Charlie and Tom have given you their highlights of 2016, now it’s time to look over the lowest of the lowlights. Unlike last year, we thought we’d collaborate on this list so that it doesn’t get too subjective based on one person’s tastes. Also it’s worth noting, a few games on here we genuinely enjoyed parts of, but controversy has left them on the scrap heap of the year. Now if you’d all be so kind as to bang your hands on the nearest hard surface to create a shitty drum roll…
The opening hours of Recore were extremely fun, but it soon took a nose dive into frustrating territory. Extremely lengthy load times and back and forth travel to progress the game made it almost unbearable to play. Fiddling around with the robot companions you needed for specific tasks meant more load times or traveling extensively back and forth to complete puzzles. No thanks…
Sometime we review games that we know we aren’t going to enjoy after the first hour of gameplay, yet have to push through regardless. Quantum Break falls very much into this category. The game/show hybrid didn’t really do either component well enough to grab our attention for long, not to mention the horrendous ghosting and frame rates we encountered to make enduring this misguided time travel story worse.
We feel we should still praise the bold steps that Remedy took to make an innovative game, but it just really missed the mark for us. Interestingly this is one of the most divisive games we’ve seen critically this year, depending on people in the industry we speak to, they either love (hey, Zach) or hate it. Now we’re not saying they’re wrong, as this one comes down to very much personal taste, but 2/2 LoadScreen Editors did not enjoy it. That being said the voice performances were pretty great, and the initial time travel segment with Aidan Gillen was fantastic, but the repetitive gameplay, poor optimisation and overall pace threw us off for the remainder.
This was just a straight up hurried mess that turned some of the best games of the past decade into something worthy of binning. This wasn’t the remaster we deserved or needed.
Looking back at our review it’s kind of hard not to read “great base game that should only get better” without laughing. The Division was brilliant to play with friends, up until a point. That point was the end game, which very much hit a wall, and hit it hard. Endless grinding without purpose became the only avenue of play, but even that turned ridiculous and severely exploitable bugs made the Dark Zone a nightmare, as players could break the game to achieve high end loot in a fraction of the intended time. Meaning you were grinding for no reason, because other players would just kill you and take all your shit because they could. And of course we exploited it too, you’d have been an idiot not to, but for that reason alone and the amount of time it took to fix, The Division makes this list. The game has improved a lot recently, but the player base just isn’t really there anymore because worthwhile end game content was slow to come out.
It’s kind of hard not to look back at 2016 and see No Man’s Sky as a steaming pile of controversy. That’s not to say it’s the trashiest of games, in fact we both quite enjoyed No Man’s Sky in small doses, however the hype and shady post-launch PR really dragged this game behind a shed and wailed on it with a sock full of sand.
The finished product wasn’t what we were expecting, and we’re not going to get into the whole Hello Games lied debate right now, but we will just say the end product was kind of flat whichever way you look at it. A frustrating inventory system, lack of meaningful interactions, repetitive planets and overall grindyness left us feeling less like the NMS universe’s Han Solos and more like Salacious Crumbs.
No Man’s Sky might be worth a revisit down the line as Hello Games are rolling our free content, including the recent base building expansion. However, what was delivered at launch really wasn’t worth writing home about, and Charlie feels like a massive idiot for including it in his hyped games for the year list back in January… at least he got his favourite review title of all time out of it.