What a year for gaming. This month in particular, we have Doom, Uncharted 4 and Overwatch. I never thought my attention would be pulled away from an Uncharted game, but boy does Doom look incredible. Doom and Uncharted are perfect antitheses to each other; Doom is fast paced, tight shooting action that abandons narrative for a pure gameplay experience, and Uncharted 4 focuses heavily on an incredible narrative but, in my opinion, has some weak gameplay elements.
Meanwhile taking up the later part of the month is Overwatch, a multiplayer Team Fortress 2-style shooter with one of the best art styles I have ever seen. It’s fast paced, beautiful, runs like a dream on my PS4 and, most importantly, it’s a blast to play. It could use some balancing (fucking Bastion, I’m looking at you) but for the most part there’s an incredible amount of polish. I didn’t get to play the beta nearly as much as I would have liked, but what time I did get with it I was constantly having a great time.
I’ll be going more in depth later in the month once I have played through Uncharted 4 and Doom (which I have yet to actually own), but my early impressions of Uncharted 4 are really positive. The game has it’s blemishes, but it’s so stupendously beautiful and well written that they almost don’t matter to me. Sure, the shooting mechanics are frustrating (they always have been, since the very first Uncharted) but the writing has never been better in the Uncharted series. The team from The Last of Us, arguably one of the best narrative games of all time, worked on this one, and it shows. Neil Druckmann, Tom Bissell and Josh Scherr wrote, and Druckmann and Bruce Straley directed. It is an incredible example of the power that videogames can hold as a narrative structure, and the technological prowess of Naughty Dog shines once again. If you own a PS4, you owe it to yourself to play through Uncharted 4 at least once.
And then on the other end of the spectrum is Doom, a game that eschews a narrative structure in favor of run n gun shooting badassery. I have yet to play it myself, but watching videos and hearing about the single player campaign has me hyped, especially after the iffy multiplayer beta that happened not too long ago. I’ll have more thoughts on it once I get my paws on it.
And on top of that I still haven’t beaten Dark Souls 3, which now holds a spot as one of my favorite games of all time. People like to argue that there is no innovation in the gaming industry these days, especially among the big developers. But these past few months, hell, the past two years, have been among the most amazing years for brilliant and risky games in my lifetime. 2015 was a remarkable year, with the Witcher 3, Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid V and Bloodborne all vying for my game of the year, and 2016 looks like it will be just as good. What a time to be alive.