Bigfoot’s Picks 2016

We only have so much time in our lives.  Everyone starts the day with the same amount of hours, but then you subtract sleep, eating, work (or school), spending time with family, pretty soon you’re left with that small sliver of time that you’ve set aside for yourself. Don’t waste it! If you’re going to spend some of that on video gaming (and why wouldn’t you?) then you should have a quality game picked to fill the time.

So many exciting titles came out in 2016, but we agreed to highlight just five of them and here are mine:

This War of Mine: The Little Ones 

Every once in a while you play a game, watch a movie, read a story that hits your core. It doesn’t let go when you turn it off for the day. That’s what TWOM did for me. It’s a survival game inspired by the siege of Sarajevo in the 90s, but don’t expect to play as a special ops soldier bent on protecting his home. You’re in charge of managing a ‘family’ of refugees who are seeking shelter in one particular house.  You might start the game with a cook, an ex-militant and a sickly old man; or maybe with a house wife and a musician, then hope to have some other people come along. I often wonder (and hope I never know) what I would do, and how I would react in a situation like this. Would I freely accept and help others, or be weary of stranger’s intentions?

In the game you have to go scavenge for supplies – careful to avoid raiders, else you’ll need to fight or run, board up your house for defense, and build tools. But don’t forget that people get bored, you’ll also want to fix guitars or radios for entertainment. One of the more interesting things I found about This War of Mine was the human factor. Most games, if you had to kill a raider, no one would bat an eye. In this game though your character (as well as the rest of the household) is plagued by the consequences.

In the end, you hope to survive long enough for help to arrive. Hopefully with your lives and your humanity.  You’re given a short story of what happens to your group, and then get to start again… but even though you restart, some of those scars stay with you for long after you’ve stopped playing.

Farcry Primal Cover

Far Cry Primal

Primal was amazing, intense, and very different than the usual first person shooters that get churned out yearly. My wife picked this up as a gift and we spent nights running around Oros, collecting, hunting, and otherwise saving our tribesman and being awesome. You play from a first person point of view, and it’d likely be classified as a shooter, but usually you’re going hand to hand against whatever it is that’s trying to eat you today. On top of the action is an adventure aspect in that, if you’re a collector, you can choose to go spelunking in search of cave paintings and other trinkets. Even after all the hours I spent playing I could (and still need to) go back and finish collecting everything for the PSN trophy.


Stardew Valley

I first picked up Harvest Moon when I was in high school, it was the Super Nintendo version, and initially thought ‘Why would anyone want to spend time farming in a game?’ And then I started playing, got hooked, and spent hours and days playing along side Krispy. Fast forward over 15 years and we come across Stardew Valley. Like many, my first thought was ‘Harvest Moon clone…’ but it’s proved to be much more than that. It’s also a farming game, sure, but it’s a refreshing take on things and so very worth your time in playing. My recommendation, grab a friend, load it up on a couple systems and play together. It’s great trying to learn all the in and outs together.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex, in general, holds a nostalgic place in my heart as it was one of the earliest FPS/RPG crossovers that I can remember playing – it’s kinda like the nü metal of the gaming world, huh? I absolutely love being able to collect points and upgrade different abilities – yes, we’ve been doing that in RPGs forever, but this is an action game! The first one was great, Human Revolution was better, and then Mankind Divided took that tried and true formula and amped it up. Everything about this game is dialed up to 11. The action is epic… The hero, Adam Jensen, is so cool… and the new body augmentations, instead of feeling banal, are super fun. It doesn’t feel like a chore to learn how to use your new powers either, as this new game makes use of an in-game tutorial system that lets you retry until you get it. Pick it up, plug in, upgrade, and go – you won’t regret it.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

This final hurrah to Nathan Drake and friends was everything we could’ve asked for – the action, the story, twists and turns, explosions, car chases, voice overs, humor… everything was on point. I came on to Uncharted long after it was released, 2 and 3 were already out! But I never got around to finishing 3 – now after seeing some of Drake’s back story I want to go back and flesh out some of these characters that I’ve come to love. Isn’t that one of the great things about Uncharted? You’re not just a heartless hero on a platoon of faceless soldiers, or a lone cowboy out for revenge – Naughty Dog does an unreal job of, well… making the characters real, they come to life and you can really get behind them. When someone back stabs you, it hurts because you are Nathan Drake. When you find your treasure a small string is pulled in your heart because it’s you that found a treasure. Well done Naughty Dog, well done.

Bigfoot has been playing video games for as long as he can remember, he was weaned straight from the bottle on to a Commodore 64 and hasn't looked back since. He enjoys sampling beer and hanging out with his family. A couple of his all-time favorite games are Earthbound (SNES) and Fallout 2 (PC).

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