The 2016 Player 2 Video Game Draft – Results
At the beginning of the year, a group of Player 2 writers got together to enjoy what sports fans have been enjoying for years, A fantasy draft. This draft, however, was different. It was built around video games and their associated Metacritic scores. Each writer chose five games and a wild card and at the end of the year these games would have their respective Metacritic scores tallied and the writer with the highest total score would be crowned the winner. Well, the time has come to announce the results. Without any further ado check out the final leaderboard for the first ever Player 2 video game draft.
1st Place – Stephen del Prado
What a whirlwind of emotion this draft has been! From the outset, many surmised my selection of titles to be laughable, or more realistically “a bit shit”. Careful sacrifice and prayer to the Game Delay Gods let this dark horse pip everyone at the post, a Steven Bradbury victory that saw me go from last to first place in a very short period. To be quite honest, I was scrambling during the selection process, not having bothered to research planned releases for 2016. Let’s break down my choices one by one, from lowest to highest scoring:
Persona 5 – What a letdown this delay was. Not only did I miss out on playing a fantastic game, I also lost out on some much-needed points that early on left me trailing significantly behind. Some bastard snatched this up in the 2017 draft before I could which I can only assume is some petty form of payback.
NHL 17 – Another disappointment in terms of scoring and probably a bad choice clouded by my own love of Ice Hockey. While I though NHL 16 was a strong return to form after the disaster of NHL 15, apparently even the refinement of the On Ice Trainer – legitimately the best inclusion for any newcomer to a sports game – couldn’t save NHL 17 from disappointed critics.
Unravel – Indie titles are always a risky pick. Whilst AAA is generally easy to gauge where they will fall on the Metacritic spectrum, Indie titles can vary greatly – will it become and Critical Darling That Can Do No Wrong (i.e. Inside) or a Dog’s Breakfast (No Man’s Sky). Unravel, fortunately, fell comfortably in the high 70’s and didn’t take me out of the running. Could I have made a better choice? Probably. Could I have made a worse choice? Mighty No. 9 says yes.
The Last Guardian – Alright, not even I thought this one was coming out. Editor Matt Hewson practically spat his Spiced Rum all over his keyboard at this selection. To make matters worse, how the hell can a game in such an extended development cycle possibly live up to expectations? Somehow, to some people, it did. Thank you Fumito Ueda for not ruining me.
Final Fantasy XV – A complete troll pick, I only chose this to annoy Paul James. I’m actually surprised by the favourable reception, not because FFXV is a bad game (from what I’ve played, it isn’t) but because expectations can cloud judgement and affect scores. Should it have been pushed back to 2017 given the numerous planned changes to the game? Probably. Am I glad it wasn’t? Heck yes.
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine – As with all great wins, mine was achieved on a technicality. As an Expansion Pack which also received a retail release, P2 Editor Matt Hewson granted me this choice and thus sealed his fate and that of all other participants. At 94 on Metacritic, Blood and Wine was the highest scoring title of the whole draft and a fantastic way to wrap up one of the best games of 2015. CD Projekt RED, that cheque I promised is in the mail.
2nd Place – Matt Hewson
So second place hey. Well that’s not too bad really, especially when two of my titles seriously underperformed (Mirror’s Edge and Mafia III) but with my smart choices of the always awesome Deus Ex, The solid if unspectacular Quantum Break the best god damn game of the year bar none X-com 2 I was always going to finish well. What helped, even more, was my pick of NBA 2k17 as a back-up because as any basketball player will tell you the NBA 2k series is a quality proposition every single year. Sadly it wasn’t enough, I thought I was sitting pretty with Stephen relying on The Last Guardian to get home…. Seriously who the hell thought that was actually going to come out at the start of the year. But not only did it come out, but by all accounts it rocked so while I am upset I dropped from first place, I am glad The Last Guardian was a great game upon release.
Oh well, I guess there is 2017, I won’t say much but I am once again confident I will be on the podium. Will it be enough to get that first place….. only time will tell.
3rd Place – James Swinbanks
Third in the draft is probably a little better than expected given the circumstances. One of my games, Crackdown 3, didn’t release at all. Another, No Mans Sky, was easily one of the most divisive releases of the year, which dropped me a few points as well. As it happens, I actually enjoyed my time with NMS, but the subversive nature of its marketing, both from Hello Games and Sony, put it in a position that it was never going to be able to uphold. All in all, though, I’m quite happy with how all my games turned out.
The Division, whilst something that I never actually decided to buy, has seemingly grown into something of value thanks to it’s last few rounds of DLC, which is good given the languid position it was in around release time. Superhot and Firewatch were both excellent games, proving again that independent developers can get a lot done with relatively few resources and a strong belief in what you’re making. FIFA also helped out by being it’s usual, robust self. Though, in my eyes, it is still the inferior football game when compared to its direct competitor.
It’s been a great year for video games, and with that said I can’t be sad with a podium finish. Now to aim even higher for 2017!
4th Place – Paul James
The vast majority of the year I was supremely confident that I was going to walk all over the rest of the P2 team, and with a points average that is greater than eventual winner Stephen by 5.5! I was on track to not only win, but smash everyone… and then Zelda was delayed, and then Horizon followed shortly after, and suddenly it was over for me. With one Wildcard, you can afford for one game to get delayed, but not two, so while I had 4 of the top 7 scores… it didn’t matter. I am however extremely happy to see Stephen won as it meant that both Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian were excellent after years of development hell. Congratulations Stephen, but you and the P2 crew better look out… If all my games can release next year then nothing will get in my way!
5th Place – Sarah Ellen
My 2016 selection was based on a plethora of wish fulfillments, and I paid the price for two of my nominated games missing the 2016 calendar year (hopefully indicative of more polish for next year!), and stupidly put my trust in a Wii U game at a time when the console is on life support. However, I am impressed that my highest-scoring game was not a rerelease and not even on a stationary console – Bravely Second is a smaller JRPG property for the Nintendo 3DS and maintained the quality that we have grown to expect from Square Enix. It goes to show that the handheld market can still produce some viable and quality IP, and that was supported by the success of Hyrule Warrior Legends as well. I congratulate Stephen that he had a similar strategy that actually paid off with Last Guardian, and I don’t even have to be jealous because he didn’t win anything.
6th Place – Adam Rorke
The hardest part about writing this draft is how I can possibly express my disappointment whilst simultaneously not swearing. It’s tough … very tough. But alas, it’s no secret that I am quite down on my overall score, but to be more precious, I’m more down on the picks that lead me to it. Having Cuphead and the new South Park game sidelined until 2017 was less than ideal, but that’s the risk I took, even though I thought Cuphead was a lot closer to release. The game that cannot be forgiven was Mighty No 9. What a cheap nasty title this one turned out to be, I’ve seen games utterly trounce this rubbish with a 1/100th the budget, I bought into the hype and the hype stung me hard.