Sunday, December 11, 2016

Second Half of the Year Wrap-Up

 So, I'm making this a thing from here on out. It IS fun to reminisce!
 Lords of Shadow 2 was, as a whole, way better than it deserved to be. I'm glad we finally got closure on Gabriel's story. I know Konami sucks, and I know that gamers as a whole suck since they can't stand change, but dammit, I'd love to have both Lords of Shadows and Metroidvanias coexisting with one another.
 When it's all said and done, I've held mostly good memories of this game, it was definitely a fun, if flawed, game.
 It's funny how Danganronpa 2 is considered the better game, but after having time to digest all three games... Danganronpa 1 was the one that stuck with me the most. Navigating the abandoned school corridors in first person just added an extra layer of immersion, of creepiness that the second game's island just couldn't stand up to. Characters were much less anime, and there was little to know fanservice, which made the first entry in the franchise a much more memorable game.
 Danganronpa vol 3 is due next year and I can't wait!
 Digimon Story - Cyber Sleuth was somewhat of a surprise, while I was definitely looking forwards it, I just couldn't imagine how good it would end up being. It has a fantastic, SMT-esque story, the like which Pokemon will never even touch, and much better monster designs. Now, if only we can reduce the grinding a bit for future installments...
 Dishonored was another surprise hit. The game's reputation certainly preceded it, but I knew next to nothing about the game. And it says a lot about a stealth game that manages to arrest my attention and remains in my mind to this day.
 As an oldschool gamer, I hater myself for not having played Megaman X all the way to the end before. There's a reason that game is so fondly remembered, with top-notch level design, tight and simple gameplay as well as a fantastic soundtrack that's hard to forget. The addition of X2, X3 and X5 sweeten the deal that is Megaman X Collection, and then there's also X5 and X6 if you want to the see the franchise's lowest points.
 Ridiculous made-up name aside, Metal Gear Rising - Revengeance was an excellent little game that featured top-notch action mechanics. Sadly, I remember the story due to how bad it was rather than anything else!
 Is it fair to call Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Force my personal biggest disappointment of 2016? I knew how lacking it would be from the outset since the Japanese audience was as taken aback with this title as most of us western fans were. It lacked Units, it lacked modes, it lacked what made the Extreme Vs. games so much fun. Most of these issues were somewhat addressed with patches, but it was still not enough. For shame, Bandai-Namco, for shame!
  While I think Shinobi was a slightly better game, Nightshade was no slouch. I've still got nightmares, the good kind, from the button gymnastics that the game demanded in the latter levels. I swear, Hotsuma and Hibana are the badassest ninjas ever. Ever.
 I played a bunch of Warriors games this year, but Pirate Warriors, man, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 was something else. The cell-shaded graphics did wonders for recreating the franchise's unique art-style, and it has some of the most creative movesets in Warriors history.
 Pokemon Sun... sorta fell short of what I expected. This is starting to become a trend with Pokemon games, ever since X and Y. Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal were an absolute improvement over Red/Blue/Yellow. then came Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, and while they lacked the two-region story-mode that pampered us in G/S/C it more than made up for with the new GBA graphics, mechanics such as weather and 2 on 2 and the world of Hoenn itself. Diamond/Pearl/Platinum once again gave us a new engine, substituted bases with Underground(which was rather fun!) and added things like the Vs. Tracker to grind post-game. HeartGold and SoulSilver would be the last games I would play, and it had everything that made D/P/P great as well as what made G/S/C great! It was the best Pokemon game I had played yet. I would go on to skip Black and White and their sequels.
 By the time X and Y came, they added a ton of things that I loved. I might've been a tad too harsh with my review, since I would go on to clock over 300 hours. The game's biggest pitfalls were the issues that had been plaguing the franchise since their conception, namely, HMs. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire did away with a ton of the good features from X and Y, but introduced some new, good additions of their own. All in all, they weren't quite as good as X and Y.
 And now, I called Pokemon Sun the best in the 3DS lineup... but I think I jumped the gun. Customization is a pale shadow of X and Y's, the story is as bad as always, and as HUGE as the removal of HMs is... the post game is terrible. If you want to level up your mons, you either do it the lame way, Pokepelagos, or repeat the Elite 4. Lame. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire at least had a dozen of Legendaries to catch in various different ways, in Sun you get lame random encounters in designated areas.
 Rogue Galaxy has been growing on me. Every now and then I will, randomly, remember moments from the game. Turns out the setting was much more memorable than I gave it credit for! I think that's the game's problem, nobody gave it the credit it deserved, thus, it fell into obscurity, undeservingly so!
 Silent Hill 2 is one of a kind, eh! Whether you admit it or not, there's a reason so many people love Silent Hill 2 above the others, there's a reason the movies and western games  love to borrow from this one. I can't think of a single other game with this much detail poured into its design.
 It was not until I reviewed Homecoming that I realized just how memorable Silent Hill Downpour was. While not perfect, the story was engrossing. While not perfect, the combat was serviceable. While lame when compared with other games in the franchise, monster design actually served this game's purpose. While not the best westerm Silent Hill 'game', I think it's safe to say that it was the best western 'Silent Hill' game.
 It makes me sad to see how much hate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Mutants in Manhattan has gotten, even making it into a few 'worst games of 2016' lists. The combat, while chaotic, was fun, and it truly shined when you got to fight the bosses. The environments might've been rather bland, but traversing them with ninja acrobatics was a blast, not to mention that the environments were but a means to an end, kinda like traditional beat'em ups, like Final Fight.
 The Evil Within remains my favorite game I've played in 2016. Not gonna lie, I think it's gonna be the winner of my prestigious Game of the Year Award, but I'm debating if I should give it to Borderlands Triple Pack. While I didn't technically replay Borderlands 2, it was part of the Triple Pack aaaand I did play through the new DLCs.

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