Armchair Adventurers everyone is doing a list, checking it twice and getting ready to start a new year! With the Weekend Review skipping a week I thought I'd pop in here and give a short run down of some of my must play games of 2017. Those of you that have listened to the Weekend Review know that I have played a lot of games this year, but some of them haven't been from this year. On top of that some of them are more indie titles that might have slipped past the radar of some. So as you start 2018, and are wondering what games to try your hand at take a look at what I have to offer you.
9. Endless Space 2:
This has been the year of the strategy game for me. With the release of Endless Space 2 it's just one more game that has that "just one more turn" mentality that really gets me. It's at the bottom of my list for one reason. I haven't played it hardly at all. With games like Stellaris, and Total War: Warhammer currently eating away my strategy hours Endless Space 2 has hit the backburner for a short while. The opening cinematic for each species is truly beautiful however, enough to draw me in and make me want to sit down to explore what each of them has to offer. I've played enough of the other "Endless" series to know that if you love strategy games like I do you're in for a treat.
In a year with Resident Evil 7, it feels like the horror genre in video games is making a bit of a comeback. Darkwood is no different. It combines survival mechanics in a non burdensome way along with a feeling of isolation and overall creepiness. You play as a man trapped in a forest. The game gives no clues as to how you got there, it gives vague hints as to what happened to the world outside of the forest but other than that you have to puzzle out what the game has to offer. Nighttime is deadly, the shadows come alive and rip you apart, when combined with a stamina mechanic has more than once forced me to step away from the controller for a moment to say "Hooooooly shit that was intense." Daytime is no slouch either. Rabid dogs, creepy cultists, and monsters alike plague the world from a top down perspective which drive you as the player to want to upgrade your safe house, and workbenches all the more. If you get this game, play it with a controller as I found keyboard and mouse are a clunky set up at the best.
Holy crap this game took everyone by storm this year. It was a slow burn for me, I would play a round here and there, but it wasn't until Andrew and Travis and I started doing squad matches that the game really became something unique. When I first tried it, it was such an awesome experience. I knew what the premise of the game was and it drew me in, but since I am relatively new to the PC as a gaming platform, my skills are lackluster at best when it comes to X-person shooters. It's still a blast though, the game is nothing short of an adrenaline pump as you make your way across Murder Island trying to kill off the other denizens of it. The game itself is crafted in such a way as to make this loop really repeatable.
Anyone that's listened to our AP's know that I am a sucker for Cthulhu mythos. The Shrouded Isle popped onto the scene during the summer months and I gave it a try and I adore this game. It's a management game where you play as the cult leader of a small village that sacrifices people to satisfy the old gods, and to help them stir from their 500 year slumber to reign darkness and terror upon the world. The game takes place over three years, but it's broken down into seasons. You have to select members from the five houses to serve as your "dark inquisition" to keep the population of the village zealous and stupid. During the course of doing so you find out flaws of these individuals. Too inquisitive? At the end of that season they are sacrificed to the old gods. It's a very entertaining game that can be played in a couple of hours, and encourages the player to go through time and time again.
5. Okami HD:
I loved Okami when it was released the first time around. The fact that it's been upscaled and made available as a PC port makes it even better. It looks amazing, plays just like it used to, and I'm taking my time just absorbing the absolutely gorgeous artwork the game has to offer.
I really don't even know where to start with this. One of my favorite genres of games is roguelike. They offer a complexity by making each instance of your game a singular run, and even though you might try it again, it's an entirely different set up than it was before. Unexplored takes that concept, but applies it to dungeon delving. The thing is though that the game will give you clues about the world as you play it. Stumble across half machine, half monster creatures two floors down that take you out rather quick? The old man in the bar will drop a hint to try Dispel Magic potions on them. Small things like that that let you poke at the world, and the world is so easy to jump in and out of. It's everything I love about Dungeons and Dragons and being a Game Master written into a game.
Huge indie scene this year, and nothing was more exciting than Cuphead. Drawing from old animation style roots, combined with old school video game techniques, Cuphead is such a fantastic game. If you like challenge it has it. The first world is just a drop in the hat for difficulty in what is to come later. Jumps require you to be pixel perfect, and each of the "bosses" you go up against don't have health bars, they have different phases. You don't see how well you fare until you've died or finished the level. Combine that with such an amazing sound track and wonderful style this game is near the top for me.
2. Heat Signature:
Those of you that have listened to the Weekend Review have heard me gush about Heat Signature. It's so hard not to. I said earlier that one of my favorite genre of games was roguelikes, and Heat Signature is that. You get to play as Malcom Reynolds in almost every sense of the word. You start the game taking back an asteroid space station for the purposes of fighting against the galactic cartels that have carved up your area of space. Each instance of character that you play as has a personal mission to achieve, and if you complete it you reach such a level of fame that you get paid less and less for each job you take. Missions can be mundane such as, take over this ship that has four people on it, to most difficult such as, rescue this person but don't kill or knock anyone unconscious and don't be seen. It's such a wonderful game that is so repeatable, but it does lack in overall story, there's no main focus for the story to really push against so that's why I had to rate it at number 2.
1. Nier: Automata:
This game...after I finished it I sat down to start writing about it. I scrapped what I had wrote, but the memory of that feeling is still with me. Nier: Automata goes for it. It goes for anime ass anime story, it goes for psychology, it goes for philosophy as well, and it mostly nails it. It is such a shitty thing to say in 2017 and beyond that to really understand this game you have to put 20 hours into it. The truth of the matter is though, that you do! You entirely have to, otherwise the first playthrough of the game is not strong enough to stand alone on it's own. The best I can do for something so short here is that the game asks you indirectly as the player "What does it mean to be human?" even "What is humanity?" and by the ending (i.e. true ending) of the game it lets you slip right back into what it means to be human without fully realizing it until after the fact.
So that's my list of 2017, some honorable mentions that didn't quite make the cut due to time played or didn't come out this year. Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator (very good dad jokes, and a good story so far), Night in the Woods (I can start to feel the emotional impact that this game should be having on me, but I haven't sunk enough time into it yet) and Heroes of the Storm 2.0 (it's my list I can do what I want! Seriously though, if you were hesitant about HotS before, 2.0 has made this game turn around in such a way that I fell in love with it all over again.)
Feel free to let yourselves be heard in the comments, hope you enjoyed the list