The Hidden Levels Game Of The Year 2016

2016 has been another great year for gamers. With the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One both coming into the third year of their life we are now really starting to see developers pushing the boundaries with what they can do. We’ve had the Xbox One S and Playstation 4 Pro setting the bar for 4k graphics and VR gaming fast becoming the norm. As it comes to the end of 2016 it is time for the members of The Hidden Levels to pick their choices for Game of the Year 2016. The rules as always were simple, each member was allowed to pick one game from any available platform. Once again we got a diverse mix of games and some awesome reasons as to why each game was picked.

Manic Ado – Total War: Warhammer

We start once again with our fearless leader who has chosen Total War: Warhammer on PC. The mash up of the Total War and the Warhammer series was a critical and commercial success, managing to sell over half a million copies in the first week of release: “I haven’t played a total war game in a very long time, since 2004. I was brand new to Warhammer so was excited to see them both combine. In my 32 hours playing I never did manage to finish one campaign but I enjoyed how slow the campaign plays out and how well the battles are fought.”

Sangriaz – Amazing Princess Sarah

Way back at the start of 2016 in a conversion with Sangriaz he happened to go on to the topic of Game of the Year and told me that he had already made his choice. I laughed and then asked him what his choice was going to be, and was told that it would be Amazing Princess Sarah. Fast forward by 11 months and sure enough the choice is still the same: “This came out very early in the year, and I said this would be my GOTY at that time. It was way too early and there was nothing really special about this game other than it’s a really well done platforming game. As is usual for me, I looked at the achievement list and saw that it required 7 playthroughs, which put me off. So, I started the game thinking, maybe I will do 1 or 2 playthroughs and get around 700G. What happened in the end is that I actually played through the game 8 times. I cannot remember in my whole history of gaming playing through the same game over and over like this except maybe when I was really young. To this day, I don’t know what is so special about Amazing Princess Sarah, but a game that can make me want to play through 8 times has to be doing something right!”

Jamiereloaded23 – Hitman

Deciding my favourite game of 2016 was a bit of a struggle for me as there was a lot of games that I really, really enjoyed. I managed to narrow it down to a final three of Titanfall 2, Doom and Hitman. In the end I went with Hitman as the gameplay is incredibly varied and the different locations really give you a sense of what it would be like to be a globetrotting assassin for hire. Combine this with frequent updates that improved the already stellar gameplay and the continual free DLC that brings you new elusive targets to kill and you have all the ingredients for a phenomenal game. If you missed my take on Hitman I’ll post a handy link for you, just click here to see just how highly I rated the first season.

Gamer Guy In A Suit – Oxenfree

Oxenfree kicked off what was a great year for indie titles in 2016. With a fantastic story and a very well designed character interaction system it brought something new to the table. Our Steam aficionado Gamer Guy In A Suit had this to say about the game “I felt like Oxenfree was the game for me, although I was incredibly close to picking Doom. I felt Oxenfree even made people that don’t like narrative driven games play a narrative driven game.

Count Aizen – Furi

One of the great things about being part of the gaming community is how fortunate we are to be able to play such a large variety of games. One such game is Furi, which released at the start of December yet clearly left a lasting impression on Count Aizen as it’s his pick for 2016: “Furi is an outstanding example of taking one singular element of a video game and making an entire game around it.  The boss battles are the best fights I’ve seen in a long time.  And the combat is fluid enough to where if I die it’s my fault not the game.”

Smokin Cheez – One Piece: Burning Blood

One Piece: Burning Blood was the first One Piece game to be released on Xbox when it launched in the first quarter of 2016. With a cel-shaded artstyle and bold, vibrant colours I have to admit that the game is beautiful to look at. Our press guru Smokin Cheez had this to say about his choice for 2016: “Last year I happened to pick One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 so it’s pretty obvious that whenever another game comes out from this franchise I need to get it. The game captured the look and feel of One Piece perfectly and turned it into a well-balanced over-the-shoulder fighter game. The cel-shading made super moves look fantastic and the models were done superbly. Playing the story and against players online were both intense and challenging enough to get me to come back for more.”

ItsJustaMirage & Shioka – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Uncharted 4 is indeed entering uncharted territory, as it has the honour of being the first ever game in the THL Game of the Year awards to be picked by more than one person. Shioka picked Uncharted 4 because “Uncharted 4 delivered on everything it claimed and then some. It provided a thrilling conclusion to a long standing journey and did so through beautiful cinematics, a thrilling story, and smooth gameplay. It did not require DLC to complete the experience, and playing the game never felt like a chore.” Mirage not only loved the game but also loved the pairing of Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher, calling them her video game couple of the year Uncharted 4 had story, dialogue and beautiful animated cutscenes that got the player hooked to the point they realized that they spent an entire day without sleep to finish the adventure through. After all, I’m sure Drake didn’t have much time for sleep. With fantastic writing, the game was coupled with addictive climbing and gun combat mechanics as well as treasure exploration for that inner explorer in all of us. Despite all the other games I’ve come to love and enjoy this year, Uncharted 4: Thief’s End is my Game of the Year…with Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher being my video game couple of the year!”

Ozane93 – Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2 caught out a lot of players with the delightful single player campaign that Respawn Entertainment created. Full of intense action sequences along with one of the best in game companions (BT-7274) that I’ve ever seen, Titanfall 2 managed to silence the doubters and ended up being one of 2016’s most well reviewed games. Ozane93 was one person who was full of praise for Titanfall 2, and the level that requires you to time travel garnered the most positive comments: “The campaign mechanics were refreshing since most shooters are pretty much run and gun or take cover and shoot. Titanfall 2 used time travel mechanics and it worked really well. Not only did it play well, but it intertwined with the story and didn’t feel like a tacked on feature that was added purely for the sake of it”

TheFallenRise – Skyrim Remastered Edition

I’ve never been able to get into Skyrim. I own it on the Xbox 360 and have put a few hours into the game but for some reason I’ve just never managed to quite get hooked by it. One person who didn’t have this issue is TheFallenRise, who has chosen the Skyrim remaster as his favourite game of 2016: “For best game of the year my vote goes to Skyrim: Remastered Edition. Not only do we get a quality game with hundreds of hours of gameplay, enhanced graphics and some of the best stories I’ve ever played through but we get more support and mods which extends the amount of fun you can get out of it. You can’t go wrong with Skyrim.”

The LeBaron – Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley caught the gaming community by surprise when it released at the start of 2016. Fuelled by positive reception from critics, Stardew Valley went on to become one of the highest selling games on Steam. This meant that a console version was soon in demand and fortunately Chucklefish Games came up with the goods for Xbox and Playstation owners by releasing Stardew Valley on December 14th. The LeBaron chose this for his game of the year because “Stardew Valley is a beautifully crafted, whimsical entry that has easily found a permanent place in my heart. From visiting with the townspeople, who are a diverse and unique bunch, to the constant drive to improve yourself and your farm, there is no shortage of things to do in Pelican Town.”

Shadow Tobuscus – Overcooked

Last but not least we have our choice from Shadow Tobuscus, which is Overcooked from Ghost Town Games and Team 17. One of the first cooking simulation games out on consoles, Overcooked is a fun filled game that is best experienced when playing co-op with a friend: “Having to plan out each and every level by yourself or with a group of 2-4 trying to make as many dishes as possible before the time runs out. The lovely classical music playing in the background as you dash about, winding down to the last 30 seconds before it picks up in speed making you scramble to try and get that final dish out. The story is pretty funny in general having to go back in time so that you can hone your cooking skills to put them to the test against a giant spaghetti monster. If you have a family that loves to game together this is definitely the game to play.”

Our picks for Game of the Year 2016 may be a little different to some of the end of year lists that you’ll see online, but to us all of our choices mean something special to us. Whether it is the continuation of a franchise, a brand new title that caught your imagination or a re-imagining of an old favourite 2016 managed to provide something for everyone. 2017 looks to be another phenomenal year of gaming as we see a new console release from Nintendo, Microsoft pushing out the most powerful console ever with the Scorpio, Playstation looking to strengthen their grip on the gaming marketplace with a plethora of console exclusives and Steam dominating the PC gaming marketplace once again. Thank you as always to the team members of The Hidden Levels for helping me put together this article, it’s been a lot of fun seeing so many varied choices and I cannot wait to see what is in store for gaming in 2017.

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Livestream Manager and review writer for The Hidden Levels. An avid Xbox gamer with an addiction to Gamerscore, massive Manchester United fan and someone who is obsessed with watching MMA.

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