December 24, 2017

My thoughts on 2017 releases

Posted in video games tagged , , at 8:19 pm by riulyn

2017 was a crazy year for gaming. RPGs-especially, which is my favorite genre, went more crazy than it has in a while. I definitely missed out on playing some great games in 2017, which I hope to rectify in the next year or two. Even so, there were many highlights.

As for me, I have beaten 9 2017 releases this year, have the .hack collection to still play, and will not count Tokyo Xanadu because I played it originally in 2015. 2017 games that I want to get to next year also include Horizon: Zero Dawn and Yakuza Kiwami. So on to the 9!

NieR Automata. This was my favorite game released this year. It was hard not to have high expectations after the first game and knowing who was working on it, and I felt all those expectations were pretty much met. While other games on this list were more meaty in gameplay (I only spent 40-ish hours on this one, which is on the low end for games this year), the emotional impact it had on me puts this one on the top.

I have to say the soundtrack has had a surprisingly long stay on my iPhone, staying on it ever since the soundtrack’s release.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I actually kept my expectations “lower” for this game after the director said he wanted to make a “boy meets girl” story. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by how much Xeno-ness still fit itself inside the game. To be honest this vaulted the game above other solid entries. For me, creative worldbuilding can make up for some weak characters and story. Gameplay-wise, there was lots to do and for the most part it was enjoyable. I just couldn’t put the switch away to do other things!

Also another awesome soundtrack for a Xeno game. I cannot wait until the soundtrack is officially released so I can buy and play the hell out of it.

Persona 5. In any other year, it’d probably be my game of the year. Instead, two game series I absolutely love won out. Oh well. Persona 5 was overall the most solid of the games I played this year. It’s my favorite Persona I’ve played so far, because I like the characters the most and has the least amount of cringe moments. For me, the biggest improvement was not the characters or story but more the dungeon design. I guess it doesn’t make replaying the dungeons as interesting, but it made the first experience very meaty. Also I was thankful that the final boss was not super long; actually thought it was a bit on the easy side for a Persona game.

Ys VIII. I enjoyed the gameplay, the characters, and the plot of this game. It doesn’t beat out the others because it didn’t pull at me or surprise me as much as the above. It’s another game that in many other years, it might have been my game of the year.

Tales of Berseria. Velvet really made this game for me. I enjoyed it overall much more than Zestiria; it pretty much wins in every aspect over Zestiria. This duo of games didn’t touch me quite as much as the Xillia games, but overall I find Tales games are getting the characters better and better. The gameplay switches up just enough to keep things interesting. All Tales really needs, at least for me, is to get some better world building.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. You can tell the plot is of an older Fire Emblem game, but that ended up being more refreshing than detracting. I was a bit sick of the “making children” of Fates. It just doesn’t make sense to have everyone able to romance everyone. And the time traveling… Anyway, the maps were okay, really the only major downside of this game. Of course a better plot could have helped vault it over the other games on my list; I keep waiting for a Path of Radiance to happen again.

Atelier Shallie Plus. I actually quite enjoyed Atelier Shallie Plus. Maybe having all those cameos from the previous games made it great for me, because I do love cameos. I did enjoy the friendship between the Shallies, and the main gameplay was fine. I got so distracted by the characters that I didn’t pay that much attention to overall plot. Sadly I have not made it to Firis because so much came out this year, but at the same time I wasn’t excited for it after Sophie, so… Oh well, maybe next year.

Nights of Azure 2. Okay, this wins over Blue Reflection because I like the cameos. There were a lot of things that could have been better in this game. There were some good moments in the story but overall it was too little, and too much hidden away in a character’s substory or handwaved.

Blue Reflection. Blue Reflection had many of the same problems as Nights of Azure 2; not enough plot, too little too late, character side stories that didn’t end up being deep at all. The other problem was the game was too easy and the quests even more boring than Nights of Azure 2. There was slightly less handwaving and plot holes at least? The problem was I still enjoyed the game enough, but I end up disappointed and then wondering, later, why I spent even 20 hours here when I could have been working on something else.

Overall 2017 will be going down as a great year in gaming history. I also played some other solid games this year for a total of 24 beaten. I don’t have much on the preorder list for 2018. I’m hoping it’ll be a chance to catch up on 2017 releases and further work down that backlog. Anyone want to give me 2018 RPG recommendations besides Valkyria Chronicles 4 and Ni No Kuni 2?

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