By the Last Token Gaming Staff
Well, 2017 isn’t exactly the best year for everyone. However, there are some awesome things that has happened to make this year less painful. 2017 belonged to video games, as we saw so many great games this year. Even Nintendo had amazing success with their Nintendo Switch and with it’s steady lineup of great games, with 3 of the games for Nintendo Switch that end up getting nominated for this year’s Game Awards. All of us here has had a chance to try out some of the great games that came out this year, as well as dipping into multiple gaming titles. Come see what the staff has played this year!
- Persona 5
I love RPGs, and have loved them as far back as I can remember, and I love the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. A franchise that is known for punishing players with its challenging gameplay, Shin Megami Tensei has its proper franchise and its side spinoffs. Having been infuriatingly stuck on Shin Megami Tensei IV, and also having missed the boat for Persona 4: Golden (on both the Playstation 2 and Vita), Persona 5 was my first dip into the beloved social simulator meets RPG series. It goes without saying that Persona 5 was a game that blew me away in almost every category; earning my absolute Game of the Year for 2017. Persona 5 is a long game (for just playing the game it’s minimum 100 hours, for a trophy run you’re looking at 200+ hours) but the game is absolutely worth it.
- Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn was my Game of the Year for 2017 up until I played Persona 5, and for good reason. The game was phenomenal on every front: the beautiful landscapes and art design, the fantastic gameplay, sound design, and voice work. The game was also a gamble for Guerilla Games, a studio known for the overhyped franchise KillZone. In my playthrough, I made sure to grab every collectible I could in order to gather as much information as I could on the lore of the franchise.
- Nier: Automata
I guess my top 3 games are filled with RPGs, and for good reason: 2017 was a strong year for RPGs. I haven’t completed NieR: Automata to its fullest, as it requires 5 playthroughs to get the ending (I’m on playthrough number 2 of 5) but man was it hard to not put this game down as a Top 3. It’s a game that is part hack ‘n slash, bullet hell, shoot ‘em up, and RPG, combining all elements together to create a seamless experience. The music and sound design is also a technical marvel, the music seamlessly transitioning and swelling at the proper moments, helping to bolster an eccentric story filled with heavy thematic elements. Yoko Taro, the creator of the Drakengard and NieR series, creates his best work in Automata, and letting Platinum help develop the game design was the perfect call.
I actually have a non-RPG game up here? Woah! All jokes aside, Cuphead has been a welcome breath of fresh air in terms of its visuals, gameplay, and all around aesthetic. The game can get incredibly frustrating due to its sheer difficulty and demand for concentration, but it still has the charm and entertainment to keep players invested. The visuals are by far the part that stands out the most in a positive way with its vintage cartoon art style and film like filter. Overall, Cuphead is a testament to skilled-based gameplay and a wonderful collection to any library, just be prepared for the absolute frustration that will be experienced.
- TellTale’s Guardian of the Galaxy: The Series
I have been under the impression that TellTale’s ability to tell a moving story has slowly begun to fade for me. Walking Dead, as a series, has continually begun to falter under the weight of its impressive first season and the ambition it set forth to tell a large-scale story. Game of Thrones felt like it tried too hard to fit within George R.R. Martin’s style but lacked the wit or puch. Batman has begun to improve, but the first season felt off and inconsistent. When they announced a Guardians of the Galaxy series, I was already preparing myself for disappointment in yet another great opportunity being lost in being unable to balance TellTale’s storytelling with Marvel’s offbeat, quirky heroes. After having just finished the series, I was happily proven wrong. Guardians is by far one of TellTale’s strongest outings in recent memory. Decisions felt like they had emotional weight, the writing felt true to each character, and the plot choices were risky and bold. All of it worked to create a wonderful, highly recommended experience to play through. This game deserves to be in my Top 5 for this year.
- Doom (2016)
Kaboom! Crunch! Blam! In a year that hit me over the head with one thing after another, and saw the world descend into grisly chaos with each passing day, it’s only fitting my personal game of the year is the superb 2016 reboot of Doom. I had never played any installments of the franchise until I got this as a gift from Terry for my birthday, and it made for one stellar introduction.
Drawing upon the popular Brutal Doom mods, this is not only a textbook example of how to revamp a beloved franchise, but on its own, it’s just a fucking outstanding game. The graphics are stellar, the gameplay is seamless, and as I said before in a WWPTW entry…it’s just satisfying in a primal way. The Glory Kills in particular are a brilliant touch, not only for strategic purposes of saving ammo….but also the pure pleasure of crushing a demon’s skull right before ripping another one’s limbs off. What can I say? It’s glorious and fulfilling.
- Fallout 4
I got this one as a Christmas gift in 2016, and a full year later it’s still a wholly satisfying experience. It’s probably not the best Fallout game, which I’d still give to LTG Hall of Fame inductee New Vegas. But it’s the most REPLETE game in the franchise, at least in the Bethesda era. The amount of content is overwhelming, and much like the third game, it’s the side quests that really bring home the bacon. The story, also like F3, is pretty linear….in fact, it’s literally a reverse of its predecessor’s plot!
Fallout 4 distinguishes itself not with its storytelling, but by taking everything that works about open-world Fallout and jacking it up to grandiose new levels. The weapons have more punch, the side quests keep you hooked, and the scenery is breathtaking. The settlements missions, while annoying at first, eventually become addicting. The real MVP of the game is one of the sidekicks, the robotic Humphrey Bogart known as Nick Valentine. Once I selected him, I didn’t swap him out for another sidekick for weeks, of not months. And yes, my baseball geek heart was warmed by how faithfully they recreated Fenway Park in Diamond City!
One big complaint I have, though, is how staid the soundtrack is. With the glorious exception of Dion’s nonpareil classic “The Wanderer”, almost everything else is just recycled from the previous two games. Sorry, but I have a hard time believing Bethesda couldn’t secure the rights to more 40’s and 50’s classics. I personally would love to hear Django Reinhardt while slaughtering Super Mutants.
- L.A. Noire
A little late to the party on this one. Or am I? It *was* released on the Switch this year, I know. But honestly, it was overdue for me to get this one for Xbox 360. My good friend and frequent Let’s Play contributor Shane Canton has been a fan of it since its release in 2011, and I remember being impressed with what I saw of it back then. But this is one that you not only have to own yourself, but experience in-depth.
Luckily, six years haven’t aged the game one bit in my eyes. The interrogation process remains a uniquely challenging (albeit sometimes frustrating) mode of gameplay. The characters and story are infused with authenticity, and feel like they’re straight from a top-shelf 40’s noir film. But most importantly, the recreation of one of the world’s major cities in such a specific time is absolutely flawless. The amount of research that went into getting 1947 Los Angeles exactly right is staggering. My father and I even looked up specific locations, and they check out 100%.
Honestly, my waiting to get it was for the better as I’ve grown to like the city of Los Angeles a lot more in recent years. Chalk it up to some great adventures seeing Ninja Sex Party, a Harry Dean Stanton award ceremony and an unforgettable Dodgers game, but once you spend some time in the City of Angels, everything about it grows one you. While set 70 years ago, L.A. Noire truly does capture the city in all of its opulence and decadent sleaze. It remains a remarkable achievement in game design.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Another 2011 blockbuster whose recent reissue meant nothing to me. I actually got my copy of this for the 360 in 2015, and after intermittent spells of playing it I finally went all-in this year. I feel like there’s little I can say that hasn’t already been said about this one. I’ve built up my character enough so that combat feels a lot more intuitive, and I’m actually following the quest progression for joining the Imperial Guard. While Morrowind will always be my favorite for its charm, intimacy and sentimental value on a personal level, Skyrim is open-world RPG gaming at its zenith. As tired as I am of Bethesda not really doing anything new as of late, at the same time, it’s hard to imagine them topping this one anytime soon.
- Area 51 (2005)
This is kind of a weak fifth entry. To be honest, I was depressed for the first half of 2017, and didn’t get back into gaming until after my life turned around at the tail end of July, so the first four entries were really the bulk of my gaming addictions in this second half of the year. This long forgotten PS2 title from 2005 was a random pickup at Dimple one day, and while I haven’t touched it in months I have enjoyed it so far.
While it’s a solid FPS in the vein of Halo, I select it as my fifth pick mostly because of the intense fascination I’ve developed over the actual Area 51 military base just north of Las Vegas. While I’m no UFO conspiracy theorist, it’s hard not to wonder what’s so intensely guarded there, and I’ve done quite a bit of research about how to visit the outer parameters of the base. If I have the time and money to do so, I will make that geeky pilgrimage hopefully sometime in 2018, and in that event will certainly finish this Arma 3 Unit game beforehand!
- Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Man, 2017 was the easiest year for deciding my top five, especially for #1. I played the game the day that Nintendo Switch came out, and I played nothing but Zelda Breath of the Wild until I beat the game. What there is to talk about this game that hasn’t already been said? Having it being the open world kind of the game made Zelda the most refreshing breath of fresh air I have ever had with any other Zelda games. Fighting enemies in any way I wanted, going through Guardian Beasts in any order I want, it’s just 2 of the things that I can talk about without taking up the article estate needed for this article. I even played Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker later this year, and none of them could even top this game. Too bad I didn’t play any other Game of the Year contenders, but this game easily is the game of the year for me!
I’m not gonna lie. 2017 sucked for me, as I spent most of it looking for a job. Looking for another full-time job is just a lot of work, and with that, I couldn’t afford to take up on any fantastic games, otherwise I would get lost in it like I did for Breath of the Wild. Thankfully, Overwatch helped me fill in the need to play a fantastic game while allowing to break away from it after playing matches due to the nature of online matches. It’s very addicting, easy to pick up and play, harder to master, the gameplay is balanced (for the most part at least) and lastly, the characters in this game were the most memorable out of any game that I’ve played in recent memory. I even spent hours mastering Junkrat, Pharah, D.Va, Lucio, and others. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten a chance to try out Moira. One day I will try her out.
- Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Ok, I promise that this is the last Legend of Zelda game that I’ll throw on this list (sorry Wind Waker HD, even though you became one of my favorite Zelda games). Even after Breath of the Wild stole the hearts of every gamer, Ocarina of Time still holds up as a true masterpiece in gaming history, with Adult Link seared into our minds for years to come. The work done to make Hyrule feel massive is impressive (although nothing compared to Breath of the Wild). The puzzles were among interesting for their time, the cinematics and storytelling was impressive for their time, and the music is still amazing even to this day. There is nothing else that needs to be said about this game.
The last two entries, in my book, were harder to figure out which one deserves #4 spot on my list. Eventually I felt that Xenogears deserves this spot for the following reasons.The RPG mechanics were among the most unique in their battle mechanics. The Death Blows attack mechanic adds an extra depth for attacking the enemies on foot. The appeal of the game comes from having mech battles with other mechs or giant monsters. And that is delivered well through its own battle system. The story behind this RPG doesn’t hesitate to pick up very early in the game and story manages to keep you hooked, wondering what will happen next. The pace of the story picks up to a speed where every subplot is over before you know it, which is my only gripe about this game. But this doesn’t hamper on the game that has religious themes that were explored well with touches of dark drama. This is a plus if you are a fan of anime, as this game has a 90’s style of anime that makes the game fresh.
Atmosphere is huge with this entry on my list. The dark and gloomy atmosphere is enough to draw me in. The natural flow of this game was enough to get me on the hook and keep me on the hook. The puzzles were fun to figure out and satisfying to complete. There is a air of mystery that deserves to be explored more even after completing the game. The only gripe that I have about this game is that it’s a little too short. At least the few hours that it took me to beat the game turned out to be phenomenal.
- Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The term “open-world” is more of a genre than a mere descriptor of games these days, and with its budding maturity must inevitably come a host of bad open-world games (No Man’s Preorder, anyone?). Breath of the Wild gave me chills with its wonder and grandeur, time and time again. It had the glorious feeling and occasionally artsy animation of Wind Waker, but possessed the care and detail of many games with a much smaller scope. For such a gigantic game to palpably show the love and devotion of its developers is an absolute rarity, and I have no need to reread my previous review to find praise for it! What a game.
- Kerbal Space Program
KSP is one of those maddeningly complex games that, like Dwarf Fortress, took me installing and uninstalling a couple of times to really get into. I sunk a lot of hours into this game, especially for a year where I spent so little time gaming overall. It is everything you’d ever want in a space simulator, with procedurally generated missions, tons of modpacks, and the fabulous zaniness that is KSP’s trademark. I can basically do most of what NASA does in real life except the physical training they do by using supplements from the green powder drinks review , but from behind a computer screen with delightfully stupid little alien men who don’t know that their death is almost certain. The fact that I now have a modular moon base that I built and troubleshooted from scratch is incredible. The fact that it looks like no other moon base ever built by any other player of the game… well, that’s an even stronger testament to an already singular game.
OneShot is a beautiful gem of an indie game, and it approaches the whole concept of game design in a very original way. Certainly influenced by games like To The Moon and (unfortunately) Undertale, it really grabs the player and doesn’t let go until well after the final moments. I hope my comparison with Undertale isn’t a turnoff. For those of you who played Undertale and loved it, you will almost certainly love this game, even if you hate the fanbase. If you’ve never played Undertale (probably because of the fanbase), then I suggest starting with this game, to help you feel the feels and fall in love with a world that is so different from ours, yet in many ways exactly the same. It’s a beautifully tender and memorable experience.
- The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
Of course this game is on my list. I haven’t gotten too far into it, but it does everything that Skyrim did with more reckless abandon and gratuitous awesomeness. It integrates the frustratingly elegant Souls-style combat with a much more Anglican and Eastern European style folklore, and I’ve got to say what everyone else is saying: it works fantastically on every level, from every angle. Buy this game.
- Nuclear Throne
That this game appears at the bottom of my top 5 should indicate what an incredible year this was for gaming! Nuclear Throne is admittedly a much older game, but I’ve continued to play it all throughout the year, and it never loses its lustre. The maddening difficulty, the fast-paced insanity, and the absolute punchiness that you feel when you get a really powerful build… they all make the game one of my favorite roguelikes. If you haven’t picked this one up, it will teach you to embrace both your inner zen and your inner Rambo. We’ll likely need a little bit more of both in 2018. See you then!
- Doom 1/2 Mods
This year has had some rather great Doom mods including some more well known joke mods like the Loot Box mod that makes the game painfully slow. Often times I end up stuck with a pistol and unable to find a box or a key at any given time. It’s a nice challenge but I wish it would mix with Brutal Doom just so I can use some hand to hand combat. Brutal Doom itself had some rather fancy updates too which have been fun to mess around with. I found the Japan Community level pack from last year and have been playing the snot out of that, a new DOOM ported into old doom mod known as DOOM 4 Doom which with a combination of the automatic map maker OBLIGE creates some rather nice mini arena maps that fit the new DOOM style. All of which makes it easier to stomach as everyone else has been playing the new DOOM game while my current machine still can’t handle it. Definitely feeling the age of my current PC gaming hardware now.
- Straimium Immortaly
It’s hard to believe this game came out last year and has grown so much. The dev has even been rather close to their community and adding requested features here and there. Generally I absolutely hate the generic “Rogue Lite” style game where death seems to be the main goal for progression than actually playing the game. This however sets out to randomly generate a Cube map with five different areas with bosses to defeat. Items are earned to make your character stronger as you explore the map but are all discarded once its completed. I often would go back to the game to play the smaller cube maps but the large ones certainly make great metroidvania like experiences to play through. Often taking me an hour or two to complete. It has a slight old school feel to it as its not only a jetpack shoot em up but simply requires the player to use their skill to progress and not a bit of stress for collectables with specieal properties. What you get in the map is what you get to use and another outside is only to modify the over all game or add a silly hat. It just feels like a proper game and not like a rogue lite at all really and its part of why I love it. Plus its weird alien gore blue graphics style, strange ways of talking and overall weirdness just makes it so unique and fresh for me. I’ll likely keep playing it in 2018 as it always draws me in for a quick run.
- Ever Oasis
Being one of few console games I bought this year the game has been an interesting cute sorta game to jump in. Sadly I’ve yet to complete it still as I kinda lost some interest mid way in. I do this with all my RPGs action or otherwise since the mid way in always gets a little bit of grind and I already grind a lot at the start for a challenge so it all just became a bit too easy and buncha busy work to do. Still its cute graphics make me want to get back to it and see if the bosses and things make me use a few more potions or not. Just really hoping it’ll hold my interest longer as I’d like to know more about the characters but they aren’t too fleshed out in the starting half. Maybe I’m being harsh but I’m hoping it turns out better later either way. Well always next year to jump back into it.
- StarFox 2
Oh and I beat Starfox 2 again for the thousandth time. Just the official release version. Weird having such an old game out now but glad it finally surfaced after all this time. Now just to find my own SNES mini to own and collect. Do love the quality of the controllers and really want to use them on my PC with an adapter.
Oh and OverWatch, glad I picked that up finally. Plus it runs on my old hardware with a few tweaks. Oh and I’m a Moira main now, cause my Arkanoid skills I learned as a kid totally pay off now.