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No GravatarThe following is an opinion piece and only reflects the author’s views and not neccesarily that of the rest the Real Otaku Gamer staff.

 

2016 was a big year for gaming. Some new franchises came into being, and some series received amazing sequels. Join me as I list my top ten games of 2016. Just a note, I will only include games that I have actually played, so no Overwatch or Uncharted 4. This list will also include indie games.

10) AVGN II ASSimilation

Angry Video Game Nerd adventures was a brilliant indie game and spoof of bad retro games. AVGN 2 picks up where the first game left off and builds on it to make a game that is bigger and better in everyway. A full worldmap, a lot more levels, new powerups and ecouraging of replays, and tons of crass humor that just makes you laugh. The game referenced more games, the AVGN movie and even Board James, and is a treat for fans of James Rolfe. I cannot say enough good about this game, it is a brilliant parody of bad games while being awesome in its own right.

 

9) Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

The sole Nintendo game on the list, TMS #FE was a great RPG for a sytem starving for more of that genre. What was thought to be a fusion of Shint Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem’s play styles and elements, it actually turned out to play much more like Persona for the Wii U with the Fire Emblem as the personas and enemies. While some were put off by what the product was, it ended up being one of the best Nintendo games of the last decade. This was a brilliant game with a fun combat system and detailed plot that a player could lose themselves in for hours. This in many ways is a new IP with guest appearances from the FE characters, and hopefully this gets a sequel. Nintendo got themselves a brilliant RPG and this is one to be remembered.

8) King of Fighters XIV

While Street Fighter V got all the attention this year, it was actually SNK’s fighter that was the superior game. A complete experience and not barebones at launch, KOF XIV had something for everyone. It had good signle players modes as well as multiplayer modes, and there as inceintive to play the arcade mode with different teams to unlock secrets. The new characters were mostly fun and engaging and even some of the ones receivess less warmly turned out to be well thought out. SNK has been quick to fix any issues with the game, including fixing the online, and an upcoming patch to upgrade the visuals. As well, they have been evaluating fan interest in DLC characters for the game, so expect to see this title be supported for a while at least. This is perhaps the second best fighting game of 2016.

7)  Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

A late entry into this list, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero was a major surprise to me in terms of how much of an upgrade it was over the previous entries. The visuals were bright and beautiful and the game was nothing like I expected. I don’t know why, but I believed this would just be a game on the scale of Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, just with better visuals. It turned out to be a dramatic leap for the series and showed that Shantae can be a heavy hitter in gaming. Excellent power-ups, tons of replay value ( with even more coming) and a fun, engaging narrative, made this one of the best indie games of the year.

 

6) Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator

The greatest fighting game released in 2016, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator did something so few fighting games do these days, and did as much as it could to make itself accessible. The tutorial was unlike anything else and truly taught you how to play the game. The fighting was top notch and perfected from previous iterations, and the online was much better than ever. In fact the lobby system in the game was extremely innovative and helped make the experience much more worthwhile. While the story mode lacked the English dub of the previous title, it still was a welcome experience and did its job in answering details about the Guilty Gear story. This was just the most refined fighting experience in a long time and needs to be played by all.

5) Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

This game can be best summed up as bigger and better. Bandai Namco took all the positives of the first game while taking a look at what didn’t work, then went about fixing those issues.  The fighting feels more epic, the visuals are far better, and the story mode feels a lot more engaging this time.  With a large amount of characters, including some from Dragon Ball Super, Xenoverse 2 has something for everyone. Even the online is overhauled and this time it feels far more worthwhile to do co-op. It does reuse much of the original game but that isn’t a bad thing. This just feels like a better version of the first game.

4) Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

This one caught me by surprise. A game that combined the world of Digimon, with the design and feel of the Persona series, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a bold departure for the series. This game is one that I would recommend not only for Digimon fans, but also non-fans, as it is extremely accessible to all. The game feels like nothing else Bandai Namco has done with the Digimon series yet and I want more of this.  A detailed story, deep combat system and likeable characters, Cyber Sleuth has a lot to offer players of the RPG genre, especially those who are still waiting for Persona 5. This game was a hidden gem this year and I recommend it for all.

3) Shadow Warrior 2

This one is good. The previous Shadow Warrior was a game that helped get first person shooters out of the rut they were stuck in. It successfully revived the series while not compromising on what the original was, and made it a great experience. Shadow Warrior 2 makes the first game seem like a tech demo in comparison. Everything is on a grander scale, with vastly improved graphics and combat. The game uses a procedural generated level system to ensure no two replays are the same and it is better for it. This time around, there is a co-op mode that allows you to team up with 3 others and coordinate your playthrough differently. The best part about that is that the gameplay is scaled for co-op so it is never too easy or too hard. Also important is that the game does not act condescendingly towards people who play on easier settings. That is something that is sadly not common anymore.

2) Dishonored 2

Dishonored was an amazing game but this one takes it to the next level. Dishonored 2 is an epic experience that offers so much more than the previous entry. You can play as Emily or Corvo, with both having unique playstyles. This allows for a lot more replay value, especially when you are given multiple ways to play with those characters. The visuals are far better and the overall presentation is excellent. Even the music is great and helps bring you deeper into the gameplay. This is the best stealth game released in a very long time, if not ever and the action elements are so expertly woven in, that it just feels completely natural to shift to attacking. The various abilities you get in the game just make you feel like a badass and that is a welcome feeling. The game brings so much to the table that I cannot say enough good things about this

1) DOOM

The absolute best game of the year bar none ( that I’ve played), DOOM shows you how to revive a classic IP. We were all worried about this game based off the beta, which only showed the multiplayer, as well as the fact that the game wasn’t given to critics in advance. The fears were for naught luckily as DOOM is amazing. Fast paced shooting, with gory action, yet a well developed character who doesn’t need to say anything. The game perfectly marries story telling and gameplay into one in a better way than Half Life ever did, and the result is amazing.  This just feels like a proper return to form, not only for the Doom series but for the FPS genre in general. Many have been too dragged down in storytelling or rote gameplay, but DOOM shows the right way to do it. An amazing soundtrack that really gets your heart pumping for battle, and an amazing arsenal that keeps things fresh. The game’s SnapMap function also brings a form of modding to consoles, as well as giving you an endless amount of content to play through. Bethesda and Id software have been consistently updating the game with both free updates and DLC and all of it is welcome. This is an absolute must play for everyone.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Oct, 2016 At 05:41 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Shadow Warrior’s 2013 reboot was an amazing game that succeeded for so many others had failed. It took a 90’s FPS game based around pushing the envelope, similar to Duke Nukem, and mad a game for the modern era that not only kept the spirit of the game alive, but was a great game as well. Now the sequel has come with much hype behind it, and I have to say it doesn’t live up to the hype…..it far surpasses it.

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Shadow Warrior 2 continues the series tradition of taking what other companies have tried, and actually succeeding where they failed. The game is now partially procedurally generated, so no two playthroughs will be the same, and there is a story reason for that as well. A good way to describe this game would be DOOM 2016 meets the Diablo series, and that isn’t a bad thing. The game is still a hybrid FPS/Hack N Slash game but now you acquire more loot and gear like a rougelike. Skill Upgrades, Item Modifications and Upgrades and more are a big part of this game, and learning how everything works is actually rather fun.

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The single player campaign is around 12 hours ( more if you try and get every secret), and you can replay it in co-op mode with up to four players. Things change a bit in co-op mode, such as enemies taking more damage for example. Given that the game gives you the chance to go in with melee attacks or long range guns or close range guns, co-op might work better if every player picks one style they use as their role and sticks to it. The co-op mode really does add to the replayability of the game and I much prefer it instead of a competitive shooter mode that some other games have.

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Visually the game is stunning, with a lot of detail put into the animations and textures, as well as character and enemy designs. While some characters and enemies do start looking similar to each other at times, there is still enough variety to keep things fresh. The game’s areas are huge and may seem empty, but do not let that fool you. There are many secrets to find and things to do. Just wondering for a while will lead you to something, so I encourage you to do that.

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Shadow Warrior 2 retains the over the top nature of the first game. I would say it repeatedly crosses the line, but in truth, there really are not anymore lines it can cross. Nothing is off limits for the game, but it doesn’t just go all out offensive in a way that comes off as juvenile. Rather, the game seems more aware of itself and its writing. The writing, while spouting out some ridiculous things, is very well written and the characters are organic. You have Lo Wang who is a loudmouth and annoying to many, and the other characters are often frustrated with him. There is a lot of humor in the interactions he has with everyone. The throwbacks to the original game are welcome and a treat for old school fans. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing soundtrack in the game. With songs by people like Stan Bush and more, the game has amazing music that really helps get you into the game and get things done. Shadow Warrior has one of the best soundtracks in modern gaming and also one of the most fun. It is just that awesome and a great way of using music.shadow-warrior-2-screen-5

If there is one fault I have with the game, it is that there could be a bit more variety in everything. Not to say that the game is short on content, because it isn’t. Rather, it just feels like you move through it all a little too quickly. I have no doubt more content will find its way into the game eventually, and my issues are minor at best. If you have a decent PC, I highly recommend checking this out. This is an FPS that knows what it wants and what it should be. I highly recommend it.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 12 Oct, 2016 At 10:21 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarLo Wang is back in the sequel to 2013’s Shadow Warrior reboot. The game, from Devolver Digital and Flying Wild Hog , now has an amazing launch trailer to show off itself. Do you have the touch?

 

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First Person Shooters have evolved a lot as a genre. From their beginnings with games like Wolfenstein 3D to modern games like Call of Duty and Halo, the genre has seen a lot of change. When Doom was big in the 90’s, there were many games that tried to ride its popularity but with characters who had more personality. From this we gained Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior, the latter being heavily based on the former, but with melee weapons as well. Both had characters spouting one liners and jokes that would not be acceptable today and had humor no longer seen as okay.

When Duke Nukem Forever finally launched after so many years of development, it was given a mixed reception in part because it was felt the game could not decide if it wanted to be a modern or retro style shooter. It tried to be both and didn’t succeed, so when a Shadow Warrior reboot was announced, many felt worried that the same would happen. However something else occurred in this instance and instead of making the same mistakes, they went in another direction.

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Shadow Warrior knows full well what it wants to be. It wants to be a modern take on the retro shooter while playing up what made the game awesome in the past.  The humor is offensive and crosses the line, but then it just crosses it again and again to the point of actually being funny. The game has classic ideas of how to use weapons and ammo but successfully integrates it with modern game mechanics.

You have regenerating health but there is a storyline explanation and it isn’t automatic, you have to manually activate it. That can be difficult in the heat of battle but you can also pick up health packs to heal like in classic games.  You can find money to upgrade your weapons as well and this will assist you in progressing in ways not done in most modern FPS games.

It isn’t perfect and there are issues in the game. The aiming is not perfect and can be off at times, the textures are abysmal in several areas and there is a lot of screen tearing and frame drops.  Some of the combat is just off as well as the game tries to encourage Melee Combat at times by not having enough ammo available. As well, the movement and jumping just seems to be programmed with mistimed jumps in mind. Still these faults ate not enough to make the game unplayable. There is enough fun to be had, especially with finding secrets the way you did in the original and other 90’s FPS games.

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I would be remiss if I did not mention that the story, while utterly ridiculous, is ridiculous in an amazing way. Its clichéd and stupid but extremely fun and is an enjoyable time. Lo Wang and his adventures are full of blood and gore but also humor and it’s a story that has consistency

Like I said, the game is not perfect but it knows full well what it wants to be and how to achieve that goal. I had fun playing this game and even with the issues it had, I felt like it was an awesome throwback to an older era. More importantly it was a throwback to an older era done right, and now with the upcoming sequel, I am even happier. The sequel looks to have fixed most of the issues I had with the game, including a rebalanced focus on weapons mechanics and new abilities.

Overall, while this is not perfect, it is a remake done the right way and I look forward to seeing what Devolver Digital has in store with the sequel beyond what they have already shown off.