2017 has been nothing short of an incredible year for gaming – unanimously one of the greatest years that gaming has seen since the late 90s. Honestly, I asked literally every gamer out there and they all said the same thing. Oh, I didn’t ask you? You must have been sleeping!
The year saw not one, not two, but three massive Nintendo franchises return to their roots with Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Metroid: Samus Returns. And oh yeah, a little something called the Nintendo Switch launched, which took the entire gaming industry who claimed that portable gaming was dead, turned those haters upside down, and shook all the gold coins out of their Brooks Brothers suits and penny loafers. All in a convenient, portable package that’s smaller than a Harry Potter book.
Hell, even the Playstation Vita, which at this point Sony themselves are convinced never even existed, saw some terrific releases this year.
At the end of last year, I made a list that highlighted the highlightiest of the highlights in my gaming career! However, as I’m perpetually behind with the gaming times, I noted back then as I will right now that these games weren’t necessarily released in 2017. I merely played them in 2017. In fact, here is the list of games that I completed this year:
I’ll be totally honest – when I look at my list from last year and compare it to this one, it’s easy to see which year fared better for me. Last year saw tons of huge hits that I finally made time to play, but this year was a lot more experimental and playing games that I had wanted to complete for a while. At the same time, the completion log is just as varied when speaking purely from a console diversity perspective – with the additions of a PSP and a Switch, there are even more games to get into.
Something much different happened this year – I did a lot in the way of collecting games this year, but truth be told, I didn’t get as much playing as I’d have liked to. The buying of a house and getting married all in a six month span was definitely a huge impact on that, and I’ll eternally be playing catchup to make up for the lost time, particularly as the cold weather moves in and I find myself accepting “inside days” more often.
Starting right at the beginning of the year, I wrapped up 4 games that I had started at some point in 2017, including the incredible Xenoblade Chronicles, and now that I think of it, how amazing would it be if I was able to finish 1 & 2 in the same year?! Well, that ain’t gonna happen! But it’s definitely looking like a January 2018 completion for XC2 at this rate! Pokemon Sun & Moon were a pretty incredible addition to the franchise, introducing all kinds of new gameplay modifications designed to change the formula and make Pokemon seem fresh again.
Before diving into Switch mode, I grabbed up three PC games. There was HUE, the super fun indie flick which involves quick thinking and muscle memory tuned to a color spectrum. I finally knocked Final Fantasy X off my bucket list, and it knocked right back and reminded me to never play a Final Fantasy game again because I loathe random encounters. Seriously, it was enjoyable for the first dozen hours before it really started to take my patience and run it through a cheese grater. Then I took a complete 180 by grabbing a physical copy of DOOM, which was an absolute massacre of a game, in the best way possible. That gorefest is still on my to-finish list, although it’s been released on the Switch and I keep getting tempted to grab it in portable form…
The 3DS saw a ton of love the first and second half of the year, with plenty of great new games being released at a steady pace! I finally got back into Kirby games, opting to pass on Triple Deluxe earlier in the calendar year and instead opting for the recently released Kirby: Planet Robobot, which reminded me of just how fun that fluffy platforming fellow can be to play around with.
By far my most anticipated 3DS title of the year was Ever Oasis, developed by a team that goes by Grezzo who handled the incredible Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time / Majora’s Mask ports. I loved this game and despite evidence of a complete lack of a marketing campaign, it did fairly well and reviewed decently. I hope they return to the ring soon with something for the Switch! Hey! Pikmin was a nice change from the original Pikmin formula, which is one I was admittedly never able to get into in the first place, and it was a nice change of pace after the long Ever Oasis.
Of course, alongside an out-of-left-field announcement for the development of Metroid Prime 4 came news of a proper 2D remake of Metroid II on the 3DS. Metroid: Samus Returns as it were called blew my mind and contained some of the best classic Metroid platforming I’ve seen since the SNES days. With new mechanics and so much love poured into this game, there’s no surprise it won the E3 Critics Award for Best Handheld Game. Well deserved win for this collaboration between Nintendo and MercurySteam. Really, bravo.
Thrown into the mix were a few lovely Vita games that really stole my heart – The Swapper was the first – a short and sweet game that has you creating and murdering clones of yourself to escape a space station in the terrific puzzler. I grabbed a limited copy from LimitedRunGames and it now graces my Vita shelf! Child of Light was a gorgeous twist on the RPG genre with fantastic storytelling, in fact, the whole thing plays like a long fairy-tale dream. Highly recommended, and you can play it on practically anything that’s powered by electricity.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd surprised me by actually turning me into a fan of the franchise, despite feeling extremely strange playing it out in public. Then again, there’s way weirder stuff to be into with video games! The button tapping madness while blasting at warp speed through Japanese anime insanity that is a Hatsune Miku game is so satisfying to get good at that you can’t help but get super involved in every song you play. It wasn’t uncommon to get some crazy tunnel vision and end up with both of my knees bouncing, particularly as I tried to hit perfect scores on Extreme mode.
I spent a crap ton of time perfecting every song that I could tolerate dozens of times before finishing the game and hanging up my F 2nd jersey. I also may have spent a few hours customizing the bedrooms of the vocaloid characters. Seriously, I haven’t been this hooked on a rhythm game since college when Guitar Hero took over the world back in 2005.
Of course, speaking of surprising me, there was one particular RPG that blew my mind completely with its terrific combat mechanics and gameplay, and that game was Exist Archive. I had such a great time playing this game that I dropped practically everything else I was playing to finish it, and it took me over 40 hours which I never hit with games that I don’t absolutely love. Check out my Twitter feed to the right for a link to the Amazon page – it’s on sale for $6 new. Absolutely worth it. The gameplay is practically right on par with Valkyrie Profile if you’ve ever played that lineup of games.
Of course, this leads us to the elephant in the room, the Nintendo Switch. The newest entry to the portable game console collection has really been in my good graces, although we did have a bit of a rough start. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild didn’t really do it for me as I’ve discussed in plenty of detail, however, there was a big redemption to the Mario franchise with Super Mario Odyssey. Personally, some of the big changes such as hundreds of unspecial Power Moons may have detracted a bit from my desire to 100% the game when it started to feel pointless, but that doesn’t change the fact that roughly 34.75 of the 35 hours spent playing it were incredibly entertaining. It deserves major, major points for Nintendo smashing it out of the park with a gorgeous return-to-form 3D Mario game.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is also the clear winner of greatest Mario Kart game ever. I mean, while this is a re-release of the WiiU title with all the DLC pre-packaged, it’s still worth mentioning just how much fun I had playing it. 200cc was an insane beast to tackle, but I managed to get 3 gold stars in every cup in every difficulty. I also learned that I love the motorcycles in Mario Kart and have been sorely missing out since they were introduced in the Wii version. I grabbed a few more Switch titles in addition, most notably Cave Story+, which I never actually played, despite the fact that it originally released all the way back in 2004.
Of course, as this article is simply talking about games I have played and not necessarily beaten, I can’t ignore games that I am currently working through. Let’s take a look at those games in no particular order.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is the next release in the Ys series on the Playstation Vita that actually did release this year, following Memories of Celceta from 2013. Last year, Memories of Celceta won my game of the year, and Ys VIII game has thus far shaped up to be one of my favorites. The issue was with the release date – being sandwiched right in between just-a-little-more anticipated titles Metroid: Samus Returns and Super Mario Odyssey, with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 coming up quickly as well, pretty much guaranteed that I wasn’t going to finish Ys VIII any time this year. Hence, I have no game completions since the beginning of October except for Odyssey. Oh well!
Last but not least is, as I just mentioned, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which I am calmly working my way through. I swear – after this title and Ys VIII, I am taking a good long break and knocking out some of the shorter titles in my backlog!
That just about does it for most of the mentionables of the year – you know what time it is now! It’s time for a LIST! This year I’m changing it up a bit. While I still listed the games in my order of preference, each one has their own award
My Top 5 Favorite Games Played in 2017:
The “How Do I Explain This To My Wife” Award:
Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd
The “Everyone Wears Funny Hats” Award:
The “I Can’t Throw My Controller Cause It’s Attached to the Console” Award:
Super Mario Odyssey
The “Oh Cool, It’s Another Cutscene” Award:
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
…and the Game of the Year 2017 is…
Metroid: Samus Returns!
It’s true folks – I am a huge fan of this joint effort by MercurySteam and Nintendo. I believe this was one of the finest Metroid titles released in years and can’t wait to see what other IPs this team can come out with on the Switch. And of course, what Nintendo themselves have in store for Metrioid Prime 4.
This also marks the end of the first full calendar year where I finally started to take NostalgiaTrigger.com seriously, and in that I mean, actually make an attempt to join a wonderful community here on WordPress, rather than just treating it like my own personal journal. It’s been a great 12 months and I hope everyone who has visited have enjoyed themselves. Spending time creating content that even a couple of people enjoy is enough of a return on investment for me, so everyone have a happy and safe holiday, and here’s to another great year!