Since I've mostly left the game-writing-freelance-thing, I've found a bit of freedom in the fact that I haven't played a bunch of 2016's latest and hottest releases. But even I, in my almighty gaming wisdom, could not resist the allure of some of hype of the games released this year (whether there was an actual hype or not).
So, let's talk about five games I've played this year that are pretty darn cool.
Cool Game that You Beat People Up In
Guilty Gear Xrd -Relevator-
This year has been an odd one for fighting games, with some good ones like Pokken Tournament coming out on dead systems and questionable ones like Street Fighter V coming out on the most popular systems. But, the best fighting game this year is criminally underlooked, and that is Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-.
Of course, the name probably doesn't help the PS4 and PS3 (and soon to be Steam!) game muchâ€¦ but Revelator is an effective sequel to Xrd -Sign-, offering new characters and at least some closure to a convoluted plot that's lasted yearsâ€¦ but more importantly, has a fantastic tutorial that introduces many of Guilty Gear's aspect to a new crowd. Something that was sorely needed given Guilty Gear's complicated mechanics, and something other fighting games should try to emulate.
Cool Game that You May Have Already Played if you Owned a Vita
Gravity Rush Remastered
Say what you will about re-releases and remasters, I love them. With my picky and frugal nature I miss out on a lot of the "classics", and I enjoy being able to play these games on new hardware, as I don't like to keep older consoles hooked up if I don't need to.
Of course, the situation is a bit different with Gravity Rush Remastered — as with my constant battle of "why do I own a Vita anyway", I originally bought Gravity Rush for the Vita, only to sell it and eventually rebuy the PS4 version. And honestly, I'm really glad I did.
Gravity Rush is such a unique, wonderful thing. I'm amazed with how fluidly and almost naturally Kat flies (or sometimes barrels) through her strange world, something that honestly easily could have become a control nightmare. The plot is also very interesting, though it unfortunately ends very abruptly. I'm looking forward to Gravity Rush 2 as a result, though. The first game is well worth the experience and I'm glad it came to the PS4, in order to give a broader audience a chance to give Gravity Rush a try.
Cool Game That Scratches That Collection Itch
PokÃ©mon Sun and Moon
I was really kind of done with Pokemon. I did not enjoy Black 2, and the whole of Generation VI I found to be one of the worst ever. But, as more (almost to much) information came out about Pokemon Sun and Moon, I begun to get excited again. I'm glad I gave it another try, too, as I thoroughly enjoyed Pokemon Sun.
Pokemon Sun attempts to have an actual plot, and while it's not some kind of masterpiece narrative, it provides enough of an incentive to see its conclusion. The removal of HMs made it so I could finally have a full 6-Pokemon party without an HM slave taking up a spot. The game telling me a Pokemon's weaknesses and resistances after fighting it once allowed me to try new party combinations, instead of sticking with the types I managed to memorize the matchups for. I can't tell you how liberating it was to not feel like I needed a Water or Fire type to balance out my party.
That said, Pokemon Sun is far, far from perfect, but seeing some steps finally being taken to address some of the long-running series' more stagnant bits fills me with hope for the future.
Cool Game that was Released Yet Again This Year So I Can Put It On This List
Steins;Gate has had a release for the last three yearsâ€¦ the PC release in 2014, PS3 and Vita in 2015, and this year with a Steam release. So, by the powers of time that may be, I can add this to the list this year, and thank goodness as it is probably one of the best visual novels I've ever played.
The story starts off slow, really slow, but eventually opens up to a tale of time travel and intrigueâ€¦ and the consequences of messing with time. There is little gameplay to speak of other than responding to text messages in sometimes vague ways, but the plot more than make up for accidently being dismissive to your friends from time to time. And I learned a bunch of Japanese terms while I was at it.
Coolest Game (aka Game of the Year)
Dragon Quest Builders
All of the above games are pretty cool, but there can only be one, one coolest game of 2016. This super cool game is one I didn't even expect to be cool — even though I preordered it, it was more out of a weird sense of brand loyalty (huzzah consumerist America) than actual excitement for the game.
But when I tried the demo to Dragon Quest Builders, I was blown away with just how fun it was.
I immediately started playing the PS4 version, and did not stop until I finally beat it probably 40 hours later. I've never been a huge fan of Minecraft, but I could see the appeal of being able to gather resources and build (and with some hostile enemies if you so chose). Dragon Quest Builders added the thing I was missing most from Minecraft — direction — with towns to rebuild and baddies to smack down.
In addition to that, Dragon Quest Builders hides a secretly amazing plot. As a long time fan of the series, I absolutely loved how they took a joke question from the original Dragon Quest game and turned it into a 'what if' scenarioâ€¦ what if the Hero saying yes to the Dragonlord wasn't a dream? Given the somewhat dire situation, the world is in a state of ruin. But, Dragon Quest perfectly blends its silly nature with the grimdark setting, making a game that's not overbearing in its dreariness while making it apparent that the end of the world did, in fact, happen.
I could go on for ages on how much I loved Dragon Quest Builders, but I'll leave it at that. It really is a fantastic game.
That's it for my 2016 Cool Game list! Do you think these games are cool too? Let me know in the comments below!