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!
And here we have it! The overall GOTY award is pretty self explanatory; it’s our favourite game across all platforms for the year. It doesn’t have to be the biggest or most expensive game, though. Rather, we want to recognise a game that had a real and measurable impact on us. A game that we’ll continue to think about, talk about, and remember fondly for many years ahead. A game that keeps us interested in gaming, and in some way reflects the development of gaming as an artistic medium. That’s what the GOTY means to us, and each of the other medalists also came so, so close to the big prize. What a year for games 2016 has been.
We all love the concept of space, and we all love a good science fiction experience that takes us into space. No Man’s Sky is a lonely, desolate exploration and survival game. And that makes it one of the most appropriate takes of what it must be like to be an interstellar explorer. Sure there are books and films that have taken this theme on themselves, but the interactivity of No Man’s Sky puts you into the experience live never before.
We love games that have value as historical texts. Games that offer players an educational insight into what happened at a particular point of time, as well being highly entertaining. A near perfect example of that kind of game is 1979 Revolution. In this one, players get to experience the events of the Islamic Revolution of Iran play out, without fear or favour, as the best historical texts should do. As an added bonus this is a really, really good fun adventure game; right up with the very best of them.
It’s rare for a game to do a genuinely good job of integrating the beauty and majesty of dancing into the gameplay, but that’s exactly what Plastic has achieved with Bound. This game is beautifully abstract, and tells a simple but powerful story. Its real strength, however, is the way it handles movement through the space. Every step that your character takes in the game is graceful, elegant, and fills the gameplay space with movement. This is a real one of a kind game, and we are so incredibly glad that the game exists.
We’ve given I Am Setsuna a pile of awards in this year’s awards, and that’s for a really good reason; in almost every way, I Am Setsuna is a masterpiece. It’s a tour de force of effective art design, with a spectacular soundtrack, and a gameplay system that mixes everything we loved about JRPGs of old, with modern best practices so that they’re more than just nostalgia driving the appeal of this one. I Am Setsuna is everything that we like to see in JRPGs, and then some.
You can read our review of the game here.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was a game that we knew we would enjoy before we started to play it. Then we played it and it exceeded our expectations. This is a game that offers superb classical JRPG action, and over the top of that lays a wonderful narrative that carefully dissects Japanese popular idol culture. The greatest tragedy of this game is that it is a Nintendo Wii U release, and so an awful lot of people simply haven’t had the chance to experience it. With any luck there is a Switch port and, assuming that console is a hit (which we hope it is), more people will be able to finally play it then.