Welp 2016 is over and that shit was a bit of a wild ride. It was personally a fairly good year for me at least! I’ve been battling with this post for a while, because usually I like to talk about the 5 big games of the previous year that I thought were really awesome, but I’m honestly struggling this year. A lot of really meh or just okay games released this year, and not a whole lot of really great stuff. Really the most fun I had this year came mostly from games that didn’t even release this year. Various betas and such (more on that later). So here we go, here is me trying to find more than 1 game that really stuck out this year:
DOOM was THE clear GOTY for me. Despite a relatively unremarkable multiplayer on launch, the single player of DOOM fucking knocks it out of the universe. The best attempt so far at modernizing the ‘old school’ model of FPS games, only seconded to the Wolfenstein game from 2014. I literally can’t think of a single negative thing to say about the single player portion of this game. It is just fan-fucking-tastic from every angle. Great gunplay, amazing soundtrack, brilliant level design, thrilling fights, it is really damn near perfect. For a game that went through some development hell, this game came out shockingly great. If it wasn’t for the really bleh multiplayer that got outsourced to a different studio the game would be nearly perfect. Also, for folks interesting in how DOOM became what it is today, check out NoClip’s DOOM Documentary.
Anyone that knows me knows I have a bit of a Love/Hate relationship with Overwatch. An extremely fun casual shooter with a great cast of heroes, mostly polished gameplay (Looking at you, Roadhog Hook), and fairly streamlined experience. Blizzard took the Team Fortress 2 team based hero shooter formula and polished it up to a sheen and brought all there dedicated fans along for the ride. This is a great FPS game to play with friends and not take very seriously. Lots of fun characters to play ranging from difficult to use heroes but perfect for FPS veterans all the way to simple to use characters so people newer to the genre can still be successful. The barrier to entry to the game is extremely low. Pretty much anyone can jump in and have fun. Where things get a little dicey is when you start talking about the high end/competitive part of the game. Blizzard has never been too great at game balance, and this still shows in Overwatch. There have been plenty of awkward meta shifts from one basically overpowered thing to another basically overpowered thing. They fix one thing about the game that is a little busted, and another new busted thing is either found or introduced, to a bit of a frustrating degree. Blizzard has also been at odds with the community multiple times on some subjects. For example, the community essentially had to bitch about Competitive play need to be 1 Hero Limit (1HL) from the start of the game’s competitive seen in Winter of 2015. They’re still doing it now, with the most recent MLG event in Vegas, Blizzard pressured MLG to create a standard map pool and not let the teams pick/ban maps. This map Pick/Ban phase is literally a thing in every other FPS with a competitive scene. There are a variety of reasons for this: Teams practicing certain maps, Knowledge of a teams weaknesses or strengths on a certain map or mode, or some maps just being flat out BAD for competitive play (See: Every Capture Point map in Overwatch). There are a few other things as well, No difference in SoloQ or Teamed ranked, The Capture Point Maps all need to be overhauled, Roadhog’s Hook needs to be consistent, no true ‘demo’ or replay system, and more. So, all of this basically to say that the ‘core’ game is extremely fun, but the overall competitive nature of the game has a lot of growing it needs to do. I’d love for the game to get it all right, and not to go the crash and burn way of the competitive scenes of Starcraft/Warcraft/Heroes Of The Storm, but if Blizzard’s history with eSports, Balance, or Listening to the right part of the community are any indicator it might be a rough ride. I will say that the fact that this game has had huge success has ignited other people to either step back into the genre or realize that there is still a market for this type of shooter, which is a big plus for me!
Final Fantasy XV
I love the Final Fantasy series. I also think that every Final Fantasy game from X onward has been pretty garbage (excluding MMOs). X was okay, X-2 had promise but ultimate was pretty bad, XII bored me very quickly, and the XIII trilogy was just horrid. When the ‘new’ FFXV was announced I definitely had pretty low expectations. Hearing about all the changes they planned to make from what XIII was had me hopeful, but still ultimately I just assumed the game would not be that great. The moment I started to get a bit more excited was when I played the original demo. Good animations, good combat system, nice sense of scale, good voice acting, and that part where you got to summon Ramuh was fucking awesome. After spending around 5 hours in that 2 hour demo, I was really pumped for the game. Luckily, the game actually delivered and wasn’t a huge let down. The great visuals, combat, scale, and style of the game I got from the demo carried over to the full release of the game. It is definitely open world, which is generally a bit of a turn off for me, but it doesn’t get SO HUGE that it feels like a pretend MMO (Like Xenoblade Chronicles X or Final Fantasy XII) which is something I LOATHE. So far I’ve spent around 75 hours with the game, and haven’t quite beaten it. I’m the insane type of person with these games that has to do everything before beating it you see (which is basically the worst for open world games, lol). Luckily there aren’t any super annoying collectibles or anything dumb like that. All just Side Quests and Main Story missions. How they use Side Quests is pretty cool too. The majority of them will be big chains kinda like you’d see in WoW or something, but the chain will end in a dungeon crawl. These dungeon crawls are actually really fun as well. Lots of tough monsters, maze like areas, plenty of secrets and items to find, with some really cool mini-bosses and big bosses. I have thoroughly enjoyed the game, which makes me excited about the series again. It isn’t without its faults though. I don’t care for the magic system in the game, as a start. Also, apparently, later in the game (I haven’t gotten to this section yet) there is a part that is in I believe Chapter 13 where you only play as Noctic which basically everyone says was pretty horrid. Still, I’m not sure that one chapter will be able to ruin the rest of the game for me. If it does I’ll edit this! Or something.
I legit forgot this came out this year. February seems like so long ago! I actually recently reinstalled Stardew Valley after I had thought I was finished with it after 45 hours. I was ADDICTED to this game when it first released. A great Harvest Moon style Indie game for the PC. This is basically the perfect Zen game. Farm your crops, farm monsters, farm all the things, sell all the things, make bank, collect stuff, unlock things, get a waifu, and repeat. None of it was super challenging, but it was insanely addictive. Even now I just want to sit here and type about all the stuff there is to do over and over again and I’m getting itches to just load the game up. This is a good example of a game that when it released I expected nothing from it, randomly bought it after hearing about it on a podcast, and it gave me such a great experience. This game is totally worth the $15.
I honestly can’t think of another game to add to that list. I can do a few honorable mentions though (with a small snippet about the game):
- Titanfall 2: Multiplayer is more of the same, but still really smooth and polished. Single Player actually exists and it is okay. I got a little bored of it. Short and sweet though.
- Battlefield 1: Do you like Battlefield? Then you’ll like Battlefield 1. Just like Titanfall 2, this is just more of the same, but a really polished experience. I still suck at flying planes. Vehicles are easier to kill though, that is nice.
- Uncharted 4: Gameplay was really smooth. Story was okay. Just more Uncharted (catching the theme here?).
- Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: Really fantastic battle system, great visuals, and extremely animu lol. I almost added this to the above list, but I have only played the first couple chapters. Need to finish it.
- I am Setsuna: Fantasic JRPG in the style of Chrono Trigger. A good story with nice pace and great characters. Fairly cheap too! Worth the price.
- Killing Floor 2: I almost put this above as well, but I’ve only recently dived into this game. An extremely satisfying ‘horde’ shooter with a great soundtrack and good gunplay. I can’t stress the fact of how satisfying the shooting feels though.
- Pokemon Sun/Moon: Basically more Pokemon. Some minor changes to the formula, but in the end the same ole thing. Still really fun though, if you’re into it.
I can’t really think of anything else to add to that list! Next I’ll just add a small list of games I’m looking forward to next year!
- Persona 5: HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG
- LawBreakers: I’ve talked about this before on here, but I’m still pumped about this game.
- Diabotical: Backed this on Kickstarter. Still looks like a great arena shooter.
- Midair: Also backed this on Kickstarter. Tribes style shooter, woo!
- Quake Champions: Looks like this will be ID’s take on the Hero shooter. I’m hoping it works out really well.
- Sky Noon: This looks like a really neat take on some FPS arena action. Check this shit out.
- Prey: BECAUSE I’VE BEEN WAITING FOREVER. It’ll probably suck though 😦
- Strafe: FPS with really old graphics and randomly generated levels. Played it a few conventions and it was fun! Devolver Digital is publishing it too, which is a good sign.
- DUSK: FPS with throwbacks to the old style of the genre. Lots of Quake/Doom/Heretic/etc vibes. Check out the trailer, it is probably the best trailer ever.
- South Park The Fractured But Whole: Loved The Stick of Truth, I’m hoping this game is just as good.
- Ghost Recon Wildlands: This game looks more like a FarCry game than anything else, but I still really like the concept. I’m down with some COOP open world mission based FPS. I wanted to like The Division, but that game’s end game stuff ruined it. I’m hoping Ubisoft learned from that and don’t make the same mistakes with Wildlands.
Welp, I think that is about all I wanted to type about that stuff. Hopefully next year has a lot more gems than this year!
Stream Schedule is still the same. Tuesday – Thursday 6PM CST – 10PM CST and Saturday 5PM CST – Whenever. Friday Jan the 6th is a new Diablo Season, so I’ll be streaming my leveling up process from 7PM CST until I pass the fuck out. I’ll probably Stream later today too since I’ve got the day off. I want to stream more Killing Floor 2 :). I”m also planning on fixing some of my FPS ‘sins,’ I’ve never played Painkiller or Serious Sam for example.
Note: I forgot to publish this last week >.>.