With 2016 now behind us we’ve taken the opportunity to look back at the games that defined this… complicated year for us. It’s been a strange one for sure; but there have been some absolutely brilliant releases, so without further ado, here’s our staff picks!
STARK: Competitive games aren’t usually my jam. I prefer team-focused PvE objectives, which is why games like Destiny and World of Warcraft held my attention for so long – everyone working together to kill a boss to get that sweet loot drop you so craved. There’s a sense of community within those games that just can’t be matched. That’s what I love about games and my main multiplayer focus for the past decade.
That all changed when Overwatch dropped. Characters oozing that classic Blizzard charm. Massive maps full of in-jokes and references. Mechanics that are simple on the surface but an intricate, looping dance when you start playing at a higher level. I didn’t really get into it until the Halloween event began, but then after a few Junkenstein’s Revenge brawls I took my first unsteady steps into Quick Play, and I was hooked, much like anyone in the near bullshit vicinity of Road Hog. It’s a PvP game, sure, but if you’ve got the right team it transforms into so much more, everyone filling an essential role and working together for glory and loot boxes. At first I tanked – loving Reinhardt’s barrier, D.Va’s flexibility, and Road Hog’s filthy health pool. But as games have worn on I’ve found myself much more comfortable healing, and the character I hated the most at the start (Stupid sexy Mercy) is fast becoming my most played. The game encourages you to swap between characters and find surprising ways to react to threats, and by placing such a high importance on team interplay, surprises you with the characters you come to main.
Overwatch has topped a lot of game of the year lists and deservedly so. It’s been supported wholeheartedly since launch with new heroes, maps, and modes. Despite the lack of story mode the colourful cast are alive with detailed, entwined storylines, buffed up by incidental dialogue and animated shorts. I have made teammates that will last a lifetime. I have literally jumped with joy after victory won in a desperate last few seconds. I watched the World Cup and bought the official jacket. And I just can’t wait to see what Blizzard have in store for us throughout 2017.
It’s also been amazing to set this website up and see the positive reactions we’ve had from indie devs and especially the Twitch community. This is purely a passion project and everyone who’s been involved so far – whether we’ve interviewed you or you’ve given us a game to review – has made it possible. We’re going to keep doing what we love and hopefully you’ll love it too.
A few honourable mentions: Darkest Dungeon is probably one of the greatest RPGs I’ve ever played and you should definitely go get involved. Prison Architect and RimWorld have both been massive time sinks too, and I’ll have reviews on both those titles up shortly!
JOSH: It’s been a pretty eventful year for me; I moved into my first home, took a trip to Croatia, bought three kittens, proposed to my lovely girlfriend (she said yes) and to finish it all off I just got a promotion at work. During that time there have also been a huge load of quality games released, some I’ve played, some I’ve missed out on, but I got to play pretty much everything I wanted. If I had to pick a favourite, it may well have to be XCOM 2. I enjoyed the first so much that I bought four copies of it; the first on the 360, then on PC, then on 360 again to get the dlc, before finally purchasing it again on my phone. So when the sequel was announced I preordered it straight away, and since the release back in Feb I don’t think I have played anything else quite so much. Having said that though I’ve also enjoyed other games like the Rise of Iron expansion on Destiny, more so to do with the fact I get to play it with Chris from Full Sync than the content itself.
My favourite gaming moment of the year though has to be setting up Full Sync. Having left gaming journalism almost a year ago to the day, Laurence gathered myself and Chris together and announced his master plan. It was a tough start, especially with certain outside factors trying to disrupt our plans, but through hard work and perseverance we’ve done what I believe is a fantastic job. Every post on the site is handwritten by us, we don’t copy and paste press releases like others because we don’t want to just regurgitate what is released by PR companies. We’ve bought you high quality reviews, excellent interviews, not to mention a brilliant giveaway too on Facebook. Hopefully, 2017 is going to see us going from strength to strength and will see you all stick with us on the journey.
Happy New Year!
CHRIS: I am not a big fan of first person shooters, although the ones I enjoy tend to become my favourite games. Take Destiny and Call of Duty 4, my two favourite games ever and both are FPS. A serious contender for third is this year’s Titanfall 2. I was a little sceptical about it at first to be honest, especially after playing the first title for an hour before calling it quits. It wasn’t that the gameplay wasn’t fun, because it was, but there was nothing to pull you into the game really. The absence of a concrete storyline pushed me off, so it is fair to say that the campaign was one of the things which suckered me into Titanfall 2’s hype.
What mostly sold me though was the multiplayer beta which was released a couple of weeks before the full launch of the game. The gameplay was so fun that I was convinced, and a couple of hours into the story, I can 100% guarantee that this game is fully worth its asking price. Unlike other games, which deliver a couple of decent hours into a 10-hour long story, Titanfall 2’s story is unrelenting, full of pace and innovations as well as fun mechanics and amazing gunplay. The storytelling from both BT and your hero Cooper is also top notch, propelling the level of the campaign to heights rarely seen in this day and age where graphics and special effects are replacing story and content.
Multiplayer, as also proven from the beta, is a blast as well, and you can safely play a couple of maps, if not hours, without getting bored since there is always something new to learn, be it wall run and gun or mastering the skills of your titan to become an unstoppable duo. There is just something special in Titanfall 2 which I have not experienced through any other game last year.
Thanks for reading, and happy New Year!