2016. What a !@#$%^ year. We've been met with natural disasters, abnormal weather fronts, terrorist activity, the 3 ring circus that was the US presidential election, and all sorts of freedom snuffing propaganda and agendas. On the gaming front, which didn't fair much better we've been duped time, and time again by broken promises, broken games, and a slim selection of noteworthy 'Triple A' titles. Normally I do a list regarding my year's picks while breaking down why I like this, or that as well as why I believe you'd benefit from owning the game in question, but not this year. This year I'm gonna lay things out simply in simplistic paragraph form. You won't be seeing many picks from me, as I honestly was met with a lot of disappointment like a lot of you were. I also do not feel inclined to recommend many of the games I reviewed, especially on the 'Triple A' front due to the fact that they were a one and done playthrough for me. I want to instead mention the games that are true industry blockbusters. The kind that offer immense replay value, lengthy campaigns, proper innovation, and overall more bang for your buck. More excitement for your Euro. More payout for your Pound ...
Since I reviewed mostly PS4 releases let us start there. When it comes to PS4 offerings I found that the JRPGs, some indies, and a single 'Triple A' fighting game held my attention long enough to make my list. In no particular order I loved Square Enix's "World of Final Fantasy", the indie "Earth's Dawn", "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Ed.", "Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator", and "Samurai Showdown VI". All of which deserve a purchase for the price, and the gaming experience they offer. I think out of all of them "World of Final Fantasy" was my favorite though as it played on my heartstrings, and offered a unique trip down FF memory lane. As far as Guilty Gear goes I think it was this year's best fighter as the online experience was the best. There may have been character balance issues, and issues with the way the game was laid out, but I enjoyed Guilty Gear more so than the new BlazBlue, SFV, or KOF XIV.
When it comes to indies like the previously mentioned 'Earth's Dawn' I have to say most of what I reviewed, and favored is worth picking up. It is budget gaming that parents, family, or friends can offer to their loved ones this holiday season by simply buying PSN store cards, and letting the person receiving the gift decide which one they'd like to own and play. I strongly suggest going back through my 2016's review listing to reference what I disclosed about each indie in the way of factual descriptions to see if there's something you'd be interested in. I always breakdown the games content, and add a sprinkle of opinion based on said content at the end.
Aside from PS4 reviews I also picked up some Awesome PS Vita JRPGs which I personally think would be a perfect gift for most PS Vita owners, supposing you can still find them. I loved all of what NISA, and IFI released this year. All of it! IFI's Neptunia titles were some of my favorites once again, but in saying that you do have to keep in mind that they hold some mature content not particularly meant for younger gamers' eyes. When it comes to NISA I loved everything they released as well. Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors, for example was a favorite of mine. It too held a more mature experience though. Again, do go back and check out my reviews in regards to NISA, and Idea Factory Intl. for a better breakdown of what they had to offer the gamer in 2016.
Personal purchases I made in 2016 that are also worth mentioning include Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6 for the PS4. I mention these, because they are decent survival horror games made available for a good price. Not only that, but buying the physical version takes up little to no HDD space on your PS4 console. You can pop it in the disc drive, and enjoy it without having to wait for the game to download. Why other games can't do the same is beyond me.
Honorable mentions come in the form of two Bandai Namco fan service titles that will mostly appeal to fans of the respective anime series. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, which is one I reviewed later this year is a non-canon game that allows the gamer to create their own character within the DB universe, and play a believable role as said hero or heroine intervening in history altering events. It was dubbed as an MMORPG by some journalists which it is not, but it does have RPG elements with complimentary 3D brawler mechanics. For what it's worth the game does deliver a long lasting, and fan serving good time if that is the type of game the gamer in question is looking for.
Secondly, Bandai Namco's "Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization" follows closely the story arch laid out by the anime series of the same name. It features open world MMORPG style third-person combat, and plot material that sticks to the story being told. My only complaint with this title was the fact that the developer tacked on a character creation option that was implemented in a sloppy way. The story text always considers you to be the series' main male protagonist whether you opted to create a female character, or a male character of a different type. Regardless, the combat in the game is fun enough, and offers one of the more unique combat mechanic setups I've seen this year for a JRPG. I think both Bandai Namco games will be better suited for fans of the anime series.
Well, that wraps things up for this holiday season. I'm not gonna suggest going out there, and braving the Black Friday madness, but if you aim to do so anyways and have a gamer on your holiday list you might want pick up something I've mentioned in this article. Whatever you do always do your homework for the holidays. Whether it be through reviews like the ones I provide, or simply by asking the gift receiver what they want you can never go wrong researching before paying up for a game.
Also ... Final Fantasy XV folks!!! I have a feeling it's gonna be great!!!