It’s time for the Top 10 games! I delved in to a lot more games this past year and outside of a couple games I pushed through at the end as must finish, I did a much better job this year pacing out the new games I played. Sadly two of my three most hyped games for 2017 became my most disappointing, but sometimes that happens. I hope everyone had a great 2017 in gaming like I had.
Early Access Game of the Year: Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds
Yes this game officially released at the end of the year, but it spent most of its time in Early Access through 2017. I didn’t play nearly as much as many of my friends, but I always had a lot of fun with the game. It is tense, it is frustrating, but it is so addictive. You lose, and you want to keep going. There’s no time to rage for me. Just laugh about it, quit back to main screen and go at it again. I look forward to seeing where this game goes in 2018.
Disappointment of the Year:(TIE) Agents of Mayhem and Mass Effect: Andromeda
I couldn’t pick between either game, so I couldn’t help but showcase each of these letdowns. First off, let’s tackle the game I was more hyped for this year. Agents of Mayhem should have been this Saints Row fanboy’s next Game of the Year. It wasn’t even close, as it is a mess of a game. A bunch of half-baked ideas tossed together for a platter of meh. The characters and skills are legit interesting, sadly the world and missions are bland and uninspiring. It was like they took the Saints Row map, sucked all the life out of it, and reskinned it. Also, another failure is the fact the humor is completely hit or miss. I was so disappointed in what Volition churned out and in the end I couldn’t finish it.
For my second letdown of 2017 we have Mass Effect: Andromeda, which should have been a new amazing journey in a great universe. Instead it felt like someone took a Mass Effect fan-fiction they read online and made a game out of it. It just didn’t connect emotionally. When it tried, it just felt completely forced and I couldn’t give a damn about anything going on. With weird facial animations and bugs, I spent a lot of time cringing during conversation sequences. The combat was good, but that isn’t enough to get me to finish this disappointment.
Game I Wished I Finished This Year: Tales of Berseria
After trying to push through the trope filled Tales of Zestiria, and failing, I decided to give Berseria a try. I loved immediately that is a story about revenge, and not just another save the world as a hero who just happens to be the chosen one. Velvet is one angry woman, seeking nothing but revenge on Artorius whom transformed her in to a monster after sacrificing her younger brother. This game is dark and yet surprisingly light at times. It just feels so refreshing, and I regret not finishing it in 2017.
Top 10 of 2017:
10. Blackwood Crossing
A story about death and grieving. You play as a young girl who is struggling with the death of her family, and you go through a very trippy and dark world, as you relive many key moments in your past. It’s a short, but very effective game. One that stuck with me long after I had finished.
9. Sonic Forces
This game was so hated on, but then I heard some people actually were enjoying it. I can say after playing it, it is a lot of fun. It is similar to Sonic Generations in the fact it switches between 3D and 2D levels, except in this game you get to create your own avatar. Outside of one later level, I thought the game was well designed and I couldn’t put it down. The game also does a great job rewarding you with various costumes to use for your avatar, without the need of loot boxes like many other games in 2017.
8. AER: Memories of Old
This game was probably the prettiest game I played in 2017. It was such a beautiful world, and the flight mechanic was immensely relaxing. I would sometimes just find myself flying around, not caring to continue the story as I enjoyed the setting and landscapes. A story about civilizations’ downfalls, and trying to prevent the next one. Beautiful, serene, and really effective.
7. Cosmic Star Heroine
A throwback to 16 Bit J-RPGs, this was a really cool rpg. It had a fun and diverse cast of characters, and an interesting battle system. It actually made you think about when to use which attacks, because you might be able to do a better string of attacks next round if you wait and don’t try to unload your best moves right away. A lot of love went in to the crafting of this world and story. The story scenes were so good in their 16 bit glory. It really feels like you’re playing a souped up SNES game.
6. Super Mario Odyssey
This is the first time I’ve enjoyed a Mario platforming game in years, probably more than a decade. The hat mechanic with Cappy is very innovative and super fun to control various enemies and other characters. I had some issues with control mechanics, but they were easily forgiven with how much fun I was having. Also this game looks amazing, and almost all the levels were crafted beautifully (especially the city), and I had fun in all of them except one.
5. Mages of Mystralia
The best non-Japanese RPG I played this year. It’s gameplay will remind you of Zelda, but what sets this one apart is the way you can create your own magic attacks. You get a base set of skills, then you get runes that you can utilize to change how your spells work. Whether you want it to have movement, curve, explode at the end of the casting, and much more. It created a lot of interesting combinations as you fight your way through the world to stop the ancient magic that has been unleashed once again. It’s also a super cute game, but manages to incorporate some dark elements.
4. A Hat In Time
Yes I found a better platformer than Super Mario Odyssey, and A Hat in Time did everything better in my opinion. It had more personality, a more colorful world, and it was just super adorable. The main character is so cute, and I loved the world you get to explore. Everything just pops no matter if the setting of a particular area was a lighter theme or darker. I also liked the voice acting of the NPCs, as a lot of time and love went in to getting them right. The game also mixed 2D platforming and boss fights with 3D, and even has an amazing stealth sequence that actually feels tense.
3. Splatoon 2
The best Switch game of the year has to be Splatoon 2. I never found the time to jump in to the first one, but after I started playing this one it was hard to stop. Every session of matches kept me saying, “One more match!” repeatedly. It’s just a colorful and fun experience, that doesn’t rely on typical online multiplayer tactics. I find it relaxing to just be painting the arenas, and then I love the tense moments of combat that contrast that feeling. I also like that if you try to just focus combat, you’re guaranteed to lose. Also the three minute matches keeps from getting as salty as I can get in many other online multiplayer games.
2. Nier: Automata
This game is ridiculous, and what can I say about this game to properly convey what it is and what it does. It is crafted with the utmost brilliance. It consistently shifts from a bullet hell shooter, to action platformer, to open world action game, and even manages to merge the genres together at times. It never ceased to amaze me. The story is Japanese as hell, with many unexpected and downright WTF moments. One of the great things about this game is the multiple endings and various playthroughs from different perspectives to help bring the story together. I still haven’t completed all of them yet, and I damn sure will because I can’t get enough of the world and characters.
1. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
Finally my number one game is Ys VIII, as it was glorious. Adol gets marooned on an island after a shipwreck, left to explore and rescue survivors. As you build up your camp not only does your party grow, but the camp itself sees growth. At the same time Adol starts having dreams that connect to Dana, a young lady from a previous civilization of the island. So you find yourself also controlling Dana as she is working hard to figure out and stop the calamity she foresees that is the end for her people. The game implements a great fast travel system as there is a lot of backtracking, but the traversal through out the game as Adol it super fast even when no fast travel is available. So you never feel like the game is artificially inflating the length of playtime. There are multiple endings dependent on how much time and effort you put in to the game. I just missed getting the best ending, and I wasn’t even upset as I had a lot of fun with this one. The only complaints here would be related to the translation, but I didn’t have as large an issue with it as some others. A few times it was noticeable, but not enough to impede on my enjoyment.