In our last post we looked at the games that had been released in Quarter 1 2016 and were pleasantly surprised by the sheer volume of stuff (so much so that I had written far too much and had to split the article) that had been put out there.
Quarter 2 was more of the same, but with a dramatic increase in the quality of the software. In Q2 we see a few incredibly high quality games and one all-time classic (I wonder what it is!)!
So here we are, picking up where we left off in part one. Enjoy!
April didn’t have a massive schedule but it was a quality one! ‘Quantum Break’ started the month off in typical Remedy fashion, a game that was beautifully designed but incredibly shallow experience that gives the player far too much , too early and fails to escalate. It was the Xbox One’s big exclusive of Q1 and it was well received; however there are conflicting reports about how it sold, the most trustworthy ones suggest it undersold by a significant margin (the shoddy PC port didn’t help). ‘Quantum Break’ would be the first of many big budget under-sellers of 2016.
There were other disappointments released in April too; ‘Star Fox Zero’ was the biggest profile one! It divided audiences right down the middle; those who thought it was a big pile of steaming crap with a shitty control scheme and those who were wrong.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though; ‘Dark Souls 3’ won universal praise for its gloomy atmosphere and tight gameplay, ‘Ratchet & Clank’ got an excellent remaster on PS4 (and a terrible movie) and ‘Bravely Second’ won a number of fans!
April also saw the second of our four hardware releases with the most expensive one of all – the HTC Vive – while sales haven’t exactly been massive, the following this has as well as it being the metre stick all other VR Headsets are measured against means that it has been a success on some levels. It’s hard to argue that it is incredibly impressive, with room-scale tracking and the lovely controllers it comes with.
Game of the month: Job Simulator
May is the greatest month of the year – a certain Luvva has his birthday in May – and 2016 was no exception to this rule; May was bloody brilliant!
The month opened with Gearbox’s big follow-up to ‘Borderlands’ and MOBA-esque first-person shooter by the name of ‘Battleborn’ and while it was actually pretty brilliant, it was stomped into non-existence by the juggernaut that is Blizzard. On the day of release ‘Battleborn’ found itself going up against the open BETA for one of the best games of the year; ‘Overwatch’. A game that with a similar aesthetic but with the clout of Blizzard and Activision which meant that more people played the BETA than played ‘Battleborn – it was a blow that ‘Battleborn’ would never recover from. From its release day it found itself on the “obscure but brilliant flops” list.
‘Overwatch’ was bloody brilliant though! It took everything that made COD/Team Fortress/Counter Strike etc great and created its own identity on the formula and made a game that could be described as “mechanically perfect”. With the free DLC and typical Blizzard post launch support the year was dominated by ‘Overwatch’ and rightfully so – I still play it to this day.
The last of May’s Triumvirate is; of course, ‘Uncharted 4’ – the latest masterpiece to come from Naughty Dog. This was a game with such pedigree that it was always going to be a smash hit, and that’s exactly what Sony got. While the game was as polished as can be, I found myself left cold by it. There were too many things that annoyed me about it – Sam was one, but the major issue I had was that it felt formulaic, it felt like a compilation of the best bits of the previous entries and it didn’t really do anything for me. I thought about reviewing it, but Sherry had much stronger feelings about it so he took the duty. I liked ‘Uncharted 4’ but I didn’t love it (I would’ve given it a 7/10 btw).
Game of the month: Overwatch
June ended this quarter the way June usually does, with a whimper, the traditional games drought kicked in about midway through the month – although there were still some very good games released.
The big one was ‘Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’. The only game I bought during those summer months. And to be honest, while I enjoyed the game a hell of a lot, it left me cold like ‘Uncharted 4’ did the month before – there were some issues that I found hard to ignore. The story was one, it was bloody difficult to know what the hell was going on because it was glossed over a lot of the time and, for me, the open world added nothing to the game. If anything the open world detracted from the experience and diluted the absolutely fantastic parkour.
The game had many positives, it looked amazing for one, the controls were spot on with the 60 frames-per-second really benefitting it, the combat was vastly superior to the original game (although forced combat sections were shite) and it did allow a lot of player experimentation. I appreciated ‘Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’ for what it attempted to do, but DICE have far too many shortcomings to make a classic, engaging, single player experience.
‘LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and ‘Kirby: Planet Robobot’ were also released and well received by critics and the public, but that’s it really. No-one will be talking about either this time next year (or right now to be honest).
Perhaps most famously though was the release of ‘Mighty Number 9’ and it being an absolute piece of crap. The kick off it brought with it from those who supported its Kickstarter was hilarious; they genuinely believed that because they backed it, it meant it had to be good. It wasn’t and within a fortnight everyone else went back to ignoring it.
Game of the month: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Quarter 2: TL:DR
Overall the second quarter was a bloody good one, we got one all time classic (Overwatch), several very good games (Battleborn, Mirror’s Edge & Uncharted), a few good ones (LEGO Star Wars, Kirby) as well as some clunkers. Overall though, the metacritic score for 2016 would be comfortably in the low to mid 80s – and that’s some going!
Game of the quarter: Overwatch- because it was bloody brilliant and the support it has received has been amazing!
What was your game of Q2 2016?
Tell me in the comments/twitter/facebook!