By Sam Coles:
2017 has been tough for the gaming industry with a certain publisher screwing up *cough* *cough* EA, with micro transactions and shutting down Visceral Games. However we have had a lot of fantastic games and most of them were singleplayer so we can put the whole nonsense of them dying to sleep. I want to cover my favourite games of 2017 in no particular order, remember I will be cover games I have reviewed on my blog and 365bristol.com so if a game doesn’t turn up here I either didn’t review it or I didn’t like it. Okay? Good let’s get into it.
I’m lumping these games together because in terms of gameplay because they are essentially the same game. The only experience of Yakuza I had before these games was with the 4th instalment on the PS3 which I did not get on with maybe it’s because I jumped into the wrong game in the series. So I thought I would give the series another go and what a better way to start with the prequel and a remake of the first game and it has now become my new favourite series on the PlayStation.
Yakuza 0 and Kiwami have gripping stories set in the Japanese criminal underworld with themes of violence, however the games can betray their own series nature by being very goofy similar to what you would see in Metal Gear Solid but dialled up to 11. Kazma and Goro have become two of my new favourite video game characters with Kazma’s noble presences to absolute bonkers nature of Goro, they’re both fleshed out characters with interesting back stories. It also helps that the gameplay is fun too, where you can smash gangster’s teeth in with a bicycle.
Resident Evil 7
Despite my doubts of the game before it came out because I thought it was completely unoriginal being a first person horror game, I was totally surprised with this game being an genuinely tense horror game bringing Resident Evil back into the spot light.
The game goes for a first person perspective, but unlike most horror it doesn’t make you defenceless as it gives you a fire arm which despite what many would think this still makes the game scary as you have very little ammo. The setting of the Deep South with a crazy redneck family infected with a virus was very unique, instead them being zombies or horrible monsters, they were just normal people that could still think for themselves for the most part. The story was well written because Capcom got someone else to write it, it comes from the writer of Spec Ops The Line and Fear, which could explain the whole little girl thing throughout the game.
It’s a fantastic game and you should pick it up if you haven’t already, I would recommend the Gold Edition.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Cuphead, it’s a beautiful game with a completely unique art style aping cartoons from the 1930’s it is the first thing you’ll notice about this game and it will age well with the years to come.
The art style is not the only thing that makes this game good, the gameplay is fantastic with challenging boss battles and platforming which got the gaming media in a tiss you know people who were not good at the game and wanted a skip boss button which is absurd. All the bosses are unique with beautiful animation; I can see why this game took 7 years to make with the amount of detail that is crammed into this game.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
This was a total surprise when Bethesda announced this game at E3 this and for them to say it was also coming out this was another surprise, as Wolfenstein The New Order was my favourite game from 2014 with its well written plot and old school shooting gameplay.
Wolfenstein II takes the foundation of The New Order and polishes it up nicely with a new plot which is engaging or though completely ridiculous half way through and you know what I’m talking about if you’ve played it. The gameplay was improved as the gameplay in The New Order was a bit stiff and sluggish in parts, but in this game movement speed is fast and combat feels great as you see Nazi’s exploded into meaty chunks as you gun them down with automatic shotguns.
Horizon Zero Dawn
This was a game that I was not particularly excited about when it got announced last year, as I just rolled my eyes at another open world game as I’m fed up with them. However when Sony sent me a review code and I booted up the game I was immediately engaged with the beautiful graphics, amazing world and a loveable main character in the form of Aloy.
From the same developers of the Killzone series, this is the first new IP they have made as all they have made before this since 2005 were Killzone games. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where technology failed and turned on mankind, so the human race have regressed back to their primal routes with tribes and primitive weapons like spears and bows. The gameplay is a great mix of open world exploration, combat and crafting, yes a game with crafting in it that didn’t make me want to tear my hair out as the process is quick and smooth.
Here is a game that came out of nowhere; the Sonic franchise has been ranging in quality from nuclear waste to meh. However Sega decided to give the keys to a set of fans who knew what they were doing and we got one of the best games in the series since Sonic Colours.
Sonic Mania purposely goes for an art style of a Mega Drive game, although adds subtle touches that a Mega Drive could not have like new and smooth animation. Gameplay is excellent with fast movement and precise platform with old stages from the classic games and new ones from the developers. The music is fantastic too! What can I say about the music, it is absolutely beautiful; Tee Lopes has done a fantastic job of updating the music coupled with his own tracks for the new stages.
Hand of Fate 2
This was an indie game that I didn’t really know about but after seeing footage of the game I had to get in contact with the dev to review it on my blog, and I was surprised with the unique premise of the game.
Think of this game as a mix of Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons and combat from the Batman Arkham series
What is presented is fantastic, you start off picking an adventure on the board then you’re introduced to the dealer, what he will then do is deal you some cards for a certain scenario which can either aid you or affect you negatively. What I like about this game is that it keeps you guessing and makes you feel vulnerable, as the cards dealt to you (no pun intended) aren’t always good. The combat is serviceable nothing we haven’t seen before but it works and is very tight and responsive to play.
They you have it those are some of my favourite games of 2017, and I must say we have had a lot of unique experiences throughout the year and are reasons to own and Xbox One or PS4 (I don’t have a Switch yet). If you haven’t already go out and give these games a go.