2016 is certainly a tough year to summarize. When I really sit and think about it, several things flash before my eyes, many of which I wouldn’t describe as good. I’m not going to name them. They don’t need naming, and I know Hermione Granger once said, “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself,” but I’m worried. Deeply concerned and cautious, scared for those that are living in true fear. I’ll be okay, but many others won’t. Also, losing David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Sheri S. Tepper sucked. Still, one area that seemed to shine and press onwards, at least to me, was videogames, and I’ll never turn down the chance to disappear elsewhere for a time being. That said, I still didn’t get to play everything that came out this year, hence the list.
Once again, because I am the biggest fan of this ol’ feature of mine and love reveling in the games I haven’t played, dreaming of the days when I will get to them, here’s a short bullet list of the previous entries for this annual Grinding Down event:
You could even make a game out of those old posts and try to discover, based on what is visible on Grinding Down, which games I’ve finally gotten to and which ones are still lost in the haze that is other games in my collection yelling at me simultaneously for attention.
All right, on with it…
10. The Witness
Perhaps I should actually finish Braid before I even attempt The Witness, not that the two are, as far as I know, connected in any tangential way. Here’s the rub: I already know how Braid ends, its twist, the reason it is more about the journey and not the destination. I would just need to soldier through the remainder of its puzzles to see it for myself. After that, yeah, I can move on to line and environmental puzzles on a mystical, magical island brimming with color. It sure does look pretty, but I do worry that my brain might not be up to snuff for some of these trickier areas excitedly whispered about when the game was released at the start of the year.
9. Dragon Quest Builders
I like Minecraft, and I love Dragon Quest. Thus, this fusion of the two, this Dragon Quest Builders, sounds absolutely wonderful. It’s got style and charm, with a fun story to tell that is evidently directly connected to the very first game. Alas, I don’t have a PlayStation 4.
If Inside follows the same path as the developer’s previous creation Limbo, then it’ll be given out for free, multiple times, on every platform imaginable in just a few years. I can wait.
7. Samorost 3
Man. I feel bad. Samorost 3 is really something I wanted to play this year, and I even went back and finally played the first Samorost in preparation for a world of weird, quirky things, starring a tiny man in white pajamas. I watched the Giant Bomb Quick Look for the game and was pleased by what I saw…but then never sealed the deal. Not really sure what happened. Hopefully I can rectify this problem early into 2017 as Samorost 3 is probably the best world to escape to if you want to forget what reality is actually like and just want to solve an obscure, mechanical puzzle by clicking on everything.
So far, I’ve not been spoiled for Firewatch, but that’s likely to be undone as I listen to more and more Game of the Year podcasts and read up on many numbered lists. I guess that’s okay. I’m a huge fan of Olly Moss and his art, and when you combine that with adventure-esque gameplay mechanics, jerk teens, the mystery of what’s hidden in nature, and a lot of dialogue from Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, Olly Moss, and Sean Vanaman (hi, three-fourths Thumbs!)…sigh. Many of us were asking for so long what is Firewatch. Turns out, it’s one of the top 10 games I didn’t play in 2016.
Now technically I did play Doom this year, but only the first level. Several times in a row before determining that yes, this is great fun and something I look forward to playing more of whenever that day arrives. Alas, it didn’t arrive in 2016, but maybe that’s okay. The game isn’t going anywhere, and 2017 seems like a really good year to wallow in the glory kills of cult-like beings and a demonic invasion from Hell. I probably won’t touch the multiplayer, but it seems like the general consensus is that the main campaign is plenty meaty enough to satisfy the trip below.
Oxenfree seems neat. It’s a supernatural mystery graphic adventure with style and drama-driven teenagers. I bet it’s my thing. Evidently, the game is on sale for about $4.99 right now for the holidays, but my Xbox One, besides deciding to not show my pins anymore, has decided to refuse me access to the store. I click and click and click, all for naught. Fine. Don’t take my money, Microsoft. I’ll go buy a sandwich instead. Sorry, Oxenfree devs.
3. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
I’m still working on my no kills on the hardest difficulty setting quest for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and until those Achievements are popped, no future Adam Jensen for me. That said, I’ve heard that Prague is a lot of fun to explore, the sort of introductory hub space one can spend far too long in, like the Hinterlands in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Truthfully, I’m down with that. Let me live in a world and never leave. Even if that world is full of heavily prejudiced people towards humans augmented with artificial upgrades.
2. No Man’s Sky
As previously mentioned, I don’t have a PlayStation 4. However, I do have a laptop, and this laptop can run some indie games on it, as well as a few bigger games with all the settings turned down low. Such as Red Faction: Armageddon. It’s not ideal, but I make it work. At one point, on Giant Bomb‘s Unprofessional Fridays, they played No Man’s Sky on its lowest settings–resolution, textures, everything–and, to me, it didn’t look terrible. It looked like something I could do to experience one of the biggest launches of the year. However, I never took the bait. I held my breath and listened to those that played the game, hearing both their praises and criticisms. Exploring planets and collecting data on plants and alien life is certainly my jam, and I’m okay with this not actually being more than that. Regardless, I think I’ll wait and see how No Man’s Sky evolves over the next year as the developers update it to match more of what they originally promised.
In 2016, I played Hitman: Absolution and rang just about every inch of content from it, getting all the evidence, costumes, and most of the in-level challenges. It wasn’t all that tough. I left one Achievement unpopped, the one for beating it on the professional difficulty. No thanks. I had an okay time with it, but Hitman: Absolution is the exact opposite of IO Interactive’s Hitman (2016). My history of the series has been documented on Grinding Down, but this new entry, which everyone thought was going to be a disaster due to it being served up episodically, seems so wonderfully open that you can truly play however you want. Except using guns. That’s the big difference. For a number of levels in Hitman: Absolution, I hid behind a corner and shot every enemy to death until there were no more people searching for me; that definitely can’t be done in the new game, and that’s a good thing. Hitman is about sneaking around in the open and using the environment to your advantage, with the occasional chokehold or push off a ledge. I hope to play it in 2017, but I am somewhat saddened to have missed out on all the elusive targets along the way,
Well, there it is. And here we are. You may notice some big name, triple A titles missing from the list, such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2, and Overwatch. It is true that I also did not play those this year, but the twist is that I had no desire to play them compared to the ones listed above. Twist.
While I have your eyes and ears, what games did you miss out on this year? Share below please. And don’t worry. There’s always 2017 for them, unless of course Drumpf actually decides to play nuclear war with every country ever, and then I guess I’ll just devote my free time to the upcoming Fallout: Old Jersey, to better learn how to survive in a proper wasteland.