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DualShockers' Game of the Year 2016 Awards - The Triumph of Final Fantasy XV

January 1, 2017

It’s January 1st, 2017, and it’s time to say goodbye to a 2016 full of great games, while welcoming a new year that seems to be even better, by drawing the line on the games that can be defined the best of last year, while also looking forward to some of the most exciting offerings of 2017.

This year, we decided to do something a little different than  usual: our most relevant awards, Game of the Year (Readers’ Choice) and Most Anticipated Game of 2017 (Readers’ Choice), are both voted by you, our readers. We certainly value our own opinions, but at the end of the day we’re just a bunch of dudes, and you folks outnumber us by quite a bit.

Incidentally, as you will be able to see from the results below, we’re very proud of our community. Not only the turnout was great, with you all coming to vote in droves, but there was a large degree of diversity among the votes. While the Game of the Year winner took the top spot by quite the landslide, a large percentage of our readers showcased a large diversity in taste, not automatically flocking to the usual big AAA productions, but giving quite a lot of attention to smaller games from every corner of the world and every development culture, western and eastern, AAA and indie, popular and obscure. This is, we believe, something of great value.

If you want to check out the rules of the popular vote, you can read them here, but without further ado, I leave you with the results. For the record, honorable mentions include games that scored over 5% of the total vote pool even if they didn’t manage to win or come out in second place.

Game of the Year (Readers’ Choice): Final Fantasy XV

Runner up: Uncharted 4: A thief’s End

Honorable Mentions: Dark Souls III, Overwatch

As you can see from the pie chart above, Final Fantasy XV triumphed among our readers. Hajime Tabata and his team worked very hard to bring us the new numbered chapter of the Final Fantasy series, and it appears that many of our readers found it so memorable that they elected it their best game of the year.

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It’s certainly the crowning of a long period of hard work, done with remarkable humility, with Tabata-san and his developers often taking in consideration the fanbase’s opinion and feedback.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End also shown a strong performance and many will carry the last adventure of Nathan Drake in their hearts for a long time.

Most Anticipated Game of 2017 (Readers’ Choice): Horizon: Zero Dawn

Runner up: Persona 5

Honorable Mentions: NieR: Automata, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Red Dead Redemption 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, NiOh.

The popular vote for the most anticipated game of 2017 was a lot less one-sided that the one for Game of the Year, which is understandable considering how many great games are coming this year. In the end, Horizon: Zero Dawn managed to take the top, followed rather closely by Persona 5. NieR: Automata was also popular among our readers, with Mass Effect: Andromeda and Red Dead Redemption 2 also gathering a nice war chest of votes.

2017 appears to be a fantastic year to be a gamer.

Now it’s time to move on to the many categories voted by the DualShockers staff. Our awards system is really very simple: each writer votes three games (from the first to the third) for each category. Games voted as first choice gets three points, second choices get two, third picks get one. There is no distinction of rank or seniority, and everyone has exactly the same amount of points to assign. Ties are not broken. If two games get exactly the same amount of points, there is no reason why we can’t reward both.

Honorable mentions are game that scored over two points in the tally for each category.

Game of the Year (DualShockers’ Staff-Voted): Final Fantasy XV

Runner-up: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Honorable Mentions: The Banner Saga 2, Darkest Dungeon, The King of Fighters XIV, Overwatch, DOOM, Hyper Light Drifter, Ratchet and Clank, Inside, Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, The Last Guardian, Total War: Warhammer, Firewatch.

Our writers appear to agree with our readers on what is the best game of 2016, and Final Fantasy XV achieved a very solid victory among our staff as well. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End came quite a bit closer, but in the end the result was clear cut. Therefore, we can wholeheartedly assign our overall Game of the Year Award, both as the readers’ and the staff’s choice, to Final Fantasy XV.

If you want to read more about the game, you can check out our review, which of course is very positive.

Most Anticipated Game of 2017 (DualShockers’ Staff-Voted): NieR: Automata

Runner-up: Persona 5

Honorable Mentions: Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mass Effect: Andromeda, NiOh, Prey, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Cuphead, Yoka-Laylee, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Tales of Berseria, Injustice 2, Detroit: Become Human 2.

While our top pick was different from that of our readers, if we consider the top-three games, they were the same, with Horizon: Zero Dawn and NieR: Automata swapped between third and first place, and Persona 5 firmly set as the runner-up in both categories.

There are so many great games coming in 2017, and picking one is certainly difficult. The great news is that we won’t really have to choose when it comes to which ones we’ll play.

Best PS4 Game: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Runner-up: Final Fantasy XV

Honorable Mentions: The Last Guardian, The King of Fighters XIV, DOOM, Titanfall 2, Ratchet and Clank, Inside, Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir, I Am Setsuna, Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky, Firewatch.

Best Xbox One Game: Gears of War 4

Runner-up: Quantum Break

Honorable Mentions: Superhot, Inside, Oxenfree, Titanfall 2, DOOM, Dark Souls III, Forza Horizon 3, Killer Instinct: Season 3.

Best PC Game: Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Runner-up: Overwatch / Owlboy (tied)

Honorable mentions: Hearts of Iron IV, Stardew Valley, XCOM 2, Darkest Dungeon, Quantum Break, Hyper Light Drifter, Battlefield 1, One Way Heroics, The Witness, Total War: Warhammer.

Best Wii U Game: Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE

Runner-up: Pokkén Tournament

Honorable mentions: Amikrog, Paper Mario: Color Splash, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero.

Best PS Vita Game: Severed

Runner-up: World of Final Fantasy

Honorable mentions: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, Hitman GO, Darkest Dungeon, Criminal Girls 2, Dragon Quest Builders, Zero Time Dilemma, Alone With You, I am Setsuna.

Best 3DS Game: Pokémon Sun & Moon

Runner-up: Fire Emblem Fates

Honorable mentions: Dragon Quest VII, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Bravely Second: End Layer, Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, BoxBoxBoy, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice.

Best Mobile Game: Pokémon GO

Runner-up: Super Mario Run

Honorable mentions: Reigns, The Bug Butcher, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, Severed, Deus Ex GO, SteamWorld Heist, Jade Empire: Special Edition, Bully, Kathy Rain.

Best First Party Game: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Runner-up: The Last Guardian

Honorable mentions: Gears of War 4, Killer Instinct: Season 3, Gravity Rush Remastered, Forza Horizon 3.

Best RPG: Final Fantasy XV

Runner up: Pokémon Sun & Moon / The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (tied)

Honorable mentions: The Banner Saga 2, Stardew Valley, Darkest Dungeon, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Dark Souls III, I am Setsuna.

Best MMORPG: Black Desert Online

Runner-up: Blade & Soul

Best Adventure/Action Adventure: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Runner-up: Dishonored 2

Honorable mentions: Quantum Break, Song of the Deep, Hyper Light Drifter, Owlboy, Ratchet and Clank, Watch_Dogs 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Valkyrie Drive Bhikkuni.

Best Shooter: DOOM

Runner-up: Titanfall 2

Honorable mentions: Overwatch, Superhot, Battlefield 1, Gears of War 4, BioShock: The Collection, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

Best Racing Game: Forza Horizon 3

Runner-up: F1 2016

Honorable mentions: Trackmania Turbo, Tabletop Racing.

Best Fighting Game:  The King of Fighters XIV

Runner-up: BlazBlue: Central Fiction

Honorable mentions: Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator, Killer Instinct: Season 3, Pokkén Tournament, Street Fighter V, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel.

Best Strategy Game: Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Runner-up: XCOM 2

Honorable mentions: The Banner Saga 2, Fire Emblem Fates, Hearts of Iron IV, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII.

Best Sports Game: FIFA 17

Runner-up: NBA 2K17

Honorable mentions: MLB: The Show 16, Madden NFL 17, Pro Evolution Soccer 2017

Best Platformer/Puzzle Platformer:  Inside

Runner-up: Hue

Honorable mentions: Owlboy, Ratchet and Clank, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Azure Striker Gunvolt 2.

Best Puzzle Game: The Witness

Runner-up: BoxBoxBoy

Honorable mentions: Quadrilateral Cowboy, The Turing Test, Deus Ex GO, Supehot.

Best Virtual Reality Game: REZ infinite

Runner-up: Batman: Arkham VR

Honorable mentions: Tethered, Superhypercube, Thumper, Driveclub VR, EVE: Valkyrie, Job Simulator.

Best Graphics/Technology: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Runner-up: Final Fantasy XV

Honorable mentions: Inside, Ratchet and Clank, Battlefield 1, DOOM, Firewatch, Killer Instinct: Season 3.

Best Story:  Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Runner-up: FirewatchFinal Fantasy XV (tied)

Honorable mentions: Oxenfree, Pokémon Sun & Moon, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness, Root Letter, Steins;Gate 0, Kathy Rain.

Best Character: Nathan Drake (Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End)

Runner-up: Trico (The Last Guardian)

Honorable mentions: Nine the Phantom (BlazBlue: Central Fiction), Camilla (Fire Emblem Fates), Plachta (Atelier Sophie), Arnice (Nights of Azure), Henry (Firewatch), Delilah (Firewatch), Noctis (Final Fantasy XV), Aranea Highwind (Final Fantasy XV).

Best Performance/Voice Acting: Nolan North as Nathan Drake (Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End)

Runner-up: Rich Sommers as Henry (Firewatch)

Honorable mentions: Cissy Jones as Delilah (Firewatch), Alex Hernandez as Lincoln Clay (Mafia III), Troy Baker as Sam Drake (Uncharted 4), Lance Reddick as Martin Hatch (Quantum Break), Ray Chase as Noctis (Final Fantasy XV).

Best Indie Game: Firewatch

Runner-up: Darkest Dungeon

Honorable mentions: The Banner Saga 2, Inside, Hue, Hyper Light Drifter, Owlboy, One Way Heroics, Azure Striker Gunvolt 2.

Best Expansion/DLC/Update: The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine

Runner-up: Black Desert Online: ValenciaDestiny: Rise of Iron (tied)

Honorable mentions: Fallout 4: Automatron, Halo 5: Warzone Firefight, World of Warcraft: Legion, Doom: Arcade Mode.

Most Intense Feels: The Last Guardian

(the game that caused the most intense emotional reaction or connection)

Runner-up: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Honorable mentions: Firewatch, Battlefield 1, Final Fantasy XV, Oxenfree, The Witness, ABZU, Ratchet and Clank, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness, Steins;Gate 0

Biggest Shocker!!!: DOOM

(Most surprising/shocking game or game announcement)

Runner-up: Death Stranding

Honorable mentions: Hyper Light Drifter, Hitman, Stardew Valley, Titanfall 2, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, Ratchet and Clank, The Last Guardian, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir, Valkyrie Drive Bhikkuni, Final Fantasy XV, Lara Croft GO.

Best Development Studio: Naughty DogSquare Enix Business Division 2 (tied)

Honorable mentions: PlayDead, Red Hook Studios, Heart Machine, Respawn Entertainment, Blizzard Entertainment, id Software, Arc System Works, Atlus, Nippon Ichi Software, Gust, Campo Santo.

Best Publisher: Square Enix

Runner-up: Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Interactive Entertainment, XSEED Games (tied)

Honorable Mentions: Paradox Interactive, Electronic Arts, Bethesda, Bandai Namco, Idea Factory International, Koei Tecmo

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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