What the Biggest Games of 2016 Show Us About the Industry

BY CAROLINE B   |   Gaming continues to revolutionize itself with each passing year. New ideas and concepts are always being implemented, and it keeps video games from becoming stale. This doesn't mean, however, that games are always completely innovative. On many occasions, specific video games pick and choose gameplay elements and concepts from others. This is not usually an issue, so long as a line is drawn. Now, we turn to 2016, which has seen a number of video games follow this philosophy. I thought it would be fun to look at the biggest games of the year so far and from them dissect what they show us about the industry as a whole.

1. Tom Clancy's The Division

Tom Clancy's The Division is an open world third-person shooter video game. However, it can only be played when connected to the internet. That's right, Tom Clancy's The Division is an online-only video game. The game is set after a terrible smallpox pandemic, and your goal is to restore order to the dystopian city. The brains behind the game, Ubisoft, have stated that Tom Clancy's The Division is their best-selling game. That is saying a lot considering that Ubisoft was behind Assassins Creed.

The online-only aspect of this game is the most telling as in this day and age. Online gaming is becoming more prominent and expanding beyond the scope of MMOs. Unfortunately, if you can't connect to the internet, then you can't play the game. Many people find this unacceptable. Another issue is when a game is online-only, the chances of your gaming account (or the game server) being hacked are dramatically increased. This means that if you want to play a game like Tom Clancy's The Division, you should get tools to protect yourself. You should make sure you’re protecting your accounts and using the proper protection on your computer. A recommended VPN will encrypt all of your data and will provide you with the utmost security.

2. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Yet another top notch game to hit the market this year was Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. This was stated to be the final installment in the Uncharted series. With such high reviews, it certainly went out with a bang. Played via third-person, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is basically a live-action platformer. It combines all of the great elements of a platforming video game with the presentation of a movie. It truly is a fabulous video game and it also has a wonderfully implemented multiplayer system.

At this point in the video game world, the quality and graphics of video games can't improve much more. It's gotten to the point that if a video game doesn't look almost 100 percent real, it's a disappointment. The amazing realization is that because of improving technology, the quality will continue to improve! Uncharted 4: A Thief's End also shows that video game sequels tend to be better than movie sequels. Game developers listen to feedback and learn from their mistakes. This was arguably the best game of the entire franchise, and it shows that gaming companies can do great things with a sequel.

3. Far Cry Primal

Far Cry Primal was another entry into the Far Cry series, but it's different than the other entries. Due to the fact that the setting of Far Cry Primal is in prehistoric times, much of the gameplay was altered. So, even though this was a sequel, loads of innovation was implemented. Considering the story, it's a very simple game as you play the role of a hunter with an ultimate goal of becoming the leader of a tribe.

Although Far Cry Primal is a very different game, it still has the “new age” game design. Basically, gone are the days of fun platforming level designs and in are level designs that present realism. All three of the top games so far have had this type of level design. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it would be nice to see a return to the good old days.

4. Dark Souls III

It seems to be a theme that video game sequels hit it big. Dark Souls III is a follow up to Dark Souls II and it's an Action RPG. Much like Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Dark Souls III was the final chapter of the trilogy. There are many different weapons available such as greatswords, bombs, dual-wielding swords, bows and fire bombs. Yet again, a modern day video game received tremendous praise for its graphics. However, the combat mechanics also stood out, as they were done perfectly.

If the modern day has taught us anything, it's that first person shooters and online gaming is prevalent. However, Dark Souls III proves that RPGs can still be among the best games in the business. Just like everything else, they have changed and adapted over the years. The RPG genre is still probably not as prominent as first-person shooters, but there is no doubt that it still stands strong!

5. Ratchet & Clank PS4

Although this is not the highest grossing video game of the year so far, it may have been the most anticipated. Ratchet & Clank is a reimagining of the original Ratchet & Clank, which is one of the greatest platformers ever made. With the updated visuals, the presentation of Ratchet & Clank PS4 is absolutely breathtaking. However, this is not a remaster, as there are new gameplay elements that have been added.

Unfortunately, over the years platforming video games have become less popular. Franchises like Mario and Ratchet & Clank are still going strong, but gone are the days of consistent platformers. However, every once in a while you will see an amazing platformer like Ratchet & Clank PS4. If gaming companies made the genre a priority again, there is no doubt that it would succeed just like it did years ago.

There are more big time games that have been released in 2016, but these games give us a pretty good idea about the video game industry today. It's clear that nowadays visuals and online multiplayer capabilities are high priorities. However, these games do show that gameplay still matters. Are you happy so far with the types of video games we have seen in 2016? Do you think the video game industry is doing well or poorly? Please, leave a comment below with your opinion.

About the Author: Caroline is a freelance blogger, writer and video game enthusiast. She loves expressing her opinions about video games and loves speculating about the future of the industry. You can find Caroline on Twitter at @CultureCovC where she loves sharing more of her thoughts and opinions.

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