Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Best Games I Played in 2017


Hey hey folks. Dave here. The amount of quality games released in 2017 was staggering. I’m lucky in a way that I didn’t have the time or money to play them all. I got to play a lot more games I wanted to than last year, but there is so much I missed out on. I don’t have a Switch so I wasn’t able to enjoy Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. I have no PS4 so I wasn’t able to play Horizon: Zero Dawn or Persona 5. I bought Nier: Automata in the Steam Christmas sale, so I look forward to playing that this year, and I will definitely pick up Nioh at some point. As usual, most of what I played in 2017 were indie titles, and big name games from previous years. Yup, this video is going to be like the one I made last year. This is not a list of the best games I played released in 2017. This is a list of the best games I played in 2017. Most of the games on this list are from 2017... and 2016, there are a couple from 2015, and a couple even before that. Perhaps you’ll find a game you missed out on. Perhaps you’ll be reminded to visit an old favourite. Perhaps you’re just interested in what I loved playing this year. It’s quite the list.

Now this year I’ve done things a little differently. I’ve picked 5 games I made impressions videos on and I’ve picked 5 games I made critique videos on for a grand total of 10 games. I wanted a mix of games I thought were great even though I didn’t play through them along with the best games I played till I reached the end credits. Links to all these games and my videos on them are in the description. Like last year the following list is in alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Broforce (2015)

This is partly on my list due to the fun I had making my impressions video, but playing a couple of hours with my friend Robbie online over Discord cemented its spot. Exploding terrain, giant piloted mechs, and an ever increasing amount of enemy resistence stop the game from ever becoming dull. That you keep unlocking new bros adds to the over the top excitement and bombast that is suffused into every level. I’d highly recommend this as a couch multiplayer game. It’s goofy run and gun fun.

Firewatch (2016)

Narrative focused games in a first person perspective often try and sell themselves on the story being told, as well as the beauty of the landscape the player is wandering through. Dear Esther was the last of these games to really deliver on the visuals for me, at least until Firewatch. Firewatch’s Wyoming wilderness is a joy to traverse. While the solitude of the forest is undercut by obnoxious campers, your radio partner Delilah, and the larger mystery of what is happening over the course of the game, it’s hiking through nature with your map and compass where Firewatch’s strengths really showcase themselves.

Hollow Knight (2017)

The way Hollow Knight evokes a sombre and tense mood through its exploration and combat mechanics, despite the cute character design is charming. This is one of those games where I feel the time I spent with it just scratched the surface of what the game has to offer. I’m looking forward to returning to it in 2018 to see how expansive the world is and how the level layouts and the enemies that inhabit them keep the game fresh up until its conclusion. This is the best platformer I played in 2017.

King's Quest (2016)

I think my video on King’s Quest is the best critique I’ve ever written, or at least the closest in execution to what I had in mind when I started writing it. If the game weren’t excellent in itself, I don’t think I would have been able to create such a video. King’s Quest walks a fine line in relying on the nostalgia of the original beloved adventure game series while trying to move beyond. The games are linked together in a stronger way than they once were and the new characterisation of Graham, Mannanan, and others leaves a personal stamp on the series from the developers of this new episodic adventure game. Nostalgia plays a role, but that doesn’t negate this being the best adventure game I played in 2017.

Nex Machina (2017)

I hope you like voxels. In my impressions video, I mention the word “smooth” many times. Nex Machina is the smoothest game I played in 2017. The twin stick shooter is one of those genres where most games don’t deviate too much from the established formula. Nex Machina is no different, instead looking to sand off the rough edges, polishing and refining until everything sparkles. Nex Machina dedicates itself to intense gameplay that is just varied enough in short stage bursts to keep the player vigilent while being delighted with the visual and audio design. As you’re destroying robots and saving humans, it feels like a spiritual successor to Robotron 2084, the game that started it all.

Nier (2010)

Those who have seen my Nier video might be surprised I’m listing it among the best games I played in 2017. I did say Nier is a great video game, but that was alongside saying it is also a terrible video game. It’s the spectacle, characters, and themes that make Nier favourable. Distancing myself from the frustrations of the combat has done a lot to brighten my thoughts of everything else. Most importantly, it’s a game that I still think about all this time after playing. More often than not, a game is doing something right if it sticks with you.

Pillars of Eternity (2015)

I’m in the middle of playing Pillars for a critique at the moment. The highest compliment I can give it is that at the end of each gaming session, I want to keep playing. Its world and its characters are shrouded in mystery and intrigue, only doling out snippets of backstory as you play, and because of this, the world feels whole. Like everyone would still be going about their business if you weren’t there, but as you are here and have a pivotal role to play, the world and its characters start revealing history and circumstance to you the longer you inhabit it. Hopefully by the end, I have a grasp on what it’s all about. If this were a film, I could just rewatch it to deepen my understanding. A 40 hour RPG is another case entirely.

Rakuen (2017)

I chose not to play through the rest of Rakuen due to speculation that the ending would be at the least bittersweet, and at the most, emotionally devastating. Despite that, the game is beautiful in its whimsical character portraits, endearing creature design, and delightful music. I also love how the first dungeon I found myself in is about helping the characters who live there rather than looting the place and destroying everything in my path. One day I’ll work myself up to playing the rest.

The Witcher (2007)

The Witcher is a game where the positives outweigh the negatives. I put up with consistent crashing and framerate issues to play through this 10 year old game. I love the world, I love the characters, I love the consequences of the choices you make as a player, and I love the ending revelations of the story. I love how the final cutscene sets up another chapter for Geralt. Almost as if the consequnces of your choices in the game arn’t just confined to the game itself. Hopefully I can get around to playing The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings in 2018.

The Witness (2016)

What makes The Witness different from the rest of this list, is it’s a game where I’m more excited about the prospect of future playthroughs than I am about my first. Like most puzzle games, I had to rely on a walkthrough extensively to get through it, but when it was over and I was putting together my video, I realised that getting to the end wasn’t the point of the game. I’m now excited to return sometime in the future, enjoying the puzzles for their own sake rather than as a means to complete yet another video game. An appreciation for the architecture, how the puzzles are put together, and the prospect that the island might reveal more to me a second time through accompanies this realisation. It’s fitting that this is the final game on the list as it might have been my favourite that I played in 2017.


And that was my 2017 in video games. Now it’s your turn. Please tell me the games you loved playing the most in the comments. They don’t have to be from 2017, but if you limited your pick to that year, you’d have more than enough to choose from. I look forward to trying some of the games I missed in 2017 this year along with many other great gaming experiences, and I look forward to making another one of these videos when 2019 rolls around. Have a terrific 2018 everyone. Let’s make this year the best it can be, and I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

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