It’s that time of year again: trees are being brought indoors, families try to hide their disdain for one another through the wonder of Visa giftcards, and it’s time to make “best of” lists for the year! 2017 was an INCREDIBLE year for gaming. Easily one of the best years I’ve experienced in recent time. It may not be as good as 1998, 2001, or 2011 but it’s certainly at the tops. There were so many AAA and indie releases well worth your time in 2017 that it was both easy and understandable to have missed a game or two.
Among the Mario Odysseys, and Breaths of the Wild, Horizons, and Personas there are a lot of smaller games that don’t have the market clout to get the word out there. These are games that are well worth your time when you’re trying to find something different to play.
Doki Doki Literature Club (PC/Mac)
Ok, this game is free. Yeah it’ll permanently affect your Steam recommendations, but it’s worth it! Don’t let it’s outward look fool you, this cutesy, anime-themed HS dating simulator/visual novel is a beast in kawaii clothing. It’s not long, so I highly suggest you dedicate an evening to it! I can’t say too much or it will spoil everything. Just be known that there are some graphic and violent aspects to this game and it will force you to think outside the box a little. Oh, and please give it at least 2 hours! You play as a boy who is invited to join an after school Literature Club and use his gift of poetry writing to gain favor with one of the three girls in the club. Romantic hilarity ensues…until…strange things begin to happen. Can’t say more without spoiling it! What I will say is, I’m not surprised much by video games these days, but this one caught me completely off guard. DDLC is an odd, unique, and interesting experience, play it!
Yakuza Kiwami (Ps4)
Ever wonder what it would feel like to be a Japanese mobster in the mid 2000s? Yakuza has you covered. You play as Kazuma Kiryu, a tragically defamed Yakuza who is trying to get his life back on track after spending a decade in prison. In a mature and deep adventure game, you get a taste of what the Japanese underworld is like in the most video game way possible. Yakuza takes nods from series like Shenmue to provide a cool, fun, action-adventure game that isn’t afraid to hit you with some RPG elements. I bought Yakuza Kiwami on a whim, as I’ve always wanted to play the series. I’ve very much enjoyed my time with the game and it has piqued my interest to try the other games in the series! If you’re new to Yakuza, don’t worry as this game is a remake of the original title on PS2 from 2005. It shouldn’t be too expensive on Amazon and its 20 hours of gameplay is a nice break from the norm. If you dig Kiwami, Kiwami 2 should be headed to PS4 next year.
Golf Story (Switch)
2017 has been the year of the Switch. Nintendo’s cool new console is currently taking the world by storm and the library is already dauntingly large for a system in its first year. Most interesting about Switch is not only the AAA titles that have released monthly, but the smaller, indie titles that venture to the e-shop every week. Golf Story is a game that certainly appeals to a varied fan-base. YOU DO NOT NEED TO LIKE GOLF TO LIKE THIS GAME! You take part in this roleplaying sports adventure game as a golfer trying to regain his past glory. Typical JRPG combat is replaced with games of golf, yeah, it’s ridiculous. You play golf, train, fight skeletons, and increase your skills. This entire game also pays homage to the 16 bit era by looking like a beautiful SNES game. It’s definitely worth your time and if you’ve been itching for some Switch indie love, this is the game for you.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Switch)
I’ll go ahead and say this, I don’t like the Rabbids much. I don’t know what influence they had on the Minions from Despicable Me, but I’ve never cared for these grotesque rabbit creatures and their farting, belching nonsense. So when I heard that Ubisoft was teaming up with Nintendo to make a strategy game starring Mario and the Rabbids, you know I was all about it. As one part Mario RPG and one part X-Com, M+R is a very unique experience for anyone who’s a big Mario fan. Firstly, he doesn’t jump! You build a team of Mushroom Kingdom characters who meet up with the Rabbids in a fantastical romp through different “worlds” to save both universes. It’s a great little strategy game, if you’re a fan of turn-based SRPGs this game feels like a toybox version of X-Com in the best way possible. It’s tough too, so you’ll have to think creatively to progress. Definitely worth time and another home run on switch. Also if you’re not sold by Rabbid-Kong you should quit the hobby.
THE GAME THAT I MISSED
Nier: Automata (PS4/PC)
I’ve only played the demo, but I’m really bummed I missed this game this year. It’s one of those games that’s been added to my “MUST PLAY IN EARLY 2018” backlog. From what I gathered from the demo this action RPG is top-notch. I look at videos and images from Nier constantly, with total regret that I wasn’t forward thinking enough to buy it when it launched. Platinum Games (Bayonetta) is one of my favorite action developers out there and Nier fits the bill perfectly. I’ll give you all a taste of Nier when I get to it.