Robert Steinman's Awards

4) Fallout 4
Fallout 4 is the continuation of the Bethesda RPG. You get this massive world to explore, tons of quests and people to meet, and an unbridled sense of freedom. It's worth playing Fallout 4 just to enjoy the fantastic art design. Seriously, I could live in this 1950s interpretation of the future forever. The formula may be getting a little stale at this point (see below), but it's hard to argue with a game that offers so many different types of experiences and unique encounters.

3) Until Dawn
Until Dawn was probably the best video game experience I've ever had with my wife. We spent three nights huddled together with the lights off, yelling and screaming at each other to make snap decisions to try and keep all of those horny teenagers alive (God, I feel so old right now). Until Dawn managed to tell an interesting story and keep players guessing, and I still maintain it's delivering on a promise David Cage has yet to meet.

2) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Man, CD Projekt nailed it. After two games that I enjoyed but didn't quite love, Witcher 3 came along and absolutely absorbed me. I ended up roaming the countryside with Geralt for almost the entire summer, discovering new places and people while trying to solve all of the world's problems. It's a testament to the writing and world building that most quests don't offer that much in terms of tangible "video game" rewards, but still manage to feel completely fulfilling all the same.

1) Bloodborne
I know, I know. I'm the Souls Guy on staff, so this probably shouldn't shock anyone. But here's the thing; Bloodborne is, in my opinion, the best game From Software has ever made. It takes the visceral and measured combat of the Souls series and cranks it up to eleven with fantastic weapon design and some of the most interesting monsters/creatures I've ever seen. The environmental storytelling is also leagues ahead of anything done in Demon's or Dark Souls, inviting players to discover new theories and relationships that weren't quite there before (especially with the additions made in The Old Hunters DLC). Every encounter in Bloodborne is a struggle, and I can't stay away from the cooperative online play for more than a few days before I need a quick fix. It's an intoxicating feeling to bring down some of the more impressive foes, and I'll remember the horrors of Yharnam for years to come.

Most Anticipated Game of 2016

Zero Time Dilemma
It's hard to believe that we're going to get the conclusion to the Zero Escape trilogy, but thankfully there is a God and we're going to be graced with its presence in just a few months. I don't need to explain to fans how many questions and theories are running through my head right now. Do yourself a favor and pick up the previous games if you have any interest in quality storytelling that can only be done in a video game.

Biggest Disappointment of 2015

Fallout 4
Fallout 4 isn't a bad game, but it's not what I want from Fallout. Gone are the monumental choices and world changing events, replaced with "chosen one" storylines and people who can't solve their own problems. You're the literal center of the universe and the wasteland waits for you. Fallout 4 takes The Elder Scrolls approach and wants you to see everything it has to offer instead of trusting you to find it on your own. Hell, you get a set of power armor at the very start of the game just so you don't miss it. There are systems and ideas here that will keep players occupied for months, but I would have rather had a game that forced me to make tough decisions and live with the consequences. I wanted to be a cog in the machine instead of the clockmaker.

Best Game I Finally Decided to Finish

South Park: The Stick of Truth
I don't know what distracted me last year when I tried to play The Stick of Truth, but it was over a year later that I finally decided to finish this absolute masterpiece. This is probably the most faithful and heartfelt love letter fans could have ever wanted, and it features the best South Park writing in nearly a decade. It's like Matt Stone and Trey Parker saved up several seasons of storylines and unleashed them on an unsuspecting audience. I can only hope the next game features more of the same (and doesn't take quite so long to get here).