This year has been a big one for gaming.
The PS4 and Xbox One slims were released, along with the PS4 Pro. The PSVR hit in October along with a host of games. We finally got a look at the Nintendo Switch, and Pokemon Go found and lost and found popularity.
The games have been mixed though. Some, like Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Mafia 3 flew under the radar, while the likes of Battlefield 1 made themselves heard. Through all of it I’ve been a day one adopter of the PSVR, played all the newest Fallout 4 DLC, but aside from that, I’ve done a rubbish job of tackling this year's games.
I wish I could put Dishonored 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Pokemon Sun/Moon on my list – I own all three games, but I haven't played them enough. Currently I’m playing 2004’s Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. Still, I did get through a few of the new releases, and these are the ones that really stood out for me.
I’m happy to say that the Bioshock series rates among my all-time favourties. I kept my Xbox 360 versions until this remaster came out purely because I would go back and play them repeatedly.
For me, BioShock is one of those games where replaying it feels like coming home. I know Rapture so well that I no longer get jump scared, and I know where all the hidden traps and treasures are. You’d think that takes away some of the enjoyment, but strangely no.
It really is a beautiful remaster. The graphical upgrade is amazing and, as you’d expect, it also includes all the DLC. That means BioShock Infinite’s Rapture-based Burial at Sea. If you haven’t tried the expansion, I seriously recommend picking up this remaster. It ties everything together and truly connects Rapture and Infinite's city of Columbia. Plus, you get to play as a badass Elizabeth.
I will admit that this year has been full of remasters, and some have been more successful than others. Ratchet & Clank is slightly different for two reasons. One being that it’s actually a reimagining, so the plot, characters, weapons and mechanics have been changed. It’s not the same game as the original, and more of a “what if?” situation. It also has an awful movie that I caution anyone against seeing.
Secondly, it’s a kid friendly game that’s enjoyable to play. I say that because we all have those moments where we just want to be a Lombax with spunk rather than a war hero. I challenge you to find five good kid friendly games that don’t involve sports and driving. It can be done, but it’s not easy and it involves a lot of Lego.
That aside, and Ratchet & Clank is a well-built action/platformer with replayability. It’s got the same sense of humour, the same bright colours, and the same incredibly annoying Captain Qwark. I just wish that the whole original trilogy had been tackled.
As I mentioned earlier, I picked up the PSVR at launch, and I’ve played a lot of VR games since then. My favourite has definitely been Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. I blasted through the game in a day, and have still not been able to get any of my friends to play the whole thing through. Apparently it’s too scary, or something like that. The atmosphere and the setting make for edge-of-your-seat gameplay. It’s a simple idea done in a smart way. An on rails shooter? Pfft, boring. A virtual reality on rails shooter with horror elements? Oh, hell yes.
Rush of Blood offers a different view of the original Until Dawn game. You explore a character’s descent into madness via minecart, evil clowns and guilt. While I do have some problems with the level bosses, and the baffling last level, Rush of Blood offers a great game that adds to the world of Until Dawn, even with being so different from the original. This is how you do a spin off.
I love mixed media. Videogames and TV? You better believe I was there.
Remedy has created some weird games that reached a near cult classic status. Alan Wake and Max Payne were just the beginning. Quantum Break offers a hyper realistic story with an amazing cast. Why? Because celebrities in games is cool, and because between each chapter of the game you’d get to watch an episode from a TV show.
Quantum Break deserves all the attention it gets purely because it’s such an innovative game. That’s not all it is though; it’s a solid shooter that delivers important player choices, well developed characters, and decent mechanics. Plus, it’s always fun to take down evil corporations with time powers.
I love couch co-op games – a lot. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of them today. There’s Fat Princess Adventures, the Borderlands Handsome Collection, and various Call of Duty titles, but I’ve played them all. I was over the moon to see another co-op game that I could play with not just one friend, but up to four. Overcooked is a challenging, endearing, and silly game that is built for co-op. While there is single player, it’s boring and way more difficult than it needs to be.
Overcooked does one thing and it does it very well - having you freak out while you try to manage a kitchen that definitely did not pass OSH regulations. Don’t expect great story arcs, though there is a plot. Don’t expect character development, unless you count a yellow guy with a weird nose, or a raccoon in a wheelchair as development. What it does do is offer a fun time with your friends. Name calling and smack talking included.
The year is winding down, and now I’m super excited for 2017. We don’t know if it'll be the best year ever; all I know is that there will be some great games coming out that I’ll be diving into – if I ever make my way through my backlog. Dishonored 2, here I come!
Have you been able to keep up with this year’s releases? If not which games have you gotten around to, and which ones have you missed? Let us know in the comments below!
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