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Game of the Year 2016: Day Four Deliberations

We're getting down to it on day four, with winners declared for Best Music, Best Multiplayer, Xbox One Backwards-Compatible Game of the Year, and Best Moment or Sequence.

Discover the best and worst games of the year with your friends from Giant Bomb.

Dec. 29 2016

Posted by: Brad

In This Episode:

Game of the Year 2016

Episode Notes:

In an effort to keep things tidy, we're keeping all GOTY discussion in one place this year. Head over to the video deliberations to get your comment on!

Big thanks to Marino for providing timecodes this year.

0:00:000:01:37Intro
0:01:370:48:02Best Music
0:48:020:48:14Break
0:48:141:03:00Best Multiplayer
1:03:001:21:04Best Xbox One Backwards Compatible
1:21:042:27:35Best Moment
2:27:352:29:37Recap/Outro

230 Comments

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jakob187

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Edited By jakob187

@jeff, you mentioned during this that Skate 3 wouldn't have come to backward compatibility on Xbox One if they (EA presumably) weren't already in the process of doing something new with the franchise. While that may be true, there is a big reason beyond that: PewDiePie. He began doing YouTube videos and streaming the game, and it became insanely popular. I only know this because we started getting huge demand for the game at my LAN center, and when we finally asked what the deal was, everyone talked about how PewDiePie was playing it.

Unless, of course, y'all know something we don't...

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north6

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Edited By north6

@marino said:

#ImWithVinny

Virginia got shafted.

*edit* - Actually FF6 got shafted!

#ImWithDrew

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unsupervised

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Edited By unsupervised

I'm with Jeff on Inside but for different reasons. I think that game, like Limbo, uses a ton of powerful imagery for the sake of saying absolutely nothing. Limbo & Inside both depict the death of a child in dozens of gruesome ways. Inside repeatedly invokes imagery of the Holocaust. To what end? It seems nothing more than in the service of making you wince.

There's a scene early on in Inside where the game asks you to feed a bunch of baby chicks into a nasty looking piece of farm machinery. The chicks are the only specks of bright, cheery color you've seen in the world up to that point and they follow you around the farm like you're their mother. The only way to progress is to lure them into the machine and turn it on. But haha! The machine spits them out harmlessly! You're only a monster in theory!

This bait and switch seems to me emblematic of the carelessness with which the developers toy with emotions of the player with no greater ambition than the cheap thrill of making others uncomfortable. I don't think Inside said anything about the society in the game let alone actual society - so why invoke the Holocaust? Shorthand for "shit is fucked"? Is that enough?

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lostn

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Which games do they spoil in Best Moment discussion?

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JRM

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I thought Inside was pretty cool but christ these guys got a little crazy with the Inside hyperbole.

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AMyggen

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Edited By AMyggen

Detailed timestamps courtesy of Bowlie of NeoGAF, especially useful for the Best Moment discussion.

00:00:21 - Podcast starts

00:00:50 - The categories are announced: Best Music, Best Multiplayer, Best Xbox One Backwards Compatible, Best Moment/Sequence

00:01:37 - Best Music.

  • 00:02:30 - Firewatch
  • 00:03:15 - No Man’s Sky
  • 00:04:06 - LOUD on Planet X
  • 00:04:44 - Watch Dogs 2
  • 00:06:03 - Hitman
  • 00:07:34 - Rez Infinite
  • 00:09:58 - Darkest Dungeon
  • 00:10:33 - The Last Guardian
  • 00:10:54 - Amplitude
  • 00:11:44 - Mafia 3
  • 00:12:36 - Shadow Warrior 2
  • 00:14:03 - Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  • 00:15:01 - Dragon Quest Builders
  • 00:15:53 - DOOM
  • 00:17:29 - Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE
  • 00:18:10 - Hyper Light Drifter
  • 00:18:50 - TrackMania Turbo
  • 00:20:25 - Let It Die
  • 00:21:20 - Virginia
  • 00:23:49 - The Flame in the Flood
  • 00:24:59 - ABZÛ
  • 00:26:01 - Bound
  • 00:26:22 - Brigador
  • 00:28:29 - Thumper
  • 00:30:57 - Furi
  • 00:34:00 - Stardew Valley
  • 00:37:46 - Final discussion

00:47:56 - Break

00:48:14 - Best Multiplayer.

  • 00:48:45 - Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-
  • 00:49:42 - Battlefield 1
  • 00:51:15 - Gears of War 4
  • 00:54:12 - Alienation
  • 00:54:57 - Ultimate Chicken Horse
  • 00:55:31 - Clash Royale
  • 00:57:27 - Overwatch
  • 00:58:33 - Final discussion

01:03:00 - Xbox One Backwards Compatible of the Year.

  • 01:07:53 - Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • 01:08:35 - Dig Dug
  • 01:09:00 - Age of Booty
  • 01:09:27 - Mass Effect 3
  • 01:09:38 - Trials HD
  • 01:10:06 - SSX
  • 01:10:39 - Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • 01:11:03 - The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • 01:11:19 - Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown
  • 01:12:06 - Mass Effect 2
  • 01:14:42 - Skate 3
  • 01:15:22 - Final discussion

01:21:03 - Best Moment/Sequence (assume spoilers for everything).

  • 01:23:23 - DOOM
  • 01:26:16 - Oxenfree
  • 01:27:12 - God Eater 2 Rage Burst
  • 01:28:08 - Zero Time Dilemma
  • 01:28:32 - Zero Time Dilemma
  • 01:28:51 - Stardew Valley
  • 01:29:33 - Titanfall 2
  • 01:35:22 - Let It Die
  • 01:36:00 - SUPERHOT
  • 01:41:48 - Hitman
  • 01:44:53 - Mafia 3
  • 01:46:06 - Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • 01:47:49 - ABZÛ
  • 01:49:02 - Gears of War 4
  • 01:53:10 - Overwatch
  • 01:54:50 - Firewatch
  • 01:56:46 - Thumper
  • 01:53:23 - INSIDE
  • 01:58:12 - The Witness
  • 02:05:58 - Final discussion

02:27:35 - The fourth day is done!

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triviaman09

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Vinny is right about Mass Effect. Geometry Wars is fine for about 30 minutes, Burnout Paradise is not as good as earlier Burnout games, but I still think about RDR and Mass Effect 2 from time to time.

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Eosino

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Vinny keeping it real with a PC.

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Anund

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Edited By Anund

Yes Jeff, fuck Inside.

Also... Geometry Wars held my attention for almost an hour when I tried it, then I never started it again. How in the hell that game is so popular with these guys is completely baffling.

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billyok

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Edited By billyok

Solidly with the "Baffled by the acclaim for Inside" crowd, but boy was that some delicious salt at the end of that argument.

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AMyggen

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I`ll add to the discussion that I absolutely adore Inside!

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flight815

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I think it's criminal that no one even mentioned Jackbox 3 during the best multiplayer discussion.

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DeadPanJazMan

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Ok at time of writing this comment we've just started best Xbox backwards compatible game and my solemn hope is this is how we, by proxy, finally hash out game of the generation between Red Dead and Burnout Paradise.

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xerseslives

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Jeff is right about INSIDE but what he says about that game is also how I feel when everyone loses their minds about DOOM.

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Arrested_Developer

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BRAD YOU FUCKED MASS EFFECT 2 OVER AGAIN!!

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midnightgreen20

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I'm kinda shocked that if anything 7th Dragon III never got a mention for best music, but then again 3DS games get largely ignored. I think it definitely has a chance on being in the top 3.

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BlackGeeky

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I'm 95% sure that DOOM is going to win GOTY but the other nine, oh boy it might get ruthless. Can't wait!

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aziridine

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Edited By aziridine

@unsupervised: I agree with your overall point, but worth noting that a single chick is left dead after you put them through that machine.

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mendia

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#FuckInside

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AMyggen

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TheHBK

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#FuckInside these guys try to hard to tell you they love the game but unlike Doom or Stardew Valley, i dont hear a substantive argument

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coolarman

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Inside is a good video game.

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pmurph03

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Edited By pmurph03

Have to reiterate the shock that a person can beat the witness and not notice any environmental puzzle ever... But I guess Dan isn't the most person

But I was also surprised that people never really talked about them except in super secret like they were all super hidden and could be missed or something. To me it wasn't really much of a moment, because they were pretty clear in a lot of situations and was just like a "oh that's cool" thing. So much so that when brad was talking in hushed tones about them during podcasts about a super cool thing in the witness, I got excited hoping I'd find it and was so disappointed when it eventually came out that I already had. Obviously everyone has different experiences with it given the nature of the witness, but it was a complete non-moment for me.

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Mystyr_E

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Edited By Mystyr_E

beat Inside today, took about 4 hours and while I won't echo the #FuckInside thing, I'm with Jeff. I don't know what that game is, or what it's trying to tell me, or what emotion I'm supposed to get out of it in the end. Games like the Swapper, Journey or Abzu gave me enough hooks for me to think about or wonder about afterwards butInside's the equivalent of the U2 lyric "they don't know what you're doing, babe it must be art". Whatever themes they're working with are just too obtuse to investigate and not interesting enough to think about anyway.

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Kwilco

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Edited By Kwilco

I went into INSIDE pretty optimistic after liking Limbo. Two hours later I finished it, wondering what the hell went wrong. I feel like almost everything about the game is bad.

The controls were clunky, yet they demanded precise platforming to solve the puzzles. Puzzles consisted of uninteresting gimmicks, which once discovered, always required you to repeat the gimmick a few too many times. Couple that with the clunky controls, and you die frequently, leading you to have to repeat the gimmicks EVEN more than was already too much.

The art is very clearly lovingly handcrafted and detailed, but the overall style is bland, and the soundtrack is fittingly bland as well. The world lacks cohesion, and feels very much like a series of video game levels without any context for why they are there. The game tries for subtlety and ambiquity in it's presentation, but completely fails and delivers a disjointed, non-sensical, and painfully un-fun experience. Maybe I just don't "get" it, but I don't think there is anything of substance there to "get".

Fuck INSIDE.

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tckoja

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There are a lot of good tracks from Stardew Valley, I just think Dan didn't pick the right tracks to showcase it to the rest of the crew.

My alarm in the morning:

Loading Video...

Fall favorite:

Loading Video...

And of course, mines music:

Loading Video...

But who knows if Stardew could have stood up still to the rest. The winners all have incredible music.

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MezZa

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Have to agree with Jeff on Inside. That moment is pretty lame. It is also just not my kind of game at all. Didn't like it.

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Xdeser2

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Edited By Xdeser2

No Dark Souls III or Stellaris in best music? Thats crazy.

Loading Video...
Loading Video...
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AlejanSolo

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I coulda swore the online for Burnout Paradise has been gone for awhile. That kinda takes out half of what makes that game cool. Probably shoulda been struck from the list.

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pyide

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Edited By pyide

What the hell is this sear kit stuff in Titanfall 2 they were talking about?

It's hard to forget the time travel mission but I'm drawing a complete blank on this thing. I can't find any mention on the internet at large, either.

edit: listened again and paid some extra attention instead of fumbling around in Street Fighter while half-listening.

They were talking about that section with the smart pistol - SERE KIT is what it was, not sear as I was hearing. Incredibly unmemorable for me, but maybe that's because I've always hated that weapon, and on PC you don't need it to kill guys in glorious fashion while wallrunning and such in the campaign. Might as well have been a mod that kills everyone that looks at you funny, no challenge whatsoever and I sure didn't feel badass while doing it like they apparently did. I forgot about it entirely, hah.

How did that beat Effect and Cause for them?? So fucking cool jumping back and forth and evading while also getting the drop on enemies in both time periods. Even on just a technical level it was so ridiculously impressive how fast and responsive it was switching between essentially two different maps with completely different visuals and enemies on demand.

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contimaloris

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Inside was an amazing and tight masterpiece. These guys made the right choice.

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fram

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I thought Jeff sandbagged the hell out of that Inside conversation.

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Scodiac

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Edited By Scodiac

I totally agree with Jeff about the multiplayer games this year. I love Titanfall 2, and I'm close to regenerating (prestige) for the 3rd time. I bet I'll be playing that game for a few years, here and there. Titanfall has very finely tuned controls that feel better than any other shooter I've played prior. In fact, it has probably ruined me for other multiplayer shooters for a long time.

Really great moments throughout the campaign as well. I was honestly surprised how much that game delivered on what I was hoping it would.

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ArtisanBreads

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Edited By ArtisanBreads

@jodokus_k said:

Agreed :P

@artisanbreads said:

Jeff has been ridiculously silly about Rez in this GOTY stuff it's cracked me up. Get over it dude.

It's just funny too since he isn't doing it with any humor and earlier in GOTY he shit on "Old Dan" when "Old Jeff", at his most stubborn and crazy, is unmatched in being grating and unreasonable. I find it funny to watch at least.

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UnInvincible

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Edited By UnInvincible

I hate how juvenile Jeff gets during these discussions. More than anyone he's willing to completely dismiss and shit on a game that's not one he wants in the Top 3. Everyone else seems to do a good job listening to everyone and give other games a chance, but what he said about INSIDE was so completely immature. It's Giant Bomb'sGOTY, not Jeff's.

I did enjoy the discussions over all, but Jeff (and Dan a few times) has brought a negative slant to a few of them in the last couple podcasts that I just wanted to say my piece.

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ArtisanBreads

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Edited By ArtisanBreads

The ending of Inside's gameplay is not so different gameplay wise c'mon. That game is incredible and that moment is one of the best in any game. If you don't like the game fine but that argument was dumb. Easily should have won I think but whatever.

@redyoshi said:

@mystyr_e: Yeah, I just started playing it recently and it's a damn shame nobody even mentioned it.

Exact same for me. Music is fucking awesome in that game and didn't see it coming. Looks great too.

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deactivated-5e851fc84effd

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I can't be the only person unsurprised that Dan missed such a huge part of the Witness...

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Scodiac

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Edited By Scodiac
@pyide said:

What the hell is this sear kit stuff in Titanfall 2 they were talking about?

It's hard to forget the time travel mission but I'm drawing a complete blank on this thing. I can't find any mention on the internet at large, either.

Man, it's right after you beat the flying Titan boss (Viper). You and BT are captured after you get the Ark that will power the planet destroying weapon and the ship goes down. BT gets basically executed preventing you from being executed. They leave you to burn in the ship as they take the Ark, but BT gives you the SERE kit which is inside the eye of the Titan which apparently holds BT's AI as well.

Then the moment they're talking about begins. You go on this awesome, overpowered, and fast run out of that burning ship. You're holding the pistol in one hand and BT's AI in the other as you go. You easily headshot every guy in front of you and just keep moving forward through the ship outside, through a facility and outside again where you trigger a Titanfall and you give new life to BT. You say hello to BT again, and then you run directly up the chaingun into the cockpit and go finish the game together. It's pretty cool.

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chacobo

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I really disagree with the support for inside. I think when limbo brought gravity puzzles and being chased by a spider, it was way more interesting than repeating the same solution for inside's "puzzles" over and over or being chased by a dog.

The solutions were always clear, and it wasn't fun to execute the solution like other puzzle games. Even right at the beginning of the game, why would i WAIT in front of the truck when im being chased? Why does the guy chasing me not shoot at me but the guy in the truck does?

It's always shine the light on the dogs so they dont eat you, shine the light on the girl so she doesnt eat you, wait, still, doing nothing so the light doesnt pass over you so you dont get killed. Run forward, rip a board off, climb back over the fence, great, now do that 4 times. Run, wait for the dog to get close, then run back and forward again so it cant catch up. Is that supposed to be engaging, fun, thought provoking or challenging? Its tedious.

The earthquake part was the only part where there was actually timing based jumping and execution. The leading hordes of people was cool but they recycle the most boring puzzles of that game instead of building on the better ideas. If it wasnt for the visual design of Inside what does that game have to offer exactly?

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singing_pigs

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@unsupervised I'm somewhere between Jeff and the rest of the guys on Inside, but I think your point is closest to how I feel. I don't know that the game was saying nothing, but the story and themes of that game are opaque in a way that I'm not interested in. Someone on Twitter (I think it was Austin) mentioned that they saw themes of classism in Inside, and I've heard a handful of other ideas about what the game is about. But I didn't get any of that. When I finished the game, I just stared at this lump on the ground and wondered what the point of all that was. It was a series of interesting moments - which to be fair, I really really enjoyed on an individual basis - that didn't seem to come together in a cohesive whole.

I'm definitely not as dismissive of the game as Jeff is, it has an amazing atmosphere and some really cool scenes, but yeah. It didn't strike me the way it did other people.

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TheOthrPianoMan

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I couldn't have agreed more with Jeff on Inside.

I played the game because it was raved about on the podcast. I enjoyed LIMBO but had to force myself to even get to the end of Inside. I think it only took 3 or 4 hours but it was a terrible slog and it took several sessions. I though the tech behind the movement animation looked really cool, but Jeff was 100% right. It was the best part of a bad game.

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AwkwardLoser

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How do you call Battlefield 1 bland yet praise Overwatch which has 2 modes and a criminal unlock system? You praised Overwatch despite dumping on Gears and Battlefield which are richer multiplayer games it's Splatoon vs Battlefront all over again ?

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chacobo

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@unsupervised: I just can't imagine a game so weakly designed really had any thought about the point or story it wanted to get across. I can't look at a simplistic 2D game and try to somehow make an analog to classism or the holocaust. I just think its a habit of people looking WAY too into something that has no evidence at all that it's trying to do any of that. Its imagery for the sake of imagery because that really seems to be their strength.

Like I'm supposed to feel empathy toward the boy or something. that's why they made the character childlike in this and limbo is because some people dont want to see a child killed, so that tactic has never worked on me, but because I'm looking at him like I look at megaman who is also a small boy, or owlboy who has boy in his name, and because theres 0 punishment for death, it just adds to the tedium. They don't give me a reason to care that its gruesome or dark or anything.

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TheCitizenKaneOfThings

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@chacobo: The idea that Playdead has spent five years making this game just to have a bunch of pointless imagery and no thematic relevance in any way is, frankly, a complete insult to Playdead. You can not like Inside, sure, but to say it's meaningless is straight up fucking wrong.

Also, weakly designed? The game design in Inside is simple, elegant, and almost perfect. They introduce so many concepts and have the player utilize each and every one of them over the course of three hours with no room for confusion. I think Inside is polarizing, but unquestionably a masterpiece of game design.

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chacobo

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@thecitizenkaneofthings: its really easy to say that about any game, but im not seeing any reason as to how it succeeds or is even close to a masterpeice. I've pointed out how so many of the puzzles have the same solution, how there's 0 stakes to anything and how its trying so hard to make me care but falls flat on its face because its only superficially deep when it comes to its message.

I like the idea that its the blob controlling the boy and maybe it had controlled many others in the past. But that's it. I can make a million analogs to what that COULD mean in relation to issues in the real world or something, like I can do with almost any other game or book or anything, and that's fun to do, but I'm not going to add it as a plus to the game at all.

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TheCitizenKaneOfThings

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@chacobo: I mean, showing concepts to the player and executing on them is what game design is, but Inside specifically executes its design in small, wonderful elements that are textbook incredible game design. It's stuff like first seeing the underwater girl with the flashlight of your submarine, so you immediately know how to keep it away from you. It's the panel that moves during the shockwave section that you see right before moving your cover into an area where it will behave the same way. How the game uses flashlights in the beginning running sequence to easily make sure the player knows that when there is a light on them, they are going to die. The line sequence that shows you the solution of the puzzle seconds before you have to jump. I could do this for every puzzle in the game. That is perfect game design.

As for your second point, I don't think there's any way to help you. I think the game is much less unspecific than you're implying. It's ambiguous in terms of concrete narrative, but not really in terms of ideas. Like you said, the boy being controlled by the blob is a good idea, and connecting that with the games fascistic imagery leads to ideas like Inside being a commentary on the illusion of freedom, or even a metacommentary on the relationship between player and developer. And I guess you could apply that to an infinite number of analogs in real life, but having to back that up with evidence from the work itself is what great art can lead. And I think Inside is a great work of art.

All that being said, if it just doesn't work for you, that's totally fair. It happens with every creative medium, but definitely with games. I'm sorry it doesn't click as well with you as it did with me, I had a really profound time with the game and it sucks that not everyone did.

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Dryker

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Terrible oversight that Owlboy wasn't even on the big list. No where near top three, but a solid soundtrack. Brigador was robbed! That shit's on constant rotation. They need to split Best Music into Best Music and Best Sound Design. Sounds like both Firewatch and Doom were awarded for their implementation of the music, so more sound design than music you can listen to by itself (I understand sound design includes sound effects).