Welcome to the Baer Caev!
Pat Baer is a comedian living in New York City who you may have seen at various PAXes with his panels 404ing It, Improvised Postmortem, and League of Heels. You also may have encountered him on Twitch, where he builds Gundams and LEGO.
Follow Pat on Twitter here.
Battle Chef Brigade exceeded my expectations. A mix of a side scrolling beat-em-up and a match three cooking game, it’s the story that kept me engaged. Battle Chef Brigade is greater than the sum of it’s parts; I don’t think it’d hold up as just as match three game. The total package is one of my favorite gaming experiences of 2017. It’s only this low on the list because it came out in December and I haven’t had enough time with it.
New Colossus is a game that I predict I’ll forget I loved. It’s a fine enough shooter with a story that goes some pretty bizarre places, but the game’s biggest asset is that it came out in 2017. A game about small victories over Nazis appealed to me and let me overlook the level design and shooting. If this had come out two years ago, I don’t think it’d be on my list.
Why yes, this is the first of two Visual Novels on this list. Butterfly Soup follows 4 queer Asian teens who play baseball. Even though this wasn’t my teen experience, the dialog and the text chats feel genuine and natural. If VN games aren’t your style, at least go the itch page and read the comments. That’s probably the first time I’ve suggested reading internet comments, but trust me. I think you’ll feel good knowing how many people see themselves represented in Butterfly Soup.
I love wrestling. This Fire Pro is pretty much what I want in a wrestling game. It just came out of Early Access, but I knew it’d be on my list since it launched. The systems are complex but follow a logic that’s accessible. More importantly, the custom wrestler creation and workshop support is exactly what you expect from a Fire Pro game. The experts out there are already creating every wrestler you can think of. Also someone made me in the workshop.
A cool adventure game about a college dropout trying to figure out her place in a town that seems to have moved on without her? Sign me up. It’s the listlessness and small town gossip that keep this story grounded. Sometimes you just wanna break stuff with your loser friends and play your bass, even if there’s a mystery in the woods.
5. Yakuza 0
Tough jerks with hearts of gold: that’s how I play my open world characters. Yakuza Zero gives me that in spades. Whether it’s helping a band act tough, protecting a fake Michael Jackson from “zombies”, fighting someone as a distraction so a statue man can go pee, or protecting a mushroom salesman, Yakuza Zero lets me solve most problems with my fists and feet. The setting and music kept my interest throughout, even as I was distracted from the main storyline by dance battles and so much karaoke.
4. Pokémon Sun/Moon
“But Pat, Pokémon Sun/Moon came out in November 2016!” Yes. But this is my list, and I put well over a hundred hours into my copy of Pokemon Sun in 2017. Sun/Moon represents the biggest overhaul in a Pokémon game in years. Island Challenges replace Gym Battles. Moves like Surf and Fly are now just abilities you can summon, without having to make a Pokémon learn them. Say goodbye to having a normal type in your party that knew Strength and Cut just because you needed SOMEBODY to do that. If you skipped Sun/Moon, get the update Ultra. The new content doesn’t come in till late in the game, so it’s probably not a must have if you just finished Sun/Moon. BTW, have you seen Guzzlord? That’s an incredible Pokémon. Google it.
And here’s my other visual novel that made the list. There are so many available dads to date in your new neighborhood. If Butterfly Soup is a solid representation of reality, Dream Daddy is an idyllic paradise that doesn’t ring true in 2017. It’s a sort of wish fulfillment that all these bisexual and gay men all happen to be living in the same cul de sac, and no one has any issues with that at all. Dream Daddy is a traditional dating sim, and that’s fine by me. And if you must know, I wooed Damien Bloodmarch. Of course I went after Goth Dad.
Oh yes, my #2 GOTY is the sixth expansion for Hearthstone. With every expansion, Blizzard introduces several new (or modified) game mechanics. Some are more meta changing than others. Lifesteal, a mechanic that some cards had in previous expansions, has done little to change up people’s game style. But players have built decks specifically around the Death Knight cards, which replace your hero and hero power. Mage and Priest decks become basically instant-win when the Death Knight is played, while low tier classes like Hunter were given somewhat of a chance if their DK is included in the right deck. We’re already on the next expansion, but I’ll remember KotFT fondly.
So much has already been said about PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Even if the game had missed hitting 1.0 and stayed in Early Access, it’d be my GOTY. I don’t know how many hours I’ll put it Battlegrounds next year, or how many hours I’ll watch live streams and youtube highlights. But the game I engaged with the most in 2017, and got the most enjoyment out of, was hands down PUBG. At this very moment, I’d rather be vaulting in Miramar than finishing this list. See you in Murder Desert?