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Posted January 13, 2017 by Marko Swanepoel in SA Gamer Awards 2016
 
 

SA Gamer Awards 2016: Game of the Year

2016-goty

It’s finally time. Every year there is one game that comes along that stuns everybody. The game that will be remembered the most and will serve as a bookmark for the year it was released in. In order to achieve this prestigious position, a game has to be truly special in a number of ways. However, it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect to be considered a Game of the Year. The game can have flaws, but resonates with the people who play it in a major way to the point where it can’t stay out of their heads for a while. Choosing a Game of the Year is an inherently personal choice. It is the game that you might have spent the most time in, experienced the strongest emotions or simply found it so enthralling that you didn’t want to play anything else for a while.

2016 certainly didn’t make it easy on us. There were so many games that could have rightfully taken the prize, others that you might have felt deserved it more or games that made such a big cultural impact that they couldn’t be ignored. 2016 was a monumental year for gaming, with titles releasing to wide critical acclaim left right and centre. Singleplayer titles that made a huge personal impact on their players, multiplayer titles that held players’ attention for hundreds of hours and stellar experiences that captured every fibre of our being. This award was no doubt the toughest to decide as a team. There were debates, there was strong hesitancy, there was internal conflict, but we finally voted and came to the winner.

The Game of the Year for 2016 is:

Final Fantasy XV

Final-Fantasy-XV

Final Fantasy XV has come a long way. As it is well known, the game took close to 10 years to develop and there have been a number of pitfalls in its execution. Fans of the franchise have been clamouring for this game since the last major franchise release for Final Fantasy was the lukewarm Final Fantasy XIII. The game was received with a massive amount of fanfare and its release was monumental with all kinds of accompanying media being released along with it. With the game finally in our hands, we got to experience the world of Eos while on a roadtrip with four stalwart heroes with their own personalities and quirks. And it was as magical as we imagined it to be. Final Fantasy XV took our imaginations and ran wild with it, delivering a story that is filled with character growth, tragedy and startling revelations. We got lost in the impressively gigantic open-world while stopping at diners, riding Chocobos and camping under the starlight while being served some gorgeous-looking food.

We readily admit that Final Fantasy XV had its flaws. There were some slower chapters that didn’t really fit with the overall game, there was a lot of grinding and commuting and the characters leaned a bit heavy on their individual tropes. However, these flaws fall way into the background of the overall experience of Final Fantasy XV. The emotional journey and the bonding between four friends that will die for each other was extremely powerful. Getting lost in the world was incredibly easy and thanks to the amazing graphics and the attention to detail, it was a sight to behold. The combat filled your head with adrenaline and since it was a far cry from the franchise’s traditional turn-based system, it was also a breath of fresh air. As a package, Final Fantasy XV excelled and we found that it was the game that stuck in our minds the most. It had some fierce competition in 2016, but ultimately it was the game that would be the most remembered by us.

Runner-Up: Forza Horizon 3

Honourable Mentions: Uncharted 4, DOOM, Firewatch, Stardew Valley, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, Civilization VI, Overwatch, NBA 2K18

Here is a breakdown of our personal top 5 games of the year:

Abigail

1. Final Fantasy XV
2. Uncharted 4
3. Civilization VI
4. Stardew Valley
5. LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens

Ashwar

1. Forza Horizon 3
2. DOOM
3. Final Fantasy XV
4. Battlefield 1
5. Gears of War 4

Charlie

1. DOOM
2. Forza Horizon 3
3. Dark Souls III
4. Rise of the Tomb Raider Anniversary
5. Dishonored 2

Dave

1. Uncharted 4
2. Battlefield 1
3. DOOM
4. Titanfall 2
5. COD: Legacy Edition

Dawid

1. Forza Horizon 3
2. Uncharted 4
3. DOOM
4. The Last Guardian
5. Final Fantasy XV

Garth

1. Final Fantasy XV
2. Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
3. Uncharted 4
4. WoW Legion
5. Watch Dogs 2

Marko

1. Final Fantasy XV
2. Uncharted 4
3. Stardew Valley
4. Firewatch
5. Watch Dogs 2

Paul

1. Pokémon Sun & Moon
2. Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator
3. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
4. Stardew Valley
5. Devil Daggers

Zain

1. Fire Emblem Fates
2. Final Fantasy XV
3. Pokémon Sun
4. Uncharted 4
5. Pokémon GO





Marko Swanepoel