Games of the year – htxt staff picks
Last night The Game Awards 2017 bestowed its gongs to a rather deserving clutch of titles. Since we’re about a week away from shuttering our doors for the holidays, we thought we might put our staff’s two cent’s worth forward about what we though the best releases of this year were – and also what we found ourselves playing the most.
This isn’t so much a definitive appraisal of 2017’s best and brightest, rather its htxt’s staff picking their favourites of this year. So before anyone leaps at us from the comments yelling “I can’t believe you didn’t mention [fill in the blank]” here is a list of 2017’s honourable mentions:
- Call Of Duty: World War II
- Horizon: Zero Dawn
- Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Splatoon 2
- Resident Evil 7: BioHazard
- The Evil Within 2
- Destiny 2
- PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds
- Nier: Automata
- Forza MotorSport 7
- Gran Turismo: Sport
- Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
- Maro + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
- Middle Earth: Shadow Of War
When I first saw the Nintendo Switch, I felt pretty lukewarm about it and I’m in no way the world’s biggest Zelda fan – the only game in this series I’ve ever played is Ocarina Of Time. On the 3DS. And I gave up on it after three hours. Blasphemous, I know. So The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild on the Switch was something of a moment of conception for me.
This is easily the best game released all year and probably one of the best console launch titles of all time. Shot through with swoon-worthy visuals and anchored by a rather well written and compelling plot, Breath Of The Wild’s true draw is its vast expanse brimming with activities, battles, quests and raids for players to get stuck into. And for the first time in my memory, Nintendo’s quirkiness was endearing, rather than annoying.
Generally I don’t go in for RPGs from the Far East, so this year was surprising, since alongside Breath Of The Wild, the game I played the most in 2017 was Yakuza 0. If you’ve never played any of Sega’s open-world beat ’em ups, Yakuza 0 is the best place to start, since you don’t need to know any of the lore and it’s easily one of the best entries in the series mechanically. The fact that Sega looks set to remaster the entire series for PS4 – starting this year with Yakuza Kiwami – makes Yakuza 0 all the more essential.
Deon Du Plessis
Assassin’s Creed: Origins‘ gorgeous Egyptian setting had me hooked right from the get-go, likely thanks to the two-year hiatus the franchise had between releases that let Ubisoft polish it to a bright shine.
I enjoyed assassinating people in creative ways and seeing the Assassins organisation get its start. I also liked the overhauled combat system, which added a Souls-like challenge to enemy encounters while not being quite as punishing. But the real star of the show was the main character, Bayek, whose story of personal revenge made him more relatable and human to me.
However, the game I played the most was Ghost Recon: Wildlands. It might not have received the best scores, and sits on a few “most disappointing” lists as of this writing, but I must confess, I loved it. I obliterated Santa Blanca on my Xbox One initially (and what a huge job that was!), and am currently re-playing it in co-op with some friends on PC, doing all the missions and collecting all the things. Wildlands is particularly stunning at 4K, too, and even now, I still can’t get enough of its beautiful scenery.
I played a surprisingly sparse amount of new games in 2017, so it’s not too surprising that my top picks from this year are the same as my top picks of last year, thanks to the Nintendo Switch. DOOM 2016 was recently ported to the console allowing me to slay demons on the go, which has been amazing.
It’s still surreal that this recent game runs on the Switch at all, even if it was downgraded to hell in the process. Despite the lack of eye candy, and a control scheme which is a subjectively worse experience than a mouse and keyboard, DOOM is still one of my favourite games and having a new way to play it is a great gift for the end of the year.
The title I played most this year is still Enter the Gungeon. I launch at least once a week, but I’ve depleted the available content after 180 hours. The Switch port is due to launch very soon and I have my fingers crossed that this will happen before the new year.
This coincides with a huge content update – Advanced Gungeons & Draguns – which means I have a reason to return to my 100% save file on PC. When I do get the Switch version, however, I’ll be starting from zero again and hoping it can hold my interested for another 100 hours.
Anybody that knows me knows which game is going here – Hearthstone.
Admittedly Blizzard’s collectible card game is not without its problems. This year was the first year where no Adventures were released and players were all but forced to cough up more to remain competitive in the Standard Ranked ladder.
As somebody who doesn’t buy very many new games I choose to put my funds toward Hearthstone.
It’s not that no other games are good I just feel like giving money to the game I spend hours playing everyday and rest assured I play everyday (so long as I have uncapped internet.
Hearthstone’s cost might make it tough for new players to join but as a long-time player the game just gets more interesting and forces you to learn about mechanics that you might previously have considered worthless.
I love Hearthstone and it will take a lot for any game to grab my attention away from wizard poker.