2017 was another fantastic year for video games, and eliminating guinea worms. Get fucked guinea worms, and no don’t Google guinea worms. With no other pre-amble here we go!
Most feels: PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
Normally I give this award to a game with some kind of story that really touched me, however, this year is a little different. I’m giving this year’s award to PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS which has no story and is a multiplayer-only shooter. This game left me crying with laughter and shaking with adrenaline. The feeling of being one of the few left alive in a rapidly shrinking circle is the most exhilarated I have felt in a game in a long time.
Biggest disappointment: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I tend to give this award to a game that let me down from the word go. Instead this year I have a game that upon playing left me feeling that I had found a game that likely had the top spot on my list. If you’ve listened to any of our podcasts around the time of release, you probably know that this game is Breath of the Wild. I don’t think I can properly express my disappoint in the allotted time as I went from enthralled to disheartened with this game. The shrines feel like ideas from dungeons just thrown on the map, the inventory is poor, the weapon durability is annoying, the house is useless, and the DLC was squandered. This is the first Zelda since Spirit Tracks that I’m not inclined to finish.
Funniest: PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
You might start to sense a theme emerging with this list once I reveal the winner of this category. Rather than a fun-filled adventure game or well-written story based game, I’m giving this award to PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. Much the same as most feels, this game provided the biggest laughs of the year. So many moments that we accidentally created were so funny that I was left gasping for air as I was wracked with laughter.
Prettiest: Horizon Zero Dawn
A giant post-post-apocalyptic wasteland populated by robotic animals and dinosaurs. Horizon Zero Dawn is just a really pretty game. The environments, the people, the robotic dinosaurs, and robotic animals. The snow actually made me feel cold which was lovely while playing this in July.
Most addicting: PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
Continuing with the theme already established by this list PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is my pick this year for most addicting. Normally I’m the old man of the group dropping out at 10 pm on the dot to go to bed. So many times this year I was easily convinced that we’d play just one more round only to realize it was now close to midnight. While writing this it’s the one game I’m really jonesing to go play. Hrm…. Maybe Brady will be around.
Best early access game: Dead Cells
I actually had to uninstall Dead Cells to get myself to stop playing it and wait until it was finished. This game is a blend of castlevania and rogue like with some weapon elements like Risk of Rain. I can’t wait for this to hit 1.0.
Of Course, I’ll Rebuy that!: Spintires: Mudrunner
Driving trucks in the mud is very cathartic so this year I picked up Spintires: Mudrunner. The mud even muddier and they added more options for picking up logs. I might have also spent way too much to pick up a set of racing wheels for Kay and me, but what can I say, it’s still just relaxing.
Shame: Gundam Breakers 3: Break Edition
I like Gundam, and I like models, but I don’t like having plastic models around. Gundam Breakers 3: Break Edition helped fill that hole in my life without me having to figure out what to do with a lot of plastic kits. That said I’ve played a lot of what is pretty much a dynasty warriors game, and I plan to buy the new one when it comes stateside in 2018.
That Beat Tho’: NieR:Automata
NieR: Automata’s music was not only the best I heard all year, but it’s also one of the few game soundtracks I’ve considered buying. The odd thing is the style of the music isn’t something I really enjoy that much, but I felt like it fit the game so well, and just hearing it evokes memories of that game.
And now onto the list……..
10. Zelda: Breath of the Wild
While not a terrible game, this game could have been fantastic. Instead, it’s tripped up by a poorly implemented inventory and durability system, lackluster dungeons, poor writing, spotty storytelling, and failing to make the player feel rewarded. This game makes the last place on my top ten since I do find parts of it very good, but it isn’t consistent enough to be higher.
9. Destiny 2
I had a lot of fun in the time I’ve spent with Destiny 2, and I plan to play it more in 2018. I don’t have any major complaints about Destiny 2, but the plot was kinda bland, and the characters flat. Really this felt like a very polished shooter with not enough to it in terms of content or story.
8. Golf Story
Golf Story was often my relax at night and play something game. I’d play a bit before bed and generally enjoyed it. My only complaint is that the one mechanic, golf, while fun isn’t something I felt like I could mainline for hours at a time. I enjoyed the humor and the general weirdness of this game. I’d love to see a baseball or a football story when you just interact with the world by playing a sport.
After playing Tacoma I can’t help but say it felt like a short story by Philip K. Dick. The plot is short and to the point and doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. The mechanic of playing out recorded video sequences is fun and provides enough interaction to not feel like I’m just watching a video but it’s lite enough not to get in the way of the story. All the performances felt genuine and not force, with well-written dialogue. I think games like this tend to be overlooked since they just make it seem so easy.
6.Steam World Dig 2
Another year and another Metroid-vania game makes it on my list. I had skipped the first Steam World Dig game, but I’m very glad I picked up the second on the Switch. This was often my game of choice while watching football or waiting for paint to dry in my shop. It’s deep enough that you can play it for a hours, but easily works as a pickup and play due to it’s almost run based setup.
5. Horizon Zero Dawn
The world reminds me of that of the Silo series, and the combat made me think of Bloodborne. Horizon is an excellent game, but it’s not without flaws. The inventory management is poor and the trading system is annoying. Given the end of this game, I’m sure sequels will be along to fix my gripes about the first game. Still, I had a good deal of fun with this game and I ended up beating most if not all of the side quests. Much to my surprise, a good deal of them were actually well written and interesting, not something you would expect from an open world game.
Wow did this one come out of left field. An action combat game with Anime inspired designs? Actually, it’s very well written, the combat is fun, and the upgrade system is neat. This game in a year without PubG might have won my Feels award for the poignant moments. Even after all my time, I’m still considering going back and getting that last ending, and then deleting my save.
What if you take Alien the movie, and System Shock rolled them up into one game. You’d pretty much have Prey on your hands. Prey has no right to be as good as it is. The weapons feel good, the powers and upgrades are useful, and the writing, even in the side quests, is great. The Fatal Fortress quest isn’t quite Bloody Baron level, but it’s much more than I expected. This game would have been my number one if they had stuck the landing. Sadly the end of this game leaves something to be desired.
2. Mario Odyssey
As noted several times, this comes close to being my favorite Mario game of all time. The execution of this game is practically flawless, collecting most moons is extremely gratifying. I do wish the reward for 500 moons was better, but in the end, what can you do. Before release, I had written the whole thing off as a gimmick Mario game given the hat capture mechanic. Not only does this feel well integrated into the game and not tacked on, but the locomotion options from the hat will be missed in future games.
1. PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
I had no higher highs this year than in PubG. The adrenaline, the laughs, the hours spent playing with the Bottled Fushcia crew. PubG is far from perfect, in fact, it’s quite flawed, but I love it in some ways due to the flaws and not despite them. Even when we would just collect gear and then immediately die I never felt frustrated or discouraged. In some part it’s like due to the people I played with, but this game just kept us all coming back again and again. I don’t feel like a game has ever given me that feeling.