2016 has entered its endgame having given us all a lifetime of memories. Before rolling over to the next cycle of 2017, let’s take a look back at the year in gaming and hand out our coveted Fexy awards for the best of the year!
2016 Fexy Game Awards
Best Storytelling: Uncharted 4
Uncharted 4 had it all from a narrative perspective. Loyalty, deception, trust, and the bonds between friends and family. It represents the culmination of 4 games of Drake and his supporting cast and is a wonderful retrospective on everything that has happened. One can’t help but feel the emotional tug in tender moments with Elena or Sully and the game’s story payoff is as explosive as the brilliant gameplay.
Best Gameplay: Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 brought the franchise back to its gameplay roots while also incorporating elements from its sister franchise, Bloodborne. The game returned to its interconnected world design, and featured several dynamic NPC side quests. The usual arsenal of fun toys made its return, with hundreds of weapons and spells to combine and play around with in countless builds, as well as an intuitive upgrade system that blended elements of past Soulsborne games.
Best Visual & Audio: Uncharted 4
There simply isn’t a more visually striking game than Uncharted 4, and its orchestral score is iconic at this point. The game’s design is impeccable with brilliant voice acting and facial animations that make the characters all feel like real, living characters. The beautiful set pieces capture the essence of the various landscapes, from Madagascar to pirate islands in the Indian Ocean and the game’s photo mode allows for some stunning shots. Naughty Dog has maximized the power of the PS4 and continues to push the envelope for graphical prowess.
Best Multiplayer: Elder Scrolls Online
While not released in 2016, the MMORPG, the Elder Scrolls Online received such a new amount of game changing content to effectively feel like a fresh release. Beyond new expansions, the game received a Gold Edition that collected everything released for new players. But the crown jewel of the year was the One Tamriel update which redefined the core structure of the game to better reflect Zenimax Online’s original vision. The new initiative lifted numerous zoning and leveling restrictions, opening up the game for everyone as well as instituted numerous core changes to itemization. The result was an infusion of clarity and freshness that encouraged both newcomers and veterans to jump into the group activities as they quested for great loot or engaged in the game’s addicting PvP.
Best Value: Salt & Sanctuary
Salt & Sanctuary is a fully realized 2D Soulslike RPG that eclipsed most RPGs out there in quality content, and released for under 20 USD. The game could have easily sold for significantly more, given its tremendous gameplay, gorgeous hand drawn art and deep skill and itemization systems. In all, it was a tremendous achievement by the 2 person team of Ska Studios, and not only epitomizes the Soulslike genre, but transcends the label and stands on its own as wonderful and innovative experience.
Best FPS: Overwatch
Overwatch is frantic yet deliberate, chaotic yet coordinated and a ton of fun to play. With first person mechanics that are as fluid as they come, the game’s roster of heroes feature dozens of unique abilities that combine in countless ways. While the perspective is in first person, the game does not limit you to guns, allowing for smooth ninja star tossing, katana swiping, hammer smashing and arrow sniping. Blizzard’s commitment to their franchises is unparalleled, and Overwatch consistently receives updates and improvements to keep the balance and mechanics optimal.
Best DLC: The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine
The Blood & Wine expansion for the Witcher 3 sent the game off on the highest possible note. The expansion was so good that many regarded it as a game on its own. The intriguing story brought us back to the world of Geralt, and sent him all over a brand new location across dozens of new quests, while also touching base with some beloved characters. New gear gave fans new toys to play with as they ventured out against some of the newly crafted monsters. Adding dozens of hours to a game that already featured hundreds was icing on the cake for one of the most celebrated RPGs in the current gen.
Game of the Year: Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 was the homage to the series and fans that many were hoping for. The game is packed full of references to the past games in the series, and brought as much closure to the overarching story as was possible given the cryptic narrative method the franchise is known for. It is the most visually complete game to date and save for a few poorly implemented covenant choices, features the most varied and seamless multiplayer of the series. The boss designs are fantastic and represent the most collectively challenging of the series, and equally boast cinematic and dramatic highs. The atmosphere is predictably somber but features a brightness and hope missing from the first 2, which give the game a bittersweet finish as we come to accept that our time with the worlds of Dark Souls is near an end. Here’s hoping for a new universe to become attached to from From Software’s future projects.
2016 Fexy Community Awards
Forum Member: TSMP
Helpful, thoughtful and prolific, community member TSMP is our resident Magic expert in Dark Souls 3 as well as a possessor of knowledge across the Soulsborne games. There aren’t many threads that go unseen by TSMP and we can always anticipate measured and level headed responses.
Wiki Contributor: mothereternity
Always ready to contribute to a wiki project, whether it’s making cleanups or rounding up troops for overhauls community member and newly promoted moderator mothereternity is as reliable as they come with an unmatched cheer to boot. Wikis are the pumping heart of the community and Mother E, as we affectionately say, has their pulse.
Blog Author: skarekrow13
Community member and moderator Skarekrow13 cracked one of the biggest mysteries of the Souls series by deciphering how to translate the runes on the Titanite Slab! It was a revelation and huge reveal in a game series that is full of red herrings and dead ends. The article went viral, spreading through the Souls community, blowing minds along the way. Skarekrow’s follow up article took a look at some of the smaller translations found on the various shards and chunks throughout the series.
It was a great year of gaming, chock full of great indie and blockbuster AAA releases and we had our hands full plaything through them all (and making dozens of wikis, guides and videos). Thoughts on our picks for this year’s awards? What were your favorite games of 2016? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
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