A reader looks back at a feature he wrote this time last year, and examines what he got right and wrong about 2017’s best games.
Last February I penned a feature speculating what I imagined to be the most likely candidates for game of the year. And as it’s that time again when the best games of a previous year are set in stone by us the readers, I thought it was a good idea (and not narcissistic at all) to review the year gone by and how well I did.
Let’s start by saying that despite the best efforts of Warner Bros. Games and Electronic Arts doing their level best to sour the party, 2017 turned out to be one of – if not the – greatest year the industry has every enjoyed.
I started by placing Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Super Mario Odyssey at joint first place. The reviews would seem to bear me out on this. Sadly, I don’t know myself. Due to circumstances outside my control, I was not able to pick up a Switch – so who knows? I may hate both of them! Very unlikely, though. And though the breaking weapons makes me feel antsy about Breath Of The Wild, I concede that I am a huge Zelda fanboy and have never awarded any entries that I’ve played less than a 9 out of 10. No, I haven’t played Spirit Tracks or any of the CD-i games. Let’s just pretend that they don’t exist.
Red Dead Redemption II turned out to be one of my biggest failures, in that it didn’t come out. Not that a delay wasn’t probable, it still surprised me a little to see it pushed back so far. Oh well, we all live on Rockstar time. Now the pressure is on this game to be the best of 2018 by a long margin. Anything less may well be seen as a disappointment to some – me included.
Another tie came in at third place with Persona 5 and Mass Effect: Andromeda. Yes, Andromeda. Okay, enough – stop that laughing! We all knew very little about it at the time (which in hindsight, should have been taken as an ill omen) and it should have been a guaranteed 9 out of 10. It was not. My worst error of judgement on the list. But Persona 5 lived up to my own overwhelming hype, and if not for Undertale would have been my own best game of 2017.
NieR: Automata comes next. I’m struggling with it somewhat at the moment, I find myself lacking the motivation to go back. But that’s probably due more to my own mental well-being than the game. I still know enough to say it’s very special indeed and deserved to be as high as it was. And if it was your favourite of 2017, then you my friend have very good taste indeed.
I put Horizon Zero Dawn next. Which shows you just how good a year 2017 was, because this could have so easily been the best if not for such epoch-making competition. No exaggeration there, folks. It’s a ginger Lara Croft who likes to dress as a furry, what’s not to love? Aloy is a compelling lead – more than Lady Croft, actually – and she fights robot dinosaurs. Just superb. I only wished I could have placed it higher.
Resident Evil 7 biohazard was in at six. I held out some hope that it may topple Resident Evil 4 from its throne, but it’s not quite in that league. I didn’t play in VR, as I basically live in that cupboard the Dursleys kept Harry Potter and have about as much spare cash as the Weasley family. Yeah, Harry Potter references are still cool! They are! So if VR does make it list-topper for 2017, I wouldn’t know – nor will I find out anytime soon.
Sonic Mania turned out to be my nicest surprise of the year. I knew it was going to be at least decent, but I’m one of its players who found it astonishing. If you didn’t – that’s fine, it still is too conservative for my liking. Why does it still use lives? Because Sonic has always used a lives system. Why does it still enforce a ten-minute time limit? Because the Mega Drive games did. Why are the controls still so basic and unrefined? Because it’s always been that way.
A sequel won’t be allowed to do any of those things in my book. But here, they’re not deal breakers. The bosses, the level design, and the music are fantastic – making a total mockery of Sonic Team and their sub-par effort with Sonic Forces. Time to make some changes in key personnel, Sega.
I had Shenmue III at eighth place and I kind of wish I hadn’t. Not because I don’t think there’s any chance of it being amazing, I just knew – with almost spooky clairvoyance – that it wasn’t going to come out in 2017. It probably won’t come out in 2018, either. If I had to put money on it, I would say spring 2019. Maybe I should have given greater significance to Nioh. But I wasn’t keen and I may never play it. Dark Souls-type experiences have yet to click for me, I currently don’t have the patience. But if Nioh was your fave last year, then… sorry, I guess?
Finally, I mentioned Injustice 2 and Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite. I have played the former and only the demo of the latter. The demo of Capcom’s fighter, plus the subsequent reviews, were enough to encourage me to steer clear. It seems that Capcom can make all the right noises when it comes to delivering substantial content but so rarely deliver.
That said, I’ve just started playing Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, and while the single-player is not as fun as the multi or solo modes for early SoulCalibur it’s still worthwhile. Not its story, but rather the multiple routes for arcade mode. Similar to Fighters Megamix.
See, Capcom? You can when you try. As for Injustice 2, well it was as good as I thought it was going to be – no more, no less. I might prefer it ever slightly over Resident Evil 7, but there’s hardly anything in it.
So, here we are at the end. How did I do? How did you do? I look forward to reading about everyone else’s favourites as they come in. Now to save up for that Switch…
By reader DMR
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.