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Game of the Year 2016 (Reader-voted)

Awards Winner
Let's be honest: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End always looked like it was going to be spectacular, and sure enough, it's the best game we played all year – and one of the best we've ever played. Naughty Dog is a master of its craft, as The Last of Us also proved, and Uncharted 4 sees the studio take the already-smashing series formula and elevate it for Nathan Drake's supposed goodbye tour. Drake's skill set has been expanded without overburdening players, the action-packed set pieces are even more phenomenally jaw-dropping than before, and the graphics are expectedly incredible. And even the smallest moments, the quiet interactions between Drake and his wife or brother, are the most natural we've ever seen in a game. It's a virtuoso creation, top to bottom, and one that should singlehandedly put a PS4 (or PS4 Pro) in any living room that doesn't already have one.

The runners up

Gaming's greatest cyberpunk world expands in Mankind Divided, which sends its augmented, super-powered hero through a meatier tale and offers even more choice and variety.

It's 1993 all over again, but in a very good (and violent) way. Doom recaptures what made the original FPS classic so great, piling on heart-pumping action and frantic gunplay at every turn.

The best open-world racer is even better in Forza Horizon 3, which shifts down to Australia for a raucous romp filled with loads of events, more off-road antics, and effortless online match-ups.

Episodic proves a nice fit for gaming's favourite bald assassin, offering a variety of sandbox settings in which to plot and execute epic kills. Agent 47's exploits benefit from this slick reboot.

Inside

The infinite universe of No Man’s Sky might’ve grabbed all the headlines but it turns out the most affecting gaming experience of the year took place in just one tiny part of a dark and dangerous world.

No Man's Sky might be this year's most divisive game, but it's one filled with small wonders. The vast universe can be cold and quiet at times, but the sense of exploration is unparalleled.

Blizzard, of all studios, made a first-person shooter – and it's absolutely brilliant. The vivid, team action features a dazzlingly diverse cast with amazing abilities. We'll surely be playing for years to come.

The Division essentially reworks Destiny's shooter-meets-RPG design into a military setting across a post-outbreak New York City. It's incredibly engrossing and fun, plus totally stunning.

XCOM 2 builds upon the brilliant Enemy Unknown, amping up the action while bringing in more tactical variety and unique maps. Can you repel the alien occupiers? Now's the time to find out.