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#1 Edited by NTM (11826 posts) -

As a Christmas gift, my brother got me Hitman 2016 game of the year edition. I didn't play it around launch (mainly because I wasn't sure about the episodic nature of it) but started last night and I am way more impressed with it than I thought I would be. For starters, visually the game is very good looking and runs much, much better than I was expecting. Maybe it's because I looked at Digital Foundry videos of old footage, but it seemed like the game would try to run at 30fps and struggle to do so, so when starting it and seeing that it has an unlocked frame rate option and runs sufficiently I was happy about that. The game also just looks great aside from frame rate (I heard it was recently updated for the goty edition). I think the main issues with its looks is that the characters are not that great looking and I think the animations in spots could be better.

The sound design is also really good. I don't know if that's better than I expected, but I'm just happy it sounds good too. The music is a little better I think; fitting what you're doing. The structure is also great. It seems a lot easier to execute what you're trying to do than previous Hitman games. I like that many of the things you can do are laid out for you with the challenges and it's just up to you to explore and find out where and how to do it, and yet that's not all. It feels like a smoother, higher quality experience. I took out the first target on the Paris mission but stopped because I got tired last night before going after the second. So with that said, I don't know how the story goes, but I can say that I liked how it started.

It was cool to see it begin in 1999 where 47 started to train as an assassin, and then it jumps ahead after Absolution's timeline. I don't need a great story to go with it, but so far I'm content with the way it's presented. I was hoping the game wouldn't just be about the fun of finding ways to execute your goals, while everything else takes a backseat. It is more than that, with impressive stages to explore and on top of that, the thing I 'didn't just want' is also more exciting than I thought it would be. The first time I threw a fire extinguisher at a guys face was hilarious. I was afraid that the only thing to latch onto was the myriad of ways to assassinate dudes, but I'm finding it all a lot more entertaining and well-designed. Honestly, I am kind of glad I waited this long to play it though.

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#2 Edited by MattGiersoni (587 posts) -

Gran Turismo: Sport. I bought it recently when it was 50% off on PSN and they added more single player content. I was just afraid I would bounce off quickly because I usually dislike sims or sim-like racers and prefer arcadey stuff. It has become an addiction. I actually feel like I'm good at it and the driving school mode/events really helped and taught me a lot. It's super fun, the graphics are insane even on standard PS4 and I'm having a blast with photomodes and livery editor. I even tried a bit of online racing and it was fun too! Plus it has no microtransactions, at all! Always online saving is a bit of a bummer but it's not that big of a deal, I can get past that.

I'm also super excited for what's to come, especially all the free dlcs they've been talking about. So far they delivered, not only did they add more to the aforementioned single player but also they added 16 new cars to the already existing ~130 since release with around 50 more coming by the end of Q1. All for free! I have no doubt there will paid dlc in the future since it seems they are going for a GaaS model, but so far they delivered and more!

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#3 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2064 posts) -

Hmmmm, looking through my short list of games played in 2017... I'd probably say Stories Path of Destiny. I don't know if it's the personal shit that was going off at the beginning of last year whilst i was playing but I have very strong feelings when I think back to that game. For a freebe on ps plus I really enjoyed it. Going into it I expected to play for 10 minutes and turn it off.

Other than that, I'm playing Nioh at the moment. Don't get me wrong I knew I'd like it - I've played every Souls game to date - but I freaking love it!

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#4 Posted by clagnaught (2123 posts) -

SteamWorld Dig 2. I haven't touched any of the SteamWorld games before, but ended up getting it because I had a Switch and....what else was I going to play? Turns out the art of digging is just really satisfying in that game. Then the game evolves like two or three more times between better digging utilities and movement abilities. Towards the end of the game, you sort of develop a sick flow as you hoover, jetpack, grapple, and bomb your way through a lava world while dodging fireballs and moving around more scattershot rock formations. It's just a really fun game to play.

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#5 Posted by Coolarman (1398 posts) -

Assassin's Creed Origins

I have liked/loved other AC games in the past but hadn't played one since Black Flag and fell off the series. The e3 stuff with Origins also didn't really get me excited. So on a whim I decided to get the game cause I heard positive buzz namely from Alex and Ben. Turns out I REALLY like this game. It has reinvigorated my previous love for the series to the point that I ended up going back and buying Assassin's Creed: Syndicate because I didn't play it and played through that to completion.

So yeah AC: Origins is good and people should play it.

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#6 Edited by liquiddragon (3381 posts) -

Looking at the games I played last year, several of them fit the bill:

Saints Row IV - SR3 didn't hook me like it did the staff. I didn't hate it or anything, I thought it was decent fun but nowhere near GOTY material. Still, I was interested enough about SR4 and got around to playing it after receiving it from a community member. To my surprise, the humor worked better for me and I much prefered the superhero gameplay. I connected with SR4 way more than SR3 because of how much they ripped off The Matrix, had great homages to MGS and Streets of Rage, and made fun of Mass Effect.

Batman: Arkham City - Arkham Asylum was super solid but I'm not a guy that automatically loves a metroidvania style game and by the time it rolled credits, I had more than my fill of it. As someone that doesn't know much about comic books, playing Batman: AC was exactly what I wanted out of a Batman game. It let me do cool Batman shit and meet his rogues gallery of enemies. I couldn't ask for much more, liked it better than AA. When I was done with AA, I said "I'll played another Arkham game in a few years", when I was done with AC, I got kinda excited about AK.

Alpha Protocol - I played this 'cause I couldn't quite figure out if ppl around here were joking about this game being good. Turns out, while not a "good" game, it's a ton of fun.

BioShock 2 - I meant to get to this for a long time as a big fan of the first game and Infinite so I finally played it for BioShock's 10th anniversary. The combat is just super good in this one, much better balanced, and fun to experiment with all the given arsenal. I really liked setting traps and f-ing splicers up. Minvera's Den kinda sucked though, I don't know what Brad was talking about with that one.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - This one nearly blew my mind. The story was not very engaging and there was literally not one likable character but an exquisite gaming experience, brilliantly designed. I don't know how it passed me by.

Resistance - Someone on the site wrote a blog about it which got me curious about this game again. I went in wanting to see what a solid launch title meant in 2006 but what I got was a ridiculously satisfying shooter in 2017. I hate bullet sponges like in Gears games but the ones in this game made it really great to pump rounds into.

Weird, all last gen games.

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#7 Edited by GundamGuru (786 posts) -

For me, it was definitely Breath of the Wild. My brother got it launch day for Wii U, and he's been a huge Nintendo fan his entire life. I've tried playing Zelda games off and on (we had a N64 growing up), but not of them have ever really grabbed me. It's mostly been the dungeons. I've never really cared for the whole "sequence of mostly linear dungeons you have to solve with your most recent item" formula that Zelda games traditionally used. The one's I had played the most were Link to the Past and Story of Seasons, because I was a big Gameboy kid. Never beat one though.

Fast forward to last year, and something about the whole buried ancient technology hook with this version of Hyrule really captured my interest. Combine that with the fact that they give you all four powers up front, and leave it up to you to creatively solve the shrines, and I was hooked. I went out and bought the guidebook the after playing it all though the weekend. Yeah, I'm one of those kind of players; I mostly just wanted the Korok map and item lists. BotW was also an interesting case of an open world that didn't have just tons of icon barf and busywork. While the Korok seeds were initially an annoyance, with the map I quickly reached a reasonable inventory size that led me to deprioritize hunting them, only getting them organically.

I really started to have fun with the combat when I accidentally learned how to perfect block, allowing me to be able to take out Guardians with lowly pot lids. Perfect dodges came shortly after, and I was blazing through enemies right around finishing the second Beast. I got really into hunting down gear sets and improving it at the Great Fairies. Taking a quarter heart from Lynel hits is something else. It was a challenge to learn to let go of weapons, though, even the good ones, and shake that kleptomaniac hoarder tendency that Bethesda games have given me over the years. I can see how BotW would be a divisive game among classic Zelda fans. It really has a totally different feel.

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#8 Posted by spankingaddict (2977 posts) -

Dead by Daylight . Multi player horror game sounds like an impossible thing for me to love , but they succeeded.

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#9 Edited by Slag (8157 posts) -

Yakuza 0 and Cuphead

The former I expected to like but not to the degree I did (those sidequests are something else), the latter I didn't know what to expect from the gameplay and was pleasantly surprised that it plays as well as it looks.

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#10 Edited by OurSin_360 (6177 posts) -

Grim dawn - figured it would be a decent diablo clone, now its my most played game on steam.

Yakuza 2- after struggling through the first game i was surpised by how well 2 held up.

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#11 Posted by Dray2k (884 posts) -

Great thread.

The most recent example of a game that impressed me even though I didn't expect that much certainly has been They Are Billions, I liked the artstyle and I always wanted a game that did Zombies in a way I've found a bit more appealing than what other games do but this game completly grabbed me with how cheesy it is.

I've also picked up Dead Cells and its quite neat. I have a very low bar for roguelikes but I've found the fluidity of the gameplay most impressive.

A small anecdote, the game I thought was not good at first sight but was actually one of the best things I've ever had the privilege to play is Sword of the Samurai a few years ago, which is better than the classic Sid Meiers Pirates in almost every regard. It plays much better, knows what it does with the setting in a far better fashion than what Pirates did and also has greater replay value.

For a game that came out in 1989, this could easily become a Game of the Year if they remade it but as a fully fleshed out thing for modern times. Hotline Miami basically ripped from this game a whole lot so it certainly was decades ahead for its time, too. I'm still impressed about this game existing because I haven't heard about it before a few years ago, its really vastly underrated.

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#12 Edited by pweidman (2853 posts) -

Recently bought Rise of the Tomb Raider on the cheap, and wasn't sure how much I'd like the gameplay w/all the timed jumps, traversals, and all that action. However, I've played at least 10 hrs. now and I really have enjoyed it. It looks reallygreat and the exploring and finding the hidden tombs and goodies has been pretty damn fun. The combat is decent and the action sequences, while being really insane height scares, aren't too bad at all to navigate. The story seems boilerplate, but I may even finish it *gasp* :-).

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#14 Edited by deactivated-5c295850623f7 (497 posts) -

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. I thought I'd like it because I like peaceful games, but not so much that it would end up making it to #2 on my top 10 this year.

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#15 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (7837 posts) -

Destiny 2, but a lot of that had to do with playing alongside other members in the community here. For a game that was completely off my radar until a few weeks before release, I got reaaaaally into it in a way I never expected.

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#16 Posted by BaneFireLord (3568 posts) -

Prey (2017). Got it for Christmas with no particular expectations. Turns out I like immersive sims a whole lot.

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#17 Edited by Zeik (5197 posts) -

Yakuza: Kiwami probably. I expected to like it reasonably well, because I like the series overall, but I kept hearing people talk about how it was kind of meh after 0 and kept too many dated elements from the original, so I kinda tempered my expectations. But I honestly enjoyed almost every minute of it. It may not be as good as 0, and I like 4 better too, but I think I like it a lot more than 3 and 5.

The shorter playtime was probably to its benefit. It didn't feel too short, but it didn't overstay its welcome either, something some of the later games could learn from.

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#18 Posted by Demoskinos (17458 posts) -

Persona 5. I historically have bounced off every Persona game I've ever tried. Bought Persona 5 on the black friday sale and loved it. Playing through a second time for trophies now.

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#19 Edited by onarum (3212 posts) -

Elite Dangerous

At first I was like "eh, sure I'll get this for cheap and play a for bit", a week later and I already put in 60 hours... and after those 60 hours I might have maybe explored 0.001% of the galaxy; At first the combat really threw me off, but as soon as I got the hang of it it became quite addictive.

I love how "hands on" everything is, you have to dock manually, land on planets manually, control your cruise speed manually (so you don't overshoot your targets), meticulously guide your ship to scoop stuff out of space, it's pretty awesome; Also driving the SRV is super fun, even though there's not much to do on land.

It does get a bit on the repetitive side though, but I like the grind, there's something satisfying about just cruising around picking bounties here and there, or some high paying missions for the credits plus faction REP.

Also it looks and sounds amazing.

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#20 Edited by nicksmi56 (840 posts) -

Out of 2017, my three big ones are Persona 4, God of War and Majora's Mask.

After hearing how loud and dumb God of War was, I was expecting a button mashy gorefest I'd play for the laughs and then move on, but I was sucked in by the strategy of the combat, the awesome flow of the game and how intense it all got. It was a bunch of fun to go through and got me really interested in character action games.

My only Zelda prior to Majora was Ocarina, which I found a good deal of fun, but obtuse in places and not as fantastic as everyone said. Good game, but not awesome. So imagine my surprise when Majora became my favorite game on the 3DS. I was outright addicted to this one, playing it whenever I could, losing track of time and playing til all hours of the night just to do "one more sidequest." This game targeted my love of sidequests and utterly destroyed me with it. Never thought I'd be able to say I 100%ed a Zelda game, but here we are. Definite runner-up for GOTY as well.

Persona 4 was the second JRPG I ever beat, so my expectations were tempered to the extreme after years of bouncing off Pokemon. Ni No Kuni was awesome, but it could've been a fluke. I didn't expect it to make me laugh and tear up, I didn't expect to find one of my favorite casts in a game (maybe even my favorite), I didn't expect to still be listening to the soundtrack months later and feeling an intense urge to watch the anime just to return to Inaba, and I most definitely didn't expect it to be my GOTY.

More recently? Well considering I just spent pretty much the entire evening outside of family time charging through levels and getting every secret I could find in Super Meat Boy after buying it out of pure curiosity from the word of mouth and letting it sit for three years (maybe more?), I think I can add it to the list of surprises. I have a feeling I'm gonna spend a LOT of time on this one.

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#21 Posted by NTM (11826 posts) -

I'm going to watch my brother play the game. He's going to play it much differently than me, which is to say that he's going to try and murder everyone. Ha ha. Should be funny to see what he's going to do.

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#22 Posted by jgittins (27 posts) -

Probably Titanfall 2. I only really play singleplayer shooters so I kind of skipped over it assuming it would be multiplayer focussed like the first one. It is in EA access so I thought I'd try it out. The campaign is really fantastic, I'm even enjoying it more than the Wolfenstein games. I really like the relationship between the player character and the titan. It reminds me of something like Big Hero 6. It's so nice to play a shooter at 60fps after playing the console version of Destiny 2 as well.

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#23 Posted by BBAlpert (2914 posts) -

I don't know if this counts, but I'm kind of surprised how many hours I've put into Stardew Valley on the Switch. I'm not surprised because I didn't expect to like it, though. I'm surprised because I'd already put a TON of time into it on the PC.

But it got its hooks in me again.

PS: Starfruit wine is overpowered as hell, especially if you have the "artisan goods sell for 40% more" trait.

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#24 Edited by Deathstriker (1174 posts) -

Horizon ZeroDawn: I don't think Guerrilla Games has ever made a good game before this, so I was surprised that this was so good. I just started playing it and beat it within the last couple of weeks. I know there was hype about it when it first came out, but I don't pay attention to hype since people love plenty of games that I'm indifferent to or dislike (Overwatch, Destiny, etc). I was impressed with the world, combat, main character, story, etc. Guerrilla has always been good at graphics but sucked at everything else IMO. Maybe some of that is on Sony since it seems like they were just chasing Halo and Gears, but this time they were allowed to do something creative.

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#25 Posted by Maxszy (2377 posts) -

Doom: I knew it had a great reception. But that type of game is usually not my style. But how well it played, and world it was in, how amazing it looks, it was a fantastic experience. Its one of those that I think anyone who really plays games will enjoy even if its not something they are usually into.

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#26 Posted by ZolRoyce (1589 posts) -

The new Wolfenstein game. I liked the first one well enough, the combat was just okay, but the story was somewhat interesting, but only somewhat. I wasn't super into it, but it did a neat thing or two. Enough for me to go into this second one with the mindset of 'okay, I'll give it a shot.'
I loved the story and world building so much though. Getting to a piece of lore or cutscene was such a reward in a way I wasn't expecting at all. Especially compared to the last one.

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#27 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5990 posts) -

I didn't think I would like Nidhogg II but ended up really loving the matches I played.

I'm a big fan of the first one. I love it's simple look and pure combat. I wasn't an immediate fan of the 2nd game's art and was turned off when I heard there were more weapons. However, after actually playing a few hours of the game I think the new levels are much stronger than the in the 1st game, the music & art style are actually really fun and add to the hilarity of the game, and the new weapons also add to the strategy & variety in real ways. Good game! A reminder that my gut feelings aren't always (ever) right.

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#28 Posted by BrunoFFS (117 posts) -

Horizon Zero Dawn probably.

I knew that i would probably enjoy it, but it ended up being one of my favorite games of the year, only behind Persona 5. The story is suprisingly awesome AND well told, the world and the world-building are top notch, the combat is great (well, against machines, at least), it looks amazing, the designs are incredible. Hell, i 100% it and i usually bounce off open world Ubisoft-esque games at around 5 hours. There are some problems, like the lip sync being off a bit too frequently, and the sidequests being very Meh for the most part, but the whole package is really good. Don't even get me started on how the hell it didn't win Best World and Best Looking at the Gerstmann's.

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#29 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8893 posts) -

I didn't actually mind Agents of Mayhem. It's very much a bland attempt at creating something reminscent of Saints Row without actually being called that, but there are times when it tries to be its own thing and those moments really aren't bad. I like the idea of a squad of selectable characters with skills you can swap in and out through tech and gear, and by and large, the movement around the city is really fluid. The villains aren't bad either. If they'd either committed to this being a Saints Row game or tried harder to create a unique experience here, it might have been great. As it stands, it's better than it got credit for.

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#30 Edited by monetarydread (2889 posts) -

Overwatch - I'm normally not a multiplayer kind of person and the ones I do enjoy are lone-wolf death match games like Quake, UT, COD, and the such. But for some reason Overwatch kept me interested. I think it has to do with my love for playing the character D.Va and the Total Mayhem game types, but i find myself even playing Quick Play on a near daily basis.

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#31 Posted by Ungodly (449 posts) -

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

I got it on sale for the XBox, and I’m actually having fun with it. Story wise it really isn’t taking me anywhere special, but right out the gate they let you off the leash and just say go have fun. So I’m just having a good time wrecking ye old London.

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#32 Posted by poobumbutt (960 posts) -

What Remains of Edith Finch.

I actually didn't know what to expect from this, as I had avoided nearly all talk of the game despite playing it in December, well past release. It's ruminations on death and life resonated with me and I enjoyed the night I spent with it. I also seem to be in the minority of people who found nearly all the memory sequences to be pretty good; I really only bounced off of one.

Furthermore, it gave me a new experience upon finishing it. I won't spoil it here, but at the end of the game, the narration states something - which I presume to be at least one of its main theses - and I disagreed with it. But that's not the new experience, not exactly. What was surprising was that I didn't feel cheated or "hoodwinked" (as I believe Brad phrased his opinion on the same scene). Normally, enjoying a game this much only to reach a conclusion I found to not jive with me would bum me out. Instead, it felt like I had played a three hour (maybe four? I play games slow) supporting argument for that thesis. I simply didn't agree with the conclusion. Like having a friendly debate with someone and at the end, even if no opinions are changed or problems solved, you still say "good talk. That was entertaining, and it made me think". I may not have agreed with Edith Finch's conclusion, but it was a damn fine "argument" to experience.

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#33 Posted by pg77 (110 posts) -

Just Cause 3.

Even with its repetitive nature, I found myself returning to it. Soon enough, I completed the main story missions.

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#34 Posted by MyNiceIceLife (717 posts) -

Uncharted 4. I bought it for whatever reason even though I had only played some of the first one and was kind of meh towards it. Played through all of it on my Extra Life stream and really enjoyed it. There were some things that dragged for me, but not having a lot of background for things it kept me going even though my mind was failing towards the end haha

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#35 Edited by cannonballBAM (792 posts) -
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#36 Edited by Forrester90 (997 posts) -

Hearts of Iron IV.

It seemed like no one likes this game, they say it sits in a weird middle ground between the Grand Strategy play style of HoI2 and the War Sim style of HoI3. I bought it during the steam sale and I've got to say I'm loving it. Its certainly different from the previous games, and not always for the better, but going in with mods and the right expectations has led to me having a great time.

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#37 Posted by Mattca123 (40 posts) -

Formula 1 2017. i didnt think much of it first hand, but after i bought a steering wheel and playseat my gosh this is the most incredible racing game on planet earth

Rocket League: probably the dumbest game ever made which is why i never tried playing. this game is so laid back incredible i love it

Zelda BOTW: was never into zelda games until i played this one. even the first 30 min i didnt like it. But i got hooked. Excellent game