2016 was a big year for Gaming, with the art form and the industry only getting bigger and moving faster, we thought we’d stop it in it’s tracks for a moment to think about what the year gave us.
Doing the checks on the year is Captain Falling @CapnCogaming, who went from Zero to Hero on Overwatch, George @GeorgeVogt, who went back to Monkey Island, Steve @SkarTaZ, who was first to the Battlefield, Jodie @jodebears who took us to Virginia and Dan @OcarinaOfDan who went backwards on the Xbox One.
What was your favourite game of 2016?
Falling: My favourite game of 2016 has to be Overwatch! It’s fun and engaging with a surprising amount of depth to it that easily puts it at the top of the list! I haven’t played a game that has hooked me this much in a few years!
George: Battlefield 1, cant put it down.
Steve: Variety is the spice of my steam library! I’ve enjoyed many, many games this year so it’s hard to pin one down as a standout favourite. But the game I can return to everyday and have a laugh with? Rocket League.
Jodie: Rise of the Tomb Raider. I would follow Lara Croft anywhere, her games are always so good, and this instalment was no different. It was more of the same – with perilous cliffs, long falls, dark tombs, and mysterious secrets to uncover. Graphically, it was beautiful, the sound and voice acting was fabulous, and the gameplay right through to the DLC was fun, flowed well, and felt so meaty. The story was true to its predecessors with plenty of weird magical/supernatural stuff going on and plenty of blood, gore, and general awesomeness to fill well over 30 hours. 10/10
Dan: Much like Steve has mentioned I have also compiled a variation of quality titles within my Steam library during 2016. Most notably for me however was the early access title ‘Miscreated.’ A post apocalyptic survival game that has truly captured my imagination more so than any other other title this year.
What was your biggest disappointment of 2016?
Falling: Always a tough one to answer, but I have two. Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade and Pokemon GO. Both of these games have such great promise but are let down by a dev team who won’t release content that they promise is being worked on. In Eternal Crusade’s case the dev team ended up releasing a game that was nothing at all like what was promised and have yet to discover where they want to take the game and their dev studio as a whole, so for me, Eternal Crusade takes number one and Pokemon GO is a close second.
George: No Mans Sky, I’m glad I never bought it, but it wasted its huge potential by lying about what it could do.
Steve: Although I’m now a PC gamer, my roots lie in console gaming. So I’ve been bitterly disappointed with the price to performance ratio of the recently released PS4 Pro and the imminent Xbox Scorpio. Whilst their release is necessary to produce the now minimum benchmark of 1080p 60fps gaming from a console which both the XBONE and PS4 have failed to produce, the inability to produce a true 4K gaming experience for such a vast price has done nothing to help consoles reputations as overpriced, underpowered and obsolete when stood next to PC.
Jodie: Minecraft Story Mode. Telltale have set the bar very high: The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us were some of the most engrossing stories I’ve experienced in gaming; and more recent titles like Tales of the Borderlands were witty, clever, and only slightly awful on frame rate. But Minecraft didn’t really deliver on, well, anything. The story is weak, and nonsensical, and doesn’t have very good characters to support it and make you care. Most of them are annoying (not you Ruben, you babe) and forgettable. Your decisions ultimately feel like they don’t matter, and the game as a whole doesn’t live up to expectations. It’s a weak link in the telltale franchise for me.
Dan: Although it was released during the latter part of 2015, Star Wars: Battlefront would be my pick for this award as I started playing in January of this year. The issues with Battlefront are well documented at this point, however for me, the lack of a substantial single player mode and its limitations of game modes and map selection truly disappointed me.
What was your big surprise in 2016?
Falling: This one is a little different, the biggest surprise I had this year was just how good VR technology is on a phone! I got to try out a Samsung VR headset and it was shockingly good! I definitely think that VR tech is going to be a big thing for mobile gaming over the next year!
George: Planet Coaster, its a lot of fun and is a great throw back to the like of RollerCoaster Tycoon and Theme Park World.
Steve: It has to be DICE EA’s bold move to break the status quo of Modern FPS Triple A games and produce not only a world war shooter, but a WW1 shooter. Bold. Exciting. Brilliantly executed. Critically acclaimed and surprisingly well received by the world’s gaming community. Unexpected and very refreshing.
Jodie: Dark Souls 3. I had never once touched a Dark Souls game before I dove into this one, and I really only played it to see what the hype was about, but I fell in love with it. The notorious difficulty of the franchise was invigorating – I felt amazing when I finished a fight. The lore is fascinating and reaches depths I wouldn’t have imagined from the surface. The world is dark, plagued, and beautiful. I would highly recommend it – even if you’ve never touched a Souls game before, this one is, I am told, the most approachable and welcoming of the series.
What was the biggest news in gaming in 2016 for you?
Falling: It has to be the announcement of the Final Fantasy VII remake. As as hardcore Final Fantasy fan (with VII being one of my all time favourites) I was incredibly excited by this news! Unfortunately this was then tainted by all the changes as well as the episodic release plan so whether I actually play it remains to be seen!
George: That Visceral Games is moving forward with making a new Action RPG for the Star Wars franchise… please be KOTOR 3.
Steve: If anyone says anything other than Rockstars announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2, they’re wrong!
Jodie: That Nintendo is finally allowing 3rd party titles onto their platform upon the release of the Switch. It is mind blowing to me that it has taken so long, but I hope it will bring fresh faces to Nintendo and bring them prosperity with the Switch.
Dan: I have to echo Jodie’s sentiments on this one. The Nintendo Switch takes it, both the specs and form of the console follow Nintendo’s history of innovation, but the killer feature of the Switch will be the re-introduction of third party support.
What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
Falling: I think there is probably too much to write for this one, what aren’t I looking forward to!? Every year the gaming industry surprises me and I think that is actually the most exciting thing, the unknown! You never know what kind of games or gaming tech is coming along out of nowhere and I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store! If I had to pick a title though, Sunless Skies from Failbetter games!
George: Mass Effect Andromeda, I love the ME franchise and hoping they can make up for the failings of ME.
Steve: Aside from RDR2 which is an obvious given, I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Resident Evil 7. It looks absolutely stunning and terrifying in equal measures.
Jodie: Mass Effect: Andromeda. It’s one of my most beloved game series, with such a deep story and characters it’s hard not to go on for pages and pages about it. The writing is just incredible. It’s a fascinating series, one I would revisit again and again and would buy anything to do with. Literally just take all my money. A pre-order for sure.
Dan: South Park: The Fractured But Whole is looking to be one of the early highlights of 2017 for me. I truly loved the original title and was disappointed to see the sequel pushed back to early next year. Red Dead Redemption 2 and Resident Evil 7 are also looking brilliant and I cannot wait to get my hands on both of them too.
What do you think will be the biggest surprise of 2017?
Falling: Half Life 3! Seriously though, I think that would be a surprise! I think the biggest surprise over the next year is going to be Indie games for sure, this year just gone they have grown and become a phenomenon all of their own and I think it’s only a matter of time before we have an Indie game that rivals a triple A title and that excites me!
George: For Honor, I feel that game has a lot of potential, especially if it has a good compelling single player storyline to back up the multiplayer beta we’ve already seen.
Steve: Given the excellent performance of the current generation of NVIDIA graphics cards and their likely price drop after the pending release of the upgraded TI models, I predict a massive increase in the number of people adopting PC gaming and a commercial flop of the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio, very much to the surprise of many in the console industry.
Jodie: Sea of Thieves. Everything we’ve seen of it so far has been quite mixed: the E3 reveal was tremendous and generated a lot of buzz but, since then, it has fallen off of the radar and hasn’t really had much publicity. But I think it will become a heavy hitter – starting slow, and building and building until everyone is talking about it again. I think it will be fun, social, and a true gem.
Dan: Having now left Early Access, my pick for 2017 sleeper hit is Lego Worlds. From what I’ve experienced of the game during the initial stages of it’s EA development, I saw real potential in the type title Travellers Tales were attempting to build; following a full release I can see this one becoming huge.
What’s your big hope for gaming in 2017?
George: EA finally start to learn from their mistakes and listen to what their customers want rather than the shareholders!
Steve: I hope to see the legitimacy of esports increase and for gaming to continue overtaking film as the biggest entertainment medium in the world.
Jodie: That we will have some truly good single player campaigns. After 2015 gave us The Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Fallout 4, 2016 left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Single player games are, to me, the epitome of gaming. They are the ones I lose hundreds of hours in, the ones I sink into, long to be apart of, and keep me a gamer. I long for more of them.
What’s your big prediction for games in 2017?
George: I’m holding out to hear news of a possible 4th Witcher Game. Even a statement to say, it will happen someday soon.
Steve: I predict that VR will have an incredible year. Improvements in the accuracy of the technology, it’s uptake by developers and a drop in price for consumers will see VR sales soar along with the numbers of VR games available. Bring it on.
Jodie: That the Nintendo Switch will become a true competitor to the Xbox and PlayStation. I could be wildly wrong, but I’m sticking to it.
Dan: With the decline in sales/ fan support of the Xbox One and PS4 during 2016, I can foresee the Nintendo Switch reinvigorating the console gaming scene. I honestly believe that the Switch will be the system to kick start the Nintendo/console gaming resurrection.