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!
Everyone knows just how varied the PC platform is for gaming now. If you can afford a decent-quality PC, then it will easily become your default gaming platform, especially now that it has quality VR options, and that the Japanese developers and publishers are now, for the most part, committed to supporting the platform in full. And of course, there are more indie games and small, creative projects, than you could ever hope to play.
Overwatch is one of those rare titles that’s able to convert people who aren’t usually a fan of the genre that it belongs to. In this case, it’s the multiplayer FPS; suddenly people who have rarely played deathmatch games were getting right into this one. It’s the combination of incredible characters, tight gameplay, and a fair learning curve by the genre’s standards that did it. And now Overwatch seems destined to become one of the most important eSports games of all.
If you’re not happy with how others are doing it, do it yourself. That’s what Eric Barone seems to have done with Stardew Valley. With Harvest Moon being more miss than hit these days, Stardew Valley is the Havest Moon game that fans really wanted. Beautiful graphics, charming gameplay, and all the relaxing pastoral gameplay that people love in Harvest Moon are executed to the finest degree in this one. This is the kind of game that you’ll start playing and not be able to stop.
Any strategy game that lets you call a disease “Donald Trump” and then watch as it proceeds to kill the entire population is a good one. Plague Inc is a simple strategy game, but a remarkably effective and challenging one. With superbugs being a very real concern in medical communities now, there’s every chance that those doomsday predictions about killer bugs could come true, and it’s really quite terrifying, even as it’s fascinating, to watch this process play out as Donald Trump’s victims start to number in the billions.
You can read our review here.
Controversial as it is, if people didn’t go into No Man’s Sky expecting an endless Halo, they would have found a fascinating, unique, and artful game that does a better job of reflecting the vast emptiness of space than almost any game that came before it. This is a game that you can easily get yourself lost in for dozens of hours, not really achieve much, and not mind that at all, because it’s at its best when it’s an aimless survival simulator. While the discussion of No Man’s Sky will be forever on its PR and marketing faults, the game deserves far better than that.
It is really difficult to look at Civilization VI and not be enormously impressed with everything that 2K and Firaxis has achieved with the game. It’s the biggest and most expansive strategy game ever created, with incredibly gorgeous art, a deeper sense of history and research than almost any other game we’ve ever seen, and a nuanced, complex series of gameplay mechanics that could take years to properly master. Will Civilization VI be as fondly remembered as Civilization 2? Only the years ahead will tell, but the game has a better chance to do that than anything else from this franchise in quite some time.
1979 Revolution surprised and impressed us more than almost any other game released in 2016. Not only does it tell a really cracking story, but it does so in a way that takes a historically and politically-loaded event; the Islamic revolution in Iran of 1979, and presents it in an unflinchingly honest way. This game does a better job of retelling that event than even the likes of Argo, which people seemed to think was a great movie for some reason. But this… this is that much better, and a far less ideologically-driven bit of revisionist history than that film. This is the game that will really prove to you the value of games as historical record keeping.
You can read our review here.