2016 - A Look Back

  • Hey Allies!

    With all our recent talks of GOTY, game awards and best of 2016, I figured we could take a look back at all the major games released this year and discuss them, one by one. Celebrate the games of the year before we open a new chapter in 2017.

    My idea is to pick a few games each day and put them up for discussion. I'm curious to see what all of us think of them with the benefit of hindsight. This will also work as a refresher for all of us before we get to vote on our Best of 2016 lists in January. We'll go through the list in chronological order, starting with games from January.

    Now I could make a different topic for each game to improve visibility and clarity, but we would end up with too many of them, so I think I'll take a page from @Exist-2-Inspire's book and organize this discussion in the same format as the Top 100.

    A couple things to add:

    • Don't forget L&R: We'll definitely not agree on the quality and significance of these games, so please keep the discussion civil and open-minded. For controversial games like, say, No Man's Sky, it would be best to avoid diving back into endless arguments about false promises. Let's focus on the game itself, what it is, what you like/dislike about it, and not what it isn't/could have been.
    • Suggestions welcome: I'm not planning to list all the games released this year, so I'm only planning to pick the major ones. Although I'll make sure to do my research and not overlook anything, if you think I've missed a game you'd like to discuss, feel free to contact me and I'll put it up for discussion.

    So without further ado, I'll post the first couple games up for discussion in a few minutes.

    Hope you enjoy!

  • That Dragon, Cancer

    That Dragon, Cancer

    Release date: January 12, 2016
    Developer: Numinous Games
    Publisher: Numinous Games
    Genre: Adventure
    Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, OS X, Ouya, iOS


    The Witness

    The Witness

    Release date: January 26, 2016
    Developer: Thekla, Inc.
    Publisher: Thekla, Inc.
    Genre: Puzzle
    Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, iOS


  • I never played That Dragon, Cancer, but I really respect that game.

    The Witness is a game I still intend to play one day. I really like Jonathan Blows design philosophy of the game. That you have to "learn a puzzle language" and a get a euphoric moment when it finally clicks for you. I remember him saying "games that make you feel smart, is a disease" by not actually rewarding the player for being smart.

  • I "learned a puzzle language" in each Zelda game and actually got to do things — physical things — in a 3D environment along the way.

    But anyway, the lesser-known games that made my year were Monster Hunter Generations, Crypt of the Necrodancer (initially released on PC in 2015), Abzu, and Inside.

    And, if you're going to do significant remasters, Gravity Rush: Remastered and Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir were both super-fun experiences.

    And, if you're going to do AAA RPG DLC, Fallout's Far Harbor and Witcher's Blood and Wine were both quite substantial.

    But doing all of that would probably be a lot.

  • Havn't played either of those and most probably never will. (I have the feeling that will be my comment for most months, lol)

  • Global Moderator

    interesting thread and I want to put in my thoughts towards the games I've played.

    Just in general it feels like this thread will be going for quite some time if we are going to go through the entire year

  • @Lotias You're right, unless I limit myself to only the 10-15 biggest games that a majority of us will have played, but I'm sure there's room for more.

    That's why my original idea was to create a topic for each game, that way people would also have more time to give their impressions rather than feel like they're too late cause new games have now been added.

    But I wouldn't want to spam the forums with those either, don't know what the mods feel about it? It would be something like 2 topics/games a day, clearly tagged as [2016 - Year in Review] or whatever.

    Does that sound better?

  • Global Moderator

    I think tbh that keeping it in one thread makes it easier for everyone. Sure it will be a long thread, but you minimise the risk of someone missing a post they want to talk about or increase the posts on the forum too much. So yeah, do like the top 100 games, keep it here and link to the posts instead :)

  • @Musou-Tensei Same here. I just took a look back at what I played that came out this year and it wasn't that much. The Witness seemed really cool but its a game that I don't think I'll ever sit down and play, but I respect it. That Dragon, Cancer is a game I had never heard of before the Game Awards, and will never play despite being moved by his acceptance speech.

  • Cool idea! Though I'm sure I haven't played most of these yet.

    The Witness is definitely one I'd like to try at some point

  • Alright I'll keep it going this way for now, and I guess I'll stick to games that are likely to have been played by at least 25% of us haha.

    Also haven't played The Witness, it's on my list but since it's not a short game, I'm more easily discouraged to make the jump.

  • I always thought that That dragon cancer came out in 2015. I respect the intention this game was created with, but I dont intend to play it.

    The Witness is my second most despised game of 2016. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to like about it, but by the end it got repetitive and I was just rushing to finish it. And the end itself was just the bigest "fuck you" I've ever experienced in a game.

    I've also written about games I liked the most in a blog on this forum, if someone is interested :)

  • Hey, I actually played The Witness! It was a game I was looking forward to quite a bit, I liked the setup and what I had heard of it before it released.

    I didn't like it all that much though. I love logic puzzles, but most of the time they were kept pretty separate from the environment. My favorite sections of the game are the ones that meaningfully incorporate space and light into puzzle solving but even then whatever clue is given usually amounts to 'trace this path', which is disappointing. It's a completely contrived world too, one that evokes a vague mood, but has no coherent sense of history or place.

    Then there's the media you can collect, which I think the game really could have done without. Most of the game is zen-like puzzle and exploration game to be played in the present---in its particular space. To start having quotes read that refer outside (far outside) the world of the game, without synthesizing into a singular point is a very strange creative choice. The game seems so confident in itself otherwise.

    Also including the climax of Tarkovsky's Nostalghia without context does the film a pretty big disservice.

  • XCOM 2

    XCOM 2

    Release date: February 5, 2016
    Developer: Firaxis Games
    Publisher: 2K Games
    Genre: Turn-based strategy
    Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, OS X




    Release date: February 9, 2016
    Developer: Campo Santo
    Publisher: Campo Santo
    Genre: Adventure
    Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, OS X


  • @Musou-Tensei said in 2016 - A Look Back:

    Havn't played either of those and most probably never will.

    Well, I do have XCOM: Enemy Within, but I never really gotten into it, so i don't think I will ever try XCOM 2.

  • Ah, Firewatch. The ending was a bit underwhelming, but I love the characters and the narration. The development of both is on an extreme level. Well done Firewatch <3

    Xcom 2: This a game that just doesnt appeal to me. I some moments where I was temptet to try it, but I only ended turning it down with a "meh"

  • I really enjoyed Firewatch, though I felt it was a bit short. I loved the art style, character interactions, and I thought the idea of never seeing any other characters was really unique and well presented. I even thought the ending was good, though I can understand why a lot of people didn't.

  • I have not played XCOM 2 yet but thoroughly enjoyed XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I love those strategy type games and really want to play 2 but it just hasn't pushed its way to the front of the queue yet.
    I have played Firewatch and did really enjoy it. I was excited for that game from the first trailer that I saw. I thought the world looked beautiful, the character interactions seemed really genuine, and the story seemed interesting enough. My thoughts after playing it through remained the same, I was satisfied. It was enjoyable walking around and exploring that colorful world. The voice acting was fantastic and I was satisfied with the story, even the ending. I personally thought the game was the perfect length, any longer and it would have felt like a drag to me and I would probably look back at it less fondly. I can definitely understand why some people feel differently about the game but it was a solid game in my opinion.

  • Sounds like I would really enjoy Firewatch, added to my wishlist!