Refined Geekery Video Game Guide 2016 (Part 2)

centered.jpgWelcome to Part 2 of Refined Geekery’s most anticipated games of 2016 list. This is an alphabetically ordered list stretching from I to Z. Make sure to check out the first half of our list to get the complete picture of everything we are excited for in the year to come. Now these are just the games that we are excited for that are currently announced. With a host of upcoming conferences including GDC, E3, and Gamescom, there is always the chance of another new or unannounced title slipping onto the list, so keep watch of our site as we hope to bring you some cool insight on all of the big announcements this year. Without further ado, here is the remainder of our list.

Inside

Play Dead’s breakout game Limbo was one of the most popular indie games of the last generation and helped usher in the modern era of independent game design with its original take on platforming. Inside looks to be a spiritual successor as it shares a similarly dour atmosphere with a monochromatic colour pallet and a young antagonist that we can only predict will be facing perilously evil conditions.

The Last Guardian

Gone yet not forgotten, The Last Guardian’s return last E3 was a bolt of lightning for many. Team ICO has created some of gaming’s most memorable worlds in both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. That beautifully thought out design formula looks to be well in play with Guardian and let’s not forget how incredibly endearing that bird dog appears to be.

The Legend of Zelda

From the moment the Wii U was announced, one question has been on everybody’s mind: When can we play Zelda. The tech demo shown at that original E3 reveal was beautiful, displaying a fully rendered HD Zelda, the likes many a gamer had been dreaming of. While the wait has been long, we look to be getting the game sometime this year. The question is will it be a Wii U game? An NX game? Or maybe both?

Mafia III

I have never played the first Mafia game, but the second left a lasting impression on me. It’s open world was wonderfully detailed, and the cool 1940s and 50s aesthetic did much to make the game feel unique. Though it suffered from an absence of true open-world content, it remained one of my favourite games of that year. With Mafia III, we have a new protagonist in an exciting new, New Orleans inspired location, and that feeling of sleazy down south jazz meets post-Vietnam disillusionment that I know will play just to my history nerd predilections.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

It’s hard to believe, but it has been nearly 4 years since the release of the last Mass Effect and all of the controversy that came with it. I have to admit that while I NEVER LOVED the ending of that game, as I look back on the series as a whole, I don’t find it sullied by its final moments. That said, I cannot help but get excited at the prospect of a new Mass Effect game. Andromeda looks to be a brand new departure for the series as it’s group of explorers look to branch out to new galaxies. That level of unknown commodity has to be the most exciting part about this game as it allows for a re-injection of mystery within the Mass Effect mythos.

Mighty No. 9

Mighty No. 9 is another one of those games that were announced far too early. The Kickstarter for the game ended in August 2013 with a huge take home of over 3 million dollars for the smaller downloadable game. It was on my list last year, and I will continue to look forward to this spiritual Mega Man successor (especially given the fact that Capcom has all but abandoned the franchise aside from HD re-releases), but come on Inafune-san, we need this game out now!

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

We need to admit right off the bat that the first Mirror’s Edge game was a flawed, yet envigorating experiment. It’s first person parkour was a fabulous innovation to a medium that was growing ever-the-more tiresome and it’s strong take-no-bullshit female protagonist faith was a great representation of female strength at a time when almost every hero was a bro. It’s use of colour was staggeringly beautiful – a stark contrast to the browns and grays of the time. Yet there was just something missing with that first game. It’s shooting was weak. It’s story presentation was tedious. I hold out tremendous hope for this sequel to be everything that I loved about the first with all of those little hindrances fixed.

Night in the Woods

The look of Night in the Woods has me so intrigued. Not only do you get to play as an emotionally distraught cat wandering a city of disenchanted animals who laze around pondering the pointlessness of existence, but it also looks to have a creepy horror vibe. The simple presentation may look like many indie games nowadays, but it’s atmosphere certainly has me wanting more.

No Man’s Sky

Okay No Man’s Sky, it is time to put up or shut up. I have almost lost patience with this game, the hype train has gone on so long. It is a game with an impressive scope, coming from an impressive studio, with an impressive behind-the-scenes story to it, but we have been hearing about this game for the entirety of this generation of consoles, with new (yet not new enough) looks at its gameplay almost every other month for what must be nearly three years. I just want this game to come out now. I almost don’t care about the quality (though I hope it is as good as our anticipation has blown it up to be), just release already so that we can move on with our lives.

Overwatch

Overwatch is without a doubt, one of, if not the biggest games to be released in 2016. While the hero shooter looks to be all the rage right now, what with Battleborn, Paragon, Gigantic, and more, Overwatch will likely be the high standard to which all of these games are measured. First and foremost, it is being developed by Blizzard, a company who’s pedigree is beyond legendary. Then there is the gameplay that has a fluidity to it that all of those other examples just do not have. Finally, there was the announcement that this game is coming to consoles, which for Blizzard is a big deal as they tend to be very PC-centric.

Oxenfree

Oxenfree looks like the lovechild of Life is Strange, The Goonies, and Poltergeist. If that doesn’t sell you on this game, I don’t know what will. The game was released last week and has received very strong reviews leading many to call it the first great game of 2016.

Quantum Break

The thing about Quantum Break developer Remedy is that they take there time between games. They do not rush their products to meet mass consumption. Each game is painstakingly crafted to the point that the games between games can sometimes be 7 or 8 years. They are the Terrence Malick of game design studios. As such, their games get delayed, repeatedly, and so has been the case with Quantum Break, a game that looks like it has taken many shapes during its development cycle. This latest iteration however looks like a thing of beauty and I can’t wait to play it.

Ratchet and Clank

There is something beautiful about the fact that a game like Ratchet and Clank can still exist in 2016, after countless 3D platformer properties have disappeared from either neglect or negligence. It’s beautiful cartoony style has always made the franchise a standout within the genre. With the upcoming game, the new hardware looks to have provided a fidelity rivaling most 3D animated cartoons. The fact that these characters are playable, looking as good as they do, has me so eager for this game and what it could mean to the revitalization of the 3D platformer.

Recore

Recore is the second game on this list announced by Keiji Inafune, legendary developer of Mega Man, though it ranks high above many on this list for my most anticipated. I am looking forward to this game so much that I am already setting myself up for the disappointment of its inevitable delay into 2017. Co-developed by Armature Studios, a team made up of ex-Retro Studios developers who came from the Metroid Prime Series (arguably the best shooter series ever made for a Nintendo platform), I could not be any more hyped for the release of this game. Little is known about the actual content of the game, but with this amount of pedigree behind it, I cannot believe that this game will fail to impress.

Rime

Rime was originally announced with the launch of the PS4, but it has been conspicuously absent for a very long time. Developed by Tequila Works, makers of the under-rated Xbox Live Arcade game Deadlight, Rime looks to be a spiritual homage to 3D adventure games like Wind Waker and Ico. It is beautiful in its atmosphere, with a gorgeous sun-drenched colour pallet. I really hope this game comes out this year as, like many games on this list, it has been in development for far too long.

Street Fighter V

I have included this game for you, the reader, and not for my own benefit. I must admit that I fell off the fighting game landscape after the Super Nintendo, only mildly picking up Injustice, Killer Instinct, and MK9 to try out. That said, it is an interesting experiment on Capcom’s part to go whole hog on the PS4, as their partnership with Sony has ensured that the game will never see the light on Xbox consoles – a sad reality of the modern business atmosphere within AAA games.

Super Hot

Super Hot just looks like the epitome of cool. A minimalist first person game where the world moves only when you yourself move, Super Hot is one part shooter and one part turn-based strategy game. This game oozes style with a sharp colour pallet of reds and whites. The shatter effects of the downed enemies are also extremely cool. I can’t wait to be chucking my gun at an oncoming bad guy later this year.

Tacoma

Gone Home is a special game for me. It opened my eyes toward a wonderful world of PC only indie games that were not only well developed, but also ground breaking for their narrative design. As a follow-up, studio The Fullbright Company’s Tacoma looks to be another cool narrative-driven exploratory adventure game, this time within the gravityless void of space. Exploring a derelict space station, Tacoma wants to bring its style of human drama and character work to a cool new futuristic setting.

That Dragon Cancer

That Dragon Cancer is one of a growing movement of autobiographical, emotionally driven games that tackle real life issues through an interactive narrative form. This game in particular his a soft spot in my own history, being the son of a mother who passed away with cancer at a young age. Every thing it explores, including religion and our reaction toward or in opposition from it come off as earnest and meaningful.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

What needs to be said to convince you that Uncharted 4 will be anything but brilliant? Absolutely nothing. A thief’s end is promising to be a conclusion to Drake’s story (we’ll see about that), so I can only expect that it will be a roller-coaster of emotions. Naughty Dog has proven itself to be one of the strongest and most talented developers in gaming today. Their Uncharted series to date has proved to effectively emulate the feelings of excitement one gets from a blockbuster adventure film, and though the studio has had quite the amount of restructuring in the course of making this game, it will no doubt produce another fine example of their talent.

Unravel

I’m worried about Unravel. Not because I think the game is going to be a bad game, no not at all. No, I am worried because something deep down inside is telling me that the moment our little Yarny is going to be completely unravelled by the end of the game. With that very last push of your thumb stick to the right, the last bit of thread is going to pull of of him and what we will be left with is a deep sadness that is bound to have us moping around the offices of the world for days after. It is too much. I hope I am wrong here, but I know that I am not.

What Remains of Edith Finch

Edith Finch is a very intriguing looking game. In many ways it reminds me of the Vanishing of Ethan Carter, where the landscape is a character in and of itself, a haunding character, filled with mystery, but a character nonetheless. Oh, and it was developed by the same minds behind The Unfinished Swan, which was one of the best indie games of last gen, so yes, this is a must play.

The Witness

The Witness is probably one of the longest in-development games on this list. Although it was officially announced for PS4 at the launch of the console, the game has been in the making since not long after Jonathan Blow’s last game, Braid. A sprawling open world puzzle game that promises +50s of hours of content, it will no doubt be one of the most interesting games to play this year.

Yooka-Laylee

A spiritual success to Banjo Kazooie and developed many original Rare employees, Yooka-Laylee has all the hallmarks for a perfect 3D Platformer. With one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever, the game has been promoted as for the fans since it was originally announced. As a lover of that old-school N64 style of platforming game, I am extremely excited for this game.

And that is it. That is all of the games that are currently announced for 2016 that I am eagerly anticipating, knowing full well that many of them will inevitably be delayed. That said, until that day happens, I can salivate at the thought of so much gaming goodness coming out all in one year.

Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar

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