Saturday Summaries 2019-03-30: Sweet Seventeen Edition

On this week's UPF, along with four hours of eventful buffoonery, it was brought up just how packed a year 2017 was. I think we all still have games from that year that we've yet to play and still want to, and even as someone who only usually focuses on about four or five different genres my own personal 2017 wishlist is still formidable some two years later. The fact is, while I've made a huge dent in it from between the end of 2017 to now - as evinced by the list below - there's still many more I'm interested in.

To highlight this, I've prepared a table of all the 2017 games I've played in 2017, in 2018, in 2019 so far, those I own and have yet to play ("Backlog"), and those I have yet to purchase ("Wishlist"). I've arranged them in my preferred order, so you can think of them as a mini-series of top-ten lists for fifty (mostly) great games somehow all released the same year. It hopefully proves if proof were needed that 2017 really was a remarkable year for games - one where everything lined up just right, and both the Indie and AAA crowds were firing on all cylinders.

#201720182019 (as of Q2)BacklogWishlist
1NieR: AutomataSuper Mario OdysseyNiohDivinity: Original Sin IIWolfenstein II: The New Colossus
2Shovel Knight: Specter of TormentYs VIII: Lacrimosa of DanaWest of LoathingYakuza 0Trails in the Sky: The Third
3Horizon Zero DawnThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildStrikey SistersXenoblade Chronicles 2What Remains of Edith Finch
4The Sexy BrutaleTales of BerseriaLife is Strange: Before the StormMario + Rabbids Kingdom BattleMetroid: Samus Returns
5PreyHollow KnightSouth Park: The Fractured But WholeTokyo Xanadu Ex+Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
6Torment: Tides of NumeneraPersona 5TacomaThimbleweed ParkCuphead
7Uncharted: The Lost LegacySteamWorld Dig 2Battle Chasers: NightwarBear With Me (Ep 2 + 3)Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
8Cosmic Star HeroineA Hat in TimeAssassin's Creed OriginsAER: Memories of OldGolf Story
9Yooka-LayleeSnake PassMass Effect: AndromedaTokyo 42Night in the Woods
10Alwa's AwakeningRakuenSimulacraHoly Potatoes! We're in SpaceEver Oasis

Simulacra

The Indie Game of the Week this time felt like a creepypasta come to life, an occasionally blunt but still intriguing horror game told entirely through a smartphone interface. Taking on a vaguely voyeuristic aspect as you go through the private data of a missing woman in order to help track her down, lying to her friends for answers, and posing as her online to bait out whomever might be behind her abduction. I neglected to mention this extra layer of duplicity and "how far are you willing to go to help this stranger?" element in the review, which instead focused mostly on the game's flaws and its semi-novel approach to telling a spooky story. There's a few games of this sort, where you piece together the solution to a mystery through found footage and legacy files (Her Story and Christine Love's Analogue: A Hate Story for example, but also the previous game from Simulacra's devs: Sara is Missing for iOS/Itch.io), but I think there's a lot of room for it to grow as a sub-sub-genre.

Link here: Indie Game of the Week 112: Simulacra

Warframe

Yep, still plugging along with Warframe. I originally went with this one day per week format on principle - if it really was the time-vampire people made it out to be, establishing a limitation so I could keep playing all the other games I wanted to get around to this year was paramount - but I might have to start signing in every so often throughout the week to accommodate the game's F2P features. In succinct terms, everything you acquire in Warframe needs to be bought in blueprint form, after which its ingredients can be farmed and then the item can be built in the player's foundry. However, true to the F2P experience everything has an extraordinarily long building time: from the 24 hours it'll take to build this robotic companion I'm working on to 72 hours for each warframe component (and another 72 to assemble all these components into the warframe once we're done). If I want to finish a session with the means to build a new warframe, I'd need to pop in every three days to cycle what the foundry is working on.

Despite all that, I'm still enjoying the game's loop of dropping on a planet, dashing through with guns and swords, finding lots of loot and gaining XP for my individual weapons and warframe, and then absconding to the next adventure. It's all very quick, unless you really go out of your way for items or decide to stealth it, and now that I'm on a second planet I'm a lot closer to having enough resources to start building things. Just need to figure out a rational timetable to do so to keep this otherwise weekly schedule viable.

Link here: Seeking Warframe & Fortune (Part 2)

Okage: Shadow King

I actually don't want to get too deep into Okage right now, because I'm in the process of writing up its "Bucketlog" entry: the feature that pops up at the end of every month with some new/old blast from the past to which I've finally gotten around. Suffice it to say it's one of the more bizarre PS2 RPGs I've ever played, not just in tone and script and aesthetic but in structure too. Incredibly basic in some ways, so off-kilter in others. That novelty has managed to carry me through the game's rough patches so far (particularly the combat and difficulty spikes) and I'll have more to say about the whole enchilada in a conclusive review later this weekend, ideally before we move into April.

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