Game of the Year 2016

Most Disappointing Game

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t enjoy not enjoying games. In fact, every year I hope that I won’t feel the need to include this category, as I’m generally good at avoiding bad games (or at least games I know I won’t like). But every year, games come out that miss the mark or fool me into thinking they have potential.

These are the games for which I had the highest expectations compared to how I felt about the game after finishing my time with it. To be clear, these aren’t necessarily the worst games I played in 2016, just the ones I most wanted to be better. It’s also worth noting that I can like a game and still find it disappointing, which is why you might see some games here and in other, more positive categories.

Honorable Mentions

Firewatch
Furi
Rise of the Tomb Raider

5. Grow Up

Grow Home made my Game of the Year list last year, so I obviously had pretty high expectations for this one. And while it isn’t a bad game by any stretch, it just doesn’t do enough different to justify its existence and release a mere one year after the first game. If this came out in 2017 or 2018, I might feel a bit differently. But only if Grow Up decided to try more new stuff.

4. Unravel

I was sold on this game after the creator awkwardly presented it at EA’s E3 press conference. The concept of the game really hit me, and I loved the visual presentation. Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain when compared to the adorable graphics. It just isn’t fun to play, and in fact, it can often be a frustrating, imprecise platformer — which is the opposite of what you’d want from a game with this aesthetic.

3. Super Mario Run

Side-scrolling Mario on a phone? Count me in! The problem with Super Mario Run isn’t necessarily the game itself. There’s enough there to be charming and fun in a forgettable kind of way. But the monetization of the game just isn’t worth your time. Getting access to a few free levels that aren’t all that fresh and then expecting me to shell over money to get access to the better stuff is a bad business strategy. I’d have been more inclined to just pay $5 for the game up front.

2. Pokemon GO

If you read my review of Pokemon GO, you’ll be pretty familiar with my feelings. It’s just barely a video game and I’m kind of lost as to why people have latched onto it so much. I guess for non-“core” gamers, it’s more about the social aspect, which does make sense. But catching pokemon isn’t fun at all, the “combat” is buggy and there’s no strategy, and there’s hardly a sense of discovery to finding pokemon when they just pop up and you’re overwhelmed with repeats. I just don’t get it and I’m terrified that we’ll see Pokemon GO design influences on future mainline Pokemon games.

1. Final Fantasy XV

Oh man, Final Fantasy XV. I was definitely nervous about this one going in after playing the underwhelming, confusing demo and just generally being turned off by the annoying lead characters. But even in a “Most Disappointing” category, I can’t overstate just how bad I think this game is. It seems that each Final Fantasy game has to completely retool the combat experience, and I’m not sure why. The gambit system in Final Fantasy XIII was awesome. Let’s go back to that, please! And yes, the characters are all incredibly unlikable.

There’s also just so much busy work and random side stuff in the game, and none of it is fun. Cooking, fishing, messing with your car, etc. It’s boring. And for how beautiful and open the world is, it’s incredibly empty. There need to be more enemies, more secrets, more stuff to collect (and use in cool, fun ways). Final Fantasy XV is one of my least favorite Final Fantasy games, and that’s coming from someone that has liked most of them.

Read on for my 10 favorite games of 2016!

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