As drifting in the midst of Best Thangs week, we come to the wonderful world of video games! With 2017 we got a whole new batch of great games, even if real life got in the way of me enjoying too many this year. However, in the process of feeding our MAHUSSIVE egos, let’s go through our favourites, eh? But first, here are the games I missed this year, god-damn-it.
Star Wars: Battlefront II
Super Mario Odyssey
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy
Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series
Yo, this be Reuben. 2017 was a year in which I was far more involved in anything ‘real life’ than ever before, and media like games in particular became much less important to me. I mean, not only did I not play anywhere near as many of the ol’ things than in previous years, but I even decided to stop writing about them for good. Events like Nintendo Directs and E3 didn’t excite me like before, even playing a new console as cool as the Switch didn’t — and I’d gone and still do go a long while without the desire to play games. Still, I have managed to get my hands on and enjoy quite a few of them; it’s not like I’ve stopped playing them altogether. And I’ll make an exception for this feature. I’d like to write something about them again, why not, eh? I did miss out on a few though:
Super Mario Odyssey
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite
Best Old Game We Played This Year.
Here are the games we missed the first time round that damn good anyway!
Grand Theft Auto V (2013) – It’s just perfect in literally most ways.
Hotline Miami (2014) – OMIGOD ITSSSOOHARDDD. I could barely deal. However, I’d be stretched to think of a game even half as rewarding.
It’s well-documented here that the Metal Slug series is one of my all-time favourites in games, with it’s great skill curve and explosive action. So, it’d be only natural that a game very similar in terms of gameplay, albeit with one big change, would be well-received by moi. That big change comes in the form of a legion of playable action movie characters, each with a different playing style. The pick-up-and-playability of this game is unreal and it was just a bundle of fun from start to finish.
Rhythm Paradise Megamix
As an aspiring bassist, I need to have a good sense of rhythm. I thought I did have this, or at least a decent sense of it. But nah, this game has proven otherwise and it was a tough pill to swallow. I mean, I suck. BUT COME ON IT’S HARD. That’s what is so great about this game, which puts together the best parts of the series’ past entries on the Game Boy Advance, DS and Wii. It’s hard. Not too hard, but hard. For me I love a challenge in a game. And when you mix that challenge with the ridiculous fun aspect of this game, the colourful and bombastic visuals, hilarious little quirks and bangin’ soundtrack, you’ve got yourself one hell of a time.
What’s better than killing your friend? Literally nothing, am I right, Reuben?
Injustice 2 – It’s basically Mortal Kombat with superheroes — remember? The game that dominated last year’s awards? Yeah.
Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite
It’s unsurprising to see the latest from arcade fighting granddaddies Capcom taking the top spot of best multiplayer, especially when you consider fast-paced local multiplayer, which was always gonna be infinitely more enjoyable. Moreover, the gameplay of MvC has been tweaked to allow players to toggle whether or not they want combos to come more easily. This makes the game way more accessible and fun for those who may have been turned off by the complexity of arcade fighters in the past.
DISGRACE. I have awarded a football game. If that’s what you think, get out. For me, multiplayer is the most important aspect of all gaming. It is what I get most enjoyment out of and playing games multiplayer with my family on the Xbox, Gamecube and whatnot was what originally made me fall in love with games. And, well, football games multiplayer are always brilliant fun. I mean, World Cup 98 and PES 06 were about as enjoyable as Rush Hour (that is a huge compliment), and honestly, although it doesn’t quite have the glorious glitches or laughable little things, this latest particular addition from EA isn’t actually very far off, as with most other recent football games. For me, FIFA 18 is probably the best football game to date. I think I say that about every new football game that comes out, but I mean it. The realism, the atmosphere, the fantastic, fast and end-to-end footie gameplay makes this awesome single-player, but even better multiplayer, because you can directly compete with peeps and rub it in their faces when you beat them 8-1 as Bristol City.
Tekken 7 – It’s Tekken. It’s very, very fun.
Injustice 2 – Although I don’t love this as much as Milo does, it’s still a great time.
Star Wars: Battlefront II – The online multiplayer on this is amazing. If it had local stuff as good this would be the winner.
We all like explosions and guns and punching, right? Yeah, we do.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Though stealth is often the name of the game here, when it kicks off, it kicks off.
Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite – Anything with the Hulk in it is gonna have a lil’ action in it, and MvC doesn’t disappoint on that front.
Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War – Slaying orcs, innit.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Dude, it’s robot dinosaurs. I mean, they’re dinosaurs… but they’re robots. Seriously, how did you not see this coming. Indeed, with Horizon comes a huge, stunning post-apocalyptic landscape filled to the brim with these mechanical bastids. Luckily, you’re equipped with an arsenal of badass weaponary to take ’em down. Throughout Horizon, I found myself going to do an objective and being completely sidetracked by a mah-hussive fight that I might’ve picked. Just balls-to-walls bombastic ass-kickery.
Horizon Zero Dawn AND Star Wars: Battlefront II
There’s little need for me to repeat what Milo said. So, I’ll add to it. What comes on top of the base badassery is that immense sense of grandeur of Horizon Zero Dawn. Every fight, every cinematic, is huge. And thus, it’s all very impressive and pretty. But its the intricacies of the action which I love most, as it includes stealth sections, tactical battles and those aforementioned huge explosion fests.
Star Wars: Battlefront II, on the other hand, is, somehow, just about even bigger. Although it may not have robot dinosaurs or the same beautiful setting, or the same variety of action gameplay, it is Star Wars. Nothing quite compares to that culmination of blaster rays, giant Walkers and flying X-Wings that we get to experience in Star Wars. The little and large explosions, the constant exchange of laser gunfire, all of it comes together in this grand and expansive shooter. I mean, to be honest I have played better shooting games, this isn’t a masterpiece, but it is damn impressive and, at least in short plays, an awesome experience.
Tekken 7 – IT’S TEKKEN, MATE. Actually, this time, the action is that bit more impressive and fast and fluid than in previous Tekken games.
Injustice 2 – It’s a fighting game. And a good one. So you know.
Society would have you believe that attractiveness is the key to success. So let’s reward that?
Cuphead – Though I haven’t yet got my hands on this punishing platformer, the charming ’20s-style cartoon visuals are brilliantly unique.
Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War – The titular world has never looked so good. Some interesting influences from the Souls series make this game a brooding and gothic one.
Horizon Zero Dawn – As I said before, the vast, desolate environments are brought to life with really clean, sci-fi-heavy graphics.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
As an Xbox boi, I’ve never been to attached to the Zelda games and, while this year’s offering did impress me, that hasn’t changed. However, I can’t deny for a moment that Nintendo’s biggest game of the year isn’t extraordinarily beautiful. The lightly cell-shaded graphical style, which never goes fully cartoonish, blends the visuals of Twilight Princess and Wind Waker excellently — resulting in, what I think, is the best of both. Moreover, the design here is just as great, with the characters and environments here having a great level of detail but also a simplicity to them, keeping the overall style really light.
My real winner is also Breath of the Wild here, but there have been a couple of other real lookers. So, I’ll give Horizon: Zero Dawn a very honourable mention.
This game is damn perty. The detail, depth and grandeur of this game’s environments is not at all far off that of Breath of the Wild, with the amazing colour and textures really showing themselves off in the forests, fields, mountains and caves of Horizon‘s world.
Super Mario Odyssey – I haven’t played this or even seen anyone playing it, but screenshots and clips make it look awesome.
Star Wars: Battlefront II – Perty and impressive looking Star Wars bizniz.
Tekken 7 – The nicest looking Tekken yet.
Sonic Mania – Keeps the charm of the original games and adds some nice li’l quirks.
Games nowadays are often all about telling a tale. These are some of the best tales told today.
Horizon Zero Dawn – With badass lead character at the helm, the story, while not particularly unique, is given these slight twists and turns to stay fresh and intriguing.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Much like it’s visual scope, the tale told in Breath of the Wild is pure Zelda class. Once again facing an unimaginable threat, Link goes on another captivating fantasy adventure. The level of emotional gravitas throughout the game, particularly in the ending, is great. Furthermore, with such a huge game world, the various characters you meet along the way are almost as intriguing as the main plot itself. Special mention goes to the writers behind some of the dialogue here, which was much funnier than it deserved to be.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
To be honest, for me, playing a game is almost never about the story, so this isn’t a very important category for me. Nonetheless, this ol’ game does have a rather good story, although not one of the best I’ve ever witnessed. Set in a land of robot dinosaurs in a freaky-deaky future planet Earth, it’s certainly an interesting take on the dystopian future genre, and with all the tribal stuff, the great lead character and whatnot, it certainly does a lot right.
There’s a lot behind making a video game, so let’s take some time to honour these guys behind the scenes.
Nintendo – The Legend Of Zelda/Super Mario Odyssey
As I said, I’ve always been Xbox through and through. However, it’s hard to deny what a cracker of a year Nintendo has had. As well as launching the Switch, a console that has already shifted over 10 million units at time of writing, they have released two corking blockbuster games in Breath of the Wild and Odyssey. While I am sans-Switch and therefore haven’t played Odyssey (boi do I want to though), Zelda was released to many calling it one of the greatest games ever — you can’t get much better than that.
SEGA – Sonic Mania/Sonic Forces
I thought seeing as Milo already chose Nintendo I’d shake things up a bit and give SEGA the award, because they do do what Nintendon’t. Although Nintendo definitely had a much more impressive year, I didn’t actually play any of the games they put out, so that’s another reason why I can’t really give them this award. SEGA, on the other hand, for me, have shown themselves very capable this year after a couple of years of stagnation with one seemingly solid Sonic game in Forces and one awesome one in Mania. So, with these two releases and some brilliant social media-ing which never failed to entertain me throughout the year, they seem very much on their feet and I hope that better things can be on the way for them in the future.
At the end of the day, however, games are meant to be played – so gameplay’s always taking president.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – As well as your standard adventure fare, we have platforming, RPG-elements and f*cking puzzles. Hell yeah! Puzzles!
Horizon Zero Dawn – At breakneck speed, you were fully in control of the action Horizon, whether that was stealthy hunting or STAB IT WITH THE STICK.
Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite – Unlike its counterpart Injustice 2, the fighting here is extremely fluid, with high combo rates being optional (but recommended in my case).
Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Remains methodical and tactically engaging, but does away with a lot of the clutter that distanced me from the franchise. Shoot-outs of the highest order!
Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War
Not too much of a departure from it’s predecessor, 2014’s excellent Shadow Of Mordor, the latest in the Middle-Earth series builds upon an already great formula. As well as including one of my all-time favourite gaming mechanics, FreeFlow combat (originated in the Batman: Arkham series), Shadow Of War also uses the dynamic traversal free-running we’ve seen in countless games. In addition to that, however, the game has much more expanded-upon RPG element — with tactical thinking being a definite advantage. Then we have the Nemesis system; Middle-Earth‘s USP, allowing the player to weave their own personal vendettas with orcs and uruks that start out as run-of-the-mill grunts.
I love Sonic almost as much as I love life itself. Since I were but a lad, I’ve always found enjoyment out of this particular platforming series, and in particular, the original Mega Drive games from way back when. Sonic Mania sees a fully fledged return to the style of those original games, and so along with the return to the visual style and whatnot, there’s a return to their gameplay style, and it’s absolutely brilliant. It brings out all the speedy-but-not-too-speedy and intricate platforming, with all the accommodating but difficult stage designs you’d want — the difficulty level, in fact, is really rather high and that’s a great thing. And with the mix of original stages from each original game and new stages, there’s no lack of variety.
Tekken 7 – Very fun, well balanced and slick, speedy and crunchy fighting game awesomeness.
Horizon: Zero Dawn – What Milo said.
And, finally, here we are, the best game of the year.
Horizon Zero Dawn (4 Nominations – Winner of Best Action) – A real blockbuster release, filled with beautiful environments and massive, explosive set-pieces.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands (2 Nominations) – A game full to the brim with content — I swear, if I wasn’t writing this right now, I’d probably still be playing it.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (4 Nominations – Winner of Best Developer, Story & Visuals) – With wins like these, it’s a wonder how this isn’t the best game of year. Mind you, it’s mighty close!
Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite (3 Nominations – Winner of Best Multiplayer) – Fast-paced, fluid fighting from the kings of the arcade.
Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War (3 Nominations – Winner of Best Gameplay)
With Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, developer Monolith proved that you can make a nigh-on perfect game with a concoction of a good IP, a solid new mechanic and a bevey of other people’s ideas. With Shadow Of War, they built upon this, expanding it in every way. The game world was made bigger and richer, the action smoother, but still remaining the brutal edge of the first game. Taking notes from the Batman: Arkham and Assassin’s Creed series, the gameplay is fiendishly addictive, with traversal and combat being equally as brisk and entertaining. Moreover, the Nemesis system remains one of the most interesting and genius game mechanics I’ve seen in a long time.
Sonic Mania (2 Nominations – Winner of Best Gameplay)
For me, this game is just perfect. It’s a fantastic nostalgia trip but at the same time it’s something new. I spent hours, hours and hours on each Sonic 1, 2, 3, & Knuckles and CD back in the day and I think I loved just about every minute I played of each. This new game puts together all of those classic games into one new one and adds more on top of it to make it the perfect sequel and accumulation of all that was great about those games. I think it’s a little more difficult than any of those first games, but that isn’t a drawback at all, rather a quality which makes playing it a more fun experience. With the fact that you have to fight a boss battle after every individual stage, too, the excitement and challenge just keeps on rolling.
Horizon: Zero Dawn (4 Nominations – Winner of Best Action and Story) – Just a fantastic all-round gaming experience.
Tekken 7 (4 Nominations) – Brilliantly fun new addition to the Tekken series with all the content you’d want.
FIFA 18 (Winner of Best Multiplayer) – An amazing new footie game and with the realistic, fun gameplay and great variety of modes and content it’s up there as one of my favourites in the genre.
Star Wars: Battlefront II (3 Nominations – Winner of Best Action) – An impressive, immersive shooting game which makes fairly subtle but oh-so important improvements on Dice’s first new Battlefront game.
So that’s it for the year in game. Be sure to stay tuned for Stuff And That’s Best Thangs Of The Year Volume III – Film. How exciting!
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations
Bringing redundant opinions to scrollers everywhere