Looking back at one of the greatest gaming years of all-time in 2017, Ains and Bert discuss their five favorite games of the year, ones that just missed the cut, and games they wish they had spent more time with.
The video contains both Ains and Bert’s selections and you can also find the written article(s) on their five favorites from each of them below!
Ains’s (Porshapwr) Five Favorite Games of 2017
5. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
Originally, Mario Odyssey occupied this space. With the Xbox version of PUBG having only been released on December 12th, and launching in a pretty poor state, it wasn’t until the final week of 2017 that I truly began to appreciate PUBG. While the game still has a long road of optimization on the platform, I have to admit it has completely consumed me (and most of my friends for that matter). And because of that, it has made it into my top 5 of 2017.
It’s near impossible to explain what makes PUBG special. On paper, it certainly doesn’t sound it. It has 1 map/play area. It has limited weaponry and vehicles. It has zero progression. And it has a host of bugs and issues. Yet it provides feelings while playing it that very few games have matched for me. When simply running through the trees or up a mountain, it can make you feel calm, serene, and provide an amazing sense of escapism. Yet it only takes a split second to go from calm, to utterly and completely terrified. That sense in the back of your head, that anything can happen at any time, is special. The fact that every single match offers that same variability is what has kept tens of millions of players coming back for more.
PUBG is by far the best selling game of the year and outside of the Xbox One release on December 12th and the 1.0 release on PC on December 20th, the game had been in early access on a single platform. It has taken over Twitch and Mixer, set new records on Steam for concurrency, and is already spawning copycats. 2017 was THE year of PUBG.
Since its release less than a month ago, I have put over 80 hours into the game and most of that was over the course of the Holidays when I had little time to game. In fact, it’s safe to say I’ve played more PUBG in the past month than all other games combined. I’d say that’s reason alone for the game to be on my list at #5. If you enjoy shooters and/or competitive games and haven’t played PUBG yet, do yourself a favor…
4. Wolfenstein 2 : The New Colossus
Bethesda and single player shooters go together like peas and carrots. No, let’s be honest, peas and carrots are far too docile. The combination is likely more akin to assault rifles and grenades. With Doom having been SG’s game of the year for 2016 and now Wolfenstein 2 being so fantastic, Bethesda simply has a way about them with producing violent, explosive, and rapid first person shooters. But that’s not what makes Wolfenstein 2 so memorable. Rather, the characters and story telling just happen to be some of the best of 2017 as well.
Billy Blazkowicz, or Terror Billy as he’s affectionately referred to by the Nazis, is likely my favorite protagonist of the year. He’s the ideal personification of the game itself; a shell like a suit of armor containing a surprisingly vulnerable center. Stepping back into the shoes of Terror Billy begins with a bang and doesn’t let up until the credits roll, with some of the most memorable scenes of any game in 2017. The relationships Billy has with his wife and crew are just as well developed, with superb voice acting and direction as well. Frau Engel, the brilliantly directed antagonist, is just as memorable.
From the opening scene to the final credits, The New Colossus doesn’t let up. Bravo to Machine Games and here’s to whatever Bethesda is putting in the water throughout their development companies. I hope they continue doing so.
As soon as Cuphead was announced and I heard about its premise, I wanted to play it. Beyond the challenge it was said to offer, I found the art direction stunning and the story of its development heartening. So, after having followed its development closely for the past few years, I was overjoyed when I not only finally got to play it in 2017, but that it exceeded the lofty expectations I had for it.
I grew up in the 8 and 16-bit eras at a time when run and gun 2D shooters were in their prime and I continue to adore them today. I also love challenging games so much you could likely call me a masochist. The core aspect of what makes Cuphead so special is the sheer level of polish and precision with which it has been crafted. Simply ask anyone who grew up playing hardcore shmups or shooters and they will tell you that the feeling as though your character is doing exactly as you intended is the crux of any classic. And in that vein, Cuphead is the pinnacle of any shooter I played in 2017 (or quite frankly in a number of years).
Of course, Cuphead originally became popularized due to its striking art style. If you haven’t played it, I’ll simply say that you haven’t seen anything yet. The first time playing through each boss, and their various forms, was one of the most joyful experiences I’ve had in a video game in years. And with every single frame, you could see and feel the love put into Cuphead’s development. The tremendous, award winning jazz soundtrack is icing on the cake.
The Molderhauer brothers’ story of how they founded Studio MDHR and created Cuphead is both fascinating and endearing. If you simply adore video games and their development, I encourage you to not only play Cuphead but to read up on its development. You can find my full review here: Cuphead Review
2. Horizon Zero Dawn
Prior to finishing Prey, Horizon Zero Dawn was my frontrunner for my favorite game of the year. A new IP from Guerilla Games, developers of the Killzone series of games, Horizon Zero Dawn was an incredibly ambitious new IP featuring a vast open world, engrossing combat, a memorable cast of characters, and an intriguing story. Despite the very lofty goals for the title, Guerilla managed to hit nearly all of them.
My favorite aspect of Horizon Zero Dawn is how the world feels as though it could actually exist. As you unravel the mystery of Aloy’s history and the world which you occupy, you gain an even further appreciation for what has been built and why. The approach to how the player uncovers the history of the world was very well done and a big reason why I felt the urge to explore every nook and cranny of the world, leading to the Platinum trophy.
Beyond the world itself, Aloy and the machines that occupy the land are both notable as well. Aloy is rather charming and will no doubt become an icon for the PlayStation brand moving forward especially as sequels are inevitable. Meanwhile, the machines you fight across the land not only mimic the behavior of real-world wildlife, but resulted in some of the most fun combat of any title this year.
Horizon is a stunningly gorgeous game as well. It’s something I highlighted with screenshots from my playthrough here: Horizon Zero Dawn is an Amazingly Gorgeous Game
Game of the Year : Prey
Prey is my favorite game of 2017. In fact, I find it rather interesting that I’ve seen many people on sites and social media claim the same, yet it is rarely mentioned in Game of the Year discussions. I believe this to be due to a somewhat rocky launch as the console versions saw some rather significant technical issues. While those were corrected in quick order, the nature of the market today means that games are quickly forgotten post-launch.
Regardless, Prey is 2017’s Bioshock to me as I feel it shares many of the great aspects that made that title memorable for over a decade now. It offers a mysterious story in which the arc begins with a surprise, carries through the core game as you uncover more of the world, and ends with a mind-blowing revelation. The space station in which the game takes place, Talos 1, can be both eerie and serene and offers a fantastic accompaniment to the stories and alien race you uncover. The Typhon are haunting and formidable and force you to put your skills and weaponry to good use, again both of which are interesting and intelligently designed.
Lastly, Arkane Studio’s experience with the Dishonored franchise shines through in Prey with the capability to tackle objectives in many different ways. Alternate paths and shortcuts are littered throughout Talos 1 and combined with the more advanced abilities you can unlock, give you freedom to explore and combat enemies how you choose. If you enjoy first person shooters that offer exploration more in the vein of a Metroidvania title, I encourage you to play Prey.
If you’d like to read more detail about my game of the year, you can find my full review here: Prey Review