2017 So Far

Not much of a list yet.

List items

  • Horizon Zero Dawn upsetting Persona 5 despite (or partially because of?) years of built-up anticipation might speak more to Horizon's unexpected and surprising strengths more than any particular weakness with Persona 5, though P5 certainly has a few.

    This could easily turn into another Overwatch/Stardew Valley situation with the top two slots leapfrogging each other throughout the year until I'm eventually forced to settle for a tie. Reflecting on my time in The Frozen Wilds expansion for a bit could break the deadlock. As would, like, y'know, actually finishing my NG+ run through P5 (not likely.)

  • It was my most probable GOTY pick. It's quite likely not going to be my actual GOTY pick. I didn't see that coming, which is always nice.

    There's way, way more to say about Persona 5. It's a very, very good game, one of the best in the series. Chances are it's the best JRPG on the Playstation 4 unless we're including legacy stuff on PSN. But it's still somehow not the slam dunk a ton of folks were expecting. Plenty of reasons for that, but we can leave the postmortem for another time and place.

  • Smart, charming, funny as hell, and quite deep and insightful, often in fairly depressing ways. It should hit close to home for some folks and probably from more than one angle. Given its ability to deftly balance humour and depression via cartoon animals you could call this the Bojack Horseman of video games. Maybe.

    I don't see this falling out of my top three. Thankfully the internet hasn't quite gotten around to pulling an Undertale on this one yet, so it should remain a firm favourite and not something that ever feels run into the goddamned ground by its own fans. Hopefully.

    There's also new free content coming soon which I'm sure will be great, though Persona 5 and Horizon both feel locked into the top two slots. But it'll probably be enough to keep Before the Storm from nipping at its heels. Probably.

  • A Sonic game going this deep in my GOTY list in 2017? Strange but true. This is what Sonic 4 should've been, in 2010 or 1995 or... whenever, really. This is what EVERY Sonic sequel since the Genesis should've been.

    Sega finally broke "the Sonic cycle" - by turning it over almost completely to the fan community. It may never happen again, or at least maybe not in exactly the same way, but I suppose we should just be happy that it finally happened at all.

  • Someone (Greg Miller?) said on a Bombcast recently that Life is Strange: Before the Storm has no business being as good as it is. So far he's spot on. Pretty significant doubts were cast on this thing basically the moment it was announced thanks to the usual prequel blues, a new development team, and the voice actor's strike - just existing as an unexpected spin-off from a modern classic is odd enough - but Before the Storm has somehow risen above each of those challenges with ease.

    That said, there's still one episode left, and with it comes one more chance for this whole thing to collapse somehow under its own weight, but based on the strength of the first two episodes I don't think we've got much to worry about. After two episodes, the worst that can really be said about Before the Storm is that it's hard to tell if the story its telling is totally necessary, but... maybe that's fine?

  • I have yet to taste a chicken dinner. Maybe I'm more of a beef man?

    PUBG is a helluva thing, but also a helluva thing that everyone is familiar with, so I can just leave the blurb at that. I've had my issues with it, but they're mostly issues I feel have become less problematic than they were in the first few months of Early Access, with a few exceptions. Who knows if the simple act of jumping or opening doors will ever feel completely natural, or if there will ever be a ping counter or a free practice range or blah blah blah. At its core, PUBG is a weird-ass mod of a weirder-ass spinoff of an old weird-ass ARMA game, so it may never completely shake-off all those sedimentary layers of fossilized jank.

    But the things PUBG does well it does well enough to be quite unique, and virtually nothing has been more fun to watch and talk about this year than PUBG.

  • A shorter, tighter, smoother paced Uncharted 4 with better characters, though your mileage may vary on one or more of those points. Hey, this is my list; if you wanna write yer own list and ramble on about the lack of scruffy dudes doing their best Nathan Fillion impressions, you go right ahead.

    Having only played Uncharted 4 prior to this and therefore having no particular affinity for Chloe Frazer, I can say that Lost Legacy (and Claudia Black, who should get most of the credit) does an admirable job of reintroducing the character and gives the uninitiated such as myself plenty of reasons to care about her by the end, which is no small feat for a big franchise spin-off. Her interplay with Nadine is as good or better than anything we saw from Nathan and Sam not long ago.

    But after two Uncharted games in the space of roughly a year, the first of which didn't quite know when to end, I do find myself catching some fatigue, unfortunately. Uncharted's gameplay loop at its most typical has its limits even with the newer open world chapters and minor new mechanics thrown in to break things up a bit; though I do appreciate those efforts, I can't help but wonder if this series has run its course in its current form, regardless of casting. Sharing 2017 with Horizon Zero Dawn does Uncharted no favours either.

  • Decent enough for a gacha thing. I've never had any particular interest in Fire Emblem, but somehow Heroes of all things changed that. Now I'm seriously considering picking up a Switch so I can check out the inevitable new (non-Warriors) Fire Emblem thing.

    Has Fire Emblem been better all along than all the Shinings Force and Suikodens Tactics and Disgaeas I've played and enjoyed over the years? Did I just never notice until a damn phone game made it slightly more accessible? Wild and wacky stuff right there.

  • I'm a newcomer to Fire Pro so it's going to take me a while wrap my head around its eccentricities, particularly the grapple timing. The depth and breadth of its customization is legendary, however. Launching on Steam with full Workshop integration was clutch.

    This is an Early Access title at the moment, so it could end up getting shoved out of the running for 2017.


  • Slime Rancher vs. Animal Crossing for the final Top 10 slot will be an interesting battle. Both games are overflowing with incredibly cute shit - and I do likes me some cute shit - but neither are completely free from nagging little issues, so they're unlikely to rise higher into the list, which only exacerbates the deadlock. Hmm.

    Animal Crossing being a mobile game with all the baggage that carries will probably be the deciding point in favour of the deeper and freer Slime Rancher, even if I'm probably less likely to chain myself to a desk to keep playing Slime Rancher for as long as I did with Stardew Valley last year or even Animal Crossing this year.

  • It's alright, what what! There are problems though, bitty. Wop wop wop, warble warble, wop wop.

  • The newer, fresher, shinier Steam version. It ain't a 2017 original of course so I doubt it'll stick around for long, but it might settle somewhere in the honourable mentions. Assuming I even manage to play ten 2017 releases in 2017.

  • I want to like this, I really do. It's just not there yet. Maybe it's nowhere even close.

    But it's also in Early Access, so it could be 2018's problem. Woof. Hoping this thing turns around, but so far...

  • TBD. Never played the original, so I might be about to be blindsided.