What’s this?! Me actually putting an article on the Game Reviews blog?! Crazy, I know! Seriously, I wish I had more time for this side of my life, but hey-ho. That doesn’t mean I can’t write a Top 10 though! … and what a weird Top 10 it is, due to being unemployed for a good portion of the middle of the year, I missed out on some key games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon: Zero Dawn, and while I hope to play both during the middle-of-the-year lull next year, it’s too late for this list… So let’s have a look at what’s left!
I love the Warriors games, from Dynasty Warriors onwards, I very rarely don’t enjoy my time with them. Fire Emblem Warriors is great in that it takes the familiar system and throws in a couple of RPG-like systems, including leveling up mid-battle, being able to assign people to do tasks in the map screen, and even Fire Emblem’s “if someone dies, they’re gone” system (although the character is still around in cutscenes…) It’s also nice to have a Warrior game with a full English voice cast again… This got on the list above Warriors All-Stars due to have more content and not getting me to replay the same missions over and over again…
Gundam Versus was a nice breath of fresh air to my PS4 after having the previous two Gundam VS. games on the PS3 entirely in Japanese. The graphics are nice, the roster (although missing a few key Gundam franchises) is large and unlike Full Boost the later challenge modes are actually challenging. There is a lot to unlock as well, which is always fun. The online is hit and miss depending on who you get matched with, but overall it’s a fun game to just stick on for an hour here and there, when you’re in the mood.
Dun Dun Dun!!! The ultimate evil is on my list?! Yes, because it deserved the criticism thrown at it at the start for the pay-to-win loot boxes, but by the time it officially released (a.k.a. when I brought it) that system had been removed, and what I was left with was a fun single player campaign and a really fun online shooter, once again lacking the 12 year old swear-fest that a lot of other online shooters have (that leads me to never play them). You don’t have to buy loot boxes with the in game currency either, just level up by playing and use your “crafting parts” to choose which cards to use and level up. It really is fun, and has all three eras of Star Wars perfectly recreated in stunning graphics. The only reason it’s so low down now is because although able to be done without loot boxes, the card system is completely unnecessary, a simple skill tree would be far more efficient… Still, really fun, and thankfully less scummy thanks to the efforts of the online community.
I never got round to Tekken 7, and otherwise this was a lean year for Fighting games, after a stellar run the past few. Injustice 2 is a fun game, it’s got a good story mode and a fun offline experience with ever-changing ladders to fight your way up, and sadly loot boxes to open in the hopes to level up your favourite character… In fact, now I think about it this should probably be under Battlefront 2 for having a more obnoxious system due to having a forced random factor to a character level up system… although they don’t apply if you fight online, which is a bigger benefit, I suppose… Anyway! A fluid fighter and fun, especially the pre-match dialogue, of which there are MANY.
While I normally don’t like JRPGs, or slice of life sims either for that matter, Persona 5’s visual style and strong characters made it irresistible. It may takes weeks, or even months, but it’s well worth sitting through this mammoth game because the stories about friendship, growing up and generally about today’s society as a whole are well worth it in the end. The turn-based system is easy to get the hang of if you really haven’t played a JRPG in your life, and the collectable Persona system is still very addictive. Great soundtrack too!
I’ve played every Resident Evil since the original back in the mid-90s and this game is the closest a Resi entry has felt to the original PS1 trilogy era, despite the fact that it shifts the perspective to first person. One enclosed area, getting bigger as you find more keys to unlock doors, and constant sense that you could be attacked out of no-where at any point. Sure the end quarter of the game is a bit of a shoot-fest, but there was a point when I headed back to the main house from an off-shoot shack to finally unlock a couple of doors that it hit me how much this truly felt like a new addition to the original Resident Evil series. Properly fun horror game.
Speaking of “I’ve played every – since the original” franchises, although in this case I’m only referring to the 2D games, it’s Sonic Mania! Yes, after so many awful 3D platformers and rebrands, Sonic fans from the early 90s were rewarded with a game that truly feels like it was an unmade sequel from several decades ago. The gameplay is as fluid as ever, the stages (both old and new) are fun and have great soundtracks… It’s hard to think of a game that was more pure fun than this! I properly felt like a kid again.
Would you believe it, they actually did it! Ubisoft managed to take time and craft a new feeling Assassin’s Creed game! On top of that, it’s really good too! A massive and varied open world, all looking gorgeous, a fun (if not a little pointless) RPG-style loot and leveling system, and a good story that doesn’t rely too much on the current day bollocks (though why they still insisted on putting some of that in I don’t know…) The combat is also good and now takes skill rather than one-button press countering, which took some time to get used to, but was fun once mastered. Another game series I’ve played since the first entry, I was thrilled to have it feel fresh again.
Sadly during my zero-money phase of the year I was unable to buy a Switch and therefore missed out on Zelda and other potentially great games on the system until I brought one in late October alongside a copy of this bad boy! Leave it to a Mario game to remind you how to have pure fun playing again. Each unique Kingdom is a pleasure to explore, and after the story ends there are some properly difficult Moon challenges (that’s a weird sentence). There were times when I just wanted to do nothing else but pick the controller back up and play it again, pick a Kingdom and mess around until I found a new Moon or two. Just pure fun, and if you’re not into pro-wrestling, then it’s my recommendation as game of the year!
Although my Wrestling Game Rundown has slowed down to a crawl, I would like to point out that if/when the time comes and we reach Fire Pro-Wrestling Returns on the PS2 you’ll hear me gushing about how I played it for months, and then for a month or two a year for years afterwards. Fast forward to now and I see a new Fire Pro-Wrestling game announced for the PC via Steam, allowing for Edits to be shared between everyone easily! Ho-ly crap. So it gets released, the graphics are nice and chunky and the gameplay is still perfect, but then they kept adding new things with updates, more people started making great edits, a Mod Suite kept getting more and more amazing, and before you knew it my play time on the game passed 150 hours. The game was released in July…. over 150 hours. I can’t see myself slowing down too much in 2018 either! So my game of 2017 is one that there is every chance you’d never have heard of and will probably never play, but that my friend is what we call different interests.
See you next year, where maybe, just MAYBE, I’ll manage to post blogs on this site reaching the double digits!