What is the best way to start a new year with? well, I guess this is a perfect place to start talking about what 2016 was and how it all just fell in place, or in an endless pit.
First of all: Happy new year everyone!.
2016 have been pretty hard on celebrities as the whole 80’s and 90’s film and music library got a huge hole in it now thanks to this damned year!. I will just name a few here with David Bowie,Prince,Alan Rickman, Kenny Baker, Carrie Fisher,Debbie Reynolds,George Michael,Zsa Zsa Gabor,Andrew Sachs,Ron Glass,Robert Vaughn,Leonard Cohen,Gene Wilder,Muhammad Ali,Carla Lane,Ronnie Corbett,George Kennedy ,Antti Kallioinen and Amiga legends Oliver Wagner, Dave Needle. – I know I have missed a gazillion names here and most likely some very important names too but I rather not delve more into this section for now. Anyways, may them R.I.P.
Some very memorable games for PSVR in 2016 was…
Batman Arkham VR: lovely “tech demo” which is a bit playable but without any action, the presentation is quite good and it is awesome to be “bats” in VR.
Until Dawn: Rush Of Blood, a rail-shooter with some proper scares in it, well worth the asking price and in my opinion a proper showcase of the whole VR concept and feeling. Definitely one of the better games out there for VR if you want easy action.
Playroom VR is one of the most played VR games in my home, this is due to its party play/family approach. Really good minigames which work tremendously good even in multiplayer. A must have this one and best of all is that it is free for everyone.
Driveclub VR, a prime example of what VR can be if used properly, sadly the downgrade in graphics and features have somewhat made the best none VR driving game on PS4 to be only a good title in VR. If you look past its shortcomings then you will find one of the best driving games for VR here, yes on all formats out there.
REZ: Infinite, this is most likely my GOTY on VR this year, it is essentially the same game that was released on Dreamcast and PS2 but this time with 1 extra mode and yes – a VR mode on top of it all. The Dreamcast original release is in my top 30 of all time games and I have a feeling it is time to replace that one with this one now.
Super Stardust Ultra VR, yup it’s 2 screenshots and this is because of the two modes in the game, this game was the reason I bought a PS3 back in 2007 and thanks to VR I have yet again spent more time on it than should be allowed. The new VR only game mode works good but I still think the original gameplay in VR is even better and yes – an essential for every PSVR owner out there.
Eve: Valkyrie, another essential title. One of the best space shooters out there, it works great in VR and a proper showcase title to both new and seasoned gamers in the genre.
Robinson: The Journey, the first proper FPS game with full VR support, I really enjoyed this game and while there was not much action it was still very fun to wander around and do the various tasks it asked me to do. It was scary, fun and downright brilliant at times in terms of putting me on a planet with dinosaurs on it. This is a good example of the potential of the VR for the future.
There was also quite a bit of other good games released too, Assault RIGS, Battlezone, Eagle Flight, Pinball FX 2 VR, EVE: Gunjack, Trackmania and many, many more. The reason I have not included everyone in this post is that of me playing nearly 100hours in FFXV and then there was another game called The Last Guardian too that I had to play. My VR backlog is big but it is not too big right now so expect some more articles on that format later this month.
It is as always a very hard job for me to dig up a list of GOTY’s due to the large number of games I play in a year, to simplify everything this year I will only do a PS4 list and as for the other formats I can only say that the Amiga never stops to amaze me and that there are 5 articles in line waiting to be published about its games from 2016.
My backlog on normal games is a lot bigger than VR ones so yes I have not played all the big hitters this year indeed, Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, Battlefield One, Doom, Mirrors Edge Catalyst, Deus Ex, Watchdogs 2 and many,many more are still not unboxed. So all in all this is my list of favs this year, there are definitely others too and I am sure it might even change a bit after I try all titles, but I still feel confident that the list won’t change too much.
Number 9. : No Man’s Sky, a huge PR flop of a game. The game is actually awesome and at one point I thought it would end up at the top of my GOTY list. I did not pay much attention to the media storm around it and I played it for what it was, 50 hours of brilliant fun for me. I have not tried the huge update which was released last month yet, I will one day for sure.
Number 8. : The Division, a brilliant Tom Clancy written piece about a typical “What IF?” scenario, very good gameplay mechanics and graphics made the game very fun to play, the co-op mechanics work very well and for me, this is one of the best multiplayer games of the year. I have not tried the last update yet, it came out a month or so ago and is supposedly upping the game on everything.
Number 7.: Sky Force Anniversary, The surprise title of the year, a tiny cross-play title which is next to impossible to not like. Absolutely a masterpiece and one that deserves all the recognition it can get.
Number 6. : Rise Of Tomb Raider, This is one of those games that takes you with a storm from the first moment, sadly it came short at times for me and one of the largest gripes of the game was that I found the DLC stories to be the best fun (The Baba Yaga one for example). The overhype from xbone and pc people did not help me at all, I expected much more than what it gave me. That said, it is on number 6 which is a super high score nonetheless!. The PSVR Mode in the game is actually pretty cool too.
Number 5. : REZ: Infinite VR, yup a VR game made it to the list, one of the best games I have ever played hit PSVR and naturally this means it had to be in my GOTY list too. A Must buy and try title for everyone. Please note: The game also works without VR but it is on this list as a VR title because that is where it shines.
Number 4. : Dark Souls 3, yes it was released in 2016 indeed and I thought this game would end up in the top 3 for sure, but no, too many games this year so it sadly had to dive down to number 4. A fantastic single and multiplayer co-op game, it is not up there with Bloodborne but it is damned good anyway
Number 3.: Final Fantasy XV, yup an FF game in the top 3 list. I spent nearly 100 hours on this game and I finally platted it a few days ago, an absolute masterpiece and in my opinion one of the best games ever in the series. The new fighting system and the removal of turn-based action have made this game into a monster. Not tried it? do it?.
Number 2.: Uncharted 4, what? yes it is not number 1 and I will unveil one more thing, neither is Overwatch :-). Uncharted 4 was slow at first for me and I never thought it would kick so much ass later on in the game, I thought I had seen it all but no, it kept on surprising me.
Once the clock tower scene kicked in then the whole game went from a normal game to an absolutely killer, never before have I engaged myself as much in a chase scene as that one. Simply stunning graphics, sound, and art direction and while the game offers way too much climbing for some I still have to say that I like the climbing too. The Crash Bandicoot section in the game was also ingenious to the say the least.
Number 1. : My Game Of The Year was, of course, The Last Guardian, I kind of saw this coming, I mean, I have been waiting for this game since its first reveal like 10 years ago. I have waited and waited and to be honest, I never expected that it would be released let alone being any good. It took less than 10 minutes before I was in love with the game, everything feels so god damn epic that nothing comes close to it in terms of sheer size and openness.
HOW CAN A CLOSED LINEAR GAME LIKE TLG FEEL SO OPEN WHEN IT’S NOT!, NOW THAT’S A FEAT!.
Yes, there were many huge open games last year and the year before and so on but none of them have this kind of landscape/architecture design and it is almost like if there’s magic dust all over the map which makes you want to “have an extra look” to check it out.
The game is far from flawless sadly, it does have it’s technical problems and while I believe many of them are due to its design I want to call – “to control a wild animal ain’t easy, you have to be precise and show love in order to move the gigantic thingy around” -. As many know already, showing love and being precise ain’t enough and yes sometimes it goes into deep frustration but for some reason, I somehow managed to overcome it by just loving the game for being different.
The PlayStation 4 Pro console release, yup this was a very brave move by SONY and one that I ” a console gamer ” has a huge problem with. Releasing new hardware is good by all means and yes I am all for better hardware and more speed, but releasing mid console cycle hardware is a decision that won’t get my vote at all, at least not as an existing owner of the original 3-year-old PS4 hardware.
The thing is that this upgrade system will eventually lead to *more* development sloppiness, it will be like it is on PC today where developers will take shortcuts to get the game out without optimizing it for the low-end market at all. Games that would run perfectly will have slowdowns and problems because “it works on the PRO” and people should stop whining and just upgrade if they want the real deal.
I haven’t bought the Pro for several reasons, 2 of them is above (already got a launch model and I don’t like the “upgrade a console” concept), the third reason is that I got no 4K tv. Amazingly enough, I haven’t even considered getting a 4K tv yet either and why is that? , well it’s easy really, I won’t buy a new tv before the old ones (we have 2) breaks.
So, no it’s not a money problem or anything like that and while I know that my next PS4 console will be a Pro is only down to one thing and that is if I need a replacement for my old one(s), if this happens before or after one of my tv’s break will only time tell.
So this was just a few highlights of the yesteryear, a grand year in gaming and especially so if you were into the PlayStation brand. I am not sure if we will see such a year again in this console cycle, much like 2011 was the year of the PS3 for many.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!
Oh yes, one more thing, I had a total crash on my PS4 in late November, for some reason my trophy list got corrupted locally so that when I earned a trophy the console locked up or sometimes they “pling’d in” but never showed up in my lists. To fix this I had to delete everything on my hard drive (full format) which means I lost a lot of messages, pictures and such from you guys.
If I haven’t answered you or whatever then let me know so we can continue where we left off. The system was fully working again from 12th of December (oh god, I hate downloading 4TB of data…. ). I had a plan to do an article about this crash but I decided not to do so because of the nature of it all, lots of people have had this problem and no one knows why it happens, and yes i was in talks with key Sony people to try and find the culprit of it all. The only thing we know is that it happened when I was playing “The Inifity Runner”…
Keep on rocking everyone, thanks for your support in 2016 and I hope that 2017 will be just as active and fun here on the blog. Expect a lot more reviews this year, less unboxing stuff and more proper reviews (of old and new).