Some of you know we have galleries here on Shadowedblade for my photography – mostly cosplay, although some from my various trips and vacations. For a long time, our gallery suffered from some coding problems that made some of the icons look a little awkward, and my wife (who is also my web designer and editor) has always wanted to revamp them to make them look and run just a little better.
Well, that day has come and we have some sleek, fancy new galleries for all of our pictures. To accompany the unveiling of the new gallery earlier this year, she also uploaded my Ai-Kon 2016 pictures and did some more of the Vancouver trip pictures. So today I’d like to point out a few of my favourites from among those two galleries and point you in their direction!
It’s time to close the book on 2016’s gaming history. A big year for game releases is behind us, with several massive franchises popping up throughout the year… and a lot of pleasant little surprises too. We had some games that had been over a decade in waiting, and others that we only found out about weeks before their arrival. Games of all genres graced our consoles and computers, with sequels, expansions, reboots, and brand new titles all coming out this past year.
What amazed me this year was how few games were quite what I was expecting. Several games I expected to love I wasn’t terribly fond of, while others that I was concerned about I ended up being blown away by. Picking the games for this year’s list had a few obvious spots, but there are about 7 games fighting for those last couple slots, none of which are clear picks.
So without any further delay… let’s jump into the Best Games of 2016!
Early last year, I wrote a review for a digital card game who had just made their official ‘release’ called Hex. I rarely do these sorts of review updates… but sometimes it proves necessary. My initial review cautioned people to not get suckered in by their promises as the game’s non-standard elements were still very much lacking, while offering strong praise for the game’s competitive elements – the more traditional things that make a ‘TCG’ run.
Almost a year has passed since then, and Hex Entertainment has been busy. They have released a plethora of new cards, and are on the verge of releasing another set as we speak. They have revamped their tournament structure, taking strong advantage of the digital framework they’ve built to explore new territory. They have expanded their free to play offering, revamped the difficulty curve, and significantly enhanced the reward structure. So, given all of the above… how does the game look now?
This review will utilize some TCG jargon without explanation. If you’re unsure what the terminology means, I recommend looking here as the definitions are fairly good.
The world is suddenly invaded by a strange species of aliens. These ‘Neuroi’ appear out of nowhere and start taking over parts of the world, and humanity’s primitive 1940s technology is insufficient to do them harm. Fortunately, young girls with magical power called Witches appear to combat this threat!
Yep, you heard me… 1940s alternate history. Witches. Again. Don’t worry though, it’s not the same show. Or maybe you should worry, since Izetta was quite good. Will Brave Witches be able to live up to the bar set by this season’s other World War 2 witch show?
Izetta: The Last Witch is an alternate Earth anime that takes place in the fictional alpine country of Eylstadt at the dawn of World War 2. Our titular character is the last surviving member of a clan of witches who swore to not intervene in mankind’s fate in any way after one of their numbers turned the course of a similar war long in the past. This witch came to be known as the White Witch of Eylstadt, and has become a legend and a symbol to the country.
Fast forward to the current era, and Izetta is the last of her people, and the last descendent of that legendary witch. When war threatens Eylstadt, and nobody else seems willing or able to help Eylstadt against Germania, Finé – Crown Princess Ortfiné Fredericka von Eylstadt to be specific – is reunited with Izetta, who she met and befriended at a young age… and Izetta faces a difficult situation. Does she respect her late Grandmother’s wishes and honour what her clan long ago swore, or does she protect her dear friend and enter into what will later become known as a World War.