Friday, December 30, 2016

Of Swords and Joysticks End of the Year Awards 2016 Part I

  Oh, I am doing this, I am so doing this... as I've done before.
 While I felt like I gamed less this year than in 2015... numbers don't lie, and number claim I played 87 games this year, 5 more games than the last time! It was an interesting year, not as many great games as other times, and what felt like a slew of bad ones. I also skipped a lot on fighting games, and while at the start of 2016 I felt like playing more RPGs... I didn't do good on that.
 I'm following the same format I used in 2015, with ranked entries in order of awesomeness. So, with no more ado, here is 2016's  tally:

==== Playstation 2 =====
Survival Horror               Silent Hill 3                                             8.0
Stealth/Action                Spy Fiction                                               7.5
RPG                           Rogue Galaxy                                              7.5
Platform/Action               Mega Man Anniversary Collection                           8.0
Platform/Action               Megaman X Collection                                      9.0
Platform/Action               Megaman X 7                                               4.5
Platform/Action               Megaman X 8                                               7.0
Survival Horror?              Clock Tower 3                                             7.0
Action                        Nightshade                                                8.5
License/Fighting              Naruto Shippuden - Ultimate Ninja 4                       5.0
Survival Horror               Extermination                                             6.5
License/Action/Beat'em up     Samurai Champloo - Sidetracked                            3.5
Survival Horror               Resident Evil - Code Veronica X                           7.5
Other                         Under the Skin                                            5.5
Survival Horror               Silent Hill 2                                             8.5

==== Playstation ====
Platform/Action               Castlevania Chronicles                                    7.0
Racing                        Chocobo Racing                                            6.5
Survival Horror               Resident Evil 2                                           8.5
Survival Horror               Silent Hill 8.0
RPG              Guardian's Crusade 4.0
Platform      Pandemonium 2 5.5

==== Playstation 3 ====
Action/Platform               Short Peace - Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day               8.0
Survival Horror               The Evil Within                                           9.5
Other                         Katamari Forever                                          8.0
Adventure/Action              Tomb Raider                                               8.0
Fighting                      Aquapazza                                                 6.0
Action                        Devil May Cry HD Collection                               9.0
Action                        Devil May Cry 4                                           8.5
Action                        DmC - Devil May Cry                                       8.0
Stealth/Action                Dishonored - Game of the Year Edition                     9.0
Action                        Bioshock Infinite - The Complete Edition                  8.0
License/Beat'em up/Action     Fist of the North Star - Ken's Rage 2                     2.5
RPG                           Ar Tonelico Qoga - Knell of Ar Ciel                       3.0
Action                        Metal Gear Rising - Revengeance                           8.0
Survival Horror               Silent Hill Downpour                                      7.0
Action                        Earth Defense Force 2025                                  7.0
License/Beat'em up/Action     One Piece - Pirate Warriors 3 8.5
License/Beat'em up/Action     Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Mutants in Manhattan       7.0
RPG/Action      Borderlands - Triple Pack                                 10
Stealth/Survival Horror      Siren - Blood Curse 7.0
Adventure/action      Castlevania - Lords of Shadow 2                           8.0
Other      Tony Hawk's Project 8 6.0
Horror      Silent Hill - Homecoming                                  7.5
Other      Twisted Metal 7.0

==== 3DS ====
License/Fighting              Dragon Ball Z Extreme Butoden                             5.5
License/Adventure             Batman Arkham Origins - Blackgate                         5.5
Platform                      Super Mario Land(Virtual Console)                         2.0
Platform                      Super Mario Bros. 3                                       9.0
Adventure                     The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time 3D                  8.5
Platform                      Super Mario Land 2 - 6 Golden Coins(Virtual Console)      6.0
Other/Graphic Adventure       Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney         8.0
Other/Adventure               Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale               8.0
Action                        Liberation Maiden                                         7.0
Platform      Kid Icarus - Of Myths and Monsters                        4.5
RPG      The Legend of Legacy                                      5.0
RPG                           Stella Glow                                               8.0
Action/Horror      Resident Evil - Revelations 7.0
RPG      Pokemon Sun 8.0

==== DS ====
RPG                           Chrono Trigger                                            10
Fighting                      Custom Robo Arena                                         6.0
Other/Graphic Adventure       999 - Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors                7.5

==== Wii ====
Horror/Adventure      Silent Hill - Shattered Memories 8.0

==== PSP ====
Platform/Action               Megaman - Maverick Hunter X                               9.0
Platform/Action               Megaman - Powered up                                      8.5
RPG                           Valkyrie Profile - Lenneth                                7.0
Survival Horror               Silent Hill 0rigins                                       7.5
Action?                       Lord of Arcana                                            2.0
Other                         Hot Pixel                                                 6.0

==== Playstation Vita ====
Other                         Vitamin Z                                                 5.0
License/Fighting              Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Force                       4.5/8.0
Fighting                      PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale                       8.0
RPG                           Digimon Story - Cyber Sleuth                              8.5
Beat'em up/Action             Senran Kagura - Estival Vs                                6.0
RPG?                          Silent Hill - Book of Memories                            3.0
Action?                       Toukiden Kiwami                                           9.0
Beat'em up/Action             Samurai Warriors 4-II                                     8.0
Other/Graphic Adventure       Danganronpa HappyTriggerHavoc                             9.0
Adventure                     Gravity Rush                                              6.5
License/Fighting              Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3(Vita)                         8.0
Other/Graphic Adventure       Danganronpa 2 - Goodbye Despair                           8.5
Action                        Danganronpa Another Episode - Ultra Despair Girls         6.5

==== Other ====
License/Fighting              Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tournament Fighters(NES)   5.0
Survival Horror      P.T.         3.0
License/Fighting              Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tournament Fighters(GEN)   1.0
License/Fighting              Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tournament Fighters(SNES)  7.0
License/Beat'em up      Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles(Arcade) 4.0
License/Beat'em up      Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II - The Arcade Game 4.5

 Best Character of 2016:
 Before I can start with the nominees, I've to get something out of my chest. Y'see, this year showed me a shockingly high number of terrible, terrible characters, and I ought to make special mentions of them!

 Gloria makes it just to number 5 because she's not really a character perse. However, as far as 'Gloria' is concerned, she is just a crappy Japanese fanservicey design created because Japanese developers need fanservice on their games. Plus, she does this incredibly idiotic thing that causes the deaths of innocents, not that Dante and his cohorts care about protecting people....

 Naotora Li is one of Samurai Warriors 4's newest additions and she sucks. While the Dynasty Warriors series has kept fanservice to a minimum, Koei Tecmo said screw that and went full ham on Samurai Warriors. Naotora Li being the worst offender, she's in the game featuring and horribly annoying waifu stereotype personality and an annoying high-pitched voice. In real life she was supposed to be one of the very few women of power during the Sengoku era, and she was turned into this? Pathetic.

 Borderlands has been one of the best examples of how to add gay and lesbian characters into a story, making their sexuality something that is part of the character but not its defining characteristic, because that is how we, as people, are; we are not defined solely by our sexuality, but rather a composition of characteristics. Then comes Janey in Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, did you know that she is a lesbian? You will. 80% of her dialogue is made up of lines reminding the player that she is a lesbian and is into girls. It doesn't help that the game's humor is Australian, so unless you get their humor, it's gonna be pretty hit-or-miss. So hey, don't feel so bad Janey, most characters in the game were terrible too!

Runner up)
 Oh, Dennis, had it been up to me, I would've let the scissor twins have their way with you. He is immensely annoying from the very first scene he appears in, having an annoying voice and a dumb personality to boot. It's a shame the player is forced to actually rescue him.

 Japan is very weird, and that is a fact, but if I had to prove said fact, I'd show you Steve. Japan, unlike the erst of the world, likes Steve. Who is Steve? The worst thing about Resident Evil Code Veronica. He is an annoying brat who has to be rescued, who tries to act cool but comes out as pathetically cringy and who gets his just desserts by the end of the game. This character is nothing but a pathetic tryhard with no redeeming qualities at all. At least Dennis was part of a very cheesy game, what's Steve excuse?

Now, onto the real winners:

 Dante's biggest problem is his lack of personality. An established personality, that is. Y'see, Dante has had a different personality in almost every single game he's been in. His most popular one, and for good reason, being his DMC 3 incarnation. He is funny, he is cocky and he is all kinds of ridiculous, in all the good ways.

 The way they did Alucard in the Castlevania - Lords of Shadow world is nothing short of brilliant. For starters, kudos to how they tied his origin into the new 'Dracula is a Belmont' storyline, and he had a fantastic supporting role in Lords of Shadow 2. Plus, he looks incredibly badass and was a key player during Lord of Shadow 2 finale.

 So the whole 'We want the players to want to protect Lara' line from the developers was all kinds of idiotic, but I can't deny that I fell in love with the newest incarnation of Lara Croft. It feels so good watching her become this badass as she learns to survive by her lonesome and rescues all her friends. You starting rooting for Lara and celebrating alongside her.

 So, Hotsuma might be the badassest male Ninja around, but Hibana is the badassest female Ninja ever. She's not as silent and aloof as Hotsuma, but has a bit of a sassy streak, which fits alongside her bright white and red costume perfectly. And she has this white-energy-cloth-like thingies hanging from her helmet to match Hotsuma's scarf. Look, Sega, we need another Shinobi game with a Ninja matching Hotsuma and Hibana's style. We need it.

 It's almost impossible to explain why James Sunderland was my favorite character this year without delving into spoilers. Let's just say that there's a reason as to why he behaves so weirdly during the game, let's say that some of the things he has to do throughout his journey match is mental state.

 Best Cover of 2016:
 Covers is one of the things I love the most about physical media, although nowadays covers seem to be a bit... lacking. Using ugly 3-D models or simple logos and titles, videogame covers are on a downhill slope. Luckily, I don't restrict myself to new releases! This years contenders offered some top-notch art and design, not only was it tough narrowing them down to five, it was also hard ranking them!

 Not only is this cover amazing, it also tells you everything that you need to know: Phoenix Wright and Layton are in for quite the adventure, featuring knights, trials and top-notch art!

 I fell in love with this game before I played it thanks to its colorful, kinetic cover. X and Zero lloking badass while Axl is... doing something. This new art-style not only makes the characters look incredibly good in the game's cover but it also makes them look even better in-game.

 There's so many characters and so much going on at the same time in this cover! The art looks cleans and the yellows really pop thanks to all the blue. It's an attractive, well-drawn cover.

 Santolouco's art is phenomenal, he is the best artist to ever draw the Turtles alongside Jim Lawson. As badass as this cover looks, as fantastic as it looks, it's a bit simple. The turtles looking cool over a red background featuring some comic book-like-panels. It's neat, but...

 ...then you look at Chrono Trigger's cover, and marvel at it. Look at the beautiful, detailed art of Toriyama depicting an in-game battle. It has some of the main characters, it's action packed and the characters are actually using an in-game special move. It's one of the best covers ever made, which is why for the DS re-release they actually used the same art as the SNES original!

 Most Disappointing Game of 2016:
 There were more than a few disappointing games this year, which made this list a bit harder to compose than I expected. Still, mind you, disappointment doesn't equal bad, only that it somehow fell short of my expectations.

 Everyone speaks so highly of Resident Evil - Revelations. 'A 3DS must-have', 'The best Resident Evil since 4'. 'A return to form'... bollocks. All of it. Don't get me wrong, it is a good game, but it's not all it's said to be. It's not scary, it's a bit boring at time and the scanner is one of the worst ideas that ever made it into a videogame. Raid Mode was pretty dope though, and at least Steve wasn't in it.

 Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. After playing the first Ar Tonelico I knew that the series just wasn't for me, which is why I skipped the sequel... but then the trailers of Ar Tonelico Qoga - Knell of Ar Ciel were released and goddamn, it looked just like a 'Tales of' game! I needed to play Qoga. I was so wrong. The combat system is nothing but a repetitive, pathetic shadow of 'Tales of', while the story itself is dumb to the point of idiocy. Just as when I played Ar Tonelico, most of my time was spent praying for the game to end

 While Jim Sterling, one of my favorite videogame critics, had been rather negative about Fist of the North Star - Ken's Rage 2, fans of the franchise seemed more than pleased with it, and considering how much I had liked Ken's Rage 1, just how bad could the sequel be? Pretty bad. Basically, I want to punch people but the game won't let me punch people. And it's a game about punching people. When it's at its worst, it's like a Warriors game made by people who don't understand Warriors games.

 Suda 51 had never failed me before, I loved every game of his that I had played, no exception. And then I played Samurai Champloo - Sidetracked and I wept, for that trust was now broken. For what its worth, not only does the story feel out of a Samurai Champloo episode, the game's style is 100% Suda's, but the gameplay is so bad that it ruins everything else.

 P. T. has a lot in common with Hideo Kojima: It's overrated as hell. P.T. is too repetitive and boring to be scary. It's too repetitive and obscure to be entertaining. People actually held this glorified technical demo against full games. They must be deluded. There're few times I had ever been as disappointed as when I finally got to play P.T.. I play Warriors/Musou games regularly, so trust me, I have a high tolerance for repetition, but P.T. was just too much.

 Best Surprise Game of 2016:
 Sadly, there weren't quite as many positive surprises as I would've liked this year.

 I had known about Rogue Galaxy for over a good amount of years before 2016, but I had never been interested in it, y'see, Space ain't my thang. But finally caving in, I was treated to a nice little game, that while flawed, managed to leave its mark on me. I still reminisce about it every now and then, it seems I can't quite get it out of my head!

  While I've enjoyed my fair share of stealth games, Metal Gear Solid 2 being a favorite of mine(Not that that makes Hideo Kojima any less overrated) I'm not much of a fan of the genre, so Dishonored was little more than a speck of dust in my radar. And then I played it and... OH MY GOD THIS GAME IS AMAZING. The amount of cool stuff you can do, the amount of different approaches you can take on each stage, the amount of tiny little details that change depending on how you play... Fantastic.

 Digimon games have been pretty hit-or-miss due to the fact that they try to reinvent themselves with every game. There's a couple of things that you should know: 1) I prefer Digimon designs of Pokemon's and 2) I flippin' love Shin Megami Tensei. Figure out my delight when I got into Digimon Story - Cyber Sleuth and discovered that I was playing a very Shin Megami Tensei-esque game in story, with Digimon. Easily one of the most remarkable games I've played this year.

 I was on a bit of a Silent Hill binge this year. While I do agree that the first four games are much better than what came after then, I still found the rest to be good games. Still, I wasn't expecting much from Silent Hill - Shattered Memories, but man was I surprised. It's the worst 'Silent Hill' game of the bunch, next to book of memories, but if looked at it in a vacuum, man, is it a great game. It has great ideas, well executed as well, and the story, which was the game's focus, is sooooo good that it makes me tolerate the overabundance of motion controls.

 But no game surprised me more this year than Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2. I remember following the many rumors and horror stories that came afloat after the game's release, and most critics were highly critical of the game. It even surprised me how much fun I had with it. I tried looking at the game objectively piece by piece, and when looked at it like that, it's nothing special... but as a whole? That's an entirely different story. Something about all its flawed pieces click together making for a fun ordeal.

 Best Action Game of 2016:
 For whatever reason, Action games were a plenty this year, and great ones at that! So much so that I considered making two Action Game awards or making the list longer, but decided against it and opted only to pick my very favorites, which was no easy task.

 While Ken's Rage 2 was the perfect example of how not to make a Warriors game, one based on an anime at that, One Piece - Pirate Warriors 3 was the exact opposite. One Piece's characters just lend themselves to Warriors formula so well, you get dozens of different characters, with very attractive and flashy movesets unlike what you see on most Warriors games. The beautiful graphics certainly help stand out from the rest.

.As with Shinobi before it, I fell in love with Nightshade as soon as I picked up the controller. Something about these games just hit me in my softest spot. The only reason I scored it below Shinobi was because it was pretty much more of the same, and I'm pretty sure that which game you'll like the most depends on which game you play first.

 I don't think there was a single game I spent more time in than Toukiden Kiwami during 2016. And while after logging over 80 hours of gametime in my file it did get a bit old, nothing can take back the amount of fun I had had. This is, probably, one of the better entry-level Monster Hunter games you can get.

 It's Devil May Cry 3 that gets Devil May Cry HD Collection in this spot, but the added two games are a nice little bonus. I regret not having finished DMC 3 before, easily one of the best action games ever made, with a satisfying combat system. And after you finish the game you unlock another playable character that adds an entirely new way to play the game. Fantastic.

 But there was another game this year that I regretted not finishing before: Megaman X. And while DMC 1 and 2 are nice 'extras', Megaman X2, X3 and X4 are phenomenal additions to X. Megaman X Collection nets you Megaman X, which is nothing short of a classic, Megaman X2 which is more of the same, Megaman X3 which isn't quite as good but still fun, Megaman X4 which is almost as fantastic as X1, and then there's X5 and X6 which are best left forgotten. But I digress, this collection contains some of the best 2D action-platform games ever made, there's absolutely no going wrong with this one.

 Best Survival Horror Game of 2016:
 Now this is a category I never thought would reach my blog. I used to hate the genre, but one thing led to another... and while I wouldn't consider myself a fan, I can't deny that I learned how to appreciate it.

 While easily surpassed by future games of it franchise, Silent Hill 1 still stays strong as a bonafide classic. If I've to make my case, I'd mention the very first sequence of the game, featuring the grey children. It's unexpected, it's shocking and it's terrifying. This is the game that would lay the groundwork for the rest of the Silent Hill series, and man, am I grateful for it.

 Silent Hill 3 is the sequel we didn't know we wanted. Silent Hill 2 did away with Harry Mason and had the cult become more of a tie to the past of Silent Hill than anything else. And then came Silent Hill 3, a direct sequel to the first game. While I'm not the biggest fan of the Cult substory, Silent Hill 3 had some of the best environments in the series and a few unforgettable scares.

 As much as I learned to enjoy the Survival part of Survival Horror, I will still prefer a more action-oriented stuff. And Resident Evil 2 is just that, a survival horror game with more action than survival. You get a huge and powerful inventory of weapons to lay waste to the enemies. Puzzles were fun to solve and the gameplay itself was a blast. Not much in the way of horror, however.

 There's so much I want to say about Silent Hill 2, but none of it can be said without spoiling this masterpiece. Let it be known that the amount of care, detail and planning that went into this game is nothing short of staggering.

 Resident Evil 4 is one of my favorite games ever. Now, what would happen if you borrowed a few element of Silent Hill's horror and mixed it with Resident Evil 4's phenomenal gameplay? You'd get The Evil Within. Easily one of the best games I've ever played, The Evil Within is simply fun. The art style is fantastic, the game is lengthy and entertaining, and it's so much fun to play, gunplay is smooth and satisfying, and it makes the game scary without resorting to handicapping the player with wonky controls or camera. Ammo is scarce, so every bullet must count, and there're more than a fair share of honest-to-goodness scares the likes of which Resident Evil could never, ever hope to achieve.

 Best Adventure Game of 2016:
 This genre award almost didn't make it in, but I managed to bunch a few nominees that more than deserve to be awarded.

 Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale is brilliant. It's the story of an every-day Friday in the life of a young Japanese boy. Monsters, which may or may not be real, attack the town so a legendary hero, that might or might not be an actor, must fight it, while the cameras film the action for a show that may or may not be scripted. You know, the usual. Cute and smart are two ways to describe this little gem.

 It's hard to call Silent Hill - Shattered Memories a horror game when it lacks actual horror. But as an adventure game, it's more than fine. It's a mostly linear adventure, but exploring the environments will reward the player with more information that may or may not be connected to our main character. A fantastic alternate take on a classic game.

 Alright, so by the end of the game, when experience points became useless, exploration became somewhat of a chore, that doesn't mean that Castlevania - Lords of Shadow 2 failed as an adventure game. Au contraire, Environments were filled to the brim with secrets to find behind obstacles that required the player to get more upgrades. While Lament of Innocence got the 'Castlevania in 3D' thingie better, Lords of Shadow 2 came quite close to matching it.

 The new Tomb Raider is unlike previous Tomb Raider games, there's no level progression, instead, you are abandoned on an open Island free for you to explore... if you've got the right tools. It was an entertaining Metroivania-esque romp, with a memorable main character, entertaining puzzles, obligatory modern parkour segments and great shoot-outs. Basically a little bit of everything.

 While I will insist that The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time 3D is one of the most overrated games ever made, I won't ever deny the fact that it is, and was, a great adventure game. A decent-sized world, sprinkled with hundreds of secrets to find and puzzles to solve. And now you get to take it on the go with enhanced graphics, making it the definitive version of the game.

 Best RPG Game of 2016:
 Remember when I said at the start of the year that the RPG bug had bitten me and how I wanted to play oh so many of them? Yeah... I kinda didn't follow through. But hey! I played my fair share, and there were many, many good ones!

 Its flaws were many. Many. But as I said before, I just can't get Rogue Galaxy out of my mind, something about it just stuck with me all year long. So while I may not have scored it the highest, there's no denying that no other game was as memorable, for me, as this one. While I'm not planning on playing it again anytime soon, I don't think I will need to, seeing how fresh it remains in my mind!

 I... I might've been a bit too generous with Pokemon Sun. I called it the 'best Pokemon game on the 3DS'... I take that back. GameFreak's give and take, two step forwards-one step back trend with Pokemon games makes it so that no Pokemon game will ever really be 'the best'. It might do some things better than other games, but it will also do some things worse. Still, when it's all said and done, Pokemon is still fun, and Pokemon Sun is no exception... as much as it tries to bore you to death with the uninteresting story and forcing you to its pace and not yours.

 Digimon does what Pokemon't. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth was great! A great story, that was interesting to follow and its engaging characters made it so that you, the player, wanted to progress through it. While they should turn it down a notch with the required grinding for Digievolution for future games, everything else in the game was a knocker.

 Borderlands The Pre-Sequel wouldn't have made it to this spot, nay, to a nomination, had it not been for the fact that it comes bundled with Borderlands 1 and 2 in Borderlands Triple Pack. This is also the reason why Borderlands Triple Pack didn't make it into the winning place. Regardless, with Triple Pack you get a fantastic game(Borderlands 2), a great game(Borderlands) and a decent game(The Pre-Sequel). It's easily one of the best bundles you can get right now, and it has even more stuff than its current gen counterpart, the Handsome collection.

 Well, there's a reason Chrono Trigger is considered a classic, right? While a bit shorter than most of its peers, every single part of Chrono Trigger is amazing. An unforgettable soundtrack, a simple but well thought-out story, interesting characters and great gameplay making for one of the best RPGs ever made. Ever.

 Best Graphic Adventure Game of 2016:
 I hesitate to call any of these games a visual novel, since they are so much more than that. There were enough games of this genre to deserve their own awards and nominations.

 I'm gonna be perfectly honest, 999 - Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors isn't as amazing as so many critics make it out to be. It wants you to replay it multiple times, but if you are to invest in said endeavor...  It's gonna get repetitive, and a bit boring at times, making it a bit of a chore. It only gets the nomination so that I could nominate more than 3 games. Sorry.

 If you like Phoenix Wright but hate digital media and live outside Japan... You are gonna have a hard time. At least we get Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney, a crossover that mixes Trials and Puzzles together for a surprisingly good result. While Trials are easier and less involved than what you would get on a main Phoenix Wright game, it's an understandable concession since they wanted Layton's fans to be able to get into the game, so I'm willing to bet that this isn't the most complex Layton's puzzles can get. That said, it's a great little crossover that will appeal to fans of either franchise.

 Danganronpa 2 - Goodbye Despair went full anime, which is usually a bad sign, but the only thing that suffered were the initial chapters. Y'see, the first few chapters of the game are a bit boring, and the characters are very unlikable... but halfway through the game, it gets better. Characters become more relatable and likable, and the final chapters are better than anything the first game could offer. There's also a bunch of extra minigames that were kinda fun.

 While Danganronpa 2's latter chapters were better than anything Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc could offer... Danganronpa 1 was more consistent all the way throughout. Plus, looking back, the island setting just couldn't hold a candle to the feeling of isolation that the boarded up doors and windows of the empty highschool corridors instilled in the player. Danganronpa 2 also tried to play twists on Danganronpa 1's scenarios, but instead of coming off as 'smart' it came off samey. What I mean to say is that I much preferred Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc over its sequel, it's got a better cast of characters, a more interesting set up, and the story maintains the same level of quality and interest all the way throughout.

 Best Fighting Game of 2016:
 Another genre that almost didn't make it. I've said year after year how my interest in Fighting Games was waning a bit... well, this year is proof of that.

 Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Force's initial release was nothing short of disappointing, but with the aid of patches the game became much better. It's still lacking a huge amount of Mobile Suits from the console releases, but at least the VS mode, what makes these games SO good, is back. It's a bit sad how the first game in the series which made it stateside since Gundam VS Zeta Gundam is so lackluster, even Japan, who loves the Gundam VS franchise, hated this game at first.

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tournament Fighters(SNES) almost made it into my biggest surprises of 2016. Almost. Tournament Fighters on the NES was as good as it could've been considering the system it was released on. Tournament Fighters on the Genesis was garbage. And then came Tournament Fighters on the SNES which... which was so good! Most of its problems are due to its age, like the small roster of characters and modes, which were the norm back then, which speaks volumes of how good the core mechanics are.

 Smash Bros. clones are a dime a dozen, and 90% percent of them are terrible. Somehow, somehow Sony got it right with PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. The physics, where most clones fails, are beautiful, everything feeling as heavy as it should. Gameplay is fantastic, with dozens of different moves tied to very few buttons. And while I don't particularly like using specials to score kills, I can respect them trying something different. It is a Smash Bros. clone, it simply is, but it's part of the tiny 10% that are actually good, and PlayStation All-Stars is REALLY good at that.

 Capcom's Vita port of Street Fighter X Tekken wasn't very good... but Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 is a whole different story. The silky smooth gameplay made it in without a single hiccup, every mode also made it in. It's so good to have a great port of a great fighting game on the go.

 Best Licensed Game of 2016:
 So I played a ton of Licensed games in 2015... which meant I burnt through most of my licensed game backlog back then, leaving few games to play!

 Not only does Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tournament Fighters(SNES) borrow characters from other incarnations of the Turtles beyond the crappy 90s TV series, not only is the spritework fantastic, being true to the franchise, but the gameplay is top notch. This is how licensed fighters should be made. I wouldn't mind having the same developers make a modern TMNT fighting game...

 This is personal. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Mutants in Manhattan made it into its fair share of 'worst games of 2016' lists. W-w-w-what?? The only thing I would hold against TMNT:MIM would be the dull environments. Which I didn't really mind since traversing the stages was fun, except maybe the underground levels. Oh, and the lack of local co-op. Combat was decent when fighting normal enemies, but when fighting bosses it turned into a thing of beauty, requiring finesse for defending and dodging, and timing for your offense. Customizing your characters with different moves, to cover different roles or what have you, felt brilliant. It helps being heavily based off my favorite version of the Turtles.

 Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS and Extreme VS Full Boost made it into these lists before due to how much attention to detail they pay, so  Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Force will be no exception. I've already went over what made it so disappointing, but as far as licensed games go... it was good.

 It's Mahvel baby! Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 is a fantastic fighting game that gets many details right. Many characters' alternate colors pay homage to other characters of costumes, Marvel characters are true to their personas... so not only does it succeed as a Fighting game, it also succeeds at being true to its source material.

 Ken's Rage 2 left such a bad taste in my mouth that it should've been hard to wash it off.... but One Piece - Pirate Warriors 3 managed just fine. It does a decent job at summing up the entire series up to the first chapters of Doflamingo's arc, does a fantastic job capturing the different characters and their crazy powers. It's hard to believe that I would call a Warriors game a visual spectacle, but that is what this game is. And I'm not even touching upon the fact that its one of the most fun Warriors games to play.

 Best Misc. Game of 2016:
 While I've called this category 'Other' before, I think it's high time I titled it something more fitting... Welcome to the Misc. Game of the Year 2016! This includes both uncategorizable games as well as games from genres that didn't get their own awards

 I don't like Twisted Metal. While they are good multiplayer games, you have to play through the single player modes to unlock racers and what not for Multiplayer.... But this last Twisted Metal game fixed that by having everything unlocked in Local Multiplayer. See? That's a good idea. But I also hate the core mechanics, I hate how much a dogfight can be drawn out since you need to get more ammo. What I mean to say is that I really dislike Twisted Metal, but even then, it's impossibly not to notice how much effort went into making this Twisted Metal a great one.

 It wouldn't be a game made by my Suda 51 if it wasn't weird, and Short Peace - Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day is super weird... and super fun. Basically, it's what Sonic would be if Sonic was actually fun. And I went there. It's all about highspeed platforming, against weird enemies using weird weapons and following an insane story that makes no sense at times. There're also four anime shorts included in case you need a break from all the insanity.

 Probably the best Katamari game ever made... if only Katamari Forever wasn't made up of mostly recycled stuff. Fantastic soundtrack, a nice assortment of extras, down to graphical filters, and the same gameplay that made the franchise so fun. The only thing holding it back is the lack of new stuff, which is something that has held back the series since forever.

 While Stealth games are not in excess, it seems like every single game wants to add stealth sections or mechanics. Most times, these sections suck, and among stealth-based games, few get it right as well as Thief or Metal Gear Solid. Heck, look at Assassin's Creed, games about stealthy assassins, shame stealth is so underdeveloped and unnecessary, except on those boring tailing missions. In comes Dishonored, a brand new IP, focused almost entirely on Stealth. And it's damn fantastic. Not only are the mechanics tight, but there's a wide variety of routes to tackle a mission, as well as approaches(Violent? Stealthy? Mixture?) and a bunch of sidequests to enhance your characters. One game in, and Dishonored already left its mark as a top-notch stealth game.

 Super Mario Bros. 3 is a classic and my personal favorite Super Mario game. Huge variety of levels, both in settings and concepts as well as ingenuity, simple and perfect gameplay mechanics that puts Mario under your exact control. It's a thing of  beauty, a timeless classic that never grows old. Never.

 Best Franchise of 2016:
 This is something that probably won't be repeated any time soon. Turns out that I played a few franchises to completion this year, so I felt like ranking them.

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a rather average showing this year, with a few mediocre games, a few good games, and a single, terrible game. I've had better years with the turtles... but also worse.

 Danganronpa is the newest franchise in this list, but it's also older than you might think, making its first appearance on the PSP. Regardless, I went through all three games and came out entertained. The first game is the best one, even if not by such a wide margin, with Danganronpa 2 coming out second. Danganronpa Another Episode left a bit to be desired, but it was an interesting story and added more depth to the world of Danganronpa.

 Devil May Cry is a franchise that I fell in love with all over again. There's not a single game I didn't like, and while I do admit that DMC 2 is not as good as I once thought, it's also not as bad as people make it out to be. DmC was a pleasant surprise as well, new Dante(Or Donte) was likeable, and in some ways, more heroic than traditional Dante, and you really can't complain about Dante's characterization when he's had a different personality in every single game he's been in. Devil May Cry 4 definitely left something to be desired, since it was SO good in most of the ways that mattered, but fell short in some critical areas... regardless of its faults, its hard not to remember it fondly as well.

 MegaMan friggin' X. Megaman Classic is a really good franchise, a consistent franchise, while Megaman X is less so. While Megaman Classic has more decent games, Megaman X has better games than Classic's best games, but also worse games than Classic's worst. X1 left me marveled, it's probably one of the best games ever made, and its PSP remake is no slouch either, what few points I would deduct from the new redesigned Sigma Stages, I have to grant them back thanks to the all new Vile Mode that grants you an entirely different way to play X1. While I would stay away from X6, be wary of X7, X5 and X8 are decent on their own right, X3 is a bit flawed but still really good and X2 and X4 are fantastic.

 Silent Hill has become one of my favorite videogame franchises of all time, alongside Onimusha. The first four games are amazing, and each has their own different and unique ideas to offer. Silent Hill 1 has the brilliant introduction, as well as setting up the foundation for future games. Silent Hill 2 has its fantastic story and concept, Silent Hill 3 has some phenomenal scares and Silent Hill 4 has its premise. Subsequent games aren't as fantastic, but damn it if they don't have their own stand out elements. Downpour has a brilliant take on Silent Hill, 0rigins took a gamble with the mirror world, Homecoming had some really good ideas and Shattered Memories is its own beast entirely. Book of Memories never happened.

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