2016 was a great year in gaming following a rather lackluster couple of years. This year we really saw this console cycle come into its own with original content after a few years of non-stop remasters. It made people excited about gaming again. The announcement of the Nintendo Switch only exacerbated this excitement. With so many great titles coming out it is always difficult to narrow a list down, but these are the best games from 2016, our 2016 GOTY.

2016 GOTY — Most Underrated Game: Zero Time Dilemma

Zero Time Dilemma was the final installment in the Zero Escape series, and it included the best puzzles and the best narrative in the series to date. While it may not have been on everybody’s radar, it was one of the best games to come out in 2016 and is more than deserving to be recognized as one of 2016’s GOTY candidates.

2016 GOTY — Most Disappointing: Uncharted 4

Yes, Uncharted 4 has been heralded by some as the second coming. In reality, it’s just an OK game. The narrative is slightly intriguing, but at the end of the day it isn’t a great video game, and that is what matters most in the end. The combat is very robust and it is incredibly repetitive. It is a shame because it had the chance to allow the PlayStation 4 to shine, but instead it fell flat on its face.

2016 GOTY — Best RPG: Pokemon Sun/Moon

Nintendo pulled out all the stops for Pokemon’s 20th anniversary, first with Pokemon GO and then with Pokemon Sun/Moon. Pokemon Sun and Moon saw both a revival and reinvention of the series. The formula was mixed up and created an enjoyable experience for both old players and new. The addictive nature of the gameplay is still there and the abundance of old and new Pokemon present, with a twist, is a nice touch. Pokemon has gone back to its roots in many respects which is why Pokemon Sun/Moon is the best RPG to come out in 2016.

 2016 GOTY: Best Action/Adventure Game: Quantum Break

Many considered Quantum Break to be a disappointment, but it was one of the best games of the year, even if it was overshadowed. The gameplay was a lot of fun and it had a really fascinating story. While there were many other Action/Adventure games out there, Quantum Break was unique and a breath of fresh air. This is why it was the best of its genre in 2016.

2016 GOTY — Best Shooter: Gears of War 4

Gears of War 4 was one of the most anticipated games of the year. The Coalition had some huge shoes to fill in Epic Games’ wake, but they didn’t falter. Gears of War 4 brought something old yet something new in terms of both story and gameplay. The game played great, the story was fantastic but not too heavy, and it was one of the most satisfying experiences of 2016.

2016 GOTY — Best Handheld: Zero Time Dilemma

Zero Time Dilemma was released on the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita. Given the limited amount of resources available for development, it’s astounding the game turned out the way it did. So much has been and will be said about the game, but there is a reason why it was the best handheld title of 2016.

2016 GOTY — Best Multiplayer Experience: Gears of War 4

Gears has become the face of Xbox and while the campaign was fantastic, the multiplayer was just as good. With co-operative multiplayer returning such as the renowned Horde mode being revamped (for the better) as well as competitive multiplayer returning with a few new modes, it’s by far the most satisfying multiplayer experience of the year. Gears multiplayer went back to its roots, which is a good thing. That, coupled with new and old maps alike, make it the best multiplayer experience of 2016.

2016 GOTY — Best Narrative: Zero Time Dilemma

Zero Time Dilemma’s story had a lot to live up to. It had to wrap up a trilogy and multiple plot points in a very story-driven series. It passed with flying colors. The story is the best of the year and arguably one of the best stories in gaming, period. It has a perfect balance of philosophy, science fiction, and most importantly, character development. The characters dominate ZTD and make the game what it is, even with the philosophy and science fictional elements thrown in. No story can succeed without a complex, interesting cast of characters. Zero Time Dilemma has just that and ends the series on a superb note.

2016 GOTY — 2016 Game of the Year: Zero Time Dilemma

There were so many quality games to come out this year. This was not an easy choice, but when it came down to it Zero Time Dilemma was the best game to come out in 2016. It had the perfect balance of gameplay and story. The puzzles in the game are second to none and really make you think. The story tugs at your heart. It is an excellent commentary on the human condition while still maintaining the indentity of a video game, which shows just how far the medium has come, making it 2016’s Game of the Year.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

About The Author

Founder/Editor-in-Chief

Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of VG Culture HQ. He has been writing about games for over four years and has written over 900 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture.

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  • Drew Peacock

    As a zero escape fan and someone who deeply loves the series, let me be the first to tell you that ZTD does not deserve any of these awards. A lot of the points you make here are fallacies. The game has the worst narrative in the entire series. The puzzle design is easily the weakest. And it failed in every aspect of wrapping up the trilogy and plot points. If you even played the entire trilogy then this should be obvious to you. You also failed to mention that most of the characters in ZTD are poorly written and the game has some of the poorest animation I have seen to date and some really REALLY cringy dialogue. Honestly you need to look at the game objectively.

    • Morgan

      I’ve played the trilogy in its entirety. I looked at it objectively; the story was the best of the 3 and the characters were more interesting than 999 or VLR. It wrapped up things just fine; not every little point is going to be addressed, similar to LOST, which I adore. I played the game in Japanese and knew when the subtitles from the localization didn’t match what was being said, so the dialogue wasn’t cringe-worthy to me. I didn’t even expect it to be my goty but the more I thought about it the more convinced I became, and there were a lot of games I enjoyed this year.

      I even had to cut this list down to basic genres so it wouldn’t be too long. I may add one or two games/categories because there are two games that need to be in here. Thanks for your honesty and I appreciate the feedback.

      • Drew Peacock

        Your articles and arguments are garbage. How about instead of telling me that its the best you give me valid reasons as to why it is the best. After reading a few of your articles I can say without a doubt you are just a fanboy who thinks that his opinion is the absolute truth and anyone who says otherwise is wrong. 99% of the ZE fandom will tell you that you are praising the game to highly. It’s flawed.

        • Guillermo Sánchez

          I agree with you, as a follower of the Zero trilogy, the third one is the worst.

      • Did you just say Zero Time Dilemma had the best story of the three?

        Thanks now I know not to listen to any opinion you give on a games story.

        The story is UNFINISHED!!!

        They ran out of funds. The game only even got made because people demanded it. But if you think an unfinished story is better than the one in Last Virtues Reward you are seriously delusional. One teams story just ends abruptly with less than half of their end story explained. That is a third of the characters. There are some brief text scenes after the credits that give a little context but what the hell are you talking about. It’s like you are watching a 10ish hour movie and towards the end an hour is straight up missing then it just ends pretending it answered your questions when it didn’t. It’s not mysterious and left up to interpretation. It is unfinished. How the hell do you not see that?

        It’s still a great game despite this bit it’s the weakest of the three by miles. Last Virtues Reward is one of the best games I have ever played. So is 999 this one just isn’t. It’s a great game but it’s not up to snuff of the other two by a longshot.

  • Murasaki

    I have so many things I disagree with you regarding Zero Time dilemma, it’s hard to even begin with. Since Drew has already mentioned the bad narrative present in it and how characters were poorly written, I’ll just say ZTD can’t be considered an underrated game. Underplayed, perhaps, but underrated, definitely not.

  • Guillermo Sánchez

    How is Uncharted 4 the most disappointing game of the year? how can the combat be very robust and also incredibly repetitive at the same time? You did play the game, right?

    • MercyBuckets

      Because the writer is a complete hack.