2016 has been a roller-coaster of a year. In fact – looking back – it’s been pretty bleak, with the deaths of three musical legends, a gorilla, a wizard, and then another guerrilla. Not to mention the unfathomable recent outcome over in America. Thankfully though, 2016 has also given me plenty of gaming joy. The following are not my games of the year as such, but highlights of a year gone by.
I could actually write an entire article about some of the moments I’ve had in Battlefield 1. Every time I play the game there is a noteworthy, ridiculously awesome encounter. Like that epic horseback sword duel I had in the middle of the desert with a complete stranger, or maybe the time I shot a plane out of the sky with a tank. Or maybe that time in the woodlands of northern France, when I stormed a small bunker filled with enemies armed with a flame thrower. Battlefield 1 not only delivers an action-packed shooter, it effectively drives home the senseless waste of human life that occurs in all wars, particularly World War I.
The other day I remembered I spent about a fortnight of my life collecting fictitious rocks. Granted, in-between rock accumulation, I also built some kind of warp-drive, catalogued a bunch of weird looking alien creatures, shot a few drones, and learnt what amounts to a Lonely Planet phrasebook of a new language. I played No Man’s Sky intently, and passionately for around two weeks... but I haven’t picked up the game since because it was such a lonely existence. I’ll never forget those initial moments though, where I felt like a true intergalactic pioneer. When everything was new and unknown, and the game seemed limitless. No Man’s Sky gave me unique memories that no other game has – even if it was for a fleeting moment.
One of the highlights of PlayStation VR for me was undoubtedly Arkham VR. From the initial, slightly awkward scene in Wayne Manor with Alfred, through to the terrifying conclusion in Arkham Asylum with my inner demons - it delivered a lot of things that VR should. It was immersive and despite the limitations of the technology, felt like pure escapism. Unfortunately it was also very short-lived, and was weak in the storyline department - but the experience of being the Dark Knight still reverberates in my head and has me excited about the future of VR.
I was immediately drawn to the art direction of this indie game. Firewatch looked like a beautiful 2d painting, with a perfectly balanced colour palette, lovingly turned into a 3d environment. But the game delivered a lot more than just pretty visuals. Despite the unsettling soundtrack and creepy mystery unravelling around you, there was something peaceful and surreal about the game too - which is probably why it worked so well. It had a sense of juxtaposition and unease throughout. I would recommend Firewatch to anyone who wants to feel something.
My pick for game of the year has to be Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. I’ve always been a fan of the franchise, but this final instalment exceeded my expectations in every way. It had a captivating story, perfect voice acting, great gameplay and above all, it had a sense of heart and soul that so many games fail to capture these days.
The single-player experience was epic, rounding off a chapter of Nathan Drake (one of the best ever game protagonists) and the multiplayer also gave me months of action packed enjoyment. It looks like I might be picking Uncharted 4 up again too as a whole new co-operative, wave-based survival mode with zombies has been announced to land mid-December. Thanks for the memories Naughty Dog.
Doom for having one of the best heavy guitar riff soundtracks ever; Pokemon Go for turning me into a phone-gazing zombie whenever I left the house; Watch Dogs 2 for sincerely making up for the mistakes of the first game; and finally Dishonoured 2, which I’ve only just started to play, but am loving every minute of it.
Those were some Angus' favourite games of 2016. What were yours? Sound off in the comments below!
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