Tag Archives: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

What I Loved in Video Games in 2016

Happy New Year! It may be a little late this time around, but I have for you my annual wrap-up of my favorite things in video games from the past year. =)

I’ve done this most of the years I’ve been writing Robo♥beat, and it’s my favorite post to write because I get to relive some of the games I’ve loved over the year. Rather than make a big top 10 list or something, I prefer just picking out some of the most interesting mechanics, settings, and characters from the video games I played. Here are some from previous years if you want to check any out!

2015 | 2013 | 2012

Since I never get around to every single game I’d like to play — and some of these I haven’t finished yet — this list is restricted to just the games or parts of games that I know and enjoyed.

So without further adieu, here is what I loved in video games from 2016!


Biggest Life-Saver: Del Walker (Gears of War 4)

vintagedel.jpgSome of you may know I love the Gears of War series and have played all of the games on co-op. If you haven’t played these games co-op, I’ll just say it’s exceptional. And one of the things you can do in co-op is revive your allies when they’re down but not out. Or, to switch that around, if you fall in battle, you’ll have a limited amount of time to crawl to a safer spot while begging your friends for help and tapping a button to avoid bleeding out quite so fast.

That’s all well and good when you’re playing with someone. In previous games, as soon as I noticed my partner was down, I dashed over to rescue him — and vice versa. But one thing I noticed about Gears of War 4 is that you don’t need to worry about that as much, because you have AI squadmates, too. And they are awesome at keeping you alive.

The biggest life-saver for me was Del. In my campaign, my partner played as the protagonist J.D., while I got to choose between playing as Kait or Del. Obviously, I chose Kait, because she’s a girl and she’s awesome. But I underestimated Del a little there, because for the rest of the game, every time I fell in battle, he popped up at my side to revive me. Even if he was on the other side of the battlefield with enemy bullets flying and Juvies jumping out of popped pods, Del somehow managed to squat-walk all the way over to me, without dying, and bring me back into the fight.

I owe him my life about a hundred times over.


Coolest Character: Adam Jensen (Deus Ex: Mankind Divided)

deus-ex-mankind-divided-vazhnaya-informaciya-ob-augmentaciyax_minThis is a tough choice, because it’s easy to say that characters like Nate Drake from Uncharted 4, Corvo or Emily from Dishonored 2, or even the portrayal of Bruce Wayne in Telltale’s Batman series are all incredibly cool characters from 2016. But honestly, I don’t think any of them quite out-cool Adam Jensen in Deus Ex.

An augmented human with some super-human abilities, Adam Jensen is a badass. Even his built-in sunglasses look badass. His past as a security officer (among other things) make him handy with a gun, but it’s his augmentations that really make him a unique fighter. You play the game with a lot of stealth tactics, which means Jensen uses his wits even more than his weapons. That’s always the sign of a cool character in my books.

What I really enjoy about Mankind Divided is that Jensen comes into contact with all kinds of people — from cops to refugees to hackers — and he has to make decisions about who to help and who to trust. It makes for some interesting storytelling and role-playing. But Jensen never veers too far from his cool-headed attitude.


Most Intriguing Setting: Clockwork Mansion (Dishonored 2)

Clockwork Mansion.gifSet in the fictional city of Karnaka, Dishonored 2 brings the same steampunk-like details to its environments as the original game did with the city of Dunwall. But the best setting in the game is the Clockwork Mansion, which you either stealth or fight your way through in the third quest.

What makes this setting so intriguing is that it consists of shifting walls and platforms that can replace rooms with entirely new designs, with just the pull of a lever. Floor panels shift to replace furniture and decor, walls disappear while new ones are lowered in, a series of planks drop to the floor to create a walkway, or a staircase appears to give access to new parts of the mansion. If you haven’t already, you’ll have to play the game (or at least watch some footage) to see for yourself how cool this concept is!

clock-mansion-2


Most Interesting Death: The Series of Deaths in Battlefield 1’s Opening

Screen Shot 2017-01-01 at 9.00.25 PM.pngWhen you start the first mission of Battlefield 1, you may die. But instead of a traditional “game over” screen, you’ll see the name of the World War I soldier you were just playing as, along with the year of their death. You then launch into that same battle from another soldier’s perspective. If you die as him, you’ll come back as another soldier, with another weapon, on another part of the field.

This happens throughout that introductory mission, and it really brings home the idea that death in war is permanent. You may be playing a video game here, but let’s not forget that war isn’t a game. Battlefield 1 goes on to breathe life into a war many of us have forgotten from history books, in a very unique and human way for a shooter video game.


Favorite “Real” Moment: Nate and Elena Having Dinner (Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End)

uncharted-4-dinner1Uncharted 4 just runs away with the award for best narrative of the year, in my books. What makes it so special is not just the globe-trotting adventure Nathan Drake partakes in, but the personal side that gives the tale so much heart. More than being about a treasure hunt, the story is about Nathan’s relationships: with his wife Elena and brother Sam, and the conflicts that arise there.

The scene that had everybody talking when the game first came out was an early one in the game, a chapter called “A Normal Life.” It shows Nathan and Elena, now married, on their living room couch one evening — just having take-out, discussing work, ribbing each other a bit. I love when Elena calls Nathan out for not listening when she rambles about the article she’s writing. And then there’s the part where they play Crash Bandicoot to see who will do the dishes.

It’s such a real moment between two people who are intimate, and it shows the very relatable dynamic of a couple in a long-term relationship. Not much fiction delves into what it means to be in love in this way, or married — it all too often focuses on just the initial butterfly feelings of new courtship. I love watching the characters’ movements in this scene, and the easy way they go from talking to playing to making love.


Those are the big ones for me from 2016. Last year’s games I wanted to play but haven’t gotten to yet are InsideTitanfall 2, and Watch_Dogs 2 — but that’s okay. Another year, another 52 weeks to play video games, old and new. =)

What were your favorite games, characters, and moments from video games last year?

— Ashley

The Allure of Story-Based Side Quests

Lately I’ve been playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and while I’m still in the early stages of the game, it’s already reminding me of another massive RPG: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The reason for the comparison is the way these games handle questing in an open-world (or at least partially open-world) environment.

Continue reading The Allure of Story-Based Side Quests

The Video Games on My Fall Calendar

With the holidays approaching (well, kinda — I’m already excited, though), the big season for video games is coming up. I always look forward to buying games for myself as the year comes to a close, and if I’m lucky, I get some time off work and can invest those hours in my new games!

Last holiday season, I played a lot of Fallout 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider. I even remember being home and my mom, who doesn’t play games at all, helping me solve some of the tombs. There was another year when I brought my Xbox 360 home for Christmas and, after everyone had gone to bed, stayed up alone to replay BioShock Infinite. It was so much fun. I guess this is why video games have become intertwined with the holidays in my mind.

So, without further adieu, here is the big list of video games I’m looking forward to purchasing in the coming months. I’ve put them all on my personal calendar, so I can get a notification when a new one comes out. (I’m a dork like that.)

Continue reading The Video Games on My Fall Calendar

What’s New — September 2016

Happy September, everybody! Fall is here, probably my favorite season. I am one of those people who gets ready for the holidays way too early.

Last month was pretty much eaten up by moving to a new apartment. In my complete naiveté (or just denial) I thought it would take just a day. That is now hilarious to me, because it was a whole weekend process plus lots of going back and forth the rest of the week. Or maybe the next two weeks. I’m losing track of time. The only video game I played much of all month was Mortal Kombat X, since it’s easy (and not too time-consuming) to pick it up and play a few battles when you need to take a break from packing!

Video Games: This month I’ve started playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which is incredible so far. I had Human Revolution but found it challenging after just one main mission, and since Mankind Divided was coming out and getting all the hype — yeah, I kind of skipped Human Revolution. Maybe I’ll go back to it. (I say that with a ridiculous backlog of games already…)

The only trouble I have in Deus Ex is with stealth. I am just not a stealthy gamer. I love Dishonored but it’s not the easiest game for me to play — and frankly, I don’t always take the sneaky route. (That’s why it’s so fun to have supernatural powers in Dishonored!) Yet you’ll see me crouching and letting arrows fly all the time in Skyrim… I guess it just depends on how it’s done — and so far, Deus Ex is a little tricky for me.

What I do like is the idea of hacking in Deus Ex. I’m not sure about the minigame yet — still mastering it, and not sure if I love it — but at least the concept of hacking to aid stealth makes the idea of crawling along the ground and hiding for many drawn-out minutes at a time feel more exciting. And Adam Jensen is such a badass.

TV: Last month I watched Stranger Things. I liked it. But now that fall is here, it’s all about Halt and Catch Fire for me! The third season started last week, and if you haven’t seen it, I recommend picking it up at season two. =)

Running: With the move, I’ve been pretty bad about working out, but I have a 10K coming up and am excited to take the next week or two here to prepare for it. The new apartment has a great running loop that makes running outside way more fun than ever.

Video Posts: In other news, I’m experimenting a little with making some videos for Robo♥beat. I already posted a (super shy!) one last week, about D’Vorah in Mortal Kombat X.

There are a few reasons I’d like to make videos occasionally now. One is that I love going to other people’s sites and finding other kinds of content besides writing, like podcasts and videos. Another is that it would be fun to include gameplay footage when I’m talking about video games! Also, I’m a writer for a living, so I write all day… and then I come home and write some more on my novel and my blog. I love it, but it would be interesting to do something different. Maybe it’ll spice up the content on my site a little, but it should also give me a new challenge and get me out of my comfort zone! That said, I have no gear yet (nor any idea what I’m doing), so for now, it’s mostly just experimenting. =)

What are you guys up to this month? And what’s everybody playing these days?

— Ashley