Who’s a Good Boy? (The Last Guardian)
If there’s anything to take away from the games of 2016, it’s that waiting will eventually pay off. We’ve seen that with Frog Fractions 2, and learned it a few weeks ago with the release of The Last Guardian from Team ICO. Another game that’s been in development for a decade, the story of a Trico and his little human companion has won over a ton of gamers thanks to the successful dynamic between the two leads. As the Boy, you can interact with Trico in a handful of ways. While you can pet Trico for when he does a good job or just to calm him down, you can also keep petting him to the point where he’ll have a little nap. Given the adventure the two of them go through, a nap is definitely needed for the both of them.
Dance, Dance, Dance (Ratchet & Clank)
The remake of the original Ratchet and Clank game is a fun action platformer with some stellar attention to detail. One thing that makes it great is how it brings over weapons and mechanics from later sequels, one of which is the Groovitron. Originally introduced in 2007’s Tools of Destruction, this weapon allows you to get every enemy in its radius to bust a move for a short period of time. It’s fairly useful, in addition to being pretty hilarious.
What you may not know about the 2016 game is that when you launch the Groovitron in that game, every enemy has their own dancing animation. From the tiny grunts to the bosses, they all dance in their own way. You can choose to eliminate said enemies any way that you choose as well, just to complete the circle of violence.
Ignis’ Glasses (Final Fantasy XV)
Of all the 2016 games that released this year, few were as anticipated as Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV. The action-RPG has been in development for a decade, and its arrival has clearly struck a chord with the many fans who’ve played it. In the decade that Square’s been working on it, they’ve had plenty of time to add little details, from actually making the food that’s in the game to actually giving Noctis’ friends some quirks of their own.
You know your buddy, Ignis? Turns out that his glasses are actually prescription. Without them, his vision “ain’t half bad,” as Gladio puts it, but it still helps to have them on. Maybe Prompto should also have some, that way he can shoot some enemies instead of blind air for once.
Gesture Towards the Shrine (Dark Souls III)
2016 saw the end of From Software’s iconic Dark Souls franchise, at least in terms of official retail releases (there’s still one DLC left to go!). Players are used to dying again and again in these games, along with meeting NPCs that offer vague advice or gloomy “jokes” when you walk towards them, and that continues with the Shrine Handmaid.
The inhabitant of the Firelink Shrine is the primary NPC that you’ll go to the game for when you need to buy or sell something in your quest to save the dying world. You can give her Umbral Ash and buy her merchandise, but you can also get reactions from her just by doing gestures. Whether you wave, sit, or just pick your nose, she’ll respond in kind. Good to know that not everyone in that world is dead, or wanting to make you dead.
Chivalrous Hijackings (Mafia III)
You know how in most open world games, you hijack a car and throw the person out without a care in the world? Well, 2K and Hangar 13’s Mafia III decides to switch things up just ever so slightly in that regard. See, Lincoln Clay doesn’t harm women. Even when the plot calls for him to exact vengeance on a woman, he instead opts to not do. That also extends to the regular sandbox gameplay; when he hijacks a car being driven by a woman, he’ll just hold the door open and wait for her to get out.
Lincoln Clay: Slayer of racists, destroyer of crime empires, slasher of throats, still a complete gentleman.
Remnants of the Past (Gears of War 4)
Just like in previous Gears of War games, there’s collectibles strewn throughout the story mode of Gears 4. Some are just for show, others offer an idea of what life was like on Sera before everything went completely to hell. In the second chapter of the game’s third act, JD, Kait and Del can find an Easter Egg that’s a callback to the original three games.
In the middle of Gears of War 3, Marcus’ childhood friend Dom Santiago gave his life to save Delta Squad from a horde of Lambent and Locust. In Gears 4, if you destroy the tombstones during the firefight at the start of the chapter, there’ll be two orange souls. If you go up to them, you’ll hear audio from Gears of War 2, where Dom found his long lost wife Maria and was forced to euthanize her after she suffered torture from the Locust. Once the audio ends, you can pick up a Boltok called Memento Mori (Latin for “Remember that you have to die”) that’ll spawn next to a picture of Dom and Maria, one that he used to carry with him to show her face to anyone he thought could help find her.
Bump It! (Doom)
2016 games had plenty of unexpected winners, one of them was Bethesda and id Software’s Doom. Instead of just adapting to the modern mechanics that shooters have been doing for the last handful of years, it stuck to its many, many guns and just opted to slap a new coat of paint onto its proceedings.
The revival of the classic shooter has some cute little touches to it, such as how the Doom Marine interacts with different objects in the game. Every time he gets a new weapon, he examines it with silent appreciation, and when acquiring upgrades, he’ll punch the robot holding it, just because. If you find little collectibles, he’ll react in different fashions. With the little bobbleheads, he’ll adjust one of the hands so he can give it a fist bump, complete with the fireworks.
Shining Light (Uncharted 4)
Naughty Dog puts plenty of attention to detail in their games, and Uncharted 4 (which is one of our favorite 2016 games!) is no exception. Yes, there’s still cute little touches like Nathan Drake touching literally every surface that you brush him up against like he’s playing a game of tag, but there’s other things. For example, did you know that you can see the light shine through Nate’s ears?
Seriously, that’s a thing. All you have to do is get him behind a source of light, then go into photo mode to stare at said ear. Do that, and you can easily see Drake’s cartilege. It’s crazy ridiculous that Naughty Dog took the time to do that, and certainly something that you may not notice unless you really pay attention. But still really damn cool.
Blaze It and Soliloquize (Watch Dogs 2)
One of the appeals in a game like Watch Dogs 2 is people watching. With your phone, city cameras, and two different kinds of drones, you’ve got plenty of ways to do so and learn things about the people of San Francisco. Some people are compulsive liars, others get bad gas during dates. And then you’ve got guys who talk about Latin and weed. No really, that’s a thing that can happen in Watch Dogs 2. If you walk by NPCs, you can hear how a guy’s decided to take up learning the language and how it connects to going to get some kush (the answer is not much).
Also, you know that mission where you and the rest of the DedSec crew head off to go to Burning Man and take some much needed hacker R&R? There’s a section of the area where there are mannequins dressed in tacky SanFran clothes and lights that you can walk up to. Pressing the interact button will play an audio recording of someone’s shitty poetry. And trust us, it’s pretty shitty.
Hexadecimal Hacking (Overwatch)
Blizzard’s hero shooter has received unanimous praise across the board, with many fans taking the time to appreciate how many little details are thrown into each character. This extends to even the new heroes added in after the game’s release, such as the highly anticipated Sombra.
The hacker turned terrorist sports a machine pistol as her primary weapon of offense. Her gun, like in most sci-fi games, sports an ammo counter so you can keep track of how many bullets are left in your clip. But what some may not know is that the counter shows how much ammo you have left in hexadecimal (aka base-16) code, which is common in computer programming. Before Blizzard settled on that, the counter showed the remaining ammo in standard binary, but was scrapped for being “too obtrusive,” something that you can see in the concept art.