Tag Archives: gears of war 4

The Difference Between PS4, Xbox One, and Switch 1st Party Games

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Quarter one of 2017 has been pretty good for first party exclusive console games, particularly from Sony but also for Nintendo if you count one incredible game. In the midst of this I’ve also heard a lot of talk that one reason Microsoft is behind Sony in console sales is because its lineup of exclusives is weaker. What’s interesting is if you look at the first party lineups of each console manufacturer you see different strategies or a preference for games with different kinds of business models. Continue reading

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My 2016 Top 10 Games List

People seem to think 2016 was generally an awful year, but at least it was a good year for video games, probably even better than 2015. 2015 I feel is when AAA games emerged from a sort of rut that started after 2011 as developers were getting used to new hardware. 2016 is proof some kind of good trend is in full swing. I usually don’t force myself to pick 10 games I think are the best of a year, but the fact that I was actually able to pick that many games I immensely enjoyed this year is a great sign.

One thing I also noted is the games on my list tend to be exactly the kinds of games that performed somewhat below expectations commercially because of changing trends in the business. The big budget game business is starting to favor continuous services providing online interactions and rolling content updates. Most of my favorite games were singleplayer with little online interaction — the kind of game that generally stays the same after the initial purchase. I feel like we got a lot of great games of that type in 2016 — games where the developers somehow got a lot of resources to invest not into devices for player retention, but into simply crafting good level design and pretty game worlds for players to explore. Maybe that’s why their weakness in the marketplace against Games As A Service was more visible this year.

Before I start on the list though I should go over the games I couldn’t get to in 2016 and actually didn’t mention in my earlier post about this. Firstly, a lot of seemingly great RPGs came out in 2016, particularly on handheld systems, that I never even tried to find the time to buy or play. Fire Emblem Fates and Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse look like perfectly fine games. Pokemon Sun & Moon also got quite a bit of hype and praise but I’m so hopelessly far behind in Pokemon I mostly just scrolled past it all on my social media. I want to get to it someday though. Also, I pretty much didn’t touch most of 2016’s indie games. I think I was able to finish Firewatch and Inside and that’s it. I bought a few others like Oxenfree and Hyper Light Drifter. I’m sure a lot of those games were great, it’s just that the more time-heavy AAA games got really good in 2016.

And onto the list, starting from the top:

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My Top Shooters Of 2016

My Game of the Year thing for 2016 isn’t going to have any categories for genres or anything even though a lot of great games of various types came out this year. I guess I just didn’t have the time or willingness to split things up like that this time around. One thing that must be addressed though is the landscape of shooters that showed up in 2016.

It’s probably one of the best and most varied lineups of shooters to ever come out in a single year. It seems like we got a good or great shooter of every “era” or “type” this year. The Doom-like shooter came back, some good third person shooters came out, a new multiplayer arena shooter is beloved by most everyone, the blockbuster military shooters this year were probably better than they have been in a long time, and some nice things even went on in the tactical shooter world in 2016.

First though I wanna go ahead and admit I’m not going to talk about Overwatch. It seems to be the overall industry favorite for GOTY, but unfortunately I don’t have that much interest in multiplayer games right now. I messed around with Overwatch a bit during the beta, and while I appreciate its characters and art, it’s just not the kind of game that draws me in. I decided not to play Battlefield 1 so I don’t know about it. I bought a copy of The Division but haven’t even installed it.

I’m also not going to talk that much today about Uncharted 4, which seems to be the other most commonly picked GOTY for 2016. Oh I immensely enjoyed Uncharted 4. I’m probably going to at least mention it in my final GOTY post, but its shooting action isn’t what really stands out about it in my memory. I don’t think that was a bad part of the game at all, just not really a stand-out thing when you compare it to the rest of the game as well as the rest of this year’s shooters.

Anyway,

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My Top Games I Couldn’t Get To In 2016

A sign of how good 2016 was for video games is the fact that I’m devoting a post to games I really wanted to get to this year but couldn’t play in any significant quantity before it came time to recount the year’s games. This is why award shows like BAFTA, the DICE Summit, the GDC awards, and the Oscars are held in spring, but almost everybody in video games seems to love doing Game Of The Year Awards in December or even November, and I’ve already established a pattern of making it my last post of the year. Partly I just don’t like dwelling on the previous year while the next one is fresh and new. This time around it’s also because quarter-one video game releases for 2017 look like they’re hitting the ground running.

The following are just games I was very interested in playing which came out this year, but which I haven’t had the time to. I’m just making this post so when I do put down my ultimate 2016 list on Friday no one gets mad about omissions. This isn’t even every game I thought was “great” in 2016, just what I was most interested in playing.

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Are Fewer, Longer-Lived AAA Games Really A Bad Thing?

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News has been coming out that October 2016 was a bit of a disappointment for sales expectations of some blockbuster video games. One narrative trying to explain why suggests that the transition to games-as-a-service is giving some older games longer tails, cannibalizing new ones. If this is what’s happening (there are other explanations), I’m honestly not sure whether it’s a bad thing or a correction I’ve been waiting to see for years.

US retail and UK retail are reporting disappointing numbers for games like Dishonored 2Watch Dogs 2Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, or Titanfall 2, despite critics receiving those games quite positively. There could be a lot of explanations: particular things going on with each individual game (like Titanfall 2 coming out in-between Battlefield 1 and Infinite Warfare), or particular things going on in the UK retail market or the US retail market. A convenient one however has been that the push to present blockbuster games as services people play and pay into for longer periods of time is giving those people less time to play every new big game that comes out. Continue reading

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Black Friday 2016 Was A Surprise For PC Gaming

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I have to admit video game-related Black Friday sales (Black Week really) seriously caught me off guard this year. I ended up grabbing several high-profile 2016 games I didn’t think I was going to bother buying any time soon. Originally I didn’t have many planned Black Friday targets, but from my perspective this year seems very different from previous years, mainly in regards to sales for PC games. Continue reading

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Windows Store Games Function, But Still Have Serious Problems

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I’ve been using Windows 10 for a while now but until Gears of War 4 came out I never considered investigating the games distributed through the Windows Store. There was a lot of early bad press when Rise of the Tomb Raider and Quantum Break came out that seemingly pushed Microsoft to make some improvements, but with Gears 4 out I’m hearing a lot of new unflattering talk of the platform that isn’t getting much press. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to get a $60, 80GB game through the Windows Store, if ever, so I tried out the free trial for ReCore and the free-to-play Forza 6 Apex just to see what Microsoft’s new system is like. Continue reading

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[E3 2016] Conference Round-Up

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I’m gonna see if I can cram all my thoughts from all Monday’s and Tuesday’s E3 2016 presentations, so I’ll try to keep each subject brief. I won’t go over every press conference, just the games I’m actually interested in playing (not necessarily the only ones I think look good) along with some more general thoughts. Continue reading

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