Whatever you call it October-December is absolutely mental for games releases and that means that I am going to be cherry picking releases from each month rather than attempting to talk about them all.
Here are SOME of what was released during funny season (and why this period is killing the industry)October
October was officially the month in which 2016 really sprung into life; every week there were quality titles released as well as the hardware launch of the year, the PSVR. ‘Mafia 3’ kicked us off with a game that was enjoyable but the combination of a botched PC launch and not being as good as its predecessor meant that it lost traction incredibly quickly and became another casualty of 2016 and its campaign against sequels.
‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’ saw the end of its year-long exclusivity deal with Xbox run out and released the “20th Anniversary Edition” on PS4, this is a superb package that includes everything that has been released for it throughout the year PLUS classic Lara skins and a PSVR exclusive mode “Blood Ties”. This saw huge discounts before Christmas plummeting to £21 making this the best value game of the year!
PSVR launched on the 13th and brought with it the best launch line up of any piece of hardware I have ever seen! I had a lot of issues getting my headset (despite preordering it 6 months in advance) and had to leave the house to buy it over the counter (thanks Argos); but it is the best thing to happen gaming this year if I’m honest. It really is brilliant (read my review) and some launch titles were nothing short of incredible – like ‘RIGS’ ‘Thumper’, ‘Super Hyper Cube’ and ‘REZ: Infinite’. Games like ‘PSVR Worlds’ ‘Rush of Blood’ and ‘PSVR Playroom’ are also excellent but much shorter experiences.
Countless other games also released with the headset and while they varied in quality they mostly all sold well. The initial rush of “wow” has yet to leave me with PSVR and I don’t think it will. WELL worth the 6 month wait and release day anguish if I’m honest (pity it can’t win the “game of the month”).
‘Battlefield 1’ was also released to great reviews and even better sales, although it came under flack (rightfully so) for trivialising World War One with both the campaign contents and a series of ill-advised tweets #battlefield1things.
‘Titanfall 2’ closed the month in fine style. Respawn had taken the best parts of the original title and threw in the best campaign in a shooter since ‘Modern Warfare’ and created an absolute masterpiece. ‘Titanfall 2’ is the best shooter of the year, make no mistake about that – unfortunately it also fell foul of terrible sales, so much so that its price had halved within a fortnight of being released in an effort to drum up sales. It’s been reduced three times since so I can only imagine that it is the second biggest failure of the year (after ‘Battleborn’) – if you didn’t buy this, shame on you!
Game of the Month: Titanfall 2
November kept the avalanche of games going and was an incredibly strong month for games. ‘Owlboy’ got us started with a rare game that is obviously a labour of love as well as an incredibly good game (if the reviews are any indicator) and proved that indie’s can do very well during this crazy period.
The most disliked YouTube video ever turned into one of the biggest hits of the year (SHOCK! HORROR!) and proved that consumer opinion is as worthless as it comes when you pack in one of the greatest games ever. Of course ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’ was going to be a hit – it also gave me a great deal of pleasure reading the tweets stating “I only bought it for the Modern Warfare remake” well done dickhead, you just spent £90 on a 10-year-old game #worthit – by all accounts IW is actually good, it’s just cool to rag on it on the internet.
‘Football Manager 17’ released and got pilloried for “being the same as last years” which is patently untrue, this year they added BREXIT. I know @Cardinal_Smith_ loves it!
‘Pokemon Sun/Moon’ got released and promptly outsold every other game in the month in about an hour thanks, in part, to the success of ‘Pokemon GO‘ during those summer months.
Ubisoft had a crazy busy month firstly they released ‘Eagle Flight’ an excellent VR game in which you fly eagles around Paris (it reviewed really well), secondly they fixed most (if not all) the issues people had with the original in ‘Watch_Dogs 2’ – a game that I am playing through at the moment and it is bloody brilliant although it was another high-profile failure when it comes to sales (DAMMIT) ! And lastly they released a ‘Assassins Creed’ after promising us that they weren’t this year. While it is a remastering of the Ezio games it did have one excellent addition…
To be fair to Ubi they had a damned good November.
So did Square Enix when they finally released ‘Final Fantasy XV’ after a good ten years of development and it sold like proverbial hot cakes – however word of mouth has not been kind to it. It has been called out for having a nonsensical storyline and a rubbish main villain – Square Enix have pledged to support the title and release little updates to fill in any gaps left in the story and flesh it out more. Not bought it and want my advice? Wait until the GOTY edition next November.
Finally the PS Pro also saw its release and while it sold well enough it left people thinking “why does this exist?” Universal anecdotal evidence suggests that the improvement to games fluctuates between “what improvements?” to “is that it?”
Even the mystical “it exists to greatly improve PSVR” crowd got proven wrong with PS Pro, fact is that this console exists because Sony like money and people buy “new” things when the advertising is good enough. I’ll be picking mine up sometime this year…
Game of the month: Watch_Dogs 2
Saw the gradual downturn of games (thank God, my wallet is weeping) as Christmas drew near the number of titles release dwindled to nothing. Although we did have ‘Steep’ a game so inconsequential that everyone forgot about it and no-one bought it – it was half price a week after it floppe..sorry released. Still nobody bought it – not even Sherry.
Next up was the game that has been in development since 2007; ten years in the making and a whole console generation missed – it would have to be ‘The Last Guardian’ and it would have to be a hit right? Well yes and no. It is a critical darling and it outsold both ‘ICO’ and ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ in its first week but it also lost out to ‘Dead Rising 4’ for best sales that week and it entered the PS4 charts at only number 5. Needless to say, it saw a hearty discount after Christmas and continues to sell on word of mouth. ‘Dead Rising 4’ finished the month as a good seller, but nothing special.
The 3DS got ‘Super Mario Maker’ which did surprisingly well despite missing a ton of features from its WiiU brother. ‘Super Mario Run’ got downloaded a hell of a lot, but only a tiny percentage actually paid for it and Nintendo saw a massive downturn in its shares and reminded us that they really don’t understand the mobile market.
Finally Telltale released their third season of ‘The Walking Dead’ and it has been getting good to great reviews and has obviously sold rather well!
Overall December was a really good month for quality of title.
Game of the month: The Last Guardian
Quarter 4: TL:DR
An absolute avalanche of games meant that it was too difficult to keep up with the releases as well as the launch of TWO pieces of Playstation hardware. The quarter was absolutely heaving with top-tier games and PSVR brought something truly different to the mainstream. Overall an excellent quarter and an excellent year!
Game of the quarter: Titanfall 2 was an incredible experience in single player and a revelation in multiplayer. While it doesn’t do anything “new” it does everything with a level of skill and finesse that leaves most games in its shadow – Titanfall 2 deserves to be mentioned with the best of its genre not just in 2016, but ever.
What was your game of Quarter 4 2016?
Tell me in the comments/twitter/facebook