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Opinion

Game Of The Year 2016 - Best Action Adventure

Around the world in 80 plays.

The Action Adventure genre is a bit of a go-to grab bag, these days. They can be broad open world games or feature hours of shooting your way through enemies on a linear path, they can give you the most cursory of motivations or develop characters with real depth.

One thing’s for certain, that PlayStation fans have had it good for the past twelve months, with three of the five games on our list for Best Action Adventure being PS4 exclusives.


Hitman

Square Enix bagged a spot on our shortlist with its bold new take on Hitman, immersing players in a wondrous world of assassination. It’s fair to say that, coming out of the blocks, Io Interactive had the odds stacked against them. Despite proffering some interesting ideas, Hitman: Absolution wasn’t a particularly memorable outing for Agent 47 and there were also concerns that the reboot would also be fumble when trying to nail the episodic format.

Instead Hitman flourished, as if finally realising its full potential. Each episode became its own miniature event with just enough time in between for players to peel pack the layers and uncover their secrets. Like several of our favourite games from 2016, Hitman is more of an expandable platform rather than simply being a boxed product and one Io has already committed to supporting in 2017.

Watch Dogs 2

You might think someone had lost their mind for speaking highly of Watch Dogs 2. The first game made a lot of promises and delivered on few of them, resulting in an engaging, if generic and rather lifeless, adventure experience. It would be easy to expect a sequel to follow in those footstep, but boy, oh boy does Watch Dogs 2 manage to subvert that expectation.

Everything you had hoped would be in the first game, actually is in the second. Much deeper and flexible hacking of phones, security systems and vehicles brings a whole world of strategy and engagement that we haven’t seen in any other open world game. Even better, this game feels so separated from the usual Ubisoft open-world formula, with a lack of mandatory tower captures and a variety of unique side activities. It’s the game that keeps on giving, and after such a stellar performance, it’s a franchise that absolutely deserves to stick around.

Miguel

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Uncharted has always built itself around three core pillars, two of those being action and adventure. It’s the video game equivalent of a blockbuster movie franchise and was one of the first to utilise performance techniques that are now commonplace throughout the industry.

Uncharted 4 feels like a culmination of all that hard work, with Naughty Dog closing the book on a decade long journey – not just for them, but one of gaming’s most beloved group of characters. Sure, the team over indulge in some parts, though this does little to diminish the balance between exploration and heart-pounding action.

Delivering set piece after set piece, it’s the quintessential game to whip out when in the company of lapsed or non-gamers. There’s a certain joy in playing a sequence in such a way that they may as well be watching a movie.

The Last Guardian

After being stuck in limbo for years, The Last Guardian arrived only earlier this month, snatching a top spot with its feathered, paw-like talons. Remnants of its earlier PlayStation 3 build give it some rough edges, though these do little to diminish Fumito Ueda’s vision.

This is a vague, yet enchanting tale of a boy and his beast that unspools through the heart-warming interactions between its lead “characters”. While many have criticised Trico’s cumbersome response to players’ commands, they’d be fooling themselves in thinking that wasn’t a deliberate design choice. It’s risky choices like these that make The Last Guardian stand out among the heavily focus-tested games some publishers foist us with on annual basis.


2016’s winner of Best Action Adventure is:

Runners up in alphabetical order:

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Hitman
  • Ratchet & Clank
  • The Last Guardian
  • Watch Dogs 2
15 Comments
  1. tactical20
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    Uncharted 4 is a deserved winner. I wonder how many reviewers who rave about Watch Dogs 2 actually played it to the end? Because imo it got really boring and repetitive and the characters/story was terrible. It was barely any better than the first.

    Comment posted on 30/12/2016 at 16:14.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      Miguel played it through to the end.

      Comment posted on 30/12/2016 at 16:58.
      • JR.
        Member
        Since: Apr 2013

        Yes but did he complete every side mission, take all 57 ScoutX pictures on his phone, buy all vehicles and achieve the platinum on four separate PlayStation accounts? I think not.

        :D

        Comment posted on 30/12/2016 at 17:10.
      • Stefan L
        Community Team
        Since: May 2009

        I’d have to check with him, but he really did like it… so, maybe?

        Comment posted on 30/12/2016 at 18:24.
    • Jim Hargreaves
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      I’m loving it myself but I’m only halfway through I reckon. Need to crack on, really.

      Comment posted on 30/12/2016 at 17:09.
  2. ron_mcphatty
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    Good choice! It was bloody good. I’ll have to pick up Watch Dogs 2 at some point, I quite liked the first.

    Comment posted on 30/12/2016 at 19:15.
  3. Tony Cawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    Worthy winner, Deus Ex also a worthy runner up. 2 really enjoyable games right there.

    Comment posted on 30/12/2016 at 20:03.
    • Mick939
      Member
      Since: Forever

      Yeah a real suprise deus ex, loved it

      Comment posted on 31/12/2016 at 06:22.
  4. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    I quite enjoyed the original Watch Dogs. Haven’t broke the seal on WD2 yet but looking forward to it, especially if it’s more like the game that the original was supposed to be.
    Uncharted 4 was just stunning, not just visually but i also love how they tied up Drakes story, the ending could not have been more perfect.

    I’ll have to check out Deus Ex at some point but was put off by the previous game, and i will also pick up The Last Guardian – but i waited long enough for it so now they can wait for me to find time in my gaming schedule ;)

    Comment posted on 31/12/2016 at 11:57.
  5. JustTaylorNow
    Member
    Since: Oct 2011

    Xbox was very overlooked this year from these list, you would think it’s a ‘biased’ site lol

    Comment posted on 31/12/2016 at 23:33.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      Xbox One had a pretty good year, but there honestly weren’t a huge number of exclusives, partly because Halo Wars 2, Scalebound and Crackdown 3 were all delayed until 2017. Of those exclusives that did come out, Forza Horizon 3 was the one that really stood out for us, and so it rightly won Best Racing Game.

      Comment posted on 01/01/2017 at 13:23.
      • Avenger
        Member
        Since: Oct 2012

        Gears 4, DR4, Quantum Break, We Happy Few, Everspace, FH3. Quite a few, and I have to say barely mention of them. It’s inevitable if there aren’t many TSA staff playing those games, and this is a PlayStation site, but it’s hardly reasonable to put it down to lack of games. Barely heard anything of Nintendo or Mobile gaming either to be fair, or PC. It’s how it goes.

        Comment posted on 01/01/2017 at 17:54.
      • aerobes
        Member
        Since: Aug 2009

        I often wish I’d never sold my Xbox 1 because they do have awesome exclusives. This site being traditionally PlayStation oriented is just a user base trade off so unfortunately doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

        Comment posted on 01/01/2017 at 18:01.
      • Stefan L
        Community Team
        Since: May 2009

        That’s why we turned to having each of us advocate for the games we think were best in each category – none of us have played all of the games on these lists, after all. Those of us who have played Gears 4, Quantum Break, Dead Rising 4 etc. etc. felt they were overshadowed by other games, whether first party, exclusives, or whatever.

        Same goes for Nintendo and PC – a number of 3DS games got into Best RPG, though – but I would agree that mobile gaming was probably a bit marginalised.

        We Happy Few and Everspace are both in Early Access, it should be said, and shouldn’t be on a potential GOTY list until they’ve reached final release.

        Comment posted on 01/01/2017 at 23:55.
  6. aerobes
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    For a genre that was once the staple diet of gamers it’s a little thin these days, albeit high on quality. That’s what diversification gets you I suppose.

    Nevertheless I’d say U4 is a worthy winner. I felt it was a little soulless mechanically but my goodness it’s a beautiful title and a charming tale to boot. I especially enjoyed the Jeep driving sections.

    Comment posted on 01/01/2017 at 11:21.

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