Best of 2017

This is for me, not for you. I might write some things, or I might not.

List items

  • This game is going to feature in a lot of lists and each will go into meticulous detail as to why it's one of the greatest games of the year/generation/all time, so I'm not going to go into any of that jazz as you're either bored of hearing it or you can find a much more articulate justification elsewhere.

    On a personal level, I wasn't planning on buying a Nintendo Switch at all regardless of how great Zelda was. But then I suddenly found myself admitted into hospital in February of 2017 and, having been discharged a week later, I was told I couldn't return to work for at least a month. Coincidentally, the Switch was released the same week, and as I suddenly found myself with a large stretch of time alone at home and little else to distract myself, it seemed like an obvious purchase. It was a split second decision but it paid off.

  • Similar to Zelda, my appreciation of For Honor is based almost completely on timing. I was discharged from Hospital shortly after the release of For Honor and, searching desperately for a distraction from the ongoing paranoia over my health, I jumped at a game which I normally would have completely dismissed. I spent 4 weeks quietly but consistently freaking out, and a game of For Honor became almost meditative in it's ability to calm me down and to pull me out of a panic spiral. The matches are timed at about 5 minutes each, which was the perfect length for me to quickly play one before swapping back to something else. But I quickly discovered that there was a depth to this game which felt very natural to me, and rewarding too - the combat system is essentially a fighting game - a series of parries, cancels, specials and combos - but slowed down and simplified to a speed which didn't immediately exclude me or require thousands of hours to master. Partly for this reason, and I guess partly because I had little else to occupy my time, I picked this up very quickly, and began consistently winning my matches. For Honor most closely resembled, bizarrely, Rocket League - another great game which could be played in short bursts with a low barrier of entry but with a depth that took much longer to master.

    For most this game will be merely average, and in a year with so many other fantastic games being released it's no surprise that it doesn't prominently feature elsewhere. Normally I would have completely ignored it myself, so I understand. On a very personal level though, For Honor kept me sane at a time when I really needed it, and for that it deserves a spot on this list.

  • I downloaded this literally on NYE so it made the cut on a technicality, as most of the time I've spent playing it has been in 2018, but it still counts dammit. You can read my thoughts about it over here:

    https://www.giantbomb.com/profile/sweep/blog/this-is-the-first-jrpg-ive-played-in-years-and-i-c/116414/