Welcome to 2017! With 2016 come and gone, it’s now the perfect time to point out the best of the worst things that happened in the gaming industry last year. What better way to celebrate the induction of another year gone to the annals of history? And with the ceremonial giving of the Golden Buddhas, that can mean only one thing.
Awarding 2016 video game releases for their gusto is not enough to properly encapsulate the year as a whole, so here’s our Best of the Worst awards for 2016! Depending on how you look at it, some of these awards can be considered a win or a loss, and 2016 had a ton of material for us to pick through before the staff over at EB landed on a winner for each category.
Prepare yourselves for a laugh and a quick retrospective stab of disappointment:
Mafia 3 carries the torch for the dumbest AI in 2016. Pedestrians walk aimlessly through traffic–which is usually a series of confused, drunk drivers trying to avoid an incident of accidental vehicular manslaughter. Cops and thugs aren’t much smarter. A quick search on YouTube will provide some unfortunate hilarity. They’ll show you exactly why we bestowed Mafia 3 with the ultimate dunce cap of the year.
Most Jacked Up Glitch
For a while there, nothing in the world was as terrifying as the Pokemon GO servers going down. I’ve never stared at a loading screen for so long. Waiting for any glimmer of connection to the servers was painstaking when the game first came out, but it was even worse when you were trying to catch a pokemon. Being lucky enough to find a Snorlax was one thing, but watching that pokeball shake three times before declining into an eternal state of inactivity was hell. And if you thought you can just reload the game and have it registered in your pokedex, well…bad news, friend.
Worse Use of a QTE
All Telltale Games released in 2016
For two years in a row, Telltale Games maintains their position as king of the quick time events. It’s not that the games are bad at all–most of their episodes are actually quite well done, but their games’ reliance on QTEs often feels obligatory regardless of the subject matter. I’ve criticized Minecraft: Story Mode in the past for using them to check to make sure you’re still sitting there playing the game, but their unchallenging nature hasn’t seem to deterred many from thoroughly enjoying the games.
Read our review on Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 5 here.
Worse Voice Acting in a Game
None of us could agree on this one. The EB staff voted for a wide variety of nominees including Mighty No. 9 and Frank West’s voice actor switch in Dead Rising 4, but I enacted what editorial power I have to grant the award to Space Rift. 2016 marked the year that began the era of accessible virtual reality. Between the Oculus, HTC Vive, and PSVR, there’s already a slew of games experimenting with the new format. It did a lot of things right, but its voice acting contains the most awkward delivery of dialogue I’ve heard in years.
Read our review of Space Rift here.
Worse Use of Blood and Gore
Dead Rising 4
Speaking of Dead Rising 4, it comes as no surprise that we voted for the game to win the award for bloodiest, goriest game of the year. Again, another quick search on YouTube will show you more than we could ever tell. Disgustingly detailed death animations, seemingly permanent blood splatter on Frank, and an ever-growing pile of zombie corpses is a hard combination to beat. Congratulations, Capcom!
Read our review of Dead Rising 4 here.
Best Waste of Celebrity Guest Talent
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Kit Harrington)
Back in 2015, we gave this award to Telltale’s Game of Thrones. It’s a bummer to see yet another GoT cast member with the same award this year, but Kit Harington’s inclusion in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was as unexpected as it was inapt. While I admire Harington for his attempts to break free from the devils of typecasting, CoD just felt like the wrong fit.
Watch our review of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare here.
Best Downgraded Visuals
Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection
We have Polygon’s article from back in November to thank for this one. The differences between the original Assassin’s Creed 2 and the recently remastered version included in the Assassin’s Creed Ezio Collection are staggering (but not all bad), and its visual alterations were among the most prevalent. It’s incredibly comical in the saddest way possible, so the staff here at EB felt the collection was more than worthy of the award.
Most Immature Mature Content
…I think we can all agree that Genital Jousting speaks for itself. If you’re into piloting a penis into the war of phallic anal assault, then…I guess you should probably look into this one.
Best Use of Old Assets
BioShock: The Collection
BioShock: The Collection deserves this ward almost exclusively because it didn’t pull an Assassin’s Creed on us. While PC players got to revel in crisp, updated graphics for quite some time now, console-goers finally get a chance to play through all three games on their current gen console without feeling blind. Outside of the inclusion of the series’ DLC, there’s nothing new here. It’s the same dated gameplay mechanics with the same monumental allure, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t go out and buy it day one. Thanks for taking my money for like the third time, Ken Levine. Cheers!
Best Rehash of Tired Ideas
Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 was one of my favorite games that came out in 2016. With that said, it brought damn near nothing new to the table. The third installment of the series was an immaculate redemption from the arguably lackluster Dark Souls 2, but Dark Souls will be Dark Souls. Not much has changed from the the series’ first entry, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, we can only hope that From Software’s next project deviates from their tried and true formula. We get it. We love it.
We need something new now.
Read our review of Dark Souls 3 here.
Best Botched Launch
No Man’s Sky
We should all know the narrative behind No Man’s Sky release by now. If you’re not in the know, it was a game with an seemingly infinite amount of hype–so much so that creator Sean Murray started to receive death threats for delaying the game. Well, time came and went, and eventually we all eventually loaded up the game to start our journey full of an infinite amount of proclaimed possibilities. Whether or not this game was truly a victim of improper marketing is neither here or there. It let nearly everyone down when it finally came out, and it’s been trying to recover ever since.
Read out review of No Man’s Sky here.
Worst Game of the Year
No Man’s Sky
Damn. Two awards in a row. It’s upsetting to see such a potential game changer win both silver and gold medals for the worst game of the year, but it’s hard to award anything else in 2016 with the title with the negativity surrounding No Man’s Sky release. While the game is one of the most impressive feats of core game design due to the amount of content it provides, that alone wasn’t enough for us to ignore its flaws. Multiplayer features continue to thrive in controversy among what once was a large No Man’s Sky community, an absurd amount of inventory management, and extremely repetitive, boring cycles of mining, walking, and flying ultimately marred the game’s identity.
No Man’s Sky has since received some pretty major content updates, but it’s going to be a long, difficult climb back to relevancy for the game. Despite the game’s groundbreaking formula, the staff at EB decided it crash-landed harder than any other game in 2016.
That’s all folks! Do you undeniably agree with our picks? Do you vehemently disagree and feel the urge to type in all caps down in the comments section? Either way, let us know what you thought of 2016 down below.
Happy New Years!
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