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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Hex: Shards of Fate – Second Chances

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.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider – Creating a Legacy

When Crystal Dynamics rebooted Tomb Raider a few years back, there was some fear and skepticism on whether this new origin story for such an iconic character would possibly work. And while I absolutely loved the game, there was some fear in my mind about how they could follow it up.

After all, a lot of the success of the 2013 Tomb Raider rode on the character development of the ‘new’ Lara Croft. A sequel would surely build on that, but you can’t recapture that ‘new’ feeling you get in an origin story. So I stepped into Rise of the Tomb Raider excited, but with a bit of worry about whether it would live up to the very high expectations set by 2013’s Tomb Raider.

Tomb Raider’s story picks up a year after the end of the first, with Lara trying to understand what she saw in her first encounter with the supernatural. She is drawn to her father’s research – the research that led to him being ridiculed and his subsequent death – about an ancient Prophet who managed to overcome death. This research leads her to Syria, which is where the game’s story begins.

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Blade’s Edge Update – Happy New Years 2017

winterishere

So 2017 came before I knew it. Crazy. Hard to believe another entire year has passed. It’s been a few months since I’ve done one of these updates, and this seemed like a good time. 2016 was a very busy year, but a good one. So today we’re going to take a quick look back at what 2016 gave us, and a bit of a look forward first at the rest of January and then at the rest of the year.

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The Last Guardian – Beauty and Anger

Well, the day has come. A day many thought would never come. The Last Guardian has arrived, and many of us have now gotten to explore this strange and unique experience. The Last Guardian comes to us from Fumito Ueda, one of gaming’s most revered names and the creator of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. It has been in development for somewhere in the range of a decade, and has persisted through several rumours of it being nothing but vaporware… but it’s finally here. And right after another game that was oft seen as vaporware’s arrival, no less.

lastguardian-narration

The Last Guardian is the tale of a small, unnamed child’s journey to escape a strange set of ruins alongside a giant beast he calls ‘Trico’. Upon awakening in a mysterious place next to Trico, he helps free him from his bindings and then tries to befriend the wounded creature.

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