I’ll start things off by saying that this is long overdue. I was planning to write this as far back as January, but I forgot about it, and then when I remembered it, things kept getting in the way. Before reading, keep in mind these are my personal opinions. If I dislike a game that you like, or if I like a game that you dislike, please don’t get mad. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the games that I beat in 2016.
Disclaimer: None of these screenshots are mine.
Not Earthbound Whimsical Turn-Based RPG. Platforms: PC, PS4
Perhaps the most overrated game that I played last year. Everyone was calling it the best game ever, and I kept getting spoilers for it, so I decided to buy it and start playing it before I got the ending spoiled or something like that. Undertale starts off promising enough. It’s a game where killing your foes is optional. +1 point for uniqueness. However, that leads to a couple very frustrating parts. If you choose not to kill your enemies, you have to talk to them, avoid their attacks, and and solve puzzles to end the fight. This can get very hard to do sometimes. There were some parts where I wanted to give up and quit playing because I wasn’t having much fun at all. The game isn’t much more fun if you do decide to kill your enemies. All in all, I found the game mediocre. I can’t say I hate it, but I can’t say I like it. It’s a mixed bag. Despite how little fun I had, there were some parts I liked. The bonus dungeon if you get the good ending is pretty cool, Sans & Papyrus are good characters, and the soundtrack is phenomenal.
Gundam Side Story 0079 Rise From The Ashes
Grunt Pilot Simulator Mecha FPS. Platform: Dreamcast
All of the TAY regulars probably know I how much I love Gundam by now. It should be no surprise that I own several Gundam games. You can play this game without much knowledge of Gundam, but be warned that it does spoil the first Gundam show, as it takes place during it, but in a different part of the world.
In this game, you play as Master Pierce Rayer, who commands the White Dingo unit. RFTA has some tactical elements to it. You can control the paths and attack patterns of the other two White Dingo members, known as Fangs during battle. At the beginning of the game, there are two Mobile Suits for you to choose from. The GM and the GM Cannon. The GM is the most basic of all Mobile Suits. In the anime, it is famous for being piloted by nameless grunts, blowing up, and sometimes landing a hit every now and then. The GM Cannon is an upgraded GM with better defense and a cannon on its shoulder, but it moves slower and if I’m remembering correctly, can only use one type of shield.
The gameplay is kind of hard to compare to any other game, other than the rest of the Gundam Side Story games of course. A lot of people liken it to Call of Duty, but I don’t see any similarities other than both of them being gritty and military themed. The game is immersive in that the Mobile Suits have a sense of weight to them. You can boost, but you can’t fly all around for hours on end, true to the anime itself where most Suits cannot actually fly. Whilst a good chunk of every Gundam series takes place in Space, here, you’re on Earth the whole game, so combat is grounded and limited by gravity.
You fight off Zeon’s forces in the barren wastelands of what used to be Australia. Most of your enemies are the natural enemy of a GM, the Zaku II. They blow up just about as easily as GMs do, so nothing to worry about there. However, as the game goes on, there are more enemies, and they’re all after you and the other two fangs. Be careful not to get surrounded, because the Goufs love doing that, and when that happens, you’re in for a bad time. The most annoying standard enemy is the Zaku Cannon. It can kill you from miles away, and they prefer to stay hidden, so keep an eye out.
All in all, this is a pretty good game. The controls take some getting used to, and the graphics aren’t the best (Usually not a problem for me, but I had trouble seeing things in the background), but I’d still recommend it, especially for Gundam fans who want something immersive. Your means of fighting are a bit different then the standard FPS, which is good. Not only do you have a gun, but you have Head Vulcans (Little peashooters in your Suit’s head that don’t do much damage, but they help) and a Beam Saber, which is like a Light Saber but to scale with a mecha. There’s not much in the way of music, and what little music there is isn’t very good. I think my biggest problem with the game comes not from the game, but the story. The characters are completely one-dimensional (Although they do have some good moments), and the story is mostly just a condensed version of the first series but from someone else’s perspective. That’s not to say all of the story is bad, but just like the music, there’s not much story. Even though I liked the game, there’s not much more I can say about it. Talking about what else I liked about it isn’t going to do it much justice, as it’s a bit hard for me to describe without you seeing gameplay.
Weird I don’t actually know how to classify this game’s genre. Adventure, I guess? Platform: PC
This game is boring. I could end it there, but that would be lazy. Jazzpunk is well... Jazzpunk. Most of its humor falls flat, and unfortunately, humor is all it has. The gameplay is just fetch quests and walking around until something happens. Those aren’t always bad things, but this game does them in the most boring way. I wish I had never bought this game. Or if I got it in a Bundle, I wish I had given it away. I regret playing it. I’m way past my “LOL SO RaNdOm!!!1!” phase (Despite my username having “Random” in it), so I found little to no enjoyment in Jazzpunk. If that’s your type of humor, then go for it, but otherwise, just avoid it. I don’t even have anything else to say about it, so I’m moving on to the next game.
Fire Emblem Fates Birthright/Conquest/Revelation (I played Super Mario Galaxy in-between Conquest and Revelation, but I’m lumping these three together because they’re technically the same game)
Harem Anime Difficult Strategy RPG. Platform: 3DS
I should start this off by saying that I own the special edition, which contains all three games in one cartridge. Normally, the three games are sold separately like the Pokémon series. In the special edition, you get to choose which side to fight for, but in the normal versions, you automatically choose a side.
Fire Emblem Fates has you see control of your own customizable Mary Sue/Gary Stu (This hinders the story quite a bit. Instead of having a decent main character, they shoehorn the player into the story, always referring to the player as “you”), fighting off both the “bad guys” and the “good guys”, depending on your choice towards the beginning of the game (Thankfully you can skip the tutorial chapters before said choice on your second or third time around). The gameplay isn’t too different from its predecessor, Awakening, and that’s good because I really enjoyed Awakening despite the mediocre story. Speaking of mediocre story, this game has one depending on which side you choose. The Hoshido side in Birthright is a rather straightforward tale of good vs. evil that’s very easy to predict and has almost no memorable characters. I found the story of Conquest to be much more enjoyable because it does everything that Birthright was afraid to do. I however will not say anything about Revelation (The neutral path) to avoid spoilers.
From the gameplay side of things, Fire Emblem Fates frustrates me. I love the core gameplay itself, but I found a lot of the maps to be rather weak (Except for in Conquest, which is my favorite version of the game because most of the maps are actually fun). Another frustrating aspect of the game is the support system. While interesting, it often hurts more than it helps because without spoiling things, it can lead to some crappy results later in the game. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of them all though, is the difficulty. From what little of it I’ve played, I can tell the FE series is no stranger to brutal difficulty, and I’m fine with that. What I’m not fine with is absurd difficulty spikes and forced grinding when you just wanna get on with the main story. Even though the game overall is good, the grind takes away quite a bit. I would recommend Fates for those who like strategy RPGs with a lot of meat to them, but not to those who just want a light grindless game with an outstanding story.
Super Mario Galaxy
MARIO IN SPAAAAAAAAAACE! Gravity Defying 3D Platformer. Platform: Wii.
What can I say about this game that hasn’t been said already? If you own a Wii or a Wii U, you need to play this game. It’s easily one of Mario’s best outings ever. The gravity gimmicks are satisfying, the motion controls don’t suck, the level design is great, and the soundtrack near perfectly suits the mood in every level. Honestly, I can’t say many bad things about this game. My only complaints (And those are very minor complaints) are that unlocking Luigi kinda isn’t worth it, and that the bonus levels are a bit too brutal for a Mario game.
Bottom line: This game is extremely fun. Play it.
Babby’s first philosophy book Alternate Timeline 1900's FPS. Platforms: PC, PS3, 360.
I’m just gonna say it now. I do not like any of the Bioshock games. The story (And the main person behind the series) is pretentious, and the gameplay is very boring to me. I played all three games just to see what the hype was about. I truly cannot understand what people see in these games. Are they well made? Yeah, kinda, but quality polish does not make a good game. Infinite does not do much to improve on the second game in the series. I’d say it’s a step backwards. The level design is all over the place, and the gameplay actually feels a bit clunkier.
It’s a little hard to pinpoint exactly why I don’t like this series. It’s just that the gameplay as a whole feels very unpleasant to me. I can tolerate a badly written story (Even if said story is force-fed to the players) if the gameplay is good, but it’s too bad the I don’t find the gameplay good at all.
To talk about this game any longer feels like it’d be a waste of my time. TL;DR, I don’t like it at all!
Metal Gear Solid
Occasionally Wacky Hide N’ Go Seek Simulator Tactical Espionage Action (The game’s way of telling you it’s a stealth game) Platforms: PS1, PC, PS3, Vita
This series in general is kinda tough to talk about. Saying anything about one game in the series will spoil the (Very well written) plot of the previous games, and it’s hard for me to articulate why I love Metal Gear without spoiling it. It’s one of those few games where the story is just as good as the gameplay. None the less, I will try to describe how I feel about this game.
What a lot of people don’t know is that Metal Gear Solid is actually the third game in the series. The first two games were released on the Japan exclusive MSX. You don’t really need to play them to understand the story of MSG, but it does help to give you some context. I watched playthroughs of the first two games before I knew they were playable in MGS3 Subsistence. And before anyone says anything, the NES games and the Gameboy game are not canon, as the series (From what I’ve played of it at least) does not reference them at all. Also do not play the first Metal Gear NES game. It’s bad. I couldn’t even bring myself to play much of it.
The gameplay is like top down Zelda, but instead killing everything that stands in your way, you sneak past everything that stands in your way.
This game is great. It has just about everything I could want in a game. Fun gameplay, great story and characters, good soundtrack, and more! I’m not a fan of stealth games at all, but I loved MSG. There’s just something special about this game. It’s very difficult at times, and you will need a guide at some point or another, but don’t let that hold you back from playing it!
My problems with the game lie in the way the game is structured. There’s a lot of backtracking, and although the design is good, some areas make it virtually impossible to sneak past your enemies, and you only have so much ammo and health before the enemies kill you. Also the night vision goggles put a bright green filter on the screen that really hurts my eyes.
Snake? Snake! Why are already done talking about this game? Snaaaaaaaaaake!
Marine Biology Simulator Squidtastic Team-Based Third Person Shooter. Platform: Wii U
I wasn’t sure about Splatoon when I first started playing it. The controls took a lot of getting used to, and I’m not good at games that require teamwork and playing against other teams. I can safely say I quite liked it. Splatoon is like two different games. The single player mode is like a 3D Mario game but with guns, and the multiplayer mode is like a third person Team Fortress 2 where you not only have to shoot your enemies, but you also have to shoot the ground in order to cover as much terrain as possible.
The story of the single player mode doesn’t offer much except for a few moments here and there. Rescue the Great Zapfish and the day is saved. That’s really all there is to the story except for the hidden lore that you get by collecting the Sea Scrolls, which are much more interesting than the game’s story itself. Gameplay wise, the story mode is pretty good. It’ll last you a while if you’re trying to get everything. I usually don’t like platforming in games that aren’t supposed to be platformers, but Splatoon pulls it off well. It feels like part of the game, and not something that was tacked on. The boss fights are mostly fun. They’re repetitive, but I liked most of them.
The multiplayer is the real meat of the game, but you probably won’t find many people playing these days as everyone has likely moved on to Splatoon 2. In the multiplayer, you fight in teams of 4 vs 4. Regardless of which mode you’re playing, your main goal is to have the terrain covered mostly in your team’s color by the end of the match. For me, playing multiplayer was both fun and aggravating at the same time. In a lot of matches, one team would severely outdo the other. Then there were the times I got pitted against people who were obviously skilled veterans because the game’s matchmaking system isn’t the best, and some people play on alt accounts just so they can crush noobs like me.
All in all, Splatoon is great, but you should probably get Splatoon 2 instead (Unless you really want to play the story mode of the first game).
Gundam Breaker 3
The closest thing we’ll get to IRL Build Fighters Customizable Hack N’ Slash/Third Person Shooter Hybrid. Platforms: PS4, Vita
I don’t know how they did it, but the geniuses at Bandai Namco took the Dynasty Warriors formula (Something I hate), and turned it into something I love. Surprise surprise! It’s another Gundam game! Like you would expect anything else from me, the Gundam nerd that I am.
In this game, you get rewarded for being creative. Nearly every aspect of your Gunpla (Gundam plastic model kit) can be customized (But sadly you cannot mix and match upper and lower limbs with different waists and shoulders, which is the one thing keeping me from saying this game has one of the best customization systems in any game). Much like building a real Gunpla, you can swap around parts, add new details, and paint your kits. I think I’ve spent more time in this game building Gunpla then I have playing the actual game. Remember how I said you get rewarded for being creative? Well, when you build a really good Gunpla, the game gets easier (Which kinda hinders the game on normal mode because it’s already easy enough, so hard mode is the way to go. You unlock the Extreme and Newtype difficulties by beating the game once on hard, then again on Extreme).
Not only can you make a strong Gunpla to ensure victory, but you can also make a really cool looking Gunpla or a really ugly Gunpla depending on how you are at designing things. Wanna stick a Beargguy head on a Guntank? Go for it. Wanna put a huge backpack from SEED on one of the smaller Suits like Victory Gundam or F91? You can do that too, and much more!
Now, onto the actual gameplay. It’s a lot like Dynasty Warriors, except actually fun. You’ll be shooting and slashing down hordes of enemies as you go through each level. Occasionally you will fight a huge boss, which is always fun. I highly recommend getting the DLC, or getting the Break edition of the game since that comes with the DLC, as it adds even more to the already big story mode (Although the story cutscenes themselves are nothing special, but the DLC has a few surprisingly potent cutscenes towards the end). I couldn’t really find much problems with gameplay, as it’s rather simple, but fun. It could have gone down the route of adding a whole bunch of unnecessary gimmicks, but it didn’t. I guess my only actual complaints are the lack of a controllable camera (Sometimes the enemies can get in the way of your view), and that you fight a lot of the same enemies in every chapter, which means you’ll wind up with a lot of parts you’ll never use (Thankfully you can sell them or use them for merging). My biggest complaint comes from the translation of the game. GB3 was released in English, but only in Asia. The translation was done by people who obviously do not speak English as their first language (Although the translation isn’t bad, it does have issues), so some of the in-game explanations for stuff can get a little confusing. I recommend using a guide before doing anything other than playing the game itself.
On top of that, GB3 also has a multiplayer version of the story mode (Which you can only play if you have PS+), a mode that lets you fight AI versions of other player’s Gunpla, and a challenge mode (Which is fun, but becomes frustratingly difficult after a while. I don’t think I even played through the entire challenge mode yet).
I’d say GB3 is very much so worth getting, whether you’re a Gundam fan or not.
Final Fantasy IV
Medieval Star Wars Turn-Based Fantasy RPG. Platforms: SNES, PS1, Wonderswan Color, GBA, DS, PSP (The version I played, and arguably the best version), iOS, Android, Windows, Steam
Final Fantasy IV is a simple, yet great game. It has you playing as Cecil, a Dark Knight seeking to make right of what he did wrong in a world gone mad. I can’t really describe much more of the story without spoiling it, as the game isn’t very long (About 20-25 hours if you’re not an idiot like me and spent hours level grinding because you forgot to during the easy parts early in the game and had to use a guide for a few parts after nearly giving up because you can’t figure out how to do things on your own after a few hours of trying). Also I wasn’t kidding about the medieval Star Wars thing. The story has a lot of similarities to Star Wars.
The gameplay is almost as basic as it gets depending on which version you’re playing. The only real difference is the difficulty and that the DS version added something called Augments. Despite the simplicity, it’s still very fun, although the random encounter rate is too high. There’s lots of different weapons to find and equip, and there’s good variety between your party members. That’s really all I can say about the game. Despite there being quite a bit to do, there’s not much to describe. I will say that it is a great game though. It’s my favorite FF out of the two main series games that I’ve beaten.
Playable Sumi-E Drawing Beautiful Action-Adventure. Platforms: Wii, PS2, PS3, PS4
I’m going to make a lot of people mad by saying this, but Okami is one of the worst games I’ve ever played. What do people see in this game? The graphics are great, but the gameplay is dreadfully boring, the level design is awful, the camera is bad, the controls suck, and there’s nothing I like about the gameplay. I don’t know why I wasted 50+ hours on this game. I hated it. It’s like a 3D Zelda game gone horribly wrong. I kept telling myself “Oh, this is just the early game, it’s regarded as one of the best games ever, so surely it must get better in a couple hours, right?”. Oh how I wish I was right. I cannot fathom why Okami is regarded as one of the best games ever. I know art is subjective, but it seems like Okami is one of the few games where saying anything bad about it will get you flamed so hard that you’ll be a fine roast by the end of the day. You know what though? I don’t care. In my opinion, Okami is a terrible game. Flame me all you want.
That concludes this article (If you can call it that. It’s more or less just my ramblings about games). Thank you for reading. I’ll try not to take as long writing next year’s version.