The Escapist's 2016 Game of the Year

The Escapist's 2016 Game of the Year

This is the big one - The Escapist's 2016 Game of the Year!

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Overwatch was the only AAA game I bought this year. Good to see I picked a winner, literally.

"Steven says: Only Blizzard could have made Overwatch. It is mechanically sound, has a ton of free post-launch support, and is so professionally polished it shines. While plenty of other studios could have managed a game with one, or two of these qualities, only Blizzard could have pulled off all three."

Oh yeah, cause TF2 totally didn't have all those things like over 10 years ago. What a meh choice for goty.

While I like Overwatch and I won't deny it's a pretty good game ... I can't see it being #1. This isn't me being upset or a fanboy of any sort, rather ... games like Titanfall 2, Doom, Battlefield 1 .... like, even the game I didn't hear much about (Uncharted 4) seems like it blew people away and was a huge deal but the media didn't go crazy about it.

All well. I won't argue against people who loved Overwatch and praise it to no end, the game is indeed good. I'll just be here enjoying Dark Souls III and hoping that the next DLC is better than the one we recently got :/

I can't take this GOTY seriously when you get kicked out to the menu when you idle for a single minute in the single player practice mode. You can't even read up on each character before getting kicked out, which is one of the main points of practice mode in the first place! Such a stupid design choice made me glad I never wasted money on the game.

Good to see the readers had much better taste with U4. That winner makes sense.

Worgen:
"Steven says: Only Blizzard could have made Overwatch. It is mechanically sound, has a ton of free post-launch support, and is so professionally polished it shines. While plenty of other studios could have managed a game with one, or two of these qualities, only Blizzard could have pulled off all three."

Oh yeah, cause TF2 totally didn't have all those things like over 10 years ago. What a meh choice for goty.

Valve could have made overwatch... 10 years ago. It seems the Valve of today is only capable of churning out hats and collecting royalties from games sold on Steam.

Huh... Not a fan of the ole storytelling I guess.

Once again, Overwatch shows just how far good art and character design can carry a game that is otherwise badly flawed. In between Blizzard's handling of varying controversies (or their willingness to throw gasoline on the bonfire, whatever works better) and the overall mess that is the game's balance (4 tanks + 1 DPS + 1 Ana is the pro composition of choice, while Symmmetra and Torbjorn on defense turns the defending team into a bunch of tanks), I'm having a hard time seeing the good in Overwatch right now.

Maybe Blizzard will pull their heads out of the asses, stop worrying about who's gay and who's not, and get to fixing their game for the new year. There's a lot of potential in Overwatch that has yet to be realized, and I really want Blizzard to make it happen.

Steven Bogos:

Valve could have made overwatch... 10 years ago. It seems the Valve of today is only capable of churning out hats and collecting royalties from games sold on Steam.

Eh, probably capable of more, but just chooses not to.

I don't really begrudge Valve - the Half-Life games are a net positive for me, but I could die happy without Half-Life 3 ever being released, and that's about it for Valve's repitoire that I've played (heck, not even played HL1). Going to say what a million other people have said that there's no financial incentive for Valve to make Half-Life 3 (or any games, really), and there's no way it's going to live up to the hype either.

SlumlordThanatos:

Maybe Blizzard will pull their heads out of the asses, stop worrying about who's gay and who's not,

I think the people of the Internet are far more worried about that. Nothing about Tracer's sexuality was really highlighted by Blizzard, it was just the usual twerps that turned a molehill into a mountain. And calling it a molehill at all in the first place is being generous.

Hawki:

SlumlordThanatos:

Maybe Blizzard will pull their heads out of the asses, stop worrying about who's gay and who's not,

I think the people of the Internet are far more worried about that. Nothing about Tracer's sexuality was really highlighted by Blizzard, it was just the usual twerps that turned a molehill into a mountain. And calling it a molehill at all in the first place is being generous.

You're not wrong, but at the same time, Blizzard just seems to take pleasure in throwing fuel on the fire. Remember the whole thing about Tracer's behind the back victory pose? The only reason they drew attention to it is because they knew the community would bitch and moan like they always do.

There's interacting with your community, and then there's actively baiting them, and it really seems to me that Blizzard does an awful lot of the later.

SlumlordThanatos:

You're not wrong, but at the same time, Blizzard just seems to take pleasure in throwing fuel on the fire. Remember the whole thing about Tracer's behind the back victory pose? The only reason they drew attention to it is because they knew the community would bitch and moan like they always do.

I remember it, but weren't people moaning about it anyway? Way I recall the events was:

1) "Tracer wiggling her butt is offensive to young girls!"

2) Blizzard: "Alright, we'll remove it."

3) "OMG, Blizzard's caving into social justice warriors! This is censorship!"

4) Cue shitstorm

At the time, I saw it more as being systemic of outrage culture - people getting offended over a harmless pose, and people crying out "censorship" or "SJWs" every time a move is taken that could be seen as inclusive or diverse. Leaving me (and hopefully others), asking "who the hell cares? It's a pose. A POSE!"

Hawki:
I remember it, but weren't people moaning about it anyway?

IIRC, it was a single thread on their forums, and the majority of the people in that thread were berating the OP. Until Jeff stepped in and stirred everything up.

As far as I could tell, there was only really one person complaining about it. There might have been more, but I had a hard time finding any threads that didn't reek of trolls. In fact, the argument could be made that the OP was written by someone trolling.

Given Blizzard's recent track record with Overwatch, I'd be willing to bet money that the intent was to generate interest before the game's release. No such thing as bad publicity, as they say.

Re Overwatch:

The Escapist Staff:
It shows us that games are more fun when they don't take themselves so seriously.

Well, there's a wayward line in dire need of subjective qualifiers and/or context.

Worgen:
"Steven says: Only Blizzard could have made Overwatch. It is mechanically sound, has a ton of free post-launch support, and is so professionally polished it shines. While plenty of other studios could have managed a game with one, or two of these qualities, only Blizzard could have pulled off all three."

Oh yeah, cause TF2 totally didn't have all those things like over 10 years ago. What a meh choice for goty.

I thought the comparisons to TF2 were exaggerated. Then I played it. It's literally TF2 with the nuanced weapon variety taken out and replaced with porn bait. It's not bad, because it's TF2, but if anything I prefer Hi-Rez's contribution to the genre, Paladins, a lot more. This is because Paladins actually changed up the gameplay style. The MOBA elements are much more pronounced, and the larger pool of abilities on each character makes each one more distinct and powerful feeling. It's not perfect (The balancing is all over the place), but it is a much more promising base.

The Escapist Staff:

Only Blizzard could have made Overwatch.

You're right. Only Blizzard could dump as much money as they have into producing a meme-and-waifu-porn generating Team Fortress 2 knockoff.

I mean, it's pretty much their MO. Take someone else's idea (whether it be gameplay mechanics, art designs, character/setting/lore designs, etc), throw a fuck-ton of money into advertising and production, and milk it ad infinitum.

That said, I don't begrudge anyone for picking it as their GOTY. Honestly, I'm not even sure what my GOTY would be. DOOM? Titanfall 2? I don't know. But really, I don't care either. It was a good year for quality games.

Worgen:

Oh yeah, cause TF2 totally didn't have all those things like over 10 years ago. What a meh choice for goty.

At least I'm not the only one who sees it.

Steven Bogos:

Valve could have made overwatch... 10 years ago. It seems the Valve of today is only capable of churning out hats and collecting royalties from games sold on Steam.

And continuing to update Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, CS:GO, Left 4 Dead 2, Source 2, and Steam. As well as starting and innovating the current industry of VR.

Oh, and producing hardware.

But you're right. They don't do anything anymore because they haven't released Half-Life 3 or some shit. Totally makes sense.

I bet your one of those people who thinks Oculus started the whole VR thing, aren't you?

Hawki:

Eh, probably capable of more, but just chooses not to.

I don't really begrudge Valve - the Half-Life games are a net positive for me, but I could die happy without Half-Life 3 ever being released, and that's about it for Valve's repitoire that I've played (heck, not even played HL1). Going to say what a million other people have said that there's no financial incentive for Valve to make Half-Life 3 (or any games, really), and there's no way it's going to live up to the hype either.

They did release a new game last year, though. The Lab.

And they've announced that they've had several projects in the works, including VR titles, that they're excited to show off this year.

What those projects are I've no idea. But we'll start finding out soon-ish.

Vigormortis:

I mean, it's pretty much their MO. Take someone else's idea (whether it be gameplay mechanics, art designs, character/setting/lore designs, etc), throw a fuck-ton of money into advertising and production, and milk it ad infinitum.

I think we have very different definitions of "milking."

Also, is this even a point of comparison with Valve, where a sizable portion, if not majority of their games are simply appropriating mods (Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat, DotA 2, etc.)? Not to mention that Left 4 Dead/Alien Swarm are hardly going to get any awards for the originality of their plot, setting, or characters.

Vigormortis:

They did release a new game last year, though. The Lab.

And they've announced that they've had several projects in the works, including VR titles, that they're excited to show off this year.

What those projects are I've no idea. But we'll start finding out soon-ish.

Well, what do you know, Valve DID produce a game...based on VR. Sigh...

First I've heard about new projects, but I guess that's more reason for me not to care.

Hawki:

Also, is this even a point of comparison with Valve, where a sizable portion, if not majority of their games are simply appropriating mods (Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat, DotA 2, etc.)? Not to mention that Left 4 Dead/Alien Swarm are hardly going to get any awards for the originality of their plot, setting, or characters.

There's far more than a slight difference between the two. One has a habit of hiring a team of talented, up-and-coming designers, giving them free reign to do whatever they please, and supporting their decision to build a larger, more complete version of the project(s) they were working on before joining the company. The other tends to use its current crop of (admittedly very talented) designers, copies someone else's idea, and dumps a lot of funding into putting their own spin on that idea (and advertising the hell out of it).

Don't misunderstand me. I actually love some of Blizzard's games. Hell, Diablo 2 and Starcraft remain some of my all-time favorites. But that doesn't blind me to their idea of 'creativity'.

Well, what do you know, Valve DID produce a game...based on VR. Sigh...

First I've heard about new projects, but I guess that's more reason for me not to care.

I mean, if that's not your thing that's fine, but The Lab is an amazing sampler of just a few of the possibilities VR offers. It's a great experience.

Even so, they haven't said that all of the things they plan to reveal this year are VR projects. There's every chance one or more of them are 'classic' games.

But them being as they are, they're being aggravatingly secretive, so we'll have to wait and see.

Dark Souls 3 was probably my GOTY. I actually kinda dislike overwatch and I find the fact that it charges up front and also has in game F2P mechanics to be quite a blemish. I know most games have this now, and I don't give them a free pass on it either.

I see I'm late for the TF2 bandwagon comments. So yeah, seems like a year where the Escapist didn't hone in on story games for GOTY. I'm not dismissing the value Overwatch has for its playerbase out of hand but for me I wasn't prepared to drop cash for a shooter with TF2 gameplay when I don't play TF2 anymore. Maybe if I was putting in my hours in TF2 I'd consider it but meh... I just haven't been all over that arena combat stuff in 7 years.

Overwatch is definitely up there for me too. I liked it pretty equally with Stellaris, Doom, and Dark Souls 3. I would've been happy with any of those, but Overwatch seems to have caused the most salt, so that's an extra bonus!

I'm not going to deny Overwatch's quality as a game, it's just that there were so many other game more deserving of this award. It's just that so many of Overwatch's elements are a clear copy and paste job from other games, it's just seems like a cop out. There were a bunch of indie titles, and in fact, DOOM clearly had more going for it. Either way, I'm not upset Overwatch got GOTY, I'm just disappointed.

 

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