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Jack Saint's Best of 2016

I missed out on a crap-load of really coo-looking games! Which games you say? Well, Dishonored 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, The Last Guardian, TitanFall 2, The Witness, The Dragon Cancer, This Is The Police, Planet Coaster, The Long Dark, Subnautica, Mafia III, Battlefield, Pokemon Sun/Moon and Hitman for example! I would like to play some or all of those products when I have more time. With that in mind, here's my top 10 2016 releases that I DID play.

List items

  • 9/10 - I was not on the hype train for this game at all - I am not all that into multiplayer shooters, and the promotional cinematics for this game were well-animated but played out like something from a bad Saturday Morning Cartoon. Yes, that latter reason is a dumb reason to write off a game. But when some friends of mine convinced me to give it a shot while it was on discount, I remembered something. I remembered TF2, that multiplayer shooter that was at first almost an incidental leftover from all the other amazing stuff in The Orange Box, but ended up being a game I spent over 500 hours playing. It was the first multiplayer game I really got invested in, and I got invested HARD. Built whole communities out of that game. So, long-story-short, Overwatch is the first game since TF2 to awaken that part of my psyche, and I've now wasted many a day just pumping into games over and over and over and over. Don't regret a second. Also Hanzo sucks remove Hanzo.

  • 8/10 - Actually the last game I played before making this list, and I have no idea why because it reviewed even better than the last game and as it turns out takes everything I loved about BS1 and cranked it up to Valhalla. Smoother combat, more gruelling decision-making, more clever little perspective-switches; just a wonderful package that stands up against any TellTale adventure as a showpiece for emergent storytelling. Sadly, the last hour or so felt very disconnected and rushed to me (See if you can spot this criticism anywhere else!), so it gets docked a little for that.

  • 8/10 - So yeah, XCOM. Between Vanilla Enemy Unknown and the terrific (terrifying) Long War mod, I've got about 400 hours logged in that game. And for a while XCOM2 seemed like a master stroke, a more frenetic and tense experience with better customization, less repetition, more interesting strategic decision-making, all the good stuff. For the most part it is, and god I wish this could be 10/10 No. 1. But... it's kinda broken. Frequent frame-drops, frequent hanging on turn-ends, not uncommon to need to straight-up restart because the game forgets what elevation is, and now I have an entire play-through squashed because an NPC who has to survive the mission died and the game won't realise it. Maybe in a year's time, XCOM2 will be ironed out and make it to 10/10. And then maybe Long War 2 will come out and it'll make it to 11/10.

  • 8/10 - How did I forget to add this?! It's not without obvious flaws - it's a Souls game, so that's kind of the aesthetic at this point - but this is perhaps the most even-handed and polished of the series, admirable in its ability (which I witnessed first-hand) to translate the darling franchise into something a newcomer might really wanna get behind. No massive lakes of lava populated by giant dragon asses here! Having played all of the prior entries, I'm not quite said newbie, but I still had tremendous fun and will likely have much more as I delve into the weird, obfuscated lore.

  • 7/10 - Hoooooo-boy. My knowledge of DOOM ended at a couple hours of DOOM 2 Co-op with some internet friends, but that doesn't matter because DOOM 2016 just cracks you one right in the soul. Heart-pumping and visceral from start to finish, even if - it's that time once again - the last hour felt pretty disconnected and rushed to me, with an ending especially that just felt completely counter to how the rest of the game was rolling tonally. In general, I guess I was hoping for some third-act surprises to really shock my system, or technically even second-act surprises. You kinda know everything the game is going to throw at you by the time you hit that first Hell Warp - which is FINE! Still Hecka Fun! Just, if I had to dock it for something, it'd probably be that shotgunning down a bloody space station corridor can only be truly exhilarating for so long. Still, though - if you like fun, give this game a shot!

  • 7/10 - The year of "everything I liked about the previous game done better" rolls on with INSIDE, which has more to say than LIMBO, says it better, and looks friggin' gorgeous to boot. I like Marxism too, Playdead. I do too. (Editor's Note: Game probably not actually an analogy for Marxism?)

  • Act IV

    7/10 - It wouldn't be a Jack Saint Best Of Year List without Kentucky Route Zero! Or, at least, it wouldn't be one in a year they got around to actually releasing an act. I maintain my argument that I don't really care how long each episode takes, not only because both tonally and thematically does the dream-like half-recollection actually suit the experience, but because everything they put out is so polished and thought-provoking. Sadly, in this entry's lazy trip down the river I was a little less enthralled, and Act IV's main song 'This World Is Not My Home' is mildly disappointing after the incredible 'It's Too Late'. Relatively small knocks against what's shaking up to probably be the best-written game of all time?

  • Blood & Wine

    7/10 - A interesting departure from The Witcher's usual style of taking despicable characters and making you empathize with them, Blood & Wine gives you a bunch of somewhat empathetic characters and makes all of them a bunch of stroppy, unlikable crybabies. I say 'interesting' in the usual sense, as in 'I'm-not-sure-if-I-want-to-say-good'. I kinda liked, you know, LIKING characters in these games, and Blood & Wine really only gave me one who I cared even a little about that wasn't already established (You know Geralt is always Bae ;) ). But hey, 20 more hours of fun, varied quests with often surprising progressions and conclusions, I can dig that.

  • 7/10 - So much of this game rests on the performances of it's leads, so it's a damn good thing they got Harry God-Damn Crane in for Firewatch. A novel approach at upping the creep factor over time even if - DING DING DING - the ending feels rushed and not super interesting. And no, not because I didn't get that thing they were doing. I got it, It's just I kind of expected it but hoped it would be something less cliche to justify such dedication to figuring out the mystery.

  • 7/10 - Second stop on the Walk Around And Look At Stuff train, Virginia, a very thin experience that does some fantastic and exciting things with game direction that I really truly hope other developers are taking on-board. More smash-cuts, videogames!


    6/10 - The sequel to the outstanding FE: Awakenings should really be higher, but sadly all I can really say about FEF: Conquest (my version) is that it's a bunch of new levels within a great mechanical system, with slightly worse balancing and MUCH worse writing. I already forgot like all of the characters in this game. Where was my Donnell? (I know there was a literal Donnell equivalent, I married her. M-something? Who knows)


    6/10 - SUPERHOT is the most innovative shooter I've played in years!