The year 2017 was pretty damn amazing for video games. This is probably one of the best years I can say so far for this decade. We got the new Nintendo console called the Switch which is still taking the world by storm. Sony has been killing it with amazing exclusives. Many 3rd party companies showing their best stuff with boosting their properties, brand new IP’s that freshen their brand, or even collaborating together. I can even admit that Microsoft has been doing well with the indie scene. Overall, I can feel that many top tens this year are going to be unique from one another, even more than other years. There were simply too many good games this year. Again I could not play everything, but I always like to honor some games that shattered the media.
I feel bad for not having this game on my top ten list this year. I can easily tell I would love it, but for some reason I did not play it enough. I did not even finish fighting off the first enemy of the game. I really have no reason on why, I just did not continue playing. From what I did play though and the music I listened too, this seems just like another Persona game, which means it is great. Persona 3 and 4 are big favorites of mine and hopefully 5 can be up there too. I do love the use of phantom thieves and the cast really does stand out well, really reminds me of 3’s cast a bit. There is even the sexy doctor which that is so going to be the first social link I max out. The combat felt great from what I played and I got killed earlier than I expected. The return of the sub weapon system really got me happy since I enjoyed the gun play of Persona 2 a whole lot. So, I will easily get to this game for the year of 2018 and will probably just do a review of it or maybe even a LP series of it.
Resident Evil 7/Evil Within 2
I got to say, we got some surprisingly good horror games this year. One being a franchise returning to its horror roots and another franchise saving itself. With Resident Evil, I did not enjoy 5 and 6 at all and was happier with the Revelation series. I will admit getting to Resident Evil 7 at first, I was not expecting to have fun with it at all. The first-person view is usually a turn off for me in any game, but the controls with this game were not crazy since this is a horror game. I was surprised by how certain fights have different paths to them and many different ways to play them. The DLC for this game even shows how much they can change the play methods, where Chris is loaded to the teeth and then we got Punch-Out Biohazard Edition! Also, I so love Jack, easily one of my favorite characters of this year. Evil Within was a mediocre horror game that I was disappointed by since Shinji himself was back with a new horror game, but that just felt like it was repeating his recent works. Evil Within 2 not only fixed the many problems from the first game, it even made its own image this time around. I will admit I am sad that many of the environment kills are gone, but the game did good with supplying you with enough items and parts. The overall presentation was much better with this game and was straighter to the point with the whole dream sequences. There were even way better boss battles in this game compared to the first one and I was impressed how dangerous this hub-like world really was. You think you are safe because you have been to this location before, but Evil Within 2 really knows how to throw some curveballs. Then with another mention of favorite characters, that would have to be Stefano, what a delight he was. Overall this two horror franchises impressed me and I hope for even better for the continuation of them.
The game many have been waiting for and I will admit, I have not even played it yet. I do not have a strong computer and never owned any Xbox in my life and still do not plan on doing so. Cuphead should not be ignored though. This game got tons of love from the people who have played it and I can easily tell people to play this game still. If you love the old school shooter games like Contra, you will be set for this game. It is a hard game and I am not mentioning any Dark Souls crap here! This game is hard without needed to talk about Dark Souls. You need to pay attention to patterns which is similar to Megaman boss battles. Cuphead knows how to throw a lot at you and wants you to lose, so that you can learn and keep getting better. This reminds me with how some Platinum games can be where losing does not mean you are bad, that game over screen is important in telling you how to play. Then the obvious thing to mention is that the game has amazing animations bringing back the old school cartoon look. This game is hard and I am happy to see more hard games coming out, Dark Souls is not the only hard game around.
Fire Emblem Echoes Shadows of Valentia
I am a big Fire Emblem fan and I will admit my time with Fates was a bit odd because of how much I had to play for the complete experience. I can easily say that Fates was still a strong title for the franchise with the three stories having varied methods of level design. I will say though something like Echoes though really made me happier. I started with Path of Radiance on the Gamecube and loved the classic styles of Fire Emblem more. So, Echoes gave me the taste of a classic title with some new additions. This is a remake of the second game of the franchise called Fire Emblem Gaiden. This was a smaller game in comparison of what has been given recently, but this felt more focused. There was full voice acting for this game which was surprising and I love Awakening and Fates character designs, but I will admit the art style of Echoes felt a bit better for Fire Emblem. The lack of a weapon triangle shocked many recent fans and even me, but this is a remake of the second game which the original one did not have the triangle. I even enjoyed this dungeon crawling moments since it is good for grinding. I do hope that this new series of remakes can bring more in the future because if we get a remake for the fourth game, that would-be mind-blowing.
Crash Bandicoot/Sonic Mania
Returning to the market are two classic platformer franchises. Crash Bandicoot got a full remake for his first three games and Sonic came back with an old school flavor. I never grew up with Crash Bandicoot, but good friends of mine were easily excited. I will admit the return of a franchise is great to see, Crash easily deserved it since that franchise had some dark moments. The game looks great and easily shows why people fell in love with the orange bandicoot. The character is zany and the level designs are fantastic with showing how fast and crazy things can get. With Sonic it does seem that his usual self keeps showing up now these days with a title like Sonic Forces. Mania though reminds people why Sonic got started in the first place. The amount of love for Sonic Mania was insane since this was a legit game being made by life long fans. The creators of Mania knew how to spice up the classic Sonic formula without missing the point of the originals. This game brought Sonic back to being fast in 2D graphics. Man, with all these amazing comebacks, who else can come back? Bubsy? No Bubsy, go away!
10. Stick Fight/Gang Beasts
For the first slot of this list it is a tie between two amazing party games. These are fighting games, but more in the level of Smash Bros with ease of play and tons of party value. Stick Fight is frantic and confusing in the best way possible. You got to kill your friends in this game! The levels keep changing up and new elements are shown at random. You can be dealing with simple platforms, to ice, to magma, and then lasers just melt you! There will even be gun drops and one of these guns has snakes! Gang Beasts has been in beta for a while and many have play it before the official release. Gang Beast is finally done and is out and man it is still fun to play. This game is more of a physics game where you have to learn how to control each unique property. The way you grab, punch, and jump around like a fool needs to be learned. I fully enjoy all the levels as you can be flying with the fans or getting smacked by billboards while on top of a truck. If you ever get these game, just make sure to have friends to play it with because you will be losing them quickly if you are killing them.
9. Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
Now I know many will be mad for me for having this game at number nine on the list. The first fact of me is that I am not the biggest Zelda fan. I usually enjoy most Zelda games and I even love Skyward Sword. I have not played every game though and some I do have, but have never finished like Four Swords Adventures. Now with Breath of the Wild, this actually got me surprised. The Zelda format got a big change and I have been playing this with a friend of mine and man what a blast this game can be. I really adore the big world with so much happening in it. Exploration is great with this title and with the many colorful characters and monsters keeps it fun. The shrines and actual dungeons have amazing designs to them. The Zelda series has been made fun of for having some obvious puzzles, but Breath of the Wild really made things new and fresh. There are many mechanics to learn and when you do master them, you can do quite a lot. You can even bypass certain puzzles if you are smart enough, the game will allow it. This easily fits the bill of easy to learn, but hard to master logic. I really enjoy the combat of this game since there is more to Z-targeting this time around. The combat can stay on edge thanks to some unknown elements like weapons and weather. There are tons of stuff to do and I can still admit there are some little flaws here and there, like how easy some weapons can just break and sometimes the game can get a little funky, which leads to death. Overall though, this was a nice new adventure with Zelda and cannot wait to see what is next for Link.
Fire Emblem Warriors
Just like the previous Warriors spin off with Legend of Zelda, I feel that Fire Emblem Warriors is up there as being one of the best games of the overall franchise. I know people are not super happy with the roster, but let it grow because we all know how Hyrule Warriors just kept on adding characters. I will say I am a little disappointed that some characters have similar move sets like they based the moves on the actual classes and not the character. The DLC for this title is already showing some differences like we got two lance users from the Fates pack, but Oboro and Azura play too differently. The voice acting is all correct and nothing feels off in that department. The story is straight forward like other Warrior games and nothing wrong with that because I am skipping them anyways. The battles can get really threatening just like I felt with Hyrule Warriors. The use of the weapon triangle is clever and planning out where certain units go is useful with this knowledge. I even love when an archer comes out and just gives fear to all flying units, but you can still risk that and succeed. The challenge mode in this game feels just like Hyrule Warriors and I have no problem with that since it can be quite challenging. I will say I am more for this title compared to Hyrule Warriors and that could just be I am more for Fire Emblem. Overall this has the same execution as Hyrule Warriors, using the known formula and spicing it up with another franchise’s specialties. I just hope later down the line this will get characters from titles like Sacred Stones, Path of Radiance, and Radiant Dawn (just give me Zihark, Illyana, Black Knight, and Ephriam).
7. Gravity Rush 2
Gravity Rush was a unique game for the PS Vita that soon got some major love for the PS4. Not only did this first game get a remastered edition, it even got a sequel! Gravity Rush 2 keeps the many perks of the original game, but easily expands on ideas since this is being made for consoles originally this time. The areas you explore are way bigger this time around and the combat is a bit finer tuned. I really love doing the Gravity Kicks in this game! This game even reminds me of the awesome Spider-man 2 game with the great web slinging. Kat and Raven’s gravity powers easily recreates that fun mechanic because it is so fun to simply explore. Shifting gravity around to get to areas can be crazy, but maintaining that chaos is fun. The speed of it is great and it is a game that gives you time to get used to it and does not force a difficulty spike at you. The experience of this game is great because of a unique style of story telling I do not see much in video games. The people have their own language and the use of the art for the cut scenes is ambitious none the less. Also, Kat and Raven are way too likeable! Kat is cute, playful, and nice that you get addicted to her fun attitude. Raven can come across as a bit like a solo girl, but she is accepting just with a blunt attitude to things. These two do well together and all the new characters added just work well with that formula. Overall this is a great step for this franchise and I hope it can still continue because I want Sony to keep pumping out this type of franchise from their first party staff.
6. Tekken 7
Tekken has not always been my go to fighting game. The only Tekken game I can say that is a go to would be Tekken 3. Tekken 3 introduced so much to the franchise and still just plays so damn well. It even changed the roster big time with many new additions. Since then I can say Tekken did not always grab me, but Tekken 7 easily did that. This just gives me back that addictive feel I have with Tekken 3. The combat is so smooth with so much experimentation with a great roster to boost that. DLC for this game is already strong with a character like Geese Howard being added. The bowling is a fun mini game too. The big shock was that Akuma is not only a playable character, but a big name in the Tekken story now. Akuma is a guest character and yet he already felt so deep in Tekken, this is probably one of the best playable Akumas as well. The character customizing is as silly as ever which is great because you can make so many strange creations. I will say the lack of a simple VS CPU function is odd, but they replaced that well with the awesome Treasure Battle. Now the story mode for Tekken 7 was easily something that was being advertised the most. While being a bit standard in terms of writing, the execution was nice. The hard battles were easily pumped up well and by hard I do mean hard! If you play on the hard options of this mode, get ready for a fight! The bosses you have to fight in this game are no joke. Devil Kazumi, Devil Kazuya, and even Shin Akuma will slap you silly if you are fooling around. I can say the Shin Akuma fight is up there with some Guilty Gear boss battles in terms of extremely hard and yet so much fun. Personally, I am a bit sad that Tekken 7 has not been getting much mention for being such a great product for fighting games this year while Injustice 2 has been taking that glory. Either way, Tekken 7 is a great time with a fighting game that reignited my addiction with Tekken’s combat.
5. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
I am a big Xenoblade fan alright! I can easily admit the change in art style was surprising and I was actually not for it originally. With time though things got better with the art and there are actually many character designs I really love in this game. I know many people have problems with certain designs and I do too, but I can say there is more good than bad. Moving on, Xenoblade was this one hit wonder on the Wii that soon started to become a franchise with a port on the 3DS, an indirect sequel for the Wii U, and now a new title for the Switch. Xenoblade 2 brings the combat more to the original in terms of flow with things a bit slower compared to X. This is because there are many things to set up in this game other than just the usual break into topple. There is break into topple and then even into launch and this is not even including all the elemental bonuses you can get. In each fight there are many set ups for special elemental attacks and the menu is so great with that. For your moments, it is right below your name and when allies are ready they are to the left and right. I remember hearing some issues with the menus and yet I had no trouble at all. This could be from experience with Xenoblade in general though. I find this game to be extremely well-organized because you can set active quests and even then, you can check up your progress on any quest you have activated. The game even tells you when you completed a quest with a little side bar popping up. The tutorials were simple and not dragging the game at all as mastering this game comes easy and naturally. The best part does have to come with the collection of Blades though. There are so many to get and even if you get ones you are not happy with, like just the common brands of Blades, they can still be useful to you. One of my favorite aspects of Megaman X Command Mission was the Deploy Mode. All you do is send little companions to previous areas you explored to and they bring you items that can help you. Xenoblade 2 actually does something extremely similar to that with a new type of questing. You simply send Blades out on quests and you can make a strong party of them to make sure you can get a conquest. I will admit though their English dub of this game has an issue and that is more with how the game is off sync with it. Then the aggravation with enemies if real with this title. You can die way too easily in the beginning sections which can get annoying. I am sad that they left out the icons that tell you so much about an enemy and can admit that I had trouble finding out how to lock off an enemy. It did lead to me accidentally fighting something I should have actually ran away from. Even with the flaws this title has, the story is still strong, the soundtrack is superb, the exploration is still fun and takes a new pace, the little mini game Tiger Tiger is fun and important, and the overall gameplay feels great.
4. Yakuza 0/Kiwami
Sega, thank you. This is a very interesting moment for the Yakuza franchise since it is getting way more attention than it did before. Yakuza 0 really got people surprised and many new fans into the series. A close friend of mine is getting into the franchise because of this title and he has played Kiwami right now too. Even a big Youtuber like Angry Joe has admitted that he has gotten stuck in Yakuza. Yakuza 0 is probably the best game of the franchise right now. I love the Yakuza 3 engine so much and seeing its last hurrah is great. Yakuza 0 easily shows off why the series did not die out. What was a pleasant surprise being that compared to the four characters you played as in games like 4, Dead Souls, and 5 has been reduced to two characters. The smart move though was to change how they play though. Kiryu and Majima both big names in this franchise were given four different styles of fighting. You can easily switch between them in any fight. This was even carried into Kiwami where you do only play as Kiryu, but the Majima Everywhere system is godlike! So, the combat is great like always, but I have to say that the mini games in 0 are the best! The best one being Majima’s Cabaret Club where you have many hostesses in your roster and you can even dress up your best girls. This was a huge expansion compared to where Akiyama would be doing that in 4 and 5. Then the sense of reward in this game was crazy. You use money to upgrade stats and buy many things and there so many ways to get money. Kiryu runs real estate and Majima has his business which I explained about already. You will never run out so this make getting those upgrades easier and they will be needed. There is even softcore pornography in this game and that is a reward from doing the side quests! Overall, I am hoping that Yakuza keeps this stride because there is finally way more love for it as of now and I am happy to see it finally getting what it deserves.
3. Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2
Guilty Gear just had to come out with another new addition of Xrd. High chance this will be the last build as I am excited to see what the next Guilty Gear is going to look like. Either way with this new version the biggest reason why I was so happy with this title is with a return of Baiken. This badass woman has always been my favorite in the Guilty Gear series and even fighting games in general. I do admit getting used to her new counter system was a hassle, but in the end, I am more of an aggressive Baiken player. There are other adjustments with this title like the introduction of a new Roman Cancel, purple. This one appears when you do it at the last frame of an attack as this gives you no recovery frames. I really do enjoy the additions of new Roman Cancels since it really gives players new ways to perform them. On top of that the presentation and game play is still some of my favorites with fighting games. I even loved the new story additions with the After Story sections, where Ky shows his true talent, Venom finally gets a canon happy ending, and PUDDING! The fun I had with this title both with friends and by myself is great and I cannot wait for Arc Systems Works’ next projects. Guilty Gear Rev 2 still makes me crazy and I wanna be crazy.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
A new Mario title is not new news, of course Mario is going to get a new game. With Odyssey though this is a new level of Mario that I hope can stay in some type of spin-off series, or at least like one sequel. The last full 3D adventure Mario had in this style was with Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 and I remember booting that first game on my new Wii when its first year on Christmas. Now if you ask me my favorite Mario title, this could be a contender. Two Mario games I would take tons about would be Mario 3 and 64. Both games have these well-done worlds that not only amuse me in their presentation, but with how they were made. Odyssey feels like a great continuation of Mario 64 logic where you can really have your own little adventure. There are still scripted moments and times you will have to progress, but in reality, you can suck a world dry and move on. The whole no Game Over function is a bit odd, but losing money is at least a little slap on the wrist. This game finds much importance with money with both the usual currency and new ones. Now some people do complain about how this game is a search for treasure without a map, but I think the game does so well with telling you how to do things. There will be a theme for some Moons to get and the more you play you start to get the game’s logic. I will say in terms of level designs this makes me happy like the days I first played Mario 64. Even the range of controls are amazing, I may not be the best one to use them, but people have found so many usual tricks in this game and it rewards them for doing it. This is another area where I feel this reminds me of 64 because the speed running logic with this game is insane. People learning the levels exactly and using what they have to pull off the impossible. I know that is speed running 101, but with the free range of this game there is going to be some truly insane speed runs on this game just like with Mario 64. I really love the many new worlds Mario visited and enjoyed all the boss battles which is rare for a Mario game to be honest. Mario sticks to his usual style, but does it with a new selection of clothes.
1. Nier Automata
What I love in games can be odd at times. I can admit things like Breath of the Wild and even Mario Odyssey have so much polish to them and work so well, that they are amazing games. I can even say Breath of the Wild is better than other games I put above it. What will always make my lists though is more about the experience. Also, I will so wear a Platinum logo on my forehead because of how much I love this company. This company knows how to make action games which if you know me by now, I love some dumb action. What Platinum did though was beyond my expectations. They promised to bring a proper Nier sequel and they did. Nier was this action RPG on the PS3 that was very obscure and I bet many people do not even know of what series this game is even connected to. What made the original Nier so special was the experience it gave to gamers and it had some ambitious game mechanics as it changed up the combat with the use of changing the camera views and great boss moments. It is also one of the few games I can admit that the story is one of the selling points (usually I like to put that on the side for a video game). So Nier Automata keeps all of that and even some of the little problems of the original Nier as well. I can admit I had some trouble with navigating around because the in-game story even admits that the maps are hard to read at times. There are many side quests and a nice world to explore, it is really not that big just like the previous game and Automata adds some fast travel so exploring the areas was not a bad experience at all. Platinum adds their usual combat flair and even work with the concept of the awesome abilities Nier has showcased before. I think Platinum’s idea of spicing up the combat with new styles of fighting with Nier’s idea of doing it through camera views is a match mate in heaven. Then comes with how Automata tells a Nier story through different playable characters. This is easily one of the best crafted stories just like the original game. Not only was I getting excited in the amazing fights, it was so amazing to see how that changed to anger and sadness. It has been a while since I cried to a video game like I did. What is really the bow on top for the story is that you do not need to play the original game to experience what Automata is doing. Which again is just like the original Nier because I did not play Drakengard and still did not to this day. This does not make me less of a fan for Nier because my time with the original game my brother and I had was special. Nier Automata not only reminds me of the original game, but also that experience I had with my brother. This is easily my game of the year because of the great combat excels the heartbreaking story and my experience with Automata will not be forgotten. One final note is that even the soundtrack is on point for this sequel and I already had trouble of picking my favorite video game soundtrack with the original Nier and Xenoblade Chronicles.
Now for the year 2018, I do not care if it is considered a bad year for gaming or not. High chance the Nintendo Switch will still be doing great with supporting current titles, keep reviving Wii U games, and even doing more with indie game creators. I have the best hopes for Street Fighter V Arcade Edition and the rest of Tekken 7’s and Marvel VS Capcom Infinite’s DLC life. Blazblue Crosstag Battle is going to be extremely fun and I do hope we hear of another Arc Sys fighter soon. In the end, my true focus is going to be Travis Strikes Again, because my love for No More Heroes will never end.