2017's Thoroughly Played Games List

Another year, more video games. You know the drill. These aren't all 2017 games, just the games I played in 2017. Good talk.

List items

  • There's fun weird, like the first season or two of lost and Twin Peaks. Then there's pretentious weird, often incomprehensible and too up its own ass to be interesting or fun. Unfortunately, Virginia's more of the latter than the former.

    First, I don't understand a thing that's going on, and that's not just because of the deliberate obtuseness of the plot, but because the graphics don't lend themselves to understanding the minutia you're supposed to be seeing. It's aggravating to not be able to make out what the hell small details are or why they should matter.

    Second, the game doesn't know when to end. There's a certain point at which two endings are teased at, the latter of which would have made for a poignant end to an otherwise terrible experience. Unfortunately, the game instead goes for option C, a crackhead's bizarre pipedream of an ending that's far too weird for its own good.

    If there's one saving grace for the game, it's the music, which is astoundingly good, and probably got robbed of score of the year, if I had such an award. At times, it reminds me a bit of the thrillers of the early nineties - The Fugitive, etc., while still very much its own thing. It's haunting and more than a little beautiful, and well worth a listen on its own.

  • I had a lot of fun with Far Cry Primal. Like Mad Max and AC: The One What Had British Twis Wot Wot, it's an entirely solid open-worlder that, unfortuately, never really does much to stand out from the crowd. Story's pretty good, though.

  • I'm not Dishonored 2's target audience. I'm playing it on easy, not worrying about stealth, and I'm still getting murdered every other minute.

    I want to like this series. I do. But in a lot of ways, it reminds me of Lost Odyssey in that its best parts - its lore - are hidden away by texts you find in game. The story of the game itself is a bit of a yawn-fest, with characters I just don't care about doing things that don't matter to me one bit. I don't care about the new Empress. She's given one minute of villainy (almost literally), and then you're on the run. I don't care about Corvo, who you see for precisely two minutes. I don't care about the plethora of colorful side-characters because all their best stories are hidden away in books rather than developed through the game.

    Come to think of it, that's maybe my biggest problem with this series as a whole. Dishonored 2 should be a book, not a game, at least until Bethesda can hire a decent in-game writer to make me give a flying fart about any of this.

  • Though I eventually couldn't beat a boss due to my vision, I found this to be a surprisingly fun throwback. Feels like an old arcade game but has enough variety in the little things you do to keep me hoooked. Could do without less referential humor, but hey.

  • Really solid point-and-click adventure game with a lot of charm and some surprisingly well written bits and pieces. Good sense of humor, though not all the jokes land.

  • Such a good RPG, even today. Cannot praise the Steam version enough.

  • While the third episode has some terrific character moments and is, by and large, one of the better Telltale episodes out there, this series sure doesn't love to explore the titular galaxy. You're limited to three temples, a few on-ship moments, and not a lot more. The scope is head-scratchingly narrow.

  • Thimbleweed unfortunately misses the mark of the classic LucasArts adventure games. While some of the characters and settings have a certain degree of charm, most seem like cooke-cutter quirky adventure game characters of the early nineties.

    Gameplay-wise, the verb system is largely unnecessary. Objects usually only have three verbs that matter - look, use, or give. By and large, the open, close, and other verbs are rendered pointless or could have been lumped into those. We've moved beyond that system for a reason, particularly when it's not being done for laughs (Leisure Suit Larry's later iterations using the "zipper" action is a great example).

    That could be forgiven if the puzzles had a bit more focus. At some point, someone should have said, "Look, digging through phone books is a chore. It's not fun. It's not even particularly amusing." But instead, the game seems to take time to purposefully stretch out gameplay elements by old adventure conventions - you'll want to write down the exact model number of things, because your character won't remember them and you'll be stuck wading through unskippable dialogue to get the thing you actually need.

    It's an irritating game with a lot of irritating choices masked by a certain degree of charm that just can't hide the fact that this isn't a particularly great example of the genre.

  • It's Black Flag 1.5, with a pretty decent story to boot. Surprisingly good.