A Paladin’s Top Ignored/Skipped/Banned Games of 2016.

Preamble:

For those that aren’t familiar with this list, this is strictly a list of notable AAA and Indie games that were released in 2016 that I have no interest in playing at any point in the future. It doesn’t necessarily make them bad games automatically nor is this my worst of 2016 list. There’s another list for that. If a game was released this year and isn’t on this list, there’s a pretty decent chance its on the to-do list or didn’t catch my attention. Why create such a list? Because I wanted to talk about certain games without making anyone believe that I’ve actually played them.

Shadow Warrior 2 (Skipped).

One of my most anticipated FPS titles/sequels of this year and my anticipation went down in flames when I started hearing feedback from reviewers and watching gameplay footage. Shadow Warrior 1 was a well done FPS game with an interesting narrative in a genre that has far too few interesting narratives these days. To go from what Shadow Warrior (1) started to a loot-based FPS grind fest wasn’t what I had in mind for a sequel. It was a Borderlands game that I don’t think anyone wanted or desired. Well, that’s probably not necessarily true. But I sure as hell didn’t desire it. Developers are certainly free to change the genre of a series in whatever way they see fit. If they think it works with the IP, who am I to say otherwise? Still, I have no interest in the loot-grind, bullet-spongy shooter that seems to be Shadow Warrior 2, so I skipped it and moved on. It didn’t make me happy doing so.

Hitman (2016) (Banned Until DRM Removal).

I was somewhat dubious about this game going the Telltale episodic route at what seemed to be the last minute in the development cycle. It seemed like a poor attempt at aping a business model just because it was something different and is currently considered “successful”. After the full game came out, I’m pretty sure they could have been ok with a $60 launch with one caveat: if the full game wasn’t actually done by the time the launch date came around. If that was indeed the case, then Square Enix did avoid a lot of bad PR with this move that would have done serious damage. To a series that’s had a rocky couple of years between a not-well-received game and a terrible movie. However, we don’t know what the development process was like on Hitman 2016 so, I can only make assumptions. But I digress, the reason Hitman is on this list is due to the always-online requirement. I don’t know how many times I’ll say this in my life but here we go again: we don’t need DRM in a single player game. I won’t support it because in X years (probably less than 5) the servers will be taken down for Hitman 2016 and then no one can continue playing this game. That is simply unacceptable when you can still play some of the original Hitman games to this day. Knock it off publishers.

XCOM 2 (Skipped)

And by extension, my review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I basically decided that dealing with the bugs and various issues with this game simply wasn’t worth my time. I’ve tried multiple times to get into the rebooted XCOM series and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad game. I just don’t like how many little problems crop up, the constant monster spawns out of nowhere and the restrictions on squad size and capabilities. XCOM 2 certainly seems to take things in a better direction, but continued reports of bugs, glitches and other issues kept me away from trying it out. Will I return to XCOM? Never say never but the chances aren’t great. 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Banned Until Microtransaction Removal).

There’s an uncomfortable amount of Square Enix titles in this list, to the point that I’m beginning to wonder if I should just ignore their games until the company shapes up. Deus Ex: MD was released to middling critical reception this year and just didn’t seem to grab the gaming crowd like Human Revolution had. While the gameplay does seem to be much better and more expansive than HR in the right ways, the story seems to be a step back in the wrong ways. Even I don’t quite buy that augments would be treated like this even after the events of Human Revolution. The main reason I decided to skip Mankind Divided however is due to the pointless microtransactions inserted into the game. I’ve already stated in the past that I don’t tolerate F2P elements in $60 single player games and their inclusion in MD is a toxic weight on its shoulders. You had a seemingly reasonable game here Square Enix. Adding microtransactions poisoned the honey pot and I refuse to participate in it.

Recore (Ignored).

I have no interest in screwing around with Windows 10 Store exclusive games. There’s a myriad of technical problems with games running in that format due to the Store’s intentional app restrictions including but not limited to: lower performance, other applications such as screen recorders won’t work and mods aren’t allowed. I simply have no interest in dealing with those limitations. I can remain patient enough for them to make the eventual transition to Steam, GOG and other stores. Otherwise, this looked like an interesting title.

Quantum Break (Skipped).

Much of the same reasons that I ignored Recore apply to Quantum Break. (Though they have gotten onto Steam recently). Additionally, it was also the poorly advised integration of TV-like cutscenes with regular gameplay that turned me off from buying Quantum Break. Combining videogames with other media such as TV or Movies has been an odd passion project for certain developers and I really can’t figure out why they are really concerned about melding the two platforms. Other than to say they did something different. I know people like to rag on games with long cutscenes. However, if they’re done right, they can work to tell a heck of a story while also involving the player. By using TV-like episodes, all you do is sit around for about 20 minutes and watch a show unfold. I’m kind of hoping Quantum Break is the last attempt at this mix but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. It’s disappointing too because I was hoping for something better from these developers after Alan Wake. 

The Witness (Ignored).

I simply wasn’t interested in the puzzle design the developers had gone with on that game. Neither that or the limited amount of story pulled me towards it. It looks like a heck of a pretty game but pretty graphics will only take you so far with me. So, don’t expect any thoughts on this game. I know it was one of the more controversial games this year because of its initial price tag. While I didn’t personally think it was worth that much, based on initial impressions, I’m also ok with the dev pricing it that high. I mean, is he potentially shooting himself in the foot? Possibly, but I’d like to see higher priced indie titles actually be successful to change the public perception that just because a game is indie means it has to be cheaper. If we want a sustainable indie industry, we’ve got to let developers price higher than they currently have. Anyway, just some thoughts. 

Mafia 3 (Ignored).

I’m simply exhausted of the Ubisoft-style of open world games right now. And I largely suspect that the Witcher 3 is going to spoil me forever in this genre and I’ll never like it again. I list Mafia 3 because it’s symptomatic of what a lot of open world/RPG-like games have been like this year. Really interesting stories/tech but creatively exhausted game mechanics that are retreads of Grand Theft Auto or other games in the genre. Simply content to pour ALL THE MISSIONS on the player and call it good enough. Even if those missions are mind-numbling, it doesn’t matter as long as you cram the world with as much “content” as possible. And I’m just not interested. I’m hoping this genre changes soon. 

Civilization 6 (Skipped)

Just because. I just don’t think I can handle Civilization anymore. The turning of turns, how bases work out, the way the graphics look, it just, its a thing you know? I can’t deal with that. It’s impossible. Better to simply skip it by and see what comes next. Better for all of us really. Besides, who really wants a review about Civilization 6 anyway? Not you guys.

hahahaha just kidding. I’m actually planning on buying this during the Christmas sales. I’m really looking forward to it, so keep your eyes peeled for it. 

EA and Ubisoft games (Banned) (Possibly more next year?)

This has been an especially disappointing year to watch Ubisoft flail around with its overdone open world formula that feels tired even without playing their games. Their Uplay services continue to suffer from a multitude of problems and with recent game releases, things haven’t gone much better. EA has done slightly better this year but then they threw Titanfall 2 under the bus. Cute. I’m also beginning to wonder if I need to start banning Square Enix games considering how many made it onto this list. Warner Bros is also in warning territory due to shady nonsense with their PR and how they’ve been keeping reviewers at arm’s length unless they’re willing to do sponsored deals. Even more disturbing is the rise of Denuvo Antitamper DRM in games such as Dishonored 2. I’ve already banned games that include that DRM but I fear that AAA games will be filled with in 2017 and I’m really unhappy about that. I thought the fight against DRM was largely over and here we are staring at the next generation fight. Guess it’s time to pick it up again and fight it. 

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading this list and keep your eyes peeled next week for the best and worst games of 2016. 

-KingIsaacLinksr

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