Game of the Year 2017 – Jake from Internet Unwind

Hi there, I’m Jake from “Internet Unwind”. This year I have been very busy, I used to play a lot of games to stream and do videos but I don’t have time to anymore. So I didn’t play many story heavy games this year as I have in years past, but I did play a few more casual and multiplayer games.

 

 

 

Assasin’s Creed Origins on PS4 is actually the tenth game in the Series and it really feels like it. The game has introduced more new mechanics than most of them but still feels like just another AC game. The story and visuals are a bit more enjoyable but the gameplay itself was only slightly altered including the heavier focus on quicktime events. They tried to break the mold a little with this and came up short in my opinion. I hoped this would bring me back into the AC story since it seemed to be a breath of new life into the series, but it ended up only being a hiccup.

 

Destiny 2 on PS4 I also wanted to like as there haven’t been many really enjoyable FPS games to me since before Overwatch became a thing. Personally, I think OW is overrated and prefer more traditional deathmatch style gameplay or a campaign. The story of Destiny and Destiny 2 is pretty good and the mission variety is decent. It’s not as if you are repeatedly doing the same missions on different maps, like in some games. I didn’t get too far into Destiny 2 before the combat started to get tiresome. If I was playing on PC it might have felt a little more smooth but on a controller, I wasn’t very happy. I also didn’t have anyone to play multiplayer with on PS4 which may have made it more enjoyable and given me more interest. Graphics were good, physics were good. I liked it, just didn’t hold my attention. I have a small issue of ADD so having trouble staying interested in a story shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands on PC is an open world 3rd person squad based shooter seemingly focused on playing with friends. While I only got to play the Beta release, I was able to play enough in that time to see it’s a great game for multiplayer shenanigans. Honestly, though, the story at that time didn’t seem very interesting, I spent most of the time ignoring the story with friends and just playing GTA in the jungle. It was buggy at the time, though none of those bugs were game breaking. They were all dumb issues like civilians jumping in front of cars to escape the safety of the grass next to the road. I got a lot of funny footage for a video on that game haha, I still consider buying it if it’s on sale really cheap sometime.

Call Of Duty: World War II on PS4 was the return to non-futuristic settings that recent years of the COD franchise had been focusing on. I for one was glad they did this, as the first two modern warfare games were among my favorite shooters alongside Halo 1 and 3. Unsurprisingly mostly for the multiplayer modes. This return to the WW era actually resulted in a great multiplayer experience, once the company got the servers functioning properly about a week after release anyway. Playing on PS4, the controls are clean and the graphics were a nice upgrade from the last COD I had played. This is pretty much the same as every upgrade each year, a slight improvement on what works. The map design was disappointing though as it feels as though they designed a landscape and just dropped houses in randomly. There are no built-in lanes as there were years ago guiding you and your opponents into head on combat. The Zombies mode is improved with a more story driven function this time around, which as a non-zombie mode player I appreciated more than previous iterations. Multiplayer has been a lot of fun, I haven’t had this much fun since I got all wrapped up in PUBG and CS:GO with my friends. Speaking of PUBG.

PUBG on PC is my favorite game of 2017, not because it was a beautiful game or ran super well. Not because it had a lot of features or a well-behaved community. It was because it was fun. Even on very low settings, the game in some textures looked like a ps1 game, in other ways it looked like a modern title. The game is a downright blast, especially with friends. I am not good at the game, that’s for sure. I just really enjoy the sense of urgency you feel knowing you have people all around and a timer all gunning for you. The balance of borders shrinking rate, loot spawning, number of players per game and general aesthetic of the maps and vehicles has an amazing balance that isn’t matched in the rival versions of the “Battle Royale” genre.

Fortnite on PC prominently features one such game modes. Fortnite was originally interesting as a survival/tower defense game with a lot of promise. Since the focus of Epic’s development seems to have shifted focus to a Battle Royale mode, my interest has waned. This is unfortunate because the main game was what I got into the early access for. The main game is a very arcade style shooter with RPG and crafting elements and because of that, the weapon accuracy is less important than in other games. The Battle Royale mode is frustrating and boring to me. This is partly because it has the same shooting mechanics as the main game, which doesn’t seem to work as well in a player vs player mode about strategy and precision. You don’t have the ability to craft weapons or ammunition. You need to find them on the map, which feels strange given it’s not how the main game works. Most of the 2 modes are conflicting like this. The problem for me is the gun play is very arcade like in the Battle Royal mode, and when you are playing an open world, fast paced shooter you want weapon accuracy. The mode was fun for a while but lost my interest rather quickly. The main game is where the fun was and the fun lasted quite a while. I didn’t have much opportunity to play the game with others but it was a much better experience when I did. The main game is a bit complicated due to it having so many different features from so many genres merged together. It made the game a little difficult to get the hang of at first but the more you play the more you understand.

 

All in all 2017 was a good year for the shooter genre. Hopefully, 2018 will be even better.

 

Game of the Year 2017 – Justin’s Top 7 (plus 3)

You can follow Justin on Twitter @Zero_Score or YouTube.

Honorable Mentions (Games I Played in 2017, Regardless of Release)

10. Final Fantasy IX (PC)

I’m sure this seems like a ridiculous inclusion, but it’s also another of the games I played the most this year, and the newly released “HD” port is the best version of this game, so surely that’s enough for an honorable mention. I loved this game on PSOne growing up, but I’d forgotten how absolutely fantastic it is to play (for the most part) until I booted it back up for the first time early this year to record the entire game for my upcoming Final Fantasy IX Story Play (Our entire Charged Shot crew is part of it, you can indulge my shameless plug). This is another remaster similar to the Zelda 3D ports on 3DS where they didn’t try to make it look modern, they just cleaned up the visuals to make it look closer to the concept art they originally intended until hardware limitations interfered for the PSOne release. Because of that, it definitely looks old, but this game’s more painterly art style has actually aged really well, and while it doesn’t render in wide screen (though you can stretch it if you want), the assets all upscaled beautifully and the bars on the side aren’t that annoying. The game plays as well as ever, also, with some minor changes such as the ability to max out your gil, abilities, and stats (though these can’t be turned off), much shorter loading screens, and seamless transitions between what used to be disc changes. In general, this new release of the game is just proof that this entry in the series has withstood the test of time and is still one of the best RPGs ever made. If you passed it up because you grew up in the more edgy era of Final Fantasy 7, or were turned off by the mediocrity that is Final Fantasy 8 (though I stand by the super cool leveling mechanics of that game), then now’s your chance to try it again, because while it can be jarring to see the series go back to a more traditional fantasy style, you do yourself a disservice by judging it solely on that. There’s a lot to love here; I should know, it’s been one of my favorite games of all time for almost 20 years now.

Go to full post

Lo’s Game Of The Year List

You can follow Lo on Twitter @n3r0theh3r0 and YouTube

I didn’t have a full list of 10 for my games of the year, mainly because a lot of my gaming time has been spent catching up on games from years past (or grinding in Fortnite). I have played some from this year and I wanted to share them, because I feel like they are great games, some of which may have gone unnoticed for one reason or another.

Overload

overload game

Overload is what’s known as a  6 degrees of freedom shooter being developed by Revival Productions, which is made of up former developers who worked on Descent which is the title that Overload succeeds spiritually. Imagine a first person shooter, but you have the same freedom of motion, you would have by enabling the “free camera mode” That’s how movement in Overload is set up.

Missions objectives are simple, make your way to the core of the level, which often times requires obtaining access keys which are hidden in the depths of the level. Once you reach the core (which is more often than not guarded) it needs to be destroyed. Doing so triggers a self destruct sequence, which gives you less than a minute to escape before blowing up. This is where a lot of the challenge comes in, due to the fact that you can rotate your ship in any direction, it’s very easy to become disoriented and lose track of where important things are… like the exit.

Even though this game is in early access, I put it in my list because of the solid game play from a classic that I spent many hours on when I was younger. It performs well for the most part and has a lot of promise

Go to full post

Game of the Year 2017 – Eric Bailey

Eric Bailey

Eric Bailey is an odd duck who can be followed on Twitter @EricVBailey and runs the retro gaming community SkirmishFrogs.com.

Disclaimer: I, uh, only really played one video game in 2017.

Fortunately, that game was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch.

It’s a popular game. You may have heard of it. I could feel a bit daunted by the task of trying to add any sort of original insight to the vast collective commentary that already surrounds it, but I can only be honest and let you know a couple reasons I like it especially.

If I had to summarize Breath of the Wild’s appeal in one sentence: I’ve never before played a game that encouraged and rewarded simple exploration so richly. Between the vastness of the world and the incredible openness of it all (if you see it, you can get there! you can climb any vertical face! there are very few boundaries! … at all!), it’s just a remarkable sensation, to constantly see something in the distance you want to investigate, only to get distracted by something you see halfway there, oh but then you see this other little thing, and is that a shrine, and oh what’s that, and oh I think there’s a treasure chest over there…

It’s an addicting mechanism that turns upon itself near-endlessly. And it’s beautiful. It’s all so very pretty. I can’t remember another game where I’ve just stopped and looked around at the landscape.

As a big fan of the Zelda franchise, and as someone who enjoys themes like isolation and post-apocalyptic settings, I just really love this game — and I’m pretty sure it would have still been my favorite this year, even if I had bothered to play anything else.

The Top 5 Marvelous Games of 2017

#5 Ultra Street Fighter II

2017 was the year of amazing video games. 2017 was also the year the fighting game genre experienced a new rebirth. Brand new entries into the Tekken, Marvel Vs Capcom, Injustice  and Guilty Gear, it was the fightpocalypse. However out of all the new titles released, I still only play one of them on a consistent basis. Yes the online isn’t the best and Way of The Hado mode is absolute garbage, despite all that I love playing this game. The added changes breath new life into a game for a whole new generation.Ultra Street Fighter II is proof that a game can have many flaws, but still be enjoyed to the fullest.

#4  Xenoblade chronicles 2

I’M REALLY FEELING IT! When I first saw the Nintendo Switch I had the feeling it would an RPG machine, but one thing I didn’t expect to come out this year was Xenoblade Chronicles 2. For the better part of December this game consumed my life, I couldn’t put it down and a majority of it goes to it’s exhilarating the combat system is, in short Xenoblade 2’s battle system is difficult to understand in the early hours of the game, but once mastered the game becomes that much more fun. I know people have been making fun of the character designs and how it clashes with the environment and I don’t disagree with that idea I just don’t care. I absolutely love the character designs, they ooze personality and distinguish themselves from the rest of the world. The story is your typical JRPG tropes that you’ve seen before but it’s the characters that hold this narrative together. The only aspects of this game I didn’t enjoy were that certain side quests were completely based on RNG and the quest marker was absolutely broken (both of these killed my enthusiasm for side questing). Yes this game will only appeal to a small niche set of fans but I’m proud to be among that niche.

#3 The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

The Legend lives on. Are you really surprised that this is on my list? From the linear narrative experience that was Skyward Sword, Nintendo went the opposite direction with this latest installment. Hyrule has never looked this gorgeous nor felt this expansive, I could and did get lost within the ruins of this once great Kingdom. I’ve always associated Zelda with exploration and that’s where this game excels. Yes the game points you to specific points but I had the most fun venturing off on my own finding my way. I know that many people are super critical of Breath of The Wild’s story due to how it’s told. I deeply loved how the story unfolded, seeing Zelda struggle with her destiny with doomsday right around the corner made her actually feel like a real character and not just another princess to be rescued, and the tragic fall of The Champions of Hyrule just breaks my heart as I think about them. Breath of The Wild was not a perfect game, but it’s a game that I’ll gladly enter time after time.

#2 Sonic Mania

sonic mania

Sonic is dead. Long live Sonic! If you’re not familiar with me, then you might assume that I was a huge Nintendo fan growing up. While I lucky enough to grow up with both a SNES and a Genesis, it was the Genesis that I gravitated to. Specially Sonic The Hedgehog. This game actually brought tears to my eyes, this was a trip down memory lane with new houses on said lane. Some might try to dismiss this game relies to much on it’s nostalgia and I can’t disagree with that statement but the amount of love that Christian Whitehead and his team put into the games proves that you can still make a great Sonic game in the modern era. Even if you didn’t grow up with Sonic your doing yourself a disservice by not playing this game. Plus you can have two Knuckles on the same screen at the same time! What’s not to love?!

#1 Nier Automata

Most people see games as mindless entertainment, something to relax your brain after a stressful day of work. However it’s been proven that games can tell thought provoking stories and every now and then a game will come along and tell one of those stories. Nier: Automata shook me to my very core, I haven’t thought about game’s story this much since Metal Gear Solid 3. Nier explores the notions of identity, questions our reality and turns our very expectations upside down and out the window. This isn’t a game you only play once, this is a game that you need to play multiple times to understand the scope of the story. Yes the combat is pretty simplistic but it is serviceable and for a game like this that’s all I really need. Nier: Automata will make you think, Nier Automata will make you weep. That is why Nier Automata is my Game of The Year for 2017.

Game of the Year 2017 – Jacob McCourt

You can find Jacob McCourt on Twitter @JacobMcCourt or streaming games on Twitch

Without a doubt, 2017 has been the hardest year of my adult life.

Over the course of the last eighteen months, video games have been one of the few constants in my life. I’ve moved at least five times, lived in four different cities and had the opportunity to do some really interesting work for others and myself.

One example of the good in 2017? After trying for the better part of fifteen years to produce a consistent series about video games, I’m finally part of a group doing exactly that. The Left Behind Game Club is a twice monthly podcast where we play older games and talk about them. This year, we’ve played games like Spec Ops: The Line, Papers, Please and Gone Home. The only problem with the podcast is that I spend less time playing new releases.

Go to full post