Nier: Automata – Glorious Esoterica

A few years back, one of the most unique games I’ve ever played came out… a strange gem called ‘Nier’. Nier was not a great game, but it had such charm that it was hard not to love it. It featured gameplay ideas from a wide variety of genres, numerous endings, awkward mechanics, and an amazing soundtrack. Somehow this mix of disparate ideas, awkward implementation, and amazing music created one of the most interesting and memorable RPGs I’ve played, even if the game was nowhere near perfect. And as interesting as it was… it did not sell well.

Given that, you can imagine my surprise when SquareEnix announced a sequel coming, developed in conjunction with Platinum Games, a developer notable for great, unique action games – surprise, and excitement. When thinking about the strange and wonderful ideas the Nier team had to begin with, and matching those up with the polish Platinum is known for… it really felt like the chance for Nier to shine how it deserved. The big question: Did it live up to these escalated expectations or did it disappoint?

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Shadow’s Six – Best Games of 2016

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!

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The Shadow’s Sixty Countdown – The Top Six

This has been a long time coming. When I started brainstorming for this list at the beginning of the year, I never would’ve imagined how difficult it would’ve been to try to recall and rank every game I’ve ever played. I spent weeks brainstorming the list, and my original first draft had around 110 games overall. I spent an agonizing month gradually narrowing the list down from those 110 to the 60 here – I used every trick I could think of to rule some of them out. Some games I went back and played again, watched footage of them, tried to see how much I could actually remember about them, and if I could write a convincing argument for why they were awesome. Afterall, if I couldn’t convince myself, then maybe they weren’t as good as nostalgia painted them, right?

catherine-trisha

These final 6 games were always on the list. While the rest of the Shadow’s Sixty changed dramatically from draft to draft, very little about the Top 6 has changed from the start. These games are the best I’ve ever played, and there was very little question in my mind about which games belonged up top. And that is why I am so pleased to reveal this list to you – the final entries in this, my Shadow’s Sixty. So let’s get to it and unveil gaming’s greatest, as I see it.

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The Shadow’s Sixty Countdown – Rank 24-19

We’ve come a long way in our pursuit of gaming’s greatest moments. We’ve counted down 36 games, explored a wide variety of worlds, visited series both old and new. We’ve battled, we’ve raced, we’ve climbed, and we’ve created items great and small… but we’ve still got more than 1/3 of the list ahead of us. Pretty crazy to think about, eh?

Our fourth to last list is next, featuring games 24 through 19. In this list, we’ve got genres ranging from RPG to Turn Based Strategy… and we feature two of the most well known games of the modern era. Shall we get to it? I think so.

ChildofLight

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Muses: Highlights and Lowlights of E3

As E3 begins to wind down, it is time to take a moment to think about the best and worst moments of this year’s gaming media bonanza. Obviously, I’m not there in person, so coverage is based off of a combination of live streams, articles, and videos from other sources.

So I wanted to take some time here today to talk about some of what I saw following coverage of E3. We’re going to talk surprises, the best and worst, and where the companies hit their highs and lows. I also wanted to touch base about the Sony E3 Experience as this was its first year visiting Winnipeg.

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