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TheLimoMaker's Best Games of 2017 - How Timely of Me


Better Late than Never

Okay so, I've been putting this off for a while, mostly because the CBlogs were frazzled for a fair portion of December through to January and, as such, my list sat on the back-burner whilst I finished some games (Yakuza 0 though I still haven't actually fully completed it yet) or caught up with some stuff I missed (Lost Legacy, Gravity Rush 2, Fortnite Battle Royale) and used it the time to generally worry about actually playing games as opposed to ranking them. 

So now I'm going to arbitrarily rank them.

This stuff is just my opinion after all, but I would rather it be a well-informed opinion and might I add that this year has been a tough one to sort into just 15 games. Too many masterpieces, too little time. 

But I powered through and have hopefully delivered a list that is respected enough to not get called bullshit in the comments.
Plus I've been doing this for two years now and I'm not missing a third regardless of whether it gets called bullshit.

So first off, as always, honourable mentions. 


Honourable Mentions

Fortnite: Battle Royale: It's like PUB, but with more skill

Gravity Rush 2: Hey kid, wanna play a cool game but also get motion sick? 

Pyre: Supergiant make another great game that barely anyone is still talking about

Thimbleweed Park: Get your Mulder and Scully on!

The Evil Within 2: It's not great but it's better than nothing


And now the real deal. 


Number 15


Developers: Laura Shigihara

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 8/10

Never in the last two years have I had such a strong game at number fifteen on my list. 
Shigihara's debut effort is a fantastic game exploring the imagination of childhood and contrasting it with the cold reality of the real world. 

The starkness of the hospital seen through the lense of a child is a great way to make the more fantastical settings later on really stand out from other RPG Maker experiences. 

The story is solid, even if a little too emotionally manipulative at times, while the art direction is so solid it cements itself as one of the best looking games I've played this year; Shigihara really knows how to blend colours into one another, making them look imaginative and dream-like yet always letting them have a sense of realism about them. 

It's a shame this game wasn't played by more people but if you enjoyed games like To the Moon, be sure to seek this one out because the developer has proven she is more than capable of weaving a tale all her own and I cannot wait to see what she does next. 


Number 14

Little Nightmares

Developers: Tarsier Studios

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 8/10

A side-scrolling platformer featuring a young child being oppressed by dark, nightmarish forces beyond her control, with an obtuse narrative and sometimes janky controls. 
Yes, Little Nightmares is copying Limbo/Inside to a certain degree but it has a narrative that does have a definite answer and the implications throughout the game make the narrative a little stronger than that found in PlayDead's games. 

The monsters and environments are interesting and engaging enough that I rarely lost focus and found myself enjoying the more I played.
The enemies are interesting and memorable, the lighting really stands out in a lot of areas, specifically within the "Child-Snatcher" area where shadows and light-sources are far more noticeable than in later stages. 
Gloomy shaded sections blend in naturally with the brighter and more lively parts of the level. 

With good lighting comes good atmosphere and boy oh boy does Little Nightmares have a good atmosphere, a puzzling, creepy yet exciting atmosphere where the discovery of the next area, the solution to a puzzle or the finding of the new monster is always an intriguing experience. 
This game is just a damn good romp. 


Number 13

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Developers: MachineGames

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 8/10

I adored the first game in this semi-rebooted, but not really rebooted franchise and I'm happy to say that whilst the pacing isn't as tight as the first game and the new characters aren't as engaging as the returning cast, the storytelling is much improved and the camera work is miles ahead of The New Order.

Wolfenstein 2: Electric Booga-Loo is one of those games that feels cinematic. Not in the David Cage way, but in the legitimate way, where cinematography feels crafted by hand, with an auteur director guiding the DoP's framing. The use of handheld at just the right moments, or holding on the face of a character just long enough to illicit the right reaction from the player. 
These are things great film makers do and this is something that Wolfenstein: The Two Towers does fantastically. 

Yes, the new characters aren't as great as the old ones (Fergus and Anya will always remain the MVP's).
Yes, the boss fights in this one aren't as fun as the ones in the first game.
Yes, the narrative reasoning for a more deliberate difficulty during the first half of the game does mean that its a more frustrating game than the first one.

All of the above are true, but Wolfenstein 2: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Single-Player Shooter Games All Over Again is a really good game that is more than the sum of its parts.


Number 12


Developers: Team Ninja

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 8/10

A poor story, poor reusing of assets, unbearable reused enemies, random stunning capabilities and enemies that ignore their own stamina regeneration laws... But yet, when this game works, when you are up against another ninja one-on-one, it really shines. 

There is a lot to love and a lot to hate about Nioh.

I love the use of stances and the way they affect each fight.
I hate the fact that by Region 4, you've seen every enemy in the game and still have a long way to go. 
I love Kodama and the charm they bring to the game.
I hate that levels and assets within them are reused for the sake of padding out the game. 
I love the fashion side of the game and the many hours I can spend making myself look sexy. 
I hate Umi-Bozu. 

A lot of Nioh doesn't work and towards the end you can feel it straining underneath the weight of its ambition and budgetary constraints, but yet those sparks and those moments of sheer andrenaline you receive are worth the rough spots. 
Nioh is a gameplay marvel and a storytelling failure.

It is also one of my favourite games of the year.


Number 11

What Remains of Edith Finch

Developers: Giant Sparrow

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 8.5/10

A game more concerned with exploring a family's trauma as well as neatly conveying excellent techniques of melding story and gameplay in ways that few adventure titles have managed in the past few years. 
Through exploring the Finch house, details in each room tell you a lot about the inhabitants before you even play their sequence.

It's excellent environment storytelling, combined with deft scriptwriting and excellent thematic exploration in certain sections.
In lesser hands, this game may have been just another walking-simulator, but in the hands of the developers over at Giant Sparrow this game reaches heights in narrative execution that few other games in the walking-simulator space can achieve. 

See, Chinese Room, it is possible to do these things well. 


Number 10

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Developers: Nintendo EPD

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 8.5/10

Yes, it only comes in at Number 10. 

No I didn't like it as much as you.

Yes I do think the next one will be better. 

Good game in its own right though.


Number 9

Yakuza 0

Developers: Sega

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 8.5/10

A game where you can help a school-girl selling panties in one minute, then be heading off a crime boss and indulging in a fantastical fight scene the next. 

Yakuza 0 is batshit insane and all the better for it.

It plays out like a soap opera, every character over the top, drama played out in exaggerated fashion, animations and camera work are flamboyant and expressive. 
Nuance? Who needs nuance when Majima is on the scene doing a break-dance that also serves as a fighting style?

The main plot, whilst not the most dramatically absorbing tale ever told, is servicable enough to drag me in everytime I htought I was done. The fighting system is a tad clunky at times, with a weight to it that feels dated by fighting game standards, but yet the ability to switch styles mid-fight is something that allows you to change the flow and feel of a fight on the fly. 

I have yet to actually finish the game, I have just reached the penultimate chapter, yet the game is one my faviroutes of the year and I can safely say that Yakuza is a series I'm all in on now. 


Number 8


Developers: StudioMDHR

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 9/10

A part-platformer, part boss-rush game, Cuphead is one of the most visually distinct games in the medium ever made. It will sit up there with LimboOkami and Space Invaders when all is said and done. 

You see an image from the game, and the art on its own will tell you its Cuphead

But the game wouldn't be this good if it was all style and no substance, beneath the nostalgic animation lies a mechanically simple yet deceptively, old-school-level of difficult game. 
Each boss throws a new form of crazy at you and it allows the gameplay to really shine, with easy to learn shooting and jumping mechanics and hit-boxes so tight death-defying escapes are commonplace. 

The authenticity and care poured into this game is why it is so endearing. It is a game that sacrifices a compelling narrative for incredibly fun gameplay and, much like Doom 2016, Shadow of Mordor and Splatoon this game pulls it off perfectly.
I was hooked form start to finish and unlike GameManiac I can actually play it fairly well. 


Number 7

Horizon Zero Dawn

Developers: Guerilla Games

TheLimoMaker's Score: 9/10

Though the game's protagonist Aloy is nothing but a Mary-Sue, the characters, world and enemies around her were intriguing enough to force me to carry on. 

What most impressed me about this particular title, is the way it weaves its narrative into its world in a way few others have ever managed. 
From the first area, we, along with Aloy, think of the world as being one way, before the journey begins for real and thus the world opens up both literally (the rest of the map becomes available) and narrtively (Aloy's world is expanded) creating a thematic link between both gameplay, exploration and story that few other open world titles this year alone have managed. 

The real antagonist of the game is a fascinating example of how short-sighted humans as a species are, taking the "we created this mess" trope and spinning it into a villain that, at its heart, is literally not doing anything wrong; it is merely following its design. 
Each text log and corrupted audio file adds a little bit of backstory to a particular area of the map, providing context to both your adventure and Aloy's too. 

Oh and the robot animals are also a pretty interesting idea too I guess. 


Number 6

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Deevelopers: Ninja Theory

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 9/10

I cannot stress this games importance to me, spefically due to having to deal with mental health issues on a daily basis; though not to the extent of being diagnosed with scizophrania, Dissasociative Identity Disorder or psychosis... so nothing like Senua or the people she represents.
Yet, the fact that a studio is willing to take a topic like psychosis and use it as a tool to tell a genuinely moving and unnerving story, all the while treating its material and themes with respect is a game I can't help but admire and hope that, going forward, more studios take this approach to mental health. 

 The story in and of itself however, is very tightly woven with the combat being used to prop up the metaphor of Senua entering combat with herself time and again.
Is it a wonder that, the further into her psychosis she goes the further into hell she travels? 

There are certain things the game does wrong when representing psychosis but overall it is a wonderful gem of a game that explores dark and heavy themes yet allows for hope and happiness and acceptance to seep through its sombre text. 
To say I am awaiting a sequel is an understatement. 


Number 5

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Developers: Capcom

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 9.5/10

I did not, for one second, think that Resident Evil 7 would be as good as it was but my god, did I love this game.

The performances were all perfectly on-point, the Bakers were memorable and interesting villains, the boss fights were engaging, the Moulded were creepy and unsettlingly twitchy... This game was almost as good as it could possibly be. 

Something that was very interesting was the obvious Western influences on the game, mostly because, *gasp*, they brought in an American who *double gasp* can actually write because he's a screenwriter by trade. 
These influences are both reflected in the setting and the gameplay encounters, being so prevalent that each encounter with the Baker family is formed around a different set of horror movies. 

Jack Baker is set around old-school slasher movies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Evil Dead and Halloween.

Maugerite Baker features parallels to body horror and monster movies, from The Fly to The Thing.

Lucas Baker has more contemporary origins, with films like Saw. 

Eveline has a more supernatural presence so films like Poltergeist are the flavour of her encounters. 

This melding of inspirations into encounters allows each section of the game to feel unique and, despite two-thirds of the game being in the same location, the game never feels stale. 
The salt mines towards the end of the game are the weakest point in the game and yet, all the way through, I never once thought about putting my controller down. 

The title is a return to form for the series.
It is the scariest title in the series not because of the jump-scares but because of the mounting tension and fantastic atmosphere, crafted from subtle lighting changes and musical cues. 
It has some of the most satisfying combat in the series, a plethora of items and weapons to find and collect and the best overall presentation in the series. 

Resident Evil 7 is a series hallmark and will be remembered in the same vein as the original game and Resident Evil 4. 
It is Resident Evil for the new generation, it is one of the best horror games of the past few years and it is really that damn good. 


Number 4

Doki Doki Literature Club

Developers: Team Salvato

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 9.5/10

The only problem I have with Doki Doki is that it isn't long enough to fully explore the concepts it presents to us, making it feel like a sequel or spiritual-sequel could do a better job.

That is it though; other than that minor complaint Doki Doki is pretty damn okie dokie. 

Much in the same way that UndertalePony Island and Oxenfree played with audiences expectations, it adheres to the basic philosophy that players have a masochistic streak: we enjoy being shocked and enjoy having the rug pulled out from underneath us. 
Doki Doki has a very smart sense of self, with nihilistic and exhisentialist undertones that lend the game more weight than would be initially thought possible. 

This game is just stupendous through and through. 


Number 3

Nier: Automata

Developers: Platinum Games

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 9.5/10

The first half of this game is a sub-par experience. It features unexplained plot-holes and characters that appear to have their entire arcs cut out of the late game while others like 2B are so underdeveloped that she never truly reaches the heights that the game seemed to promise she would. 
It telegraphs plot-twists from a mile away and the entirety of Route B is such a bland, unfulfilling experience that it makes Route A poorer just by association. 

Then you hit Route C, the game flexes its creative muscles and then Yoko Taro and his team really make the game shine.
Narrative threads take turns that most won't see coming and it executes so many ideas at once I am astounded that the plot doesn't collapse under its own weight. 

The gameplay becomes melded with the meta-text of the game itself, sub-quests take on a fresh look and become more than just window dressing and the character work between 9S and A2 is something I can't help but admire.
Seriously 9S is probably the best written character in any game of this year.

The map might be obtuse, 2B might be a bland and surface-level character with little to no nuance and the recycling of 4th-Wall-breaking meta commentary on video games feels very lazy (seriously everyone raving about it in this game has obviously never played a Yoko Taro game before... Or the original Nier for that matter). 

But the magical soundtrack and the last half of the game is gold dust in your hands. Few games have moved my emotions as much as Automata and I can't help but admire it.

It is an imperfect yet near-perfect game, and the industry is better for it existing. 


Number 2

Night in the Woods

Developers: Infinite Fall 

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 10/10

I played this game while I was sick when it first released and due to my mucus-induced fever dream of a life at that time it didn't quite sit with me. In fact I barely remembered it.

What a waste that would have been, because after playing it a second time on my PS4, it has become one of my favourite games of the last ten years or so. 

Unlike most of the games on this list, Night in the Woods never breaks its overall tone; a black as pitch comedy that takes on the task of giving us a millenials outlook at education, small-town life, broken dreams, the movement of life and age, depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and other fun subjects. 
It does this without stereotyping "them there damned millenials" but instead delivers characters in their 20's all of whom are more than skin-deep archetypes.

Greg, Angus, Bea, Germ, Lori and Mae are all sharp, incredibly relatateable characters, with lives, fears, hopes and dreams all that feel as if they don't just exist within the vacuum of the game, instead making these creations feel as if they are real people, which the purposefully minimalist art-style exaggerates as it allows for the player to project people they know (friends, family and partners) onto those in the game.

With thematic depth that leaves a lasting impression, a set of characters all of whom are fleshed out and well-realised, while the repetitive nature of the narrative and gameplay structure left me feeling like I was visiting my own hometown. 

This game really hit me and when I had finished, I couldn't wait to play through it again. 


Number 1

Persona 5

Developers: P-Studio

TheLimoMaker's Rating: 10/10

My biggest takeaway from this game was that I could remove the combat sequences and dungeon areas from the game and just have a high-school, daily life game where you investigate conspiracies with your pals whilst also indulging in standard teenage activities for 200 hours or more... And this would still be my game of the year.

Fan-game ideas aside, Persona 5 is at times too flabby and bloated for its own good and certain palaces in the game aren't as memroable as others (looking at you Pyramid, Boat and Spaceship) but yet its all of the gameplay out of the combat sequences that really hold this game together... That and the character interactions. 

This enemble cast is a delightful array of people who all feel like standard outlines of tropey anime characters, but each of them is given a back story and narrative arc that is satisfying and fleshed out to the degree where I can give detailed renditions of their place in the world of Persona 5

To just add to the great world that is created here, is a memorable soundtrack (I'm a sucker for all things Jazz and Blues), great turn-based gameplay during combat anda style that is unique to this game and this game alone. 
Seriously, whoever decided upon the comic-book-esque art deserves a damned pay-rise and all the accolades in the world. 

Persona 5 isn't for everybody.
It is a time-sink and there were times when I was ready to just quit the game because of pacing issues in certain dungeons, but persisting led me to fantastic areas both visually and narratively. 
After completing it at the "114 hours" mark, I wanted the games ending to just lead into more game. I wanted, no, I needed more game.
I wanted to see this group of kids through the rest of their lives if possible.
I wanted to see them achieve all their dreams and see where they were in twenty to thirty to forty years. 

After over one-hundred hours, with all narrative threads wrapped up, I still wanted more Persona 5.

If that doesn't just tell you how much I love this game, I don't know what else will.

I can only hope any game this year makes me feel how Persona 5 did last year.

- Make Tea. Eat Crumpets. Play Games.

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About TheLimoMakerone of us since 6:59 AM on 03.25.2015

Hello there. I'm insane. From England.
I love what you've done to your carpets.

The horror genre means a great deal to me (mainly as they give me excellent ideas on how best to dispose of my ex-girlfriend) and I have expressed my love for the genre in countless blogs which must be especially grating for the other members of Destructoid to read but, eh, f*** it.

I mainly game on the Playstation 4 and you are more than welcome to connect with me on there if you want but, if you're new here, interact with me a bit first because, believe me, I'm an acquired taste.
Well, acquired taste... Wanker.
Tomato, tomato.

As for some of my favourite games, they range from Silent Hill 2, Okami, Deadly Premonition, To the Moon, Undertale, Bloodborne, Bioshock... I will play anything as I find joy in the strangest of places.

Anyhow, if you actually read this (which nobody does anymore), don't ever feel afraid to start a conversation with me in the comments or on discord. I will give anyone the time of day.
So long as you aren't French of course.

Also decided to add my Games of the Year from years past, just because I can't really place my thoughts elsewhere:

2005 - Shadow of the Colossus

2006 - Okami

2007 - BioShock

2008 - Call of Duty: World at War

2009 - Batman Arkham Asylum

2010 - Nier

2011 - Portal 2

2012 - Spec-Ops: The Line

2013 - The Last of Us

2014 - Valiant Hearts

2015 - Undertale

2016 - Oxenfree