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If you tore chunks out of Dying Light, Far Cry, The Last of Us, Sons of Anarchy and a bunch of other open-world titles then threw them all into a blender, you’d probably end up with something akin to Days Gone. It’s a game with lots to enjoy, a ton of world to explore and some sensational visuals to take in. As seemingly generic as much of it is on first glance, Days Gone opens up to prove that it’s capable of punching its weight in a crowded area of the gaming landscape. A slow start to the story might put some off, and there are still a few technical issues that raise their head on the odd occasion, but there is plenty in here that gives you cause to overlook them. Farewell, Oregon, I had a great time clearing you out of Freaks.
Overall, Spider-Man is the game that a lot of people hoped it would be. An incredible traversal system that will have ironically been protoyped on a competitor’s exclusive title, a franchise with instant mainstream appeal and a story that, without giving anything away, sets things up nicely for a sequel without feeling lacking, all combine to make Spider-Man a must-play for 2018.
A game that will have you swearing at your grandma, and threatening violence upon your closest friends after half an hour, Overcooked 2 is one of the best party games that you can get your hands on, and it's easily the most fun I've had with a multiplayer game in years. The single player can sometimes get a bit overwhelming (please don't play this if you have anxiety!) but with 4 people playing side by side or, for the first time, over the internet, it's an excellent title that will have you in stitches of laughter while cursing your head off. A worthy purchase, even if you've played the original to death.
As an unashamed fan of Quantic Dream's previous output, Detroit: Become Human is a mixed bag. On one hand, there is a continuation of the work that they've done with the previous titles, and they have crafted a wonderfully bleak world with Detroit. While it doesn't quite push the boundaries as much as Heavy Rain, there are some interesting ideas planted in the early stages of the story that never blossom fully, but still gives a somewhat satisfying conclusion, regardless of how you decide to play. On the other hand, the occasionally frustrating control issues and borderline laughable moments in the script made me shake my head on more than one occasion. It's a real shame, because there is an absolutely brilliant game tucked away somewhere in here. As it stands, it's only going to be great if you're willing to look past the obvious inherent flaws.
Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most critically revered games of the PS2 era, and with this remake, Bluepoint Games have shown that it can stand head and shoulders above most games that are released today. A wonderful experience from start to finish, and a game that is considered to be a landmark in the medium, and with good reason. A phenomenal game that has not only stood the test of time, it has become an absolute must-play in anyone's PlayStation 4 library through a simply staggering amount of work from Bluepoint. A seminal game that should not be missed.
A magnificent technical achievement, Horizon Zero Dawn mixes up the open world style in all the right ways, with an intriguing premise that kept me entertained, and which dug its hooks into me the deeper I got into it. A stunning game that deserves your attention. Plus, it has robot dinosaurs.
After the huge letdown that was Absolution, iO Interactive have emphatically delivered by returning to their most successful formula – giving players the choice to kill however they want to. Cinematic gameplay and complex plots work well for some games, but Hitman certainly didn’t need it and the overall experience was diluted by it. The Complete First Season of Hitman successfully reboots the series by going back to its roots, but also by making it at once both more accessible than ever to newcomers and also a deeper and more challenging experience for seasoned fans – a thoroughly difficult balance to strike. The fact that the missions are constantly evolving and growing with added content and variations only expands its appeal further and provides hour upon hour of murderous play. This silent assassin has returned with a bang.
A more accessible yet still challenging take on the tried and tested Souls-like Action RPG, Nioh adds enough nuance and depth to the formula to make it feel fresh and provide a new challenge for players coming out of the back of last year’s Dark Souls 3. With a compelling story, bright visuals and new and interesting locales to visit, Nioh is a must have for Action RPG fans.
For a fan, this is an essential purchase and it comes with a sense that this nearly 15 year old series is drawing to a logical conclusion. It’s also a great opportunity to not only unpick some of the more convoluted areas of the lore, but look to the future with its reveal of the sumptuous looking Kingdom Hearts 3 engine. It’s a shame that Square didn’t see fit to release a complete collection alongside the forthcoming reissues of the rest of the games in the series; casual fans and newcomers who are interested in getting into the series would do well to hold off til April and pick up both this and the 1.5/2.5 double pack.
Yakuza 0 still won’t be to the taste of everyone, what with its pretty misogynistic view of life and very Japanese sensibilities. It doesn’t provide the perfect fighting experience, the best open world adventuring or the strongest writing we’ve ever seen in video games, but it does a great job of combining all of these elements in a really fun and entertaining way. Although the main story is very po-faced and violent, the side quests and diversions keep the atmosphere from getting too heavy. You always have a different choice as to what you turn to next, depending on your current mood, and the options don’t often disappoint. Yakuza 0 should be the game that finally allows the series to breakout with Western gamers, but I sadly won’t be holding my breath.
Overall, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard is a worthy successor to the series and the game we have all be craving if you’ve been a fan since the original game. It’s incredibly scary, creepy and chilling and yet I cannot stop playing, opting to face my fears than run away. The game gives me no excuses to stop playing and I love it. While there isn’t much longevity past the story I truly believe that this is one of the best Resident Evil games since the original
Subject 13 is certainly not a highly-polished release and its lack of length and abrupt end gives the impression that either this was at one time intended to be a longer experience, or it feels like the first episode of a series. A point and click game certainly doesn’t need to break new ground or be visually stunning, but Subject 13 is disappointing in most respects – even the most basic puzzling mechanics. Kickstarter has brought us some fascinating re-imaginings of classic genre titles, or new, original graphic adventures to play, but Paul Cuisset has regrettably failed to deliver a new classic to add to his resume.
Gravity Rush 2 is a great neon-infused romp that, whilst not perfect, does everything right by fans of the original. Mechanically complex whilst never feeling overwhelming, the feeling of floating round the sky at high speed before landing a devastating combo on one of your enemies feels incredible, and whilst the story suffers from some pacing issues, it’s a game that’s as fun as it is fast and furious.
Final Fantasy XV is not only my favourite game of 2016, it is up there as one of my favourite games of all time. I could of easily used another 2 or 3 thousand words to describe this game, but if you are reading this, get out and buy this game now! With 100 hours easy of gameplay packed in, including hundreds of sidequests, fishing, chocobo racing and more, Final Fantasy XV will keep you very busy this Christmas period. Square Enix put at the start of the game, Final Fantasy XV is a Final Fantasy for newcomers and veterans of the series, and they are right. Perfection is hard to get, but this comes as near as you're ever going to get.
For all of the expectation, all of the hype, and all of the anticipation, The Last Guardian is a wonderful game. Infusing the best elements of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Ueda and his team have created something gloriously unique, with unparalleled ambition that has been realised almost perfectly. If you don't find yourself falling head over heels for Trico, then there's something wrong with you. Whilst there are a few moments in the game that do make it feel slightly dated, and the frame rate dips here and there, the scope, narrative and sheer beauty elevate this above anything that Team Ico have put out before. Does it live up to the impossible hype? To me, it comes exceptionally close.
As an open world sandpit to explore and sink your time into, Watch Dogs 2 provides a lot of content and opportunities to have fun. How much fun you can have depends on your capacity for exploration. Things start to fall apart once you are forced to take part in the very structured main missions and the glaring mechanical issues come to the fore. A refurbishment and a lick of paint can work wonders – but if the foundations aren’t solid, then the results won’t be fantastic. Watch Dogs 2 is a massive improvement over its predecessor, but if a stealth game isn’t fun to play in a stealthy way, then you know something isn’t quite right.
At its heart, Dishonored 2 is the game Assassins Creed should be. A lean, focussed stealth experience that can be played as a balls out action game should the desire take you. But despite being a solid experience, there really isn’t enough in this sequel to push the series forward. The two character mechanic isn’t explored as fully as it really could have been and the general aesthetic and mechanics simply feel like more of the same. While it’s well worth a play, Dishonored 2 feels, in some ways, like a missed opportunity.
Throw your headphones on, blast out the Iron Man version of AC/DC’s Shoot to Thrill and gun down everything in your path; ignoring your teammate’s cries for help! On the surface Killing Floor 2 looks like any another zombie horde killing FPS, but deep down it’s so much more. Yes, I’ve had issues with it and yes it’s far from flawless but really, it’s a damn good solid shooter. It’s probably not going to win game of the year but its impressive perk system and variety of maps/weapons makes up for its down falls. I’ve had issues with connectivity but that’s nothing new to video games and I’m sure once that gets fixed it’ll be well on its way into my top 10 for 2016.
Yesterday Origins is certainly not going to win over new fans who aren't already dedicated to graphic adventures. There is very little on offer that hasn't been seen already in every other point and clicker that has come out over the last decade, and the inconsistent style and tone would likely put off many players as they try to persevere through. The premise and variety of locales however do make exploration interesting for those who can forgive its faults, and this is far from a bad game - just one that could have benefited from a more focused design approach.