So I thought 2016 was a benchmark year in video games because the quality in the year’s releases was outstanding. I never thought 2017 could be better. But after just half the months, it has: 2017 is another incredible year in video games and they just keep coming out and they just keep being amazing. Thanks video games. I hate money anyway–fuck money. No seriously. It’s green and nasty, touched by a million strangers, it’s ugly and it displays a bunch of dead old people I don’t give a fuck about. Fuck money. Give me video games. Thanks.
We’ll see how this list changes once I look back at the end of the year after writing that top 10.
Ni-Oh is a great game. Another developer looked at Dark Souls and took the formula to revamp it into their own flavor, and there are many changes to how this formula works that I like. The environment gets really stale, as does the enemy variety, but the challenge is still there, and I love the Diablo aspects Team Ninja included in the way of loot. I’ll be picking this game up again in the future I’m sure–I just wasn’t compelled to keep playing after a certain point (due to the amount of games coming out).
UnExplored is another great indie roguelike that came out of nowhere amongst many of this year and our entire lives. I’m confident that the rest of my life will be spent playing $5-$20 indie roguelikes and that may or may not be terrible I’m not sure. This game, however, is not terrible.
UnExplored is actually quite amazing. It utilizes an excellent minimalistic visual design as well as a level generation system that creates complex, randomly generated levels with many levels of player interaction. You will find rooms and floors that are unsolvable, but praying generally gets the player out of that sort of predicament. In that way every single level is beatable–with complex factors going into the generation of each floor, this is amazing.
Bosses, items, quests, potions, scrolls–this game has it all. It does everything in a way that is easily described to the player with controls that are completely intuitive, and each run varies enough to keep the player hooked for hours. PLUS, the developer is constantly adding new things to the game. I haven’t played in months. If I played it right now it would be entirely different! This game is a delight.
8. Fire Pro Wrestling World
Fire Pro Wrestling has always been a series that I’ve seen and wanted to play. It’s a sprite based wrestling game developed in Japan and it’s notable for its fun, different feeling gameplay (relative to the American games like Smackdown, 2k, etc.) and it has a revolutionary character creation system. Visually it’s quite easy to recreate any wrestler who has ever existed, yet what’s more impressive is the A.I. settings, which allows creators to alter how a created wrestler acts. When created correctly a created wrestler will wrestler identically to their real-life counterpart, making it fun to just match two A.I. controlled characters against each other to watch, creating an infinite amount of situations for fantasy matches and hilarious fun.
This game in particular came to Steam this past July and it is fantastic particularly because with Steam Workshop players can download and upload custom character. Literally thousands of wrestlers have already been uploaded to the service, making it quite easy to build the wrestling federation of your dreams. This game is a must have right now for wrestling fans and it’s only early access–many more features are promised for the future. When this game is complete the world will be overrun with player-created wrestlers.
7. Injustice 2
every screenshot sucks im sorry
This fighting game wasn’t on my radar until after its release. I knew it would probably be a good fighting game. I like fighting games, I like Netherrealm fighting games, and I liked the first Injustice. Didn’t think a second one needed to exist. But I loved the new systems, the wealth of single player content, and the characters in Injustice 2. I especially loved the Single Player mode.
The game feels tight and responsive even on the XboxOne, which is most likely where the game preforms its worst. Characters all feel different from each other in ways that are significant in terms of gameplay and aesthetic. Combos aren’t maddeningly difficult to pull off even when you’re adept at dropping combos via button mashing, like myself, and usually you can find a way out of a combo if you find yourself stuck in one. Special attacks, while not totally balanced from character to character, are fun to use and never feel game-breaking.
The biggest pro this game has for me is its single player content. The game has gear which effects the look of a specific character, who also can earn experience points and level up, but gear also affects stats and even changes the way certain special moves work. You get gear from boxes which can be earned from completing multiverse ladders. The multiverse is a single player mode that generates event-oriented ladders where you go from fight to fight. Each universe contains somewhat of a pieced-together story usually ending with a powerful boss. Some universes contain character specific challenges and equipment drops while others require top leveled characters.
It’s really fun to be rewarded in this RPG-esque fashion. I think game developers have kinda figured that out by now since we see RPG mechanics show up and just about every single video game. To see it in a fighting game–a genre with debatably the greatest combat systems by far–is wonderful. It’s like adding heroin to cocaine–it’s both addiciting AND I’m completely 100% dead.
6. Dead Cells
Dead Cells on paper is nothing new: it’s a roguelike metroidvania. HOWEVER, this game has some combat hooks, some deep persistent unlockables, and it’s fucking goddamn addicting as shit.
Loot comes to you with different characteristics. You might get a blood sword that does ice damage, you might get one that zaps lightning. Sometimes you’ll get a run that feeds the player total shit. Other times you beat a boss without trying. Runs feel short, they don’t differ in terms of level layout enough to really sell this game as a hole, but they do their job servicing a traversal from one combat encounter to the next.
The game feels amazing. You’re usually hitting things and dodging. If you’re good enough you can block, if you’re even better you can parry. Combos are risk vs reward, because you can easily die by getting greedy trying to kill opponents quickly. Special champion enemies spawn and easily pose run-ending challenges that players can avoid altogether, but victory rewards over powered weapons and abilities. The animations, and the controls, add a fluidity that makes all of these come together in an exciting manor. As a game that isn’t fully complete yet, this things really impressed me. And like a lot of indie hits this year so far, it has come out of nowhere.
5. Hollow Knight
Unhallowed is an amazing metroidvania with callbacks to Dark Souls. Boss fights are great. The art style is unique and amazing. Combat is fluid, with animations that are so good you can, admittedly, lose track of what you’re doing. But figuring out how to defeat enemies without taking damage is so satisfying (like Dark Souls) and I love the idea of exploring a metroid-like world map without the ability to form an actual map until you acquire the upgrade. It’s a nice adjustment to the norm, and it adds a great sense of urgency while exploring the already tense areas. This is a game to come back to!
This year has been another “HOLY SHIT THIS INCREDIBLE INDIE GAME CAME OUT OF NOWHERE” and Monolith is my favorite of those so far. It’s a isometric shoot-em-up roguelike and the astute reader will know I’ve reviewed the game already here. AND I ranked it. AREN’T I SUCH A HARDWORKING BOY!
I love this game. It feels good and it’s fun to play. That’s why I like video games.
But let’s examine this further in five thousand words…..just kidding read the review I’m moving on:
3. Tekken 7
I knew I would love Tekken 7 because, well, it’s a Tekken game. When it released I was frothing at the mouth and I took the plunge….mostly because you can dress King up like Okada and give people Rainmakers.
The Tekken games have always featured a surprising amount of single player content, character customization, and they have always complemented this with amazing combat. Except in Tekken 7 the developers decided fuck single player content. Disappointing, but I don’t care–this game still has some of the greatest fighting game combat on the planet. AND 3D fighters just don’t come out anymore. I remember the PS2 generation where 2D fighters never came out, and it took ’till Street Fighter 4 to see them again. Why can’t we just have a nice balance? I want my Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat in 3D–but I also want Tekken and Soulcalibur!
Also it’s amazing to see the FGC just shit on Street Fighter and move on to Tekken in droves. Capcom….get your shit together.
2. Neir Automata
Neir Automata is an amazing marriage of bizarre story and theme with PLATINUM FUCKING GAMES’ gameplay. This is fantastic, because designer Yoko Taro is famous for having unique, bizarre, hilarious, creepy, and thought provoking ideas on story telling, yet these ideas have always been executed in extremely flawed video games like Drakengard. Which was a Dynasty Warriors game with a mountable dragon and upgradeable weapons….I actually liked Drakengard…the first Neir was amazing in its genre-bending adventure. Although flawed it was much more playable and fun. Neir Automata acquired a whole next level polish thanks to Platinum’s godlike touch, and we all benefit from it! I would have beaten this game (to truly beat this game you have to complete 4 playthroughs, just so you know) if it wasn’t for the next game.
1. Zelda: Breath of the Wild
My super cliched answer for best game of 2017 so far is Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s not a perfect game like reviewers made it out to be upon release. The game suffers a bit once players discover the true formula that makes the game great. But as an open world game Breath of the Wild excels where open world games have failed for almost a decade. Nintendo created a living world that is fun to explore, fun to experiment, and systems have been built to actually accommodate these players in rewarding ways. You climb a mountain and discover a collectable that will expand your inventory. You toss a metal weapon toward an enemy during a lightning storm to preserve the rest of your arsenal. You bypass entire puzzles by manipulating the impressive physics system. It’s a video game built for people who play video games. It’s the first truly unique Zelda game since Link to the Past. It’s the first fun, and lasting open world game since Grand Theft Auto III. It’s my favorite game this year and honestly I don’t see this changing.
Tune in next time to see if that does change. Mario Odyssey? Hmm? You wanna come out and…you know…be better than Breath of the Wild? Huh? Please?
Hey check out my YouTube channel! I’m doing a playthrough of Dark Souls and I just started one of Monolith! It’s fun I promise! I’m a funny dude I swear!!
the real comedian’s champion