In a way, what makes Call of Duty Infinite Warfare so successful is personality, whether that’s via creative future tech, or the earnest single player story or even the over the top Zombie mode. This has been an incredible year for shooters. Thankfully, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare completes 2016 with a bang.
18 months after Respawn Entertainment debuted their big proof-of-concept project, Titanfall 2 delivers on the promise made by such an idea, and amazingly, goes even further. The single-player campaign is a blast while the multiplayer is solid if only slightly underwhelming. Kudos to the developer for creating a work of fun that made me chuckle, smile, and feel good. Who knew an iron giant, accompanied by clever level design, would steal my heart?
Battlefield 1 isn’t just a great addition to the series, it arrives as a thunderous explosion that will impact the military shooter space for many years to come. A memorable single player campaign in an FPS is a rarity, and it delivers that without compromise. Operations is an instant classic for multiplayer lovers, while the other modes will keep you invested, supported by fantastic gameplay. Visually breathtaking and fun to play, DICE has delivered an instant classic that has raised the bar.
Gears of War 4 is a surprisingly successful continuation of the franchise by a new studio. I might have my issues with the second half of the campaign, but I did like the return of Marcus Fenix. I look forward to spending more time with Kait, J.D., and the rest of the new crew in future installments. Gears of War 4 also has my favorite selection of multiplayer modes for the series, which ultimately carries the experience. This is a safe release that is best designated for Gears fans as well as anyone looking for a satisfying multiplayer third-person shooter.
If you are a PS4 or Xbox One owner, Bioshock: The Collection should be in your, um, collection, whether in the 2-disc physical format or digital download. Unfortunately, I’ve read reports that the PC version has issues. (Like bad ones.) As such PC players should wait for the (fingers crossed) eventual patches.
For those looking for a different kind of experience, though, these issues will matter little. I loved my time with BOUND. These are the kind of visual and conceptual offerings I want more of from smaller studios. I’m anxious to see what Plastic comes up with next. PlayStation VR Note: I was able to try this out at the Sony VR booth at E3. The final game is said to be 'VR compatible'. It was a little off-putting at first to move a third-person character in VR, but I warmed to it by the end. I don't think the VR option is a reason to buy (or avoid), but if you end up purchasing PS VR, and are in need of a stunning vista to lose yourself in, go for it.
As a non-racer guy, Valentino Rossi: The Game felt more like a curiosity, one that was rewarded in the ways I played and learned more about the man himself, Valentino Rossi. As a racing experience, though, this was generic. Obviously, mileage will most certainly vary depending on how big a fan one is of the world of MotoGP. At best, for fans of Rossi himself, this is at least a rental.
As someone who was not impressed with Minecraft: Story Mode's premiere episode The Order of the Stone, over time I have grown to find the characters and their situations quite engaging. This "extended season" has delivered some of the best episodes.... until that is, Access Denied. From not really doing much with with the Borg vibe to not giving the interesting Harper enough to do, it is only in the last few moments that I had my faith renewed. Though episode 7 isn't exactly skippable, the drive to complete it even in an hour or so can feel unfulfilling. As I said, for completionists only.
I would be remiss not to mention just how gorgeous this all looks. Tales from the Borderlands was a colorful delight, but the challenge here, to use mostly blues and greys, seems doubly impressive. A simple setting like a PR event in the park can feel lovely hosted by Harvey Dent and is both serene and ominous. This is the best first episode since Borderlands for Telltale Games. I can’t wait to see where Batman: The Telltale Series goes next.
The bottom line: Do you only have a PS4 instead of a PC? Do you still miss old-timey mechanics in RTSs? And hey, who doesn't love the tale of the Three Kingdoms, right? Sometimes things should be left in the nostalgia of our minds than in our hands, but what do I know, I love No Age.