2017 Update: A Few Words About The New Year

“A New Leaf”

Greetings folks! Seems like just yesterday I was flipping the calendar and concluding my Game of the Year coverage. Time flies. Nevertheless, 2017 is in full swing and we’ve got some exciting updates and announcements to get into today. That said, before we uncover some of the projects you can expect to see on the site in the coming months, I want to lend a sincere thank you to everyone who read, watched, and listened to my work last year.

2016 was a year marked by the exploration of my content. It was about throwing new ideas at the wall and waiting to see what stuck. Within the span of those 12 months, a lot changed, shifted around, and evolved. From launching a weekly podcast to wrapping two seasons of my original web-series, 2016 kept me busy. I want 2017 to be the year of expansion. Expansion that broadens the applications of my content, while focusing in on what makes it work. Filled with a renewed sense of invigoration to create and branch out, I’m thrilled to unveil a new project I’ve been working on behind the scenes for some time now…Talking, analyzing, and critiquing the video gaming medium has been the highlight of my creative energies in recent years. I’ve absolutely treasured the time I’ve spent tossing in my own two cents on the gaming industry. Although in spite of finding cathartic fulfillment and a sense of pride for the content I’ve produced over the last few years, there’s a growing feeling inside me to expand and stretch my imaginative commentary. I’ve become comfortable with the nature of my work and that needs to change. There’s a deep yearning in my mind to produce content that I’m both proud of and simultaneously nervous to put out. After many long nights of brainstorming and failed behind closed doors experiments, I’ve landed on the next step in my path of content creation. Premiering later this year, my newest projects are video essays: stylized thesis pieces that will focus on the all-encompassing umbrella of culture.

Going into effect immediately, Braxton Haugen – Video Games – Shows, Podcasts, & Discussion, is undergoing a title change to Braxton Haugen – Video Games & Culture – Shows, Podcasts, Video Essays, & Discussion. This tagline adjustment represents my dedication to evolving the scope of the kind of material you can expect to see live on this site. It should be noted that my opinions, commentary, and analysis on games will remain at the forefront of my priorities. Incorporating video essays into the lineup of my projects is simply a tool for me to expound upon my views regarding topics that have little or nothing to do with gaming. Adopting “culture” into the site will allow me the freedom to explore issues and ideas my content hasn’t been able to tackle until now, with the newly announced video essays. Whether the conversation is about music, politics, social media, or even my own creative writings, I’m absolutely ecstatic to share with you what this new phase of content will bring with it.When it comes to acting upon my new mission for the site, one of my utmost priorities is making sure the content you know and love stays right where it is. That means BS W/ Braxton will be continuing full speed ahead and The Whittle-as teased in early January-will be returning for a third season later this year. The third season of The Whittle is going to look much different from prior seasons. While still in the stages of preproduction, the show will be growing substantially in regards to its size and scope. Longer episodes. More production resources.

As always, The Whittle will be focusing on offering viewers topical and fair commentary regarding the gaming industry and all it encapsulates. As we progress into the year, you’ll certainly be hearing more about The Whittle as we near its return, including trailers, production updates, and more. I’m excited, motivated, and optimistic about the opportunities that lie within the calendar year. Between continuing endeavors that have already proven successful for the site and expanding outside of the realm of video games, 2017 is going to an interesting and experimental time for my work. As we test the waters with new martial, I hope you’ll be willing to join me on my latest adventure with an open mind.


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Game of the Year 2016: #1 – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

“Sic Parvis Magna”

At this point, all there is to be said about Naughty Dog’s last hurrah with the mainline Uncharted series, has been discussed to death, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that A Thief’s End is one of the best games of the generation. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a rare body of work, taking what made the series resonate years ago and expanding on it by breaking new ground thought to be untouchable. It isn’t afraid to go places previously shied away from in the franchise, and in doing so, creates what is, without a shadow of doubt, the series’ best narrative efforts. A Thief’s End is a marvel of an experience and a masterclass in design, assembling into a phenomenal conclusion for one of gaming’s proudest icons. It manages to strengthen each of its predecessors with smart moments of emotional reflection, while simultaneously making a strong case for being one of the best action games ever made. 1-uncharted-4-goty-2016-braxton-haugen-imageWith the events of Drake’s Deception a chapter of the past, a sizable amount of time has elapsed since we’ve seen the fortune hunter, Nathen Drake in action. A lot has changed since his days of jumping from exploding planes and escaping sinking cruise ships. Instead, A Thief’s End shows Drake leading a somewhat normal life, clocking in at his day job and reminiscing on former adventures. From a structural standpoint, Uncharted 4 is built off of the narrative basis of a straightforward adventure to fulfill a bounty, yet the grounded mood and sophistication of its characters and plot organization, lead it to places where the storytelling is all but unprecedented. Naughty Dog has accomplished something special with Uncharted 4, managing to dive into the psyche of its cast in ways that are emotionally revealing and powerful. At its heart, A Thief’s End is ultimately about obsession and how far someone would go for those they love. This is a strikingly more realistic and adult iteration of the popcorn Uncharted we’re used to, and while it can be jarring at first, it doesn’t take long to settle into the refined cadence which drives the journey. Simply put, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a remarkable, exhilarating, and confident representation of what video games can be, and the poignant stories they can tell.

Excerpt from review (10/10):

“Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a hallmark of excellence and a shining example amongst its peers. Ripe with achievements substantial enough to send-off any body of narrative work with a bang, Uncharted 4 is a fitting and finite conclusion to one of gamings’ more important series. Greed, selfishness, and the desires that drive who we are, are thematic beats A Thief’s End’s makes its forte. Rarely has a game executed upon its narrative ambitions with such a concrete and mature understanding of its scope and cast of diverse characters. In its respectful exploration of the people who drive the series, Uncharted 4 confidently dives into Nathen’s relationships with those around him. By exposing the truth behind lies and explaining the unwavering love of a passion, Naughty Dog has brought the franchise to a touching and impactful close, one in which goes above and beyond giving its characters a fitting goodbye. Nothing about A Thief’s End feels phoned in or taken too far. There’s no blatant setup for an unnecessary sequel down the road or plot thread left unraveled. What we’re left with is a gorgeous and fulfilling adventure that leaves its mark with an exceptional serving of poignancy and resolve. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is worth its weight in gold, and then some.”

Note: This concludes my personal GOTY coverage for 2016. Happy New Year everyone!


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Game of the Year 2016: #2 – INSIDE

“Dancing With Darkness”

In terms of mechanical design and narrative atmosphere, not a single game this year holds a candle to Playdead’s immaculate, stunning achievement with INSIDE. Easily one of the most polished, fine-tuned, and expertly constructed experiences of the year, INSIDE is an exercise in the beauty of refinement. It’s a title that has a lot to say, using both its complex and mysterious plot, as well as its layered gameplay, to communicate a deeply memorable and disturbing story. There’s not a single string to Playdead’s intricately woven masterpiece that feels out of place, as the entire experience carries itself with diligent, intelligent efficiency that ultimately crowns it as one of the finest games this generation.2-inside-goty-2016-braxton-haugen-imageEqually as striking in its visual presentation and evocative atmosphere, INSIDE sets a new bar for the genre of puzzle platformers as a whole. It takes the tenants of its predecessor’s magnificence and brings them to the next level, creating a lean, brilliantly paced, and deeply thought-provoking experience that’s sure to resonate with anyone with an eye for game design. One of the most fascinating elements to Playdead’s bleak platformer is that INSIDE carries its narrative beautifully, without speaking a single word. The result is a story that’s smart, subtle, and extraordinarily layered, drenched in deeper meanings sure to have you scratching your head in perplexing amazement. INSIDE is a wonderful expression of art, communicating bold ambitions with precise mechanical design, stunning animation, and a nuanced narrative that expresses some of the most memorable and unsettling material a game has encased in recent years.

Excerpt from review (9.5/10):

“Inside feels like the kind of game we’re only given two or three times a generation. It’s a unique project dripping with atmospheric style and thought-provoking messages that will surely provoke passionate discussion regarding its true intentions. While I wish some of the puzzles called for a bit more involvement on the player’s part, it was a rather insubstantial missed opportunity when looking at what the absence of extensive challenge allowed. Due to Inside’s easily understandable puzzles, the game is able to maintain an immaculate pace, ripe with shocking twists and impactful subtlety. Within Inside’s prolonged moments of stirring, thoughtful silence, Playdead’s follow-up to their impressive debut title achieves a level of profoundness not seen in its respective genre too often. Most importantly, Inside is a living and expressive exercise in what refinement can accomplish. Building off what made Limbo special, Inside embraces and strengthens the highs of what preceded it. Outstanding sound design, phenomenal art direction, and an overall haunting narrative give Inside the necessary components to surpass its stellar predecessor in almost every way imaginable. Suffice it to say, Inside is a must play and one of the finest modern examples that video games are art.”

Note: Check back every day for new entries & updates in my personal GOTY 2016 roster…


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Game of the Year 2016: #3 – The Witness

“Cracking The Code”

The Witness is the most intellectually demanding and therapeutic game I’ve ever played, without rival. From the forward-thinking minds responsible for 2008’s innovative Braid, comes a puzzle game that challenges players with intricate, mind-bending obstacles to outsmart. The Witness is easily one of the most challenging games I’ve worked up the motivation to complete. Unlike many contemporary projects, The Witness values knowledge above every other component of its composition. The title trusts the player to connect the dots necessary to progress through the game, stemming from their own intellectual fortitude, avoiding the traditional teachings of tutorials and hints to guide them. It’s an initially overwhelming realization and one that will undoubtedly turn players away, but for those brave enough to stick with it, one of the generation’s most superb and strikingly original games, awaits.  Coining The Witness as a challenging game is a seismic understatement. Thekla Inc.’s mysterious and picturesque puzzle game ranks among the upper echelon of video games to truly push me to my mental limits. I left my venture on The Witness’ island, overcome with exhaustion, stress, and a palpable anxiousness that another line puzzle would await me in the real world. Nevertheless, at the same time, a guttural level of satisfaction arose upon completing The Witness’ long, turbulent, and utterly genius story. What sets the project apart from the genre’s proudest champions, is that The Witness, unlike like other puzzle games, operates under the assumption that the player is already smart. There’s no handholding or pats on the back to encourage players to push forward, only loneliness and the faint ambiance of the island’s various sounds. The Witness cleverly manages to be as meditative as it is infuriating, striking an unusual balance between the calm and the catastrophic. Like a layered display of artwork, there’s more than one way to perceive The Witness. Discovering new dimensions to its gorgeous world, complex puzzles, and surprisingly human themes, is all part of gaining a deeper understanding as to what a game like The Witness represents. To truly understand and appreciate this experience, you must walk the shores of the island and witness it all, yourself.

Excerpt from review (9.5/10):

“I made it less than ten minutes in before The Witness stumped me. This was the first of a herculean amount of roadblocks that stood in my way of seeing an end to Jonathan Blow’s follow-up to the innovative Braid, which put him on the map back in 2008. In the same vain as Braid, The Witness presents itself in an intellectually stimulating fashion, subverting expectations around every bend. As a result, The Witness is an absolutely exhausting, unyielding, yet ultimately rewarding experience. It’s rooted deeply in mystery and a steep intellectual criteria that somehow works, feeding into an evocatively invigorating and encouraging tone that kept me company throughout the entire duration of my time on the abandon island. Personally, The Witness encouraged me to take a dive into the minutia of my anxiety, addressing its triggers, intensifiers, and ultimately solutions. The Witness is indeed a game about solving puzzles, nonetheless, I didn’t expect it to help me bridge valuable resolutions of my own.”

Note: Check back every day for new entries & updates in my personal GOTY 2016 roster…


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Game of the Year 2016: #4 – Overwatch

“A World Worth Fighting For”

Overwatch is undoubtedly one of the best shooters to ever grace the multiplayer space. Blizzard Entertainment’s first new IP in over 17 years, offers an incredibly ambitious and masterfully balanced experience that manages to feel fresh and engaging every time you pick it up. Beneath Overwatch’s inviting cartoonish aesthetic and hectic battles, lies a staggeringly deep and robust multiplayer experience seeping with design nuances that cleverly entice players to return. Blizzard Entertainment’s latest project smartly favors simple presentation, complementing its easy to grasp appearance with an abundance of tactical strategy, immaculate mechanics, and spectacular combat scenarios that ensure Overwatch never grows dull. For its many astute accomplishments, Overwatch’s most significant success is constructed upon its diverse cast of characters. The roster of unique heroes–which are playable right out of the gate–create a plentiful volume of decisions to make as soon as you enter a match. Once in the heat of battle, Overwatch illustrates a fine-tuned balance and an emphasis on using your brain in meaningful ways to outsmart the opposition. Hiding under the clean and concise presentation, is a striking shooter with an unrelenting array of standout moments.Ripe with intoxicating personality, Overwatch is strengthened by its distinct diversity. Extending beyond simply looks, Overwatch’s cast function completely different from one another, often times feeling like a swath of smaller shooters comprised in one, all-encompassing package. With so many options on the table to pick from in terms of heroes, it can be easy to forget playing the objective and choosing a character which best complements the task at hand. An attacking team without at least one healer or tank hero is going to be hard-pressed to find swift victory. On the other hand, a team of defenders will be fighting an uphill battle if no one opts to embody a member of the defensive class. With that said, there isn’t a definitive winning formula in terms of a team’s lineup, no single combination of tanks, attackers, or supports is going to guarantee victory. Granted, balance is a crucial aspect in improving odds of success, but Overwatch’s gameplay is dependent on a multitude of other factors beyond crafting the perfect team. Embracing an overwhelming compilation of different playstyles, Overwatch finds a way to stake its claim as not only one of 2016’s best games, but one of the strongest shooters in years.

Excerpt from review (9/10):

“For as many praiseworthy adjectives I can crown upon Overwatch’s myriad of strengths, most all lead to the same simple conclusion; Overwatch is an absolute whirlwind of over-the-top enjoyment. It’s not everyday a multiplayer-centric title of this caliber comes along, emitting such dedication to various motivations. With the exception of the somewhat disappointing progression system and presumptuous inclusion of microtransactions, there’s very little about Overwatch that doesn’t feel completely realized. The variety of combat and diversity of heroes keeps the gameplay feeling fresh, match after match, fortifying the core vision driving the entire venture. Due to the focused nature of Blizzard’s goals, Overwatch never once feels like it’s trying to expand into something that it isn’t. This might bring up the notion that Overwatch isn’t ambitious, or full enough on content, yet that’s not quite the point. It’s a game that leans on exceptional execution to prove you don’t need loads of maps and modes to retain longevity. With this, Overwatch achieves a level of purity, and in knowing exactly what it is, puts its foot down on being anything more or less than an outstanding shooter.”

Note: Check back every day for new entries & updates in my personal GOTY 2016 roster…


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Game of the Year 2016: #5 – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

“Mechanical Magnificence”

Akin to the sequels already included in my lineup for the year’s best games, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided marks a sequel done right. Bigger, bolder, and more conceptually realized than its superb predecessor, Mankind Divided excels in telling the tale of a world in shock following the catastrophic aftermath of Human Revolution’s augmented attacks. Once again, players assume the role of Adam Jensen, a hardened detective outfitted with augmentations and a drive to deliver justice. Thanks to being rooted in a believable, cleverly orchestrated fiction, Mankind Divided is able to touch on sensitive, poignant material with narrative nuance and a knack for societal allegory. Match these elements with the excellent gameplay, fantastic level design, and distinct, striking aesthetic, and you’ve got yourself one of the year’s best role-playing games.Eidos Montreal’s attention to detail within Mankind Divided’s rich and fascinating world is consistently flooring. The overall design of the game’s various environments hastily surpasses the highs of its predecessor, employing captivating missions to undertake and riveting narrative stones to uncover. Mankind Divided’s story is focused, meticulously paced, and cleverly written. There’s a superb cohesion to the way the world responds and adapts to the twists and turns of the narrative. The entire experience feels expertly malleable, both in a storytelling and gameplay capacity. Mankind Divided works with the actions and decisions players make to shape the game around individuals, creating a compelling campaign that pulsates with a refreshing, inescapable sense of ownership. This dynamic lends tangible responsibility to the player, forcing them to take a hard look at the decisions they’re making. It’s a brilliant, subtle touch that confidently backs up its potential with realistic assertiveness; assertiveness that is applicable to nearly every facet of Mankind Divided’s phenomenal design.

Excerpt from review (9/10):

“Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an excellent exercise in refinement. Proudly running with its predecessor’s torch, Eidos Montreal builds off of the highs established by Human Revolution five years ago. Save for a few notable rough patches throughout, Mankind Divided captivates with its meticulous design from start to finish. Whether it be the stories gleaned from its maturely crafted world, or the invigorating gameplay home to ample variety, Mankind Divided is chock-full of nuance and gratification that consistently impresses. Supporting a wide range of playstyles backed up with the tools to make them feel rewarding, Deus Ex conducts itself with an admirable open-mindedness and motive to follow-through. Rarely did Mankind Divided feel as if it had overlooked something, constantly prioritizing an astute attention to detail that lent its starkly portrayed world a believability that had me enraptured from the opening cinematic. Carefully crafted writing, presentation, and mechanical modeling, raise Mankind Divided to the same highs as its superb predecessor, a feat that shall not be taken lightly.”

Note: Check back every day for new entries & updates in my personal GOTY 2016 roster…


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Game of the Year 2016: #6 – Dishonored 2

“Beauty From The Shadows”

Acting as one of the biggest surprises of the year, Arkane Studios’ return to the bleak and atmospheric world of Dishonored was a project I fell in love with much more than I anticipated. As someone who recognized the appeal of its acclaimed predecessor–but not to the degree of many others–I went into Arkane’s sequel with moderate expectations. Having emerged from the other side, I couldn’t be happier to say Dishonored 2 is one of the most pleasantly surprising games I’ve gotten my hands on this year. Drenched in a rich sense of history and fascinating, gritty atmosphere, Dishonored 2 presents itself with a unique world to explore, outfitted with some of the strongest level and mission design the year of 2016 had to offer. Its heavy-handed narrative stands out as a low point when stacked next to the title’s largely stellar remaining components, yet when caught up in the moment of executing the perfect infiltration and assassination, it can be easy to forget Dishonored 2’s blemishes.Reworked and refined, the open-ended, level design that connects Dishonored 2’s exquisitely crafted environments return from Arkane Studios’ debut effort with the series. Not only do the more openly constructed settings allow for richer and more pronounced worldbuilding, but they’re also home to some of the most varied, challenging, and engaging combat encounters in recent memory. The sheer level of mechanical depth incorporated within each of Dishonored 2’s gameplay scenarios can be staggering, beckoning players to return for additional playthroughs. Among Dishonored 2’s many feats, nothing stands out quite as much as its knack for experimentation. Worked into every component of the missions, upgrade systems, design of the world, and of course, the gameplay, Dishonored 2 never stops embracing the player’s desire to employ new tactics and tinker with the variety of tools in front of them. It’s a refreshing and complex defining trait, and it’s one that Dishonored 2 wears proudly. With the exception of a weak, poorly-sold main narrative, Dishonored 2 remains a triumph of design. The riveting gameplay and sophisticated acumen for level design carry Arkane Studios’ latest title through the gates of greatness, placing it on a pedestal occupied by gaming’s proudest stealth games.

Excerpt from podcast (BS W/ Braxton Ep. 06):

Note: Check back every day for new entries & updates in my personal GOTY 2016 roster…


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Game of the Year 2016: #7 – The Last Guardian

“Finding Family”

If you would have asked me a year ago if Team Ico’s long-anticipated The Last Guardian would be showing up on my Game of the Year list, I’d have responded with a reactionary chuckle, followed by something along the lines of, “You’ve got to be kidding, right?” As it turns out, life isn’t always that predictable. Following nearly a decade in development, The Last Guardian is not only one of 2016’s best games, but is one of the most memorable games this entire generation. Coated in an infectious sense of mystery, The Last Guardian presents itself with a mature confidence that subtly reveals a deep narrative and magnificent world. Executed with tight, compact pacing and intriguing, believable level design, Fumito Ueda’s latest is a wonderful demonstration of meticulous artistry. Both in a visual and emotional sense, Team Ico has crafted an experience that feels nuanced and meaningful, thanks to what is one of the most impressive and impactful relationships the medium of games has ever portrayed.The Last Guardian is an imperfect game, oftentimes battling pervasive framerate issues and occasionally stiff controls. However even for as bothersome as these flaws can be in the moment–sometimes going as far as breaking the otherwise immaculate immersion–the overall adventure and lasting impression of the young boy and Trico’s unlikely bond is strong enough to outweigh almost all of the project’s less favorable moments. It’s a rare and praiseworthy achievement, one that speaks volumes to the strengths of the game’s ideas and sagacious storytelling sensibilities. The more time I’ve spent removed from the game, the more I’ve come to appreciate all its accomplishments. It can undoubtedly be a hard game to love, but when it puts its best foot forward, it can be difficult not to stand in awe of what the project does right. My intent isn’t to sound overly sensational when I say The Last Guardian is a truly special game, but there’s simply no better way to put it. Team Ico has carefully and cleverly constructed one of the most emotionally resonant, surprising, and utterly breathtaking games I’ve ever had the privilege to complete. In spite of a collection of unavoidable technical annoyances, The Last Guardian is a touching and elegantly produced reminder of the unique narrative potential video games hold. There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll be talking about The Last Guardian for decades to come.

Excerpt from podcast (BS W/ Braxton Ep. 10):

Note: Check back every day for new entries & updates in my personal GOTY 2016 roster…


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Game of the Year 2016: #8 – Titanfall 2

Ready For Titanfall

As far as video game sequels go, Titanfall 2 acts as a spectacular exercise in learning from its predecessor. Maintaining the tenants that made the original Titanfall such a spectacle back in 2014, developer Respawn Entertainment’s follow up to the once platform exclusive online shooter, soars above its promising roots, standing as one of the year’s brightest shooters. Unlike its debut title, Titanfall 2 comes fully fit with a robust single-player campaign, alongside a predictably excellent multiplayer suite. In a year of great shooters, Titanfall 2 holds an edge in its mechanical proficiency. From a gameplay perspective, Titanfall 2 controls like a dream, incorporating wonderful level design and constantly fresh mechanics that cleverly keep the player on their toes. Apparent in both the campaign and multiplayer sections, Titanfall 2 never struggles to communicate its astute eye for shooter design. Its short, but tightly woven single-player excels in establishing compelling objectives, masterfully resisting the urge to drag its feet when it comes to presenting new ideas and set pieces. This brisk pace matched with Titanfall 2’s respectable drive to always give the player something interesting to push forward toward, illustrate the campaign’s deep and educated vision of gameplay. The core story may lack the sensibilities to hit on anything meaningful, but what the campaign lacks in narrative substance, it most certainly makes up for in the gameplay department. The same smooth, refined controls that elevate the excellent campaign, transition seamlessly into Titanfall 2’s fantastic multiplayer. Building off the components that made the original game great, the sequel refrains from reinventing the wheel, but isn’t afraid to spice things up. Once again, Titanfall’s multiplayer is a hectic, layered, and mechanically complexed amalgamation of movement and combat, resulting in some of the most memorable moments a shooter has provided in years. Titanfall 2 is a breath of fresh air for the genre, both in its smart campaign and challenging multiplayer. Addressing the critiques cast at its predecessor with clever, confident, and thoughtful design refinements, Titanfall 2’s end result is a manifestation of what all video game sequels should aspire to accomplish.

Excerpt from podcast (BS W/ Braxton Ep. 04):

Note: Check back every day for new entries & updates in my personal GOTY 2016 roster…


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Game of the Year 2016: #9 – Battlefield 1

“Instruments of Death

It’s no secret that war is a go-to setting for video games. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve repelled from a helicopter in the Middle East, stormed the beach of Normandy, and breached Nazi strongholds. This blatant oversaturation of subject material gives all the more reason to praise EA DICE’s efforts with Battlefield 1, a wartime shooter that feels fresh and exciting in the midsts of occasionally redundant and uninspired contemporaries. Taking the acclaimed series back in time to the gruesome and costly first World War, Battlefield 1 shows players that it’s not afraid of taking a chance. It’s a polished experience that crafts itself upon the thesis of taking a step back, effectively expressing that the transition to the early 19th-century setting was a necessary departure in order to push the needle forward. Battlefield 1 will be remembered for many accomplishments, from its stellar multiplayer, to the surprising campaign. But, what it will ultimately be ingrained in our memory for, is the admirable risk of reinvention it was bold enough to take for the series.In addition to a robust multiplayer suite, Battlefield 1 unexpectedly brings with it the strongest single-player campaign the series has seen in years. Divided into serval self-contained narrative vignettes, Battlefield’s campaign places an importance on the people of war. There are still grand set pieces rich in action, yet they’re accompanied by nuanced and well-written characters that bring an emotional weight to the brutality that surrounds them. Even more excellent, is the title’s manic and often times awe-inspiring multiplayer. While lacking the emotional levity of its narrative counterpart, Battlefield 1’s multiplayer still shines bright. Acting as the staple of the series for years, Battlefield’s multiplayer formula is back and better than ever. Thanks to the refreshing and uncharted change in setting, DICE’s latest endeavor stands out from its more recent predecessors in a multitude of different facets. Mechanically and presentationally, Battlefield 1 can feel likes it’s truly breaking new ground, exploring a historically rich time period the medium of games has been reluctant to venture into. Battlefield 1 strikes a fantastic balance between its campaign and multiplayer components, showing an admirable level of dedication to crafting a complete, cohesive package that, unfortunately, is not always found in more online-focused shooters. 

Excerpt from podcast (BS W/ Braxton Ep. 03):

Note: Check back every day for new entries & updates in my personal GOTY 2016 roster…


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