Happy July! 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? I wonder what Chris thinks? …
Well once again we’ve reached the halfway point of the year and what a year it’s been. Between the political spectacle of the United states, the social upheaval in europe and the seemingly endless amount of celebrity deaths worldwide it seems as though 2016 is well on its way to becoming one of the more unsettling years in recent history. Fortunately alongside all the drudgery and uncertainty we have had some stellar gaming releases to take our mind off the troubles and relieve all that built up tension. These are just a few of my personal favourites.
Dark Souls 3
The third installment in the epic gothic fantasy took players to the kingdom of Lothric where once again the age of flame was threatening to come to a close. Making our way through a familiar yet different world, we set ourselves against the frustratingly difficult denizens of the Dark Souls world. Though there was little change in gameplay mechanics, the banquet of quality sound and visual design along with an engrossing story made for a highly satisfying climax to the series.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
After a long hiatus in the west, the Digimon RPG series finally returned in february of this year with a release exclusive to PS4 and PSVita. With a style reminiscent of sister RPG series “Persona”, “Cyber Sleuth” took us on a journey of mystery and wonder as we danced the back and forth between the real and digital worlds on the trail of culprits both human and otherwise. With a robust digivolution system and extensive partner list “Cyber Sleuth” was a return to form for an RPG series not seen in the west since 2007’s Digimon Dawn and Dusk. With a new anime and game on the horizon we can only hope it is a taste of things to come.
Looking more like a Pixar movie than a video game Overwatch burst from the ranks, achieving a cult level of popularity before the actual game was even released. Competitive gameplay combined with a compelling roster of characters and Blizzards solid reputation all but assured the games success from the start.
Now while the games above achieved varying levels of acclaim and success not all were as lucky. Delays in development, poor timing and bad marketing resulted in several games being dead on release with much jeering and cajoling from the fanbase. Two of the greatest offenders can be found below.
Mighty No. 9
Despite a highly successful kickstarter campaign and several years in development this spiritual successor to Megaman was released to a resounding meh and thunderous ambivalence. Plagued by continued delays in development and subjected to several drastic design changes Mighty No. 9 stands as a monument to the sins of the gaming industry. With average and uninspired gameplay and the best boss fights locked away in DLC Keiji Inafune and his team have successfully eroded any reputation they may have once had (fingers crossed ReCore doesn’t have the same problems – Ed.)
Despite entertaining gameplay and solid level design this MOBA cash-in couldn’t have been released at a worse time, a mere 3 weeks before Overwatch. The game failed to achieve large scale appeal before it was crushed by its more fancied competitor. Labeled slightly above average and simply inoffensive Battleborn is destined to be forgotten.
Chris Senz is a freelance journalist and contributor to PN2.