My guess is good (for the most part)
Oh 2017. You’re the gift that kept on giving all damn year. From January to December, we spent past 365 days playing some of the greatest games ever created. Breath of the Wild, Persona 5, Cuphead, and, most significant of all, Troll and I, took the medium to new heights. The rest of the world may have been falling apart last year, but we could always use our favorite form of escapism to shut ourselves off from all that crap and wallow in the safe havens of imaginative digital landscapes.
At the beginning of last year, we asked our editors to name their most anticipated game of 2017. Now that it’s over, let’s look back and see just how well those games turned out.
Jordan Devore: Yooka-Laylee
I had exceedingly high hopes for Yooka-Laylee and it fell short. Way, way short.
On paper, Playtonic Games had a lot of the right ideas to pull off a memorable 3D platform adventure in that classic Rare style, but in execution, the project didn’t come together how I expected. Yooka-Laylee wasn’t too dated or somehow a sign that this type of game doesn’t work anymore as some players have suggested. It was just… uneven. There were high points that brought back memories of playing Banjo-Kazooie for the first time in 1998, and I think the protagonists and a few other characters deserve another (hopefully much more polished and better realized) game, but the lows sure added up.
I’m not too bummed, though. We also got A Hat in Time and Super Mario Odyssey this year.
Peter Glagowski: STRAFE
I was pretty excited to see the return of old-school styled FPS games with STRAFE, but the reality was something much different. Though the marketing was clearly leaning too much on nostalgia, STRAFE was actually a first-person Spelunky and while I was initially disappointed at the roguelike elements, I came to love STRAFE for all the same reasons people return to the indie cave diving simulator.
The release version may have been rough around the edges, but developer Pixel Titans stuck to their guns and continued to update the game over the year until the eventual release of the Millennium Edition, which made huge changes to AI, enemy distribution, and sound effects. It basically fixed all of the complaints people had.
So, yeah, I felt pretty good about it. Hell, I gave the “shitty” version an 8.5, so I liked it enough.
Chris Carter: Nioh
Traditionally, I’m mostly excited to see what From Software is offering each year, but they’re keeping 2018 close to the chest. Souls seems to be done for now, but will we get a Bloodborne 2? Or perhaps they’re pivoting away and putting most of their efforts into Armored Core, or something new entirely? It’s up in the air at this point, but Nioh really delivered for me.
It delivered so hard in fact that it was my 2017 personal Game of the Year. It didn’t get nearly as many votes as Mario, Zelda, Persona, or NieR at Destructoid as a whole — but since all of those are existing franchises, I feel pretty good about Nioh coming out of the gate swinging and making its mark on the industry.
CJ Andriessen: That then-untitled new Super Mario game
When I submitted my entry for last year’s most wanted games, this is all I had to go off of:
And yet, that was all I needed. Call me a fanboy if you want, but 15 seconds of new Mario gaming footage is enough to get me excited for a new Mario game. Who would have known that game would turn out to be Super Mario Odyssey, one of the most charming platformers Nintendo has ever created? Sure, it went way overboard on the moon count, but who the hell cares when you get to control a frickin’ t-rex.
Josh Tolentino: Ace Combat 7
The game didn’t come out! Nor did my other mentions, the planned Battletech or Mechwarrior games (though as it turns out, those are two different games rather than one, as I originally thought).
Thankfully, though, some of my other runners-up like NieR: Automata and Danganronpa V3 turned out great. One of them was even the actual best game of the year! Even For Honor was alright, though sucky progression and the emphasis on competitive online play meant that I never really gave it a long look past the beta stage.
Valkyria Revolution was more of a damp squib. While I myself liked it more than most of the critics did, it was an unabashed mess, and barely felt like a Valkyria title (rather, I’d bet all my Yen that it wasn’t originally a Valkyria title, and was originally a different, original JRPG that had the connections drawn in after the pitching stage to leverage the strong brand). If nothing else, at least now people will quit pooping on Valkyria Chronicles 2 for being the “worst” Valkyria game.
Small blessings, folks.
Mike Sounders: Super Robot Wars V
This went about exactly as I wanted and then some.
I did just sing praises for this game in my GOTY article so I’m not sure what else to say here. Maybe I’ll just spend it gushing over some of the stuff the game did because most of you nerds will glance over it since no one reads the weeb stuff. Watching Shinji actually grow to be somewhat normal and likable, and then watching the game stack the deck to change the ending of 2.0 and thus preventing 3.0 was amazing. Prime Minister Full Frontal and a playable Neo Zeong weren’t a thing I was expecting, yet getting that secret by mistake for the final boss was amazing. Also, can I just say Might Gaine is hype as hell and having it in X next year is a huge selling point after how great every moment of it in V, was?
I need to go replay this game like right now. I really feel like going for the platinum trophy for once.
Darren Nakamura: Yooka-Laylee
Well, this is embarrassing.
It’s not that the game didn’t meet my expectations. It’s that I spent my entry on last year’s most anticipated list talking about how I was going to follow this one through. I backed it on Kickstarter, and I was excited to play it, and I was definitely going to do that, for real this time.
In my defense, I wanted to play this on the Switch, but that version only released last month. Maybe I will get to it soon. Maybe.
Jonathan Holmes: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment
I’m pleased to report that Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment actually managed to meet, then exceed, my high expectations. It was exactly as great as I thought it was going to be until I discovered there was a cheat that makes everyone talk like Jar Jar Binks. Then it because immaculate.
I also mentioned 2064: Read Only Memories, a game I did some voice acting for. I was anxiously anticipating my performance, worried that I’d sound like crap, but for the most part, I think I did… OK? Very few people recognized my voice, which is a good sign, and a lot of people who made Lets Plays for the game immediately started imitating my vocal styling for Fro Yo Guy, which I took as a huge compliment.
Nick Valdez: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
Sometimes your heroes let you down.
Patrick Hancock: Sonic Mania and Forces
Sometimes your heroes don’t let you down! Sonic Mania turned out completely amazing. I love every single pixel (and low-poly 3D model) that went into making this game. Taking a beloved franchise and handing it over to the people who belove it worked out amazingly and I hope that this trend continues for the Sonic franchise. I want to play a sequel to Mania with even more originality and less “playing it safe.” Go bonkers!
As for Forces, well, one out of two ain’t bad! I actually still haven’t played Forces, but it looks…okay? I doubt I’d be as critical as some of the harshest critics of the game, but it definitely isn’t as good as it should be. A lot of people hate it, and they’re probably very well justified with that opinion. I’ll get it eventually, on sale, and likely enjoy my time with it, but I’ll still be disappointed by the end, I’m sure.
Pixie The Fairy: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Well, I went in anticipating The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and it lived up to my expectations, meaning it devoured about two months of gaming. I beat it in two and a half weeks and couldn’t stay away for weeks after.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood was another. FFXIV as a whole dominated my playtime, but Stormblood started rough and didn’t really find its narrative groove til about two thirds into the story. As with Heavensward, though, it’s the post-game stuff where Stormblood really shines.
Metroid: Samus Returns came out of nowhere at E3 and ended up being better than I expected. It’s on record how negatively I feel about Metroid: Other M and Mercury Steam’s Castlevania games, but Samus Returns showed me lessons were learned and pride was swallowed to bring the series back to its roots. Now I don’t have to drown those puppies over it.
A bit of a mixed bag but overall not a bad year for the games we wanted the most. Here’s to hoping all of our picks for 2018’s most anticipated games come up aces.