2016 has been a great year so far in video games. We’ve seen the likes of Dark Souls 3, Uncharted 4, Overwatch and so much more. While all of these games and many more have seen strong sales and positive critical reception, and rightfully so, I’d like to look at some of the lesser known titles that I’ve played this year. There are plenty to mention but I thought I’d limit it to three.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE: Tokyo Mirage Sessions was released earlier this year on the Wii U (That itself makes it a niche title – HEYYYYYOOOOOOOOO) as a cross between the popular Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei franchises. I wasn’t sure how they’d manage to effectively bring the franchises together, but it works because with JRPGs anything is possible. What makes Tokyo Mirage Sessions (TMS for short) work is its phenomenal combat. Like Persona and Shin Megami Tensei, exposing an enemy’s weakness will grant your party member an extra turn so you could feasibly double the number of attacks in one round.
However, TMS uses that system and makes it even better: Your party members will chain attacks off one another depending on which enemy you attack and what passive skills your party members have. For example, exposing a weakness will cause a party member to attack which will allow another party member to attack based on that. This chain can continue four, five, even six or more times depending how you strategize. It’s exhilarating to attack a boss once and have the rest of your party add an extra half-dozen attacks, dealing massive damage with just one turn. I’d consider this game very obscure, and that’s a shame because it has some of the best combat I’ve ever played in a turn based RPG.
I Am Setsuna: Speaking of JRPGs with memorable combat! I Am Setsuna was released on PS4 this summer and if you’re a fan of classic RPGs like Chrono Trigger, this game will immediately feel familiar. Enemy placement is important when maximizing damage because killing two enemies with one skill makes any battle that much easier. On top of the active time combat, if you press square at the right time during your moves, you can add extra damage, buffs and status effects. The fire spell that added an extra 100 damage may just be enough to kill that boss who was giving you trouble.
I Am Setsuna also has a memorable world with characters you soon care for in the short time you’re with the. There are definitely some emotional moments to be had when venturing with the party members you meet. Some of their backstories can feel rushed or straight to the point in a shorter manner, but overall I enjoyed learning about where these people come from. I also appreciated that it was on the shorter side, and I was able to experience a memorable 20 hour journey instead of one draw out for 40 hours.
Superhot: Released on PC and Xbox One early in the year, Superhot is probably the most creative game I’ve played this year. The whole idea is that time moves as you move. When you walk forward enemies will pour out of doorways and it makes for some strategic movement. Do I let the guy with the shotgun from the left come in before I take out the baddie from behind? Who do I eliminate first when I pick up the baseball bat, and can I manage to get a second swing with it or do I throw it at an enemy before they shoot? It’s so much fun to experiment within the creative levels. Meticulously planning your every step feels amazing, and watching the replay as you seamlessly take out the bad guys makes it feel like you’re in the Matrix.
It’s tough to describe the feeling of satisfaction when your pistol runs out of ammo and you resort to throwing it at the enemy and grab theirs out of midair and kill them with it. You see bullets rip through the air and it’s stressful to see very little space between you and the projectile, especially when there are four or five streaks from a shotgun. Superhot involves trial and error when navigating the levels so you may die a few times, but each time you’ll learn something new: where the enemies come from, weapon placement, etc. Superhot is one of my favorite games this year and I implore everyone to give it a try!
I’m glad I was able to play these three games because they’re all great in their own right and more people should play them. I’m sure there will be more games released that will fall under the radar by year’s end, and I’m looking forward to playing those. What are some games you’ve played this year that are underrated? Sound off in the comments!