Videogames of 2016: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Part 1

We all know 2016 for being a slayer. The Reaper has taken away some of the finest humans known to life, the world is in instability and two of the western bounty has done stupid decisions which will pain us for years to come. (You know what they are. I’m not going to mention it. You’re not going to mention it. Water under the bridge, let’s leave it at that. Any political hatred or bullshit on any of my articles or pages, and you get blocked. Simple as that. I’ll respect your wishes, so please respect mine. Thank-you)

However, this is not why I’m here. This is about video gaming, and the immense juggernaut which shows no signs of slowing down. Problems in gaming still remain, but some huge powerhouses have come out this year, and I for one have overall enjoyed this years gaming. This is going a be a four-part series in which I’ll discuss video games of 2016. Games I’ve had a love-hate relationship with, games I’ve just hated, and my Top 10 games of 2016. There are a couple of rules for this:

  1. They have had to come out this year.
  2. I have had to play them. And no, I don’t play crap like Call of Duty etc. So no, that’s not on it. Sorry fans!
  3. They can be full games or DLC. No modifications, BUT I have two as honorable mentions.
  4. Remastered versions are okay too, but only in honorable mentions. Tend to be new games 🙂

This is all about the middling/mixed games. Games I neither hated nor loved, or games with serious issues marring otherwise decent games. Here we go:

  1. Number 1: No Man’s Sky.

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Everyone saw this coming, didn’t they? Called the Spore of 2016 (and to be honest, that is a well-deserved title). Poor Hello Games, but I lost a lot of sympathy for them following not only a disaster of a PA pitch, in other words they completely lacked one, Sean Murray going dark and overall the Peter Molyneux of overhyping games. A lot of people got pissed off, and rightly so. But death threats? Come on guys. That is way too far.

Rumors of lies in development, shallow gameplay, performance issues and a childlike difficult are just some of the issues in this game….and I still enjoy it. I do, to be honest. One of the biggest gripes is it wasn’t multiplayer, but this really isn’t a flaw to me. I don’t like many multiplayer games, but I understand completely why people hate on it for that. This game was rapidly abandoned, but there are still a hard-core who believe in this game, and the developers.

I will be honest. Were it not for the very recent re-communications of Hello Games and the massive Foundation update which added the new content/base building, this would have joined my shit-list. Even if I enjoyed it, it’s still a huge disappointment. However, I’m willing to give them a chance, provided they keep doing these updates. A small indie game with a AAA price tag and huge overhyping by the developers, Sony and the fanbase? It only bred disaster. The game is probably worth half its major price tag, but by all means get it in a sale.

Is this game disappointing and underwhelming? Yes.

Is this game terrible? No. There are far worse games than this.

Can this game improve? Yes. I feel if they waited longer and released more content, it would have been better. Pre-Order’s remorse for certain. But guess what? Stop pre-ordering games, and you won’t be burned. I didn’t pre-order this, I got the game for 40$. Played about 30-40 hours. Worth that money? If they keep updating like Foundation, yes, but take it with a grain of salt. I will keep playing it though, because it is incredibly relaxing. Overall, not bad, but could be so much better. One to look out for possibly. Maybe in a year or two, NMS will be the behemoth which was promised.

  1. Hitman

 

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I’ll say this right now. I LOVE this game. The openness of the world, the large levels, the huge number of options available to you, lots of weapons and many different ways of dealing with the assassinations make this the best Hitman yet.

However, it did have a fatal flaw. Two, actually. One is overall performance with a lot of glitches and bugs. The second (up until very recently, and what stopped me playing the game for nearly a year after original release), was the always online DRM. For fucks sake guys, stop with this! It is one of the worst things you can do to a game. Sim City, Diablo III? They both failed at launch because of this, and should never be allowed. Constant desyncs and boots from the server has left a gaping hole in this franchise, and the episodic release has been given a lot of controversy.

Despite this, it has a lot of content, replayability and would have made my Top 10 list, were I played it a bit more (Only got this in October). Make this the better of the games on my list.

  1. Total War: Warhammer.

 

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Oh boy. Lets just say I was taking this game with an ounce of salt. Or a sackful. I love Total War, but the franchise has gone down the pan greatly with recent releases. Rome II was a fucking joke at launch (although patches have fixed many of the performance issues), and Attila was just a carbon copy of Rome with some improvements (The modding for it is FAR superior however, so this wins out for me over Rome II.)

This is what I said originally about the game:

This had a lot of people watching carefully. CA has a pretty terrible DLC model (Blood DLC for Rome 2 Total war mean much?) and has had major problems lately in releasing buggy and unoptimized pieces of shit, Rome 2 and Attila. Medieval 2 still remains the best Total War game of all time, very closely followed by Rome 1, expect singular reviews on them some point! All on my schedule…I think. Anyway, the game was watched very cautiously by me and many others. Now, despite some early day 1 problems, it actually runs very well, which is a huge plus.

It’s certainly fun and has good quality overall, and while the number of Factions are low (at least early on. CA I’m sure will be releasing expansion packs for more factions down the line. Just please don’t overcharge for them.), they have different play-styles, and it fits the Total War engine well. However, a lot of stuff has been dumbed down in terms of building (this can be given in a positive or negative light.) Total War should be just that; total war. So this can be taken in a good way, I guess. Is the game good? Overall, I say yes. But just be cautious, as a CA game, it’ll receive DLC to the bone. The good Mod support though is a huge boon for it. Overall, fairly good, and better then the previous two titles.

I stand by what I say regarding this game. Overall, it’s rather good, but let down by three major problems:

  1. Performance
  2. Battles are over incredibly quickly…..CA, learn from lessons please. Arcade battles which are over in 5 minutes are not very fun. (Subjective opinion unbound)
  3. DLC model. Seriously CA, piss off with this! It is appallingly bad DLC, with factions cut from the main game and re-released as paid DLC, although there have been some good free DLC released as well. This puts me off the game so much that I was incredibly reluctant to buy it in the first place. Look at the makers of Witcher for good DLC guys. You won’t be disappointed. It is a terrible model, and borderline wrong.

The game is overall pretty good, but the price of what we have including all DLC sits at around £110 undiscounted. Seriously. That is awful. And it’s nowhere finished yet! This is EA level of bullshit right there.

  1. The Technomancer.

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I’ll say this right now. It’s not a great game. It’s certainly overpriced for what it is, possibly worse than No Man’s Sky. Here’s what I said about it at launch:

The Technomancer is an ambitious project by a A-gaming company, released earlier this month, and has a lot of flak for its high price tag and questionable gameplay. It’s a pretty big RPG/Combat, I feel it’s a very-low tech future Witcher 3. It had it’s massive faults, but it’s really not too bad a game. I easily got 20-30 hours of content in it. It’s probably not worth the £35 price tag it has, but for a non AAA title, it’s not awful. Probably worth getting when it goes on sale.

Emphasis on “low-tech”, it’s a very low-tier RPG, certainly with more flaws than strengths. Certainly overpriced for what it is, with pretty awful combat, and the difficulty is rather high. Bad voice acting, clunky fighting mechanics and crashes were also a problem for me. However, it had a few strengths going for it: A solid open world with a lot of content, the amount of combat options (still limited, but better than say Witcher 3) was decent, and the environments looked pretty damn good. For an indie title and a modest budget, it really isn’t that bad. If you can pick it up on sale for say 15$, I think you’ll get your money’s worth. It wasn’t amazing, or even that good, but it wasn’t dreadful either. For what a small company did (and this is ambitious and large for such a title), it really isn’t that bad. Better than some of the tripe which came out this year. It has a charm which made me go back to it a couple of times, and not just to laugh at voice acting and poor animation models.

Age of Empires II: African Kingdoms

age_of_empires_2_hd_african_kingdoms_feudal_town

 

The last one on the list. I originally had two other games on here too, which were the Division and Ark: Survival Evolved, but in honesty, I didn’t play either game enough to warrant putting on. Ark because the game chomps up your system like a rabid hound on a pensioner, and Division because I hate multiplayer. And Uplay kept fucking up. Kudos. (Now, Division is a pretty good game, don’t get me wrong.)

I love AOE, easily the best in its trilogy, and the steam version is rather impressive.

This was a pretty good little expansion, adding four creative and cool new civs, four fully voice acted campaigns (albeit a bit lazy at times, I got some good gameplay from them) and a lot of balancing changes (wow, naval combat is not limited to galleys alone now!) but came with some issues too. Desynch, glitches, and crashes I had were frequent.

However, it was much better than the devs certain expansion pack for another game….what one, do you ask? You’ll have to wait until Part 2!

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