We’ve already crowned our mobile and racing games of the year but now it’s time for the big one: your overall favourite game of the year. Last week you voted to whittle down our longlist of the 20 best console and PC games released in 2016, and after some number crunching (as well as a fair bit of hair tearing), we can reveal your top ten. What won out? A sports sim? An indie charmer? A big budget shooter? You’ll just have to hit play on the video above to see, or scroll down for the results in full, as well as our RedBull.com Readers’ Game Of The Year.
10. Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 (3.2 percent of the vote)
The PES/Winning Eleven development team might be fiddling while the rest of Konami burns, but they’re playing a very sweet tune. In just a few short years, they’ve managed to recapture the winning formation PES enjoyed in the mid-2000s, mixing in deep gameplay, smart AI, excellent graphics, and this year, even some actual legit, licensed teams and names. It’s for this reason that Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is the RedBull.com Readers’ sports game of the year; we can’t wait to see what’s in store for PES 2018.
9. Titanfall 2 (4.2 percent of the vote)
The premier parkour and giant robots shoot’em up wall dashes into the top ten. We’ve always loved the concept of Titanfall, but Respawn Entertainment couldn’t quite capture lightning in a bottle the first time around, mainly due to the total lack of a single player campaign and always irritating paid Xbox exclusivity. Thankfully, the studio course corrected for the sequel, which packs one of the very best single player campaigns of any game this year, as well as a whole lot of heart for something about giant mechs blowing each other up. Its awkward release date, sandwiched between Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare mean it was slightly overlooked on shop shelves, but not by you voters. Roll on a third game.
8. Dishonored 2 (5.0 percent of the vote)
Let’s be honest: Dishonored 2’s high rating in our poll isn’t so much testament to the quality of the game (high) as it is the quality of one particular level: the Clockwork Mansion (beyond sublime). The fourth mission in Arkane Studios’ first person stealth game is a classic example of great level design, with multiple routes to the same goal – kill or lobotomise a mad inventor – in a constantly shifting environment patrolled by terrifyingly polite but equally vigilant clockwork soldiers. (Unless of course you just shoot the glass out of the ceiling at the start of the mission and run through the back corridors and bypass them all. Whoops.)
7. Street Fighter V (5.6 percent of the vote)
Capcom’s latest beat’em up promised a total overhaul of the Street Fighter 4 paradigm that has lasted an entire console generation, but proved something of a disappointment when it launched early on in the year due to some key features that were entirely absent. No Arcade Mode? Madness. Thankfully Ono-san has made good on his pledge to keep iterating on the game, and it’s since evolved into the fully (bruised) fleshed game we were hoping for, complete with new characters and a competitive pro scene.
6. Doom (6.4 percent of the vote)
Bethesda’s second entry in our top 10 is perhaps the most surprising game on this list – at least if you were to look at it through a portal from 2015. Doom 3 was mediocre at best, so expectations weren’t high for another reboot more than a decade on. Lo and behold though, the 2016 Doom is a glorious throwback, with a fittingly silly story about Hell invading Mars, demons to frag and spattering viscera absolutely everywhere. Can we have a new single player Quake next please?
5. Firewatch (7.2 percent of the vote)
The only indie game to make your top ten, Firewatch is a very different experience to the bloody, bombastic, frenetic games that fill out the rest of the Game of the Year shortlist. This short, meditative and bittersweet story about a grieving husband coping with his guilt while unravelling the mystery of a missing child in a US national park, ends almost as soon as it begins, but still manages to leave a lasting impression, as the vote makes clear. Congratulations, Campo Santo; what could have been Just Another Walking Simulator is RedBull.com Readers’ indie game of the year.
4. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (7.5 percent of the vote)
Adam Jensen stealths his way into the number four spot in our poll for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. It’s been a solid year all round for Square Enix: Hitman, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy XV have all been rock solid, but it’s Eidos Montreal’s latest Choose Your Own Adventure game that makes it into the Top 10 in our poll. Much like Dishonored 2 (which also made the shortlist), you can chart your own route through each level, taking a stealthy or gung-ho violent route. Unlike Dishonored 2, there’s actually an interesting story as well – about the delicate ethics of a cyborg future – making this your third favourite single player game of 2016.
3. Overwatch (10.7 percent of the vote)
Blizzard’s big new franchise turned out to be everything we were hoping for and more, an accessible game that took all the fun of class-based team shooters and threw out all the needless complications. It’s consumed our free time, it’s spawned countless memes (ah, Play of the Game) and developed a devout fan community thanks to Blizzard’s tactic of drip feeding new levels and new videos revealing characters’ back stories. It’s also rapidly becoming one of the most interesting new eSports out there, with Blizzard recently announcing plans to set up an official league for pro players. Overwatch may not have won the overall prize, but it’s still the RedBull.com Readers’ Multiplayer Game Of The Year. Kudos.
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (11.1 percent of the vote)
Though developer Naughty Dog’s calibre has never been in doubt, there were still a few question marks around Nathan Drake’s final outing before release back in spring. The game had been delayed multiple times, and more crucially, Naughty Dog’s own The Last Of Us showed that maybe gamers were over mindlessly gunning down hordes of idiot hostiles – they want a story that better justifies you playing a really chipper serial killer. Uncharted 4 doesn’t quite address that jarring juxtaposition of banter and automatic weapons, but the game is so good otherwise that it doesn’t matter. It’s the best looking PS4 game yet, the puzzles are solid and the set pieces thrilling – and that ending. A sublime swan song.
1. Dark Souls 3 (18.4 percent of the vote)
Crushing the competition underfoot like Champion Gundyr stepping on human bubble wrap, it’s FromSoftware’s magnum opus. That a game launched early on in the year has fought off all comers for your attention for almost twelve months is impressive enough; that it’s an unforgiving game that doesn’t so much hold your hand as cut it off and pour salt in the gaping wound for having the insolence to ask for help is all the more so.
Starting out as nothing more than a cult hit with Demon’s Souls back in the early days of the PS3, the Souls series has evolved into a mega-selling franchise, and with it, so have gamers: we don’t need reams of exposition and heavy clue dropping to get our kicks anymore. And definitely not an Easy Mode. All we need is a gripping combat system and the sense that we’re progressing as players, level stats be damned. Clearly enough of you relish the challenge of stumbling blindly about in a beautiful nightmare only Hidetaka Miyazaki could conjure up, hacking wildly at titanic bosses until you’re instantly smited and have to start all over again, to make it the clear winner in our poll. Congratulations, Miyazaki and co: Dark Souls 3 is the official RedBull.com Readers’ Game of the Year 2016.
RIP all the gamepads that gave their lives so that you could live.