2017 was a surprisingly great for gaming on the PC. There were a bunch of great titles, some of which I didn’t even get a chance to try out. Thankfully, I was kept busy with the great titles below. Look forward to our post on top 5 Nintendo Switch titles in the upcoming week! Let’s dive in, shall we?
Dishonored: Death Of The Outsider
Dishonored 2 came out last year with great success. The game took the formula of the first Dishonored, a game loosely based on Thief, and expanded upon it in every which way. After playing the multiple storylines of Dishonored 2, I was craving more of the story, more of the world, and more immersion. Death of the Outsider does just that.
Unlike Dishonored 1, Death Of The Outsider does not appear as DLC, but as a standalone game. You play as the illusive Billie Lurk and your goal is simple, to kill the Outsider. The game approached your skill tree differently, giving you an amalgamation of both Emily and Corvo’s skills from Dishonored 2. The story was gripping and it really fleshed out a certain aspect of the story the player was never really exposed to; the Outsider. His story, his history, why he is the way he is etc.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
This was the sleeper pick of 2017. The game flew completely under my radar until a friend of mine went through the Game Awards for 2017. The game had been voted in for a couple categories against some of the best games of 2017 and won. It blew my mind. I simply had to pick it up. And my god, it is a trip!
You play as Senua a frightened girl trying to save the love of her life. The game starts with a ten-minute cutscene of her paddling through a river as voices attack her mentally. They shake her up and strike fear into her eyes. And it doesn’t stop there. As the game progresses, the voices mess with her and drive her to the brink of insanity many times. She has to fight the gods of Norse Mythology in her quest to save him, and that includes solving their ridiculous puzzles.
The developers’ Ninja Theory went to extraordinary lengths to make this psycho thriller one you’ll never forget. The voices, flashbacks, and the real sense of fear and being lost make this game brilliant.
The game that took the gaming world by storm. Hand-drawn art, bouncy jazz tunes and enemies that pay homage to the 1930′, Cuphead had it all. It’s an unforgiving boss rush game with creativity and thoughtfulness at the helm. You play as Cuphead and aim to gain the contracts of all the enemies and bosses around the isles in order to pay off your deal with the Devil.
The game is unique in the way that the world and enemies moves at 24fps while Cuphead runs at 60fps. This lets you move efficiently and battle fluidly while the game remains authentic. Throughout the entire game, I felt challenged. It brought me back to the days of unforgiving platformers where you had to study patterns and movements. You had to be so in tune with your character and aware of every obstacle in your path.
The music is also a huge selling point to me. As a lover of jazz tunes, I was so glad to hear big band and ragtime music flood my ears throughout the entire game. The music was all freshly recorded by “a 13-piece big band, 10-piece ragtime ensemble, a solo pianist, a vocalist, a tap dancer, and a few surprises.” The full soundtrack can be found here, but it is an absolute treat to hear it as you progress through the game. Something about this game just pressed all the right buttons and did such a wonderful job of showing kids and adults that gaming doesn’t have to be excessively violent, nor does it have to be easy and a cake walk.
Finding a good JRPG is becoming increasingly tougher and tougher as the years go on. Long gone are the days of Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Trigger, Tales Of Symphonia and the like that just blew the minds of gamers everywhere. That is not to say that there are no JRPG’s left, hell, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel came out this year on Steam, but unfortunately, is more of a hidden gem. Thankfully, Nier Automata came in to help out with one of the greatest JRPG releases in recent memory.
With Platinum games at the helm, I could only hope for the best since they developed and pushed forward the Bayonetta series on the Nintendo Wii U and soon to be the Nintendo Switch. They knocked it out of the park on this one! You start off the game as 2B, an android part of the YoRHa organization and you’re dropped down on Earth to help out the Resistance and kill the machine life forms on the planet. The open-ended plot goes through many twists and turns from there on out, tugging at your heartstrings while on the way there.
Never was I so immersed in a world that I wanted to do every side quest to learn as much about this new land as possible. The side quests added so much character and personality to characters that in theory should have been lifeless and really help you understand the characters and the world around you. Combat is pretty repetitive, similar to Bayonetta, but that never bothered me personally due to the number of secret areas I found and the story that was unfolding before my eyes.
It’s hard to believe I didn’t hear about this game until well after it’s release. I had no idea there was a Kickstarter going on for it in February, no clue it was a Metroidvania, no clue about anything. But after a couple glowing reviews in threads for games to pick up during the Steam Summer Sale, I decided to give it a shot on the premise that it was a Metroidvania, a genre I had recently fallen in love with after playing the Metroid series as well as Ori and the Blind Forest. It was by far the best game of 2017 for me.
You start off as a nameless, mask-clad character holding a nail as a sword. You talk to the villagers above ground and eventually fall deep into the Hallownest, an underground cave system where you will spend a majority of the game traversing. The game does not hold your hand or tell you where to go. It is up to you to explore and search the great depths, interacting with enemies and friends alike. Some will give you maps and powerups that let you access new parts of the map, while others are out for blood.
Mechanically the game felt fresh and interesting. Every powerup had a purpose and the game had an open-ended feel to it which was well received and appreciated. The music was great and the bosses were creative and at times, terrifying. I loved every second of the game and loved exploring the post game and the optional bosses. The map is absolutely massive and the artwork is a big draw for me.
Hollow Knight pays homage in all the right places (Dark Souls, Metroid, Castlevania) while still remaining unique.