Looking back on the year that was 2016, there were as many highlights as lowlights. But no massive controversial scandals that I can remember, apart from what I’m about to discuss here. There were not many games that I was personally looking forward in 2016, so I only played a few triple A titles, and instead opted to support the little guy, the Indie developers.
Before I started writing for PN2, I only really had eyes for the major publishers and big box office type games – ignorant I was. This list will have my overall thoughts on the games of 2016, from both Indie and major publishers, that left a lasting impression on my mind, good or bad.
– The Division
I hadn’t really been following the development of this title since its announcement at E3 2013, so I went into it with an open mind and no expectations. I joined some friends playing the open Beta, and the hype quickly began to draw me in. I picked up The Division on release, and had an absolute blast, at least for a little while.
But, after spending many hours repeating the same missions over and over, I came to realise just how shallow it actually was. It became a loot-driven shooter, similar to Destiny, and a race to have the best gear. I have nothing against loot based games, but it’s something that I just don’t have the time or patience for these days, especially when the missions are recycled constantly.
And then there was the Dark Zone, the game’s PVP area. What can I say, you either love it or hate it. Unless you’re in a group of four other players, going in there is a suicide mission, and would leave you feeling cheated, or being killed time and again by someone who had hacked the game – something that was a huge problem early on – only to lose all your hard earned keys, experience points, and worst of all, loot.
But that’s just me, the game is most likely a much better experience now, but still a far cry from what was originally promised, and I can’t complain too much since the game only cost me ten dollars – win! Good game, not great.
– No Man’s Sky
Moving on to my next disappointment of 2016, No Man’s Sky. This game cost me a lot more and was another title that was over hyped with false promises. But where do you point the blame? Hello Games or Sony? While it is impressive that Hello Games managed to construct the game with such a small team, this is what ultimately hurt them in the long run, as they promised so much and under delivered. After the backlash from critics, Sony practically threw the developers under the bus, leaving poor old Sean Murry to cop most of the blame.
The game itself was also fun initially, until, once again, it was shown to be very shallow with many bad game design choices. I spent hours and hours repeating the same processes, trying to find the centre of the galaxy, and I eventually just gave up. It actually makes me sick to think about.
There’s nothing that Hello Games can do to get me interested again, unfortunately. Not even with the foundation update. Why would I waste more time building a spaceport on a planet when there is no one to share it with, which I’ll probably leave in less than a half hour anyway? Maybe when they allow other players to actually join the game, or create a genuine MMO world. It’s all too little too late if you ask me.
– Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Finally, to a game that I enjoyed, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. I have been a huge fan of this series since I got the original on my PlayStation 3, and since then I’ve been hooked. I have platinum trophies for the first three games, and actively spent time to play the multiplayer – something I wasn’t accustomed to. The only title I haven’t played is Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the PlayStation Vita. I don’t own a Vita, unfortunately, so my hope is that Sony will release it for current generation consoles in the future.
This game delivered on what we all expect from the major publishers, an epic story, with well-written characters, great gameplay, and a finale of Nathan Drakes story, with the possibility of future instalments. While this game ranks equal second on my list for best games in the franchise – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is my favourite – it’s a fantastic adventure well worth your time that captured the same emotions that I experienced back in 2007 playing Drakes Fortune for the first time. I’m also hoping to get a chance to play the multiplayer soon.
One Indie game that took me by surprise was OESE, a resource management space survival strategy game. For having such a simple game design, it really struck a chord with me.
After a disaster caused the destruction of your home planet, you must locate a new home, while dealing with the various hazards you’ll encounter through space, and managing your power, shields, and crew. Each decision you make could give you a massive boost, or leave you clinging to life. It’s the kind of game that doesn’t require any hard thinking, but a little bit of strategy. If this sound interesting, check out my full review of the game.
– Dino Eggs: Rebirth
Dino Eggs was a game I played a lot back on the trusty old Commodore 64 growing up, and when I was contacted personally by the creator David Schroeder informing me that a remake was on the way, I knew I had to play it. I was happy to report that Dino Eggs: Rebirth wasn’t just an excellent remake of the original game, but provided many new tasks and challenges also. You can check out my review of Dino Eggs: Rebirth here.
I’d like to give an honourable mention to Blizzard’s Overwatch. I only played the Beta, but that was enough for me to acknowledge it as one of the games of the year. Being a multiplayer-only experience, I need there to be more content before I lay down my hard earned dollars on the game.
So that’s that. My 2016 done and dusted. There were so many games I missed out on, such as Doom, Dark Souls 3, Dead Rising 4, Far Cry Primal, and many others. Hopefully, I’ll find the time to take a look at those during this year, but I’m not holding my breath. I will get to them someday.
Bring on 2017.