Hello, and welcome to part two of my contribution to Our Year in Games 2016. I’m continuing my tale of my year in games by talking about another selection of games that weren’t necessarily released in 2016. I have played new games this year, honest! But a lot of older games have played some part in shaping my year in games. Here’s four of them.
One of the games I’ve probably spent the most time with in the past year is an oldie (of sorts), and it is Football Manager 2015. I never got into the 2016 edition of Sports Interactive’s sim, and I haven’t found the right balance with the editor for this year’s edition of the management game. Steam tells me that I’ve spent 190 hours with the game in total, and my career save with Cardiff Metropolitan University has lasted me for over five days of playtime. I’m currently in March 2025, and at the end of last season, I was knocked out in the semi-finals of the Champions League, and this season I am set for the quarter-finals, and hopefully will get to the semi-finals again. My one longstanding issue with the game is that, while the reputation of the club, and the Welsh Premier, has improved, my attendances still aren’t the best in my own league meaning financial survival is only possible with my European adventures.
Despite my gripes over the finances, it is still a game that can tempt me back in. Having opened it to check on some stats to write this piece, I can feel myself being drawn back in. I should make a clean break and start a full career in the new game…but part of me thinks that I’ll still be talking about Football Manager 2015 this time next year.
This year, nine years after it released on the PlayStation 3, I finally played Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I then ploughed on and played Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception in short order, all thanks to the magnificent Uncharted Collection. This collection of classics, that I had somehow contrived not to play, was a journey through a world that would be familiar to anyone who has watched the Indiana Jones movies, or played the Tomb Raider games. It is a series of cinematic action, grand adventures and touching relationships. I had purchased Uncharted 4 (more on that another day) after reading the high praise it was receiving from my friends, but I knew that to do the new game justice, I had to finish the original three games first. So I did, and I had a rollicking great time doing it. Like the Indiana Jones films, you can largely switch your brain off and enjoy the ride. Yes, there are puzzles to solve along the way, but the action and adventuring is a joy to sit back and relax through. At least until the entirely overpowered enemies usually appear alongside the last boss. I’m so happy to have finally completed Drake’s adventures, and playing through the Uncharted Collection really was a highlight of my summer.
I first played DriveClub in January 2015, but I think I’ve spent more time playing the game this year than last. That is in some part due to the rocky start it had, and even when I came to join the party last year, the team at Evolution Studios were still trying to bring the game up to the high standards they set themselves. This year, my racer of choice has generally been DriveClub, even beating out the awesome Dirt Rally. It helps that I own the season pass, and as such can quite often dive into some of the extra content and get my hands on some of the cars that are locked for the very high levels of the main game. Just check out the above video from the All Stars expansion, that Renault is a beast!
DriveClub is now in a state that it should have been in at launch, and that is as one of the finest racers, arcade or simulation, of the current console generation. It looks gorgeous and has some phenomenal cars to play around with. The weather effects are second to none, and there is such a variety in races and locations that you would be hard pressed to find something feeling repetitive. When you consider the different challenges on offer in each event, you can appreciate the depth that there is to this racer. I’m glad that I picked it up and didn’t give up on it, it is a racer that deserves to be played.
What made me play Battlefield 4 again this year? A few factors:
- A sense that I never played the game enough originally to do it justice.
- A desire to get back into the Battlefield frame of mind before Battlefield 1 came out.
- EA releasing the DLC for free.
So, a game that I had probably only played for about 4 hours on the PC originally, suddenly came back into sharp focus. Admittedly, I’ve only now racked up 13 hours with the game, far from the 500+ hours spent on Battlefield 2, but I’m glad I came back to the game. It was rough at launch, with all kinds of bugs, network issues and performance problems – all in stark contrast to the relatively smooth launch that Battlefield 1 has received. As such, I never quite gave it the time it deserved, and for a while even retreated to playing the game on the PlayStation 4, which didn’t go well considering I’ve been brought up playing these games with keyboard and mouse.
For a while then this year, I went back to what has matured into a fine piece of multiplayer shooting. I imagine that servers are quiet since the launch of BF1, but during the late summer period, I certainly felt that it was a busy game, probably with others, like me, getting back into the groove before the hot new thing launched. There are bloated elements to the game with the multitudinous unlocks, and the player base was forever fractured from the start with the DLC policy – more games like Titanfall 2 please EA – but it does a great job of capturing the essence of Battlefield. I will probably still dip back in now and again, when I want something a bit more modern than Battlefield 1, but I think the new game has now largely stolen my heart in a way that Battlefield 4 never quite did.
That’s it for my recap of the games of yesteryear that have shaped my Year in Games. Coming soon, I will cover the games of this year that I want to highlight. Expect Doom and Dishonored 2 to appear, amongst others.