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The Best Video Game Surprises of 2016

12/20/16
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the world of video games will surprise you in the best possible way. This year had even more great surprises than usual.

As has become an annual tradition here at Kotaku, we’ve made a list of the best surprises of 2016. (For a good time, read back over the lists from 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.) As with those years, I polled our staff to come up with a bunch of the wildest, weirdest, and best surprises of the year. And as with past years, we’ve also shared our list of 2016’s biggest disappointments.
The Biggest Video Game Disappointments Of 2016

There are always a few long-suffering games that everyone jokes about never coming out. Duke Nukem Forever, Half-Life 3, Beyond Good & Evil 2, and so on. This year, not one but three of those games actually came out. Final Fantasy XV, née Final Fantasy Versus XIII, actually came out. Doom 4, rechristened as Doom, actually came out. Last but not least, The Last Guardian actually came out. Best of all, the quality on those games ranges from pretty good to flat-out fantastic. Turns out they were right about good things and those who wait.
Instead of being bad, Doom is good.

Actually, let’s highlight Doom from that previous entry. While we were surprised enough that it was actually coming out, all signs were pointing to this game being a dud. The development had been famously rocky. The big names behind the series had left the studio. The early trailers were corny. The meathead vibe was already wearing thin. No one got an advance review copy. We were worried. Then we played it, and fast realized that it was one of the most immediately fun, best designed first-person shooters of the last several years. It’s exhilirating, it’s smart, and crucially, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It captures the enemy-centric combat fundamentals established by the original game while using health-replenishing melee attacks to encourage aggressive play. The competitive multiplayer will never be quite what I’d hoped it would be, and it’s a shame that it doesn’t support proper modding on PC. All the same, we’ll be playing this game for years to come, and that’s not something we ever thought we’d say.

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