These are the games set to come in 2016 that we’re most looking forward to playing.
Blizzard knows what people like out of team-based shooters, harkening back to the classic elements of “Team Fortress 2.” I love TF2 but the game is virtually unrecognizable from its launch version. “Overwatch,” on the other hand, seems to be embracing the simpler elements of this type of game, while offering variety.
“Overwatch” is definitely a team game, with characters able to fill roles and work in tandem with others. The fun is in making these tandem tactics work out in the field, reducing much of the “lone wolf” mentality that was so prevalent in TF2.
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“Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam’
There isn’t a lot to look forward to from Nintendo next year, but if I see “Mario & Luigi,” I am absolutely in! It’s impossible to recreate the magic of the original “Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars”, but the “Mario & Luigi” series has such a fun buddy comedy vibe plus solid RPG mechanics. I wasn’t a big fan of the last “Paper Mario” outing; “Sticker Star” felt like a weak outing for that series, with the emphasis more on collecting stickers than learning combat.
It’s looking like the comedic elements of the paper characters will fold into the story, while some of the cooler boss battle elements of past “Mario & Luigi” games will be included. It has a January 22 release date.
‘Batman – A Telltale Games Series’
Some feel that “Telltale’s” games have become formulaic. I disagree, having seen the differences in “The Walking Dead,” “The Wolf Among Us,” “Tales from the Borderlands” and “Minecraft: Story Mode.”
The interest here will be in seeing what era of the “Dark Knight” the story will take place, as well as how Telltale plans to handle Batman’s brand of detective work. I’m excited to see a game that emphasizes Batman’s intellect, and curious to see how Telltale will sprinkle in the action. And given that “The Wolf Among Us,” with its noir-ish narrative, was on my personal Game of the Year list in 2014, I’m expecting a high-quality story here.
Also, Telltale taking on some of the more cerebral Bat-villains (including a potentially different take on the Riddler) should be a treat.
‘Street Fighter V’
In terms of competitive gaming, “Ultra Street Fighter IV” was the best of the non-multiplayer online battle arena games (MOBA) out there. Last year was a great sendoff for that generation of the series.
And now it’s time to jump into a whole new generation, one that’s meant to be much more accessible. I’m aching to get my hands on the launch version of “Street Fighter V.” It really does feel the closest to the classic SF2 days, with many of the cheaper elements of the SF4 generation of games thrown out the window.
‘Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’
“Deus Ex: Human Revolution” was a fantastic game, combining intuitive shooting mechanics, multiple open-ended approaches to combat situations and nerve-wracking dialogue decisions to create a mind-blowing story of future tech run amok. “Mankind Divided” looks to deal with the fallout from the “Human Revolution” story.
The fun will be in watching Adam Jensen deal with two sides of extremists – and how he’ll do it. If the open-ended approaches of “Human Revolution” return, it will be nice to embrace the challenge of non-violence. And it’ll be interesting to see how the game’s new augments are going to help, given that Eidos has indicated that non-violent augments will also be available.
Hey, how did this mobile game get on this list? (I kid, I kid.)
Having seen the potential of Ingress, it boggles my mind to think of the possibilities of “Pokemon GO.” This could become an obsession.
And it looks like a lot of elements of the standard “Pokemon” games are going to be present. It’ll even have player vs player gyms scattered throughout. I’m eager to see how the live events that have made Ingress a social experience will translate to this new “Pokemon” mobile game. Imagine the convention scenes and imagine the “Pokemon World Championships” next year. The potential is staggering.
2016 marks 20 years of “Pokemon” and while I’m awaiting the inevitable next generation of the series and the fighting game, “Pokken Tournament,” “Pokemon GO” is the first time in years that I’ve truly had the itch to catch ‘em all, just like the old days.