My Top 10 Albums Of 2016

Here are a few highly recommended albums from a person whose taste in music is questionable at best. I am by no means an expert, but I did listen to enough new records this year to form a useless opinion. ‘Tis the season for lists after all, so let’s do this.

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Is ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’ Too Little, Too Late?

Danger Close

The Call of Duty franchise has acquired a substantially large and rabid fanbase after more than a decade of steady annual releases. It’s become the de facto first-person shooter not only due to its industry leading sales, but because so many other developers have tried emulating the series’ mechanics, motifs, and success — both critically and commercially — over the years. Call of Duty has been king for quite some time now, but, unfortunately, with success comes complacency. Each new entry has been met with increasing cynicism from enthusiasts and detractors alike because the franchise more adequately represents Activision’s business model as a whole these days, rather than Call of Duty’s rich historic legacy.

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‘Battlefield 1’ Goes Back To Basic(s)

Everything Old Is New Again

Battlefield 1 probably feels like a tangential release for people only familiar with the franchise’s recent history. The previous two numbered Battlefield games have tried chasing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare so much — at least in terms of storylines and aesthetics — that it’s easy to forget that DICE was also the studio responsible for Battlefield: 1942 once upon a time. It’s left plenty of longstanding fans screaming, “Make Battlefield great again!” or some variation of those words over the past few years. They ‘member. Well, here it is, DICE’s answer to your pleas. COD fans, you’re welcome to come along too.

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Is ‘Gears Of War 4’ The Best Game In The Series?

Aimed To Please

There are a lot of opinions out there regarding the Gears of War franchise, and — let’s just all be honest with ourselves — Gears of War 4 isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. If you weren’t a fan of the gruff sounding, smack talking, chest bumping squad from Epic’s original trilogy, do yourself a favor now and just move along. Live long and prosper and whatnot. You can almost see the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” hung above each developer’s desk at the Coalition’s studio in Vancouver. But let’s also be clear here, that’s not an entirely bad thing either.

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Forza Horizon 3

Welcome to Paradise

You’re driving down an Australian coastal highway at the magic hour in a Lamborghini Veneno. A few stars cling to the fading night sky in the west, while outside the passenger side window dawn threatens to break just above the ocean’s crest. “Reckoner” by Radiohead starts playing over your car speakers so you turn up the volume until the sounds and scenery completely wash you away. It’s a moment of ostentatious tranquility, and you’re unlikely to ever actually experience it unless you’re playing Forza Horizon 3.

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Destiny: Rise of Iron

For Better or Worse

Let’s all agree that our collective relationship with game developer Bungie has become unhealthy over the years. It all started off well enough with the Halo series. Bungie could do no wrong in the world of first-person shooters. Most were happy to see them everyday. They made us smile, they made us laugh, and, for many, they were our first (great console FPS or online multiplayer experience, that is). That’s why fans out there were excited when Bungie said they wanted to take our relationship to the next level with Destiny, a multiplatform MMO shooter that promised the world—actually not just “the world,” but “worlds,” plural. It was what we’d been dying to hear, so much so that some were even willing to overlook the red flags along the way. Two years later, and many have fled into other developer’s arms, while those still faithful to Bungie’s original promises continue to be taken advantage of.

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More Time in the Oven

ReCore is an exciting prospect on paper. It’s a collaboration between storied video game producer Keiji Inafune, responsible for the Mega Man and Dead Rising franchises, and Armature Studio, the creators of the Metroid Prime series. With decades of game development experience shared between this East meets West coupling, it’s not surprising that ReCore’s fundamental gameplay is so strong. What is surprising, though, is just how unpolished the finished product is.

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PSA: Games with Gold are Live

Microsoft’s new free games are up for Xbox owners, being that it’s the first of the month. Available now are Earthlock: Festival of Magic and Forza Horizon. Earthlock, which I know next to nothing about, is a turn-based role-playing game set on a planet that has ceased spinning. Gameplay footage reminds me of older Final Fantasy games, but with modern graphics, naturally. The game’s art style seems to incorporate … Continue reading PSA: Games with Gold are Live