Circling Forward 11-29-16: The One Before The Game Awards

You might remember that last week, I mentioned that I would be posting a first impressions piece on Pokemon Sun and Moon. Well, I ran into one little problem with that. I kept playing the game instead of writing about it. I’m now just about twenty hours into the game and have beaten three out of the four kahunas. At this point, “first impressions” doesn’t really make any sense, so I’ve decided instead to wait until I’ve beaten the game and post a full review. Sorry about the wait for Pokemon content, but it’ll be a better read this way, I think.Other than Pokemon, I haven’t really played anything this week. Pretty soon, I’ll be able to talk about Final Fantasy XV. At the time that I’m writing this, my local GameStop is about two hours away from opening, and then I can get to that. So for this week, I thought I would write about something else entirely. This Thursday is the Game Awards, and I thought it would be fun to go over the nominees, predict who I think will win as well as who I actually want to win. So, let’s get to it.

Game Of The Year

The games up for Game of the Year are Doom, Inside, Overwatch, Titanfall 2, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. I’m fairly certain that Overwatch is going to win. I’ve seen nothing but overwhelming enthusiasm for that game, and it’s still getting played but tons of people. Personally, I’m rooting for Doom, but I might be a little biased. As it turns out, Doom is the only game on this list that I’ve actually played. Not that I didn’t want to play the others, but I’m not made of money, don’t really like multiplayer-only games, and don’t own a PlayStation 4. But even so, I feel more strongly about Doom than I do any other game this year, unless Final Fantasy XV blows me away. I guess we’ll find out soon.

Best Studio/Game Direction

The nominees for this category are Blizzard, Dice, id Software, Naughty Dog, and Respawn. This seems like basically the same list as Game of the Year, except that instead of including Inside’s Playdead, they went with Battlefield 1’s Dice. Well, once again I’m going to go with the exact same prediction. Blizzard will win this one, but I’d like to see it go to id.

Best Narrative

This is going to be a weird one, as I’ve played none of the games on this list. The games are Firewatch, Inside, Mafia III, Oxenfree, and Uncharted 4. Based on reviews and podcasts and everything else, I think this one is going to be a fight between Firewatch and Inside. My bet is with Firewatch, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it went the other way. As for who I want to win? It’s hard to say when I haven’t played any of these, but I guess I’ll say Uncharted? I really like the first three games, so sure, I guess.

Best Art Direction

Man, did I play anything this year? Once again, I haven’t played any of the games on this list. Those are Abzu, Firewatch, Inside, Overwatch, and Uncharted 4. I think it’s going to go to Inside. Although I’ve never played it, I have seen a let’s play of Inside, and the art is phenomenal. I didn’t like Playdead’s previous game, Limbo, which is what prevented me from picking up Inside, and from I can tell, I would feel the same about this game. But, it looks incredible, especially towards the end of the game. So yeah, that’s my bet and my choice.

Best Music/Sound Design

When I decided to do this list, I really didn’t expect to have played so few of these games. This time, the nominees are Battlefield 1, Doom, Inside, Rez Infinite, and Thumper. I think it’s going to end up going to Thumper, but I could easily see it going to Rez Infinite as well. Both games use their music to completely immerse the player in ways that few other games do. I think Thumper has the edge, do to it being a true rhythm game, thus the music is completely vital to the experience.  I’d like to see Doom win though. The music and sound effects in Doom are incredible and really fit the action of that game.

Best Performance

Hey, another list of games I haven’t played. The nominees are Alex Hernandez in Mafia III, Cissy Jones in Firewatch, Emily Rose in Uncharted 4, Nolan North in Uncharted 4, Rich Sommer in Firewatch, and Troy Baker in Uncharted 4. Six nominees? That’s cheating, Game Awards. I’ve heard lots of great things about Alex Hernandez’s performance, so that’s going to be my bet. As for who I want, I don’t know, Nolan North? I like that guy’s previous work, so sure.

Games For Impact

This going to sound like some kind of running joke, but I totally haven’t played any of these games. Honestly, I’ve only even heard of one of them, which is weird for me. Those games are 1979 Revolution, Block’hood, Orwell, Sea Hero Quest, and That Dragon Cancer. I’m going to go with That Dragon Cancer because I know what that game is. That’s both my bet and my choice.

Best Independent Game

I bet you know how I’m going to start this section. I haven’t played these games! This time, those games are Firewatch, Hyper Light Drifter, Inside, Stardew Valley, and the Witness. I think it’s going to go to the Witness. The game was all anyone was talking about when it released, and the way people were describing it made it seem like it had transcended what it meant to be a game, as silly as that sounds. From what I’ve seen of footage of these games, I’m going to go with Stardew Valley. It’s the one that seems to fit my tastes the most.

Best Mobile/Handheld Game

I really hate that mobile games and handheld games get lumped into the same category. The nominees are, Clash Royale, Fire Emblem Fates, Monster Hunter Generations, Pokemon Go, and Severed. Hey, I’ve actually played one of those! If this was an award for biggest impact, it would have to go to Pokemon Go, but I think it’s going to go to Fire Emblem Fates. People really like Fire Emblem, and for good reason. Despite not playing it, I want to see Monster Hunter win. I love the Monster Hunter games, and just didn’t get around to picking up this one.

Best VR Game

Nope, I didn’t play any of these. I don’t even own a VR device. But, the nominees are, Batman: Arkham VR, Eve Valkyrie, Job Simulator, Rez Infinite, and Thumper. I think it’s going to go to Job Simulator. Most people seem to point to that game when discussing what games to play to get the most out of VR. I don’t have a pony in this race, so I’ll make that both my bet and choice.

Best Action Game

I really should have made this just predictions, since I really didn’t play hardly any of these games. For this category, the nominees are Battlefield 1, Doom, Gears of War 4, Overwatch, and Titanfall 2. This might seem weird, since I said that Overwatch would beat Doom for Game of the Year, but I think as a pure action game, people will agree that Doom should take it. That’s also my choice, because of course it is. You should really play Doom.

Best Action/Adventure Game

Genres are weird. The nominees this time are Dishonored 2, Hitman, Hyper Light Drifter, Ratchet and Clank, and Uncharted 4. Guess what? I’ve played none of these. I think it’s going to go to either Hitman or Uncharted 4, and I’m kind of leaning towards Uncharted. That game left a huge impact on players and was the first time that I genuinely felt bad that I didn’t own a PS4. My choice is with Hitman however, simply because of how much fun I’ve had watching the guys at Giant Bomb play it.

Best Role Playing Game

I’ve played one of these! Weirdly, that game won’t end up on my personal game of the year list, because it actually came out last year. The nominees are Dark Souls 3, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt-Blood and Wine, World of Warcraft: Legion, and Xenoblade Chronicles X. I could see this going to the Witcher 3 DLC, but I feel like because it’s DLC, it’s going to go to Dark Souls 3. I want to see it go to Xenoblade though, as that game has become one of my all-time favorites.

Best Fighting Game

I’ve kind of played one of these ones. The nominees are Killer Instinct Season 3, King of Fighters XIV, Pokken Tournament, and Street Fighter V. I don’t think Pokken or Street Fighter have a chance. Pokken was largely ignored by most outlets, and just about everyone was disappointed with Street Fighter V. So, I guess I’m going to bet on King of Fighters. My choice will be Killer Instinct, because I played the first season and really enjoyed it. See? I kind of played one!

Best Family Game

As a huge Nintendo fan, there’s usually games that I like a whole lot that end up in this list. This time though, I’ve only played one and don’t have particularly strong feelings for it. The games are, Dragon Quest Builders, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Pokemon Go, Ratchet and Clank, and Skylanders: Imaginators. I think it’ll go to Dragon Quest Builders, just because I’ve heard more positive buzz about that game than any of the others on the list. I guess I’ll go with Pokemon Go for my choice. At least I’ve played it, and while I think it’s a pretty lackluster game, there’s a good social experience to be had with it.

Best Strategy Game

While I haven’t played any of the games on this list, I actually have one of them due to it being offered as a free game with Xbox Live Gold. The list is Civilization VI, Fire Emblem Fates, The Banner Saga 2, Total War: Warhammer, and Xcom 2. I feel like I heard the most about Civ VI, so that’s what I think will win. I’m going to root for Fire Emblem however, just because it’s a Nintendo game and they don’t have a lot of nominees this year. That’s as good a reason as any, right?

Best Sports/Racing Game

Haven’t played any of these, but for once that’s not really a surprise. The nominees are FIFA 17, Forza Horizon 3, MLB The Show 16, NBA 2K17, and Pro Evolution Soccor 2017. Whoa, a Konami game! Both my bet and my choice go to Forza Horizon 3. Reviewers really seemed to like it, and out of this list, it’s the one that I think I might enjoy playing.

Best Multiplayer Game

The final category, and once again, I haven’t played any of these. The nominees are Battlefield 1, Gears of War 4, Overcooked, Overwatch, Rainbow Six Seige, and Titanfall 2. That’s six nominees again! I’m certain that Overwatch will win, it’s the multiplayer game that kind of defined this year for most people. I want to see Titanfall win, however, because I like the first one a lot.

So, those are my predictions. Man, I really didn’t realize that I hadn’t played so many of the most acclaimed games this year. My personal top ten should be pretty interesting as a result. So, what games do you think will win? What games should be nominated that weren’t? Personally, I think Pocket Card Jockey should have made it into best mobile/handheld, but oh well.

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