Anyone who managed to make it through this year has likely been surprised once or twice by how things have turned out , I don't just mean videogames when I say that. Speaking of surprises , this blog isn't one of them it just happens to be that time of the year again. So here I am to give you some brief thoughts on most of what I played in 2016. I found myself playing alot of multiplayer this year , I covered my MP expereinces for earlier in the year in a seperate blog post (this one) so thats trimmed alot of text off this.
I decided to make some changes to my template in the interest of time , I won't be splitting pc and console games instead I will just go by the order I played (as far as I can recall anyway). Additionally , I'm no longer adding in exact MP porgression details and thats because I can't be bothered to keep track of my exact stats anymore ( there are some exceptions).
Gods will be watching
As far as game genres go this one is not my typical comfort zone , after beating the first level back in 2014 it kinda just sat there in my steam library for 2 years. After restarting and finishing this I must say I wish played more back when I actually bought it. One steam user described this game as an " algorithem finding simulator" , I would just say this is a point and click adventure puzzler. What sets GWBW apart is its unapoligetic default story mode , a well composed soundtrack and how the developers tell a deep story despite their choice of graphics. I have not played the DLC for this (nor do I intend to) since I quite content with what I played but its a nice thing to have should I ever decide to return.
Opinion: When you have to get a pencil and paper you know things are serious.
Perfect dark: Zero (Xbox 360)
When I decided I wanted to play the origianl perfect dark I figured I would get the prequel game out of the way , the journos who praised PDZ decided that they now don't like it so thats really great for the people who bought the game when it came out based on journo reviews. PDZ is definatly a shooter from a different time for a different audience , levels have different areas along with multiple ways of accomplishing objectives. I honestly wish this game was ran at 60 frames since this is one of those games where performance can actually have an effect on gameplay. The nightclub level (the first real level) on perfect agent difficulity is a great way to know if your prepared for the rest of the game , I think people who have played it will understand what I mean.
Opinion: Drop...Dr--opp..Drop that beat.
Dark souls (PC Version)
I don't think there is much I can say about dark souls at this point , people have likely written multiple pages worth of what they think about it or made hours worth of videos. I can't recall the reason I decided to play this to finish but it was probably because of dark souls 3 ( which I have not yet bought or played) . I would say dark souls has caught on because it managed to translate the platforming and exploration elements from older 2d games to 3d perfectly , 3d platformers came out before dark souls for sure but dark souls seems to be closer to older 2d platformers. The sense of exploration and frustration that I felt from playing 2d platformers seems to be very much present in dark souls.
I would also say that this franchise has probably benefitted by turning the tables on an older generation of players that feel as if theive seen it all , dark souls will screw them over in an unpredicatable and unapolagetic manor. For people have yet to play this my advice would be just don't take it seriously at all , don't hang on every death and just keep on trucking. This game also went alot smoother for me when I turned down the default sountrack and used my own music. Also maybe ask your friends that have already beaten this for some tips because you're going to need them.
Opinion: There are definatly somethings I would like to be different in dark souls since I don't enjoy retredding the same areas over and over , at the same time I do understand why things need to be this way. Prepare to sigh.
Doom 2016 (Xbox one Version)
Earlier this year I covered the multiplayer component of doom , it is a lesson to other developers that they should NOT REGION THE MOTHERFUCKING MULTIPLAYER because maybe that will segment an already small player base. A factor that became more apparent in 2016 is that people have seriously become more picky , a bad impression means their out the door. And while the mp is alright in my opinion , it definatly made a bad first impression.
Now for the single player , once again this has very much been covered. The majority seems to like the campaign and I feel the same way , considering that at one point this very same game was on IGNs "games on life support" I am happy that ID were able to wrap things up nicely and lovingly take the series back to its roots. I would say you need to play doom's campaign regardless of if you intend to play the multiplayer component or snapmap.
Speaking of snapmap , I don't know what to think yet since it is still being updated. I intend to return to doom to try snapmap again once it has received more polish.
Opinion: To repeat something I read in dtoid comments , doom is so good that it got people thinking and talking about game design. Make sure you clear some HD space on whatever platform you decide to play this on. Once the show gets going audiences in the front row are going to get wet.
Mirrors edge: Catalyst (Xbox one Version)
I recall playing this right after I finished from doom , going from such a gory and angry rollercoaster of a game to something like mirrors edge is quite calming. I think over the course of the entire game less than 5 people actually died( by my count anyway) , also the body count is kept low since faith can't use firearms this time around. The decision to make the game open world is rather odd , it does not work very well because despite having an open world you will be forced to use the same routes over and over due to time limits or just map design.
Another problem with their open world is that side missions are not that great , there seems to be an emphasis on collecatables and while thats not my usual thing I did enjoy prying open junction boxes and stealing chips. The story doesn't really go anywhere and the charecters seem bland ( with the exception of the iron chef). I would say anyone expecting an actual sequel to the original ME will not like this , however if you would like an open world onfoot racing game that will have you memorizing the best routes and learning the city like the back of your hand then I would say there are not many alternatives to catalyst.
Opinion: I think dice wanted to make sure people will not ask for another mirrors edge game for a long time , I also think they were rather successful in doing that.
Dying light: The following DLC (Xbox one Version)
As per most of the stuff...2015 I felt as if dying light did not need a vehicle since the parkour was very well executed. The addition of the buggy to DL makes the game feel alot closer to dead island but is not too similar because there is an emphasis on driving fast and upgrading your buggy. The whole approach to the missions is that you basically have to do side missions until a group will trust you enough to let you progress in the story. For the price I paid ( 20 bucks) this easily adds 8+ hours of gameplay to the already lengthy default game , I would say its worth it ( don't know about the other DLC , i never bought it).
Opinion: If you don't like long drives or tight time limits this DLC may frustrate you , the driving does help the scenenic routes stand out alot better.
Quantum break (Xbox one Version)
Quantum break is yet another example of why remedy should stay far away from Microsoft , I think the whole TV show business screwed with the game's development. While QB is not the worst game I have played this year , I definatly regret paying full price for it. Having only played and finished the game portion of QB I can still go back and watch the live action content , I just wish there was more to it after beating the game on hard ( like multiplayer or a challenge mode). Considering how much content is actually in the game I would strongly advise that you wait for a sale if you are to buy this , also if you go with the pc version...GET IT ON STEAM.
Opinion: It was really weird seeing the dude who played jack's brother in the film PET after playing quantum break.
Middle earth: Shadow of mordor (Xbox one Version)
My interest with the lord of the rings films ended after the original trilogy wrapped up , as far as the games go I only briefly played the pc version of the fellowship of the ring. Since that time I have not really had much hype for lord of the rings , then they got monolith to make a LOTR game with beheading. If I'm not mistaken I have owned my copy of this game since 2014 so it has taken me a while to get to it. They tell you how to play , what to do and give you what you need to do it after that you just go and do it. This plays like assassins creed but rather than you creating an entire business empire for the sole purpose of stabbing better , your targets will grow stronger and rank up just for a better chance of murdering you. It is overall an enjoyable experience but the controls can be clunky every now and then , also you can clearly tell when they ran out of time and money since the game just kind of ends.
Opinion: Hey warner bros , is it too let to ask for a cheque?
Deus Ex: Mankind divided (PC Version)
I consider the original deus ex to be one of the greatest games of all time , back when human revolution came out I considered that to be a good sequel. I can easily say I think very highly of mankind divided since it is basically human revolution with better graphics. Some differences here are that they decided to go with Adam Jensen as the protagonist again rather than a new story for a new charecter , also they went with one dedicated hub world rather than multiple. I made the mistake of finding the hidden map in Adam's appartment and I ended up aimlessly looking for "secrets" for hours , aside from that mess up I really enjoyed the hub world because the developers once again made exploration very enjoyable. If Doom didn't turn out as good as it did MD would have easily been my favorite game this year.
There is some bad here though with a tacked on crafting system and microtransactions , additionally I don't understand the thought process behind breach mode and I think that should have been multiplayer.
Opinion: Jensen's augmentations have augmentations.
The order: 1886
This marks the point in 2016 when I decided to buy a standard ps4 and it just so happens that the first game I played on it was the order: 1886. Leading up to the gameplay reveal of this game I recall many people thinking it would be a co-op horror game of sorts. The first GIF showing cover shooting gameplay must have killed alot of hype. Despite the order not being a co-op game it is a beautiful looking game with decent cover shooting , it is a shame that the shooting takes a back seat to bloated cutscenes , too many walking sections and stopping to randomly examine stuff you find in levels. It is very frustrating because despite the flaws , the universe that was crafted for this game is one that I would like to see more of.
It worth noting that I am not too harsh on this game because I received my copy for free when I bought the ps4 , I would not recommend paying alot for this since it is a short game.
Opinion: Be prepared for multiple instances of full frontal male nudity.
My initial impression of KZ:SF was based on gameplay footage I had seen on youtube , I figured it was just some bland shooter. When I actually got to play the game all I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised , this is easily my favorite one in the series ( I have finished KZ 2 and 3) . The controls feel lighter than last time and combat feels alot more tactical , I would say their focus here is to make you feel like covert special forces rather than a soldier in the field. I also have to praise the story which shows how soldiers from either side in a war will get tangeled up in politics. Ultimatley I want to say that I was very wrong to consider killzone: shadowfall to be bland and I consider it to be one of the best games available on the ps4.
I have not played the multiplayer portion of this game so I can't really say much on that.
Opinion: They managed to make a great game once they stopped trying to make a "halo killer" and very much realized that halo killed itself.
I am going to assume that many people bought a ps4 just to play uncharted 4 , the game has received alot of praise and is included in a whole bunch of bundles. I (like some others) bought the ps4 to play this game , had it been the only game I played on the system this year I would have regretted even getting a ps4. I don't like being the guy to not enjoy the game that some are labeling GOTY , I feel the flow of the game is very off due to the gameplay being inconsistant and a bigger focus on drama. As someone who beat UC 1-3 ( parts 1 and 3 were kindly lent to me by wormio) , I feel the trilogy had a bigger focus on action that is just not present in uc4.
With all that said , it would be unfair of me not to point out that uncharted 4 is a great looking game. It must have had some technical wizardry behind it to get it looking and running good at the same time. Once again I can't comment on the multiplayer portion of the game because I did not play that.
Opinion: Nothing like a boss fight in a burning ship to make the harware work up a sweat.
Gears of war 4(Xbox one Version)
As one of my more anticipated games of this year , I feel GOW4 met expectations but did not exceed them. There is a noticable graphical upgrade thanks to the upgrade to unreal engine 4 , aside from that the gameplay is pretty much the same deal with some intereseting setpieces. I completed my first playthrough on the insane difficulity and there is a noticable spike at the 3rd chapter , the game becomes all about memorization and planning until chapter 6 where you can finally relax.
The story here isn't stand out , since it is passing the torch to new charecters that are likely inteded to appeal to a newer generation of players. I can't list many games that were worth full price in 2016 , but I feel GOW4 is one of them since there is a bunch of content on offer ( splitscreen wooo). I would definatly recommend this game to any xbox one owner who enjoys the action genre , from what I read the PC port is well done but uh...microsoft store.
Opinion: It may not take you back to the fun days of the xbox 360 but it's a start.
Battlefiled 1(PC Version)
Dice won people over this year by going back in time to world war 1 rather than follow the futaristic or modern shooter trend. I do agree with people who say that BF1 is a good game but i do not consider it to be one of the best games this year or the best game the series has to offer. From the 10+ hours of multiplayer I played I can say that if you are playing this game in a squad you will find it very enjoyable. If you are playing multiplayer by yourself and you happen to be on the losing side , it quickly becomes spawn death city.
I also wish that there were more weapons to be unlocked rather than variants of the same guns , I can understand if it's a historical matter but if there are alot more weapons in future dlc that would just be BS. Another thing that bothers me is that planes are already in the sky , part of the fun is being able to take off but thats just me. From what I played of BF1 , I would rather play a patched up battlefiled 4. On the campaign side of the game I cannot say much since I have only beaten 1 or 2 missions( I do intend to return to the campaign later on).
Opinion: A game with great audio and a risk taken by dice in a time where AAA devs generally avoid risks , it is just not my cup of tea.
Titanfall 2(Xbox one Version)
One of the reasons I had bought the xbox one despite all its flaws was to play the original titanfall , after that game's flash wore off I would not say it was an amazing game but it was definatly fun despite being lacking. Titanfall 2 definatly brings some improvements to the table but also questionable changes.
The added single player campaign has a surprising amount of love put into it and seems to easily stand out (from what I played of the BF1 and COD IW campaigns so far) but is over too soon. The multiplayer is sort of the same deal as the first in that you shoot people so that you can unlock more guns to shoot people with. What is frustrating is that the map design and added gear seems to help a camping play style alot , so running and gunning becomes alot more difficult to do.
Opinion: A robo-mance story for the ages and free post launch content ( so they said) , I would say worth it in a sale but keep in mind the player count is dropping fast.
I generally dislike the sort of games that play themselves only to pause every now and then to offer the player a choice on how things might turn out , I do make exceptions for the big budget ones. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoyed siren: blood curse on the ps3 , it feels alot like that game but with a lot more quick time events. I don't want to spoil what surprises this game has to offer but I will say that if you are a ps4 owner , you enjoy 90s horror films and you can find this game at a cheaper price( I got my copy in the psn halloween sale) then go for it.
Opinion: The digitized actors playing the "teenagers" still manage to looks like people in their 20s.
Hitman 2016(PC Version)
Many people (myself included) were not happy with hitman: absolution , people just wanted blood money part 2. Hitman 2016 is meant to be that game , in other words a return to the normal gameplay. There are noticable improvements here coming from absolution such as disguises working like they used to , a save system for sane people and a proper inventory.
What is frustrating is that despite IO wanting to bring back classic hitman , they went with some weird design desicions. I don't understand why the game needed to be episodic and always online. Also with the first season being finished I think it has less main missions than previous hitman installments , it does not help that the season ends just as the story is going somewhere ( what little story there is).
The developers here aim to have people replay these missions multiple times to see all parts of the maps and find diffirent ways to assassinate targets.The thing is that I enjoyed previous hitman games without having to replay missions multiple times , if I did replay missions it was beacuse I wanted to and not to unlock challenges.
I would advise turning off hints and other in game guides and going into missions with no gear at all if you want to get the most out of one mission playthrough.
Opinion: Despite being the latest entry hitman still lacks features that were in blood money which came out like a decade ago , I suggest that you give IO more time to work on this and buy the game at a lower price once it is more fleshed out.
Alekhine's gun(PC Version)
Part of the reason the hitman series has been successful is because it has not really had any competetion over the years , the only other series I know of with similar gameplay is death to spies. Death to spies and its sequel ( moment of truth) are basically hitman but during world war 2 , death to spies 3 entered development hell and emerged as Alekhine's gun which brings the series into the cold war era. The gameplay is more in line with classic hitman games , additionally it has a traditional difficulity system along with a bunch of missions and it is not always online. I am impressed with what they have here because at times they seem to have more on offer than hitman 2016 which clearly had a bigger budget. Just keep in mind this is very much a janky european game in many ways so expect bugs , crashing and bad voice acting in other words buy it on sale if you want it.
Opinion: Death to spies fans will be happy to see Semyon's story wrap up.
Shadow warrior 2(PC Version)
The shadow warrior reboot was my personal game of the year in 2013 , I was more than delighted when the developers annoucned a sequel. It is a genuine bummer that they decided to take the series in a new direction rather than follow the template of the first game but improve on the flaws. Just to get the good out of the way I must say that they got the game looking great and running great in addition to having an awesome movement system.
The level design is an improvement but the levels themselves feel like a checklist this time around , the first game had you making your way through a bunch of linear areas but when you put it all together it felt like an actual adventure. Another point would be the expanded arsenal which gives you different weapons for each weapon class , the issue is that you just end up with a bunch of weapons that you don't want to use( or have to constantly stop and customize) rather than having a reliable arsenal to choose from depending on the situation.
Enemies this time around come in different shapes and sizes because there are variants of each enemy type , fighting them is nowhere near as enjoyable as the first for me because you just hit each one until it dies rather than prioritize key targets and cut off limbs to disable their special abilities. On the story side of things I find it to be much less engaging and I can't say charecter interaction is anything near as great as what Wang had with Hoji in the reboot.
Ultimatly I am just underwhelmed by this sequel since I expected something more in line with the 2013 reboot , that is not to say it is a bad game and seeing as it has sold better than its predecessor I am guessing some people must have really liked it.
Opinion: Not my Wang.
LET IT DIE
My progress writing this post was delayed due to the time I spent with let it die , it is one of the most pleasant surprises this year. Grasshopper decided to combine the beat em up genre with dark souls style gameplay and the result is wacky fun with an obvious Japanese touch. The idea here is that you have to climb a tower ( with some great treasure at the top) and the floors become more murderous the higher you go.
This is a must play if you are a dark souls fan and ps4 owner , it is also great that is free to play. I managed to get to the 20th floor before prying myself from the game , I think those commited to making it to the top ( 40th floor as of now) are going to end up having to spend some cash on microtransactions. The bummer is that many of the floors I have seen seem to be remixed versions of older floors and I feel the game can be quite cheap at times , eitherway your climb from floor 1 to 10 should be amusing.
Opinion: The best PS4 exclusive I have played so far and probably my GOTY if I did not like doom and deus ex so much.
Before I wrap things up I'd just like to give some quick thoughts on the 3 main consoles as of now ( PS4 , Xbox One and WiiU). Most of my playtime has went to the xbox one since I have owned one from 2014 , the biggest flaw with the xbox one is that it is manufactured by microsoft. I do enjoy playing games on the xbone but following the 2016 E3 (in which MS decided that the system wouldn't really have exclusives anymore) as someone who also plays games on PC that kind of made me wonder why I bought the console. I would say if you can assemble a bunch of xbox one games (that you would rather not play on pc) and if you can track down some 360 titles that you would like to play via backwards compatability , maybe an xbox one s would be worth it. It might be better to wait and see what MS will do with their "scoprio" or just avoid it all together.
In regards to the PS4 , I have only had one for some months now so all I will say is that my expereince with the system has been fine so far. The ps4 can run abit hot sometimes and the dual shock 4 has uncomfortable triggers , the trade off is that the system has actual exclusives which are becoming more varied and is a good place for some quality F2P games. In regards to the PS4 pro and VR I feel these are still new and people will get a better idea of their value throughtout 2017.
Nintendo inovated with the WiiU in that proved they could give less content to a system with no much to offer from the start , I like the concept of the tablet and it is a shame it did not recieve alot of support. I would advise to wait until the system is very cheap and be sure you can assmble a library for it , keep in mind many wiiu exclusives may end up on nintendo's upcoming switch. It is worth noting that the wiiu has great backwards compatability , if you missed the original wii there are games worth trying on the wiiu ( just watch out for dickhead scalpers with used copies). I think the issue here is that I am not nintendo's target audience and I'm okay with that.
The general theme of 2016 seems to be that people have become alot more vocal about how much their not happy with how things usually work , when it coms to video games it means people won't just buy anything thats released because everyone is saying how great it is or are less willing to support douchebag publishers. I did notice an improvement in post launch support ( from ubisoft of all people) and a general rise in quality in regards to free to play games.
As I end this I would like to mention that there are some games that did not make it to this post such as dishonored 2 and COD IW( iI beat the campaign and it is still cod , just not your typical cod) , I have learnt that even if I decide to get whatever games I want I can't play them all at the same time. I now enjoy gaming alot more when I take things slower and I advise that you try to do that sometime. Whatever awaits in 2017 I just hope it involves me getting back on track , as always thanks for your time.