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NGB’s Game of the Year 2016 – The Top Ten!

It’s time for us to go through our top ten games of the year! It’s been a horrendous year for most stuff, but honestly, video games have been the positive in a sea of negativity, with a large amount of great titles coming out. Here are the team’s picks for the ten best games of 2016!

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10: PES 2017

Quite simply, the best gameplay that there has ever been in a football game, PES 2017 takes on board feedback from previous years, as well as some neat new touches and a staggeringly easy edit mode to create the best entry in the series for a decade.

Adam: Konami have made big strides the last few years with PES and it’s no more apparent than in PES 2017. The Fox Engine shines massively, with solid gameplay and vastly improved visuals. If they can sort the online side of things for PES 2018, it will place even higher next year!

Gari PES has been getting better year on year and finally with PES 2017, Konami have delivered a football game that can shout from the top of the table. Responsive, fluid and just so much fun to play. It might not have all the bells and whistles as its competitor and might not have the best online infrastructure, but where the action matters on the pitch, its incredible and without a doubt, the best football game out right now.

9: DOOM

A game that had no right to be anywhere near as good as it was, Doom’s reboot is an unrelenting joyride of demonic invasion, blood, and guns. Lots and lots of guns.

Jonny: The most game-y game of the year; a big dumb romp and one of the few successful revamps of an old property to capture the feel of the original. Manages to wring an awful lot of fun out of not much at all in the way of plot or ideas, and has an ending that shows you don’t need hours of cut scenes and every voice actor available to make a gamer care about your protagonist.

Robin: the grandaddy of them all returned in fantastic fashion this year, proving that single-player shooters are alive and well. Doom 2016 is a fitting follow-up to the groundbreaking original, filled with some brilliant firefights and over-the-top action, this was a pleasant surprise after some of the ropey reboots we have had to suffer through over recent years.

8: GEARS OF WAR 4

The first true Gears game on the new generation of consoles, and The Coalition showed that they knew what they were doing with it. A visual treat, and a great story to boot, Gears 4 was a must-play for Xbox owners this year.

Robin: Evolution not revolution is the order of the day, as Gears 4 doesn’t do anything mind-blowing, but brings it’s fantastically-balanced, hard-hitting gameplay to the Xbox One. Following the missteps of Judgement, the series has found its feet once again – and even though the story ends up feeling like little more than the setup for a new trilogy of games – the action is gripping from beginning to end.

Nick: I was intrigued more than anything to see how the series would develop onto the latest generation of consoles, and I was more than pleased with results. It plays safe, no doubt, but it’s campaign is one of the strongest it’s ever had and the multiplayer feels fleshed and delightfully familiar.

7: INSIDE

Playdead’s follow up to Limbo has been a long time coming, but it is more than worth the wait. A bleak and desperate tale is told without a single word being spoken, and that ending… Well… Yeah, if you’ve yet to play Inside, get on it right now.

Gari: Inside is a game that shocked me. I wasn’t really going in expecting to be blown away, but just how wrong was I once I started playing what is one of the best games Ive ever played. While the gameplay might come across as a little simple, this is what gives it, its charm due to its incredible game design with puzzle elements that have been implemented alongside its stunning black and white look. If you own a console or a PC, you need to play this game.

Ben: Having thoroughly enjoyed Limbo, I was excited to see what Playdead came up with next. What they’ve managed to produce with Inside is an almost mechanically perfect game with a sense of foreboding and undertones of fear that I have rarely seen pulled off this well. The puzzles strike that balance between being frustrating and being difficult with such ease that it’s scary. Coupled with one of the most uncomfortable 20 minute spells I’ve ever had with a game as the ending screams into view, and you’re left with a stunning title that’s definitely worth playing.

6: THE DIVISION

Many thought The Division was going to be Ubisoft’s answer to Destiny, and in some respects it was. However, lurking under the loot shooter’s exterior existed a deep and engaging experience that has seen its popularity rise again with the recent patches.

Deb: As someone that is generally useless with shooters I had always stayed away from them, that was until I saw The Division. What compelled me this time was the story behind the shooting, a devastating disease that had swept over NYC and the knowledge that I had friends and family I could depend on to help fight alongside me. At first it was daunting and it took some good time getting used to, but as I made my way through the campaign and with a little time I soon got my grasp with the gameplay mechanics and customisation, finding the best gear that suited my play style. The world itself was beautifully rendered despite the grim circumstances, in fact it really hit home how bleak things had become and that gave me the motivation to press on past my somewhat lacking skills. It may not be perfect, but it was the first time I was able to find my place in a shooter thanks to some co-op action.

Adam: The Division is a game that I’ve just got into but after many hours already, I am so glad I did and should of sooner. It is a fantastic online-always game, even better when you’re playing with friends. Ubisoft are still continuing with their support for the game, so there is no better time to jump right in.

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5: BATTLEFIELD 1

Battlefield decided to take a different tact to Call of Duty this year, and took us way back to World War 1 with this bold reinvention of the series. Sure, it still felt like Battlefield underneath, but with the personal stories involved in the campaign, as well as the chaotic multiplayer stepping it up a notch, it finds its way onto our list.

Nick: I’ve personally been clamoring for the major franchises to return to the historic World War setting for nearly 7 years now. Thankfully, Battlefield 1 did not disappoint. The single player might only be merely an improvement over past ventures, but the multiplayer is more exhilarating and dynamic than it’s ever been. And still, its greatest achievement is that the franchise has once again discovered its own identity amidst a long-standing turf war with the Call of Duty games. Like I said in the review, Battlefield is once again comfortable in its own skin and it’s a better game for it.

Gari: Alongside a brilliant single player campaign that focuses on short fictional stories from its WWI setting, the other part that the Battlefield series is famous for is its online multiplayer and with Battlefield 1, DICE have up their game and delivered a compelling package that has enough content to keep you hooked for months. Fantastic.

4: TITANFALL 2

EA seemed determined to torpedo Titanfall’s sales by launching it in-between Call of Duty and Battlefield, but it’s found a following thanks to some crazy deals. And it’s a good job too, as it combines what is possibly the best multiplayer around with the most inventive single player campaign that’s been seen for years. A worthy entrant on this list.

Ben: Titanfall 2 combines everything that was great about the first game’s multiplayer and introduces a campaign that is one of the freshest and most exciting since the original Modern Warfare. A bold and inventive story that treats some incredible mechanics as disposable, but never feels like it needs to hold onto them for a second longer than it does. Immense fun online too, Titanfall 2 is one of my favourite games of the year, and I wish it had launched at a different time and not been cannibalised initially by the other 2 big hitters.

Matt: Just wow. So much fun online, even though I get whooped whenever I step into the frontier. The campaign was sorely missing from the first game, but it’s fantastic, to the point I’d say it’s the best single player FPS story that I’ve played since COD4.

3: HITMAN

An episodic Hitman game? Lots of people wrote this one off, with an initially confusing launch strategy and a slightly turbulent launch. Thankfully, iO interactive stayed the course, listened to the community and produced one of the finest games of the year, and easily the best Hitman game to date.

Jonny: A playground of death; the choice and possibilities presented to you sometimes seems overwhelming. You could just purchase one level of this episodic release and get more out of it than some other full-price titles

Robin: After the major disappointment of the action-centric Hitman: Absolution, this year’s new title is a welcome reboot of the series. Many feared it’s episodic nature wouldn’t work, but it has been a huge success in giving players ample time to explore and experiment with each a assassination sandbox before the next episode launches. Choice and innovation is the order of the day, and iO interactive have made changes which both make the game more accessible to newcomers, as well as offering new challenges for veterans. I just hope that a second season of episodes is already planned!

2: FINAL FANTASY XV

After a 10 year wait, Final Fantasy XV final saw the light of day in 2016. What awaited was an expansive JRPG with more than a few western influences. Chapter 13 aside, FFXV is proof that good things do indeed come to those who wait.

Deb: There was never any question in my mind for what my Game of the Year 2017 would be, Final Fantasy XV. It has been a painstaking 10 years in the making, but it was so worth the wait! This is one of the most realistic titles in the series and there is so much attention to detail packed into each little crevice that just brings everything together spectacularly. The graphics are impeccable, and watching the scenery as you pass by in your Regalia is such a delight. Not only that but as a photographer myself I adore Promto’s photographs, and whilst I’m at it I adore Promto himself, he is bae! Anyway, whilst I have yet to complete the game my experience so far has been one of the best this year. The Active Cross Battle system was surprisingly easy to grasp and I love how it immerses you in your surroundings. The character progression system has also been put together well, with EXP building up until you take a much needed respite at camp which is one of those small features that just perks everything up. (I think any meal from Ignis would perk me up!)

Adam: After 10 years of development, with numerous changes and stoppages, Final Fantasy XV was released, and it was completely worth the wait. The story, battle system and stunning looking visuals all make up for Final Fantasy XV to go down as one of the greatest Final Fantasy games ever!

And finally… Our winner…

NGB’S GAME OF THE YEAR 2016: UNCHARTED 4 – A THIEF’S END

Was there ever any doubt? Naughty Dog essentially pointed to a spot in the sky, and smashed Uncharted 4 out of the park. Incredible technical work, combined with an emotional, hard hitting story and the most refined gameplay in the series to date resulted in the best game of 2016. This was leagues ahead of everything else in the voting, and rightly so. Congratulations to Naughty Dog!

Gari: As a big Uncharted fan myself, Uncharted 4 was a perfect end to Nathan Drake and his adventures. Beautiful to look at is one thing, but to tie everything together with an incredible story with gameplay to match just proves to me at just how good Naughty Dog are. Incredible game from start to finish and the perfect way for Nathan Drake and co to bow out.

Nick: This year saw the farewell to one of the most iconic characters in gaming. Nathan Drake’s last hurrah continued Naughty Dog’s tradition of superbly crafted action and storytelling, backed up with some great writing and similarly talented cast. Has there ever been a more consistent gaming series ever made?

Jonny: Not just a beautifully told story and a frequent provider of Kodak moments, but the climbing, stealth and shooting mechanics were nailed this time around, ensuring it’s still an engaging and compelling game and not just playing through a movie

Robin: The Uncharted series will probably never match the highs of its second installment, but this fourth one certainly tried hard and came close. Yes, it’s shooting sequences are repetitive ans irritating, but the story, historical content and luscious backdrops create a deep game world full of interesting characters, and that makes you really want to progress and find out what will happen next. Nothing about it will surprise you or feel particularly unique, but it all comes together you form a thoroughly enjoyable whole.

And there we have it! Thank you so much for all of your support throughout 2016, it has meant the world to everyone here at NGB. Stay tuned throughout 2017, where we’ll have a whole host of new content coming your way!

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