2016 – A year in gaming

With the year almost over, it’s a good time to recap what games I’ve been playing so far and my thoughts about them.

January – March

Played: Elder Scrolls Online (PS4)

I picked up ESO in December and couldn’t stop playing for a couple months. As I might’ve written before I’m not a MMO player, and surprisingly it’s been a fun learning curve for me to learn to play with others. Coming from Skyrim I enjoyed the PVE a lot, managed to finish the main story and went post-completion to get Cadwell’s Silver. I was at Veteran 12 and midway through getting Cadwell’s Gold when I stopped playing regularly, because after hundreds of hours the quests sort of become tedious and I can’t even remember who’s who. I’m talking about the Daggerfall Covenant main story, after finishing the Aldmeri Dominion and Ebonheart Pact stories it’s starting to get a bit much of the same, and PVP doesn’t really interest me. Well, in short I had to take a break from too much ESO, and I was highly distracted by Witcher 3!

Retired: Assassin’s Creed Black Flag (PS4)

I loved this game, coming from the monotonous AC 1 (eat, sleep, kill, repeat) this was a game I could enjoy, the missions were interesting and engaging, the difficulty was just right (maybe a little too easy?) and the sea combat/exploration was the aspect I enjoyed the most. I just felt like sailing all day and being a bad ass pirate and forget the main story altogether. It was great while it lasted, but I had to dedicate more time to beating ESO, so I’m only about 50% done. I really do intend to get back and finish the game someday…

April

Played: Witcher 3 (PS4)

I love, love this game. I got it on Christmas and it’s been sitting on the shelf waiting for me to start, so I finally went all in on April and I realized I should’ve started sooner. Witcher 3 is great! I’m not an old time Witcher plan, only played Witcher 1 in 2014 and skipped 2 altogether (there’s no Steam port for Mac and I don’t own an XBOX), but somehow the charming universe, extensive lore, and the unique characters drew me in. Playing this game felt like delving into a fully fleshed fantasy universe not unlike LOTR. Awesome storyline, fast-paced battle system, a huge world to explore, and for once the side missions doesn’t suck as much as other RPG games. For me this is the standard that Elder Scrolls 6 should be and Bethesda better take note 😀

The base game alone consumed my spare time for a good 2 months. When I finished the main story I was left wanting more. I am seriously thinking of getting Blood and Wine once I’m finished with FFXV.

May

Played: Life is Strange (PS4)
Playing LIS was an experience I won’t forget. I marathoned episode 1-5 in a week and I’m glad I did because I wouldn’t do it any other way. The storyline was so engaging, and each episode would end with unanswered questions, cliffhangers and what ifs. (Remember episode 3?) I figured waiting between episodes to be released would be too much pain!

There’s so many good things about the game, the story, the game mechanics, the characters, and the art style. Playing this has inspired me to draw and paint again regularly, so I gotta thank Square Enix and Dontnod for that.

 June

Played: Dragon Age Origins (PS3)

I always wanted to get into the DA franchise and I’m glad I finally did. The bad:The battle system. Origins was hard as ***k, I regularly get my party wiped by normal mobs (why!) and it does nothing for my pride as a veteran gamer. And oh, the blocky graphics and long load times. But why should I complain? It’s an older game. The good: Everything else. Great storyline, universe, lore (ended up reading all the codexes!), so many likeable characters. Origins was a good investment of my time, but I’m not sure if I’m gonna play again…

Here’s my full review of the game.

July

Played: Dragon Age II (PS3)

Everyone’s been hating on DA II but I loved the game. Sure, the dungeons are repetitive and you ended up replaying the same area over and over – but there’s an explanation for that – this game spans over different periods of time! Sure the game is short, (beaten it in 2 weeks time) and it doesn’t have a large open world map. Of course, because it’s not about a band of guys uniting allies all over to save the world, but it’s a personal story about Hawke and friends, and his/her life journey from nobody to a hero. That’s the premise of the story and that’s why I enjoyed it. Get over it guys, and just appreciate everything else DA II has to offer.

Played: Dragon Age Inquisition (PS4)

DA:I was the game I enjoyed most out of all 3. It is a long-ish game but I enjoyed playing it so much, going through 100+ hours was a breeze.For me, this time around the creators (EA/Bioware) have done a lot of things right. I liked most of the characters, loved how they almost always have interesting random dialogue and interactions.This is something the team has always done right since Origins. I enjoyed the romance aspect of the game – gone is the mechanism from DA: O where you have to buy stuff to please your potential partner – this time it’s a lot more challenging to win someone over, and I found it quite interesting.  The storyline missions were interesting, especially the longer missions (Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts, What Pride Has Wrought). The open world is extensive and full of random areas to explore. You have no idea that you’d turn a corner and boom, there’s a huge dragon ready to wipe your party’s butt. That sort of thing. Lastly I’m also loving the customisation aspect where you can craft unique weapons and gear from enemy drops, and redecorate your castle, all of that makes sidequests/fetch quests less of a chore.

Not sure if there’s ever going to be a DA 4, but if it’s announced I’d be buying a day one edition.

August

Played: Mass Effect 1 (PS3)

Had to retire at 10 hours because I couldn’t stand driving around in the Mako. It’s such a shame because I know ME is a good game and I wanted to do a trilogy run. Maybe one day I’ll gather enough courage to try steering the Mako again.

Played: Beyond Two Souls (PS3), The Last of Us (PS4), Until Dawn (PS4)

After my failed run of ME1, I took a break from playing long games and I played 3 shorter games in succession, which were Beyond Two Souls, The Last of Us and Until Dawn, and I think all of them were great in their own ways.

Beyond Two Souls has an interesting storyline narrated in a nonlinear fashion. What’s interesting is since the story was told in short episodes, you had to progress the story for all these jumbled episodes to make sense next to each other in a coherent timeline. The gameplay is different from anything else I’ve played, I think it’s a fresh approach and I enjoyed it.

I had fun with The Last of Us, didn’t think that I would because I’m a bad shooter. It was frustrating having to survive with limited ammo, etc but I managed to pull myself through with blood, sweat and tears. The captivating visuals drew me in, the whole atmosphere of a post apocalyptic, semi abandoned world is just so awesome, and I just wanted to know more of Joel and Ellie’s story that I wouldn’t mind getting bitten by zombies over and over again. Oh, and by the time I’ve beaten the game I was semi-good at shooting.

Until Dawn was OK. I haven’t played any horror/shocker game for awhile, the reason being I just couldn’t handle jumpscares, and this game did a good job at that, building suspense after suspense and scares you when you expect it the least. My poor heart. Finished one playthrough in 3 days, but I don’t think I’d be replaying anytime soon.

September

Played/retired: Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (PS4)

My playthrough of AC: Syndicate was great while it lasts. It’s lovely to see London in the midst of the Industrial Revolution and to be involved in history changing events. The two main characters were OK. Couldn’t relate much to the story, though. Are we the bad guys? Are we the good guys? I always enjoyed going back to the Assassins’ universe where a lot of the gameplay mechanism is familiar from the previous AC games, making it less of a learning curve. I managed to get to about 70% completion before I got sort of bored/distracted by the next game on my laundry list… Silly me.

Retired: Final Fantasy Type 0 HD (PS4)
This game looks interesting but I just couldn’t get into the mechanics – couldn’t figure out the battle mechanism, etc. Would be easier to just watch someone’s playthrough on Youtube.

October

Played: Gravity Rush (PS4)

Great game! While the graphics leave much to be desired, I loved the characters, story and the overall comic book style treatment. The gameplay/warping mechanism takes some time to get used to but once you get it down, it’s very enjoyable. Too bad it’s a little short. I can’t wait for GR 2 to be released next year!

November

Played: GTA 5 (PS3), GTA 4 (PS3)

For some reason I got into GTA 5 three years late. Does it matter? Maybe. But as they say, better late than never. GTA 5 occupied most of my spare time in November. I finished the main story with 76% completion or something. It was so fun maybe I’ll get the remastered PS4 version and do a 100% completion for the OCD completionist in me. Best part: The soundtrack! When i’m driving around in real life sometimes I could hear all the songs from Non Stop Pop playing in my head…

I started GTA4 late November, but I got really, really distracted when my much anticipated copy of FFXV shipped in… but I could say that I liked the main character so far, I think Niko’s backstory and character is interesting, so maybe I’ll get back to it later next year.

December

Played: Final Fantasy XV (PS4)

I’ve been playing FFXV on and off for the last 3 weeks. I’m 30 hours in and I’m nowhere near finishing the game so I couldn’t write a proper review, but here’s my impression so far…

The good: Not grindy (you get lots of AP and XP just by doing regular quests and random encounters, huge open world, cooking system that is actually useful because you get stat buffs through food, fishing system/mini game that’s a lot of fun, the mechanism of leveling up through camping/staying at inns, which for once gives me motivation to end the day, camp and hang out with my buddies.

The bad: Fetch quests. FFXV has lots of these. Find X item, kill X monster, return to quest giver. Of course you don’t have to do all of them side quests, but sometimes I would pick up the quest accidentally and my inner OCD just couldn’t leave them unchecked on my quest list.

I’m only in Chapter 5 and I’m in no hurry to beat the game, so I can’t complain much about the story pacing that’s pissing everyone else off… so we’ll see about that.

Well, that pretty much sums it up, thanks for reading and stay tuned for 2017… I think I’d still be playing FFXV 🙂

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