Crass Effect: What’sWrongWithYa?

Usually I publish posts on here Wednesdays but I had to make sure this went live before Mass Effect: Andromeda dropped. As I write this, we have less than 16 hours till those of us not lucky enough to get advanced copies can take the plunge. In fact, there’s a good chance you will have played the game for several hours before you ever look at this. I wanted to get it published sooner, but I do the best I can with the time I have.

I’m not gonna critique the game right now. I don’t have a right to do that because I haven’t played it yet, because it isn’t out yet. Yet recently a lot of people, who also haven’t played the game, have taken it upon themselves to not only negatively critique the game but to also harass members of the Bioware staff because of it. Now this is absolutely ridiculous for so many reasons, but I’m not actually interested in discussing harassment in this post either, so I’ll just sum up my views on the subject as quickly as possible.

You Can't Judge a Game

Harassment is wrong in any form. But let’s be clear about what harassment actually is. Criticizing a business because of issues you have with their products in a mature and respectable manner for legitimate, well thought out, and justified reasons is not harassment. Whether it’s by email, tweet, Facebook post, forum reply, blog post, YouTube comment, or any other means of communication is completely acceptable behavior. But let’s make sure we’re clear about what “mature and respectable manner for legitimate, well thought out, and justified reasons” means. Voicing a formal complaint about being unhappy with the quality of facial animations in a game with the entire focus of the post/comment being about facial animations with no curse words one time is not harassment. Voicing that same complaint with slurs, curse words, and threats of violence is harassment whether it’s once or a hundred times. Directing your complaints about a game, no matter how respectful and well thought out, at a private citizen, even if they are an employee of the development studio, is harassment. Even if you’re directing positive comments at them, it’s still harassment. It’s just harassment that they most likely aren’t going to be unhappy about.

Bioware is not made up of or represented by one person. It’s a large corporation that has official accounts that the public can easily send messages to in many forms via many platforms. There is no excuse to bother private citizens who work at a company about issues you have with the company and/or their performance. You wouldn’t send a message to the guy who flips your burgers at McDonalds if you saw a commercial from them you didn’t like. Private citizens deserve to be left alone regardless of where they work and what they do at work.

Respect is the Key

So just to be clear, it’s completely acceptable, but pretty stupid, to send messages to Bioware saying you’re unhappy about the facial animations, even though you haven’t yet played the game yourself yet, in Mass Effect: Andromeda. It’s not acceptable to send messages to Bioware saying you’re unhappy with the facial animations in Mass Effect: Andromeda and that it’s the fault of a specific employee because they happen to be a woman. It’s not ok, but won’t be frowned upon to send positive messages about Mass Effect: Andromeda to an employee of Bioware via their private accounts. It’s completely, 100% unacceptable, disgusting, and outright offensive to send negative messages to a private citizen who happens to work for Bioware and blame them for something you’re unhappy with about Mass Effect: Andromeda, whether you played it already or not, especially to tell them it’s their fault because of something out of their control such as their gender, skin color, class, or literally any other personal identifier protected by the Constitution of the United States of America. Even if you’re not an American, these same rules still apply to you if you consider yourself a human being. Now that I’ve taken more time than I should have to in 2017 to talk about this issue, let me get to what I actually wanted to discuss in this post.

If you have an issue with the facial animations of humans in Mass Effect: Andromeda that is completely acceptable. If you think bad human facial animations is enough of a reason to say Mass Effect: Andromeda is a bad game and/or that’s the reason you’re not going to buy the game, you’re an idiot. And let’s be clear about something. This has nothing to do with Mass Effect: Andromeda. This has to do with people incorrectly judging games. A video game, especially an open world, plot based, AAA, is made up of more than just facial animations. In fact, as surprising as it may sound, it’s made up of more than just graphics. A game is made up of multiple parts, created by masses of people, over several months to years in the case of Mass Effect: Andromeda. We aren’t talking about some small one man indie game where you can legitimately blame a problem on a specific person. And in the same vein of thinking, we aren’t talking about a game small enough to be judged solely on any one problem. Not to mention it’s probably the least important problem anyone could ever complain about.

A Game is More Than Graphics

Human facial animations? Who cares? Have we forgotten about Assassin’s Creed Unity? Are we just gonna ignore the many serious glitches in the original release of Skyrim? And who’s playing Mass Effect games for the humans in the first place? If you’re not in it for the aliens then you’re a xenophobic, narcissistic asshat and you should just run along back to your COD. Having not yet played the game yet, my biggest complaint so far is the fact that you have to play as a human . . . again. We did three games of that already. Bioware should have moved on to new playable races for the campaign by now. But whatever. The point is that to make the game breaking issue facial animations of one of many species in a huge, plot focused, open world game without considering any other pieces of the total work is kind of like saying you hate a movie because of the way they drew/wrote the title in the introduction. Most importantly, it shows a lack of ability to properly judge and/or review games.

I’m not saying that I’m the best game reviewer of all time, but I am quite experienced with multiple years of reviews under my belt. While I won’t say that there’s any one correct way to review games, there are a few things that every good reviewer should be doing when judging games. The first and most important is making sure to judge a game in its entirety and not just focus on one specific aspect. This is especially true when picking the score. Personally I hate that reviews are scored. It only detracts from the review because most people take the number as being more important than the words that led to that number. A large part of this comes from the fact that many people no longer take the time to actually read reviews, which is a shame. But in any case, the number should reflect a score for the totality of the product and not just represent a specific aspect of it. The second thing is that the number should accurately reflect what the reviewer wrote about the game. Not what the reviewer felt in his/her own head, but what they took the time to write down. The review should back up the score, not exist independently of it.

Avoid Bias

I haven’t looked at a single review for Mass Effect: Andromeda yet. They are coming out as I write this post. I’ve made the conscious decision not to read any reviews or check any scores because I plan on reviewing it myself and I don’t want my final thoughts and score to be manipulated by anyone else’s review. That’s the third thing that I believe should be standard practice for all reviewers. They should make a conscious effort not to see any scores for a game until they’ve already settled on their score and ideally finished writing their review. I always score games after I’ve finished writing the review. Again, the score should not dictate the review. The review should dictate the score.

While I don’t necessarily believe that everyone should write reviews the way I do, I do believe that every reviewer who takes that responsibility seriously should have a set in stone rationale for how they review games that can be presented upon request. I have shown mine many times and you can see it in practice with every review I write.

The 5 Components of a Game Review
Seen more doesn’t mean more important.

I believe that no aspect of game development is more important or more difficult than any other one when it comes to scoring a game. Many people would disagree, and that’s fine, but again, they should still be able to show a legitimate breakdown of how they score games and be able to justify it. I break a game up into what I believe are the five core aspects of game development: graphics, gameplay, sound, writing, and replay value. The order is irrelevant because all five aspects are weighted evenly for a maximum score of two. Combined they can equal a maximum score of 10. That is how I review games. I look at each aspect of a game in detail, score each one independently of the other four aspects, and add those five scores together for a total score. Now to be completely transparent, the website I write for currently only does integer scores so I always have to round to the nearest integer for my published score, but when it comes to actually choosing a number, I used decimals. I believe that this evenly weighted system is the fairest way to review and score a game, but I would never claim that all reviewers should be forced to use this system. Many people have differing beliefs about what’s important when scoring a game and weight it differently. But all legitimate reviewers should be able to agree that all five of the aspects I mentioned should be considered when reviewing a game and no single aspect can make or break a game unless the game is unplayable because of it. A game with a game breaking glitch with everything else perfect isn’t going to get an eight. But at the same time, a game with great gameplay and terrible to no writing shouldn’t get a 10 either. Neither game has performed to the best of the industry and thus both games should be scored to appropriately reflect a lack of perfection.

Mass Effect Andromeda Parts

So as we move forward into the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, let’s all try to be fair judges of the game and remember that bad human facial animations cannot legitimately make a plot heavy, open world space exploration game with multiple species of characters, the majority of which have totally acceptable facial animations, a “bad game”. Just to clarify, I’m not saying it’s a good game at this point. I haven’t played it yet. What I’m saying is that if your only complaint about it is bad human facial animations and you consider yourself a reviewer or even just a legitimate gamer, then you have a responsibility to judge the game fairly and declare that other than those bad human facial animations it’s a good game. That means you should probably play it before voicing an opinion about it.

I’d love to see how other reviewers weight/score games so please let me know your system in the comments or link me to your own blog post where you explain this rationale in detail. You can get my full thoughts on Mass Effect: Andromeda once I’ve had a chance to thoroughly play the game and my review is complete.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

The Downgrade of Upgrades

This week I published an article about how the better gaming technology seems to get, the worse the experience ends up being for gamers due to lazy and/or greedy development and publishing practices. I published this article on Gaming Rebellion but here’s the introduction:

no games bf

I think it’s fair to say that most gamers today have at least some feeling of like/love for technology. I can code a little bit, build a PC from scratch, troubleshoot most normal level computer issues, and have fixed more than one broken console. I’ve owned every Nintendo and SONY home console (not counting Switch) as well as two of the three Microsoft home consoles and every Sega home console except the Saturn. I’ve owned several handhelds, multiple tablets, multiple mp3 players, and I literally work for a computer component manufacturing company. It is not a ridiculous statement to say that I like technology. Yet it seems to me that as we, by which I mean consumers who call themselves gamers, are forcibly offered “better” technology with each passing generation of consoles, that playing video games has become more expensive and less convenient.

You can read the rest right here. Please check out my Author’s Archive for other articles by me on Gaming Rebellion.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

A Bloggers Recognition Award for Me!

I have been writing this blog almost religiously since 2013. It has been a long and often difficult task, but I have not missed a single week in the more than three years that I’ve been writing this gaming centered blog. This was not the original home of DJMMT’s Gaming Blog. For those of you who have been reading longer than the past six months, you know that this blog originally started on IGN. In fact, the page is still there in all its glory, but I have no regrets about moving to my own dedicated WordPress site.

Though I didn’t start this blog for the recognition or the fame, I will admit that it has often been disheartening seeing lower quality content creators get famous and often rich while I slave away at making quality posts hoping for just a few comments. A bit of recognition for my efforts would be very much appreciated and today I show my appreciation.

sbox

I have been nominated for the Bloggers Recognition Award by none other than The Ranting SBox. For those of you who aren’t aware, this is an excellent blogger who creates content at a frequency that I could only dream about matching. This blog, like mine, focuses on popular entertainment with a focus on both film and video games. It’s a wonderful blog that I have been following for a while now and you should all check it out. Leave him a comment saying DJMMT sent you. It is both an honor and a privilege to have been nominated by such a talented blogger.

I am very thankful to have been recognized for this award. In the years that I’ve been writing this blog I’ve never actually been awarded or recognized for my efforts outside of the occasional comment or tweet. Never before has anyone taken the time to formally recognize my blog on any serious platform, to the best of my knowledge. This is a moment that I take great pride in and it has only motivated me to continue the good work of creating serious posts in the discussion of video games and the culture surrounding them.

rules

In order to formally accept a Bloggers Recognition Award, one must adhere to the rules to the best of their ability. So in case you aren’t aware, here are the rules:

  1. You must thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story about how you started your blog.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give the award to.
  6. Comment on each of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated, and provide a link.

I’ve already completed one and obviously two since you’re reading this. So let’s move on to the rest.

I started this blog back in 2013 with a very grandiose goal and vision of myself. I wanted to write a book of essays about topics in gaming. In fact I did write a book of essays about serious topics in gaming. I actually wrote more than 100 single spaced pages on various topics but then I realized something important. Gaming is also changing. Today gens are ending faster than they ever did before and the way games are made, sold, and managed continuously changes. I realized that while the issues I was writing about at the time were important then, they most likely wouldn’t be important by the time I figured out how to get a book of essays published. Even today I still write posts that often get backlogged and by the time I can get them published they stop being relevant. Still haven’t had time to get to that Nintendo Switch announcement post . . .

tldr

But my goal for writing those essays was not just for them to exist. It was for people to read them, discuss them, and hopefully take my ideas to heart when moving forward as members of the gaming industry and/or community. That meant people needed to see them while they were still relevant. So I decided that instead of trying to publish a book I would just start publishing my essays in blog form. My first posts were even longer than they are now. I even had to break them up into multiple parts because I knew people wouldn’t read them. I still write thorough posts as you all know, but nowhere near to the degree that I did back when I first started. Eventually you get tired of seeing TLDR for every single post you do. Since I first started I have always taken my blog and accompanying YouTube channel, Twitter account, and other connected media very seriously. For me it’s more than a hobby. It’s a responsibility to the gaming community.

As far as advice to new bloggers, I would say the two most important things you can have are frequency and consistency. People like active content creators. I wish I could do three or more posts a week, but I just don’t have the time. The only way to stay relevant in an ever growing feed of social media where your stuff gets pushed down out of view quicker than it gets shared is to continually create new things to put you back on top again. If I didn’t have to work and do other adult things, I’d try to make a post of some sort every day.

advice

As far as consistency, find a reason and a voice to write with. A good way to do this is by creating a mission statement. The goal of my blog has always been to discuss topics in gaming in a serious manner with a focus on consumers. I have always sought to have people think about gaming in a serious and scholarly way similarly to how people look at film today. That’s why I write the things I write in the style I write them in. Be consistent about what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it. Don’t just change your style and goals based on the current trend. In my case I wanted to create posts that would incite serious discussions about gaming. That’s not sexy and it doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I can be and am proud of every post I create because I know that they show integrity and dedication. And just for the record, this blog and my consistent style when writing posts for it got me my current job so my advice is more than just soap box preaching. People do recognize when and why your content changes and if it’s not for the right reasons it won’t help you in the long run.

Finally, I’m supposed to nominate 15 other blogs with links that I think deserve this award. Now honestly I can’t recommend 15 blogs that I think are worth your time. But I can name eight. These blogs aren’t for everyone, but they’re blogs I like and I encourage you to at least check them out.

Well that’s everything. Thanks again to The Ranting SBox for nominating me. I never thought I’d end up getting a BRA or that it would be given to me by a dude. Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

Thank you to everyone who has supported this blog over the years. For continuing to read, comment, and share. You’re the reason I’m still going all these posts later.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Assassin’s Seed on Gaming Rebellion

This week I published an article about my experience watching the Assassin’s Creed movie and the various continuity issues it has when compared with the world of the games. This is not really a review, but there are some review aspects to the piece.  I published this article on Gaming Rebellion but here’s the introduction:

acm

Recently I saw Assassin’s Creed the movie. It should come as no surprise to anyone, but it was a bad movie. To be clear, I’m not just saying it was a bad experience in comparison to playing the games. I’m saying that it was a badly made film whether connected to a video game or not. But what I thought was interesting was that it was bad for many of the same reasons I complain about the games. Because of how Ubisoft has talked about the movie, I feel that it’s completely acceptable to compare the movie directly to the games. To be fair though, there are a number of possible key differences that make it plausible to place the movie in its own separate universe from the games. I am choosing not to do that here, because for the most part it’s not necessary to do.

You can read the rest right here. Please check out my Author’s Archive for other articles by me on Gaming Rebellion.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

 

My Gaming Goals 2017

It’s already a month into 2017, but I thought this post was important to publish late than not at all. Last week, I published an article about my thoughts on gaming in 2016. Several weeks before that, I published an article about my experience last year completing The 52 Challenge. To complete the transition into 2017, I thought it was important and necessary to write a post about my gaming goals for this year.

I believe in the power of writing things down. I believe that when you take the time to put something to paper that gives it power and motivates you to stick with your goals. That’s how I got through two years of saving to build a high end gaming PC. I finally got the money together and have already purchased most of the parts. That goal will be completed by the end of February. A lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions but most people don’t stick with them. Writing them down is the first step to getting them done. So here’s what I’m committed to accomplishing in 2017.

2017-gaming-calendar

 

  1. Finish Toukiden Kiwami (PS4)
    1. This is an action RPG from Koei Tecmo. It was released for the PS4 as an enhanced version of the original PSP game from 2013. This is an excellent game that I purchased in a flash sale and started some time last year. Because of a number of different factors I got really far into it but then ended up not finishing it. That changes this year. I’m finally beating this game.
  2. Final Fantasy 7 (PS4)

    1. Full disclosure: I’ve never played FF7. My first and still favorite Final Fantasy is FFX and I’ve beaten every one released since then, but I’ve never played FF7. Yes I realize this is a criminal offense and I mean to pay for my crime this year.
  3. Infamous Second Son and First Light (PS4)

    1. I bought Second Son for $20 back in 2015 when I first got my PS4. Still haven’t had time to play it. Then I got First Light several months later from PS+. This year I’m gonna put the time aside to finish both back to back.
  4. Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

    1. I’ve never played any of the Xeno games, but my friend couldn’t stop talking about how good Xenoblade Chronicles X was. I got it on Black Friday back in 2015 and still haven’t tried it. I’m just tired of looking at it unplayed on my shelf so this year I’ll have to get to it.
  5. Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

    1. I bought SMM back in 2015 because everyone did. I honestly loved the concept but had little actual interest in a Mario game where I had to build my own levels or trust other people who aren’t professionals to make them for me. I don’t consider myself creative enough to be a great level builder. The only reason I bought this game was because I’m an avid Mario supporter and I buy all the console release games in the franchise. Just want to get to it this year so I can cross it off the list.
  6. Yoshi’s Wooly World (Wii U)

    1. I bought Wooly World back in 2015 and even sprung for the Yoshi amiibo. I hate amiibo and I never buy them. To this day it’s the only one I own. I only bought it because my girlfriend wanted it with the game. I would have bought the game either way because I like the yarn games from Nintendo. Kirby’s Epic Yarn was tons of fun. Still haven’t gotten to this one because I wanted to co-op it with my girlfriend but I’m tired of waiting so I’m just gonna solo it and make use of that amiibo I paid way too much money for.
  7. Bloodborne (PS4)

    1. I’m an avid souls fan going all the way back to Demon’s Souls. I was never not going to buy Bloodborne. I just hadn’t had time to play it before this year. I actually already started it like the first week of January and I’m steadily making my way through it. I’ve loved it every step of the way and I’m glad I finally got to it.
  8. Dark Souls III (PS4)

    1. Pretty obvious that I was gonna buy this if you read #7. Once I finish Bloodborne I’ll take a break with some other genres and then jump into this one.
  9. Platinum Ratchet and Clank (PS4)

    1. Every year I make sure to get at least one platinum trophy and have since I first got my PS3. Along with that tradition I have always made it a point to platinum all the Ratchet & Clank games. If you look at my PSN profile you will see that I’ve platinumed all the trophy generation games in the franchise except All4One because it’s a shameful excuse for a R&C and I refused to buy it after playing the demo. I actually tried it again today on a friend’s console and it’s just as bad as I remember. The newest R&C came out last year and I decided to make it this year’s platinum. I’ve already started it and have been streaming it on my Twitch channel. You can check it out here.
  10. Build a PC
    1. I first decided to build a PC in 2014. Before that I had wanted to do it but was always afraid to. Many of my friends had told me to do it, but I didn’t really see the need as a predominantly console gamer. What finally motivated me to make the decision was when I tried to play The Witcher 2 on my laptop. My laptop is a piece of junk Sony Vaio from 2010. A friend recommended The Witcher 1 & 2 during a sale on GOG. I reluctantly bought them and played 1. One of the best gaming decisions I’ve ever made. Tried to play 2 but my craptop wouldn’t run it. That was the exact moment I decided to build a PC. I’ve been saving for more than two years but I finally have the money and I’ll be building it soon. Hopefully I’ll have it done before March.
  11. The Witcher 2 (PC)

    1. See #10.
  12. Finish The Last Guardian (PS4) with my Girlfriend
    1. I have waited 10 years for The Last Guardian to be released. Finally they got it out in 2016, two generations later than they should have. My girlfriend got me the collector’s edition and we’ve been playing it together. Not sure how much longer it is but I’m glad I’m finally getting to play it.

challenge-accepted

If I can get all of this done I’ll consider it a good year. It’s a lot of RPGs and open worlds and I’m a busy man. But I beat 52 games last year so I’m confident that I can get it done. Some of these games have already been started as well. If by some miracle I can get all this done there’s a few extras I’d love to get to this year as well. Probably won’t make it to these but one can dream.

Bonus Goals

  1. Uncharted 4
  2. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  3. Magrunner
  4. Finish the Talos Principle
  5. Mighty No. 9
  6. FFXV

What are your gaming goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

2016 Year in Review

I know this post is rather late because it’s already almost February and so much has already happened this year. I will get to topics like the Nintendo Switch and Scalebound as soon as I can, but it’s tradition for me to do a review in gaming of the year before so I decided I’d have to squeeze it in.

Let me be honest and say that while I always have my ear to the ground and I’m constantly checking gaming news, I wasn’t nearly as focused on current gaming last year as I usually am. This is mostly because I was busy trying to complete the 52 challenge. Ultimately I did complete it and you can read all about my experience doing that here. But if you look at the list of games I completed last year you can see that most of them, especially the big ticket titles, weren’t released last year. Of the 52 games I completed in 2016, the only ones released in 2016 were Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia, The Division, Hyper Light Drifter, Attack on Titan, One Way Trip, and Strike Vector EX. Of those seven games, only two of them are AAA titles and only five of them are titles that had any possible significance to the general gaming public. I also put in a decent amount of time and effort into 12 other 2016 releases and purchased an additional 16 2016 releases that I have yet to try. My point is that as far as more than just lip service experience through reading and watching videos, I was not personally involved heavily in 2016 AAA release gaming. So while I feel that I am equipped to judge gaming in 2016 as a whole, I am happy to admit that for this particular year I wasn’t nearly as focused on current gaming as I usually am.

When I look back on 2016, I’m a lot more neutral in my feelings than I was for 2015. And even in my 2015 review I wasn’t leaning too far to either side. 2014 though, I was super unhappy with. I would say that this year we saw a number of bad practices and trends start or continue, but for the most part things ran pretty smoothly. So let’s look at the highlights.

Erasing Memories

Crowdfunding has become even more rampant with companies like Square Enix having the nerve to email people in their newsletter to go fun indie games that they’ll take a cut from without having to fund them. This year we didn’t see any crazy Kickstarter projects like Shenmue 3 in 2015, but the practice of larger studios pan handling for money instead of taking the risks on like they’re supposed to has become even more normalized. I just hope people start to see that this model doesn’t breed great games a majority of the time in the coming year. As far as indie crowdfunding goes, I’m still opposed to it but in cases like Hyper Light Drifter the model works. That was an excellent game that had a true justification for crowdfunding the project because the developer was literally unsure about how much longer he would be alive and wanted to have the funds to complete the game before his passing with no designs on profit.

The games to movies thing tried to happen again in 2016 and no surprise it was all talk and no delivery. Warcraft the movie fizzled out long before it ever began. I personally didn’t even go see it because it looked boring as hell and everyone I talked to said it was a waste of time and money. Just for reference, it got a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. I actually did take the time to see Assassin’s Creed the movie and that was terrible. It was so bad I took the time to write a rather detailed piece about it which you’ll see published in the next few weeks. Basically again no studio has understood how to properly adapt a game to a film because the people on one side don’t play enough games and those on the other side don’t watch enough movies. We also had Ratchet & Clank the movie, which I didn’t take the time to watch because I wanted to play the game which is a remake of the original game anyway so it seemed redundant to pay money to watch a movie based on a game that I was already going to play that was already based on a game I had already played. But Rotten Tomatoes gave that a 17% which is even worse than Warcraft so I’ll just assume my choice not to watch it was the right one. I’m currently playing the game however and I’m having lots of fun. And everyone seems to have forgotten the importance of narrative quality in visual based entertainment mediums in general. But now let’s get to the actual gaming.

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They don’t even really show the leap of faith properly.

I’d say the best way to do this is to just touch on the highlight games of 2016 one by one. So in my opinion the top 10 games of 2016 in no particular order were The Division, Uncharted 4, Battlefield 1, Final Fantasy XV, No Man’s Sky, The Last Guardian, Street Fighter V, Quantum Break, Pokemon GO, and Overwatch. Please note that when I say “top games of 2016” I am in no way, shape, or form saying that these were the best games of 2016. In fact some of the titles I just listed can and should be considered on the list of the worst games of 2016. By “top” in this case I mean popular and /or noteworthy. These are the games that garnered the most attention from the press and public in 2016. There were some other honorable mentions such as Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, Mafia III, and Doom but these 10 are the ones that caused the most buzz for the longest amount of time and I think sum up gaming in 2016 as a whole best. So let’s tackle them one by one.

The Division was another Destiny scenario. A great concept ruined by a lacking plot, terrible end game, and a screwed up economy. Again, I fell for the beta and preordered it and again I, like so many others, was left disappointed. The Division however, was a lot faster about their updates and added multiple new modes of play in the first year of the game. But Ubisoft, like so many other developers, failed to realize that once a player base is lost it’s nearly impossible to bring it back. The loyal players are still playing and some returned, but most of us never took the time to try it again after finally getting fed up. I preordered the gold edition yet I have not logged back in to even try Survival even though I have multiple friends still playing it that have told me the new expansion is great. This always online, PVP focused, crappy end game scenario just keeps coming more and more and it’s really a problem. Probably one of the lowest points for gaming in 2016, but by no means the lowest.

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Buyer’s Remorse courtesy of Ubisoft

Uncharted 4 was a high point for both the franchise and 2016. It won countless awards including PlayStation game of the year by the users, which in my opinion might be the most important award a game can win. As in player’s choice game of the year, not specifically PlayStation. I haven’t played this one yet, but I already bought it and can’t wait to complete Nathan Drake’s adventure. That was also a high point in my book. The fact that Naughty Dog chose to conclude the franchise instead of milking it for as long as they can. The plot drives development other than being added in last minute like with so many other games and franchises today. I hope 2017 has more moments like Uncharted 4.

Battlefield 1 was heavily hyped from the beginning and set against Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. I don’t play either of these franchises and I didn’t buy either game, but I have to say that both games impressed me this year because they did things differently for once. Battlefield 1 decided to go the opposite direction of every other mainstream FPS game for like the last two to three generations of consoles. You’re always either in WWII fighting Nazis, in the Middle East fighting “terrorists”, or in the future fighting aliens and it’s gotten so old. Battlefield 1 goes back to WWI which is pretty much unheard of in modern shooters. The trailer looked great and the gameplay looked like it would at least be kind of different from the same boring crap these studios dish out every year. But I also think Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare deserves to be commended for actually trying last year. COD is a series that always gets panned for having a crappy campaign. It’s a game that people buy for the PVP and until recently they never took serious issue with that. But in recent years Infinity Ward has legitimately been trying to be taken seriously in the narrative gaming genre. Advanced Warfare was praised by many people for actually having a story worth playing. I didn’t play it, because I never buy COD, but I was actually curious about the story starring Kevin Spacey. The trailer for Infinite Warfare looked even more legit for plot with epic speeches by Kit Harington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones). I was so impressed by the trailer that I actually considered buying this one. Kudos to both franchises for finally thinking outside the box. I don’t like the fact that new CODs are made every year, but if these pew pew franchises will actually put some effort in then more power to them.

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You almost got me this year Infinity Ward

Final Fantasy XV finally dropped. It had a very long and very disheartening development cycle. Originally it was supposed to be a completely different game. At times people didn’t believe it was ever gonna get released, but it finally did. I first tried it at a mall in Taiwan back in 2015. Right away I was impressed. This was not another shitty FF13 scenario. This was the Final Fantasy game we’d all been waiting for. A real time FF game that runs smoothly, looks beautiful, and has characters that people really relate to. Square Enix has disappointed us a lot in recent years, but FFXV is a step in the right direction. I haven’t really started it yet but I already bought my copy. My one beef with the game going in is that it takes less than 40 hours to beat. It seems the days of long RPGs that give you over a hundred hours of high quality gaming are a thing of the past for Square Enix which is sad because they basically invented the genre. Overall though FFXV is definitely a win for 2016.

What can I say about No Man’s Sky that hasn’t already been said about the Assassin’s Creed movie? It came out exactly as disappointing as I predicted it would be months before release. You can read about that here if you’re interested. Everybody hyped it. Everybody, well except for me, preordered it. And everybody was disappointed. Ok that’s not entirely true. Some people liked it. But an overwhelming number of people were unhappy with the finished product. It set a new record for refund requests on Steam. Hello Games failed to deliver so many of the things it promised and then went dark after release in the wake of all the negative press. The game was overpriced, under done, and a huge blunder for everyone involved. I’m just glad I saw it coming and was able to help the few people who took my advice seriously from making a big mistake. Probably the lowest point for gaming in 2016.

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This may be the best No Man’s Sky troll I’ve seen.

The Last Guardian was finally released. After more than 10 years of waiting for that game, Japan Studio finally got it out. People had lost hope. Even my resolve had begun to crumble. But I kept hope alive and I was rewarded. Preordered the collector’s edition and for the first time in years I have no regrets about a preorder. The game is excellent. Now I’ll be honest and say it doesn’t live up to 10 years of waiting. The graphics are good, but it would have looked fine on PS3. And, like all games in the series, it’s not that long. My only real complaint is that I can’t pick up a magic sword and start slaying enemies like in ICO. But it is a great game and I’m glad we finally got to see it released in 2016. We’ll definitely consider this a high point.

Street Fighter V was just a big disappointment for all the wrong reasons. It’s a franchise that has set the standards for most fighters for the last 30 years. The formula isn’t hard. Yet for some reason this time Capcom decided to get all modern DLC and release the game prematurely with a fraction of the normal content. Eventually they put out the single player campaign but honestly the game shouldn’t have been released until that was ready. And you have to pay $30 for a character pass on top of an already $60 fighter. What the hell is that? This is just another example of developers/publishers rushing things out and not delivering the quality necessary to stay competitive in what has become a very expensive and extremely competitive industry. The game also had a lot of controversy surrounding censorship because once again the SJWs decided to get involved in gaming even though they don’t play the games they’re complaining about. Capcom gave in and censored the American version of the game taking NA one step closer to a Nazi police state where no one can have their own ideas about anything unless it agrees with the vocal minority or demagogues. Street Fighter V was not only a low point for 2016, but also possibly a bad omen for the future of game development and release.

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Quantum Break was yet another example of how Microsoft doesn’t know shit about keeping their customers happy or just flat out doesn’t care about it. The game was announced as an XB1 exclusive only to last minute get ported to PC, angering most of the XB1 user base in the process. PC owners felt cheated for being misled into purchasing the console version and console exclusive gamers felt angry that an exclusive title could so off handedly be ported thus negating the value of their console. And Microsoft went as far as saying that they wouldn’t be doing many more XB1 exclusives in general because they want everything to be both XB1 and PC because obviously that’s more profitable for them. While I am all for cross platform games and think exclusives are one of the worst practices in the industry today, even I was disgusted by Microsoft’s comfort with blatantly lying to loyal XB1 users and the gaming public in general. That kind of behavior is everything that’s wrong with the industry today. Also the game ended up being kind of underwhelming as well so just an all-around low point for 2016.

Usually I don’t talk about mobile games, but how could we talk about gaming in 2016 without mentioning Pokemon GO? Niantic Labs delivered a great concept with record breaking downloads and profits only to somehow screw it all up with greed, bad management, slow development practices, and general negligence. I still play Pokemon GO and I genuinely enjoyed the times when it was a thing everyone was doing. But I’m in no way surprised that the game died off for most people because it has so many problems. And the worst part is that most of them could easily be fixed if they would just stop being so blatantly greedy. Pokemon GO is just like Destiny and The Division. Proof that great marketing and a great concept go a long way but don’t hold a user base if the developer doesn’t make player enjoyment the main priority.

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And finally, let’s talk about Overwatch. Now for me you can’t talk about OW without mentioning Battleborn. You can choose to say they weren’t competing with each other, but the public directly compared the two and the public chose Overwatch. Now personally I played the beta for both games and I didn’t buy either. But what saddens me is that the public chose Overwatch. I’ll be completely honest and say that OW has the better basic gameplay, but it’s by no means the better game. Probably the most played game of the year was a game that has no single player campaign or mode, no story, and requires you to be always online to play. People basically told Blizzard and all developers that from now on they can produce half a video game and still charge $60 for it. In return that game will win game of the year, get used in esports, and be the leading search on PornHUB. What the hell is wrong with everybody? If Overwatch had a campaign I would have purchased it. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are good. But I’m not going to pay $60 to have to always be online and rely on other people to define my gaming experience. That’s not acceptable. If the game had of been $30, which would have been an appropriate price for a match based PVP only game, then I wouldn’t be complaining, but you can’t just throw out COD multiplayer with lesbian porn stars and charge the price of games like The Witcher 3. I think the number of controversies surrounding Tracer are hilarious and telling about how people feel about the game. They love the gameplay but they want a story and that’s why they care so much about things like comic books that in no way affect the game. It’s Star Wars: Battlefront all over again with a more diverse roster. Battleborn may not have been the better game mechanically, but it had a story with a cooperative campaign and people chose Overwatch because of the “sexy” female characters. And the most ironic part is the fact that the game is being championed for its diversity while being one of the biggest drivers of sexism and the objectification of females in the gaming community in 2016. It’s not fair to call such a successful game a low point in 2016, but calling it a high point means accepting a future where developers don’t even try when they steal your money.

2017

Ultimately 2016 wasn’t a terrible year. I guess based on my opinion of these 10 specific 10 games it leans a little more towards the negative side, but not by much. It had some very low points both in and outside of gaming. But there were also some great moments in gaming that made 2016 a year worth remembering. The game I was probably most impressed with in 2016 was Attack on Titan by KOEI TECMO. It was a perfect recreation of the show that played well, looked good, and had a lot of play value in it. I’d like to see more adaptations so expertly done. Here’s hoping that 2017 will be a great year of gaming but based on the announcements we’ve seen so far I’m already losing confidence. Fingers crossed for Horizon I guess.

What were your high and low points of 2016? Was it a good year for gaming overall?

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Let Players Play Their Way on Gaming Rebellion

This week I published an article about how developers seem to be putting their own opinion based priorities about how their games should be played above those of the consumers at the expense of players’ enjoyment. I focused a lot on Activision and Destiny in this post, but many other developers today are just as guilty. I published this article on Gaming Rebellion but here’s the introduction:

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I know a number of the ideas put forth in this post are controversial in today’s world of constantly evolving games. I also know that many trolls will chalk the whole thing up to me just crying about things being too hard and that’s fine. What would the internet be without haters? But the general idea is one that I believe resonates with all gamers, both casual and hardcore. Players should be given the ability to enjoy games the way they want to enjoy them regardless of how others feel, as long as those others aren’t seriously affected by it.

You can read the rest right here. Please check out my Author’s Archive for other articles by me on Gaming Rebellion.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.