It's time once again for the indomitable staff here at Push Square to share their own personal Game of the Year picks. Every year, we herd our writers together and force them to spill their opinions on their five favourite games of the last 12 months. Usually, this involves poking them with a stick until they come clean. Below, you'll find the personal PlayStation picks of the ever-enthusiastic Joey Thurmond.
Fifth Choice: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Bland puzzles and an overemphasis on stealth hurt Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, but there's not much else about it that disappoints. Flawless flow within combat between melee encounters and frenzied platforming make this the most refined distillation of the Uncharted formula, not to mention the reworked shooting controls that are a dream to handle. There's also greater sincerity to the character direction and writing, which demonstrate the developer's increasing maturity to lend more weight to its stories. The gaps between combat scenarios may have also been a bit plodding, but the game never ceased to astonish me with its impeccable motion capture, scale, and graphical fidelity. All in all, Drake's farewell was everything that I expected; a satisfactory farewell to Nathan's antics.
Fourth Choice: Titanfall 2
EA gave the impression it didn't have confidence in Titanfall 2. However, it is to Titanfall as Assassin's Creed II was to its predecessor: a profoundly superior sequel. The multiplayer has better maps, balancing with Titans and Pilots, and a greater selection of weapons, customisation, and Titans to choose from. However, I haven't scratched the multiplayer much. I've completed the pleasantly surprising campaign. While it can't shake off a generic sci-fi feel, the game's beautifully exotic set-pieces, unexpected twists with out-of-the-box level design, and phenomenal action sequences truly immerse you. The gameplay is acutely sharp and smooth from shooting to movement. The more you play it, the better it gets. By the end, I was craving for more of its epic shootouts and Titan brawls. Titanfall 3 can't drop soon enough.
Third Choice: DOOM
There's no first-person shooter more openly self-indulgent than DOOM. Embracing old school principles of speed, no cover, and little to no reloading or ADS, it's all about killing demons as quickly and enjoyably as possible. Glory Kills and a plethora of weapons seal this fantasy with expertly crafted levels that promote constant movement. An increasing array of demonic species fight off repetitiveness to make combat more tough as you progress, which will demand attentiveness that couldn't be more enthralling. It also has a keen self-awareness of its preposterous premise, but treats it with an ironic seriousness that make its backstory and collectible-laden environments worth exploring. The multiplayer and Snapmap modes are imperfect yet solid complements to the substantial campaign, which in itself marks a classy return for classic first-person shooter design.
Second Choice: Hyper Light Drifter
The environments and pixelated art direction of Hyper Light Drifter are awe-inspiring. This bright, post-apocalyptic neon setting makes for one of the most visually striking games this year, which is further enhanced by a phenomenal score by Disasterpiece and excellent 16-bit sound design. The open world (inspired by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past) incites rampant curiosity to explore every nook and cranny in the hopes of deciphering the narrative, which is a bit too vague for its own good. The top-down, action-RPG gameplay is like a speedier Bastion, which is a treat with how tightly it's constructed, building upon itself with new abilities, weapons, and upgrades to obtain that make the fast-paced, close quarters combat a thrill. It's a game dripping with style and spunk that I would live through all over again.
First Choice: Overwatch
Overwatch is one of those rare games that hasn't lost an iota of appeal for me since launch. It has a scintillating, diverse cast of characters with all sorts of memorable designs, personalities, and dialogue. Their abilities and unique roles guarantee that no match ever feels the same with endless team compositions and strategies to practice. Most importantly, Blizzard's admirable commitment to balancing, new characters and maps, and so more illustrate its fervour for expanding the game's universe and content. Overwatch isn't just a near-perfect multiplayer shooter – it has united my friends and I for countless nights of shared laughs, cheers, and exhilaration. Even with nights that end in frustration, I always come back to it because the world could always use more heroes... Besides, someone has to be on the payload.
What do you make of Joey Thurmond's personal picks? Are there any games on this list that would make it into your own top five? Spill your own opinions in the comments section below.