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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The DDNet Awards! Nintendo Wii U Game of the Year


Welcome to the DDNet Awards, our annual celebration of the best and brightest games that we've been playing throughout the year.

It has been a really good year for games in 2016, with great examples of every genre popping up through the year. Across 15 categories over the next three weeks, we look at the winner, runner up and three bronze medalists for each category.

In order to qualify for selection, a game needed to have been released for the first time on a new platform, between the first of December 2015 and the end of November 2016.

Let us know what you think of the award winners in the comments!

Nintendo Wii U Game of the Year

We all know by now how controversial the Nintendo Wii U has turned out to be. It has really struggled to gain mainstream acceptance, and its games have often been overlooked because so few people own the console. And even as third parties have all but abandoned the console (little independent developers aside), Nintendo has managed to support it with games that, while not in great quantity, have certainly offered incredible quality. You'll see that reflected in the medal winners below; while you wouldn't want the Wii U to be your main console, you'll want to have one around for games like this nonetheless.

Bronze


I think many of us were surprised when we heard that there was going to be a Pokemon fighting game. After all, as much as Pokemon is about battling, it's also about turn-based, highly strategic battling. Pokken Tournament, meanwhile, is a fighting game made by the Tekken guys. Against the odds, this has turned out to be a heck of a fighting game, with a great cast of Pokemon favourites, and a deep, engaging combat system.




So, when Star Fox Zero released, there were a lot of people who were complaining about how difficult it was to control, and how the dual-screen set up, which made use of both the Wii U's gamepad and TV screen, made the whole experience too much like busywork for its own good. However, we say these people are missing the point. While Star Fox Zero is, ultimately, an arcade shooter, it's also one that makes good use of real flight physics to make for some exciting, intense dogfights. We've never played anything quite like this one, and it's a pity that more people didn't persevere with it to get to the point where the initial difficult controls could start to show their beautiful elegance.

You can read our review of the game here.




Another polarising game, Paper Mario: Color Splash did a couple of things really, really well. Firstly, it had enough humour, and a real sense of the surreal, to last players who liked their games different for weeks. Secondly, it successfully boiled the JRPG mechanics of Paper Mario games into a card-collecting battle system that might have put some off for its pacing and balance, but as far as we're concerned, it allowed for a hugely entertaining and often strategic experience.

You can read our review of the game here.



Silver


Effortlessly one of the best "HD Remasters" that we've ever come across, the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess takes one of the darkest and most intelligent Zelda games ever created, and gives it the sheen it always deserved. This is a game needed the high definition art and detail in characters and environments to really carry the narrative that it was telling, and thanks to the enormous talent of the Australian team at Straight Right Studios/ Tantalus Media, with the Wii U version of the game we finally had the vision properly realised.

You can read our review of the game here.



Gold


Tokyo Mirage Sessions is reason enough for anyone who has ever enjoyed a JRPG to own a Nintendo Wii U, because it's also one of the most incredible JRPGs that has ever been created. It was clearly prototyped as a Persona game, before Nintendo realised the potential of it, and recruited Atlus to work on it as a collaboration with the Fire Emblem series. What we got as a result was a game that has the in-depth analysis of Japanese youth and popular culture that we're used to from the Persona series, mixed in with some higher fantasy concepts cribbed from Fire Emblem. The resulting combination is absolutely delicious, and impossible to put down.

You can read our review of the game here.


The DDNet Awards! Nintendo Wii U Game of the Year
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