Wow. What a year 2017 has been.
Even if it wasn’t the best one I’ve had personally (or the best one America has had), we can all agree it was a God damn great year for gaming and especially a God damn great year for Nintendo! We had two incredible games launch within the same week. I’m talking about Horizon Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild of course. It was also the year that the Switch went from being a game console I was dying to own to a game console that is an every day part of my life. I play this thing at home, in bed, during lunch, and on the go almost daily since the system launched in March. PSVR also had a pretty decent first year too, but future titles like The Inpatient, Ark Park, and Moss really have me looking to the future of what the platform has to offer in 2018.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I don’t know if I’ve ever been drawn into an open world game as much as I was and still am with Breath of the Wild. The world is sprawling, diverse, beautiful, yet dangerous. I put close to 200 hours into it and I’m still left with a state of awe and wonder every time I set out for an adventure. I loved it so much I started a separate game in Master Mode (which I highly recommend) and I’m finding my second journey as engrossing as my first. And I’m not alone—Tristan has fully beat the game twice now—whereas I prefer to slowly digest it. While the story honestly didn’t do much to move me, the world and freedom I was given within it captivated me. It’s because of this that Breath of the Wild makes my 2017 list as well as possibly finding it’s way to my top favorite games over in the bio section of our site.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Wow oh wow. If Breath of the Wild didn’t come out this year, let alone in the same week as Horizon, it would have been my favorite game of the year. I’ve been following this game closely since a piece of concept art showing a massive robot dinosaur was leaked about four or five years ago. I love Aloy. She is the embodiment of what a strong female lead character in video games should be, right up there with the recent Lara Croft in Crystal Dynamics”s reboot. The world of Horizon, similar to Zelda, is full of eye candy but it is more terrifying than the world Link inhabits. I played the game on hard difficulty before dialing it down to the story setting so I could see the game through to the end, and the experience is equal parts thrilling, terrifying, and rewarding when you outrun or win a battle against your mechanized foes. My favorite thing about Horizon though is it’s story. Especially as I found myself listening to audio logs and reading through old emails in fascination. Even after completion I plan on jumping back in as Aloy from time to time to take down badass metallic creatures and complete random side quests. And I’m definitely going to pick up the DLC at some point.
Resident Evil VII VR
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a VR game. After all, it seems as though I’m the only one blowing the VR trumpet here at Pixelrater. I always said it would be a slow burn as developers worked to figure out how to make games for such new technology, but even still, we saw a lot of standout titles come to Sony’s headset in it’s first year. I loved games like SUPERHOT, but RE VII really blew my mind. I played through the demo and then part of the game, although I admittedly didn’t get far because I’m a punk. What time I did spend in the horrific house that Capcom built was terrifying and felt all too real. It surprised me that Capcom, of all developers, managed to masterfully create a game that really effectively showcased the sensory power of virtual reality—it’s just too bad most people like me were too scared to play it. Even still, I had to add it to my list and vow to play more……at some point.
I know I know, Stardew has been out for over a year on PC, but I waited to play it on Switch, and I’m glad I did. Prior to playing Stardew, I never played anything similar like Harvest Moon, but the quaint world of Stardew Valley really sucked me in. I got a dog, built a barn, stupidly did not build a silo to harvest all my free grass into wheat before the first Winter killed it all, mined some ore, made some friends, got a girlfriend, and I’m still not done. I’m in the Spring season of year two and I’m working on getting Abigail to marry me, working my way to the bottom of the mine, and am slowly expanding my tiny four crop farm into an empire of specialty meats and cheeses. But these things take time, and time is one thing I’ve lost and am willing to lose more of in this wonderfully relaxing game. Hell, even my wife would watch me play and was genuinely interested in playing with me, but the multiplayer update isn’t out yet and we only have one Switch. As I’m writing this blurb about Stardew, I just want to stop and play more Stardew.
Super Mario Odyssey
I mean, you had to know a Mario game would make my list, let alone arguably the best 3D Mario game since Mario 64. Tristan and I talked about why we love it so much in episode 87 of LAN Party, but I can’t get enough. What’s even crazier is Will is over 800 moons deep and is well on his way to 100% completion! I beat the game and have been returning to grab moons here and there and it’s consistently been an absolute joy. Odyssey takes what made Mario 64’s sandbox exploration and platforming and builds upon it in every conceivable way. I also really loved the idea of removing power-ups in favor of taking over enemies and objects because it gave me much more choice over when I had an ability and how I made my way through a level. “Can I grab that moon with a fish in Bubblaine? No? Okay, let me try taking over that squid-thing again”. It looks gorgeous on both my TV and the Switch’s screen when I’m on the go and runs buttery smooth at 60fps. The game is an easy playthrough….until you get to that end game content! So worry not Mario diehards! Now for the love of god finish reading this post, share it with your friends, buy a Pixelrater shirt if you want, subscribe to our podcast, share that with your friends, and play Super Mario Odyssey. Then tweet me when the two ‘Oh shit! No-they-didn’t!’ moments happen.
Happy New Year and I can’t wait to create more content for you to enjoy in 2018! What were some of your favorite games of 2017? Reach out to me on Twitter )@/tonezone/) and let me know!