It’s still January, so it’s still totally viable for me to be doing an awards blog, right? Don’t care, already doing it. Please do keep in mind that these are my opinions and that I didn't get to play all the games that I wanted to, nor did I get to finish very many. With that disclaimer out of the way, lets get right to the awards!
Best 2015 Game Played Mostly in 2016: Xenoblade Chronicles X
Xenoblade Chronicles X came out in December of 2015 and so many of those who played it played it in 2016. It barely had any time to get to know 2015 before getting kicked in the teeth by 2016. As such, it probably missed out on a lot of game of the year lists for 2015, and that's a shame, since I adore this game. It's one of the most beautiful Wii U games out there, and it is so fun to explore the alien world of Mira and get beat up by landmasses that turned out to be megabosses.
Best Remaster: Gravity Rush Remastered
While I never played the original Gravity Rush on PS Vita, I did play and adore the remastered version on PS4. I do know a few people who played both, and from what I understand, this remaster fixed a lot of problems that people had with the original. It was difficult to use the Vita to tilt to where Kat needed to fall because it meant also tilting the screen, and several people complained of getting nauseated when doing it for too long. On PS4, that is no longer a problem, as the PS4 controller can aim Kat. The fresh and colorful coat of paint that the game received on PS4 made the game beautiful to look at. The best thing about this remaster for me was that it gave me a chance to play a game that I hadn't heard about before, and I'm so glad that I got to play it, and am eagerly anticipating the sequel.
Most Pointless Remaster: Skyrim: Special Edition
Did anyone ask for this? Not only did this feel unnecessary, but a lot of people reported that while the environment was better, other aspects of the game weren't. It was still Bethesda Buggy™ and the character models, depending on the specs of the person playing, were worse than the original game. Now I do have to say that the fact that this game is on this list means that I did buy and play this game, but let me explain, I recently upgraded my graphics card and wanted to try some games for it, Skyrim was on sale, I had only ever played it on PS3 without the possibility of mods, so I decided to give it a try. It's still a fun game, still feels pointless to remaster.
Best Comfort Zone Breaker: DOOM
I don't like First Person Shooters. There are a lot of reasons for this that I don't really need to get into here, but suffice it to say that they don't appeal to me at all. I did play the original Doom way back when it first came out, but I was young and gobbled up any game thing that I could back then. When DOOM was announced I didn't pay attention, nothing in the trailers made me care much. I tried that Beta that they did for the multiplayer and cared even less. Then reviews started pouring in, glowing reviews about how incredible the campain was. What most caught my eye when reading reviews was that, like the first game, this DOOM was riddled with secrets to discover. Then a demo was put up on PSN and a short play session later I was sold. Despite the blood and gore, the ripping and tearing, and the all around mayhem, DOOM feels more like Metroid Prime to me than any other FPS. While there is a heavy emphasis on combat, there is an equal emphasis on exploration and story. For people who want nothing more than to rip and tear through demons, the exploration and story can be entirely ignored, but for those, like me, who love exploring, finding secrets, and reading lore, DOOM gave me everything I wanted.
Best Anime Simulator: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
I basically wanted this game to be on this list somewhere, so I made up a ridiculous category that only it could win. I love everything about this game. It really feels like I'm playing an anime thanks to the art style. The battle system is so unique while at the same time, reminicent of both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei. It's fast paced and entertaining to watch, as each battle is a performance. The game has a huge focus on Japanese pop music, so the soundtrack is incredible. It's a shame that more people didn't play this game, as I really think it's one of the best games Atlus has produced.
Best Kickstarted Game: Shantae: Half Genie Hero
I've kickstarted a fair few games, but Shantae was the first, and it consequently the first game I've backed to be released. It was also the only kickstarter game that I've backed to be released last year. If some of the other games had delivered on their expected releases, she might have had some competition, but she was the only contender. That doesn't mean that her game was bad, far from it. Shantae: Half Genie Hero is an incredibly fun platformer that goes back to the series roots of magical transformations, but leaves behind the series staple of sprite art. Instead, Shantae features handdrawn HD artwork that is beautfully animiated. The game is brimming with energy and excitment. It might be a little on the short side, but I enjoyed every moment of it and look forward to revisiting it when the DLC arrives.
Best Faith Restoring Game: Final Fantasy XV
For a long time I was a Square Enix fanboy. They could do no wrong in my eyes and everything they made was perfect. Final Fantasy was one of the reasons I liked them so much, but they started taking the series in a strange direction, and most would agree that the direction was down. I even liked FF13 and still felt that Square was faltering and making bad decisions. There were a lot of other reasons I was annoyed with them, but a large part of that worry had to do with the Final Fantasy franchise. I was terrified of FF15 before launch. I had enjoyed the demos, but could that kind of gameplay really fill up an entire game? Would there be anything to do in this open world? Could Final Fantasy bring back the wonder that it used to fill me with? Yes to every question. Final Fantasy XV restored my faith in Squareenix's ability to make games, even if it takes ages for those games to happen. It's worth the wait so long as they get them right.
Best Collector's Edition: World of Final Fantasy
I have a tendency to buy a lot of collector's editions of games. Out of all the collectors editions that I bought, World of Final Fantasy had the best one by far. The artbook and the soundtrack are staples to a good collector's edition, but a huge pop up book filled with game art and a secret compartment filled with the rest of the contents of the collector's edition was so much fun to open and discover. It might have been a little pricey, but after opening it I didn't regret it. It also helped that the game was incredible too.
Greatest Spectacle: Uncharted 4
If you played Uncharted 4 you probably remember the area of the game where Nate and pals drive through a desert area in a jeep. I remember stopping what I was doing (driving around like a maniac) and just looking at the environment. These were some of the best graphics I had ever seen in any game. I took my time playing through that segment of the game; I didn't want it to end.
Best Narrator: The Darkest Dungeon
Listen to that. Stop reading this and listen to that. That voice narrates your exploits in the Darkest Dungeon and it is the greatest. You just got a critical hit? Let his deep voice congratulate you. You died (again)? Allow Wayne June to comfort your aching heart with his ruddy tones. There is a lot to love about The Darkest Dungeon, but the narrator is probably my favorite thing about the game.
Best Indication that You Might be a Weeaboo: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X
If you bought this game then you might be a weeaboo. I bought this game, I am a weeaboo. I even imported the soundtrack because I liked the music so much. Out of all the games I bought last year, this was the most weeb of them.
Best Dragons: 7th Dragon III: Code VFD
I like dragons. I like dragons in video games, whether it's playing as them, fighting them, saving them, working with them, whatever it is. Sometimes I just want to go and hunt a bunch of dragons. 7th Dragon let me do that. There are so many dragons in this game, they're everywhere and they're varied. I love it so much. Speaking of dragons...
Best Dragon Quest: Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past
Remember up above how I said I was annoyed with Squeenix? Their treatment of Dragon Quest in the west was one of the reasons. This year they decided that they wanted to win me over several times, so we got two Dragon Quest titles and the aforementioned Final Fantasy XV. I never would have thought that we could get multiple Dragon Quest titles in the same year, but here we are. 2017 also already has several titles also coming west, so the trent is continuing. Anyway, I chose Dragon Quest 7 over Builders because, while Builders is a fantastic game and a much newer one, I wasn't actually much of a fan of all the building. It wasn't because it wasn't well implimented, I'm just apparently really uncreative when it comes to things like that. I played around with it, but didn't really feel inspired to build anything beyond what was essential for progression, while so many other people who played built huge castles and made super fancy towns. Dragon Quest 7 on the other hand is exactly what I love about Dragon Quest. The story was everything I hoped for and uncovering the world piece by piece was so much fun. The very fact that this is a thing I can play still feels like a dream.
Best Indie Title: Stardew Valley
This is the greatest Harvest Moon ever and it was all made by one guy. I didn't think I would get as lost as I did in this little farm town, but it's currently my most played Steam game and I'm not even close to finishing. Can you even finish this game? I'm not even sure, I don't think I want it to ever end. There were a lot of fantastic indie titles this year, and it was hard to choose just one, but Stardew Valley stood out above the crowd (of the ones I played, there were a lot, so I might have missed some great ones).
Best Sense of Awe: Dark Souls III
While many people have been heavily invested in the souls series since Demon's Souls, Dark Souls III was the first game in the series that I played. After beating it I immediatly went out and bought the other two so that I could experience more of these games. I know that people who started with the first game all say that 3 isn't as good as the first one, but to me, Dark Souls III will always hold a special place in my gaming heart. Every new area filled me with a sense of wonder and dread. Each boss killed me so good, and overcoming them was so satisfying. I loved discovering things and making connections and watching lore speculation videos on Youtube. I've beaten the game three times now and I nearly have the Platinum. I know this game like the back of my hand and I love everything about it.
Probably the Best Game that I Didn't Play: Overwatch
So I haven't played Overwatch, and I probably never will. I simply don't have time to get invested in a multiplayer only game, plus I suck at them. Maybe if they added a story mode I'd buy it, but I still probably wouldn't play the multiplayer much. That said, I love Overwatch, not because it's fun or anything, it probably is, lots of people like it. No, I love Overwatch because of the community it created. I love things like Gremlin D.Va and that Blizzard made it official. I love the lore the game has and the animated shorts it produced. I love the characters and how colorful and varied they are. I love that it exists, just don't ask me to play it.
Best Game of 2016: Pokemon Sun and Moon
Pokemon Sun and Moon were my favorite games of 2016. I have been a Pokemon fan since day one, so I might be a bit biased, but these might be the best Pokemon games yet. I understand that some people didn't like how cutscene heavy they were, but that was one of the reasons that I loved the game; the story was the best it's ever been for Pokemon. Sun and Moon did something that no other Pokemon game has done since the originals, it made me care about the people in the game, and not just the Pokemon. In the originals I cared about Gary in so far as I wanted to wipe the floor with him, but in Sun and Moon I cared about nearly all the characters and wanted to see what was going to happen to them. Lillie in particular was memorable for her character growth. The villian felt more real than any before it. The fact that a couple of 11 year olds were "saving the day" finally didn't feel ridiculous, it felt plausable. I could write an entire blog about Sun and Moon's story, and I might some day, so to avoid getting long winded and spoilers, I'll end my gushing of the story there. Aside from the story, the pokemon this gen were fantastic, unlike other gens, none of the Pokemon were Klefki levels of stupid, at least in my opinion. It had a lot of greats, like Kommo-o, Decidueye, Cosmog, and of course, Mimikyu. I loved Sun and Moon so much that I bought both versions and am currently playing through it again. Pokemon Sun and Moon blew all my expectations and were my favorite games of 2016.
Honorable mentions (games that I wanted to play, but didn't for one reason or another).
Shin Megami Tensei: Apocolypse
Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 2
God Eater 2: Rage Burst