To say that 2017 has been a year of contrasts would be an understatement. It’s been one of the best years of my personal life and has emerged as one of the best gaming years in recent memory. But it’s also been a pretty crap year in the world as a whole otherwise, which has made the escapism of games & pop culture as a whole seem as vital as ever. Not only games, but movies, TV and comic books have all kept my mind occupied from constantly thinking about the negativity in the world at large.
I’ve kept a running tally of the games I play every year for a significant amount of time, and even make sure to note if I actually finish them or not. This year I actually played fewer games than in 2016. But what I “lacked” in quantity I MORE than made up in the quality of the experiences I had with them. I also found what so many people want: the ur game. The game to end all games. The one title that you can keep coming back to for months on end that continues to entertain and surprise me every time I play. But we’ll get to that later this week. First, I’d like to highlight some games I was disappointed with, good but not great and a few I wish I spent more time with.
There’s a lot that I liked about the game: the art style, the music, the core gameplay mechanics. All of it however was put into what is essential a “run” game that never felt as satisfying as some other titles I played this year (Dead Cells). I spent a few hours with this game, and honestly that was enough to know I’d love to see everything from this game put into a standard Metrodvania style game with a distinct level design and campaign.
Mass Effect Andromeda
The original trilogy was my favorite series from the last generation of consoles. I even loved the “horrible” ending of the last game that everyone lost their minds over. I should have been concerned. But my fanboy heart held out hope that EA couldn’t f*** up the franchise they had spent an entire generation cultivating. But hoo boy was I wrong on that one. It’s not that the game is completely bad per se, but it lacked the heart and emotional connections I felt with all the characters on the Normandy(s) that my Shepard called friends. And in constantly changing the gameplay, they pretty much abandoned the KOTOR roots of the ME series completely, creating what amounted to another 3rd person shooter with a few “powers” sprinkled in.
And let’s not even talk about what a technical mess the game was at launch, you can just watch it for yourself above.
I liked the hour or so I played of the game way back in April, but unfortunately it came out shortly before I decided to buy PUBG and thus it was dropped like a bad habit for an extended period of time. The game looked gorgeous, played really well and had an interesting story but it was definitely a case of right game at the wrong time. I’m hoping to give it a second shot and try and finish what I started.
Mario + Rabbids
On paper, this game should not have worked AT ALL, a tactical strategy game with Mario characters merged with the absurdity of the Rabbids? In the end though, it all came together in a wonderful way. The core strategy gameplay was great, and resulted in some incredible combos that when executed correctly resulted in some very satisfying moments. The regret I have is that I spent a majority of my time with this over a long weekend, nearly completing the game but leaving the last half of the final world and thus the game unfinished. I want to finish this one over the holidays for sure.
This one’s tricky, because I played quite a lot of this game in a few short bursts, and got pretty far in the game (almost finished the 2nd island) but then dropped it just as quickly. I had been waiting SO long for this game, after the briefest of glimpses in a sizzle reel from an E3 years ago now. It’s a game that frustrates me and yet I couldn’t wait to jump back into a level. I’m sure the single player is fine, but playing this with a friend is the only real way to enjoy this game to its fullest. Now to find someone to help me finish it up…
There seems to be a tendency for a REALLY good game to drop in late November/early December that kind of steals the show. Gorogoa is that game this year. Short enough to finish in a single sitting, this puzzler has some awesome design choices and a beautiful hand drawn aesthetic resulting from the creator learning how to animate himself. It’s also a surprising moving story told entirely without dialogue or text, but conveyed through imagery. Play this game everyone, you won’t be disappointed.
What Remains of Edith Finch
Yet another game I didn’t play until this last month, I heard mixed feedback on this one throughout the year, but still wanted to play it based on the positive things I heard. It’s a surprising moving narrative that does a lot of interesting things. It also has one of the most interesting gameplay sequences I’ve had in a long time that benefited from my countless hours learning the drums in Rock Band.
And that’s all for today folks, come back tomorrow for my further reflections on the gaming year of 2017 as a whole.