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Games I played 2016

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  • Very disappointed.

    I guess at it's core, it's a decent game. But it feels like price of "going 3D" has been a very steep on - and like the game has been released (abandoned?) in a very buggy state.

    Playing through the game co-operatively, online, we ran into a plethora of bugs - everything from broken cutscenes to box physics just not working.

    Not to mention basic user interface problems - joining a multiplayer game, the game selecting keyboard+mouse controls despite you controlling the menus with a gamepad?

    Doesn't help that the game ends on what is effectively a "to be continued" sign.

    Maybe Trine 4 will be a return to form.

  • Vermintide has it's good and it's bad. It's very Payday 2/Left 4 Dead inspired in design - basically running the same systems straight off, but a lot more focused on melee combat - as there is a cost of using ranged in the game (ammo is limited, magic hurts the user).

    This works fine, and the game has clear potential.

    Where the game suffers is in 2 areas:

    1) Level design is uninspired. All levels feel alike. This is in stark contrast to Payday 2 and Left 4 Dead. Especially Payday 2's levels are very distinct and while you do similar things in them - the way you go about them is wildly different. Here... you are basically crawling through dark passages and cemeteries, carrying barrels and smashing crystals in all of them.

    2) Loot. I like Loot. I've played a lot of Diablo. I've played a lot of Payday. Loot is fun. What isn't fun is Payday 2's "random loot" system - and it's only made WORSE by locking all weapons (which are the major part of what's fun with the combat) behind random drops.

    Very frustrating.

    But... it has a lot of potential. And I do like Warhammer games - even Fantasy Battle ones.

  • I'm torn. On the one hand, I like a lot about Helldivers. It invokes Starship Troopers. It feels good to play. But Playing 1 player, 2 player and 3 players (but not 4) made me feel like 1 player required me to play a specific way.

    2 Players had a good balance, while 3 players left me feeling superfluous.

    So... I don't know. I might come back to it. Or just play it when I can get a second player.

  • Pretty cool. Small game, and it did catch me at that one point. Though... that illusion quickly fell apart... but it was nicely done.

    I did find that it did overstay it's welcome - but that might just be me being a miserly bastard.

  • I want to like this game a lot more than I do. I want it to inhabit that same fever-dream-esque status that Fez has for me... but it never quite got there.

    Part of the reason why it never quite gets there is probably the 'technical' reasons - few games make me motion sick, but The Witness made me very sick until I adjusted the FOV (using a config file... :/ ), which helped the issue, but did not solve it.

    The other part is... that it's too long. And it appears(?) to have a narrative, but that narrative is only damaged by the amount of Puzzles (many of which you just blow through with little thought).

    Did I like it? Yes. Do I have papers of insane scribbles lying around me? Yes. Have I recommended it to multiple friends? Yes.

    ... but I still feel ambivalent stepping away from it, and not at all interested in digging into the "post endgame" puzzles (which I started messing around with a bit), which I was in Fez (The Monolith still excited me!).

    But maybe my problem is that I'm somehow putting this in a similar place to where I have Fez, and that is an unrealistic comparison? I don't know.

  • I remember quite enjoying 'Tomb Raider', even though I felt there was a dissonance in Lara's personality - she changes too suddenly, there's not a lot of Lara from the beginning of the game a short time after the action starts popping off, despite her being very emotional about what's going on at first.

    So I'm very glad to say that while Lara is still a mass-murderer of historical proportions, her character is written a lot more evenly in the sequel. There's some growth (not a lot), but there character at the end of the game is recognizable from the character at the start of the game.

    More, she's clearly human and sympathetic. I like the character. And I think it's to the character's credit that I keep bringing up her body count - it's the one thing that is causing dissonance in me now.

    Beyond that, the game

    But it's not all smooth sailing. I kept struggling with the climbing mechanics through the game - they felt clunky and the fact that they are not 'magnetic' pissed me off. But I also found that the mechanics for climbing is also not consistent - there are times when climbing seems magnetic - but most of the time it isn't. Every time it seemed to shift, I kept struggling - especially in 2 areas:

    1) Timing puzzle where you had to "drop" onto a platform below you. The game kept correcting the position in a way that I had to do the sequence about 5 times before I managet to pull it off.

    2) Lara seems to have inertia when climbing? Sometimes, when quickly going from "climbing to the side" to "jumping up," the game would jump me to the side anyway - killing and resetting me to the closest checkpoint.

    (Worth noting: Checkpoints are good, but loadtimes (rare normally) are pretty bad.)

    Another complaint I have is the story. The main characters are written in a way that they pretty much telegraph their entire character arcs the moment they appear, and the story is entirely macguffin based to the point where it's just window dressing, entirely without substance.

    Combat and Sneaking is pretty good, but the amount of people they throw at Lara is just ludicrous. Skills are largely interesting - though some make Lara possibly a bit too powerful...

    Stealth isn't as good as Phantom Pain - but Lara's not supposed to be as... potent as Snake is.

    Seems likely there will be a third game, and that the story will be equally insubstantial. I'll probably check it out, based on this games' performance.

  • Firewatch is pretty cool, cute and stuff. It's a great, focused experience. I did not expect the gut-punch that is the intro - it hit very close to home.

    I'm still torn on what to think about parts of the game.

    I was hoping the camera would be something more than it was... but it's fine.

    It's a touching story, but I also kind of feel that it started pulling it's punches after the intro - going for the KO in the first minute, then lulling you into security with the cute banter.

    ... I don't really know where I stand on Firewatch.

  • XCOM 2 is really unfortunate.

    On a technical level, the game is a mess. Regular crashes to desktop, terrible performance, long load times, fake load-screens, lots of small timers running all of the place just wasting time. It's just frustrating.

    I can't count the number of times the game just decided to close on me. It's an unmitigated disaster.

    Come on, It should not have been released in this state!

    Then there's the game. Having played these games for decades - being an evangelist for the earliest games in the series, this game infuriates me. It's just so frustrating. More than ever, it feels like the percentages the game presents to me are straight up lying to me.

    The turn-limit on most missions is another point of frustration. I understand what the developers are trying to do here - they are trying to push you out of your comfort zone, create more desperate moments and in general stop being so safe with our "crawling overwatch" strategy... but I feel like they went the wrong way with it - especially considering that I feel like they did a much better job of it in Enemy Within - where it was an optional objective with a lot of incentive.

    Instead, XCOM 2 gives you 8 turns to get to an objective, usually covered by 4 pods of enemies. This typically means that you will be sprinting blindly for 4+ turns just to get to the objective in time, at which time you are expected to make a heroic sacrifice to get the objective done.

    Here it just feels like the game is stacked against me to the point where I eventually broke down and started save-scumming heavily to get through the game.

    And I hate save scumming, I feel it ruins the game for myself.

    And then there's the final mission, which breaks it's own rules and just seems to throw enemies at you without any real thought on how you are supposed to deal with that without save scumming.

    On the other hand, XCOM 2's been the first time in a long time where I suddenly went "Hmm." and spent 10 minutes just planning through my consequent actions.

    When that works, the game is beautiful.

    Overall, I feel like XCOM 2 is trying to bludgeon you into submission: "Do things the way I tell you to, or I'll punch you again!", rather than encourage and teach you how to use it's systems.

    (And let's not even talk about the game teaching you things... XCOM 2 must be one of the greatest failures of Interaction Design in a while - considering the number of hidden features that the game never seems to be able to figure out how to tell you about...)

    ... sigh.

    (And yeah, I'll be back in ~4 years for XCOM 3, but I hope they sort this shit out.)

  • SUPER.






    ... err. Honestly, I didn't think that this would live up to it's prototype, but I do think that they managed to at least meet my expectations, if not slightly exceed them. Very cool game.

  • Disgustingly charming. Surprisingly one of the funniest games I've played in a while.

    Also dastardly difficult at times.

  • Far Cry Primal is well made, and it's a unique setting. But it's also more Far Cry. Do you want more Far Cry? Then this is it.

    Mechanically, I'm surprised how well they've managed to convert the "classic" Far Cry formula to Stone Age-weapon compatibility.

  • Considering that Factorio is in Early Access, it's surprisingly deep - and one of the few Early Access games that I've picked up, much less one I've almost spent 30 hours with.

    At 30 hours, I reached a point where I don't know if I really like where the game is going - but I'm going to take a break from it and come back when it's released... see where they take it, by then.

    Update: at 100 hours. I've reached a point where I just adore the game, and probably will continue playing it for quite some time to come.

  • Over 2016 I dropped over 100 hours into TCTD - it's really, really good. Great atmosphere, great gameplay.

    Some dark patches where the game struggled, but I feel that as 2016 ends, it has course-corrected.

    I think the Dark Zone game play is both it's most interesting thing, and the thing I do not want to spend any time with myself.

  • Hyper Light Drifter is beautiful, stylish game. And it's pretty good too!

    It gave me very strong Fez-vibes, but unfortunately(?), it doesn't quite go the whole way that I wanted it to. But it tells a story without really using any words.

    The combat system in the game is surprisingly deep - having anti-key-spamming mechanics built in.

  • The difference between Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors is that I don't have the tenuous connection to Chinese culture that I do to Japanese culture.

    As a result, Samurai Warriors is one of those games that I just occasionally drop some hours into because it's like popcorn - easy to consume.

  • I have mixed feelings about Stardew Valley - on one hand, it's really good. On the other hand, it feels like work.

  • I spent a lot with the mobile game, a while back. The PC version is pretty good, but I feel like I've gotten most of what I wanted out of the game in the mobile game.

  • The speed and accuracy required here makes this one of my go-to VR games.

    It's evolved a lot since I bought it, still early access, I believe.

    Last few times I tried it 2016, I found that the game had been changed in a direction that I didn't enjoy, and I was no longer able to enjoy it in the same was as I had previously.

  • Best VR game at launch.

    Though... "game" is a bit generous, it's more an activity.

  • Some great VR activities - it's a good demo, if nothing else.

    Even less substance than Job Simulator.

  • I'm still trying to figure out why people are so keen on this.

    It's fine, but there seems to be nothing special about it.

  • Audioshield is cool, but has a critical flaw, just like the studio's other games: I stopped gathering (and keeping) MP3s about 10 years ago... meaning that there's not a lot of content.

    They do have some daily tracks that the game provides you (youtube videos, it seems?), but just like audiosurf, the problem is just that most songs just don't generate fun levels.

    When the game DOES generate a level that hits all of the beats, it makes you feel really bad ass.

    The rest of the time... it kind of feels like you're randomly flailing your arms loosely to the beat of music.

  • Stellaris filled my Civilization need this year.

    ... and is another game that really struggles with it's endgame. It just kind of peters out, becomes super-slow and grindy.

    But other than that, it's a pretty great 4X.

  • Doom is pretty good... but I also feel like I didn't have the same attachment as many others did.

    They've successfully taken the old formula and moved it into a modern formula that works.

    That said, I really don't like the melee mechanic - felt a bit... on-railsy...?

  • Another Season!

    ... I don't know if I'm going back again though. Will need a pretty strong reason. But who knows, might just get bitten again.

  • This is amazing in VR - some incredible vertigo moments will docking - and VR actually adds value here, allowing you to look around the cockpit is very useful during dogfights, letting you track enemy ships very easily.

    Also, Elite is pretty good.

    It's a bit boring and grindy, but the core game is pretty good.

  • Well. That's a shame.

    Having finished the game, I understand why it was sent out to quietly die, released just before E3 as it is.

    There's something here, something wonderful - the core of the thing that was in the first game. The smooth, buttery flow. That place, where there is no resistance.

    But Mirror's Edge Catalyst is not about flow.

    It's about impedance, about stopping you in your tracks. About not letting you experience the the core mechanic of the game.

    Combat works better in this game, than in the previous game, but is still tacked on - it's a disappointing security blanket that DICE/EA is still not willing to let go of, and it hurts the game so much.

    Speaking of hurting the game, CAN WE STOP REBOOTING STORIES AFTER ONE INSTALLMENT!? Is Faith and Cat really the 2 interesting characters in this world? To the point where you were not able to tell a new story in that world without completely invalidating the first game?

    The new world is generally better than the world in the previous game, but it does not hold up to investigation. There's no reason why the rooftops of the city would look anything like it does, with a mix between offices, insane walkways (that no one would ever use), maintenance corridors and plain rooftops (surprisingly rare...).

    Another big issue with he world is that there are multiple places in the game that are just there funnel you through those areas to get you from area A to Area B. These areas, without fail, will require you to stop, lose your speed meter either by clambering around an air duct or using a ladder - both of which are activities which Faith are clearly not impressed with.

    Unfortunately, the parkour/movement mechanics are not quite polished enough to be where they need to be and occasionally will just send you flying in a random direction. Other times, it's just not possible to perform moves that it feels like the game expects you to do - or it will drain your precious "gotta go fast" meter for doing so.

    Generally, while the movement system is intended to keep you moving, it feels like there's a lot of parts of it that are there just for the sake of being there.

    Timing a button with a landing for a soft roll, and speedy recovery is a welcome return from the previous game... but here, it's necessary for practically every jump, and it will often put you in a situation where you will roll off a rooftop before you were not confident in your ability to land without the roll. In some situation, a number of short, step-high falls will cause Faith to crash to the ground for no apparent reason (I realize it's potentially realistic - but in a game where you can springboard off of anything...)

    I'm clearly upset. There's a fundamental failure to go through with a vision, which has resulted in a game that tries to make everyone happy, but is likely not going to make very many people...

  • Uses same basic mechanics as Super Hot, but missing the pizzazz that makes Super Hot pop. TTBB is pretty good, but short and it's probably going to be a lot more interesting to someone who cares about leader boards.

    (Ultimately, it's pretty forgettable.)

  • As someone who is not overly fond of South Park's brand of humor, I've been hesitant to get into this game. But... with the new game coming, and so many people badgering me to give it a fair shot, I caved in.

    Honestly, I was surprised at how solid the game is. This is actually a pretty good RPG, with some quick time events in combat to keep things a bit varied. The different party-members have significant different mechanics and all fill different niches.

    It's surprisingly good.

    But... it also reinforced that South Park does not amuse me. They managed to cause a few snorts - but for a humor series, I'd consider that to be under par, right?

    Anyway, I may end up checking the sequel out at some point, but I am not very hyped for it.

  • The amount of hate this game is getting is very strange to me.

    Sure, it's not the best Trials game. But it's different. They are trying something else.

    The story in this game is something else, and is the main component of the game.

    The driving still feels good.

    Though, I do agree that the experimental features (on-foot platforming, jet pack parts, grappling hook sections, mako sections) could've used a bit more work.

    But jeez, THAT story.

  • I'm... kind of disappointed. I spent 100 hours with Starbound in early access, and I remember having a lot more fun with it than I did with the 30 hours I spent with it since release.

    It's certainly a finished product now, it's got a start and an end.

    ... But it also exists in the shadow of the amazing Terraria, which is a much grander fantasy.

    There's also quite a few annoyance elements. Inventory Management is apparently something the game wants you to spend significant effort on - complete with too-small containers.

    Also, I understand the reason why food works the way it does (it would be irrelevant otherwise), but it's means that the game constantly has a stress element. There's no case where you can just relax and walk away from the game for 30 minutes - you'll come back to multiple deaths.

    Bosses are also a bit weird. Most of them have interesting elements. But... they are all set in areas where most of your normal toolset has been disabled (you can't break or place blocks).

    It seems like a missed opportunity - like how in Terraria you might set up a large part of a world just to prepare yourself for the boss you are about to fight.

    And the matter manipulator exists, but so does tools like pickaxes - it's like they want to both have their cake and eat it. But it doesn't really make sense. And I'm not a fan of how the upgrades for the Matter Manipulator works.

    It's cool and interesting, but it feels like it still needs some work to get it to where it needs to be.

  • I really like this series. It's understated, it's artsy. Quadrilateral Cowboy is certainly the most game they have made so far. Parts of the game is pretty rough, but it's fun and utterly charming.

  • Expectations for games with the "Double Fine" logo is weird. Why do they need to be "funny"? I don't know, but I feel like how serious Headlander is is part in how much I struggled to like the game.

    So, yeah, Headlander isn't funny. It's got amusing moments, a chuckle here and there, but at it's core, Headlander is a lot more heady sci-fi than anything else. There's more depressing dystopia than anything else.

    Mechanically, flying around as the head feels good. Moving around with a body feels good. So the basics are there.

    But it feels like the game lacks direction for much of it - I often found myself just roaming around areas and randomly poking at things... eventually realizing that I had drifted out of the area entirely.

    It's a decent game, but not great.

  • I was highly sceptical of No Man's Sky. And I was determined to "wait and see".

    Eventually, I wound up picking the game up during the (PC) release weekend anyway - and found that I had been largely correct in my scepticism.

    No Man's Sky doesn't know what it wants to be - and that's really messing the game up.

    And once again, we're discussing inventory management as a gameplay mechanic. Sigh. Inventory Management is NOT fun. It is NOT interesting. And making matters worse for NMS, you get three times the bad inventory management of most games.

    The push/pull of upgrades or materials CAN work - look at "Out There".

    ... and NMS also does not explain any of it's mechanics.

    And for all the variety that's been bragged about, the lack of variety is pretty shocking. In the 20 hours I've spent with the game, I've seen 3 sentient alien races with some random parts glued on. I've seen a bunch of Spore aliens (not as impressive as it was in spore), and I've noticed that all plants come in 2(3?) variations.

    Eh. I might go back and take another look at it at some point, but I think that NMS is a great example of a game that grew so much that it lost it's way.

  • Overwatch must be one of the most successful failures in this industry.

    I could probably write a dissertation on the success of the characters. Of the game-mechanics. Of the levels. Of the meta. It's just a really, really good game.

    Which is kind of what you would expect from Blizzard by now, surely?

  • I'm torn about Deus Ex - it's a good game, but it also didn't have nearly the same impact as the previous game,which I was obsessed with at launch.

  • Did you know, Nintendo launches all of their games 2-4 games later in Europe? It really sucks.

    When the Picross 3D 2 launched - I really wanted a Picross fix, so I picked up e4.

    Which is fine. It's just not Picross 3D...

  • In many ways, Legion is the best World of Warcraft has been since Pandaria, if not Classic.

    Unfortunately, I do not have the energy to rebuild a crew to enjoy all of it...

  • Mafia 3 contains a great 8 hour game. Unfortunately, 2k was not satisfied with a great 8 hour game, and stretched it over more than 24 hours.

    The result is some pretty good story bits, stretched between what boils down to randomly generated content. I had several instances where I was doing the same mission, in the same place, multiple times, because of how the game is set up.

    It's just not good enough, and after 24 hours of being mostly bored, I decided that enough was enough and just stopped playing. Which is very rare for me these days.

  • I'm still angry about the end of Mass Effect 3. I know it's petty, but I felt betrayed, and...

    Anyway, Despite all of that, Mass Effect 3 is still 99% of an amazing game. Probably one of the best games ever made?

    Some of the DLC is master-class, the whole Shepard-clone line is brilliant, and clearly shows a Bioware at it's best.

    But yeah, Basically, I went back to Mass Effect 3 to get the last few achievements I was missing - including finishing the campaign on Insanity difficulty.

    It's still good.

  • [spoilers]

    ... I didn't like Titanfall 2's singleplayer campaign. I think the story and characters are pretty dull. Basically only BT stands out, and even then...

    But some of the set pieces in the game are insane. The time-travel mechanic is cool. I actually had difficulties navigating the sideways city (and the assembly line was rad). And the assault on the ship was memorable.

    And then there's the multiplayer. I really want to like it, I want to regenerate. But... I just don't know if I can get around to it.

  • I played through Infinite Warfare a few days after Titanfall 2, and while Titanfall 2 probably has moments that I will remember, I do think I liked the campaign of Infinite Warfare a bit better.

    Excellent characters, excellent storytelling, that CoD pacing. Basically the Star Wars fantasy grounded in near-future. It's a great game.

    The fact that they have a facsimile of (arcadey) flight sim is just crazy and cool.

    The mission where you sneak through an asteroid belt, disable the engines of a capital ship, combat your way across said ship, steal a prototype fighter and fight off enemy ships - might be one of the greatest vertical slice missions I've played in a long time.

    The multiplayer... is... yeah. Someone told me that the game's "time to kill" is tuned for Console - which has left the PC version being an exercise in getting getting instantly murdered.

    ... as for Zombies, I can never get friends to play it, so no idea.

  • I loved Dishonored (1), and was really excited for the sequel.

    ~30 hours later, I'm mostly disappointed, and wondering if it's the game, or me, that's changed.

    Largely, I feel like the game is a lot less focused, it's distracted from being itself. I remember the first game being a lot more mystical, mysterious, than the sequel wound up being - somehow, despite being a story about mysticality and mysteriousness - in a world that itself is mysterious and mystical - the game and it's world feels mundane. There's nothing surprising going on here. It all feels like painting by the numbers. But... that's not really the damning part.

    The Damning part must be how buggy the game is (on PC?), how sloppy it feels. Despite playing through the first game without getting detected and only performing non-lethal takedowns - and planning to do the same here, and save-scumming to the best of my abilities, ghost/merciful is very difficult in Dishonored 2 because of how flimsy the game is - NPCs will occasionally kill themselves completely independent of the player (that counts as a kill), and occasionally, the game will register that you were detected without informing you, or there being anyone to detect you around.

    If there's ever a third game, I'll probably check it out, but I hope it won't be as safe and buggy as this one was.

  • Watch Dogs 2 is a mix of something I that I feel is now done to death (GTA-style open world games) and a unique style and spirit that is electric.

    Moving away from the excessively hated (I didn't think it was THAT bad?) first game was a great idea, and the characters in this game are great.

    It's just... good.

  • Here's a game I didn't think I'd ever "finish" (in the sense of getting through all levels at all). But after falling off the abusive, violent, musical train around chapter 6 or 7, I only needed the VR patch to get back in it.

    I was sceptical about Thumper being a good VR game - but it really is. The isolation granted by the VR headset really elevates the level of focus you can pour into each section. It's great.

  • Great game, but I got lost in the late game, and wound up never finishing it, and at this point, I don't see myself going back to it, despite enjoying it. There's just other things I'd rather be doing.

    I do feel like Dark Souls 3 is a bit... samey, though. While it has a lot of ideas, it kind of felt tired to me - basically, they went back to the well once too often, in too short a time.