Here it is Robbie C’s Top Ten Games of 2017, stay tuned in the coming week for a whole lot more.
10. Heart of Crown.
A late candidate for my Game of the Year list, Heart of Crown is a digital adaption of a deck building card game that was originally released in Japan some years ago before being localised in English earlier this year, finally making the leap to the digital format in December. While there is no story to speak of players are competing with one and other to back one of several princess’ in a bid to take the throne from the recently deceased emperor by playing cards to acquire better and more useful cards and succession points in order to host a coronation for their chosen candidate. Heart of Crown is one of my favourite table top games of all time and I’m happy to say this is an extremely faithful adaption with the art being a direct port, the gameplay and UI are very smooth and easy to navigate and the AI actually knows what it is doing and gives players a challenge each and every game.
Considered to be a cross between Minecraft and Left 4 Dead, with maybe a dash of Orcs Must Die thrown in for good measure, Fortnite is a co-op sandbox survival game that has players working to complete objectives in a world over run with zombie like creatures with a heavy emphasis on building fortifications and traps to stem the tide of crazy critters intent on wiping you out. The addition of a free to play battle royal mode in September which pits players in duos or small squads as well as every man for themselves death matches that can host up to one hundred people only added to what is already an enjoyable and unique game. Fortnite takes its place on my list over games like Player Unknown Battlegrounds as it does offer a little more variety with game modes, and the promise of more to come, as well as encourage creativity when it comes to building fortifications. Where Fortnite falls is the addition of the dreaded real money loot crates which, while not totally necessary, is a very enticing and fast way to acquire some premium heroes, schematics and weapons.
8. Birthdays the Beginning.
From Yasuhiro Wada, the creator of Harvest Moon, comes a niche life simulation game full of charm with just a touch of puzzle solving. Deeper than one may think while upon first look, Birthdays the Beginning offers plays the chance to build up their own little cube like world where every decision will affect the world in some way, making the creation and continued existence of life a delicate balancing act. While not everyone’s cup of tea this is a game that I, and many others, have gotten lost in, spending way more time in front of the monitor than intended.
7. Battle Chasers: Night Wars.
Based on the comic series penned by Joe Madureira, Battle Chasers: Night Wars was a kickstarter project that was successfully funded way back in 2015. The art style is nothing short of amazing and the challenging, yet fun, JRPG style combat enhanced by the procedurally generated dungeons is enjoyable even if it does suffer from the usual RPG hang up of grindiness. Battle Chasers: Night Wars is an aesthetically pleasing game with characters as interesting as the world itself that came out of left field and could easily be considered for surprise hit of the year.
6. Everybody Golf.
Adding a cutesy coating to a game that is less simulation and more arcade sports title, Everybody Golf is none the less a fun and enjoyable (sometimes frustrating) experience for gamers whether or not they are a fan of the real life sport of golf. With decent amounts of character customisation, open world elements, smooth online play and numerous tweakable game modes Everybody Golf is a game that won’t be on everyone’s list of must play games but is one that should be given a look as it offers a unique experience that is equally enjoyable whether you are playing online, alone or with a group of buddies on the couch.
5. Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Though I’ve only put a handful of hours into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 I can safely say I’m hooked. Following the exploits of a young salvager named Rex who unwittingly gets himself involved in a big adventure with some rather unscrupulous people, players will explore a beautifully crafted world filled with all manner of exotic creatures, the most prominent being Titans, giant creatures that serve as landmasses for nations to build their societies on. The art style has an anime flare to it that makes it stand out the music score is one of the best in recent memory, where Xenoblade may stumble for players is the English voice dub that ranges from good too bad with some feeling noticeably out of place and the combat system which is unique and different from most RPGs but some many find a tad on the boring side with the heavy reliance on build up special attacks by allowing the auto attack system to run its course. Still Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a lengthy jaunt, estimated to be around 70 hours, in a beautiful world with interesting characters and one that, while I’ve only just scratched the surface of, am looking forward to every minute of.
4. Friday the 13th: The Game
There is no denying that Friday the 13th has had more than its share of problems, a launch that was arguably worse than the relatively smooth closed beta test in December last year, frequent database login errors, players losing the progress with no warning, numerous exploitable glitches and a long running handful of controversies that revolved around team killing within the game and alleged ban happy developers who quick to permanently exile players who were accused of violating the terms and conditions of the game without proof. Luckily I managed to dodge many of the above situations, or just flat out avoid them as most, such as the controversies, didn’t involve me in any way, and the developers have been relatively quick to act on any reported issues leading to what I would consider the most fun I have ever had in an online game since the dawn of World of Warcraft. Despite the flaws Friday the 13th is a fun and atmospheric game that captures the tension, gore and in some cases, the campiness of the film franchise to a perfect tee, and with the promise of much more to come as the developers continue to add to the game as time goes by.
3. South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
A direct sequel to 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole takes place one day after the events of its predecessor, ditching the lord of the rings fantasy theme in favour of the more trendy super hero motif. Keeping in line with the envelope pushing, dark, surreal and satirical humour of the source material, South Park does run a risk of becoming one long stale fart joke over time, yes farting is a key component of the story and gameplay, and most will know if The Fractured But Whole will appeal to them before touching a controller as South Park’s brand of humour definitely isn’t for everyone. Still The Fractured But Whole takes the success of Stick of Truth and runs with it, implementing gameplay improvements that make players prioritize strategic thinking over reflexes, and while some may believe the novelty set forth by the original game may have run dry it is hard to deny the unbridled, politically incorrect fun that only South Park can offer.
2. Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
Easily my hidden gem of the year, Ghost Recon: Wildlands might not reinvent the wheel when it comes to action game narratives but that doesn’t stop it from being a well-constructed tactical shooter. An open world game, a first for the ten game Ghost Recon franchise, has some of the most diverse and beautifully constructed environments to be explored as players traverse around the digital representation of Bolivia. Playing equally well with friends or with directable AI squad mates, Wild Lands gives players the option to play how they choose, whether it is balls to the wall with guns blazing or the more subtle stealth approach, even going as far as to let players pick and choose which targets they pursue as they attempt to take down the Santa Blanca Cartel. As stated before Ghost Recon: Wild Lands doesn’t do anything particularly revolutionary but that doesn’t stop that from being a fun, wild and often overlooked gem in the 2017 gaming calendar.
1. Persona 5.
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Persona franchise and after seeing that Persona 5 did indeed live up to the hype surrounding it, as well as sinking close to 100 hours into not only completing the main campaign but also experiencing as much of the optional side extras as possible, it was no surprise that this landed in my number one spot. A JRPG dungeon crawler with life simulation aspects, Persona 5 is nestled somewhere between the dark edginess of Persona 3 and the light hearted atmosphere of Persona 4, boasting an interesting storyline, likeable cast, strong gameplay, stylish graphics and a top notch soundtrack. Persona 5 follows the story of the player named protagonist who is on probation following false accusations of assault, players will need to manage numerous aspects of the main characters life that range from their school activities to social events with every choice building the character up for the numerous dungeons they will explore through the lengthy journey. Persona 5 isn’t without its flaws however, for some it will be the standard RPG grind, others will point out the lack of ability to play as a female protagonist, an option that hasn’t been present since the Persona 3 Portable edition and others have been more than a little vocal about the representation of the LGBT community with a seldom seen male couple being treated as a lecherous joke at best. Still Persona 5 is an amazing journey that has more than kept pace with its predecessors and is easily a must have for RPG fans.