We’re on the verge of July, meaning we’re now over half way through the calendar year of 2016. All things considered, it’s been a top class season for gamers. We’ve had some well received AAA releases, a ton of great indies and a few surprises. Flaws aside, it’s been a fun ride, but what counts as our favourite moments so far? Your turn, Mike.

The Best So Far

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Let’s get this one out of the way first. It’s an excellent game, but you already knew that. Uncharted 4 has superb graphics, improved gunplay and traversal, and a much more grounded story than the previous entries. Naughty Dog was even able to give Nathan a brother without it feeling too tacked on. The search for obsessed pirate Avery’s treasure was a fitting metaphor for Drake and his obsessions.

Each character was much more fleshed out, including the villains. There was even a point where I empathised with Rafe for always playing second fiddle to Drake. I was particularly happy with the ending that wrapped up the story of Nathan Drake, yet left the door open for a new kind of Uncharted.

Bravo Naughty Dog.

Superhotpu202cb962ac59075b964b07152d234b70-1453913718-4704575-screenshot-original

There is no shortage of interesting stories, weapons and enemies to keep first person shooters fresh, but rarely are there any changes that shake-up the core gameplay.  Maybe it’s the popularity of multiplayer or maybe the AAA developers have an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality, but indie developer the Superhot Team chose to ignore this and went above and beyond to create a unique FPS experience.

Part FPS, part puzzler, Superhot is a fast game with tight gameplay and a time-bending feature that always reminds me of the Matrix (the film not the simulated reality that Elon Musk thinks we live in). In my review of Superhot I explained that my biggest issue was the lack of content. Free DLC is on its way. Can’t wait!

Neon Drive

I like retro games, neon lights, and electro soundtracks. Neon Drive covers all three. The gameplay is simple, yet incredibly difficult. It’s one of those games that you can’t walk away from without having one last go… and several hours later you find yourself still playing it. I noticed about a dozen awesome pop culture references, from Blade Runner to Transformers, Outrun to Afterburner. It appears Fraoula games and I have a lot in common.

Honorable Mentions

  • Firewatch – Camp Santo
  • Dungeon Souls (Early Access) – Lamina Studios
  • Enter the Gungeon – Dodge Roll
  • This War of Mine – 11 bit Studios
  • Push Me Pull You – House House

Missed the mark

Hitman

2901574-7211715134-hitmanIO interactive’s decision to give Hitman the episodic treatment was the biggest mistake they have ever made. The only reason I can think of for this approach is that the game wasn’t ready to ship. I have always loved the Hitman franchise, but being forced to play the same level over and over because there is no more content becomes tiring.

IO took quite the gamble with this episodic approach. I hope that many gamers who have not purchased the season pass are willing to return to finish the game at a later date because I have already moved on to better things. Also, the load times are atrocious. I expected more from the AAA title.

The Walking Dead: Michonne

Michonne is a flat character. She has never been well-rounded or given enough focus for us to care about her. That statement covers the comic, TV series and video game versions of the character. She is popular I’ll give her that much. Her popularity is probably enough of a reason to warrant her own spin-off game. Although from this 3-part series, it’s clear that she belongs in an ensemble, not as the protagonist.

I don’t entirely blame Telltale for this. Michonne is a quiet and often emotionless character, unfortunately staying true to this means it’s difficult to invest in her like I did Lee and Clementine.

Michael Vane is a freelance journalist for PN2. He’s excited to see what the second half of 2016 has to offer. You can find him on Twitter @DrVane

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