Games I Started/Finished - 2016

List items

  • Don't get the hype at all. After less than an hour you've seen most of what this game has to offer.

    2/5

  • First few hours are very positive. Not sure if it's the leap some reviewers said, although I liked Unity a lot more than most people (see my 2014 list). And the technical issues that plagued Unity seem to have been greatly reduced.

    Update: finished it. Thoughts similar to before - I liked the game, but I found it quite similar to Unity. The plot and characters were much improved and it's nice to see the return of the current day stuff, if still very limited in form.

    4/5 (just)

  • (Master Chief Collection version)

    I enjoyed blasting through this. It feels more like a collection of ideas that Bungie were floating around with but never took forward (until Destiny), as the open world stuff is in reality a fairly limited experience that ultimately just collects together a bunch of traditional Halo levels in an admittedly clever and atmospheric way. Still, Halo is Halo and it was fun, if nothing spectacular or incredibly groundbreaking.

    3/5

  • Finally got around to buying the game. My experiences are similar as my expectations were set from the beta (see the 2014 list). The handling is probably best described as "serviceable", the story is predictably garbage and even after an overhaul the graphics won't blow anybody away, but there's something admirable about the playground that Ivory Tower have made. I always had a soft spot for TDU (a game a lot of Ivory Tower devs worked on) and its sense of exploration, and that's taken to another level with a larger and much more diverse world.

    Whilst naturally the enormous scale leads to a more superficial level of detail compared to say Forza Horizon 2's France/Italy, and Capitol Hill is still in a ditch, the game does a respectable job of representing each city and environment and I had a lot of fun driving around the world just looking at it. If nothing else, this aspect is incredibly unique, and if you enjoy stuff like Euro/American Truck Simulator for similar reasons you might find good value in this game.

    3/5

  • For some reason I bought this back in 2011 but never actually played that much. Anyway, I'm rectifying that mistake now. And the game is pretty great, even if the PC port is a bit garbage.

    4/5

  • So much better than the rather tragic Ghosts. A much improved campaign mode with a much more appealing cast and a compelling if utterly predictable story, plus a revitalised multiplayer which makes use of the new movement smartly to create a fantastic experience.

    4/5

  • [PC]

    The game GRID 2 should have been. It successfully updates the original game without discarding the legacy of the old Touring Car and TOCA games like GRID 2 did. The selection of cars and tracks is very good (if a little recycled), the handling is one of the best simcade applications out there and the AI, whilst a little aggressive, is strong. The casual audience should really enjoy this and even for more hardcore racing guys like me it works well.

    4/5

  • Rather disturbingly hooked me for a few days. A really cool mix of tactical elements. Building complex automated factories and shipping goods from one side of your base to the other is very satisfying.

    4/5

  • Great reimagining. Graphics are amazing. Shows there's still as big of a market as ever for these types of games.

    4/5

  • I'm going to be a little unfair and review these from a 2016 perspective, since for a contemporary analysis you can just read reviews from the original releases. I've never played the games before, so I'm going in fresh.

    Uncharted 1: Definitely can see why this one is a little behind the others in review scores. It's a good game with great spirit, strong production values and graphics that are still pretty nice in 2016 (with some PS4 1080p60 help), and I enjoyed the platforming segments even if they are a little too linear. That said, the flaws are definitely obvious. The gunplay gets very monotonous particularly near the end, the controls occasionally tempt me into throwing the controller across the room and the vehicle segments are rather average even by 2007 standards. In 2007 I would probably have awarded this a 4/5, but in 2016 the control fumbles and gameplay shortcomings are a little less excusable - 3/5

    Uncharted 2: Fantastic sequel. It was already clear after the first few chapters that this would be a major improvement in almost every way, and so it proved. The graphics are much improved, the story is fleshed out and more interesting, the environments and locales are freshened up and the gameplay, whilst still a pretty simplistic cover shooter, is much better paced broken up by interesting platforming and exploration segments. The few minor shortcomings - the slightly crude stealth, occasional control fumbles and uninspired trophy list - are barely even worth mentioning. A triumph - 5/5

    Uncharted 3: Anyone who writes that Uncharted 2 was "more of the same" is clearly broken in the head, because this game is the definition of "more of the same". After the major improvements in the last game, this game has a lot greater feeling of treading water. That would not necessarily be a bad thing, but in several areas UC3 feels perhaps a little less accomplished than its immaculate predecessor. The story is not as good, being very similar to UC2 and with a fairly unsatisfying ending, and it's a shame Cutter and Chloe went AWOL because the game worked best with a larger ensemble. Also, in a complaint that's quite hard to explain, I feel that Naughty Dog were trying to fit in a dramatic set piece once too often and thus the game didn't feel as "authentic", for lack of a better word. Playing the games back-to-back as part of this collection is perhaps a little unfair, but it does highlight the little things that make UC3 a slightly lesser game than UC2, even as it is an accomplished and fun game (and still much better than UC1) - 4/5

  • [Hearts of Stone DLC]

    Probably the best story of the game so far.

    5/5

    [Blood and Wine DLC]

    Fantastic new location. Engaging quests. Lovely graphics. And an interesting, if not as good as B&S story. The sendoff this fantastic game deserves.

    5/5

  • [Far Harbor DLC]

    Pretty good. Nice story options, an atmospheric and interesting locale and some good visuals, albeit with poor performance in areas even on my 980Ti at 1080p. Bear in mind that I enjoyed the base Fallout 4 more than most it seems.

    4/5

    [Nuka World DLC]

    Just started it.

  • Fantastic team shooter. Interesting abilities, well balanced heroes, great maps and the usual Blizzard high-standards of visual design and general polish. Played the beta and enjoyed it enough to order the full game there and then. Hopefully Blizzard will live up to their promise of new maps/heroes.

    5/5

  • Gotta solve 'em all!

    5/5

  • I hugely respect Doom, which is a fantastic throwback to some old conventions whilst feeling slick and modern at the same time. That said, the game didn't grab me personally. I found after a few hours the combat rush wore off and once it did I had little motivation to keep going.

    Multiplayer is a disappointment but nobody cares.

    3/5

  • It's a Formula One game! With cars! And tracks!

    Takes 2015's solid handling and brings back career, which is better than ever thanks to the R&D aspects. It gives you a real reason to actually invest in the career mode over just picking individual races as you feel like it. There are still a few bugs but it's not as bad as previous entries.

    Also, Jeff (race engineer), please shut up! God does he pick the worst moments to give you inane or irrelevant information. Damn it, Jeff.

    4/5

  • This game is pretty good overall. The main sticking point is the story which builds up with a lot of potential and then just ends in a disappointing, predictable manner. And I agree with Jeff in that effectively removing all but the final boss fight (which technically can still be bypassed) is not the cleanest way to solve Human Revolution's issues with them. That said, the world they've built is fantastic and the gameplay, whilst pretty similar to HR, is still fun and provides a geniune sense of freedom in how to complete your actions.

    4/5

  • A good game with some new elements that keep the series fresh and change up the cases a little bit. It's still a Phoenix Wright game though with all the quirks and flaws, so if you liked or disliked previous entries this one probably isn't going to change your mind.

    4/5

  • [PS4]

    I liked it, but maybe not as much as most people.

  • [PS4]

    My thoughts on the Journey below, since the rest of the game is broadly similar to before. Good, but feeling a little stagnant. There will be a few mild spoilers, so take care.

    I finished the Journey, and it was OK. The idea of a story mode is neat the game does a few things well, capturing the soul of a young footballer's meteoric rise and doing a nice job at developing the characters and some meaningful relationships between them.

    Where the mode really falls apart is in the practicality of the thing. Not to spoil too much, but the story is incredibly rigid to the point of ridiculousness. You will be sent away on loan even if you do as I did and bang in the equivalent of a goal every in-game hour, and Gareth Walker will stay even if he trundles round the pitch doing f-all (later in the game I was beating him 17 goals to 2). There's not much meaningful choice and only a few fail states if you play too badly will ever alter your progress, with one of those rather hilariously coming after I got one red card too many after firing Arsenal to the title and cup final and was subsequently released. And whilst the conversation wheel is good in theory, in reality it only affects the number of fans and the manager's opinion of you, which can be easily controlled through playing and training well. Finally, there's a bit of the game during the autumn and winter where the story slows to a crawl and the game feels like a bit of a slog.

    I honestly think the mode would work better as a much more controlled experience. Not only would that preclude oddities like choosing Arsenal, seeing them signing di Maria and then having Hunter later meet him at a photoshoot and act like they've never met, but it would provide a more engaging and compelling experience both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, perhaps things like specific objectives or only joining the action partway through in a "scenario" situation (e.g. injury, red card, down in the match) would invigorate what at times feels like a slog of games, whilst off the pitch fewer potential scenarios would perhaps allow the developers to make a more in-depth mode where your choices matter that much more.

    Overall, it's worth a play since it can be played in chunks. but if you're on the fence about buying FIFA then I don't think this mode will seal the deal.

    4/5 (whole game)

  • Another very solid game. Obviously highly familiar to those versed in Horizon 2, but the formula still works to provide a compelling experience with a ton of cars and some really fun online modes. Despite the similarities, it's still a very highly accomplished game.

    That said, the PC port is a real disappointment, with poor CPU optimisation. Almost enough to knock a point off, but not quite.

    4/5

  • I played through the entire story on Master difficulty, plus a few hours of multiplayer (not so much my thing).

    The story mode is fantastic. The story itself is pretty simple but the bond you develop with your Titan is surprisingly authentic and just having adventures with your friend is really the driving force behind the narrative. The game takes you to a good variety of locations each with unique gameplay elements, and is smart enough in its pacing that it gets you out before you get too bored. Some of the "unique elements" I mentioned are really cool - the level in the abandoned research facility is a particular highlight. There's good action whether it's shooting up ground troops or slugging out in the fantastic Titan v Titan battle sequences, and the boss sections feel good as they are challenging but not unfairly so.

    Overall though, Jeff is right - it's the feel of the game that sets it apart the most. Both the movement and the shooting are probably at the pinnacle of the genre, and it affects single-player as much as multiplayer. There's no other shooter that controls this well.

    5/5

  • It's pretty good. There's fairly standard Halo action with quite a familiar campaign and multiplayer. The story is weak and pretty throwaway, probably a symptom of Microsoft wanting to prolong the franchise and not commit to an end-point like Bungie did, and I feel as though the campaign didn't hit the same impressive standards that 343 hit with Halo 4, with Jameson Locke in particular being a pretty bland and redundant point man. But the gameplay itself is still solid, the 4-player co-op is definitely a welcome addition and the multiplayer is in great shape.

    Also, the graphics look really dismal in some areas, with some astonishing aliasing when the dynamic resolution is at its worst. But I can't really say if this is just the weakness of the Xbox One since I don't play other shooters on the machine.

    4/5

  • Great first impressions, even as I am quite a short way into the game. But the performance on PC is really unacceptable. It's not unplayable on my hardware and is still better than the console versions, but not hitting 1080p60 on a 980Ti with the way the game looks is not on.

    It's a shame, because the game is really good. Whilst there are definitely flaws (the predictable story, no mission select at launch) the game still does a great job at building memorable levels which offer multiple routes to success, and fun abilities that offer a ridiculous skill ceiling. The world is again really well realised with tons of little details, background information and minor story influences that makes Karnaca feel alive. And whilst the penalty for playing violently is still a bit silly in a game that purports to offer freedom of choice, it's rare to find a game that's as fun to play violently as it is to play stealthily.

    5/5

  • I played the free weekend. I only put in about 3 hours so it's far from enough for a fully formed opinion, but I definitely enjoyed what I played a lot. I was surprised by how decently people played online - obviously teamwork is nowhere near the level of a party of friends, but griefing was minimal and impromptu teamwork absolutely happens.

    Update: Bought it in the Winter Sale. It really is a fantastic game.

    5/5

  • Bought this on a whim. It's very similar to the second game, in that it's a fun, over-the-top third person action game where you blow a lot of stuff up and complete a solid if utterly predictable story. That said, whilst it plays better than the second game in no small part thanks to the neat addition of the wingsuit, I think I preferred the second game's setting.

    Not really worth full price, but at current asking prices it's a good pickup if you want 10-15 hours of entertainment.

    3/5

  • I loved the old RCT games, even RCT3 with its buggy, poorly optimised release. This is a refreshed 2016 era version with better graphics and insane customisation with the buildings and scenery. The simulation is relatively speaking weak, but if you are like me and just like to go wild in Sandbox mode it's glorious.

    4/5

  • [Remaster on PC]

    A high quality remaster of an excellent game. On my i7 4790k and 980Ti I can manage 4K at mostly 60FPS and it looks glorious. It's a shame about the unnecessary packaging with Infinite Warfare, although finding the legacy edition for £26 less than a month after launch definitely lessens the blow.

    Playing the campaign, it still holds up incredibly well. In fact, I think I prefer the slightly less over-the-top approach that what they started with MW2. It manages some incredibly impactful sequences and some terrific levels without chucking 5,000 enemies at you or asking you to take out 7 helicopters with C4 whilst strapped to a zebra rampaging through Burger Town.

  • [PC]

    I'm only in for the campaign: I haven't been seriously interested in CoD multiplayer since Black Ops and the zombies-style modes have never interested me.

    This is probably the best CoD campaign in a while. Probably since the interesting Black Ops 2, and purely in terms of quality it might even top that. It has much more variety, stunning backdrops and satisfying gunplay that comes pretty close to Titanfall 2. If you can pick this up on sale, it's worth a shot even if the last few games haven't satisfied.

    4/5

  • [PC]

    I had little interest in the first game. It looked really dull and so I never bought it and have only played maybe half an hour of it. But with the sequel, Ubi have made a game that's much more interesting to play. The game has interesting content, a great self-depricating tone and characters that are suprisingly cool. It never particularly excels and the story is mostly predictable nonsense, but as an open-world game Watch Dogs 2 works really well and is worth your time if you enjoy these sorts of games.

    4/5

  • A huge return to form after the very disappointing Absolution. The sequel Blood Money deserves.

    5/5

  • Effectively a reskin of Euro Truck Simulator 2, but priced as such. SCS have generally got better at making more interesting environments. The rescale to 1:20 from 1:35 was badly needed but at least they recognised the error and fixed it for free.

    4/5

  • Had been looking to pick this up, and the Steam sale provided that opportunity.