Every year there are games we play that have all the components of greatness, but stumble in ways that are unforgivable. An amazing action adventure ruined by unforgivable loading times, a puzzle platformer ruined by broken AI, or even a puzzle so poorly thought out it hinders progression.
With the Best Almost Amazing Game That Fell Apart of 2016 Award, we wanted to celebrate the game this year that, if one day fixed to repair its glaring issues, could go down in history as a masterpiece. It just has to overcome a series of seemingly baked-in design decisions that stopped us praising it in our review.
This is an award for mediocre or shitty games in which greatness was within reach.
Honourable Mention – ReCore
ReCore was a fantastic concept for a game which probably could have supported a two to three-hour long gameplay experience, rather than the eight hours it was dragged out to. Fetch quests and repetitive combat scenarios were used to pad out the experience so that, rather than being a brief but powerful experience, it often felt drawn out beyond its own means.
Also, the game suffered unforgivably long multiple-minute loading times at release, as well as frequent bugs that could render sections of the game unplayable.
ReCore had some great ideas, and load times have been marginally improved since launch, but I really wish I could go and play a three-hour long polished director’s cut of the game rather than the finished product we received.
Winner – The Last Guardian
I went into The Last Guardian desperate to love it. As a fan of Team Ico’s previous works I went in willing to forgive a few small issues as the product of the nightmare hellscape that was its development timeline.
I was not willing to put up with a fucking key component of the game, my bird dog companion, just straight up ignoring my commands.
I was not willing to put up with interactivity signposting so poor I numerous times fell to my death because a vine texture was not intractable at that specific time, unlike the other times I had seen that texture and climbed on it just fine.
I was not willing to put up with bugs, glitches, sluggish movement, poor AI and poor signposting all together.
And it’s a real fucking shame, because the character development, overall plot and emotional growth arc in this game are mesmerising. I love The Last Guardian. I know a year from now I’m going to want to replay that game. I know I won’t actually want to play it. A year from now I will likely be rewatching the game as a YouTube video, in spite of digitally owning it. I want to experience this game again without having to actually play it.
The Last Guardian is our winner for Best Almost Amazing Game That Fell Apart of 2016.