I have put a lot of thought into the list. Normally, I am a strong proponent of keeping things concise. There are usually more than 10 games I like every year. While some don’t make the final cut, it helps me be resolute with my thoughts on the 10 games upon which I decide. This year I struggled to do the same. I decided I had a lot of things to say so I went with this list of 15.
15. Saban’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Mega Battle (PS4) – This game is something of a dream-come-true for me. When I was young I loved Power Rangers. Before too long, I was ashamed to admit that adoration; which has always bothered me. Mega Battle gave me a chance to sit down with fellow Power Ranger fans and play out this love letter to the young Ranger in my heart.
14. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (PS4, Vita) – While the game has beautiful art and an interweaving tale of heroes, Maury’s Touring Restaurant is what sold me. Somewhere on YouTube there is video of me cheering as that pudgy little Pooka laid out his mobile diner in one fell swoop. That being said, playing Odin Sphere is like controlling a beautiful painting. Normally I would have passed on this game due to the gameplay not syncing with my tastes. Thanks to Micah and Tony for introducing me to this one.
13. Nier: Automata (PS4) – Speaking of not syncing with my tastes, I won’t claim that I played Nier so much as I watched Nier play itself. Were it not for the auto chips on easy mode, I wouldn’t have played this game. I also have to thank all those that kept praising Nier to any that would listen. Truly, the ending to Nier is something I would have deeply regretted not playing for myself.
12. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (Vita, PS4) – Danganronpa has a history of surprising me. V3 continued that tradition until the end; by which I mean until the ending seemingly belittled the entire franchise. V3 lived up to the climatic endings the past games established. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is a good ending. It’s hard to explain if you are not familiar with the lore. Ethan needs to play this game so I can talk to him about it.
11. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone (PS4) – I want to go on record saying Future Tone will likely go down as one of my favorite games of all time. However, my experience in 2017 has been tarnished by unfortunate circumstances. I stumbled into a bug and had latency issues with a dying television. This combination lead to me doubting my ability to play the game and kept me from enjoying myself. I didn’t want to play this game for most of this year. The problems have since been solved and I am finally able to enjoy the game but sadly it has come too late for 2017’s sake.
10. Battle Chef Brigade (Switch) – This one had been on my radar for a while. I learned it was coming to Switch live on the podcast and you can hear the excitement in my voice. I enjoyed the mash-up of beat-‘em-up and match-three as much as I expected, but the characters and overall story were a delight that exceeded my expectations. I think I need to watch that Iron Chef show the game is based on.
9. SteamWorld Dig 2 (Switch) – A few years back, SteamWorld Dig came out of nowhere and landed at number two on my top ten list (second only to Project Diva F). I was excited for this sequel but I simply expected the first game again. I was pleasantly surprised by the new additions in SteamWorld Dig 2 that let me dig holes in interesting ways. Who would have thought a jet pack would be so useful for digging?
8. Splatoon 2 (Switch) – I wasn’t going to buy Splatoon 2 and I can’t remember what changed my mind. I enjoyed the first game but didn’t feel I got my money’s worth from it. I usually avoid online play and I didn’t finish the campaign for the first game. It’s worth noting I am level 1 in Splatoon 2; I never played an online match nor Salmon Run. However, this time the campaign hooked me and it caused me to finish the first game’s campaign as well. I want more single-player levels. Hopefully Splatoon 3 will have a level creator.
7. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch) – I never played Mario 64 or Super Mario World so feel I missed out on a lot of nostalgia in this latest adventure. Regardless, what I like about Odyssey is the new stuff. I really like that one caterpillar enemy that can bridge gaps by extending (Tropical Wiggler). I know I will play more of this game, perhaps the best is yet to come.
6. Puyo Puyo Tetris (Switch) – I’m surprised how much I enjoyed this one. I played multiplayer in the Japanese release a couple times so I thought I knew what the game was all about. I had no idea the story mode was awesome. I like the characters, the goofy situations and the excuse to play all the different game types. I actually played this game online. Yeah, me playing a game online is bonkers, right?
5. Yakuza 0 (PS4)/Yakuza Kiwami (PS4) – This spot is occupied by Yakuza 0. Kiwami just kind of tagged along. While I think Kiwami is fine, it’s still a PS2 game at it’s core. They did a lot of work to it, thus it deserves a mention. Yakuza 0 is a better game all around. While it stumbles into some prequel tropes, the developers have gotten better at making these games, making Yakuza 0 is the definitive starting point to see what makes this series so great.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) – I always bounce off Zelda games. The rich lore always felt stuffed into a box that was too small. With this one, the lore has room to breathe. I truly felt I was able to explore Hyrule and discover the unknown. This is the Zelda game my heart has always wanted. The best stories of BotW are the ones you make yourself.
3. Persona 5 (PS4) – Persona 5 is drenched in teen angst. It bothers me until I think about the scumbag adults that cause that angst. I’m not a teenager in Japan, but I do love kicking down the door of a palace and wrecking the keeper’s world. In Persona 3, kids overcome their dark pasts. Persona 4 was a murder mystery. Persona 5 is a heist movie. These games continue to change their focus while maintaining the themes that tie them together.
2. Gravity Rush 2 + Raven’s Choice DLC (PS4)/Gravity Rush Remastered (PS4)/Gravity Rush: The Animation ~ Overture ~ (Anime) – I played these games back-to-back, so they kind of meld into one game in my mind. Remastered fixed everything that bothered me about the original Vita release and it threw in the DLC in as well. It’s a fantastic game and I hope more people take the opportunity to play it. Within its 17-minute runtime, the anime escalated my anticipation for the sequel from forgotten-bottled-up-excitement to a got-to-play-it-fervor. It’s the most excited I had even been for a game. Gravity Rush 2 is a game I never thought would happen. I had high expectations, it did not disappoint. A couple months later I got one last glimpse into the Gravity Rush world with the Raven’s Choice story DLC. It answered the glaring questions left by the first game’s ending. It was a final farewell to a world I am saddened to say goodbye to.
1. Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS) – Metroid II opened the door of possibility for Samus. It’s the Metroid game that set my imagination aflame and concreted my love of the series. The Game Boy’s influence on Metroid II had its pros and cons, but admittedly, the game was hard to play. Samus Returns managed to take all of that and produce the game of my dreams. Daydreams, what-if-scenarios, map designs; it’s like this game was made by a team of Shelbys from different points of my life. Instead it came from people that I cannot thank enough. Not only am I calling this my favorite game of the year, I’m calling it my favorite game of all time.
Categories: 2017 Year in Review