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The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild - takes you breath away

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild – the best of 2017

GameCentral readers name the game theyve enjoyed the most this year, but that was released before 2018.

The subject for this weeks Hot Topic was a simple one: which game have you enjoyed playing the most in 2018 that wasnt a new release? It could be from any time period, from this gen to the 8-bit era, but what did you enjoy the most and why?

We werent sure what to expect with this topic, but in the end the majority of games were only a few years old – with relatively few retro titles. Although plenty of people were also planning to catch up with more games during the Christmas break…

Catching up

My Hot Topic ties nicely into some of the other Inbox chat on Christmas gaming. Probably like many others I upgraded to a Switch this year and given its fairly light year when it comes to major releases have been battling through the Nintendo backlog from 2017, and will be wrapping up Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Super Mario Odyssey when I go home for the holidays. Ive had Zelda at the end game for a while now, waiting for an extended lazy period to have a good run at the ending. The feeling of adventure exploring it vast world is well suited to being curled up on the sofa on a dark night.

Super Mario Odyssey though Im less enamoured with… its charmingly put together no doubt and still fun to play but struggling to see what makes it a classic. Its just more Mario and essentially the same game we were playing 20 years ago on the N64. Running around an enclosed forest world, desert world, and ice world jumping on Goombas again just feels a little old hat (no pun intended).

Unlike most I dont use the Switch for multiplayer (so wont be Mario Karting with the cousins) its my Kindle for games so outside those I will be making progress through some of yesteryears indie classics that have just made it over, like Inside, Hollow Knight, and Hyper Light Drifter. Again, like Zelda three titles that excel in world-building and tight design.
Marc

Evil trophy

Ive been enjoying a few games this year that were released in previous years and the main one is The Evil Within 2.

Ive been working away on the platinum pretty much most of the year. I dont get a chance to play too much these days yet one of the trophies requires a seven save playthrough. This takes forever to get through as you need to play for a good chunk of hours to make significant progress as any death will take you straight back to the previous save. So youll need to set aside two to three hours a session and thats just in the hopes of that particular section being successful, otherwise you could spend multiple days on doing the same section over and over when you have the time.

I platinumed the first game so Im determined to get this one done. Its frustrating but I do love the game. Once this evil trophy is done I can do one final play through to sweep up all weapons on Easy and that will be it.

Ive also been a pretty regular visitor to the eerie village of Yaughton this year, and last year, and the year before that. Im still a massive fan of Everybodys Gone To The Rapture and as Ive stated in previous letters I play it pretty much every week. I know a lot of people hate the game or just cant get on with it but it just seemed to hit the right notes with me in all areas.
Jack_the_Ripper9 (PSN ID)/mickylynch9 (NN ID)

Carded fan

Along with most of the gaming population, or at least those who own a PlayStation 4, my gaming time this year has mostly been taken up with the excellent God Of War, Spider-Man, and Red Dead Redemption II. However, a game I find myself returning to again and again is Hearthstone. This game was released in 2014 and I first started playing around January this year. For those who dont know Hearthstone is a free-to-player card game from Blizzard, the makers of World Of Warcraft.

You can play on pretty much any mobile device, PC, or tablet and Im hoping one day for a Nintendo Switch port. If youre willing to put in the grind you can assemble some really competitive decks for little to no financial investment and with at least four expansions each year the card pool and meta changes regularly. For fans of Blizzard games youll know how much effort goes into the art, lore, and character design and Hearthstone borrows heavily from World Of Warcraft but with its own interesting twists.

Its a game I find myself playing if I have a spare 15-20 minutes or I can spend an entire evening just playing ranked matches. Id estimate Ive put at least 300 to 350 hours into the game so far! If anyone out there wants to learn how to play or challenge me to some friendly games my Battle.net tag is Please5ireMe#2787

Merry Christmas fellow Metro readers!
Pete

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Swinging through the Spider-Verse

With all the hype surrounding Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4, I thought Id revisit Spider-Man 2 on the PlayStation 2. OK, its blurry but with YPbPr component cables not too much so. The web-swinging is sublime and the Black Cat/speed runs through the city are quite a challenge. The one prior to the final showdown with Doc Ock is particularly brutal but you still come back for more.

Ive yet to play the new incarnation but itll struggle to replace this old PlayStation 2 game in my heart. The graphics here (see puddle-gate) are not the main thing but the fact that they nailed the city traversal, that they had the Sam Raimi film actors to sample, and had the great Spider-Man 2 film plot to work from are what really make it. Black Cats shenanigans (and outfit) are a great distraction too.

Other than that Im partial to a bit of SimCity 2000 on the Amiga and Ive just managed to get it running at a decent speed on a graphics card equipped Amiga! I will also be playing Tanks Furry (thats how its spelt) with my kids and wife for some retro four-player Amiga fun (a modern day classic from 2016). But the best Christmas achievement will be finally defeating Doc Ock after doing that hellish speed run one last time!
AmigaBoz

Quick sneak

Games of a non-2018 variety I have played this year have been aplenty but mainly Metal Gear Solid V and Bloodborne, with some indie games spread in somewhere for good measure. Rarely a year goes by without a previous catalogue of games that is needed to be completed from a former year.

I had a particularly good reaction to the bitesize gameplay of Metal Gear Solid V. Its half hour or hour or more missions are just right and an unusual style, as previous games of the series are of a continuous storyline or watching really over-long cut scenes. Just to pop in and out, in this game I started a long time back, and do various missions was fun.

Slowly seeing the storyline come together after all the little sections get completed, and with the game being strung out a lot with the plot, was just exciting enough. You eventually become a master of your craft and instead of doing missions in a mostly accidental non-stealthy way you eventually learn how to get through an area like a ninja and become a super soldier working from within the shadows.

Metal Gear and Bloodborne, along with Red Dead Redemption II, are the best bits for me this year and allow me to go into 2019 with a fantastic buzz of excitement.

This just leaves me to wish GC and the GC viewers an absolutely fantastic Christmas and an awesome new year. Keep enjoying gaming and heres to the future of this great hobby of ours.
Alucard

Off topic

You just wanted to see whos been playing Divinity: Original Sin II, didnt you? Well, never fear! As the console editions only came out this year, this will comfortably be my game of the year. And Im still in Fort Joy!

So how do I know that, then? How can I say that its superior to Celeste, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, God Of War, and the like? Well, I wrote in a while back asking for a bit of help with character building and then I decided Id start again. And it was just as much fun the second time. Always the mark of something very special.

So, Im really looking forward to conquering the game proper – and getting my character a pair of shoes, shes been barefoot for over an hour now. Theres still Super Smash and 2B in SoulCalibur VI to occupy me as well…
DMR

GC: Are you sure you read the Hot Topic question properly?

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Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Slipping behind

This year has been an unusual one for me, where the vast majority of it has been spent playing games that havent been released this year.

The big hitters, in terms of time spent on and the quality of each, have been Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and The Witcher 3. Its really difficult to say which of these I prefer, as they are both amazing.

The freedom and sense of adventure and exploration in Breath Of The Wild is unparalleled, where so much of my time was spent just looking for new shrines (which I thought were really well thought out and often presented genuine challenge). The four dungeons in the game were also interesting but the time spent reaching each one were greater highlights for me. This is because each dungeon is found in a completely different environment and each came with their own challenges and again adds to the exploration element of the game. I also really enjoyed the role-playing elements of finding/buying new gear and then finding the resources needed to upgrade them – finally getting the Master Sword and Hylian Shield felt like a real achievement in itself.

With The Witcher 3, the story was exceptional but the sub-quests and Witcher contracts were so well-written and enjoyable that it never felt like I was grinding just to get to higher levels for the main story. Id read complaints on the combat in the game but, for me, the combat was really fun once I got used to it, although it did take me a while to get the hang of it. I was also surprised how much I got into the lore of the game and the intricacies of the role-playing elements, such as crafting gear, potions, bombs, etc.

As I suggested earlier, I tend to try and stay up to date on current games and therefore play them when they come out but because of work, life, etc. I havent been able to recently. My backlog of games is still continuing to grow, and I cant see myself getting through it anytime soon, so Ill probably be a bit behind the current releases for the foreseeable future.

Im not really a fan of retro gaming, as in the majority of instances I tend to play through a games story once and thats enough for me/I have other games to play. I do want to get into playing indie games so Ill probably look into playing some older indie classics in the new year, such as Guacamelee, Inside, Limbo, and Mark Of The Ninja (although the remaster of this only came out this year, in fairness).
Hubert

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