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!
Blockbuster games are obviously the main lifeblood of the industry. These games rake in the big dollars, have the large audiences, and are the games that we tend to talk about the most as a result. But often blockbuster games are dismissed as being bereift of creativity and innovation, which is quite unfair. Despite being built to reach audiences of all types, the below games all show the range and depth that the games at the expensive end of the spectrum can display.
Civilization has always been the most rare of beasts; a serious strategy game franchise that manages to appeal to people that don’t usually play strategy games. Accessible and yet deep, attractive on the eyes and yet historically authentic, it’s truly incredible how good Firaxis has been over the years to balance the competing demands in making this series the very epitome of the blockbuster strategy game. Civilization VI continues this tradition in an incredible, and brings with it some new gameplay concepts that only further enrich the experience.
The thinking person’s shooter, as it were, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided effectively weaves RPG mechanics and a greater deal of openness to the basic shooting to make for a deep game that players can approach through stealth, outright gunplay, or a mix of the two. But it’s the plot of the game that really stands out. Deus Ex Mankind Divided’s story offers some valuable commentary on bigotry and discrimination that is particularly relevant now, coupled with some important discussions about the interaction between people and technology, makes for a big-budget cyberpunk adventure that will also get you thinking.
Mafia III is one of the real surprises of the year. Before release we all thought it was going to be a fairly standard open world crime game; not unlike GTA or Watch Dogs, only with a more classical setting. What we actually got was a fairly intense narrative with some important things to say, and a game that was brave enough to make some compromises in order to focus players on the story that it has to tell. A really delightful example of what can be done with the open world genre to make it something more than a generic open world game.
Overwatch is the kind of FPS that can make even the most hardened critic of the genre a fan. Even though it’s an exclusively multiplayer game, it has a better sense of character and personality than most JRPGs, with a hugely diverse cast of interesting characters, and such incredibly tight and efficient gameplay, that the game manages to be both easy to pick up and play for people without much experience, while also being such a high skill game that it’s going to become one of the very top competitive games. A true masterpiece in its genre.
It’s difficult to describe just how impressed we are with Final Fantasy XV. After 10 years in development, in one form or another, there was every chance that it could have been a train wreck of a game, much like most long-delayed games (hi, Duke Nukem Forever). But it wasn’t. Final Fantasy XV gave us a gorgeous open world to explore, an interesting bunch of characters and a quality, highly traditional Final Fantasy plot to play through. As a mix of old and new, Square Enix was able to appease fans of Final Fantasy with plenty of classical elements, while also making sure that the game felt modern for the newcomers.