2017 was one Hell of a year! This is probably going to be looked back on as a year similar to 1997 or 2007 or...well geeze, years that end in 7 seem to be great in general when it comes to gaming. The original Double Dragon and Police Quest came out in 1987. Holy Hell, in 1977 Atari opened the very first Pizza Time Theater! You know, Chuck E. Cheese. Anyway, I ended up playing a whole lot of games this year despite personal things and upheaval and, drama but certain things just could be ignored like the launch of a new Nintendo console and Sony finally launching a base-PS4 with 1TB of internal memory. I haven't caught up very much with modern gaming but I think I have enough here to actually make a top 10...or at least a top 5...Let me start by rattling off all of the games that I've played this year.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Dragon Quest Heroes, Fallout 4, Final Fantasy XII & FFXII Zodiac Ages, Demon's Souls, Persona 5, Final Fantasy XV, Dead by Daylight, Resident Evil VII-Biohazard, Bloodborne, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, Disgaea 5, Doom (on Switch), Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Seiken Densetsu Collection (The Secret of Mana collection), Super Bomberman R, Super Mario Odyssey, Thimbleweed Park, I Am Setsuna, Shantea: 1/2 Genie Hero & Pirate's Curse, Hatsune Miku's Project Diva, Kirby: Planet Robobot, Metroid: Samus Return, Until Dawn Rusty Lake Roots, Pokemon GO!, Volgaar the Viking, Kamiko, Yodanji, Mighty Gunvolt Burst, Sonic Mania, Minecraft, Blaster Master Zero, Wonderboy (3) and the Dragon's Trap, Snake Pass, King's Quest (the original one), Snipperclips, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Grand Theft Auto V, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arms...and I think that might be all of them...Those are definitely the games that I've spent at least an hour playing. I popped in Painkiller HD and Ride to Hell: Road Redemption for a bit but I couldn't commit to them. Then there were demos like Lost Sphere, the Splatoon 2 and Arms test weekends and the Amazing Octopath Traveller demo. I wish Lost Sphere was able to grip me...at all but Octopath Traveller is a game I am very eagerly awaiting after having played the demo. I also failed to mention party games that I've played with other people like That's You, the Jackbox collections, Hidden Agenda and, Job Simulator.
I've played a lot of games this year but I haven't beaten everything I've played. For reference, I consider a game 'beaten' when I get to the end-credits after X-hours of gameplay. In theory, I could say I've beaten The Binding of Isaac after about 2 hours of prayer to RNGsus but I'm still playing a lot of Binding of Isaac+ because of how much stuff there is left to unlock in-game. So I feel like I'm in this weird place with some games like Demon's Souls and Tokyo Mirage Sessions where I've put in a lot of time with those games but I haven't beaten them yet despite having put in less time with games like Shantae (1/2 Genie and Pirate's Curse) and Blaster Master Zero and essentially being done with those three.So when it comes to a top 10 there might be some games I list that I haven't seen the ending of yet but even more contraversially, I might just add some games that I first played this year and not necessarily games that launched this year.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ launched in early spring on the Switch but The Binding of Isaac has existed in more than one form on PC and other platforms since what, 2012? I've never been huge into PC gaming so this game has always been on my radar though never quite on my 'to play' list until the Switch version came out. Unfortunately, my first copy decided it didn't want to work but a friend hooked me up with a second copy and since then I've put in over 30 hours on this game so far. Comparitively, that might not sound like a lot and I know there are people who have spent hundreds of hours in this game but I see myself going back time and time again since there's so much more that I have to unlock. The Binding of Isaac is one of those games where each time I beat a new boss or reach a new area I feel a sort of adrenaline rush and even if I do wind up with a death-streak in high tens or twenties or higher I'm still excited to start a new run in this game.
(I feel like this is the best way to play Binding of Isaac)
Doom launched on Switch to the surprise of many on the 10th of November. It's a bit unfortunate that I couldn't murder the hoards of Hell on Halloween but I didn't mind waiting a couple of extra weeks. I've put about 30 hours into this game which could (and does) indicate that I had a lot more fun with the MP than most other players. When it comes to the campaign though, I played a bit more slowly and conservatively. I was only really able to play through one full level before taking a break from the campaign for a little bit. The main campaign was fantastic and I loved how the combat felt but I didn't feel compelled to power through the entire campaign in one sitting. I liked the game as a whole but I have yet to go back and play through again too. Overall I'm happy with the game, it had great setpieces but once it was all over I felt thirsty for more. A robot stole my Hellsword dammit, I want that thing back and I don't recall seeing all of the MP weapons in SP which was another thing that threw me off. There were a couple of issues with texture pop-in while I played the game undocked but the game moves by so quickly that I did have to really look for that kind of thing...also I fell out of a level once but that kinda thing just happens.
(Help, I've fallen and I can't get back into our original plane of existence)
Final Fantasy XV is one of three Final Fantasy titles I put time into this year, roughly 60 hours worth of time. XV is a much smaller and more grounded title than other Final Fantasy titles; it really only takes place in one continent and one City (and a train and a bit of another city) with a story centering on a magical Prince who needs to make it to his magical, Disney-esq wedding but unfortunately the Evil Empire decides to attack my home city and steal a magical crystal which plunges the world into monster-infested Darkness.Noctis must combat the evil by claiming his birthright (a bunch of weapons in tombs) and camping with his hired friends. There is a powerful emotional core to the story and as things really get rolling there are a few times where I got swept up in the events going on. This is my tactful way of saying this game made me cry. That plus a great few set-piece bosses and a main antagonist who I loved to hate is why I'm putting this game on my list and why I started a New Game+.
(I sure hope Lunafreya likes lots of Chapagetti!)
Bloodborne is my number 7 despite this being a game that I only started playing on Christmas Day. This is a game that has already killed me in a whole lot of fun and interesting ways. As an indicator for where I am in the game, I've only killed 2 bosses so far with a third having killed me once so far. If I were to put it into hours, I feel like I've played one hour for each time Father Gascan killed me (so like...more than five and less than 10 but I didn't count from the beginning and I'm really not sure). This game has me engaged in a way that Demon's Souls almost had me engaged; I love the lore (even if it's all incredibly depressing), I love the City of Yharnam, I love how the combat and recovery systems work...This game made the best first impression on me out of any other pure action game I've played this year.I can foresee myself dumping tens if not dozens of hours into this game in 2018. Also, this game is the reason I haven't started Dark Souls 2 yet.
(Turns out this wasn't a Mimic)
Thimbleweed Park is a game I should have downloaded when it first launched on the Switch eShop but even if I did, I had no idea that this game launched in 2014. I've put about 8 hours into the game so far and I don't feel like I'm anywhere near the end of the main narrative of the story but I really don't mind. Your main goal is to find out who was murdered in the town of Thimbleweed Park, why they were murdered, how, etc-etc. I've gone as far as identifying the poor corpse but the farther your investigation takes you the more you learn about the town and its quirky inhabitants. This turns the game into a multi-faceted point-n-click with a large cast of playable characters with their own goals and motives. My favorite characters so far have been Dolores and Ransom the Clown but I don't want to talk too much about them or their stories for fear of the dreaded spoiler.I bought this game for full price and I'm completely satisfyed by it, to the point that I wish I had helped to kickstart it back in 2012.
(I *beep*ing love Ransom)
Metroid: Samus Returns is probably this high on my list because I never played AM2R but even without having played that, what was added to Samus Returns makes this game feel absolutely fantastic. This was one of those rare games that I played through twice in a row and despite this game being more streamlined than other 2D Metroid titles it still felt fresh and tons of fun to play through this game that second time. The new controls and moves felt natural for Samus without feeling too over powered and new weapons and techniques are found and unlocked at such a quick rate that I never felt like I was too weak for too long. Like with the Soulsborne series, a highlight of Samus Returns are the boss encounters; most of them feel like puzzles to be figured out but their open-ended enough that I'm seeing multiple viable strategies to defeat the same boss. That's another big reason I played through the game a second time: seeing just how quickly I could defeat bosses who gave me so much trouble the first time I fought them. I can see myself playing this game again next year and if I'm feeling optimistic, this could be one of those games I play once a year like Metroid Fusion or Super Metroid.
(I have no images from Samus Returns so...FAN ART again)
Sonic Mania is an incredibly odd duck for me: I've always liked 3D Sonic games more than 2D Sonic games, to the point that I haven't actually beaten any of the 2D Classics that I've played. Despite my strange preference, I've still somehow managed to put over 20 hours of time into Sonic Mania when it launched on the Switch. The game itself is easy enough for me that I beat it in less than 6 hour sduring my first playthrough but it left an amazingly good impression on me. Sonic Mania looks like a game that should have been a Saturn launch title, it moves incredibly quickly and the controls are tight and nicely responsive. I know enough about Sonic's past to see the fan service where it appears but it's the new things that kept me coming back for more, even if it's somewhat small like how the environments react to something like a flame shield. Apparently this game ties into Sonic Forces but I see that as being a small detail that doesn't really matter...but that &Knuckles mode?! That's where it's at!
(I beat this game 100%...I wonder if that's worth a Platinum)
Persona 5 is another game that I got and didn't have a chance to start playing until Christmas. It's a game that I've only put about 5 hours into and as this is a Persona game, 5 hours is basically nothing. I've only just found a fourth party member, I'm still in the first dungeon, I'm still getting a lot of tutorials...and yet from the moment I booted the game up and played through the prologue, I've been hooked. Out of every JRPG I've played this year, this is the one that I'm the most eager to continue playing. It's so weirdly refreshing to play as somebody who everyone seems to hate that I really want to see how the story progresses once I start knocking down otherworldly palaces. As dark as the story is right now with Kamoshida-sensei, I want to see how much darker this game is going to get. I don't know how I feel about the framing of the story at the moment but I'm very curious to see where it goes from that point onward. The only other Persona I've played was 3 Portable on the PSP and that one just didn't engage me like this one did. I can't wait to play this game through to completion in 2018.
(I have no screens so...box art I think)
Super Mario Odyssey is a lot like Sonic Mania in that it's an odd duck; I strongly prefer 2D Mario games to the 3D titles. I don't think I've put 40 hours into Mario 60, Sunshine and Galaxy combined but when it came to Odyssey, I couldn't put it down after I picked it up. Not only is this the first time I beat a 3D Mario game with more than the bare-minimum number of Stars...err, Power Moons, this is the first time I've started a second playthrough of a 3D Mario game that wasn't on the 3DS. Coins actually feel like they have value for the first time in ever and I love finding and unlocking new costumes and hats as I continued playing. I can't say that I miss power ups because Cappy's ability to capture enemies and characters and objects is so much better than any traditional powerups have ever been before. Super Mario Odyssey is a huge game but it's a game I can see myself playing through on a yearly basis. Even though I've seen just about all there is to see, this is a beautifully polished title and it's an absolute joy to play through.
(Listen to the Clown)
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a game I've put over 110 hours into this year...on a single profile...and I keep finding new things whenever I boot the game up. For a long time, my Nintendo Switch was a Breath of the Wild machine. It was a BotW machine for all of March, it was a BotW machine after I beat 1/2 Genie Hero and Wonderboy III. It's a Breath of the Wild machine after I finished the campaign in Sonic Mania, Doom and after my first playthrough of Super Mario Odyssey. As good as those other games are I can't wait to go back to Hyrule where I can scour the land for giant monsters or the perfect ingredients. It's true that the small puzzle temples all look and feel very similar to one another but that doesn't stop me from feeling a sense of accomplishment for figuring out a puzzle. I still love walking up to Hyrule Castle and fighting The Gaping Calamity Ganon again and again and again. I'm still very much engaged and finding new things to do in Breath of the Wild without even picking up the expansion content. It probably seems like the most predictable number one since 2015 when Undertale came out but Breath of the Wild was absolutely my favorite game this year.
(This isn't a spoiler anymore, is it?)
2017 was an incredible year for gaming and at the moment I'm very optimistic about 2018. I don't do New Years resolutions but I am planning on writing more in 2018 so maybe by this time next year I'll have more to say about the games that I've played next year vs what I have here. I don't foresee myself making a top-10 made up entirely of 2018 games next year though because I only just got a PS4: I have a lot of catching up to do and even if I do play games that exclusively launched in 2018 there's no telling how many of my favorites will be re-releases. I didn't have the best 2017 but I'm hoping 2018 will be fantastic not just for me but for all of us. I'm really looking forward to picking up games like Kirby: Star Allies, Hokuto no Gotoku (Fist of the Yakuza(?)), Dragon Ball FighterZ, Dissidia NT, Secret of Mana, Mega Man 11, Bayonetta 3, Metroid Prime 4 and, who knows what else.
I'm having trouble thinking of a good way to end this so I'm just going to stop writing and try killing Vicar Amelia again before my 9-to-5. Have a Happy New Year everybody!