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By 8 December 2016 | Categories: news

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With the Game Awards 2016 bestowing its highest honours to Blizzard’s Overwatch, the rest of the year’s top 10 games lists are also starting to emerge. The Guardian has given its nod to Uncharted 4, but also done something different, asking game developers for their pick of the crop. The top five titles that emerged were:

Firewatch (Campo Santo)
Overcooked (Ghost Town Games)
Reigns (Devolver Digital)
Stardew Valley (ConcernedApe)
Inside (Playdead)

The Guardian broke it down into different categories, with the blockbuster titles dominated by Dishonored 2 (review) and the hard-as-hell Dark Souls 3. Karla Zimonja (Fullbright) and Anne Lewis (Bethesda Softworks) both picked Dishonored 2, with Lewis, who actually worked on the title, justifying her pick by stating quite emphatically, “I believe Dishonored 2 takes everything that made the first game great, and perfects it.”

Charlene Putney (Larian Studios) hits the nail on the head with her description of Dark Souls 3: “The sheer euphoria that rushed through my exhausted body when I finally defeated Aldrich propelled me to leap into the air in exultation, shrieking with joy.”

Regarding multiplayer hits, it seems the kitchen chaos of Overcooked pipped Overwatch to pole, never mind what the Game Awards says. Anisa Sanusi (Frontier Developments) believes Overcoocked, “strengthened and destroyed the bonds of friendship,” which is about a good a description as you would come by.

Stardew Valley came out tops in the role-players and roguelikes category, with this charming farming simulator being the work of one man – the hardworking Eric Barone. Rebecca Cordingley (Glumberland) notes, “It’s an amazing achievement to have such a high-quality game where all the code, art, and music was done by a single person.”

Firewatch is the go-to game for developers judging the narrative adventures category, with the title following the strange fortunes of Henry, part of the Shoshone National Forest fire lookout team. Emily Short (Spirit AI) describes Firewatch best when she says, “It’s not precisely a tragedy, but it does explore human flaws and ambiguities in a way that’s rare in video games.”

One of the standout indie titles of the year is Playdead’s Inside, with the beautifully crafted title winning out the judges of the puzzles, platformers and strategy section. Brenda Romero (Romero Games) believes, “It’s a beautiful, deeply atmospheric game that is a genuine work of game design art.” This while Catherine Woolley (The Chinese Room) has the following to say: “You really need to experience it without any prior knowledge of the story to get the full experience and where the game really excels is in its attention to detail.”

As far as smartphone games go, it wasn’t the flashy, big titles that grabbed the attention, rather the low-fidelity, Tinder-like Reigns. “Simple and intuitive gameplay, with a one more go factor,” says Jennifer Schneidereit (Nyamyam Limited) about the game.

We’ll keep you posted during the course of December as more Best of 2016 lists emerge. 

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