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

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Posted by staff (203 posts) -

Watch the Day Four Deliberations here:

We're over halfway done! This year was filled with great music, multiplayer, moments, and some welcome additions to Xbox One's backwards compatibility list. Join us as we run down our Day Four winners.

Best Music


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A pleasant surprise among the big-name releases of 2016 was Furi, a difficult-yet-rewarding procession of elaborate boss fights. While much of the appeal of the game lies in recognizing attack patterns and reacting to them, the game has style to spare. Its anime-inspired visuals and unique character designs stand out, but nothing grabs your attention quicker than its pounding soundtrack.

Featuring a variety of synth artists like Carpenter Brut and Danger, the high-energy beats complement the twitch-heavy gameplay perfectly. The soundtrack is a great listen even when removed from the game, so be sure to head over to its Bandcamp page if you're curious.

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Runners-up: DOOM, Firewatch

Best Multiplayer


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When Overwatch was announced at Blizzcon two years ago, the common refrain on the internet was "oh, Blizzard is making a Team Fortress." The announcement came months after Gearbox announced Battleborn, and countless comparisons were made before it became extremely apparent that Overwatch wasn't anything like Battleborn. It also wasn't a "me-too" Team Fortress clone. Blizzard created a genuine phenomenon with Overwatch, and its rock-solid multiplayer is the biggest reason why.

Blizzard didn't reinvent multiplayer shooters here, as it utilizes modes that we've seen before in numerous games. Where the game shines is in the differences between the characters. Not only are they unique in appearance and personality, but their powers are fun, well-balanced, and built to play off of each other. Whether it's in a fun quick play with random teammates or a well-built competitive team, matches in Overwatch are almost always fast-paced and fun. With the upgrades tied to skins, sprays, and voice lines instead of weapon upgrades or character progression, it feels more like an even playing field than a race for XP.

Early comparisons severely undersold the potential for Overwatch. One comparison to Team Fortress 2 may actually work, as (like with Team Fortress 2) we expect Overwatch to be played and talked about for years to come.

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Runners-up: Titanfall 2, Overcooked

Xbox One Backwards Compatible Game of the Year

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved

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We can all agree the Xbox 360 backwards compatibility initiative on Xbox One is a great thing, right? It was technically difficult and not something Microsoft offered at the console's launch, but whether the company was motivated by the PS4's massive sales lead or an earnest desire to do right by its customers who want to play their old games on a new console, the facts are that the feature works really well (in many cases improving the games' performance over their 360 versions) and Microsoft has been making some smart choices about which games to prioritize, largely adding old titles to the service that people would actually want to go back and play again.

Plenty of great 360 games made the cut for backwards compatibility in 2016, but... look, there's only one 360 game you would absolutely want, no, need to take with you to a desert island, and that's Geometry Wars. The unassuming five-dollar 360 launch game that quickly became one of the most endlessly replayable arcade-style games of all time also became the white whale of backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, given that it was one of the first titles added to the preview version of the service for several months last year, and then unceremoniously yanked when backwards compatibility was made available to everyone. Whatever business deals that needed to happen to bring Geometry Wars back to the Xbox One must have gotten worked out, and we couldn't be more thankful. It's one of the biggest steps Microsoft could have taken to make us finally start thinking about boxing up our 360s for good.

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Runners-up: Red Dead Redemption, Burnout Paradise

Best Moment or Sequence

Finding Your First Environmental Puzzle in The Witness

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The first few hours with The Witness deserve some kind of onion-peeling metaphor, as you slowly pull back layer after layer of the unexpected elements that make up the game's lonely, mysterious island. Why is this desert next to this forest? Where do the tunnels under this windmill go? What's with all the statues? Wait, is that... is that how you solve that puzzle? As many strange, puzzling elements as there are crammed into The Witness's small island, it's the puzzles themselves--specifically, the huge number of inventive ways the solutions to those puzzles are hidden in the environments around them--that make it feel like just about anything in this quiet, brightly colored world might be possible.

And then, just when the shapes from all those puzzle boards are starting to really burn themselves in your brain, you start seeing those shapes elsewhere, everywhere, outside the puzzles. Then you wonder if there might be a reason you can activate the puzzle-solving cursor when you're not interacting with a puzzle and HOLY CRAP THAT ACTUALLY WORKS WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON. The revelation that an interface previously confined to a series of abstract computer-terminal line puzzles can also work with the more naturalistic shapes of the game's world is an astonishing way to elevate the feeling of discovery in a game already built around a series of discoveries. The fact that there are dozens of places this works, and that every player consequently discovers this ability at a different time and place, just makes the moment that much more personalized and memorable.

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Runners-up: The First Five Minutes of DOOM, Inside (That Part)

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#1 Posted by HumanityPlague (362 posts) -

Geo Wars is always cool.

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#2 Posted by RonGalaxy (4936 posts) -

Glad the witness won something. Did not see furi winning best music; thought doom was a lock for that.

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#3 Posted by Efesell (4575 posts) -

Man the ending of Uncharted 4 is one of the best moments in video games.

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#4 Edited by cloudymusic (2134 posts) -

Good pick for Best Moment. Not everyone experienced that "aha" moment (even many people who played the game and discovered those puzzles), but for people like me who did, it was pretty awesome.

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#5 Posted by adamdraws (7 posts) -

Naw, DOOM should have won best music.

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#6 Posted by flasaltine (2547 posts) -


We All know Doom has the best soundtrack.

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#7 Posted by RonGalaxy (4936 posts) -

@efesell: It's a great moment in a year filled with great moments (in games).

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#8 Posted by gschmidl (150 posts) -

I am superbly torn between DOOM and Thumper as my best soundtrack.

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#9 Posted by ollieg_94 (195 posts) -

Geometry Wars over Burnout Paradise? I anticipate a mammoth Gerstmann vs Shoemaker debate on the podcast.

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#10 Edited by Elwood (280 posts) -

I was wondering if Titanfall 2 will be mention has not watch this video here yet, because it also has to me one pretty great moment, or more so a specific level, just love the introduction of it, and how fluently they manage to combine it with the rest of the game.

That Timetravel part was really great, and I just wanted more of jumping back and forth in time, especially the fighting part was a lot of fun for me :)

But yeah The Witness Moment is also pretty great I think I first discovered it when I was looking at a lake going in diffrent directions :)

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#12 Posted by wandel (80 posts) -

"Inside (That Part)" should've won it. Did the environmental puzzles in The Witness ever actually do anything, or was it just "hey, I can draw a line in the world. That's neat"?

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#13 Edited by Rirse (328 posts) -

Now that Geometry War won, can we have the sequel on BC?

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#15 Posted by Colonel_Pockets (1315 posts) -

It's tough to argue with those moments, but chapter 4 in Uncharted 4 is probably the highlight of the year for me.

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#16 Posted by Dray2k (884 posts) -

Absolutely agree with the best Music award.

Personally, I thought that TLG has an amazing soundtrack but it is sort of inconsistent. Some tracks are "pretty good" while some reach "best ever" territory.

But considering Carpenter Brut is amongst the best there is I find it hard to come up with arguments why TLG should've won. He alone is so good it almost feels like cheating to let him work on the games soundtrack (I bought the game mostly because of the soundtrack, but it almost pales compared to how good the music is). I even think DOOM doesn't even come close to it and I love Gordons stuff.

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#17 Edited by deactivated-5b6c667dde711 (961 posts) -

@wandel said:

"Inside (That Part)" should've won it. Did the environmental puzzles in The Witness ever actually do anything, or was it just "hey, I can draw a line in the world. That's neat"?

a lot of it is the realisation that every single part of the island is modeled, coloured and positioned in a very specific way to allow for these puzzles that require you to look at them from the right perspective, sometimes at a specific moment in time. It turns into a sort of game within a game, to the point where hunting down these environmental puzzles can become even more alluring and fun than the regular brain teasers.

Inside's last 20 minutes were really surprising and I had a good time, but I don't think they quite hold up in comparison.

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#18 Edited by TwoLines (3654 posts) -

@wandel said:

"Inside (That Part)" should've won it. Did the environmental puzzles in The Witness ever actually do anything, or was it just "hey, I can draw a line in the world. That's neat"?

You know the thing with Tetris where you close your eyes and still see Tetris? You get that with The Witness. You see those line puzzles. And then the game uses that so that you can find the environmental secrets. There's no hand-holding, only your curiosity and experimentation.

The game seems tightly locked to those LCD monitors all over the island, so it's also a sort of illusion. The moment where you break out of that illusion using only your instinct, is 10 times better than any scripted sequence this year. You feel like the smartest motherfucker out there, and you also feel like you've discovered some insane, world altering secret.

So yes.

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#19 Posted by MooseyMcMan (12638 posts) -

These all seem like worthy winners. Especially happy with the best music and best moment.

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#20 Posted by traglin (13 posts) -

Haven't watched deliberations yet, but I really hope that level in Titanfall 2 got some play for best moment. To be fair, though, I do remember that "Holy shit!" moment (or rather several of them) I had playing The Witness, so well deserved.

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#21 Posted by Dessart (8 posts) -

"Whether it's in a fun quick play with random teammates or a well-built competitive team, matches in Overwatch are almost always fast-paced and fun."

Someone didn't play Competitive with randoms ;)

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#22 Edited by GiantLennonx_x (390 posts) -

No love for Owlboy music ?

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#23 Posted by Toggery (69 posts) -

The only way Furi could have had a better soundtrack would be to have tracks by Perturbator as well. Not replacing any of the current ones, just having more.

And this reminds me that The Witness is on sale, I should get that.

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#24 Posted by Solh0und (2170 posts) -

Furi getting best soundtrack. Now that's what's up.

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#25 Edited by mems1224 (2511 posts) -

Titanfall 2's multiplayer is terrible. You're wrong Jeff!

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#26 Posted by paulmako (1958 posts) -

Inside feat Kanye West - THat Part

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#27 Posted by TreeTrunk (617 posts) -

Nice, I also thought the time you find out that you can have 'hit squads' in Mafia 3 was a pretty cool moment.

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#28 Posted by Mystyr_E (1475 posts) -
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#29 Posted by JohnyMyko (1900 posts) -

So happy that Furi got the best soundtrack, I was afraid it would undeservingly go to DOOM.

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#30 Posted by flasaltine (2547 posts) -

So happy that Furi got the best soundtrack, I was afraid it would undeservingly go to DOOM.

I cant even

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#31 Posted by dragonzord (846 posts) -

Not really a fan of the fact that they disqualified Hotline Miami 2's soundtrack last year for the overuse of the genre but then give best music to another synth heavy soundtrack but hey, it is what it is.

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#32 Posted by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

Agree with Furi taking Best Soundtrack. I don't think the DOOM soundtrack is bad, it just needed some ripping guitar solos and less constant palm-muted riffing.

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#33 Edited by DharmaBum (1747 posts) -

They brought over the wrong GeomWars. There I said it!

Good choice for Best Moment - I remember being a bit giddy the first time I found one of those and I felt the immediate need to ask a friend who was also playing the game if he had discovered any.

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#34 Posted by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

I live for those moments of Jeff shitting on Red Dead Redemption.

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#35 Posted by Sunjammer (1172 posts) -

Bah, DOOM trounces Furi. Can we stop fawning over synthwave soon, that shit is played as fuuuck.

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#36 Posted by Shane (162 posts) -

Mafia 3 not making top three best music is insane, best licensed soundtrack ever.

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#37 Posted by csl316 (15014 posts) -

Yeah, that Witness moment was spectacular. I was floating around the island on that slow boat, messed around clicking on things, then hit a part of the mountain with a triumphant "booom!!!" And I stopped being bored in a boat, discovered what I was doing, and it reworked my whole view of that world.

The game still didn't make my top 10, but that moment is certainly deserving.

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#38 Posted by Teddie (2158 posts) -

I feel kinda bummed that I didn't get to experience the environmental puzzle moment in The Witness because I always just assumed that's what that whole game was. I never followed the game so all I ever heard from the Bombcast was "you walk around and solve line puzzles!" all the way since they first talked about it.

If anything, it was a bigger surprise to see the quick look and see what they were actually talking about.

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#39 Edited by deactivated-58a3c9b2cc154 (149 posts) -

I’m enjoying the Game of the Year discussions so far, but it would be great if these random top 10 lists would stop cluttering up the front page. I don't know—nor do I want to know—who most of these people are, and I definitely don’t care what their favorite games are.

I’ll probably get banned for this post, but I’m just being honest.

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#41 Edited by Archer88 (415 posts) -

@kowbrainz: For me, that moment in The Witness happened pretty early on, but I kind of went into that game expecting something more to be going on than just a bunch of screens with line puzzles. Maybe that's why I was so disappointed with how it wrapped up.

Anyway, I think a more fitting moment from The Witness is the first time you crack a puzzle set that had previously stumped you. I think most people had a moment where they just couldn't wrap their head around a puzzle and had to walk away from it. And then suddenly it just "clicked" and you were off to the races. More memorable to me than noticing the environment, which looks suspiciously like a line puzzle at points, is in fact just that.

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#42 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (1134 posts) -

@eastbound4: All of the GOTY stuff pertaining to the staff is on the right side of the site and some of us really are interested in the guest lists.

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#43 Edited by Homelessbird (1632 posts) -

Still having lots of fun with the awards this year! Even though not putting Thumper in Best Music is a crime worthy of actual jail time.

But hey, opinions be opinionatin'.

Edit: forgot to mention that the music Dan brings to that category is now my favorite recurring part of the awards proceedings

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#44 Edited by ilserpente (174 posts) -

Man, I think they're super wrong about BF1 lacking depth and having poor progression. BF3 locked up way too much basic stuff behind progression. BF1 has enough locked up to keep you playing, but you never feel gimped. It also has a high skill ceiling and hard counters for everything. The Operations mode is a great addition, but I do agree that it could use more maps.

Overwatch did nothing for me, so I'll just accept that I have different taste and move on.

On the other hand, Hyper Light Drifter is my favorite game from 2016, and it's probably going to be left off of every single aware list :(

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#45 Posted by yurimegumi (121 posts) -

Compared to alot of other moments this year i very VERY strongly disagree with that Witness pick.

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#46 Posted by TheMasterDS (2992 posts) -

Play of the Game probably should've The Moment for Overwatch really, that'd sum up all the cool ones they came up with. Plus it's so fucking cool on its own.

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#47 Posted by RDFed (89 posts) -

Well, it took until Day 4 for me to get irrationally upset, but the Best Moment segment did it. I swear they have criticized being able to miss a moment before in GotY discussions, but then when The Witness comes up it makes it better. Also Jeff's hatred of Inside is pretty fascinating, but I understand what he means. When something like Inside doesn't click, it really feels hard to understand the appeal. These discussions always make me think that the guys some away with some pretty harsh feelings towards the games that beat out their choices.

This did make me want to go play a whole bunch of games though. The Witness and Superhot are now on my "games to buy" list.

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#48 Posted by MindBullet (711 posts) -

Dan keeps fighting the good Stardew Valley fight. Also #TeamVinny

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#49 Posted by sfw44 (275 posts) -

I do really like Overwatch but it takes me ages to find a game on PC. This sounds dumb but, just for that reason alone I would rank BF 1 on PC over Overwatch. Titanfall 2 was my favorite multiplayer shooter of the year.