Todd’s Official Videogames Mid-2016 Report Card

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I find it hard to believe that 2016 is almost halfway over. This year has gone by pretty fast, and for the most part, there really weren’t many new games that I had a chance to play. Let’s face it, 2016 so far has been a very dry year when it comes to games, and most of it I spent playing games that have been in my library for quite a while. For instance, after over a year I finally finished the main story mode of The Witcher 3, and afterwards I spent a good deal of time getting back into Assassin’s Creed IV, an Xbox One LAUNCH TITLE!

But from what I saw at this year’s E3, it looks like the second half of 2016 will fare much better (as it usually does,) and I will be playing a lot of games that I am sure will be on my lists for the best and worst of the full year. But it is late June 2016, and that means my obligatory list of the games that I enjoyed the most and, of course, the ones I hated to no end. Since I didn’t play many new games, I have limited the list to three each instead of my usual five.

Again, I must mention when I composed this list, that it is a list of games that I actually played this year, so for all you Overwatch fanboys out there (and I know you’re all out there, you’re probably still upset about any Overwatch porn being pulled from the net,) you’re not going to see it on either of my lists. And of course I will not be putting in any easy targets for the worst list. These are games that I hated to no end, and I’m sure I will be getting a ton of hate mail as a result. I’m actually anticipating it.

So anyway, let’s get the Best of 2016 (so far) out of the way first.

#3. Quantum Break (Remedy/Microsoft Game Studios, played on Xbox One)

I’ve had a mixed road when it comes to Remedy. I loved Max Payne, as well as Max Payne 2, but I found Alan Wake to be absolutely boring. Originally I expected Quantum Break to fall down the road of Alan Wake, but in the end went more towards the Max Payne road. The story was quite engrossing, and made even more when watching each of the live action television episodes that were based on my choices. That’s not to mention the time breaking special powers that Jack employs during the game segments. I really wish that this game fared better than it did, because it truly deserves better.

#2. XCOM 2 (Firaxis/2K, played on PC)

Behold, the game that made me upgrade to a gaming laptop. I loved the first XCOM and its Enemy Within expansion, and though I knew that XCOM 2 was eventually going to come out to consoles (which was just announced at E3,) I really wanted to play it right away, even if it meant playing it on PC. I’m glad I did, because everything that made the first XCOM great was enhanced even more. The new guerrilla warfare feature adds a new level of strategy that encourages ambushes to full effect. In addition, the new Alien Hunters DLC with its epic level aliens takes the fear to a whole new level. Yes, the game originally had a ton of bugs upon release, but since then they have been fixed for the most part and is truly wroth anyone’s purchase.

#1 DOOM 2016 (id/Bethesda, played on Xbox One)

Be honest with me, did any of you see this one coming? Though seeing the single player gameplay back at E3 2015 looked very promising, the somewhat disappointing multiplayer Alpha and Beta did not show much promise, aside from the very smooth frame rate and gorgeous visuals. Thankfully DOOM 2016 actually did the unthinkable, made first person shooters unique again, at least in the single player campaign which is nothing short of phenomenal. It is lightning fast, does not rely on cover mechanics and manual reloading, and feels like the perfect mix of classic DOOM and Quake. The glory kills mechanic is nothing short of brilliant and does not slow the game down at all, and with all the secrets that need to be found I’m actually going through my third playthrough. Even better, with the Snapmap feature, and its recent update, I’m sure I’ll be diving into all the fan created maps and gameplay styles for a long time.

Three good games out of the way, and now for the three that made me want to quit gaming for good…

#3 TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan (Platinum Games/Activision, Played on Xbox One)

Oh how this game annoyed me to no end. Usually I enjoy Platinum’s titles. Metal Gear Rising was a blast to play, Bayonetta doesn’t even need an explanation, and Transformers: Devastation was one of the biggest surprise hits for me last year despite its short length. But Mutants in Manhattan was just flat out BORING. Sure the four player co-op is a nice touch but each level was just the same thing over and over again, plus the boss battles ended up being just downright frustrating. And don’t get me started on how absolutely annoying April can be. Megan Fox’s version says this is going too far. If they at least added the art style and voices from the hilarious Nickelodeon CGI series, I might have given the game another chance, but as it is, what a waste!

 #2. Rocket League (Psyonix, Played on Xbox One)

I can hear the fanboys raging right now. I’m sorry, I absolutely HATE this game, and I do not see why everyone raves all over it. It would be nice if I could actually TOUCH the ball without being T-boned. Every. Single. Time. It is absolutely frustrating and makes playing Rocket League an absolute chore. Of course, here comes all the “git gud” replies, but I don’t want to “git gud.” I want a game to be more fair, and this is on NORMAL difficulty! Maybe if Psyonix fixes this problem I might give it another chance, but until then I consider it a waste of $20.

#1 Street Fighter V (Capcom, Played on PS4)

What. A. Mess! Especially when it was launched. With virtually no single player material at all (considering that ALL of the story modes can be finished in just over ONE HOUR,) unless you like playing online you’re not going to get any value and satisfaction from SFV. When a $20 expansion pack such as Mortal Kombat XL provides more value than this full priced game, you know there is something wrong.

The funny part is I actually ordered $70 in PlayStation Store cards just to purchase SFV, only to discover that they were lost in the mail. Maybe it was premonition of how bad the game would be, because just two weeks ago I found the cards in a drainage ditch next to my house, and despite being water damaged, I was able to redeem the codes to get four different games via an E3 sale. Even if one of the games was The Order 1886, which only cost me $5, it’s still more of a value than what SFV could ever be! Yes, I went there!

I’m looking forward to what the rest of 2016 will bring, and if DOOM will actually be usurped. It’s going to be tough though. Same for Street Fighter V; is there any game that can be anymore barebones and a poor value? I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Currently Playing: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (PS4)

Waiting For: No Man’s Sky (PS4, just to see if it truly is overhyped, and if it doesn’t get delayed again.)

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