Over the next ten days, Hardcore Gamer will be revealing our Best of 2016 Awards leading up to Game of the Year. Today we present you with the Best Strategy, Sports, Fighting and Racing Games.
The legendary Civilization series returned with a bang in 2016 with one of its most-revered entries in history. The new city unstacking mechanics allow players to improve their cities in ways that were previously impossible. Map congestion was reduced and allows for a more fluid experience, while an active research system keeps the player at the forefront of in-game technology. Its more dynamic gameplay allows the game’s learning curve to be lessened, and opens the doors to new players in a far more welcoming manner than before. With a wider variety of options available, the game winds up feeling more like your own experience sprung to life instead of an end result of a variety of pre-set paths. Civilization VI’s more user-friendly approach makes it a perfect gateway game and the perfect game for lapsed fans to come back to.
|XCOM 2||Total War: Warhammer||The Banner Saga 2||Fire Emblem Fates|
In a genre where annualized sequels are the norm, doing something different and mixing up the formula that is at the essence of your franchise can be years in the making. This is what makes what EA Canada has done this year with FIFA 17 and specifically its Journey story mode a great achievement and the single most important thing that has elevated the series above its contemporaries. In The Journey, which takes you through the rookie season of Premier League footballer Alex Hunter, the overall narrative and Mass Effect style choices affect how Hunter is perceived by his friends, teammates and coaches and adds tremendous amount of depth to what the new experience has to offer. While the gameplay is just as fast and fluid as previous entries in the series, FIFA 17 story mode and what it means for adding engaging career modes to sports games is what sets it apart, and allows it to move the genre forward as whole.
|Madden NFL 17||PES 2017||MLB: The Show 16||MLB Perfect Inning 16|
Killer Instinct gave the Xbox One a killer app at launch and its third season of content added a lot of characters to the mix. Rash came in from Battletoads, while Arbiter joined the fray from Halo. Gears of War’s General RAAM was added as well, while series veterans Eyedol, Mira, Tusk and Kim Wu were finally added in. This allowed the reboot to finally have a roster that gave it a level of diversity that is largely unmatched on the market. Season 3 was also the first entry playable on PC, and existing Xbox One owners can move their content over seamlessly. With regular tweaks and upgrades making for a smoother experience all the time, Killer Instinct’s third season is its best yet.
|Street Fighter V||Pokkén Tournament||King of Fighters XIV||BlazBlue: Central Fiction|
This isn’t much of a surprise considering 2016 wasn’t the best year for the racing game genre, but don’t let that deter you from Forza Horizon 3. While there were only a couple of competitors, Playground Games was able to create one of the best arcade racing games ever, standing beside masterpieces such as Burnout 3. The colossal world the UK-based studio was able to create is incredibly varied both in design and aesthetics, and the number of vehicles to collect is overwhelming. While it’s not a monumental leap the second game was from the first, Forza Horizon 3 takes the near flawless formula and works around it, creating an absolutely lush world to explore. There’s nothing like hopping in one of your most desired or favorite vehicles, putting on some tunes, and driving across the country with your friends. Even for those who aren’t driving enthusiasts, Forza Horizon 3 has a certain alluring quality that you won’t find anywhere else.
|Redout||TrackMania Turbo||Mantis Burn Racing||SpeedRunners|