’d think that raising over $6million dollars and having delay after delay after delay (2 years delays) to the point that even SEGA’s Sonic team is giving you shit, Mighty No.9 might actually be worth playing. Well if the absolutely stunning and craptacular launch trailer was anything to go by, then no. Piss poor additions to the gameplay, stupid boss mechanics, a story that makes no fucking sense at all is the best that Kenji Inafune, the creator of fucking MEGA MAN, can come up with; then this game is nothing more than the game you wished never launched in the end instead of actually giving you what you got for your $20… Or more if you picked a higher tier pledge on Kickstarter, and I feel fucking sorry for you if you did. You can read our review of Mighty No.9 here.

Refund NOW! Award – No Man’s Sky
If Mighty No.9 was the game that completely shit the bed when it was released, then I have no idea how to discribe No Man’s Sky. A game that was promising billions of unique planets in millions of individual solar systems complete with unique lifeforms and virtually no way in hell you’d ever run into someone you know in game… It gave us some of the most broken, limited and boring gameplay ever seen in an exploration game. No Man’s Sky is so bad that they have done nothing but work on a patch that practically rewrites the whole fucking game. However it’s a bit too late as you can find second hand copies all over any game store that accepts trade ins to refunds, so many in fact that places have been using the cases to prop up shelves and TVs in levels not seen since ET on the Atari. You can read our review (we reviewed this shit?) here.

Biggest Hype, Quickest Drop Award – Pokemon GO
Talk about something that crashed and burned weeks after launch. Pokemon GO was the game that got people our and walking to the tune of over 100 billion steps in three months, but quickly died off as people realized that once they cleared out their local area, the game had nothing to do… Not to mention that the app was being used to lure people into an ambush to get their ass beat or robbed or both. I’ll give the game credit though, it is trying to stay relevant in today’s new game on mobile a minute world with small additions like Ditto being popular (Even though the game has no breeding center, the main reason to get a Ditto in the first place), to adding Pokemon from the Gold/Silver Era, to doing special event Pokemon for Halloween and Christmas. Pokemon GO is that game that might have died off since launch, but kids and their parents are still playing on the streets from time to time; showing that the appeal of Pokemon never truely dies.

You’ll Regret Not Giving This a Chance Award – Watch_Dogs 2
Look, Watch_Dogs was a complete fucking failure. It promised big in the reveal and early gameplay videos and then was cut down and gimped in the final version. The protagonist was a lifeless boring robot instead of a competent hacker with a tragic backstory that he was meant to be seen as. The world was bland and lifeless with the NPC’s and enemies being overtuned to hell (Some enemies could see through walls and shit). Watch_Dogs 2 on the other hand is a breath of fresh air. Ubisoft actually listened to the fans and produced a game in which the characters have some life to them, the world is bright and lively, the hacking is easier but feels better than before, and the protagonist is actually a human being with emotions and shit. The problem is that a lot of people have been burned by the first game and do not want to give the second one a chance, so much that recently EB Games in Australia was selling Collectors Editions for $58, due to having piles of boxes still available in stores and online. Watch_Dogs 2 is a game that is much better than the first one and I think a lot of people are going to regret not giving this a chance at full price when they finally bother to pick it up out of the bargain bin.

Ruined Franchise Award – Resident Evil (For Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps & Resident Evil 7)
Let’s face it, 2016 was not the year for Resident Evil. While Capcom’s beloved franchise started out strong this year by releasing Resident Evil Origins HD (Resident Evil REmake & Resident Evil Zero in the same package) onto current generation consoles and PC, then following that up with re-releasing (again) Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5 & Resident Evil 6 for the same platforms, it then crashed and burned with the release of Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps, a game which is so bad that they couldn’t even give it away for free. Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps is so bad that it single handedly killed all hype for everything Resident Evil, in the year that it’s the 20th anniversary of the franchise, it’s that bad. 2017 looks a lot better for the Resident Evil brand with people treating Resident Evil 7 as the second coming of Survival Horror instead of the Silent Hills rip-off that it really is. While I personally have already written Resident Evil 7 off as nothing more than a branded VR horror experience instead of a true entry into the franchise, I still hold hope for the franchise with the final Resident Evil movie coming in 2017 (Funnily called Resident Evil: The Final Chapter) amd also the Resident Evil 2 HD REmake sometime in the future. You can read our review of Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps here.

Master of Remasters Award – Bioshock The Collection
We got quite a few remastered collections this year. Resident Evil, Batman Arkham series and Bioshock are the top three of 2016. But when it comes to the cream of the crop, the tip of the top, the best of the best, the game of games, etc; Bioshock The Collection is that game. While Batman: Return to Arkham used a new engine to make their games look better, 2K had to rebuild Bioshock & Bioshock 2 from the ground up. Another thing that makes this remaster stand out more than the others is the fact that they took the extra time and effort to make extras especially for this release, while the others just gave you the same thing they put out the first time. So as an overall package, Bioshock is easily the best remaster out there for your money. You can read our review of Bioshock The Collection here.

Least Effort Sequel Award – WWE 2K17 & Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
You ever sit down with a new game and after a couple of hours you think to yourself “I’ve played this before”. Well that’s the experience I got with these two games. WWE 2K17 is nothing more than a stripped down WWE2K16 with a few minor things changed around. WWE 2K17 was truely the game that embodies the phrase “One steps forward, three steps back”. WWE 2K17 was so bad that I swore off covering WWE and 2K Games releases completely as I was sick of dropping over AU$200 a year for a game that is no longer worth even a budget release. However, while WWE 2K17 was going backwards, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 just stood still. I do have a review copy of the game here that I haven’t even pulled out of the cover yet. Why? Because I was watching the Team Four Star playthrough of the game and there is NOTHING new in the game. The story is the same “Revive the demon world” plot from the first game, and it even has the exact same villains involved. The only difference? There are a couple of Dragon Ball Z movie characters involved in the main story now. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 has the same style of horrible hub world, the gear mechanics are the same, the moves are the same, everything is the same. I understand that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but fuck me, this game needed fixing and people have been conned out of AU$80 if they bought Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. You can read our review of WWE 2K17 here.

“ERMAHGERD VIDYA GEAMS!!” Award for worst preview – Polygon (For DOOM)
Now first of all, DOOM is a great game. If it wasn’t for the time that I’ve spent with Overwatch, then DOOM would have been my PC Game of the Year; hell, it is Game of the Year according to a lot of pissed off fans if you saw Twitter’s reaction to the 2016 Video Game Awards show that happened in early December. What wasn’t great for DOOM was the “First 30 Minutes” gameplay video produced by one of the biggest piles of garbage in the gaming website business: Polygon. What we got treated to in these 30 minutes is some of the most cringe worthy “gameplay” ever witnessed by gamers. The player of DOOM does stupid things like miss the completely scripted easy opening shot on a skeleton demon, then proceeds to miss with a machine gun… WTF!? We even get the player shooting at an obvious HEALING ITEM! I know today’s games often offer regenerating health in FPS games, but for fuck’s sake this is stupidity that makes me weep for the human race. You can read our review of DOOM hereWe swear we do better than Polygon.

Going to play this instead of Resident Evil VII Award – The Evil Within
Yeah The Evil Within was released in 2014, what of it? These are my awards and I’ll do what I fucking want thank you very much! As stated before with the “Ruined Franchise Award“, I’m no fan of Resident Evil 7 already; and yes, I’ve played the demos that have been released, so this is not some blind fanboy rage. To me, Resident Evil 7 is Capcom‘s attempt to cash in on the emerging and eventually crashing VR market for consoles by making something scary and slapping a known brand name on it. Hell, Resident Evil 7 makes Resident Evil 5 & 6 look like legitimate entries into the Survival Horror part of the series. But since people are going to be playing, streaming and otherwise sucking Capcom dick about a horror game that pretends to be something it’s not… That being a Silent Hills rip-off with the RE name on it; I’m going to go and play something that is going to scare the shit out of me by the man who made Survival Horror a thing, that being Shinji Ikami‘s The Evil Within. Yes, I’m late to the party, but it’s my party and I’ll play what I want to. You can read our review of The Evil Within here, and the DLC expansion here.

God damn it, we’ll be playing this in 2017 Award – Street Fighter V
Alright Capcom, you finally got us. To say that Street Fighter V in 2016 was a mess, with it’s issues with rage quitters, to servers not working, adding some series staple characters like Guile & Balrog into the game (Alongside Alex, Juri, Ibuki & Urien), not having any type of single player content (Though they added the General Story DLC for free later), to the game just being absolute unbalanced trash. However it looks like Street Fighter V is going to be looking up in 2017. ESPN 2 broadcasted the Capcom Cup and EVO finals this year, and Capcom finally added fan favorite character Akuma into the game this December along with a bunch of balancing ideas and new characters over the 2017 season. We here at The Outerhaven have actually been giving Street Fighter V another go and finding it quite enjoyable. Look forward to streams and competition videos from The Outerhaven in 2017… Hopefully my Akuma play in Street Fighter V goes better than it did in my time with the Tekken 7 demo. You can read our Street Fighter V review here.

Forgotten but still good Award – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Somehow lost under a pile of other game releases and a pre-order program that was made by Satan himself (Which was later modified), Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is another great entry into the Deus Ex series. Providing one of the better “holding a mirror to society” games out there today, DE:MD provides you with more and more choices that actually mean something in the game world. The big problem was not the game itself, but the month it was released. August 2016 was a high profile month for games, with things like Batman: The Telltale Series, No Man’s Sky, Tales of Berseria, Madden NFL 17, The King of Fighters XIV, Attack on Titan & World of Warcraft: Legion all hitting game shelves; not to mention the world was still wrapped up in Pokemon Go-mania at the time. Follow that up with games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, BioShock: The Collection, Dead Rising Triple Pack, Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness, ReCore, NBA 2K17, Firewatch, and more hitting in September; Deus Ex: Mankind Divided just got lost to the void. You can read our review of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided here.

And I guess at the end of it all I need to do the whole “what game was best in 2016?” thing. Fucking obligations.

Overall Game of the Year – Overwatch
You want to know the worst thing about Blizzard games? They are fucking addictive! World of Warcrack, Hearthcrack, and now Overcrack. Why is it that Blizzard games are so good to play? So yeah, it’s obvious that I would give the Game of the Year award to the game I’m still playing nightly and even playing in competitions for. Overwatch is that game which is going to last me a lot longer than anything else I have played all year. It’s Game of the Year for a reason… Deal with it.

So that’s the end of 2016 for me. I’ve got nothing else to review or talk about before things start all over again in 2017. But what do I think about what’s to come in 2017? Well that readers is going to be a whole other article, which you can read around New Years. Till then, happy gaming and feel free to bitch at me on Twitter here.

About The Author

Karl Smart
Senior Editor / Reviewer

The main "Australian arm" of The Outerhaven. Karl primarily spends time playing and reviewing video games while taking time to occasionally review the latest movie or piece of gaming technology.

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