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Keef's Overlooked Gems of 2016

Anyone who knows me is aware that my tastes in games are of the PC variety, with a lean toward strategy and RPG.  Yes, I loved Dishonored 2, but to me that is just as much an RPG as action-adventure. That said, there were some other really good games in my wheelhouse that did not make our list, and since we have quite a few readers in the audience who follow strategy and RPG like me, they may appreciate these.


Civilization 6

After loving Civ 4 and being thoroughly disillusioned by Civ 5, I jumped into Civ 6 with a bit of trepidation. The previews looked good, and my early playthough was rather encouraging, as I found myself engaged in the early build much longer than I ever played Civ 5. The new districts for cities was a nice twist and made city building a bit more entertaining, while the separation of the Culture and Civics tech trees made the game seem to progress quicker. It also seemed like more planning was needed, especially with the new districts, than in previous games. 

There is just too much new and exciting about Civ 6 to put it all here, but suffice it to say that the game put me back in the mood to take just one more turn, and is a must not only for Civ fans but turn-based strategy fans as well.


World of Warcraft: Legion

WoW has had a difficult time for a while now. Dwindling subscriber numbers and some uninspired expansions have left many fans dropping like undergeared raiders, with only the hardest of hardcore sticking through the updates. But Legion has reinvigorated the franchise and has brought many folks back with an excitement not seen since Wrath of the Lich King.  The world design is masterful, as is the new ability for players to visit any zone and have it scale to their current level. And once the cap is reached, players have yet another zone designed specifically for them, and one that continually progresses the story. The daily quest grind has given way to world quests that keep you exploring the new Broken Isles zone, and faction questing has been replaced with class-based quests, artifact weapon advancement and cross-faction class camaraderie. People are returning to the game even for the end-game, which has been a let-down in past expansions. Even the new Demon Hunter class is a blast to play

World of Warcraft is 12 years old now, but it is exciting to see an expansion that makes the game feel fresh again.


Offworld Trading Company

This is a weird one, in that it blends citybuilding with real-time-strategy (without the combat) and stock-trading sim. It's all about making the green on the red planet of Mars, and it was really a lot of fun. Players assume the role of a company and must build a base of operations that not only makes money for the firm, but also exploits the weaknesses of the competition so you can buy them out before they target you. The citybuilder aspect has you choose structures that will maximize your profit based on the type of company you choose. The RTS aspect requires you to build a base that provides all the resources you need to level up your main hub, while the stock sim aspect has you buying and selling shares in the competition to keep you operations in the black if resources go low. And the end-game is watching the money roll in to buy out your competion to win the game.

It is the first game from Mohawk Games, headed by Soren Johnson of Civ fame, so the pedigree is there and it shows. Definitely a game that is worth all the hours I put into it.


Master of Orion

Yes, I know that this isn't anything new, and that newer games in the genre like Stellaris tend to turn the 4X genre on its ear, but I continue to have fun with this. It really takes me back to the day of Master of Orion 2, which was the genre defining game of its time. Granted, the game does not do much new, but the updated graphics, the minimal yet informative UI, and the ... er, stellar voice acting of some well-known stars (sorry, did it again) makes the game even more entertaining. I know it doesn't break the mold or change much, but the nostalgia factor in a new coat of digital paint makes it still very much a game worth playing.

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