My favorite Games of 2016

Ah 2016, A weird year of course but it had some pretty good games that I enjoyed a lot but I haven’t played all of the there are still games in my drawer that I need to start soon, keep in mind except for the #1 on this list the rest are in no particular order :

  • Inside
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    Playdead’s creep fest was a midfuck filled with great moments and amazing artistic designs that I enjoyed a lot, I am planning to replay the game sometime next year or when it comes to other platforms like Switch.
  • Deus Ex : Mankind Divided
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    Building on Human Revolution’s fantastic foundation the 2016 follow up really impressed me with its variety of mission design while it didn’t have a really memorable story it made up for it with the enjoyable stealth mechanics.
  • Final Fantasy XV
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    I am a sucker for the RPGs and Open worlds and FFXV does marry the two in a good way, I haven’t finished the game yet but I really am enjoying it a lot, this is going to be a game that I will spend over a 100 hour as soon by the end of the year.
  • Monster Hunter Generations 
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    My entry to Monster Hunter franchise was amazing, I spend 137 hours in the game and I am still playing it daily, it has everything I want in a game, it is fun and deep and very challenging, if you haven’t played the series I highly recommend it but first say goodbye to your social life, good thing I didn’t have any to begin with.
  • Uncharted 4 : A Thief’s End
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    The Nathan Drake franchise ended in a spectacular fashion, while definitely not the last Uncharted game since they already announced a new title but this is the end to the treasure hunter Nathan Drake and his adventures with Sully, Alana and his brother Sam.
  • Shadow Tactics : Blades of the Shogun
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    Another game that I am still playing, Shadow Tactics is a game I didn’t know about until the day it came out and I have been loving it ever since, it is so good and difficult and put MiMiMi Production on my radar.

Games that could have made i to this list if I played them :

  • Dark Souls 3
  • Dishonored 2
  • Pokemon Sun/Moon
  • Fire Emblem Fates
  • The Last Guardian

Finally, the game I enjoyed the most this year and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone since it is basically everyone’s game of the year :

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-10-27-55-pmI have never liked PvP games but Overwatch made me fall in love with it after spending 200 hours in it I completely lost my self in it, it is so much fun! I am currently taking a break from it but I am planning to go back to it sometime in January.

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Shadow Tactics : A Love Letter to Commandos

Eighteen years ago back when Eidos Interactive was one of the top publishers in the industry, back when games on PC was sold on CD-ROMs they published a game called Commandos Behind Enemy Lines the game was Pyro Studios a Spanish developer, it was well received (IGN 8.2, GS 8.4) and it was followed by another title called Commandos Beyond the call of duty which was based on the same engine but with some really difficult levels. my history with Commandos goes back to 1999 when my dad used to work at the UN, one of the expats had a copy of Commandos and gave it to my dad and he had it installed on our state of the art Pentium I, 32MB Ram, 1 GB HDD which I have no idea what kind of graphic card was on it, before that I used to play games like Age of Empires and Command & Conquer on it so I was familiar with the mouse based strategy games despite my start with consoles like NES and SNES. I fell in love with the game right away and it started my love for stealth games, the rush I felt after taking down a squad of Nazis without being seen was unlike anything I felt before it.

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Commandos is a tactical strategy game that let you control a group of special soldiers that are sent behind enemy lines to sabotage the Nazis and win the war in the allies favor, each soldier has a number of special abilities and you need to use it all to win against usually overwhelming odds, there are missions that you could lose if the enemy raised the alarm and those were the really memorable ones, also the mission doesn’t end the moment you take down a target or kidnap a general, you need to escape and that could be tricky as well, over all if you don’t know what you were doing and don’t experiment chances are you can’t beat it.

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in 2001 Pyro released Commandos 2 Men of Courage that introduced a more sophisticated gameplay that was much more action oriented, to me the game was a lot easier than the previous games but the fun missions and beautiful graphics made it one of the games that I enjoyed a lot, in 2006 the final Commandos game Commandos 3 Destination Berlin came out and it brought back the difficult gameplay that I loved about the first two games, from here the series had a downfall first the series went the FPS rout with 2006’s Commandos: Strike Force that wasn’t well received commercially or critically I personally didn’t play it because it had nothing to do with Commandos and after that the series didn’t see a new release especially after Eidos was sold to Square Enix. the series I loved for years is lost.

Enter Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun:

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Developed by German indi developer MiMiMi Production and set during Japan’s Edo period the game has nearly identical game play to Commandos the major difference being the characters are so well designed to play together they all become a very big part of your success, in the more action oriented missions of Commandos some of the team members became pointless to use that is not the case with Shadow Tactics. the game is much more stealth based and very difficult even on beginner difficulty,  so far I have only played four missions and I am loving every second of it.

Rogue One : A Star Wars story (Review)

Rogue One is directed by Gareth Edwards staring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk and Forest Whitaker.  the film is the first of the Anthology Star Wars films that will be released in between the main series and this is the story of the rebel group who extracted the Death Star plans that Princess Leia had in A New Hope.

The strongest aspect of the film in my opinion is the director’s understanding of the nature of the film, it is not there to start a franchise of Rouge One sequels and establish characters that will go on for decades on the contrary it is a full realized stand alone movie that tells its story within the Star War Universe to completion and it does it fantastically. there are call backs and cameos from major Star Wars characters mainly Darth Vader and Tarkin but they don’t take center stage the main characters of Rogue One do.

The best character in the film is the leading lady Jyn Erso played by Felicity Jones, Jones’s innocent charming works really well with the character and her performance is really good throughout the film you understand what happened to her and how she became who she become which made me care really deeply about her and her journey, while we don’t get much of background from Diego Luna’s character his performance is still pretty good, the crowd pleaser is K-2SO an imperial droid that is reprogrammed to serve the rebels and he is really really funny. Darth Vader is in this movie for two amazing scenes I kinda expect this to be his final appearance for many reasons one being James Earl Jones is 85 years old, so it was nice to hear Vader speaking few lines and that other scene which will blow your mind, Seriously it is AMAZING!

Rogue One’s visuals are probably the best I have ever seen, Gareth Edwards is a man who understands visual effects, his first movie Monsters had a small budget of 500,000$ but still managed to bring amazing visuals same goes to his 2014 Godzilla movie, also there are two CGI characters in the film even though they were amazing I could straight up tell they are CGI and it hurt the experience a little bit, very very little though. Also it really helps that the film had an amazing score.

Verdict : Honestly I don’t have anything bad to say about the movie it is really good, it is a dark story about the not so “fun” side of Star Wars to show you how cruel the empire really is also the director of the film cleverly made this movie canon without affecting the other great films in the franchise, by the end you will understand why you never heard of any of these characters before and it is one hell of a tragedy.

My 2017 most anticipated Super Hero movies

2016 wasn’t the best Super Heroes year, with DC Universe basically disappointing every single eager fan to see Batman and Joker on screen again, FOX’s amazing start with Deadpool was cut short with their awful X-Men movie but Marvel had a great year, not only we met their three new upcoming heavy hitters (Spier-Man, Black Panther and Doctor Strange) we also enjoyed two very fun movies and 2017 looks to be a huge year for them as well with three big titles coming out, the following are my most anticipated 2017 Superhero films :

 

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Justice League
This could have been my most anticipated movie but it is the least, thanks to Zack Snyder’s awful 2016 movie BvS I have lost all hope for DC but I indulge in self hate and put up with those films, just know that I will come here after and bitch about them.

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Wonder Woman
Diana’s first Solo movie is coming out next year. while her presence in BvS wasn’t the saving grace but it was one of the better parts but the fact that it is not directed by Zack Snyder makes me a bit more optimistic about it.

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Thor Ragnarok
The third Thor movie is also Hulk’s third time appearing on MCU (not counting The Incredible Hulk) the film has a great cast and looks to be a turning point to Thor as a character in the MCU, we will also get an answer to “Where the hell is Hulk?” Question.

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Spider-Man Homecoming 
Tom Holland’s Spider-man was met with so much praise in Civil War, his solo film which also co-stars Robert Downy Jr. and Michael Keaton looks really good from the first trailer, I love the true to form direction that Spider-Man is taking and I am so glad he finally came home.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The 2014 Guardians movie was amazing, it didn’t feel like a super hero movie it was more of a sci-fi flick, I loved it and I have a lot of hope for the upcoming sequel, and Baby groot.

cuaiczwueaaid_w-jpg-largeLogan
What I love about Logan is how grounded it feels, it looks to be a movie about characters that I loved over decades, Logan is one of my most anticipated upcoming films.

The Neon Demon (Review)

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The Neon Demon is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and it stars Elle Fanning, Jena Malone and Keanu Reeves, it is the story of a 16 year old girl who comes to LA in order to become a model in the highly competitive and ruthless industry of fashion. I personally find the fashion industry to be the most disgusting and pointless world it is basically a place where beautiful people go to have their life force drained by rich bored people so I was hesitant to watch the film at the beginning but I like Refn’s other two films so I decided to give it a go.

The film’s true star is Refn and his cinematographer Natasha Braier, together they create scene that is nothing short of perfection, from the beautiful symbolism in colors like Red, Blue and Purple to play with the lights that really enticed me thought out its two hour run, the visuals is also complimented with the unusual sound track that plays in parts of the film and in parts stops and lets the silence speak. it is the mark of a truly remarkable director to be able to make such film despite the thin plot and to me an uninteresting setting.

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The most important thing about the film is its third act which sprout a lot controversies and arguments about what the director actually means by them, while I don’t spoil anything in my reviews all I can say about that act is it is not for the faint of heart but if Cannibalism and Necrophile is your type of thing then you are in for a treat, a disgusting and bloody treat.

Verdict : this might be my shortest review yet because there isn’t much to talk about, The Neon Demon is not the kind of film I want to talk about it is a film you need to experience and watch, perhaps you won’t love it I certainly didn’t love it but I liked it enough and enjoyed the visual aspect of it.

Moana (Review)

Moana is directed by Ron Clements and John Musker staring Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, it is a story about a young girl going on a Journey to fulfill a thousand year old legend and restore the world to its natural order. The film is a Disney animation so except the natural Disney animations check list, that is not by any means a bad thing but it is the film’s weakest aspect, having said that everything else was just perfect.

Starting with the performances they are amazing, Auli’i Cravalho is really a joy to listen to and for someone who’s staring in her debut role she was amazing, The Rock embodied the demigod Maui so well I forgot that I was watching an animation movie and felt like I was watching a live action with him in the staring role, the rest of the cast has small roles so they don’t necessarily shine as much as the title characters.

Disney took their animation game to a brand new hight with Moana, the film is breath taking, the water looks like something out of a dream it is photo realistic but also artistic I have never in all my years of watching 3D animated videos seen anything like it, the colors are bright and beautiful it is mesmerizing seriously I sound like a fan girl describing a lead singer of a boy band but that is how I felt watching Moana.

The film is also very well written, filled with positive messages and witty dialogs with couple of very touching scenes which is made really great thanks to the voice actor’s amazing performances. the funny and colorful cast of characters from the dumb chicken to the coconut pirates and a giant crab that collects shiny objects there is no end to amusements and funny moments the film is providing. also the story has couple of turns and twists to it too which makes it a lot nicer especially for adults.

Now lets talk about my favorite part of the film, the songs! Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the songs for this movie and they are going to get him an Oscar, I will be surprised if her didn’t win they are amazing and so catchy and fun to listen to, I have been listening to How Far I will Go ever since I came home from the movie, that song should be the next Let it Go. and that is not it there are so many great songs in this movie if you at least a little bit into musicals or Disney you will have your fill for a while!

Verdict : Moana is a great addition to Disney’s amazing library of animation masterpieces, it is filled with joy and music and great songs and is fun for Kids and Adults of all ages.

Westworld Season 1 (Review)

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Westworld is created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy and stars Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood and Ed Harris, it just concluded its first 10 episode season on HBO. the show takes place in a distance future and it is about a park populated with robots and people come to it to take part in stories and role playing games that is written by the park’s co-creator Dr.Robert Ford played by Anthony Hopkins, the park’s aim seems to be to entertain the guests but at the same time there is another plot that is taking place behind the scenes something hidden from the viewer that only some keen eye viewers notice.

Lets start with the performances, they are masterful to say the least, Evan Rachel Wood shines as the android Dolores giving an Emmy worthy performance, Anthony Hopkins as expected is mesmerizing as the mysterious figure behind the park, Ed Harris‘s cruel Man in Black is fascinating and the show spends a good amount of time developing his character to and give his actions the motivation that it deserves, Thandie Newton was a fan favorite as Maeve and her story line was particularly interesting and her character saw a great deal of development. I don’t think there is a single actor that didn’t perform well in the show they were all masterful and delivered their strong characters amazingly.

Just like Game of Thrones looks like HBO spared no expenses when it comes to production value of the show, it has blockbuster movies level of visual effects, paired up with a haunting score from another Game of Throne veteran Ramin Djawadi, everything from attention to detail and the perfect cinematography take this show from the highest highs to something few other shows has ever gone before it.

Now lets talk about the glue the sticks all this together the story, a lot of people compared Westworld to LOST and rightfully so, the show does take some cues from LOST but it is completely different in delivering it, while LOST kept providing questions and mystery to draw audience in Westworld provided answers and compelling outcome to those questions and left the season in a good place with a solid foundation for the next season, it is a show that makes you should “What the fuck?” But it also gives you a solid answer to that question and you don’t have to follow it for 6 seasons sometimes the hardest mysteries get cleared up within the same episode. The story is very well thought out, it is wtitten masterfully and it pays off well at the end.

Verdict : Westworld is my current top pick , it is a show that I will re watch again and again in anticipation for the next season and hopefully many more to come.