The Game of the Year Award for 2016

The first few months of this year didn’t seem to exist, as far as video games were concerned. No relevant triple A releases, no worthwhile indie games, nothing. Between January and August, one of the only two new releases I purchased was The Culling, an early-access mess of a game that revamped every piece of in-game weaponry with new nerfs and buffs bi-weekly, to the point where you never knew what weapon would have what impact. Hence why I dropped it. What started out as a very tense Hunger Games-style multiplayer madhouse dissolved into overly long, drawn-out matches of poke the bad guy with a spear forty times until one of you gets bored and dies. Such a shame.

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The other new release was Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, a fine if unremarkable game. Terribly short but notably sweet, it’s nothing more than a faint whisper in my memory at this point.

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From there I snagged Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in early September, the best half-complete product I ever bought. If acts 2 and 3 of the story had been included and the overall narrative delivery hadn’t been so utterly pedestrian, this would’ve been my game of the year easily. Ah well, maybe the trilogy’s finale will feel like a complete product when it comes out in three to four years.

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Two disappointments and one neutral release in and finally the holiday heavy-hitters started to make their arrivals, kicking off with Titanfall 2. I still haven’t touched a second of the campaign, instead soaking up every last multiplayer match the dying community will afford me in the time it has left. Given the positive word of mouth circulating around the story component however, I’ll give this one the benefit of the doubt and say it’s a great purchase overall. We’re one for four now, those of you keeping tally at home.

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Next up came Hitman, the surprise show-stealer of 2016. Featuring insanely creative and aesthetically inventive levels, a refined and revamped mechanics set for Agent 47 and an overall sense of bold direction no other game this year had, the DRM-laden episodic caper from Square Enix comes out on top. Two for five.

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And lastly, at the twilight of 2016, after the horrendous PC launch had subsided and my unwavering love for Dishonored grew to a fever pitch, I picked up Dishonored 2. Having just gotten past the infamous clockwork mansion, I can attest to the game’s merits. It’s wonderfully inventive in its level design and gameplay structure. But its story is weak and contrived, its launch was terrible and because of these things I can’t grant it nearly the amount of praise I heaped upon the original.

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So where does that leave us? Nowhere, frankly. This year was a bust for games as I don’t see myself actively pitching any of the aforementioned titles to anyone simply because they’re “that good,” though Hitman comes close. Hell, I didn’t even mention Unravel, a cute little platformer I bought solely because the lead developer put on a good show at last year’s E3. I’ve played one level and it’s nothing to write home about, though it’s serviceable and deserves a mention on here for being heartfelt—something these soulless sequels and corporate cash-grabs could learn from. Notice how all of the major releases above have a literal or proverbial “2” at the end of their titles?

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My God.

I almost forgot the worst game of 2016. The absolute worst port in the history of PC gaming, as far as my firsthand experiences are concerned. It stuttered more than a nervous high-schooler with a lisp, screen-tore like an iPhone made of wet paper and shit the bed so frequently that its myriad of disabilities almost distracted me from the piss-poor narrative and lacking runtime lurking beneath the surface. The studio’s fallen since the heydays of Max Payne and Alan Wake.

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Review of Titanfall for PC

The era of Xbox is over, as far as reviews go around here. Now, I rejoin my PC master race brethren to bring you the review of the most anticipated Xbox game of the year!titanfall

TItanfall is, in short, one of the top five multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. It’s up there with the likes of SWBFII and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, which is no easy feat. But just how does it make itself so fun, ingenious and unique? Read on to find out.

Titanfall looks deceptively simple at first: Call of Duty meshed with Halo jet-packs and big robot titans. But the more you play, the better the game gets, and the deeper the mechanics go. At first, you’ll use your rocket jumps to climb on to a rooftop, and your titan to stomp around obvious pathways to pick off grunts. By the end of your first three hour play session, you’ll be using those same rocket jumps to boost across four walls in quick succession dropping frag grenades on the unsuspecting players below, and you’ll have adapted to use your titan as a means of one-shotting enemy players off of rooftops, strafing enemy titans, and a whole slew of other uses. And therein lies the genius: it can play like a regular Call of Duty game if you want it to, but otherwise acts as a first person shooter hybrid of Vanquish and Pacific Rim, the way it is meant to be experienced. Mix that with the wide array of perks, customizable loadouts and weapons to choose from, and the core gameplay should keep you satiated for weeks; not to mention that Respawn included a healthy fifteen maps in the game to make sure you’re occupied, as the game has no single player component.

Pros:
-Fantastic FPS gameplay
-Fantastic combination of Halo, Vanquish and Pacific Rim
-6v6 multiplayer works surprisingly well
-15 maps keeps the fun going far longer than most other multiplayer forays

Cons:
-Lackluster, shoehorned-in “campaign mode” element adds little to package
-More customization would’ve been nice
-Balanced teams are rarely chosen by the game

In conclusion, if you have an Xbox One, you can’t afford to miss Titanfall (seriously, you spend $500 on a box that only has this game going for it right now). If you have a good enough PC, you owe it to yourself to cash in on Microsoft’s great Xbox One not-so-exclusive exclusive. It will completely destroy any previous impressions you had about what makes an FPS game good.

Review of Metro: Last Light for Xbox 360

The original Metro 2033 wasn’t much of an FPS game changer, being a mundane and tedious shooter devoid of any real spectacle. Metro: Last Light redeems the Metro franchise, however, and allows the gamer to enter the world Metro 2033 should’ve allowed entry to. Better late than never, right?Metro-Last-Light-2033-game-review

Metro: Last Light gives players the opportunity to continue Artyom’s quest for salvation, this time trying to save a mutant called “The Dark One”, whereas in Metro 2033 the orders were to kill every last one of their species. It now seems that that was a grave mistake on humanities’ part, and it’s up to Artyom to save the last remaining one as it holds the secret to the survival of the Metro. Oh, and Nazis are planning the Final Solution Phase 2, while all of this is going on. The plot is pretty involved, and requires players to read the diary entries, watch the cutscenes in full, and listen to on-the-spot NPC side conversations to fully immerse themselves in the happenings of the Metro. The longterm effect of doing this is that you will really feel like you’re a part of the Metro by the final hour of the game.

Last Light’s storytelling craft has been honed since Metro 2033, but the gameplay has also seen major improvements. Everything has more impact to it, and the guns themselves are far more useful and accessible than they were in 2033. Unlike 2033 where shotguns and pistols were vital to survival, Last Light allows players to use any weapon without fear of defeat. This allows for variety and diversity that was in dire need throughout 2033. The only real thing in the gameplay department that’s taken a dip since 2033 was the sense of direction. Last Light can be a bit unclear at where it wants you to go from time to time, and missing miniscule environmental details can lead to aimless wandering for minutes on end without any real assistance from the game. But this is forgiven by the numerous improvements already made in Last Light, such as the wristwatch which tells you when you’re hidden in the shadows or not for improved stealth gameplay. Frankly, Last Light is just a better experience all around in terms of actually playing the game.

The visuals, set pieces and voice acting have all upped the ante as well, with the set pieces being some of the most impressive moments in the game. Now that Metro isn’t tied directly to the books, the developers were free to embrace the sci-fi genre setting and create more explosive and creative scenes for Artyom to take part in, which is more fun for the gamer and for the plot. Last Light is just exponentially more exciting than 2033 was, the difference between the two’s entertainment value is day and night.

Overall, if you have the cash (or if you don’t and need to do some odd favors…), buy Metro Last Light new and support 4A Games, a rough and tumble game development studio that had piss-poor working conditions but still made this masterful FPS. It’s got a hell of a lot more emotion than Bioshock Infinite, better gameplay than the previous Metro, and is an all around fantastic shooter that rises above the rest. If the refined combat and enhanced stealth mechanics don’t pull you in, the gripping story, superb voice acting, riproaring set pieces, impressive production values and sophisticated narrative will.

Top 3 Games of 2011 (for Xbox 360)

Another year of great gaming has come and gone, but what titles rise above the ashes, to be remembered as the best of the best? Well, wonder no more. Gamerrob’s Top 3 games of 2011 have arrived. (Note: I rate these games on fun factor, not on my previous review scores)

Number 3: Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Now, although in my review I gave this game a rather harsh score, I had good reason behind it. But looking back, although the game had its flaws it was still one of the most satisfying games I’ve played this year, whether it be completing stealthy single player missions or pulling off the most amazing kill in an online multiplayer match. I stand by my score that I originally gave the game, but it was still an extremely rewarding adventure that really made you feel like an accomplished assassin.

Number 2: In a dark and sinister world where game developers are only in it for the money, Rocksteady and the dark knight team up to define a genre. Batman: Arkham City is undoubtedly the best super hero game of all time. Whether is was the amazing portrayal of the villians, the solid gameplay or the intriguing story, I don’t know. But all the little bits and pieces tied together to make an outstanding game that sets the standard for all super hero titles to come.

Number 1: What game is worthy of being the game of the year? The one where the cake is a lie, where physics are equally important to brain power, and where science rules. Portal 2 is the best of the best. Mind-bending puzzles, crazy fun campaigns and of course GLaDOS and her hysterical commentary. The gameplay is amongst some of the most addicting I’ve ever encountered, and overall Portal 2 is absolutely everything a sequel in a series should be. I can only hope they’ll make a third.