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Best Visuals

Gears of War 4

Despite EB editor-in-chief Matt Heywood’s proclamations of Forza Horizon 3‘s supremacy in the visual department, we took ourselves by surprise with Gears of War 4 winning this year’s Golden Buddha for the prettiest pixels. Thanks to a fantastic utilization of this spiffy new 4k resolution and HDR everyone’s talking about, Gears has never felt more alive. It’s hard to beat the richness of Gears‘ macabre world, and its exquisite lighting, highly detailed textures, and impressive art direction make for a quite a convincing experience.

Read our review here.

Best Writing

Firewatch

Much to my dismay, I have yet to play Firewatch. This is a personal cardinal sin. I gravitate towards video games that rely on quality writing as they tend to provide a certain caliber of social commentary that I’ve come to appreciate more as I age. Thanks to the pure awesomeness of the EB staff for picking Firewatch for this particular Golden Buddha, I’ll go ahead and award myself with 2016’s Biggest Twat of the EB Office award.

My new year’s resolution? Finally playing this fucking game. Don’t be me, folks. Play this game.

Read our review here.

Best Soundtrack

The Flame in the Flood

Now here’s one I have played, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since. The Flame in the Flood was one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had all year, video game-related or not. It’s an immaculate execution of the survival genre, and the river itself is just as much a character as Scout and Aesop, the game’s protagonist and her four-legged companion. Singer/songwriter Chuck Ragan wrote the entire soundtrack for the game, and it’s an album I’ve listened to on a weekly basis since I played the game this past February. The Flame in the Flood‘s soundtrack explodes the second you board your raft to begin your seemingly doomed pilgrimage and, throughout the game’s entirety, continues to fill the loneliness that accompanies your attempts at survival.

Read our review here.

Best New IP

Overwatch

The only thing you can really knock Overwatch for is its lack of story, but thanks to supplemental narrative videos, comics, and hidden easter eggs around every corner, that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue anymore. Overwatch was pretty groundbreaking when it released earlier this year, and it has only grown and matured in a positive direction since then. In a sea of sequels, Blizzard has managed to prove the effectiveness of a new, unexplored universe for gamers. Overwatch is seen, heard and talked about everywhere, and I don’t think anyone has a single complaint about that.

Read our review here.

Tags : BioShock: The CollectionFirewatchForza Horizon 3Game of the YearGears of War 4Genital JoustingGolden BuddhasHyper Light DrifterOverwatchPokemon GoPokemon MoonPokemon SunStreet Fighter VThe Flame in the FloodTitanfall 2Uncharted 4: A Thiefs EndUntil Dawn: Rush of Blood
Zachery Bennett

The author Zachery Bennett

Zach’s eternal preoccupation with video games became cemented at an early age. His first memorable journey away from reality began with a text-based Football game on a dirty Apple II; he’s chased fantasy ever since. Having took English classes as electives in college, Zach decided to pull the trigger on a merger between the two obsessions.