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Old 12-31-2017   #1
NCZ
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Default Favourite Games of 2017

With less than 10 minutes left of the year, I thought it might be interesting to talk about what our favourite gaming experiences this year were. I managed to complete and play around 20 games, and got to play the majority of releases I was interested in, which I'm very happy with:

This year felt really long, and a lot of stuff happened. Nintendo released the Switch and it's come roaring out of the gate. Marvel VS Capcom came back and it sucked. Valkyria Chronicles died and was reborn. Puyo Puyo and Yakuza are localized again and bigger than ever. A Yoko Taro game sold 2 million copies. EA had the triple whammy of dumb-dumb-dumb with Mass Effect Andromeda, shutting down Visceral, and Battlefront BlindBoxes.

Anyway, onto my list.

Honourable Mentions:

GRAVITY RUSH 2

I didn't really play a lot of Vita games since I only occasionally got to borrow my brother's, but I have to say, Gravity Rush made it all worth it. It's the one game of the few I played that I truly loved. An amazing use of the system, lovable characters, a gorgeous world, and an absolutely beautiful soundtrack. Kat is one of my favourite game characters and the game instills a genuine sense of bliss, joy, and magic that is simply unforgettable.

Gravity Rush 2 is like the first one, but it's bigger and there's more of it. Unfortunately there are more warts from that that I was expecting. The game does feel a bit bloated at times, and like it's stretching itself thin to reach ambitions the gameplay juts isn't the most well-served to. But at the end of the day, the game is still worth it. The jump to PS4 went a long way in making the world even grander and more luxurious, the freeform flight and gravity manipulation even more blissful, and the soundtrack even more absolutely brilliant. The plot is a bit rushed/unfocused, especially towards the end, the new gravity styles were a bit superfluous, and I found myself getting more frustrated with the game than I wished I did, but at the end of the day I'm thankful it was even made.

Also, if I had to say one more thing: The track "Night Gale" is without hyperbole, one of the best themes composed for a video game of all time.

MARIO KART 8 DELUXE

Mario Kart 8 was one of the best games on Wii U, and its Switch port is even better. The bump to 1080p goes a long way, and Battle Mode is almost an entirely new game. Though I may have played most of it already, it's a great game to begin with, and you can't argue with that. Even though it's a port, having Mario Kart right there with a system's launch is a pretty surreal feeling, and I'm thankful more people get to experience the best game in the series.

METROID: SAMUS RETURNS

A fantastic swan song for the 3DS. After 10 painful years, Samus is finally back. Similar to the other 3DS Nintendo remake this year, they went back and revisited a 25-year-old 8-bit second installment that usually tends to get glossed over. Metroid II and MercurySteam is a strange combination, but by George they pulled it off. A crisp experience that can be frustrating at times, it nonetheless carries plenty of modernized improvements that make it an extremely addictive game. It doesn't outstay its welcome either, managing to feel like a tight little adventure that wraps itself up with a cute little bow. Samus is back, and the wait was worth it.

NIER: AUTOMATA

This is a game I finished over half a year ago and I still don't know just how to feel about it. PlatinumGames and Square Enix are two of my favourite developers in all of gaming. Keiichi Okabe's soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. The sense of atmosphere and sound design are all appropriately haunting yet serene. But the story and characters that really make the game what it is just fell totally flat for me. I don't know if it's me or the game, but I didn't really like 9S (****boy) or 2B (too cold/unfeeling to feel attached to). The plot felt like it dealt with a lot of themes but didn't really go into them beyond the surface level or have any one in particular particularly rise up as the most resonant. Meanwhile the elements I really liked (A2, Adam/Eve) wound up falling by the wayside. This is a game I'm glad I played but at the same time I feel like it should have clicked with me more than it did.

WONDER BOY: THE DRAGON'S TRAP

The Master System is a console I never really gave a lot of credit before, but this remake is fantastic both as a new game and as a faithful homage to the original. One of the coolest things about it is you can actually switch to the original graphics and music/SFX on the fly, even independently of each other. While I appreciated the option, the new coat of paint is just so loaded to the brim with love that I think it's the way to go. The animation is almost Disney-esque in quality. Beyond impressed that an independent developer was able to put out such a labourious release as this. Best of all, the game is actually extremely fair: the difficulty may not be breezy, but it's not merciless either, easily beatable in one (3-4 hour) sitting if you're dedicated enough. This is the kind of game that you would rent for a weekend as a kid, and challenge yourself to see if you could conquer it before going back to school. It's an amazing rejuvenation to the earliest, simplest era of video games, and testament to the fact that sometimes less is more.

And now, the actual list.
  1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - What is there to be said that hasn't already been said. This is a game that will define a generation. The most exciting thing about Breath of the Wild, to me, is the promise it brings as a fresh start that reinvents the future of the series going forth. It's almost nothing like most other Zelda games, and in many respects, that makes it one of the truest. One of the most magical experiences I've ever had with a game, it truly feels like each player's experience with it is their own story, and their own adventure. It was worth the wait and then some.
  2. Yakuza 0 - I've already got my feet wet in the Yakuza series, so it's not necessarily the novelty of what the series is that blows me off my feet, but just how good everything is in isolation and coalescence. The story is a gripping burn of a crime drama boosted by incredible voice acting. The minigames are robust enough that they could have been Sega arcade franchises of their own back in their heyday. And the side content and overall feeling of the game's story and setting capture the perfect, period, almost neo-noiresque ambience of 80s Japan, a bubble at its prime that's sadly about to burst. I'm beyond thankful the series has made a comeback outside Japan and resonated with as many people as it has. This and Breath of the Wild are both games where the hours slipped away and away.
  3. Splatoon 2 - Splatoon was my GOTY in 2015, so it's no surprise that 2 is even better. With even more modes, hilarious new hosts, and a ton of ltitle changes that overall make it a smoother experience, they really went above and beyond. The campaign isn't quite as good as the first one's and I miss some of the stages and music, but overall, this is a perfect example of a sequel that both grows a new series while staying true to its roots.
  4. Sonic Mania - A love letter to the glory days of Sega's arcade philosophy in the 90s. From its artwork, to its gloriously R&B-synthesized soundtrack, and the off-the-wall sense of creativity and surprise it delivers, this game genuinely feels like a lost Saturn game. Sonic has been through hard times which pains me as one of the first game series I've ever loved, and this game does a perfect job of nailing every single aspect of what made Sonic and that era of Sega so special, while providing glimmers as to what a future could look like if taken even further. A sequel with even more original stages would be truly special.
  5. Puyo Puyo Tetris - I'm really happy Puyo Puyo finally got another chance outside Japan. This made the perfect early-Switch-lifespan game, just as the original Tetris was for the Gameboy. Tons of content, terrific music and art direction, a simple but charming story mode, and gameplay I can't stop playing even in my sleep. The perfect fusion of two of the puzzle genre's top games.
  6. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia - This is how you do a remake. Gaiden was a game I had never really given much credit to, but this game did the perfect job of reinvigorating it in a way that embraces its idiosyncransies while genuinely feeling like a full-fledged, modernized, AAA Fire Emblem release. The main things I take issue in were some unfortunate map designs that were left untouched, and the casual way Celica and some other female characters were thrown under the bus. Top it off with excellent music and English voice acting for one of the last great 3DS releases - and my favourite of FE's 3DS trilogy.
  7. Super Mario Odyssey - It is testament to just how much I loved the games above it that a brand new 3D Mario game isn't even in the top half of this list. While the game isn't quite what I was expecting in some areas, it nonetheless further exhibits EPD Tokyo's incredible knack for creativity and thinking outside the box. The game exhudes pure joy from top to bottom - its soundtrack, visuals, animations, movements, costumes, and stage designs. My only problem is there's not enough of it.
  8. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Really like it, but there is a noticeable lack of polish that drags things down a bit, making the game feel like they were under pressure to make the Switch's first year at all costs. Hopefully they get patched out. The gameplay is more Xenoblade goodness, but not sure if all the extra complexities (e.g. the Blade system, Affinities, Field Skills...) are completely worth it yet. Story is a bit traditional, but the cast and characters are all very likeable, its vistas are gorgeous, and Yasunori Mitsuda shows why he is a living legend with its soundtrack. I think the first game edges it out, but 2 is still a solid RPG.
  9. Life is Strange: Before The Storm - This is how you handle a switch to a new developer. Deck Nine's work is indistinguishable from Dontnod's. Chloe is such an amazing character, and getting to see her in a new light along with her doomed relationship with Rachel Amber was as heartwrenching as it was heartwarming. The dialogue and character writing also felt just a bit more natural than the first one's too. Losing rewind and the first game's supernatural elements also gave the drama an extremely raw, down-to-earth feeling that was hugely interesting to contrast with the original. Chloe's backtalk system was also a ton of fun. If the voice changes give you pause, all I'm going to say is that they were actually very seamless and I was quite impressed, both in comparison to the originals and standalone.
  10. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy - Tied with Uncharted 2 as the best in the series. Despite losing Nathan Drake, the heart of Uncharted is still completely present. Chloe and Nadine work so well as the new protagonists that I wouldn't mind a whole series of their adventures. The game is crisp and moves along at the perfect rate without overstaying its welcome, and has some of the lushest, most gorgeous vistas ever crafted in a game. I might even say in a lot of ways it's even better than Uncharted 4 itself.

At the end of the day, I think we're in a new golden age of gaming. The past two years have been very strong, and I'm beyond excited to see what the future has to hold.
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Old 12-31-2017   #2
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Default Re: Favourite Games of 2017

I don't feel like making any kind of detailed list of the games I've played this year so I'll just talk about the big one: Yakuza 0. For a long time I've dreamt of an open world game that focused on creating a detailed, living city instead of making a massive sandbox. Turns out there was a whole series of that game right under my nose. I fell in love with Kamurocho and all of its inhabitants. Every side story and minigame was fun and helped bring the people and the city to life like no other game I've played. They can be funny, sad or just plain bizarre but it all works as a cohesive whole. You can tell the people who work on these games love Japan and want to express that through the game. But where the game really shines is in the characters themselves. Everyone is brought to life through some of the best performances I've ever heard in a game and I don't even speak the language. Kiryu and Majima contrast perfectly, each one with their own unique stories that weave together without stepping on each other's toes. I haven't been able to continue with the series past Kiwami since I don't have a PS3, but I really hope Sega brings Kiwami 2 over fairly soon and makes it possible to play 3-5 on PS4 in the near future. And that Fist of the North Star game looks like something else. Really hope that makes it over too and I look forward to the team's future projects.
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Old 12-31-2017   #3
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Default Re: Favourite Games of 2017

Middle Earth: Shadow of War. Really love the improvements from SoM. Great gameplay and voice acting.

Great immersion and the Orcs steal the show again.
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Old 12-31-2017   #4
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Default Re: Favourite Games of 2017

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Originally Posted by Nightmare Crusher View Post
I don't feel like making any kind of detailed list of the games I've played this year so I'll just talk about the big one: Yakuza 0. For a long time I've dreamt of an open world game that focused on creating a detailed, living city instead of making a massive sandbox. Turns out there was a whole series of that game right under my nose. I fell in love with Kamurocho and all of its inhabitants. Every side story and minigame was fun and helped bring the people and the city to life like no other game I've played. They can be funny, sad or just plain bizarre but it all works as a cohesive whole. You can tell the people who work on these games love Japan and want to express that through the game. But where the game really shines is in the characters themselves. Everyone is brought to life through some of the best performances I've ever heard in a game and I don't even speak the language. Kiryu and Majima contrast perfectly, each one with their own unique stories that weave together without stepping on each other's toes. I haven't been able to continue with the series past Kiwami since I don't have a PS3, but I really hope Sega brings Kiwami 2 over fairly soon and makes it possible to play 3-5 on PS4 in the near future. And that Fist of the North Star game looks like something else. Really hope that makes it over too and I look forward to the team's future projects.
I'd kill for a 3-5 remaster solely because it means 5 can get a localized physical copy.

Actually I played 5 before 0, but not all the way through. So after Kiwami I'm going to go back and wrap that up before I do 6. I WOULD wait for Kiwami 2, but the loc is probably far off enough that I don't mind playing the original PS2 version.

It was kind of surprising seeing the series really blow up at last here, but it's totally deserved. 0 is a great game even divorced from the rest of the series. I'm glad to see people become so into it.

Hokuto ga Gotoku is so random but I am just so intrigued that it even exists. In a weird way it's the perfect match.
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Old 12-31-2017   #5
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Hokuto ga Gotoku is so random but I am just so intrigued that it even exists. In a weird way it's the perfect match.
I think what makes it work so well is that many characters fall into similar archetypes between the series. It's why they've been able to transfer many of the Yakuza voice actors over to FotNS characters seamlessly.
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Old 01-02-2018   #6
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Default Re: Favourite Games of 2017

Guess I'll do mine, I'll be brief and just list my favorites:

10)Tekken 7
9)A Hat In Time
8)Persona 5
7)Uncharted The Lost Legacy
6)Injustice 2
5)Resident Evil 7
4)The Evil Within 2
3)Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
2)Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
1)Horizon Zero Dawn


As for what I'm most hyped for in 2018:

Dragon Ball FighterZ
Bloodstained Ritual of the Night
Spider-Man
God of War
Street Fighter V Arcade Edition
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
Mega Man 11
A Way Out
Far Cry 5
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Old 01-04-2018   #7
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Default Re: Favourite Games of 2017

Here are mine:

1)The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild


Seriously the scale of this game is amazing, this game has a lot going for it. Combining elements from previous games and adding in survival elements. Also big win for a game with voice acting.

2) Super Mario Odyssey


Not necessarily my favourite but still a ton of fun. I will say the game seems to dial back to Super Mario 64 level design in which each kingdom has so much attention to detail. Plus the whole cap-ability is clearly fun.

3) Cuphead


Nowhere mentioned yet but this is really interesting game. I'm hoping for a sequel because this game could kick start something. I know the game is rage-inducing but the sense of fulfillment after completion is worth it.

4) South Park: The Fractured But Whole


The follow up to the Stick of Truth is yet another fun RPG. The combat system is more refined and the humor is still good as ever. Plenty of references to many episodes and the addition of many characters. They had fun with the superhero concept. Although I will say the story in the game is a little weirdly plotted compared to the Stick of Truth.

5)Sonic Mania

A return to form. Just simple and classic Sonic. The return to form allowed this game to show that Sonic can still do wonders.

Runner ups: Injustice 2, Resident Evil 7, Doki Doki Literature Club
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