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Giant Bomb's 2016 Game of the Year Awards: Day Five

It's time to find out what the best and worst game of the year is! Also, who Overwatched the best?

Watch the Day Five Deliberations here:

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Game of the Year 2016: Day Five Deliberations
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On our final day of Game of the Year deliberations, we came to some of the biggest conclusions of 2016. Who's the best at protecting the payload? What story grabbed us more than any other? Most importantly, what is the worst and the best game of the year? Find out below.

Overwatch Character of the Year

Reinhardt

There are a lot of great Overwatch characters, sure. Some have their funny little magic tricks, some are oh-so-angsty-and-scary, and some like to sit in one spot and just shoot at things. There’s only one character, though, that is there to move you to the point, capture it, and let you forever hold it. That character is Reinhardt. Watch as Soldier 76s and McCrees literally lay down and die as they see it relentlessly marching across the map, an army in tow. Conversely, as you approach the objective and see an opposing Reinhardt you know it’s time to rethink that head-on assault. Rip-tire? No problem for a well-aimed Fire Strike. Exploding D.Va? Let’s just Charge and push her away from all our little friends. High noon? Big shield. I could on and on, except about Earthshatter, that one… well, the man needs to have some limits to his greatness... I suppose. Do your friends a favor, learn and play Bastion… so I can destroy you with Reinhardt.

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Runners-up: Lucio, Pharah

Best Story

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

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Naughty Dog has shown that it's more than capable of penning a great video game story, most notably in The Last of Us. During the Uncharted series, their work has been impressive in terms of dialogue, but most of the characters and overall story beats felt like typical adventure fare. With Uncharted 4, the studio finally made these characters feel like human beings, more often during low-key moments than during bombastic action sequences.

Twitter may have loved the Crash Bandicoot bonus during the chapter with Nathan and Elena at home, but the dynamic between the now-married couple does more of a service toward the game as a whole. They discuss Nathan's "retirement" in believable terms, with the excellent facial capture helping to sell Elena's desire to keep her husband out of harm's way.

Human moments like this are found throughout A Thief's End. From Nathan's reunion to his brother, to the betrayal Elena feels when she discovers that Nathan has lied to her, to the fitting epilogue, it's the well-told story that feels newer to the series than any gameplay mechanic or setpiece moment. Sure, there's also the story of a sniveling antagonist and a pirate treasure, but for the first time, the story of Nathan and those close to him was the real standout of an Uncharted game.

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Runners-up: DOOM, Firewatch

Worst Game

Soviet Monsters: Ekranoplans

The subjects of Soviet Monsters: Ekranoplans are undeniably cool: gigantic, real-world quasi-hovercraft that look like what Hideo Kojima would make with Kerbal Space Program. Too bad everything about the game is as drab as a Stalingrad apartment complex and about as functional as a Trabi. You can pick from a long list of ammo types and crew members to take with you on your missions, but good luck determining if any of that makes a difference. There are 27 missions in the game, but unless you’re a part of some secret Soviet telepathy program, you’ll have no idea what to do. Oh, is the “Ground Effect” light in your cockpit illuminated? The entire concept this game hinges on? Press it. See if anything happens. No? Exactly. This game has more bugs than Siberia in summer. I’d rather stand in a breadline.

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Quick Look: Soviet Monsters: Ekranoplans
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Runners-up: Mighty No. 9, Lost Reavers

Best Game

Hitman

You'd have been forgiven if you weren't over the moon at the initial announcement of a new Hitman game. 2012's Hitman: Absolution seemed to forget what made the series fun to begin with, opting for a more straightforward experience instead of the possibility-filled sandboxes of previous entries. Fans were already worried that the series was heading in the wrong direction, and even more eyebrows were raised when IO Interactive delayed the new game and announced at the last minute that it would be switching to an episodic structure. Signs of development turmoil were starting to pop up, and an already skeptical fan base began to temper their expectations.

Little did we know that the new Hitman would be one of the best entries yet (if not the best), and that its episodic nature would work wonders. New locations were released on a regular basis, and we found ourselves coming back each time we had a new playground to explore and cause chaos in. Elusive targets became can't-miss opportunities -- we had to try our hand at these limited time contracts whenever they appeared. If the full game had been released all at once, we may have burnt out on these tense, detailed, open-ended maps if we played them end-to-end. With the new business model, Hitman stayed at the forefront of our minds for the entirety of 2016.

A good business model doesn't mean much if we didn't have fun playing the game. Thankfully, Hitman excels in all of the areas that the series has done right in the past. Everything just feels better this time, as well. Its controls and mechanics aren't perfect and missions sometimes involve the occasional bug, but it's a smoother experience overall than its ever been before. Possibilities seem endless thanks to the wide variety of outfits and implements of assassination. The amount of trouble you can get into is truly impressive, as is the way the game allows you to miraculously slip away from it all if you play your cards right.

2016 was filled with huge debuts, finales, and resurrections, but the surprise success of Hitman had us talking, sweating, cursing, and laughing more than any other game this year.

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Runners-up:

2. DOOM

3. Overwatch

4. The Witness

5. Titanfall 2

6. Superhot

7. Inside

8. Hyper Light Drifter

9. Thumper

10. Stardew Valley

301 CommentsRefresh
Avatar image for flasaltine
Posted By flasaltine

DOOM WAS ROBBED

Avatar image for bathala
Posted By bathala

Believe team hitman

Avatar image for creutzfeldt
Posted By creutzfeldt

Knew it. And I approve!

Avatar image for ollieg_94
Posted By ollieg_94

And people thought Hitman wouldn't even make the top 5.

Avatar image for efesell
Edited By Efesell

How can I have been so wrong.

Besides remembering that it always happens.

Avatar image for coolarman
Posted By Coolarman

#HitmanBestGame

Avatar image for forteexe21
Posted By forteexe21

This list is wrong and they should re-do it! Great list!

Avatar image for rongalaxy
Edited By RonGalaxy

The Witness is the actual best game, but I'm glad Hitman took it over Doom.

Avatar image for captaininvictus
Edited By CaptainInvictus

not a surprise at all that Hitman took it with how much they played of it this year. DOOM tho

Avatar image for masonl87
Posted By MasonL87

SHOCKING upset at the top of the GOTY list. Honestly thought DOOM would take it. But Hitman makes sense there. It definitely provided the most #content on GB this year out of any other game.

Avatar image for efesell
Edited By Efesell

DOOM as a best story top 3 though.....

Avatar image for corporalgregg
Posted By CorporalGregg

Oh man, my overall GOTY usually ends up 2nd on GB's list or, as with Bloodborne, is completely ignored. So happy to see my GOTY this year get the same love here, Hitman is so incredible. A game I could speed run in under 30 minutes is the same game I have 250+ hours in. Good overall list.

Avatar image for brol4w
Posted By broL4W

From what I have seen from their voice actors, glad to see Reinhardt won. That guy seems to love playing Reinhardt.

Avatar image for solh0und
Posted By Solh0und

Hitman winning best game makes me happy. I liked Doom and all but I think I liked the insane antics you can pull in Hitman more.

Avatar image for ronniebarzel
Posted By RonnieBarzel

That is a damn fine list of games no matter in which order you place them. I'm sure the order of my Top 10 would differ if I made one, but I have the benefit of being just one person who doesn't have to try to reach consensus.

Looking forward to listening to the podcast/video to hear how it all shakes out.

Avatar image for captaininvictus
Posted By CaptainInvictus

@efesell said:

DOOM as a best story top 3 though.....

The story in DOOM is pretty great. It revels in its absurdity, and the background elements only enhance it, especially in regards to the demons's perspective on things.

Avatar image for flynnneary
Posted By flynnneary

Came into this thinking Hitman would get 4th or 5th, can't believe it got number 1. Cannot wait to give this a listen. Also so stoked Hyper Light Drifter got on that list! Gotta love GOTY time.

Avatar image for dharmabum
Edited By DharmaBum

Doomguy Assassinated

Avatar image for awkwardloser
Edited By AwkwardLoser

How can you give Uncharted best story? Nathan, Sully and Elena don't die or end up in prison where they fucking belong! They're fucking scum and the entire series paints them as heroes WTF?

Avatar image for flynnneary
Posted By flynnneary

@efesell: definitely expected either mafia or watch dogs in that spot

Avatar image for dr_monocle
Edited By dr_monocle

I KNEW IT!

Avatar image for neocalypso
Edited By NeoCalypso

A game literally nobody put as their number 1 game manages to take it over a game that FOUR people had number 1 huh. What a fucking joke.

Avatar image for plonkplonkplonk
Posted By plonkplonkplonk

Suuuuuuper happy about Hitman getting GotY.

Avatar image for cykke
Posted By Cykke

I'm just so damn happy that Dan was able to slip Stardew Valley into the top ten.

All in all, Hitman, well deserved.

Avatar image for mikemcn
Posted By Mikemcn

HItman is a good choice! A great choice!

Avatar image for efesell
Posted By Efesell

@efesell said:

DOOM as a best story top 3 though.....

The story in DOOM is pretty great. It revels in its absurdity, and the background elements only enhance it, especially in regards to the demons's perspective on things.

Like I can definitely appreciate that but I feel like there are other games with actual well written stories above one that I think is just fun and goofy.

Avatar image for dezinus
Posted By Dezinus

Some mad personal games getting bargained into the bottom slots there. But it's just a dumb list, so why not!

Avatar image for perfidioussinn
Edited By PerfidiousSinn

Hyper Light Drifter is on the list. Awesome, but definitely unexpected.

Avatar image for wagrid
Edited By Wagrid

The only issue I have with any of this is that Earthshatter is actually an incredible ult.

Really glad that Hyper Light Drifter ended up on the top 10. That game is hella good and would have easily been my personal GOTY were it not for Overwatch.

Avatar image for erikamatsu
Edited By erikamatsu

So happy (and a bit surprised) to see some Hyper Light Drifter love. It's been one of the most weirdly overlooked games of the year for GOTY lists.

And now I definitely, definitely need to get around to checking out this Hitman thing.

Avatar image for zombie2011
Posted By zombie2011

Thumper...huh.

Online
Avatar image for grayfox666
Edited By GrayFox666

So glad hitman won over DOOM because Dooms single player was amazing but it multiplayer was atrocious and I remember Jeff shaming on outlets who gave Battlefied 3 10/10 while acknowledging it's single player a big part of the package was trash

Avatar image for paulmako
Posted By paulmako

A game literally nobody put as their number 1 game manages to take it over a game that FOUR people had number 1 huh. What a fucking joke.

It's not a numbers game bro. And anyway, Doom has been given huge praise on this site and elsewhere so it's not like it's being overlooked.

Online
Avatar image for colonel_pockets
Posted By Colonel_Pockets

Wow, I thought DOOM had it wrapped up. Good for Hitman.

Avatar image for gyoru
Posted By Gyoru

H I T M A N

Avatar image for siamesegiant
Posted By siamesegiant

Man, Uncharted 4 was all downhill after Crash Bandicoot. Kind of glad it didn't make the top 10 list.

Avatar image for afraidofaudio
Posted By afraidofaudio

M A N H I T

Avatar image for huckaiser
Posted By huckaiser

@gianthamish: :-) You haven't listened to this before......

But seriously....To me it kind of makes more sense. While DOOM may be individuals game of the year. When you consider all the #content, chatter, comments etc.... the Site game of year makes sense to be Hitman. NOTE: I haven't listened to the deliberations so I am sure it was a long discussion between the two

Avatar image for gundogan
Edited By gundogan

Well, time to power up the BFG. (nah, looking at the amount Hitman content this year, it's only logical and Hitman is prettttyyy cool too)

DOOM probably got dropped because they thought the multiplayer was bad (it's not) and SnapMap was limited (was yea, they added a ton to it and improved the hub for it). So yea...

@flasaltine said:

DOOM WAS ROBBED

Avatar image for rotnac
Posted By Rotnac

Holy shit! Hitman?! That was not expected. Definitely thought it was gonna be DOOM without question!

Avatar image for ceno
Posted By ceno

DOOM WAS ROBBED

OF COURSE JEFF LIKES MEI

Avatar image for ebinbraveheart
Posted By ebinBraveheart

Some people once again taking these choices way too personally... I don't understand this weird need to have your own opinions validated through some damn list at all.

Avatar image for hornet
Posted By Hornet

Good, The Witness was a crappy game anyway.

Avatar image for stordoff
Edited By stordoff

I haven't had a chance to watch any the deliberations yet, but did Alekhine's Gun come up during Worst Game?

Avatar image for archer88
Edited By Archer88

Hitman was what I thought would take it. Surprised Mafia 3 didn't make the list. I would have dropped The Witness a spot or two lower but whatever. I'll have to listen to the deliberations and see how this all went down.

Avatar image for phoenix87
Posted By Phoenix87

Hell yeah, I am so happy that Hitman won. What a kickass game

Avatar image for deadstar
Posted By Deadstar

YES Hitman! Looks like Alex got Thumper on there as well lol. I really need to play that one.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
Posted By ArbitraryWater

WHAAAAT? I WAS SO SURE DOOM WAS GOING TO WIN.

Avatar image for noelle808
Posted By Noelle808

Hitman is super deserving of GOTY. Of their Top 10, Inside and maaaybe Thumper are the only games I'd put above it, and neither of those had any real chance of winning.

Avatar image for ronald
Edited By Ronald

I was so resigned to Doom winning even though I love Hitman so much more. While I really like Doom, it doesn't grab me like Hitman does.What a pleasant surprise.