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LONG BLOG

Torch's Awards of the Year for 2016

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Oh boy! It's that time of the year! Everyone's going to post their 2016! Can't wait for 100s of list featuring the same 6 to 9 games out of 10 entries on every list! Well guess what, Torch is throwing out his own award list, because he needs attention too. Although I will give you some mercy, I'll add in some unique categories, as well as a couple anime ones, one of which only someone like me could write. So strap yourselves in, for a 50/50 mix of the expected and unexpected.

Important Note: Any games/shows that I started playing/watching in 2016, and some games in 2015 that I didn't reach the half way mark for, are eligible. Meaning releases from 2015 and prior are also eligible if I started them for the first time in that timeframe.

First Person Shooter of the Year



Titanfall 2

When I look at a game, I don't look at just the core contents of the game, but also the other aspects to them. Are they buggy? Do they have features that aren't necessarily gameplay related, but still ruin the experience? It's one of the reasons why, if you ask me what the game of the year for 2011 was, I will argue to the death it should not be Skyrim, due to the awful state the game launched in and how utterly broken the PS3 version was at times. Unfortunately, this is something that plagues some of my picks for FPS of the Year.

Doom is too big to realistically keep on my PS4. Right now I have a 500GB harddrive, and anyone that's been keeping track of Doom knows that means it's taking up roughly 1/5 of that, possibly even more down the road. Yes, it's a great game, and the post launch support is great for those that use those features, but I don't care for its multiplayer and snapmap, and I could easily fit at least two games in the space it took up. I honestly don't know if Doom will ever be installed on my system again as a result. It's unacceptable for the game to have bloated to a size of that magnitude.

Overwatch had three issues on the other hand for me. First, if I lose connection to Blizzards servers, it's useless. During the evening part of Christmas Eve to the 27th, I basically had no net. I was entirely reliant on LTE during that time, and that's not stable enough for OW where I am. The fact I can't even do an offline bot match, for no rewards or experience, is a bummer to be honest. Secondly, the fact that next to none of the lore of Overwatch, the comics, the animations, etc can be accessed in game. That's something that I do hold against other games, such as Destiny, and it's only fair that OW gets the same ding for it. Finally, I have a personal problem. I have bought crates with real money in hopes of pulling a specific costume or enough dupes to get the currency for it, and I caved frequently after spending the initial amount I said I wouldn't go above. It honestly wouldn't feel right for me to give this game an award after that, especially since I've sworn off it like cold turkey and have only opened it up since Halloween for the 6 free holiday loot boxes and then immediately put it away again. To give a rough estimate on how much I spent on lootboxes, I could've bought Shante 1/2 genie hero at least three times.

I got Titanfall 2 on boxing day, and immediately dove into the single player, the meat and bones of a game for me with rare exceptions. What I got as a result is the tale of a man and his Titan as they survive a hostile world. Excellent core mechanics, interesting boss designs, and one of the most clever mechanics for a level I've seen this year. This is one of my favorite campaigns in an FPS. While I won't play the multiplayer, I can already tell I'd have more fun with it than with Dooms, simply because of the insane mobility the player has at their disposal, along with hype as hell wall runs. While it also does have microtransactions, like Overwatch, something about it doesn't quite grab me like Overwatchs does, most likely because there's less attachment to the multiplayer characters and Titans, unlike OW where that's heavily emphasised.

So cheers to Titanfall 2 for being my shooter of the year.

RPG of the Year



Final Fantasy XV

While I haven't finished it yet, currently working through Chapter 13, this easily ranks as my JRPG of the year. It's characters are likable, they have depth to them, the bond between the party of four feels real and earned, and the supporting cast ranges from good to strong. The world feels very open from the get go, and dungeons can at times feel like mazes, giving a solid mix of new and old design. Plus it has one of my favorite villains of the year, and they're currently looking like they'll be one of my favorites at this rate. In addition, while I haven't seen the intro anime that's on youtube nor the movie that help flesh out the lore, it still feels like I'm able to get a solid grasp on the story, locations and people that feature prominently in the game, with a few exceptions. It's satisfying to see the game turned out to be so enjoyable after all those years of dev time, especially when I thought it would be okay at best.

Another major reason why this won over the runner ups is how open it felt even from the get go. World of Final Fantasy's main problem I had was how linear it felt at times, with very little reason to backtrack at times. Meanwhile, Sun and Moons railroading hurt hard, especially when it blocked areas needed to evolve pokemon, while further problems such as the protagonist having a motionless face that is constantly smiling even in serious situations.

The runner up was World of Final Fantasy, followed by Pokemon Sun and Moon

Best Remake/Remaster of The Year



Majora's Mask 3D

It's Majora's Mask. I mean come on. It's one of, if not the, best Zelda games of all time. Not surprisingly coming off the heels of the successful Ocarina of Time 3D, they decided to give the same treatment to Majora's Mask, and boy did they. Adjustments to the overall flow of the game, graphical updates, helping smooth out it's smaller flaws and entirely removing some of its bigger ones. This includied making the owl statues proper saves, speeding up attack animations, redesigns for various locations, and much more. The result is easily the definitive edition of the game hands down, and what many should look at when they want an example of how to remake a game.

The runner up here was Valkyria Chronicles Remastered.

Strategy Game of The Year



SRW Z3: Jigoku-Hen

Everyone probably saw this coming a mile away, given how much I've been singing its praises.

Super Robot Wars Z3: Jigoku-Hen continues the Z saga of Super Robot Wars games, containing a large portion of series from the previous Z games, such as The Big O, Zeta Gundam, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Getter Robo Armageddon, while also introducing returning series to the franchise, such as Evangelion, Gunbuster, and Full Metal Panic, and marking the debut of Gundam Unicorn to the franchise. Combined with some solid underlying mechanics, split routes to encourage a second playthrough, a faithful adaptation of many franchises, among them getting Big Venus to work as a fun boss while remaining true to the material and getting the finale of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann to work in a crossover environment to top it off, a variety of mission objectives, both madatory and optional, and some of the best visual and audio work, and it's not wonder it ranks as my top strategy game of the year.

The runner up was Valkyria Chronicles Remastered, followed up by SRW OG: The Moon Dwellers. Fire Emblem: Fates decision to be broken into two versions, along with what is already being shown as the route that matters as dlc, along with other issues I have with it, prevent both versions from being in the running. Speaking of both versions....

'Why Are You Being Treated As The Same Game' Award



Fire Emblem Fates Conquest/Birthright

I am not ok with the two versions of Fire Emblem Fates being listed in the same slot for best of/game of the year awards with next to no blurb. Now some of you may be thinking 'Torch, stop hating on Nintendo', but bear with me here for a moment. If it were Pokemon Sun/Moon, I'd be ok with it. The biggest difference between the two, pokemon obtained, can easily be resolved via trading, while the rest is very superficial. However, with Fire Emblem Fates, that's not the case. The differences run much deeper than that, in terms of story, units, map designs, and the classic/modern FE design choices. Putting the two together and calling it a day does a major disservice to the differences between the two, while at the same time it hides unique flaws that each version has that the other may not, whether it's characterization, design, or story. Heck, there are a lot of reviewers and players out there, myself and destructoid included, that thought one was superior over the other for these very reasons. Before you mention 'Well dlc lets you have the other route', what DLC provides should not be factored into a game of the year award unless it's free and patched in, and even that's debatable.

If you want to put them in the same slot, fine, but at least distinguish why both of them deserve the spot, along with their strenghts and weaknesses, rather making it seem like one riding off the others coattails.

'I'm Sorry I Didn't Play You This Year' Award



VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

This award goes to a game I picked up or received in 2016, but failed to play it for one reason or another.

I received VA-11 Hall-A as a gift from Dtoid resident Descruff as a christmas gift. I'd been wanting this game throughout the year and had been waiting for a sale, then he gave it as a Christmas gift, and bless his soul for it. Then the previously mentioned internet problems happened, preventing me from downloading it. After that, Titanfall 2 and Final Fantasy XV happened. So it fell to the wayside as a result, and I feel bad about it since I hear such great things about it, plus it was a gift. Now that being said, I have downloaded it as I write this, so that will be resolved soon.

The runner up was AM2R, followed by Uncharted 4.

'Missed The 2016 Boat' Award



SD Gundam G Generation Genesis

This award goes to a game that was came out in 2016, but won't be in my hands until 2017 due to shipping or other reasons.

So when SD Gundam G Generation Genesis, which we'll refer to as SD Gundam GGG, was revealed, I had mixed feelings on it. On one hand the game would have 650 different units, meaning it would be incredibly unlikely that a mech from the series would be missing, meaning even niche units would get time in the spotlight, like the Unicorn Phenex. On the other hand, press statements showed it would only feature mobile suits from the Universal Century series, and from the first show to Gundam Unicorn, meaning alternate universe series like G Gundam and Wing would be missing, along with other Universal Century series such as Crossbone Gundam. As a result, out of 26 series included, I only knew 3 of them.

My opinion of the game started to change as I saw more and more of what units were included, along with finding out a couple of non-Universal Century mobile suits are in the game as unlockables. Coupled with a gift card at Christmas, I proceeded to purchase the game. However, due to it being an import, it missed arriving in 2016, and is still in the mail as we speak. It may pop up in my 2017 awards if I write one for 2017.

The runner up here is, surprise, Watch Dogs 2.

Mech of The Year



SYSTEM ∀-99 ∀ Gundam, also known as 'Turn A Gundam'  from 'Turn A Gundam'

Upon an initial glance, the Turn A is a very silly looking machine, especially for a more serious Gundam entry. It's full of vibrant colours, it uses the name cockpit literally, and it looks like it has a mustache, something that is acknowledged in show. In terms of external armaments seen throughout the majority of the show, it doesn't seem that impressive compared to other mobile suits. It only has a standard beam rifle and beam saber, a shield, and a ball and chain, while lacking a built in weapon such as a vulcan or funnels. In short, it comes off as something slightly more efficient than the original Gundam, falling behind the likes of Zeta Gundam or Unicorn Gundam.

Which is where the brilliance of the Turn As design comes into play. A major part of the show is what is known as the 'Black History', a lost period of mankinds history, and how relics from it slowly turn up. These relics in turn slowly show how dangerous they are, not just due to what they are, such as other mobile suits like the Zaku II or nuclear weapons, but due to the ignorance of the people getting ahold of them to further their war agendas. This results in horrifying moments, such as entire episode where nukes are being mishandled due to said ignorance, resulting in a tense situation where the viewer knows the nukes will go off, but those involved do not.

However, the show frequently hints that there is more to Turn A, a machine referred to as 'White Doll' and 'Mustache' by the 'good' side, as those with knowledge of the Black History show fear towards it, calling it 'White Devil' alongside 'Gundam', and focusing on destroying it by any means, even risking their life to do so. This eventually comes to a head when it's revealed the Black History is, and the the Turn A had a very prominent role in it. As a result, the dynamic of the show changes, with the question being asked, what do they do with the Turn A? Destory it, leave it in the hands of its current pilot, mass produce it?

On top of this, before this revelation, throughout the show the Turn A shows it can be more than just a weapon. It carries livestock, to the point where some models of it include a cow to recreate this, acts as a makeshift bridge, and used to do laundry, among other tasks. Which asks the question of, while the Turn A is indeed a dangerous machine, is it evil by design as a result? It can only act when piloted, and in the hands of someone like Loran, the protagonist, it becomes a machine meant for peace and to protect those that can't necessarily fight back.

As a result of all of this, in its design and the questions it causes the viewer to think, the Turn A has won the award of being my mech of the year.

The runner up is Genesic GaoGaiGar, followed by RX-0 Unicorn Gundam.

'I'm Sorry I Didn't Watch You This Year' Award

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable

I really like JoJo. I've watched all three series. However, I didn't watch Diamond is Unbreakable this year. This is as a result of Stardust Crusaders, the third JoJo series. In the middle of it, JoJo went on a several month break before the next series, which killed its momentum and hype for me. It wasn't until around D'arby's arc, 9 episodes into the second half, that I finally felt like the series had regained its momentum. However, for those 8 other episodes, it was slow.

So with Diamond is Unbreakable, I decided I would wait until the series was done before starting. The show didn't end until Christmas, at which point, family visiting, internet problems, and prioritizing watching The King of The Braves GaoGaGar with Zaboru caused it to be put off. So at some point in the near future I'll be starting up Diamond is Unbreakable.

Anime of The Year


Tie: The King of The Braves GaoGaiGar Final and Turn A Gundam

Bet you weren't expecting two 90s animes that weren't The Big O to be the winners were you, especially ones that are polar opposites to each other? Well I watched The Big O in 2015, so the joke's on you.

 So we'll start off with GaoGaiGar Final, which is slightly cheating. While I started watching it with fellow Destructoid member Zaboru in 2016, much like Final Fantasy XV, it was finished in 2017, granted on like the 2nd of January so it wasn't too far in. Final takes place sometime well after the original show, following the original GGG cast along with some new additions as their caught up in the events surronding the Q-Parts, mysterious black machines that possess powerful energy conversion properties. What follows is one of the most hot blooded, over the top anime to ever exist, managing to surpass the previous series in every way possible. Animations, mech designs, battles. You name it, it nailed it. The only real flaw I have with Final is that the newer characters don't really have much of a role, existing to mainly job to villains in the first half to make the threat and original cast seem more experienced and stronger. If you also want to find out what Link would sound like when in a super robot show, as Guy is voiced by the same Voice Actor, this is also the show for you.

On the other hand we have Turn A Gundam. Set in the year Correct Century 2345, the show follows the protagonist Loran Cehack, who gets caught up in the conflict between the Moonrace, a seperate race of humanity that Loran belongs to that wishes to return to their rightfuly home on Earth and possess advanced technology, and the people of Earth, who are currently in the era of steam and are not thrilled with the presence of the Moonrace. As previously mentioned, the design of the Turn A, and it's relevance to the theming and plot of the story, is absolutely brilliant. Pair this with a genuinely likable protagonist, some of the strongest female characters within Gundam, a solid grasp on light hearted and serious moments, and a soundtrack by Yoko Kanno that is unlike any other Gundam show, and you have my other favorite show of the year.

To put it in perspective of how great both of these shows are, they are both dangerously close to replacing The Big O as my favorite anime.

Game of The Year



Gundam Breaker 3

Here it is! My game of the year and what a game it is. The plot of Gundam Breaker 3 is extremely simple. In this world, Gunpla battles, arcade machines where players send customized Gundam mobile suit models to fight, are a big deal. You, the player, are recruited into a gunpla team, and go through multiple tournaments, with various subplots along the way. While nothing amazing, the game more than makes up for it with gameplay. A consistent framerate, silky smooth and responsive controls, a large emphasis on mobility options, and enemy and level design that feels hard but fair to the player as the difficulty increases.

 On top of this, the game has a fair bit of depth to it in terms of customization. Weapon variations, elemental damage, EX actions, option equipment, Awakening mode, equipment abilities, parts merge. It's incredibly easy to make a hybrid of famous mobile suits and signature abilities, with a custom paint job that allows you to ever determine the sheen and if the paint has been scratched away, revealing the plastic/metal underneath. Plus, the ability to put your custom builds on your AI partners after you clear a stage enables you to create the dream team of your dreams.

So here's to you Gundam Breaker 3 for being my game of the year. I look forward to playing more of it this year after I've cleared out the backlog a bit, as well as picking up the dlc that's come out and will coming out, giving me even more units, customization parts, and stages to play on.

 So there we go. My awards for 2016, for both gaming and anime. Thank you for reading, and I hope you all have a fantastic gaming year in 2016.

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About Mike Soundersone of us since 3:05 PM on 10.27.2013

Shout outs to Dango for the lovely sidebar





For disclosure purposes, I have backed the following kickstarter campaigns:

Mega Man The Board Game
Exploding Kittens
Scythe
Bears VS Babies
Bloodborne: The Board Game