So far, 2016 has been a great year for games, giving players some incredible titles to play like Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Overwatch, and Tom Clancy’s The Division to name a few. Unfortunately, these AAA behemoths tend to overshadow some smaller games which very well could be great in their own right. These overlooked sometime become cult hits, with rabid followers such as Beyond Good and Evil, which is a game that continues to haunt the fanbase over the possibility of a sequel ever arriving.
Even though the year is only half over and there’s still so much stuff to look forward to, I wanted to take a look back at some of the games from the first half of the year which may have been overlooked or under appreciated.
Here’s my top 5 games that people may have over looked or are flying low on the radar in 2016.
Life is Strange – Yes, this game released episodically last year, but many of you probably don’t realize is that a complete retail version launched earlier this year. Flying under the radar or being overlook is a trait that developer Dontnod seems to be quite good at unfortunately. It’s a trend that started with their first game, Remember Me, and seems to have continued to their episodic title, Life is Strange.
What’s interesting with Life is Strange is that it seems to be widely beloved by people who’ve played it, yet, I’ve barely heard much about it from major publications or the big boy websites out there. It’s for that reason that I’ve given Life is Strange a spot on this list. I don’t know if many people passed on it for how it looks, but it’s clearly a game that has/is flying under the radar. I’ll admit, I’m completely guilty of this as well. Everyone that has played it seemingly has nothing but good things to say about it, so it’s clearly a game that deserves people’s attention and time.
Battleborn – From the house of Gearbox aka the Borderlands guys, Battleborn took that Hero Shooter idea and ran with it in the direction of MOBAs. The look, style, and humor are all reminiscent of Borderlands, but the elephant in the room with this game is the fact that it released only a couple weeks prior to Overwatch. Based on comments by Take Two, the game appears to be doing decently, though probably not at the numbers people expected. I personally enjoy the game, but when your game is living in a shadow the size of Overwatch, I can understand why expectations may have been lower than expected.
Still, Battleborn manages to utilize different mechanics and offers interesting gameplay features that blur the line between online shooter and MOBAs, so it’s a game that I feel is worth checking out. Just like Overwatch, Battleborn features a diverse roster of characters to pick from that is continuing to expand thanks to free DLC updates.
Firewatch – I feel like this one came and went pretty quickly after getting a lot of pre-release hype thanks to the all-star collection of industry veterans that came together to form Campo Santo from artists such as Olly Moss and Jane Ng, to designers and programmers like Nels Andersen and Sean Vanaman. For many, part of the problem is that the game is heavily story driven, and that made watching it on YouTube and Twitch a popular past time. Even thought he game sold reasonably well could that fact have contributed to the seemingly quick fade the game experienced?
Either way, the beautiful visual style and the engrossing character development between the lead and his radio contact throughout the experience certainly make me want to check this one out. With the summer drought of games quickly approaching, perhaps I’ll finally get that chance.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – While this game is still pretty fresh on the market, I can’t help but feel like many will overlook this title simply due to the fact that the first didn’t sell overly well. Sure, it’s a cult favorite and beloved by some, but the fact that the franchise isn’t really regarded as top tier, and the fact that it’s releasing after a busy spring season of games, may result in some passing this one over.
From what I have played of it so far, that would be a mistake. Catalyst improves and fixes many of the mistakes made by its predecessor and really takes advantage of the new hardware, giving players an open world playground to parkour their hearts out in. It took something like eight years for this one to resurface, so I can’t help but believe the future of the franchises hinges on the success of this one.
Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition – Ask many people and Dying Light would rank among the top underrated games of 2015. While it reviewed well, and was praised by those who did jump on board (including your truly), for some reason it never seemed to really gain a mass following. Regardless, Techland continued supporting the game with updates, patches, and interesting downloadable content throughout the year.
The Following represented a sizable expansion, which eventually became almost like a remastered version, containing a ton of enhancements and improvements along with a massive expansion which picked up where the first game left off. While the game was again reviewed well, it seemed to fall into a similar pattern where it almost faded from gamers consciousness a few weeks later. It’s unfortunate because Dying Light is still a wonderful game and is worth checking out.
These are my top picks so far this year, but what say you? Is there another game out there that you feel would make a good candidate to this list? Let me know in the comments.