I've been thinking about my own awards for over a month now, two weeks ago I drew up a list of all the possible games to consider and this week I locked it down to a final draft. This has been a checkered year and no mistake. Sure there have been some heartbreaking disappointments but then there have also been some amazing successes. So after much deliberation and confabulation you can now check out my list of awards for 2016 here. I hope you find it enjoyable and maybe see a game or two that you missed in the deluge of releases this year.
Two weeks ago Hello Games finally broke a month-long silence and released the 'foundation update' which (if I'm being fair) contains a decent amount of content including base building, various gameplay modes and even the ability to buy your own space freighters. While I'm not sure it works with the original theme of the game it is clear they have put a lot of work into it. In another interesting turn of events the ASA (advertising standards agency) based in the UK have ruled that Hello Games did not mislead customers... say what? Now the ASA have only looked at the Steam page and ignored the other countless examples of Sean Murray lying through his teeth: which kinda irks me. Surely if you want to look at how people had been misled you look at all the media, interviews and shameless promotions (IGN) that may have influenced hype. Even based on the trailer on the Steam page, Hello Games have misled gamers. After reading the report in full it's clear to me that the author simply does not know what they are talking about when it comes to the games industry: despite them clearly putting a lot of effort into explaining their investigative process. You can read the full report here.
I have also noticed a good amount of people online deciding to either buy No Mans Sky or dive back in and give it another shot: do people really need to believe so much? Now I have to give Hello Games props for not running for the hills and instead of putting in the effort to make it right. I could almost forgive them for the countless lies they told but the fact they have not even removed 'that trailer' from their Steam page feels like a slap in the face. At the end of the day everyone must make their own mind up but right now I still think Hello Games need to address the gaming world and set out exactly what when wrong (including a full and frank apology).
Reports are in from the sales of Watchdogs 2 and unfortunately for Ubisoft it's looking like the original Watchdogs sold better: far better. This could be down to how burned many people felt after the bullshit trailers used for the original were exposed: especially for PC gamers. There is also the fact that many big games this season have done poorly on sales, I personally think this is just down to saturation. When so many full priced games land in the same period gamers struggle to keep up both in terms of affording them all but also the massive time requirements. Regardless the PC version is out now and you can find my review here. I have found Watchdogs 2 to be fantastic fun and far better than I had expected: even the performance has been surprisingly good on PC. My favourite aspect so far has to be the hybrid multiplayer and the way it lets you invade other players while they play the single player game. As you initiate a hack you then watch the other player frantically search the area and if you are like me you can play with them like a cat plays with a mouse. Just remember the same can be done to you.
It's easy to write something off as bad. Countless times this year I've uttered the mantra 'fuck this year', almost always in response to listening to the news. As a UK citizen we have had Brexit happen and not wanting to get into a political rant I'll just say this: I don't agree with Brexit and think ignorance prevailed over wisdom. We have also seen our friends in the States go through a similar turbulent time with the election which ultimately ended with Donald Trump set to pick up the keys to the White House. Then on top of the tectonic plates of our political landscape shifting we have seen what seems a never ending list of stars pass. We all die, even the great people but to lose so many legends like David Bowe, Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder in one year is tough to take. It was especially shocking to hear about Anton Yelchin who died in a freak accident at his home: already a star but someone who had so much more to give. My list below is not exhaustive but these are the people who we lost this year that meant the most to me. Thank you for everything you did for us and may you each rest in peace.
David Bowie 1947-2016
Alan Rickman 1946-2016
Terry Wogan 1938-2016
Ronnie Corbett 1930-2016
Victoria Wood 1953-2016
Gene Wilder 1933-2016
Anton Yelchin 1989-2016
Robert Voughn 1932-2016
Mohamed Ali 1942-2016
This will be my last blog post before Christmas and the New Year, so I just want to say a huge thank you to all the people who help me with my site. Especially to my friend Daryl who gives me lots of sound advice, John who helps with tech support and my wife Debra for reading my work with her expert (elf) spellchecking eyes. I shall be publishing a roadmap right after the new year setting out our course through 2017 and a separate piece looking at the games we have coming over this next twelve months. It's going to be an awesome year and I cannot wait to get stuck in.
Stay epic guys and I'll see you all next year!