From a strictly visual standpoint, 2016 looked disgusting. Dead bodies of all types, destruction on a massive scale, Trump’s mouth. All things that kept hitting us like an endless wave of nausea.
The alternate dimension of games in 2016 outshined reality on a constant basis. Get behind me 2016, I want to fall headlong into these intoxicating artificial worlds because you’re failing me on every level. This year is supposed to be a futuristic utopia filled with 21st century wonders but most of the world still resembles a Woolworths car park from 1981.
Compared to games, 2016 looked like a toilet. I managed to take a few in-game shots to document this shining fact. I took all these photos with the unsung hero of this console generation – the PS4 Share button.
The final adventure of Nathan Drake made me embarrassed that I haven’t travelled to more exotic countries in my life. The very essence of ‘adventure’, Uncharted 4 is supposed to be a rollercoaster but I think this was the game where I spent the most time just standing still. With my jaw dropped.
Watch Dogs 2
The characters of DedSec is what holds Watch Dogs 2 together. San Francisco is the structure of the game but the fashion and attitude of the characters are the glue. The DedSec hackerspace is an overtly garish hangout that matches Wrench, Josh, Sitara, Horatio & T-Bone down to the finest thread of their hoodies and sneakers. Speaking of which, the clothing shops in Watch Dogs 2 are like crack cocaine.
Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour
This constantly evolving demo (I just found the basement and oh my gawd) was one of the finest visual experiences of 2016. The Baker house would be a grand home if it wasn’t a horrific hell house. But even still, every floorboard, creepy painting, lamp and whatever that bird thing in the microwave was, kept me staring at every inch of this environment. Beautifully haunting.
Every location was an effortless and intricate masterpiece. I could spend days and days in the murder playgrounds of Agent 47. The art team at IO Interactive need to win every design award they can handle.
No Man’s Sky
I love the new update to Hello Games’ universe but even without the no HUD mode and extra fauna, No Man’s Sky has such a unique visual quality that it will be instantly recognisable for decades. The cube-like space stations, the trails left by passing ships, the condensation caused by extreme temperatures. A striking universe that serves as a template for potential wonders.
It’s completely understandable that some people view video games based in World War 1 with trepidation. Out of all wars, it is probably the most damaging, most bloody and most senseless. But DICE made it look like a gorgeous dream. Staring at the moon shining on a muddy puddle while being shot at from all angles was a strange reward by itself.
Compared to the other first-person horror demo that was released this year, Outlast 2 was the most downright oppressive experience I played in some time. And it would not have worked without the long shadows, the dark hallways and the what-the-hell-was-that images in the corner of your eye.