My 2016 Bests (Part 1): Games

I’m a little late with this, as we hurdle past the halfway point in January, but I’ve been thinking of ways to jump back into writing. What better way is there than to take a look at all the things that have kept me from writing these past few months?

First and foremost, there’s been a lot of video games.

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My 2016 Gamercrest from Xbox Live

Last year was supposed to be the year of movies for me. I was hoping to stop binge-watching TV shows and catch up on some of the titles I missed out on. Basically, I’m obsessed with staying in the loop with pop references and that’s hard to do when you can’t get yourself to sit through 2 hours of a film.

I did watch way more movies than I usually do, but I lost the battle to television. More surprisingly, though, I got really into video games too. I believe it all started with my break up with Call of Duty. I wanted to expand my video game horizon and so I did what I always do when I want to learn about the goings-on of a community; I started listening to gaming podcasts. The first was XONEBROS and it exposed me to all the games on Xbox One that were passing me by while I attempted, to no avail, to master CoD. I can’t express how much this show has done for me. It introduced me to a community of like-minded and positive gamers that I’m proud to be a part of (and as a part of their creative team, I’ll have monthly blogs on their site). It also brought me to one of my favorite games of 2016: Overwatch.

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Blizzard Entertainment, 2016

I watched the Bros stream the beta of this game and within minutes I knew I had to play it. First, it’s a first-person shooter – perfect for me -, but it’s also not the super twitchy, down a bunch of G-Fuel, I’m glad I still have the reflexes of a teenager kind of game. It’s a bit more nuanced and strategic than that. As I get older and my reaction time increases, I appreciate the thought that goes into team compositions and synergies even more. It’s the first and only game by Blizzard that I’ve played, and I fully understand why they are such a beloved company now.

So I think I can safely say Overwatch is my game of the year, but there are a few others that I have been really impressed by this year. Titanfall 2, I’d say, was a close second for best game last year.

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Respawn Entertainment, 2016

It might seem like I’m trying to fill the void of Call of Duty with other FPS’s, but that’s definitely not the case. If this game were just a CoD clone, I wouldn’t care too much about it. However, it seems to be all the things the past few futuristic CoDs were, just a bit… more. It’s hard to describe, really. The game feels phenomenal. The controls are super smooth, even with the fast-paced action and movement chaining. Typical me: I jumped into multiplayer straight away and was hooked. Over my winter break though, I played the campaign and was drawn by the connection between pilot and titan. And as much as I hated the platforming, it improved my multiplayer game immensely.

The other games that have consumed my life are all similar in that it’s almost as if they were made to suck up all my time. (Side note: the majority of these came out well before 2016, but I’m listing them because I played them last year.) I’m talking about the open-world games that have objectives, leveling systems and collectibles that scratch the completionist itch that I have. I got the Borderlands: The Handsome Collection and sped through all of the core content and DLC of the two games included. I loved these games and can’t wait for the 4th installment. (I also got a 360 recently and started replaying the original Borderlands, so yeah. I’m kinda obsessed.)

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Gearbox Software, 2015

After experiencing some withdrawals when dozens of hours spent culminated in beating two games, I decided to give Sunset Overdrive a shot. I think this game was an Xbox One launch title and, since I was a bit late on getting the console, I hadn’t heard too much about it after. It was offered as a Game with Gold a while ago, but sat in my library untouched. It definitely served its purpose of getting me over my Borderlands hangover and it was so fun I even bought and beat the DLC  for that as well. (One thing I try to do is support the developer of games I get for free by purchasing add-ons. It’s a small price to pay for something you enjoy.) The game’s self-aware, meta sense of humor got me hooked and the outlandish weapons and enemies kept me there to see it through.

Speaking of free stuff, I won Major Nelson’s #FreeCodeFriday giveaway back in November! It’s probably not that big of a deal. He does it practically every week and there are 5 winners, so I guess I’m on a pretty boat. But, I was stoked and I won a brand new title: Dead Rising 4. This was one I debated including in my best-of. I’m conflicted because, if I were being honest, the game was just good, not great. However, I did spend a lot of time beating it, so it must have done something right.

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Capcom Vancouver, 2016

The issues I had with this game have nothing to do with the complaints that most hard-core Dead Rising fans have. I actually enjoyed the decreased difficulty and I loathed the timer aspect of the previous titles. I was happy to spend all the time I wanted exploring the massive map and finding collectibles. I guess the main problem with this title is the story that won’t have a concrete ending until the DLC is released. The fate of Frank West is locked behind a pay-wall with no detailed release date. As much as this practice irks me, I may shell out for the season pass if it looks at all decent. I did get it for free after all.

So those are the games that I enjoyed the most in 2016. I’ve done my best trying to vary the types of games that I play and I will definitely continue branching out of my comfort zone now that I have a YouTube series dedicated to failing forward in this regard. Check out my “Confused Gamer” videos here.

Next up in my 2016 Bests: Movies and TV.