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This week, the annual Top 5 lists.

TranscriptEdit

What a year it's been. Explosive elections, more celebrity deaths than a terrorist bombing at a drug rehab clinic and a slew of game releases that ran the entire spectrum of awful, bland and grudgingly okay. Hence the annual top and bottom five, joined once again, after last year's show-stopping... well... show-prolonging debut by the mediocre five, which to my mind is far more representative of the industry anyway.

You'll find neither Call of Duty nor Battlefield on any of these lists, if only because it's getting too obvious. I could repeat that Call of Duty is crushingly mediocre, but I could more profitably use the time to smack myself on the forehead with the flat edge of a trowel.

5th Goodest Edit

I have a rule to never allow into the top five a sequel that's only good because it's more of a thing I liked before, which is why you'll note a mysterious absence of Dark Souls III on this list. However, I'd hate to miss an opportunity to remind everyone that Dark Souls rules, so I'm giving 5th best spot to Salt and Sanctuary for reminding me of it. It's Dark Souls, but 2D, and therefore much easier to push through a gap under a door.

5th Blandest Edit

On the Bland Games List, meanwhile, more of the same sequels can come in, make themselves at home, settle into their favourite armchair and bore the grandkids to death as much as they want. So step up, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Deus Ex: Human Revolution was Deus Ex, but not as interesting or clever. And the developers of Mankind Divided apparently decided that what was bringing down its predecessor was that too much stuff happened in it.

5th Shitest Edit

I suppose the fact that the very first game I reviewed went straight into the bottom five should have been read as a bad omen for the year, more so than that fucking gorilla anyway. Devil's Third was monumentally stupid and apparently designed by a schizophrenic with vibrators for thumbs, but it shall only skate at the edges of the bottom five for at least being weird enough to briefly distract one from, say, a recent bereavement or loss of limb.

4th Goodest Edit

After Titanfall 1 dared to show its face on the full-price bin with no proper story campaign, the fact that Titanfall 2's story campaign turned out actually surprisingly good somehow becomes all the more damning. Why'd you hide that light under a bushel, Titanfall 1? We've already got clunky multiplayer shooters up the arse, but the pile of decent narrative gameplay experiences barely reaches the ends of our bum hairs.

4th Blandest Edit

Normally the bland games list is a place for the games that pushed no boats out and wallow in the basically functional like a toddler in a fully-loaded nappy, but Quantum Break did innovate by hybridising a game with linear TV show. So not so much pushing the boat out as dragging it up the beach and turning it over to project shitty Syfy Channel originals over the hull. I'd advise Remedy to just make films if that's all they're interested in, but I have a feeling they'd be kind of shit.

4th Shitest Edit

Fourth worst is the first of two entries today that I like to collectively call "Nintendo's prolonged public suicide". But you know, I've slightly mellowed to Metroid Prime: Federation Force of late. They just wanted to try something new, right? Make a game that isn't atmospheric like Metroid Prime, explorative like Metroid Prime or helmed by the strong protagonists of Metroid Prime, but call it Metroid Prime anyway. That's innovative I suppose, in the sense that the atomic bomb had some innovative ideas about civic restructuring.

3rd Goodest Edit

An interesting loophole in my no-lazy-sequels-to-games-I-already-like rule is that it doesn't apply to blatant rip-offs of games I already like, especially if it's a bit better than the game I already like. I'm talking about Stardew Valley. It's all the mind-numbing workaday, let's tentatively call it "fun", of Harvest Moon, but bigger and on Steam. There's never been a better time to stand behind a cow and make highly suspicious thrusting motions.

3rd Blandest Edit

The second Nintendo game on the lists only made it to third blandest, as the worst games list requires that I get at least slightly worked up, and the donut of my interest in Paper Mario games can only get heartlessly stamped on once or twice before all the jam has been squirted out. That's what you are, Paper Mario: Color Splash: you are the last, pathetic dribble that oozes from my once squirty donut.

3rd Shitest Edit

I always thought games lay on a straight line spectrum: good games at the bellend, bad games at the pubes and merely boring games in the veiny shaft. But it turns out sometimes boring can go so far that it comes out from the shaft and curves around to the pubes like a scrotum of ennui. Basically what I'm saying is that The Division is a phenomenally tedious ball sack, so unending and vast that if pressed against the face it could euthanise a vegetative spouse.

2nd Goodest Edit

But let's get away from puerile cock metaphors and discuss a game about waving your long thing around so that it smacks into scantly dressed women. Furi, by no means a huge game, but big enough to do everything it needed to do. Full marks for the quirky and compelling characters, for challenging, varied boss fights and for pragmatically cutting out the usual bullshit that goes in between boss fights. No marks for spelling, though.

2nd Blandest Edit

Sometimes I feel like doing a Top Five Most Ubisoft-y Sandbox Games as well, because if I were less restrained, it and the bland games list might end up interchangeable. But I decided I'd keep to one, and that one is Far Cry Primal, this year's exemplar of Ubisoft sandbox blandness, now that The Division has moved to big leagues. Reveal the terrain, collect bollocks and invade strongholds. Then, for change of pace, invade the terrain, reveal your bollocks and collect someone to hold you strongly.

2nd Shitest Edit

VR is still in its experimental phase, and like CD-ROMs in the 90s, that means breaking new ground in terribleness. And CD-ROMs didn't make you physically ill, unless you wired the spinning mechanism to your chair by mistake. But Batman: Arkham VR is a rare kind of terrible, even disregarding that. Thirty bucks for a Batman experience equivalent to gluing Batman comic panels to your spectacles and locking yourself in a portaloo.

1st Goodest Edit

So let's give Doom the best game trophy and give myself the England Cricket Team Award for totally unsurprising results. But it was a generally shitty year, as George Michael fans will attest. And I'm not as enthused about Doom as I was with Undertale. I couldn't see myself sulkily ending a friendship with someone because they weren't moved to tears when the Doom marine snapped off the Cyberdemon's left horn and shoved it up his Icon of Sin.

1st Blandest Edit

Oh, how the internal debate raged to whether this belonged in the worst or blandest list, but in the end no passionate hatred can be sustained for a game in which you can spend ten minutes pruning a giant pillar of rock with your colourful piss stream and not be entirely sure of how you profited from the venture. No Man's Sky? More like No Game! "That wasn't your strongest attempt at wordplay, Yahtz." No worries, I'll just patch something better in later!

1st Shitest Edit

But it takes something special to top the worst games list. Bugs, bad design and awful story are but single ineptitudes. When the game was obviously a bad idea at the concept stage, its eventual release requires a perfect sequence of bad decisions, or what physicists call a "cockup cascade". Homefront: The Revolution started with the idea of making a sequel to a wish-fulfilment-for-assholes modern shooter, and the resultant cockup cascade was like watching a Chihuahua in a dog wheelchair trying to descend a spiral staircase.

AddendaEdit

  • Survived another year: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Inside didn't make it into any list because unlike The Game Awards I have heard of more than one indie game
  • Place your bets now on the 2017 body count
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time

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