Player 2’s Surprises of 2016
2016 was a surprising year in gaming with a tonne of great games coming out of nowhere to excite and entertain. So in the spirit of the end-of-year here are the Player 2 writers’ biggest surprises of 2016
Stephen – The Last of Us 2 Announcement
After the ending of The Last of Us, it seemed impossible that Naughty Dog would be able to follow it up with something worthwhile, at least involving Joel and Ellie. I was convinced that any eventual sequel would feature new characters and their experiences with the cordyceps plague. It wasn’t far into the trailer for The Last of Us Part Two that these expectations were thrown out the window, as both Ellie and Joel make an appearance. If any studio can be trusted with a sequel, it’s Naughty Dog (Uncharted 3 notwithstanding) so here’s hoping whatever Neil Druckmann has up his sleeve is worth potentially destroying one of my favourite endings to a video game.
Jenn – Uncharted 4
Uncharted 4. I want to preface this by saying that I knew this game would be good, however there were so many moments in that game that blew me away- whether it was gameplay aspects, humour or even just the graphics. There was one scene where Elena is cleaning up after dinner and has forks in the empty bowls, and as she bends down towards Drake THE FORKS MOVE. I don’t know why this astounded me so much but it really did. And then being able to play Crash Bandicoot within the game (which was the most excellent foreshadowing of the remake announcement I’ve ever seen) was absolutely baller. That game kept throwing surprises at us the whole way through and I absolutely loved it.
Paul – Last Guardian/FFXV being good
If you could have told me that in 2016 I’d be playing games in virtual reality, that No Man’s Sky was going to flop, or that I’d enjoy a game that hits so many of the same beats that Minecraft hits, I’d openly laugh in your face. However if you then told me that 2016 would be the year that saw both Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian launch, I may have broken down into joyous tears right in front of you – and yet it happened. Square-Enix and Playstation left it to the absolute last minute, and their reception has most certainly been polarising, but I would never have believed that two of the most tortured games of all time were releasing in the same year, let alone a week apart! Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian, your releases are my biggest surprise of 2016
Stevie – The Last Guardian
Look, I’m gonna have to take the easy way out here and nominate the ACTUAL release of an ACTUAL good game called ‘The Last Guardian’ that ACTUALLY looks both like what it was originally promised to be and a game that was released in 2016 as my biggest surprise of the year. I’ve been riding the ‘Last-Guardian-As-Easy-Punchline’ train for a few years now, so it will be interesting figuring out what I’m going to use next, especially now that FFXV has also seen the light of day.
Glenn – World of Warcraft: Legion
I have sunk more time than I am willing to admit into this latest expansion and I am still finding new things to do. Blizzard really pulled out all the stops for this one dear reader, They re-jigged the enemy tagging system to allow/promote more cooperative playing, made it incredibly easy to find groups and help with quests and they even had the new content scale with your character’s level, so nothing was ever TOO far out of your reach. Some may consider some of these changes ‘pandering to the casual’s’ but you know what, I am a casual, so I think they are tops.
James – Doom
Unlike most people surprised by Doom, I didn’t play the beta. You remember that one, right? Where everyone decided that Doom would be horrible because the multiplayer beta wasn’t so great? Well cut to months down the track and (drumroll please….) Doom is widely lauded as one of the best shooter experiences of the year.
As it turns out, fans equate Doom with the singleplayer campaign more than they do the multiplayer, and to that end its campaign was brilliant. Fast, brutal, unrelenting. The Doom Marine is expressive in the most minimal of ways, but it brings us closer to him. Mechanically, iD Software kept the pace high but changed it up just enough to give Doom a unique ebb and flow by which the management of ammo, health and player positioning are all key. A return to form for a franchise that most of us thought was well past its heydey.
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