Sunday, November 29, 2015

Games of 2016 You Should Be Talkin’ About

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Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the end of the year. Holiday decorations are up, sales are bringing forth stampeding masses that trample each other to get some bargains, and there are no more surprise game announcements for the year; we pretty much know exactly what we’ll be playing until the end of December and on into early January. All in all, it was a wild year for video games. E3 melted our faces, Nintendo lost its beloved president, Microsoft lost the console war, and Sony is gearing up for virtual reality. Some of the biggest surprises and highlights from 2015 were announcements for games that we’re looking forward to playing next year.

2016 is going to change everything. By the end of next year we’ll be playing in virtual reality, possibly buying Nintendo’s new console, and getting details about the Final Fantasy VII remake. Plus Sony and Microsoft’s consoles will be at the peak of their life-cycles, and we’re likely to see the games that define this generation. What are those games? What are we going to look back and talk about this time next year? I’m going to take a look at a few of the games that are sure to generate the most buzz in 2016.

Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV, in some shape or form, has been in development for almost a decade. This is by far my most highly anticipated RPG, or it was until I heard about the FFVII remake. Everything about the game looks unique: an all-male cast, a modern, dramatic story that unfolds over the course of a road trip, and a new combat system that sounds like a mix between Final Fantasy XII and Shadows of the Colossus. I have to admit I’m not a fan of the emo / boy-band style choices made on behalf of our protagonist and his buds, and royal family melodrama isn’t really my thing, but my fingers and toes are crossed that this will be the killer RPG I need to satiate my Final Fantasy cravings until VII comes out – again.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Expertly crafted stealth gameplay and gunplay, augmented super-mercs, and a masterfully woven story presented with the cinematic flare that we’ve come to expect from anything published by Square Enix; these are a few things that have people like myself who have never played a Deus Ex game waiting with anticipation for the sequel to 2011’s Human Revolution. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until August to play it, but Eidos Montreal is confident that the game will exceed our every expectation. Considering that the demo shown at E3 was a modest representation of what we can expect from the final product, I know it’ll be worth the wait.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
 
I got my Xbox 360 a little late, and 2008’s Mirror’s Edge was the first truly next-gen game that I played. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the first-person perspective lent itself to a free-running game. Catapulting over and sliding under obstacles, running across walls and jumping from ledges… I had never experienced movement and control so lucid and empowering in a video game before, and it was refreshing to play a game where shooting people was always a last resort. Unfortunately it was kind of an underground hit and didn’t enjoy great sales. Luckily, EA recognizes this IP’s potential and we’re getting a really promising follow-up in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, an open-world origin story that looks absolutely gorgeous.

Mass Effect Andromeda
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Who’s ready for a fresh, novel, totally original story in the Mass Effect universe? No offense to Commander Shepard, but I’m extremely relieved that Andromeda didn’t turn out to be some kind of prequel or origin story. The trilogy has ended, and now we get to explore a new galaxy. We don’t know much about Andromeda yet, but Mass Effect was one of those rare gems that attracted all kinds of people who don’t usually play video games and won a massive following. If the IP was bought out by Konami and turned into a pachinko machine, it would still do really well, so there’s no doubt that this game is going to generate stellar sales. Hopefully it lives up to the hype.

DOOM
Fallout 4 wasn’t the only game people were talking about after Bethesda’s E3 conference. DOOM made a considerable impression on many, probably because the gameplay footage was so brutal. There’s no epic storyline or love triangle here, folks. It’s all about gore and dismemberment as you rip the jaws off of demons that will beat you to death with your own arms if you’re not careful. This is one of those for-the-hell-of-it kind of games, sure to be the messiest FPS we see all year.

Can you believe that we’re a mere five weeks away from the new year? We have so much to look forward to in 2016 and that doesn’t bode well for our wallets, friends. This list was obviously very limited; I could fill a feature with all of the hardware and software that has me pumped for next year. What game are you most excited to get your hands on? Do you think Nintendo will release the NX? Holler atcha boy in the comments and let’s get hyped.

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