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Found 15 results

  1. Jason Clement

    Game of the Year 2017: Jason's Picks

    Did anyone have any inkling of how good 2017 would be for video games before the year started? Even knowing full well that Breath of the Wild would likely be amazing, I think this year took most people by surprise. Honestly, we haven’t had a year full of titles this amazing since… 2011, at least. Or maybe even 2007 (Bioshock, Portal, Super Mario Galaxy). Heck, some would argue 1998 (Ocarina of Time, Metal Gear Solid, Half-Life). There was something for everyone this year, and arguably even too much of it. 2018 will be a busy year for sure; not only will we be playing all of the newest releases, we’ll be using whatever free time is left to catch up on our backlog of amazing games from 2017. Seriously. With that said, let’s take a look at the titles that surprised and delighted me the most this year. Honorable Mention Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy True story: The debut of Katrielle Layton – the famous Professor Hershel Layton’s daughter – is probably the least best (I dare not say ‘worst’) entry in the Layton series to date. This is because the story takes an episodic approach, the puzzles are fairly easy, most cases are generally non-consequential in nature, and many of the mysteries’ answers are telegraphed before completing them. And yet, none of that really mattered by the time the final scene aired. Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy is easily the most charming game I’ve played all year long. The new cast, along with the supporting characters you come to know are what really make the game special in the end. With everything happening in the real world this year, I just wanted to disappear into Layton’s positive and whimsical take on London, following the adventures of Katrielle, Ernest, and their dog ‘Sherl’ as they crack case after case. Not all of the cases are winners, but there are a few that are incredibly touching and make the game worth playing in the end. 10. Metroid: Samus Returns The Metroid series returned with a bang this year, first with the announcement of Metroid Prime 4 being in development and then with the surprise announcement and subsequent release of Metroid: Samus Returns – the long-awaited remake of the Game Boy-only Metroid II: Return of Samus. While it doesn’t do a lot to propel the series forward in a gameplay sense, this is true, classic, 2D Metroid gameplay at its finest. Featuring revamped controls that give you more flexibility and a new melee dodge attack that can parry enemies when timed right, Samus Returns adds just enough to improve the old experience while totally overhauling most of the outdated level design and mechanics of the original game. The encounters with different Metroid evolutions are some of the best moments in the game, adding a real and rare sense of threat and danger to what has usually been a more atmospheric, exploratory game. Also, there just might be a new addition or two to the game’s story to shake things up in the same way Metroid Zero Mission did nearly a decade and a half ago. 9. Cosmic Star Heroine I’d been aware of Zeboyd Games’ previous titles (Cthulhu Save the World, Breath of Death VII etc.), but they’d never appealed to me until Cosmic Star Heroine released this year. Zeboyd Games created perhaps the best homage to both Chrono Trigger and Phantasy Star that I’ve seen yet with Cosmic Star Heroine. The battles wisely move away from the “select strongest attack until your MP is depleted” approach and instead injects more strategy by way of introducing cooldowns for each attack and focusing on when you should use them. The story is interesting and well done, if a bit cliched, and moves at a brisk pace, even if it’s somewhat lacking in the character-building department. Cosmic Star Heroine’s universe is also pretty fascinating; Zeboyd did an excellent job of designing a wide variety of alien creatures and strange worlds, not to mention its eclectic cast of characters. Also, the music is a pretty rad take on ‘80s and ‘90s sci-fi soundtracks (think Babylon 5). 8. World to the West Rain Games is a developer that has been on my radar ever since I played their excellent Metroidvania title Teslagrad from a few years back. Their brilliant, hand-painted visuals combined with thought-provoking puzzles made me super enthused for their next title, World to the West. Set in the same world as Teslagrad, World to the West eschews the 2D platforming of its predecessor and opts for an isometric Zelda-like approach. The result is a game with great, cartoon-like visuals; an interesting story set one generation after the former game and which focuses on four unique characters who come from significantly different backgrounds, and action-puzzle gameplay that splits the focus between said four characters’ special abilities. It’s one of the few games I’ve played in which the world is cleverly designed so that you’ll need to use all four characters to explore and open it up with each one's own skills. 7. SteamWorld Dig 2 The first SteamWorld Dig was an excellent surprise hit when it released a few years back, so I was both super excited and hesitant at the thought of SteamWorld Dig 2. Why? I didn’t know what developer Image & Form would be able to do that would keep it from feeling like a complete rehash. Luckily for us, Image & Form saw this issue coming, and they did something smart. They cast Dot -- a minor character from the first game -- as the protagonist in this one and created a whole new mystery: What happened to Rusty, the original protagonist? The truth of the matter will take you through twists and turns, and it’s pulled off incredibly well. New items and machine parts help differentiate the core gameplay cycle, which is the same as the first game’s but with a more interesting world and better-designed caverns to navigate and solve. Excellent gameplay aside, what really made an impact on me with SteamWorld Dig 2 is how the plot plays with your expectations, and completely shatters them in the end. 6. Sonic Mania When it was first announced, I wasn’t that interested in Sonic Mania. It had been some time since I’d last played a 2D Sonic title, and the prospect of “going back” to the old classic style just didn’t seem like progress to me. Little did I know that it’s exactly what the series needed, especially since the newer games have grown creatively stagnant over the last decade (or two). Sonic Mania injects just enough retro levels to keep it from feeling like a “best hits collection” and wisely introduces remixed versions of old levels along with entirely new ones that stand up with the very best the series has to offer. It manages to nail that feeling where it plays like you imagined it played way back when, but in reality is so much better than what Sonic 1 had to offer. Topped off with a brilliant soundtrack, Sonic Mania is what I consider to be the best Sonic game to date. I did not expect to be as blown away by it as I currently am. Welcome back, Sonic. Stick around for a while. 5. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Shadows of Valentia proves that Intelligent Systems is only getting better at making Fire Emblem games, and I was thrilled to discover just how good it was. Being a remake of the NES-only Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second game in the series which never made it out of Japan, Shadows of Valentia stays true to its retro roots by keeping the different battle rules from the original game (no weapons triangle, magic depletes health, etc.) while adding brand new elements in the way of third-person dungeon crawling and exploring different areas of towns and forts. While the latter addition isn’t always used to great effect, it’s fun to finally control a Fire Emblem character firsthand and helps to break up the pace between battles. Ultimately, Shadows of Valentia offers a surprisingly strong story (which is equally surprisingly dark in certain moments) that tackles themes of classism, war, and sacrifice – culminating in a grand finale that pays off in a big way at the very end. Fire Emblem has rarely been as good as Echoes gets, and I hope to see most of the new systems and mechanics used here in the new Fire Emblem title for Switch next year. 4. Splatoon 2 There was a point this year, perhaps around August or September, where I was certain Splatoon 2 would be my game of the year, if not for three other incredible games (one of which I had to do some more reflecting back on). With over 265 hours invested, Splatoon 2 is by far my most-played game of the year and the one I had the most fun with on a consistent basis. Some would say it’s not really a sequel; that it’s a 1.5 version of the game. Even if that’s true, it’s heads and shoulders above the first game, with a solid, diverse grouping of Ranked match games, tons of new hairstyles, weapons, specials, and ways to modify your character. And let’s not forget about Salmon Run, the new horde mode that might just be “mode of the year”. I’ve spent countless hours taking out Salmonids, collecting golden eggs, and having a general blast with @barrel, @Rissake, @YukiKairi, @Venom, and others. No other game has given me that “just one more game feeling” quite like Splatoon 2 has, and that’s a testament to just how good it is. 3. Super Mario Odyssey If you know me, you might be surprised to see this game “only” placing third on my list. That’s mainly because this was an exceptional year with amazing games, but don’t let the lack of GOTY status fool you. This is a Mario title we haven’t seen in quite some time, and boy did it feel good to be running around and exploring each level at your own pace. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 had moments of this, even if they were still largely linear affairs, but Odyssey’s wide open levels were so out of the norm for the past 15 years that they actually recalled elements of this year’s Breath of the Wild. What I appreciated most about Odyssey is that it really does feel like Mario is embarking on a great journey. Nintendo’s Tokyo studio also spared no effort to make every level feel as unique and original as possible, getting away from the standard lava world, ice world, and jungle world. Instead, you’ll find a level based on New York City, a food-based world, a desert world with ice-elements and an underground temple, and a forest with a tower that’s occupied by robots, just to name a few. It’s super imaginative, not to mention super inspired, due to the cap-throwing mechanic where you can capture and control different enemies. Due to all this and more (that soundtrack!), Super Mario Odyssey is far and away the most creative game I’ve played this year. 2. Horizon Zero Dawn Horizon Zero Dawn is far and away the biggest surprise of 2017 for me. It always looked fantastic in previews, but I didn’t realize just how much I would fall down the rabbit hole with it until I played it late this year. First off, it’s the most graphically impressive game I’ve played in 2017; stunning vistas, vast gorges, tree-lined forests, and populated towns and civilizations – it has it all. It also has the best narrative I’ve experienced all year; Aloy’s journey from shunned outcast to legendary warrior in the eyes of the people is an experience I’ll not forget, and there’s a deep amount of lore to the world, not to mention the many mysteries behind the plot are all well-thought out and have satisfying answers to them. What really puts the game over the top for me is how good its machine-hunting combat is. At first, it’s incredibly daunting and seems complex (and really, it is), but after you learn the intricacies of how to hunt each machine (especially the large ones), the game really takes off. There are so many ways you can take them down, from using a rope gun to tie them down to disable them to setting traps, tripwires, and shooting off weapons, modules, and weak spots with your arrows. Each encounter is incredibly dynamic and life-like, with each machine actually mimicking and behaving like the natural animal/creature it’s designed after. It’s a thrilling experience every time you’re involved in a hunt with larger machines because the danger feels incredibly real for Aloy, and it makes each victory all the sweeter when you eventually do take them down. Horizon was a powerful experience for me -- one of those rare games that completely drown out real life and make you invested in the world within, and one I'll not forget anytime soon. 1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Breath of the Wild is a game that many Zelda fans have been waiting a long time for. While I wasn’t one of the ones hankering for a return to Zelda 1 mechanics (the go-anywhere approach), I’ll never forget the feeling of being dropped in this massive world and being in awe at how much there is to do and see. I’ve heard many ask what Breath of the Wild does for open worlds that is so amazing. The answer has to do with interactivity – the world in BotW is so intricate in how you can interact with it and how it reacts to what you do. Horizon and other games have worlds that are impressive in size and scope, but there’s little you can do to it except traverse it and interact with specially designed areas and characters. In BotW, you can climb nearly everything, decide how you want to approach a certain location, chop trees down to cross large ravines, set grass on fire and then ride the updraft the smoke creates, move almost any object that’s not attached to the ground with magnetism, and much more. In short, the world is alive, and never has a title for a game been more appropriate. The plot itself, while not my favorite of the series, is still fairly good, and the individual story arcs and moments are well-done; especially those that involve the four champions. I also really enjoyed the Divine Beasts; even though we didn’t get traditional dungeons, these were fairly close in approximation them, and one of the Divine Beasts might just be one of my top 10 dungeons in the whole series. In the end, Breath of the Wild will be remembered for letting players play the way they want to. There are definitely things that can be improved, but by and large, this is a landmark title that broke barriers and will shape games for years to come.
  2. This past year was easily one of the worst in my entire life. Without even going into the hellscape that is the current political climate I was also forced to deal with many far more personal concerns that made sure my mental fortitude was being only kept intact by the narrowest string at times. Irrespective of the time or seasons that the hardships of life decided to unfurl before me, 2017 in gaming brightly illuminated even amongst the darkest moments of my life. If anything, it's one of the very few things that kept me sane with reasoning to look forward to each new day. Maybe that intro was a bit too much of a downer, but what I am trying to say is that if 2017 was not such a strong year for gaming I would very likely still be in a terrible mental state. People have been arguing that 2017 is on the level of being on the caliber of 1998 in gaming -- and I'd be inclined to agree with them for the most part. You may notice a recurring theme as my 2017 list goes on where I'm actually putting a bigger emphasis on storytelling than gameplay like I would normally in previous years. Because there is no shortage of excellent games with great gameplay in 2017, the ones that also hit an emotional focal point through either their storytelling or writing were more likely to click with me. Without further ado, here are my personal favorite games of 2017. 10) Super Mario Odyssey Super Mario Odyssey is probably the closest thing in my mind to 3D platforming perfection. Masterful controls, top-notch level design, a constant satisfying loop with collectibles, a dapper-looking Bowser, and even the catchy "Jump Up, Super Star!" theme is sung by none other than the seemingly long-forgotten Pauline. Perhaps the biggest criticism I could truly level against Mario Odyssey is that it simply did not stick in my memory quite as much as other games this year after the initial credits rolled despite how much I enjoyed playing it in the heat of the moment. 9) Nier Automata Like most Yoko Taro games I find myself strongly respecting but am also equally frustrated at what Nier Automata attempts to achieve. Part of that was the unfair expectation was thinking it'd be a Platinum game with a Nier touch. And let me tell ya, I LOVE Platinum character-action games (Bayonetta 2 <3). What I got, however, was a Nier game with a Platinum touch, which conceives of all of the bizarre, yet fascinating quirks of a Yoko Taro game without the shoe-string budget and generally terrible gameplay he was known to be saddled with back at Square-Enix (*cough* the entire Drakengard series *cough*). Because of this, I was fighting between conflicting emotions of it not quite grabbing me as the storytelling/cast of characters in the original Nier did, nor the gameplay of Platinum in their prime. But like any game by the eccentric director, it likes to play upon expectations over time. Everything from a Metal Gear Solid 2-styled mantle pass, phenomenal dynamic soundtrack, twisted storytelling, and a highly evocative ending sequence that could only be executed within the medium of video games made the whole experience better than the sum of its clunky parts for myself. 8) Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn continues to be far and away the best thing bearing the Final Fantasy name in nearly a decade. Unlike the prior expansion that is more noteworthy for its storytelling, Stormblood is generally more impressive for its dramatic gameplay overhaul (not to say the story isn't compelling in Stormblood, though). Apparently, all it took was the noble sacrifice of the PS3 version. In which case I'll just say: why didn't they just throw the PS3 version into the sun earlier? [says this as someone who played FFXIV on PS3 for nearly 2 years] While I hardly consider myself a hardcore player I was more than swept into the fires of war that is Stormblood for months. With a campaign that is better than most RPGs this year (I've played a lot of RPGs this year), it features exciting bosses, creative dungeons, an English story localization that nearly rivals the quality of FFXII, two incredibly fun new classes, and entirely revamped gameplay mechanics that also happened to give my precious Astrologian class lovely buffs to help bring the Ala Mhigan war effort that much closer to home. To justify my occasionally dangerous addiction that much further I even made some new friends in real life during the course of playing it as well. All of this was almost enough to make people like myself forget the nightmare that was the early access launch. Almost... 7) The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky The 3rd I would've been perfectly okay if Trails in the Sky simply ended with the second entry. I mean, the extremely endearing Estelle Bright had her story arc pretty thoroughly resolved by the end of the Trails in the Sky SC after all. Still, despite initially coming off as a somewhat unnecessary fanservice game, Trails in the Sky: The 3rd tugged at my heartstrings in many surprising ways. I grew to greatly appreciate the distinctly different yet engrossing new lead cast members (Kevin especially) and radically changed-up gameplay structure present in The 3rd. It played the gamut of emotions from giving beloved supporting characters a stronger foundation/resolution, to also revealing deeply unsettling parts of ones you didn't know quite as well as you thought you did, all up until its tear-worthy conclusion that eventually wormed its way overall into being my favorite game in the would-be trilogy. 6) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild It's tempting to make the obvious play on the title like: "The newest Legend of Zelda was a breath of fresh air!" or something like that. But... that's just it. Breath of the Wild truly was a fresh contrast for not only the series becoming notoriously stagnant with its formulaic design but open world games at large. In a year where I dipped my toes into games such as Horizon: Zero Dawn or Assassin's Creed: Origins, I learned that I wasn't actually totally done with the entire open world subgenre, but rather ones that refused to challenge their gameplay norm. So, apparently, I was just bored of open world games not made by Nintendo, I guess. Breath of the Wild brought back a sense of genuine wonderment to not only the once decaying series but its homogenized modern open world contemporaries. It successfully evoked the sense of mystique during exploration and respected the player's own ability at discovering unorthodox solutions at nearly every turn we haven't seen since basically the very first Zelda game. I may not adore every facet of its design, such as weapon degradation, but I could not be more pleased with how Nintendo (of all companies) deliberately chose to be so fascinatingly different in a time where every other company tried to stay the course with open world games. 5) Night in the Woods It seems to me that Night in the Woods is highly likely to resonate with a very specific age demographic than others. As it turns out, I happen to be one of them within that age group. So I saw more than a bit of myself in Mae and her group of friends with their day to day troubles even if they were all animal... people... that stood on two feet. Shelving the existential animal question for now, both the writing and characters really struck a chord with me. The fact that I also happened to unintentionally play the game mostly concurrent with the late October themed narrative helped it be that much more immersive. Admittedly there are some elements that don't entirely ring with me in the game; predominately the weird psychedelic/supernatural elements that seep their way into what should've otherwise felt like a surprisingly grounded main narrative. But the moments where it felt so very human made me forgive such shortcomings the game had... even though they were technically animals. 4) Yakuza 0 Click here to read GP's official review The Yakuza series has always been one I liked much more conceptually than actually playing. Well, until Yakuza 0 that is. Turns out all they needed was a playable Majima!.. in a game that wasn't Yakuza Dead Souls. But seriously, I extolled the many virtues of Yakuza 0 through the course of my review. But the cliff notes version of my fondness for it had a lot to do with how expertly it balanced very serious, engaging storytelling and hilarious (though, occasionally heartwarming), as well as insanely abundant, side content complemented by the expert localization. Most impressive of all is that it is a prequel that retroactively makes all of its predecessors better by the reverence it pays to them as well as being the best game in the series. 3) Xenoblade Chronicles 2 There have been a lot of knee-jerk reactions towards Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in it simply existing. Some justified, some not. What I will say is that even though Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is likely the least cohesive game in the entire series, it is also far and away the one that I had the most fun actually playing. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 may not be the game that I myself and many others expected, but it was also one I did not know I wanted as much as I did. For as many technical rough spots and unnecessary anime fanservice/trope moments it presents at the forefront, I was also blown by just how much heart and depth it had buried beneath for both its gameplay systems and storytelling. It has been a while since I felt like a game so regularly went "And here's one more cool new thing!" via some gameplay mechanic or an exciting story beat. Couple it further with a masterful soundtrack, an impeccable world design, very rewarding battle system, and a surprisingly endearing main cast made my expansive journey and my absurd current playtime within more than worth it (...100+ hours). I am certainly looking forward to the additions to it via various updates in 2018, such as the added story content too. 2) Persona 5 As someone who would easily put Persona 3 & 4 high in the bracket of my all-time favorite video games, to say that I was hungry for Persona 5's eventual release would be a major understatement. Turns out that "Winter 2014" was much further away than anyone had imagined. So impatient was I to finally play it that I literally bought the game two times just because I could not wait an extra day for my limited edition to arrive via mail. Even though I was frothing at the mouth to finally play it I would say my expectations were actually pretty reasonable for what P5 actually ended up being. I wanted a game to NOT just feel like Persona 4 all over again by assuming a strong identity of its own and, of course, improve upon many enjoyable gameplay systems of prior entries. And it did just that. Actually, it did MUCH more than that. Persona 5 challenges much of the fundamental ideology of its two predecessors from the relationship dynamic between characters to the dark underpinnings of its storytelling, causing it to be rather divisive amongst fans on that front alone. It is also the most Shin Megami Tensei-y the series has felt since the original two Persona games (...technically, three.) with the return of demons, negotiation mechanics, and an oddly high default difficulty. On that pretense, I had a blast playing Persona 5. Its countless quality of life improvements to an already addictive RPG/school life formula, some insane late game narrative twists, jazzy soundtrack, and basically being the most stylish video game in existence (with people still swooning over its UI) more than solidified its place in my mind. It may not be my favorite Persona game (that honor goes to Persona 4 Golden), and I certainly have a criticism or two against specific story elements, but it didn't need to be for me to consider it an amazing RPG experience. 1) Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth Click here to read GP's official review Ever have that one game in which you adore but also can't really recommend it to anyone? Yet, at the same time, you also desperately want to talk to someone about how amazing it was? Yeah, that's kind of how it was for me while playing Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth. Unfortunately, most people will be unable to get past either its' odd gameplay hybrid of both visual novel/strategy-RPG OR the basically required-to-enjoy predecessor called Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception (released just four months prior), which is not nearly as good as Mask of Truth, and I can't really blame them. Much like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, there are also more than a few problematic "anime" fanservice elements that become a really tough aspect to ask most people to overlook. Again, can't easily recommend it to anyone... But, in a year where everyone is rooting for incredibly depressed robots trying to act like humans (Nier Automata) -- I and maybe like two other people were tested by the plight of the equally, if not possibly more so, emotionally scarred protagonists in the brilliant narrative conclusion to the Utawarerumono trilogy in Mask of Truth. Wrapping up so many story threads through amazing character development and riveting wartime storytelling, a deeply fascinating world/lore with a shockingly stellar localization to punctuate the experience, and perhaps an instance or two of salt flying into my eyes to trigger the waterworks did more than a number on me story-wise alone. Add all of this to my favorite subgenre of role-playing game (good ol' turn-based SRPGs!) and it somehow it snuck its way into my favorite of the year in such fierce competition. It is definitely a game most are unlikely to get around to appreciating, and again, I don't blame them in the slightest, though I know that I could not have been gladder to have played it as my Game of 2017.
  3. YukiKairi

    Game of the Year 2017: Kairi's Picks

    Editor's Note: Kairi is our second new guest writer for our Game of the Year 2017 feature this year! She's a passionate gamer and RPG fan who plays quite a lot of games throughout the year and works on the retail side of the gaming industry. You can follow her at @YukiKairi on Twitter. Let me begin by saying that this was probably one of my favorite starts to any gaming year in history. 2017 started off with some great releases in the first 3 months that I haven’t seen in years. First, we had Resident Evil 7: Biohazard which was fully playable in VR, and if you don’t know me -- which I’m sure some of you may not -- I cannot play horror, but boy do I enjoy watching others get scared playing these games and watching the story unfold. Sadly, this game didn’t make my personal list, but it’s a worthy nominee since it brought faith back in the series and genre of horror. Sony took me by surprise with releasing so many exclusives this year and having a majority of them come out right at the start. Nintendo released their new system -- the Switch -- fairly early as well, gaining amazing support from many game developers. In the latter half of this year, Nintendo came out with their next classic system, the SNES, which included a never before released title: Star Fox 2. Sadly, Microsoft was a major disappointment for me this year. They started off by canceling Scalebound; a title that I was really anticipating. On the plus side, there was one title that caught my eye which I’ve been eagerly waiting to play and that’s Cuphead. Cuphead is one of those gems that eats at my core due to the art style, gameplay, and music soundtrack. The best way for me to describe it is old-school Disney (back when Steamboat Willie came out) met with Looney Tunes and decided to have a baby, which became this game. The fact that this game is completely hand-drawn just blows me away. There are honestly so many titles that I would love to gush over and talk more about, but I just can’t get to them all this year. That’s how busy this gaming year has been for me. I think I’ve played more as well as looked into more games than previous years combined. I wish I got to play more of my backlog (including some that I just recently acquired) so I could consider them on this year’s list as well. It’s been one eventful year for gaming and I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings. With that said, it’s been very challenging for me to compile this list together, but somehow I’ve nailed it down to these ten intriguing and unique gems that I’m anxious to talk more about in depth. 10. Sonic Mania I’ve been looking forward to this release since being instructed to check it out. The last Sonic title I played personally was Sonic Colors for the Wii. I haven’t seen a Sonic title I wanted to delve into until this caught my eye. Once I started playing it, I instantly got classic Sonic vibes. The music and controls were just as familiar to me as I was playing it back in the day with some new moves included. The updated graphics still look like classic Sonic but are refreshing to see in this day in age. I really enjoyed playing some of the classic levels as well as the newly designed levels. I never thought I’d get to enjoy a Sonic game again. This game was definitely every Sonic fan dreams and then some. 9. Splatoon 2 As someone who played the first title towards the end of the Wii U’s cycle, I wasn’t expecting to pick this title up for quite some time. What the single-player lacks is where it shines in its multiplayer, which I put way too many hours into. I played way more of this installment than the first might I add. The new maps and the new weapons really add more to this title than the first. Splatfest is still a whole lot of fun and continues to have a unique way for picking teams. But the game's new mode, called “Salmon Run”, is definitely one of the best modes I’ve played in any multiplayer to date and made me enjoy it so much more. This title just had to ink its way unto my list for how much of a joy it has been to play. Who wouldn’t want to be a squid instead of kid? 8. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdoms Battle When I first heard of a Mario and Rabbid collaboration, I thought: "Was this a joke? It sounds like a terrible idea and there was no way it could ever work or be good." Boy, am I eating my words right now. What makes this title so great is not just the humor of the Rabbids, but it’s actually quite a challenging strategic game. It’s very much an X-COM rip-off in gameplay style where it has a similar cover system and grid system, but it takes it a step more with character design. Each character has their own set of abilities for you to choose from and two different weapon sets which you are able to pick which weapon to use. And the level design was really on par with other Mario titles. This was definitely my top pick for "most surprising game of the year". I secretly hope there’s a sequel in the works because I’d love to see the Mario cast team up with the Rabbids again with some new faces added as well. 7. Fire Emblem Warriors Truthfully, if I had to choose one Fire Emblem title to consider on this list I’d probably pick this one. As excited as I was for Echoes earlier this year, I sadly didn’t have a chance to play it due to time spent on other titles and Fire Emblem Heroes on my phone, but I was equally excited for this installment as well. Fire Emblem Warriors is a fantastic collaboration with Fire Emblem and Dynasty Warriors' gameplay. It really utilized all my favorite parts of FE, except it isn’t grid-based; instead, you can completely roam the battlefield, which is a blast. The music is still fantastic as ever. The story is still interesting and enjoyable enough. The voice-acting isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I still enjoy the Japanese voice-acting a bit more. My one complaint I have about it is the characters involved in the game are heavily from Awakening and Fates. There are so many more characters from the series overall I would have included. I’m still secretly hoping for either more DLC to include more characters from other titles or perhaps a sequel, which would still be up my alley since I really have enjoyed pretty much every FE title since being recommended to play this series. Currently, I’m really looking forward to playing more DLC that starts arriving soon with the first character pack on December 21. 6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild This was a title that I’ve been tossing back and forth while trying to figure out the best spot to include it on my list. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the next Zelda every time a new one comes out. This one did not disappoint, to say the least. In fact, this title was the very reason I bought a Switch on day one. However, what I didn’t expect was how frustrating this installment in the series this one would be. It’s got adventure for sure; the whole map is huge and full of exploration. I definitely give it that since this was one of my favorite features. The story is fantastic and really tears at the heart as far as friendships with loyalty for any Zelda tale, but in order to appreciate it, you need to find the locations of certain memories and then some to fully understand it. One new feature that I really enjoyed and probably spent way too much time doing was the cooking aspect. It was just loads of fun exploring and mixing new ingredients. Lastly, the one detail that really took my breath away was the visuals and character design. This really showcased the Switch in a good light right off the bat. As far as criticism goes, one of the main reasons why I placed it here was the battle system. It feels too much like Dark Souls (I love the Souls series, don’t get me wrong, but for certain games like Zelda it’s just off-putting). Personally, I don’t mind weapon durability since that brings a challenge in and of itself, but I feel like weapons are too easy to break, especially when you have a weapon at level 20 that will still break in 3 hits after using it. Now, one key improvement that would fix this issue would be a Blacksmith, just like Skyrim where you would go to fix your weapons. One core weapon they completely ruined was the Master Sword, which is a legendary and key component to any Zelda. There’s a key reason as to why it’s the Master Sword; it shouldn’t take 13 hours to recharge in order to use it. Another major reason for its ranking here on the list is any time you decide to climb a mountain, somehow it would start to rain, and in order to continue your climb you will have to wait 20 min in real time. I don’t even know how many times it rained, but boy was it so annoying. Other reasons include the dungeons or bosses not being as challenging or unique enough. The most annoying enemy are the guardians. Whether they were the Stalker variety or not they could instantly kill you. Heavens forbid if you weren’t equipped with the right gear or weapons and stumbled across one or many of these. You were just doomed to death. I felt the puzzles were pretty lackluster as well. In one of them, I flipped the maze tablet over and then once more to complete the challenge instead of doing the maze puzzle. Lastly, the voice-acting was just awful. I really was not impressed with the English cast at all. In fact, I muted it every time there was dialogue. I wish they decided not to do voice-overs after all. Honestly, I really wanted to enjoy this title so much, but there are many other Zelda titles that just have greater gameplay and replay value to me. That said, this title is still worth checking out due to story and visuals alone, but I feel younger audiences will have such a hard time appreciating it since it’s quite challenging at times. 5. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 To say I’ve been a fan of this series since the first one released on the Wii would be correct since I did take part in a certain fan campaign. When this title was unveiled in January of this year, I didn’t expect to see it at all this year since it just seemed to good to be true, but I’m glad it actually came out and at such a great time, I might add. I’ve always appreciated titles such a these where I’m able to explore the open world and soak in the surrounding environment. If I could live amongst the clouds in a vivid setting such as this, I believe I would never want to step foot off of it. I really enjoy this gameplay style since the combat feels so much like Final Fantasy XII, but it tweaks it just a bit to make it its own unique addictive combat system. I’m always willing and ready to delve hours upon hours into JRPGs such as this since I enjoy the storyline and being able to have the choice for sidequests. One small complaint I have would be the mini-map since you can get lost here and there if you’re not careful, but I’m glad to hear that there’s a new patch coming that seems to fix this feature. What makes this title worth my while even more was the fact that the soundtrack transported me to a new world which made me feel like I was a part of it. It’s such a joy to hear since it’s by one of my favorite composers Yasunori Mitsuda, whose work never ceases to amaze me. The blade designs are all very unique since each rare blade was made by a different artist that usually works on different titles. I was intrigued when Nintendo unraveled the new designs each week leading up to launch since it sparked more excitement and gave me an insight into the artist's work on this title. There are some designs which may be questionable since they don’t have the look and appeal to the series overall, but I honestly feel like it's a breath of fresh air since I got to see a new artist take on character design that I myself was never familiar with. I was really impressed with how well everything about this title meshed together. I’m grateful to say that towards the end of 2017 we have another standout JRPG that every fan should check out. I’m certainly curious what the new story content will bring and what the new rare blade will be seeing as that won’t be out till next year, but thankful that I have more to look forward to. 4. Horizon Zero Dawn Having never truly played a game by Guerilla Games before, I was willing to try this out based on the many previews I saw and the fact that it had a strong female lead. This was another title that featured a key aspect that I really enjoy in quite a few games: having a beautifully crafted post-apocalyptic open world where I could explore anywhere. However, this is one where as a player you need to be careful of your surroundings since it's inhabited by robotic creatures called 'machines,' which some are peaceful and others will attack. The combat was challenging in that you needed to be strategic with certain enemies to pinpoint their weaknesses and compelling since it made me feel like a hunter out in the woods wanting to pick up a bow myself. I really appreciated the stealth aspect of this game as well since I’m such a sucker for being stealthy and laying low like in the Assassin’s Creed series. Hands down my favorite performance by any actor this year was Ashly Burch who definitely delivered an amazing performance as Aloy. I’m looking forward to trying out the Frozen Wilds expansion since it just recently came out last month and I’ve been delving into so many other titles as of late. 3. Super Mario Odyssey To say this is probably one of my favorite Mario games to date would be highly correct. When I first saw gameplay footage of this, I was a bit skeptical; not to say I wasn’t a fan of a hat named “Cappy” which allowed Mario to become literally anything he tossed it at. I actually really enjoyed this aspect of the title, but I was not a fan of one particular kingdom at first. New Donk City, which is part of the Metro Kingdom, just seemed rather out of place for a Mario game to me since Mario was running around a city largely based on New York City itself with humans. I soon realized that was pretty foolish of me since that was only one of the many kingdoms to explore and enjoy. With that out of the way, I must say the color palette of this Mario blows all other Mario titles out of the water. It’s been such a joy to visit other kingdoms and roam around such a breathtaking backdrop. The gameplay really reminds me of Mario 64 and Sunshine style combined with more key Mario elements. Lastly, the music had one of the best theme songs ever this year since it was super catchy and a blast to hear. This was by far my favorite title to launch on the Switch this year and is a title that everyone can enjoy and appreciate for years to come. Also, who wouldn’t want a sidekick like Cappy on their team to overcome Bowser’s plot to marry Peach? 2. NieR: Automata This was by far my hardest choice to make because it very easily could have been my top pick, especially since this was my most anticipated title to come out this year. Ever since catching a glimpse of it briefly being shown at E3 in 2015 to showcase its artwork, I instantly fell in love with the character design and setting. Also, this was by far my favorite of the different installments in the series. I’ve always been an avid fan of Yoko Taro’s work. His style is truly remarkable and I really admire it. This style really eats at my core due to the dark, unusual post-apocalyptic backdrop. I never thought I’d have a chance to play a game that required several gameplays to fully understand the depth of the story and it honestly changed my life for the better. A game that made me have so many feelings for androids I never believed would be possible. While the story and character design is what makes me appreciate this title the most, it has a great fast-paced action and a combat system that was a joy to play. Its music soundtrack is highly desirable as well with it being my favorite from any title this year. Honestly, I can’t wait to see the next installment if in fact there is one, or even a new IP from Taro. Before mentioning my number one pick I want to take some time to briefly list some honorable mentions that could have made my list. In no particular order here they are: Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Destiny 2, Layton’s Mystery Journey, Injustice 2, and Tales of Berseria. 1. Persona 5 A title that honestly deserves this spot and 'Best JRPG' for the year. A game that was first announced in 2013, then got delayed from its original release in 2014 to improve the quality to finally release in 2016 in Japan, and then finally a worldwide release at the start of this year. It’s been a title that many Persona fans have been waiting for since 4 came out in 2008. Even though I’m a newer fan of this series, I’m not sure why I didn’t delve into it much earlier. This was my first Persona title even though Persona 4 Golden is in my backlog. However, I am not new to Atlus titles; they always know how to make brilliant and fascinating games (with Catherine being my favorite; I’m still holding out for a sequel!). The story in Persona 5 is so well put together and enjoyable. I was impressed right out of the gate when it started off as a flashback sequence. I enjoyed the overall theme behind it and how it used a high school setting. It was a joy to play as a Phantom Thief. It’s not every day you get to go incognito with a different persona in another realm to steal someone’s heart that has an ill will. Not going to spoil anything, but the major twist was so satisfying. The voice cast was one of the best works for a team altogether. The character design is one I can always get behind since I enjoy artwork such as this. I really appreciated the turn-based combat system much more because it gave you the option to 'Hold Up' the enemy, which allowed you to do a number set of options as well. The dungeons were actually a lot of fun to explore as well. I can’t wait to see how the next one will compare since this was such a pleasure to delve into. It’s been a delight to share my favorites for this year with all of you. Now, here are some titles I’m highly anticipating to enjoy next year: Code Vein, Vampyr, Detroit Become Human, Ni No Kuni II, God of War, Insomniac's Spider-Man, Project Octopath Traveler, Lost Sphear, Far Cry 5, and the new Fire Emblem title.
  4. Editor's note: Marissa (aka 'Rissa') is our first new contributor to our Game of the Year feature this year! She's a friend from Twitter who loves gaming and occasionally cosplays at different coventions throughout the year. You can find follow her at @Rissake on Twitter and find more of her writing on Medium. It didn’t take long before the games came rolling out in 2017. Not only were there an incredible selection of games, we were also bestowed with the release of the Nintendo Switch! With a new system rolling out, and many other great games following, 2017 was, in my opinion, one of the best years in gaming. I am a loyal Nintendo gamer, so you will find that all of my selections were exclusively for the Switch or Nintendo 3DS. They definitely kept me busy this year. 9. ARMS Nintendo’s clever take on boxing was one of the most intriguing games for me this year, and I was highly anticipating it. I’m not one for fighting games, but the unique rapid fighting style and artwork had me completely captivated. Each fighter comes with a choice of arms which range from boxing gloves to giant hammers, missile cannons and other unique choices. The combo you choose will determine how your character fights. As much as I enjoyed this game, I am guilty of not playing nearly enough of it. However, I have been able to play different modes such as single player, multiplayer and online play. It takes a while to grasp the fighting style, and using the joycons is a definite challenge in itself. Overall, a unique take on a fighting game that I would love to get back into. 8. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King 3DS By no means is this a “new” game, but cor blimey, the 3DS remake of Journey of the Cursed King was one of my highlights in 2017! After playing the original on the PS2 years ago, I was incredibly happy to welcome an old friend to the comfort of my 3DS. As upsetting as it was to not hear the beautifully orchestrated music we had heard on the PS2 version, the new content makes up what our ears lack. Having Red and Morrie joining in on your adventures made the battles all the more interesting! No more random battles, & new side quests, new dungeons and even a whole new take on the ending makes this 3DS remake everything you need and more! Reliving one of my favorite games brought me an immense amount of joy. 7. Fire Emblem Warriors As someone who has never played a Dynasty Warriors game and didn’t care all that much for Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors has been a thrill to play! The Kingdom of Aytolis is falling, and it is up to Princess Lianna and Prince Rowan to rally troops and restore peace to their nation. If you’re a fan of hack and slash games and Fire Emblem Awakening/Fates, then this is the game for you. The missions were fun, yet challenging, and the story kept me interested in progressing through the game more & more. Plus, the amusing support conversations gave the game an extra charm. Multiplayer is a blast and I highly recommend you play this with a friend. It makes everything more enjoyable (and maybe a little easier). 6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Because Switch ports make everything better. Mario Kart 8 is by far my favorite in the Mario Kart franchise, and I was thrilled to have it on the Switch! With better graphics, new characters, new courses and even an improved Battle mode, this game has easily made its way into my top picks this year. Plus, the Smart Steering was a nice touch for those who are new or inexperienced with Mario Kart (it made playing with my family a lot more entertaining). 5. Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy Little known fact: the Professor Layton series is one of my all-time favorite gaming franchises. Not only did we get a new Layton game, but we get a new (adorable) protagonist: Katrielle Layton. The daughter of the esteemed Professor Layton begins her career as a detective and opens up her own agency, solving numerous cases and puzzles on her way. As expected with any Layton game, the music is wonderful, characters are charming and the story is light-hearted with many intricate puzzles. Being able to customize your office and dress up Katrielle as you wish made the game all the more unique. While it kept similar features from previous games, it was definitely a different take on the Layton series. However, change can be good and I found it very refreshing to be greeted with different cases and new characters to grow close to. It may not have been the “perfect” Layton game, but I’m excited to see where LEVEL-5 will be taking us on our Layton Journey. 4. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia For the past 4 years, Fire Emblem has easily made its way onto my list of favorite gaming series. Each one I have played has been a wonderful experience, and Shadow of Valentia gave my love for this series a major boost. Echoes offered not only your classic Fire Emblem gameplay but some new features that gave it a whole new feeling. I particularly enjoyed exploring through temples and dungeons for endless amounts of loot and gaining extra experience. It was a nice break from the narrative of the game. I’m guilty of not playing the original version, Fire Emblem Gaiden, but I know without a doubt this remake was a faithful successor. With its captivating character artwork, strategic gameplay and a beautiful story, this was an easy choice for my top 2017 games! 3. Splatoon 2 Of all the games I was looking forward to the most this year, Splatoon 2 was the one. I fell in love with the first one back in 2015 and I devoted over 200 hours of blissful gameplay into it. Needless to say, I fell in love with this series all over again. Splatoon 2 is vibrant, quirky and nothing short of amazing. With a plethora of returning features to see, we are also lavished with so many new weapons, stages, music and clothing (not to mention hairstyles)! Salmon Run is a brand-new co-op mode featured in Splatoon 2 and is definitely one you’ll want to try. It may take playing a few rounds to get used to the horde environment, but I found it easily addictive and a blast to play online with friends! We may not have our lovely Squid Sisters this time around, but Pearl and Marina are extremely likable and give Splatfest a whole new groove. No doubt this game is off the hook and one of the highlights of my year. 2. Super Mario Odyssey The man wears many hats, and that’s one of the beauties of this game. He’s more than just a plumber, he’s anything you want him to be. Super Mario Odyssey absolutely blew me away in every single aspect. It’s breath-taking, charming and heartwarmingly nostalgic for most gamers familiar with the Mario series. It’s genuinely a fun game! There are so many Power Moons to find and places to explore that you will never grow tired of playing. Super Mario Odyssey is gorgeous, & I can gush over the aesthetic elements of this game forever. Regardless if I’m playing on my 4K HD TV or my Switch screen, the vivid colors make this game pure eye candy! Of course, the soundtrack is not to be forgotten. The music is catchy, orchestrated beautifully and creates a perfect atmosphere throughout the game. Honestly, I can never get enough of 'Jump Up, Super Star'. Playing this game was an absolute joy, and brought out the small child in me who grew up playing Mario games. Tears may have been present with admiration and nostalgia, & that is why I know it truly means so much to me. It is such a phenomenal game that is not only a top pick for 2017, but a top pick for my personal favorites. 1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild The funny thing about this being my number one pick for 2017 is that I was very skeptical about it prior to release. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited, but seeing how different it was going to be from previous Zelda games had me worried. After playing this game for a short amount of time proved I had nothing to worry about. Breath of the Wild was everything I wanted and more. The moment I realized this might be the best game I’ve ever played was alarming. Yes, it’s different, yes, it’s new, but that’s what makes it so fascinating. You literally can do anything you want right from the start. You can climb any surface, swim in any body of water and pick up almost any object you see. Breath of the Wild allows you to explore until your heart's content. What I love most about this game is not only Link’s development throughout the game, but also yours as the player. You obtain better items to fight powerful enemies, better equipment to tread through various climate changes and even more courage to face menacing foes. I was completely unable to fight against a Guardian until I was at least 50+ hours in and by then I had plenty of practice with the shield parry. After years of playing video games, Breath of the Wild brought forth a completely new experience of gaming to me. It was not like anything ever played in all my years. There were days I’d play for hours and did not accomplish anything except exploring new areas and admiring views. Everything about this game won me over, and I will never forget the moment I first started playing or all the Divine Beasts I conquered. I caught myself grinning like a child as I played this game. This may be the reason it has triumphed over all others.
  5. HAIL 9000

    Game of the Year 2017: Hailee's Picks

    2017 has been a huge year for games. I’ve never had so much trouble narrowing my list down to just ten, and even then it still feels like there were so many great games that I didn’t even get a chance to play. On top of that, this year I’ve felt fortunate to find several games that have probably become some of my all-time favorites. With all that said, let’s get started! 10. Destiny 2 Destiny 2 is a game that landed a spot on my list just because of how much fun I had with it. I never played the first Destiny because: a) I heard those voice clip compilations of Peter Dinklage as the Ghost; and I had kind of written it off as “not really my thing”. I gave Destiny 2 a chance mostly because my friends were playing it, and I’m really glad that I did. The game blends elements of an MMO and an FPS in a way that feels pretty unique and captures a lot of the good aspects of both. I played the entire campaign co-op as a Warlock and it was a lot of fun, both because I enjoyed playing with other people, and because I enjoyed the way my class affected the gameplay. Also, the world feels alive in a special way, like how you can run into and join groups of players doing public events while chasing after a quest. And, as a small perk that feeds into my personal interests, there’s great character customization and cool outfits. Another nice perk of Destiny 2 that I wasn’t really expecting is that the world and lore are quite interesting, although I’m somewhat frustrated that you have to do some digging both in and outside the game to understand them. Additionally, the game had a cast of likable characters that added to the experience. Plus the world itself was beautiful and fun to be in. All things considered, Destiny 2 was a pleasant surprise for me which I enjoyed more than I expected to. 9. Yakuza Kiwami Click here to read GP's Official Review In an unexpected turn of events, there are not one but TWO Yakuza games on my list this year (more about this later). As such, it’s kind of tough to write about Kiwami without comparing it to Yakuza 0 so if you want to skip ahead and read that one first I wouldn’t blame you. While a lot of my newfound love for this series comes from it being unabashedly sentimental and ridiculous, Kiwami has something extra special: Haruka, AKA the light of my life. The relationship between Kiryu and Haruka is what really makes this game. It’s just incredibly sweet to see Kiryu, a professional criminal hardened by ten years in jail, spending his first days of freedom looking after an orphaned little girl, helping her feed a puppy, and cheering for her at karaoke. Since Yakuza 0 is the only other Yakuza game I’ve played, I’m really looking forward to seeing Haruka grow up through the rest of the series. In addition to Kiryu being the world’s best dad, Kiwami has so much good melodrama and ridiculous plot twists. I also really appreciate some of the new additions in the remake, like the extra cutscenes explaining what happened to Nishiki and the Majima Anywhere System (which is delightful, if sometimes a little annoying). Kiwami is great, but the reason this one ranked so much lower than Yakuza 0 is because of its relative lack of content. The sidequests felt pretty lackluster and the combat less complex than in 0, which is to be expected. But all things considered they did a nice job with the remake, and it feels natural to jump to it after starting with 0, especially since 0 provides additional context to better inform your understanding of Kiwami’s characters and their relationships. 8. Rakuen Rakuen was a pleasant surprise that sort of snuck up on me this year. It’s unique, visually beautiful, and -- as one might expect from Laura Shigihara after her work on To the Moon -- it has a fantastic soundtrack. Taking all that into account, I think the place where Rakuen shines the brightest is with its story and characters, and the way that it presents them to you. In the game, you play as a boy in a hospital, who is accompanied by his mother for most of the game. Through top-down adventure gameplay, you get to know the other residents of the hospital both through your interactions with them in the real world and a beautiful fantasy world which stands in stark contrast to the drab interior of the hospital. Rakuen also features no combat and largely no sense of immediate peril, which allows the player to focus on what the game wants to share through its characters. Rakuen deals with some heavy themes and is quite sad at times, but it handles them in a way that is heartfelt and thoughtful. And despite that sadness, there’s a strong focus on the importance of being kind, gentle, and caring for others. All in all, Rakuen is an earnest and lovely experience, and I hope it doesn’t get buried in the wave of releases this year. 7. Tacoma As a big fan of Gone Home, Tacoma was a game I was really anticipating this year. Although its basis is more or less the same as Gone Home - walk around an abandoned space and piece together the fragments of someone else’s story - Tacoma manages to be an experience that feels unique and different. The scope of the story in Tacoma feels bigger, and it’s not so much about the personal journey of one person, but about how people interact with each other. This is reflected not just in the writing, but also in the AR mechanic the player uses to uncover the story of the Tacoma crew. Rather than just uncovering a recording to experience once, the player must move through parts of a scene, rewinding and fast forwarding to capture everyone’s role in the event. However, even with the focus on more people, the recordings feel intimate and personal. There’s something special about getting to see how someone deals with a situation through multiple lenses, such as what they write home about, what they say to their loved ones, and what they do when they’re alone. These sequences feel very intimate even though the player is only a passive observer of them, and it’s refreshing to discover a story through the little details of how it impacts the people it’s happening to. The scope feels bigger not only because it deals with a whole cast as opposed to just one person, but also because Tacoma tackles some interesting sociological issues, and does so in part by exploring their impact on the lives of individuals. While it maybe didn’t impact me in the same way that Gone Home did, I still really enjoyed my time with Tacoma and its cast. 6. Pyre Supergiant Games is a developer that has carved out a pretty big space in my heart over the last couple years, so naturally I was pretty excited for their latest game. Even though I was a little wary of what looked like “sports” gameplay, they definitely didn’t let me down. As I expected, I loved the art direction, music, characters, and worldbuilding of Pyre. I’m always impressed with the way that Supergiant crafts worlds that are interesting, fully fleshed out, and unique. Pyre is especially great in this respect in that it gives you the freedom to revisit the lore at any time, both by collecting it all in an easily accessible tome and allowing you to hover over names and terms in spoken dialogue to get a brief refresher on who or what they are. The world is only improved by the fact that it’s populated with a lovely cast of characters who you get to know in all sorts of ways over the course of the game, including through the enjoyable banter between characters. In a slightly unexpected turn of events, I loved the gameplay of Pyre as well. To progress the story, the player must complete Rites which are sports-match-like challenges where you assemble a team of characters with a diverse set of skills to face off against another team. I got so into the Rites I was even doing the extra challenges and turning on difficulty modifiers, which is a bit out of character for me. Ultimately, the sports-like gameplay in Pyre wound up being just as unique and delightful as everything else. 5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild When I found out Breath of the Wild was going to be an open world game, I was definitely a little worried. In recent years there’s been a trend of tacking open worlds onto games that don’t really benefit from them simply because “that’s what the kids want these days”. For me, open world games have all been feeling similar to each other, and the exploration they offer is starting to feel more and more like a chore. However, Breath of the Wild managed to buck this trend entirely. The way the world was done felt both unique and consistent with the Legend of Zelda series. It was carefully considered and meticulously designed, and just walking around the landscape was a joy and a goal in itself rather than a means to an end. It was beautiful and had such a strong sense of place that I often found myself avoiding key places and events just to keep wandering. It was really exciting to see the series that initially got me into video games take such a big step forward and succeed so well. And even though it was such a big change of pace for the series, it still felt familiar to me, and still had the elements of the series that I’ve come to know and love for the past twenty years. With all that said, I do still love the more guided, linear Zelda experience, and I hope that Nintendo continues to try new things with the series rather than stick exclusively to the open world approach they took with this one. 4. Yakuza 0 Click here to read GP's Official Review I’ve always been a bit skeptical of the Yakuza series, but after being introduced to the series with Yakuza 0 I’m a true believer. Who knew a game about beating up goons as a tough-as-nails Yakuza with a bunch of goofy mini-games would actually tell a sweet heartfelt story? The soft side of Yakuza 0 is the core reason why I loved it so much. I found Majima’s half of the game in particular so touching that I even shed real grown-up tears about it in the epilogue. It was really refreshing to see a game that on the surface appears to be a punch fest steeped in absurd masculinity turn out to tell a story that’s actually sweet and sentimental. Of course, the game still has plenty of absurdity, and that’s the other big reason I love it. Yakuza 0 is absolutely ridiculous. Between the melodrama, outrageous fights and action sequences, and hilarious side quests and mini-games, the game is totally unafraid to be campy. In an era where it feels like there’s a push for big-budget, story-focused games to be deadly serious to prove just how artistic they can be, this absurdity felt refreshing. I think there’s a place for artistic seriousness, but I think there’s also a place for recruiting a chicken to work at your real estate agency and breakdance fighting. And to be honest, if the karaoke sequences in Yakuza 0 don’t prove video games are art than I don’t know what does. My only complaint about the game is that the combat can be quite repetitive, especially towards the end of the game, which I’ve come to understand is an issue with the series in general. But all things considered, Yakuza 0 seems like a great jumping off point for those new to the series, as it’s polished and fun and actually provides some pretty meaningful background for the first game. 3. Persona 5 Persona 5 was a shoo-in for my favorite game of 2017 just by virtue of it being the next entry in one of my favorite series, and the fact that I’ve waited for it for almost a decade. In a lot of ways it exceeded my expectations, but in some ways, it didn’t. To start off with the good: the combat and dungeon crawling are hugely improved. The combat mechanics are streamlined and feel more fun and the randomly generated floors have been replaced with handcrafted dungeons, which eliminate the tedium that was still lingering in Persona 3 and 4. As far as aesthetic and style go it’s absolutely fantastic, maybe my favorite in the series, and it has the most gorgeous UI ever. Additionally, it features my favorite premise and themes of any game in the series. Despite being my first Persona game since leaving teendom behind, the “screw you corrupt adults” theme still resonated with me. A game about bringing down corrupt teachers, businessmen, and politicians felt pretty darn topical this year. And while I utterly enjoyed myself playing Persona 5, and while the characters do have a special place in my heart, in several ways I think Persona 5 fumbled a bit with its writing, which is disappointing since that’s a huge part of why I love the series so much. The story occasionally felt poorly paced and poorly crafted, some of the main characters got sidelined and didn’t get the development they deserved for the sake of developing one-off throwaway villains, and the game seems to unwittingly contradict some of the points it’s trying to make. Despite all my complaints, I still enjoyed the plot quite a bit, and I may hold the writing to an unfair standard given my opinion of the rest of the series. But for me, the Persona series really rides on its story and characters, and while they were great in Persona 5, they were not fantastic, which is ultimately what held it back from becoming my game of the year. 2. Night in the Woods When I played Night in the Woods, I quickly proclaimed it my game of the year, and although it was dethroned it’s still very dear to me. It’s a game I’ve been anticipating since it was Kickstarted and I was so grateful that it did not let me down. With Night in the Woods, in a way, I came for the aesthetic and stayed for the social commentary and its thoughts and questions about life. It’s the only game that I’ve ever immediately played again after beating it once. Pretty much every part of the game resonated with me on a personal level, which I guess is no surprise since it’s being called “Millennial Animals: the Game”. The game and its themes are grounded in reality, nihilistic and sometimes tragic, but still hopeful. It takes on a lot of heavy, topical subjects, but in a way that feels realistic and avoids being pretentious. Not to mention it does so with some absolutely lovely writing that deftly weaves humor and seriousness in a way that feels unique but also authentic. All of this is conveyed through a wonderful cast of characters, all of whom are lovable, but not without their own faults and struggles. In addition to the main cast, Possum Springs is also full of side characters who you can talk to every day to string together meaningful little vignettes about their lives and the history of the town. And while I said I came for the aesthetic and stayed for the writing, the aesthetic is pretty killer too. Visually, the game is gorgeous. It feels like every screenshot could be printed and framed as its own work of art, and the soundtrack is fantastic, which makes exploring Possum Springs and finding all its secrets that much more enjoyable. 1. Nier: Automata In a turn of events that will not surprise a single person who’s ever spoken to me, my game of the year is Nier: Automata. I’ve had tempered enthusiasm for Automata ever since it was announced. Nier Gestalt had some fantastic writing, world-building, and my favorite game soundtrack of all time, yet I found the gameplay a little lacking. When I found out Platinum was going to be working on Automata, I was pretty darn excited. When the game finally came out though, it exceeded all my expectations. Nier: Automata has some of the most fun action gameplay in recent memory. This, coupled with a beautiful open world that’s fleshed out with meaningful sidequests make for a consistently great gameplay experience all the way through. I’m often compelled to turn the game back on just for the sake of being in that world again. Automata also has a fantastic score, a worthy follow-up to Gestalt (which I think still remains my favorite soundtrack of all time). However, where Automata really shines is in its writing -- in the profound questions it asks as well as the way in which it asks those questions and the way that it uses the medium of video games to lend to the story it wants to tell. I’m being deliberately vague because I’d hate to spoil this experience for anyone, and everyone should play Nier: Automata. I’d also like to give a special thank you here to all my dear friends who still speak to me after I’ve forced this game on them repeatedly all year. Nier: Automata is a profoundly sad game, but it’s not without hope. I’ve never found myself so deeply moved by a game before and it is hard for me to remember the last time I loved a game this much. And so, naturally, it’s my game of the year, and has certainly earned its place as one of my favorite games of all time.
  6. Hailinel

    Game of the Year 2017: Justin's Picks

    If nothing else, 2017 was an absolute bonanza when it came to quality games. No matter what kind of game you like or what platforms you own, chances are there were at least a few high-quality games that could tickle your fancy. Some years have made it difficult for me to pick out ten games in total that I felt would fit on my list, but in this case, the issue was all about trying to whittle down a long, long list of contenders. And this isn’t even taking into account games I haven’t had a chance to start yet, like Super Mario Odyssey. One can only wonder if 2018 will be able to keep up the pace. Honorable Mention: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 As of this writing, I’m less than halfway through Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It wouldn’t be fair to put it in my top ten in that regard, but from what I’ve played, the game has many of the things I’d want from a proper sequel. Its world and themes evoke much of what made the first game special, while the presentation takes on its own stylistic approach with a more obviously anime-influenced aesthetic. The gameplay carries many of the same core principles, but with some new elements and streamlined returning features, which make it challenging but rewarding, and the story is building toward something that feels as rewarding as the original. Maybe I’ll put the game on next year’s Top 10 list when things are said and done, but for now, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 deserves at the very least an honorable mention. And now, on to my top ten games for 2017! 10. Kamiko The shortest and simplest game on my list, Kamiko probably wouldn’t have caught my attention had it not been for a couple of factors. In particular, the game launched not long after the Switch went on sale, and it was one of the first indie games to appear in the console’s eShop. It also didn’t hurt that the game is priced at only five dollars. There are a lot of arguments about how game price and the breadth of content should or shouldn’t be a point of comparison, but in Kamiko’s case, the price is a perfect fit. A simple adventure with retro Zelda-style qualities, three playable characters, and a completion time of just a few hours, it’s one of the best bargains on the Switch or any other platform to see a release this year. 9. Toukiden 2 For me, the time I spent with Koei Tecmo’s Toukiden 2 were the most fun I’ve ever had in the monster-hunting genre. While the original game borrowed more of its design from the Monster Hunter series, the sequel exudes more confidence in going its own way, most notably with its expansive open world. The refinements made to the core hunting mechanics and other systems also help the game stand out as a title worthy of standing on its own, rather than being labeled as a simple clone of the games that obviously inspired it. 8. Splatoon 2 The sequel to one of the Wii U’s few honest-to-squidness breakout hits, Splatoon 2 doesn’t stray too far from what made the original game so good. But while the sequel in some ways feels like a slight upgrade or a minimal expansion, it still carries that fresh feeling. The mechanical improvements, additional modes, and continued free content updates have helped elevate what was a slim game at launch into a game that’s remarkably better than the original in almost every way. 7. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone Future Tone is easily the most content-rich and challenging release in the Project Diva series, and if you’re a fan of Vocaloid music like I am, there’s really no better game to get. With its massive track list comprised of songs taken from both the Project Diva and Project Mirai rhythm series spanning numerous artists and genres, Future Tone ‘s collection of classic songs featuring the Crypton Vocaloids is unparalleled. Also, any game that features Hatsune Miku is guaranteed to make me happy, if only because of her presence! 6. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Count me among the many that never saw this coming. When Nintendo announced a Fire Emblem-specific Nintendo Direct early this year, I, like most people, assumed that it would focus mostly on Fire Emblem Warriors and the previously announced mobile game, Fire Emblem Heroes. So color me surprised when the Direct began with, of all things, a trailer for a full remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden! Shadows of Valentia is both a complete modernization of Gaiden, as well as a love letter to everything that made the original so unique and sometimes unfairly maligned as a black sheep. It doubles down on its dungeon and town exploration, ignores the weapon triangle in combat, ties magic usages to unit health, and puts a premium on environmental cover. The new modern touches like Mila’s Turnwheel, which allows the player to rewind time and take back actions and whole turns, just add to the fact that Shadows of Valentia isn’t afraid to be different in a post-Awakening-and-Fates world. 5. Yakuza 0 Sega’s cult hit Yakuza series took on new life in the west this year, and Yakuza 0 led the charge. With dual narratives featuring series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu and loveable lunatic Goro Majima in late 1980s Japan, the game still carries the series trademark melodramatic storytelling mixed with comically absurd asides. One minute, Kiryu is on the streets of Kamurocho, beating up thugs and staving off betrayals, and the next, he’s at a bowling alley, having won a chicken that he intends to recruit as a real estate manager. And every second is glorious. 4. Warriors All-Stars As a fan of Koei Tecmo’s Warriors games, I was blessed with more than one title that fit on my personal Top 10 for the year. It was honestly difficult determining how to rank them, but at Number 4, I’m placing Warriors All-Stars. As a successor to the Warriors Orochi series, All-Stars takes the crossover concept and runs with it, creating a game that celebrates the combined libraries of Koei, Tecmo, and Gust. Like I noted in my review earlier this year, it’s not quite Super Smash Warriors, but it comes very close to fulfilling that idea. And there’s just something special about wracking up thousands of K.O.s with an otome game protagonist. 3. Fire Emblem Warriors While Warriors All-Stars is a fun celebration of Koei Tecmo, Fire Emblem Warriors does for Fire Emblem what Hyrule Warriors did for The Legend of Zelda. And in many ways, Fire Emblem Warriors outdoes its predecessor in presentation, gameplay, and content. The Warriors format just seems like a more natural fit for Fire Emblem, and the game has been designed with the franchise’s strategy RPG roots in mind. While it is a little disappointing that the roster is predominantly made up of Fates, Awakening, and Shadow Dragon characters, each of them are brought to life with an incredible touch of detail, remaining true to their personalities and bringing about a level of expressiveness in their combat styles that the core strategy titles couldn’t bring across. 2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Breath of the Wild is largely what I’ve wanted from 3D Zelda games for a while now. In many ways, it feels like a modern reimagining of the very first NES game. The game allows the freedom to just go where I want to go, do what I want to do, and always feel rewarded in ways large and small for exploring off the beaten path. It contains qualities that beg for experimentation, whether that involve messing with the game’s physics and chemistry systems to pull off ridiculous stunts, finding inventive ways to approach combat encounters, or more simply seeing how long I can survive making a bee-line for Hyrule Castle from the start of the game. (SPOILERS: I wouldn’t get very far at all.) 1. Nier: Automata I cannot think of a game that has left an emotional impact on me as powerful as the one left by Nier: Automata. At once dismal and beautiful, hopeless and hopeful, bearing witness to the trials and tortures that the game’s android protagonists live through in one playthrough after another, it’s left me in tears of both anguished hurt and determined exultation. I wish I could point to any one moment that defines this experience for me, but I’m afraid to say anything in specifics out of fear of spoiling too much. All I can say in that regard is that if you play Nier: Automata (and you should!), you absolutely should not stop until you’ve achieved Endings A, B, C, D, and most importantly of all, E. Nier: Automata is hands down my favorite game of 2017, and the debate in my mind was never even close.
  7. Love it or hate it, The Game Awards has become a pretty integral night in the game industry for a few years now due to it being a platform for publishers to tease their upcoming games with world premieres. This year's show was no exception, with some of the biggest game announcements we've seen since The Game Awards was first started. Just a quick note here -- we're not covering every trailer shown. Just the ones for the biggest and newest games. With that, here's a look at the night's biggest announcements, starting with... Soul Calibur VI Though rumors of its impending announcement were fairly abundant beforehand, Soul Calibur VI's unveiling caused a huge splash with fans last night. Soul Calibur V released in 2012, so it's been a solid 5 years without a new entry, and 2018 looks to be rectifying that in a big way. Details remain sparse so far, but we do know the game is set in the 16th century and a few returning characters have been confirmed, such as Sophitia and Mitsurugi. Also new is a gameplay mechanic called "Reversal Edge," which allows players to clash with each other while following up with a powerful counterattack based on their opponent's actions. Aside from that, you'll have to stay tuned for more info on the popular fighter in 2018, during which time it'll release on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam. Bayonetta 1+2 and (yes) Bayonetta 3 Despite Bayonetta 2's critically acclaimed reception on Wii U, the series' fate appeared to be up in the air, mostly due to the uncertain airs around the poorly-selling console. Any fears of about future entries were quickly forgotten about last night, however, as Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime not only announced a Bayonetta 1+2 dual release pack on Switch next year but a teaser for a full-blown threequel. There's no release date or window yet, so you'll have to wait for more info, hopefully, next year. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Champion's Ballad While it was all but confirmed that we'd see the second half of Breath of the Wild's DLC at The Game Awards, it was still pretty exciting to see the announcement unfold, complete with producer Eiji Aonuma appearing on-stage to pull out a master sword in the stone. This new DLC focuses on the history of the four champions that aid Link in his quest, in addition to providing new shrines, armor, items, and even a brand spanking new motorcycle Link can ride. Death Stranding Just as confusing as ever, a new trailer for Death Stranding did no new favors for anyone trying to understand exactly what it is about. Also, it ends with... a baby inside Norman Reedus' character? You'll have to see the trailer to believe it. Also, game creator Hideo Kojima and Norman Reedus also showed up on-stage afterward to talk a bit as well. With no release date in sight, it could easily be a couple of years more before we get an idea of when it's coming out. World War Z I'm not quite sure why a game based on a film from 2013 (which in turn was based on the book) is just now being announced, but there you go. The trailer doesn't show much that we haven't seen in the movie (such as super fast zombies) but interestingly enough, it is "coming soon." Perhaps a 2018 release is right around the corner. From Software's untitled project Death Stranding might have had the most confusing trailer, but equally odd and unusually short was the reveal for From Software's upcoming game. Essentially a 10-second clip that centers on what appears to be a bloody, twisting rope, the only other thing the clip offers is the phrase "Shadows Die Twice." The message is unclear at the moment, though there are some people who believe it be a sequel or successor to From Software's Shadow Tower games. If not, Bloodborne 2 is widely speculated as well. It's likely we may hear more at PSX 2017 this weekend. In the Valley of the Gods It's been nearly two years since Campo Santo's critically acclaimed debut Firewatch released, and now they're finally showing off their latest project, In the Valley of the Gods. Slated for a 2019 release on PC (and likely consoles thereafter), the game focuses on two female filmmakers, Rashida and Zora, as they set out in the 1920s to uncover the lost tomb of Nefertiti. Like Firewatch, it appears to be a first-person "walking simulator" with a heavy focus/narrative on the characters themselves. Witchfire The latest game from the developer behind The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Witchfire is a first-person horror game set in a dark, gothic world of monsters, zombies, and the like. We'll likely get much more info on it in 2018. Dreams It's been a long time coming for Media Molecule's Dreams. Having first been revealed in 2013 as a tech demo/platform, it's been unusually quiet for the past 3-4 years, causing many to wonder if it had been scrapped or reworked entirely. We now have confirmation that it's still alive and coming out in 2018, and boy does it look ambitious. Expect to hear way more about it this weekend at PSX 2017. Which of these new game announcements was your favorite or most surprising to you? Let us know in the comments below!
  8. Ever since the "Expansion Pass" for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was announced, fans have been wondering exactly what will be released in each of the three DLC packs that comprises it. While Nintendo released a rough outline of what would be in each pack, the official details on the first DLC pack have come through today, and it contains even more than what was first announced. First off, the first DLC pack will be called The Master Trials. Here's what it contains: Trial of the Sword Previously known as "The Cave of Trials," this will be accessible location will serve as a challenge for Link where he'll need to defeat enemies in each room to continue on. Much like Eventide Island, he'll start off without armor or weapons, and the trial will include some 45 rooms in all. If he manages to beat it, you'll unlock the true power of the Master Sword and it will always be in its glowing state. Hard Mode What it sounds like. Essentially this raises all monsters' levels by one, so Red Bokoblins will now be Blue ones and so forth. Enemies will also recover health over time, forcing you to defeat them quickly if you want to move on, and they'll spot Link more easily as well. Finally, new, floating planks (with balloons) will be scattered across Hyrule where Link can battle enemies and find new treasure. Hero's Path One of the most useful-sounding additions so far -- essentially, this documents every path Link has taken around Hyrule in green since the start of your adventure. It will record your last 200 hours of travel, so you'll have a better idea of where you've been on the map and where you haven't. Travel Medallion Ever wish you could travel to a certain spot but no shrine, tower, village, or stable was nearby? Now you can, registering up to one temporary point you can return to at any time. You'll have to find the chest that the Travel Medallion is hiding in first, however. Korok Mask Ya-ha-ha! When you find it, this new item will help you locate those sneaky Koroks. No more combing the map blindly for them! 8 new pieces of outfits/equipment Also one of the most interesting pieces in this DLC; among them are Majora's Mask, Midna's Helmet, Tingle's Outfit, and the Phantom Armor (that Zelda wears/inhabits in Spirit Tracks). Oh, and I almost forgot... Option to switch the game's audio between 9 differerent languages This update is actually a free one that isn't tied to the Expansion Pass. Were you disappointed you were stuck with English audio when you played through the NA version of the game? Now you'll be able to play through the game with one of eight other audio voice tracks (and on-screen text), including Japanese, French (Canada), French (France), German, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), Italian, and Russian. Also, Wii U players will need to download a Voice Pack from the eShop to experience this option. The good news is you won't have to wait long for DLC Pack 1; it's slated to release this Summer. DLC Pack 2 will arrive a little bit later during the Holiday season, and will be detailed a little before that time likely. Source: Nintendo What are your thoughts on Breath of the Wild's first DLC pack from the Expansion Pass?
  9. Monday Musings is a feature where every Monday, I'll shoot the breeze about what I've been playing and what my thoughts are on various news and events in the game industry. This week I'll be talking about the upcoming launch of the Nintendo Switch on Friday, one early challenge that's come up already for it, and how I haven't been this excited for a new console in a long time. Is it Friday yet? No? Then is it too late to put myself in cryogenic sleep otherwise? Maybe that'd be overdoing it a bit considering the Switch comes out a mere four days from now, but seriously... I want that Switch yesterday. It's funny -- when I think of the Wii U, I actually can't remember much of the pre-launch hype for it. I do remember that it was barely advertised on TV (much less elsewhere) -- Nintendo claimed that it was due to high ad prices because of the 2012 election -- but when it comes to being excited for it and the games it was launching with, I remember... nothing. Of course, getting a new console is always exciting -- I do remember the day my Wii U arrived in the mail, but I don't remember being super hyped for it, and it's not hard to see why when you look at its launch lineup. People like to rip the Switch a new one considering that it's only launching with 10 titles (9, if you don't count Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove and Specter of Torment as separate releases), whereas the Wii U launched with just over twice that amount. But here's the thing -- there are more titles in Switch's lineup that interest me a lot more than the Wii U's, and I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who is thinking that. Despite its superior quantity and diversity of launch titles, only five titles in the Wii U launch lineup were exclusive, none of which had major hype behind it. Its strongest first-party title was New Super Mario Bros. U, a game that was too similar to previous games in the series and launched too soon after New Super Mario Bros. 2 released on 3DS just a few months prior. Nintendo Land was a decent pack-in mini-game collection that was largely overlooked, as was Ubisoft's ZombiU. In contrast, Switch has six exclusives (Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment is a timed exclusive for one month) -- all of which I'm much more interested in than the Wii U's five, which are now looking downright ho-hum. If Switch's launch lineup doesn't interest you at all, I don't blame you. Having more titles is never a bad thing, and it's not a hugely diverse bunch of titles either. But compared to Wii U's lineup, Switch's is looking more and more like it makes the argument for "quality > quantity." The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be the driving factor for most people buying the Switch on day one, but I'm already much more excited to play some of the other games coming day one than I was for the many launch ports on Wii U. Super Bomberman R, FAST RMX, Snipperclips, and Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove are all games I'm excited to dig into alongside Zelda, leading this to be one of the better launch lineups I've experienced in some time. While the verdict is still out on how good Super Bomberman R is, more than half of the launch titles have already received critical acclaim, which says a lot about the quality of the lineup itself. Honestly, it was easy to be disappointed when Nintendo revealed that the Switch launch lineup would be a bit more meager than both the Wii's and Wii U's, but the more time we've had to adjust to it, the more I think the Switch will be just fine in the end. Nintendo has already set in motion a number of titles (both big and small) that are set to launch in the following months and throughout the year, with more indies and third party games being announced every week -- more than enough to keep momentum and interest strong throughout the year. Wii U -- on the other hand -- had the inverse situation. It launched with a respectable number of games of varying quality and then... was virtually silent for months at a time. The next big exclusive to release after launch came in March, some four months after. This was a huge blow to the Wii U's momentum, and it showed in the monthly sales after 2013 began as the platform began to sell less and less. It's often said that a game console's library is judged by the amount of exclusives it has. Wii U had five at launch. Of 23 overall. The rest were available elsewhere. The Switch has six exclusives. Of ten overall. The remaining four? Probably not slated for doing big business, with maybe the exception of Just Dance 2017. Skylanders Imaginators isn't likely to sell gangbusters on Switch, because it's a game that's already been on the market for nearly 5 months now. Most of those third party Wii U launch games didn't sell like crazy either. Because they were also available elsewhere. You know what most people thought when they saw that Assassin's Creed III available on Wii U at launch? "Huh, that's cool. I'll buy it on Xbox 360 or PS3." 60% exclusives to 21%, that's what you're looking at with Switch vs Wii U when it comes to their libraries. Even if Tomorrow Corporation's games make Switch's launch (which it isn't guaranteed as of this writing) and bumps the number from 10 to 13, 46% is still a fairly good number for launch exclusives. One other thing Switch's launch lineup has going for it is that it knows its audience. Just look at the games -- 1-2-Switch - March 3 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - March 3 Skylanders Imaginators - March 3 Just Dance 2017 - March 3 Super Bomberman R - March 3 I Am Setsuna - March 3 Snipperclips - March 3 Fast RMX - March 3 Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment - March 3 Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove - March 3 For the most part, these are very Nintendo-oriented games, with a few casual games thrown in to attract the mass market crowd. It's not attempting to go after the Call of Duty crowd or the hardcore action crowd right now because it doesn't have to (and because it would be a moot point at the moment). Rather, they're doubling down on the games they know Nintendo fans will like best (and the ones that are actually ready to release): old-school platformers, arcade games, creative puzzle games, RPGs, racing games, and adventure games. Wii U tried to be everything to everyone, but it wasn't because it didn't have enough that was unique to it at launch, whereas Switch is more focused and selling to a very specific crowd with most of its titles, while relying on 1-2 Switch and Just Dance 2017 to reel in casuals. This is why Switch's lineup beats out Wii U's. That, and Breath of the Wild pretty much beats out the entire Wii U launch lineup anyhow. Seriously, is it Friday yet? What do you think? Is Switch's launch lineup more appealing to you than the Wii U's was? Would you have actually bought most of the third-party titles on Wii U, or would you buy them on PS3/360 at the time?
  10. Ever since last year's E3, it's been assumed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would be the Wii U's final first-party release, but now Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime has confirmed that this is indeed the case in a recent interview with Polygon. However, though Nintendo won't be making any more new Wii U titles, Reggie also said that Nintendo will still be supporting the online components for the foreseeable future and that the ongoing activity for both Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon is "significant." It's also worth noting that eShop releases will still continue from indie developers and possibly some smaller third parties, though it's unknown whether new Virtual Console games will be released on Wii U after the launch of Nintendo Switch. Also in question is the future of the game known as Project Giant Robot, which was one of two final games (alongside Breath of the Wild) to appear on the most recent release forecast for Wii U in Nintendo's investor reports. Whether the game was outright cancelled or changed in concept, we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, Nintendo's final first party title for the Wii U -- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- will release on March 3. Source: Polygon What are your thoughts on Breath of the Wild being the final first-party release?
  11. Last Thursday was a day of unbridled excitement for Nintendo fans and heightened curiosity for mostly everyone else. It's been quite some time since I've last seen anticipation from people who were previously down on Nintendo due to its more casual-oriented focus with Wii and the failure of its successor. But leading up to Thursday's event, even people who were staunch critics of Nintendo for the last 10 years or so were pretty bullish on the Switch's prospects. Would this be the console that would turn things around for them and their outlook on Nintendo? I remember distinctly listening to an episode of the Kinda Funny Gamecast sometime in the last month, and both Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty were talking about how interested and excited they were for the Switch, but Colin made a mention of something about how it all seemed too good to be true and that he was "waiting for the other shoe to drop." And he was right. Thursday's Nintendo Switch Presentation was not perfect by any means, and it was a pertinent reminder as to why the company is now opting for Nintendo Direct videos instead, and -- frankly -- why they're much better off doing the latter. For starters, let's start off with what went wrong- Lost in Translation There's a reason why international press conferences aren't done a whole lot in the game industry, or at least not in Japanese -- essentially, the rest of the world (that doesn't know Japanese) were left to watch a presentation that was awkwardly translated and paced. Beyond that, the first two games that were shown displayed a Wii-like casual focus, something that was a bit scary to see for many that were watching. I remember one person on Twitter saying that it was like they were focusing on the Wii concept all over again, and I kind of had a similar dread about that as well. Waggle is definitely not the way to go (in the case of ARMS), but I was happy to learn that it wouldn't be the only method of control in that game. Failure to Launch? No doubt about it -- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a great game to have at launch, not to mention the key reason people will be buying a Switch at all on day one. But one game will not carry an entire launch (and in the rare case that it does, it's because it has exceptional word of mouth, such as Wii Sports). At the very minimum, there needs to be at least one big game to get people excited and 2-4 noteworthy supporting games that may not be quite as big but still get people interested in playing. Let's compare this to PlayStation 4's launch for a minute. Now, PS4's launch lineup wasn't amazing (no launch usually is) but it did roughly meet those fundamental requirements. Depending on your interest, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack were interchangeable as the big game in the lineup, with one or the other also serving as the next best thing in addition to Resogun and third-party games that were launching day and date with other platforms such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and a few others. It was a solid lineup, if unremarkable for many, yet it got the job done. Think about it this way -- in a football game, a successful play is pulled off when the quarterback is well-supported by the linemen, running backs, and wide receivers. Let's say the quarterback represents the console (or the console manufacturer, in a sense) and the wide receiver represents the launch lineup's best game. The killer app, in a sense, which in this case represents Breath of the Wild. Since that title is largely the only notable game in the launch lineup, it's almost as if this figurative football game is being played just with the quarterback and wide receiver. So when the play begins, quarterback Switch has no choice but to throw to the wide receiver (Breath of the Wild) and hope beyond hopes that he can break through the other team's defensive line and -- at the very least -- score a first-down, if not a touch down (which, in this case is a successful launch with great sales, great momentum beyond just the first month, people buzzing, etc.). Now, if there were at least 2-5 other notable games launching beside Breath of the Wild, they would be able to help support the play and make sure the wide receiver can get as far as he needs to go. The chances of success increase. But without them, the wide receiver's chances of success are greatly reduced. This is exactly where Switch is at with its launch at the moment. The other shoe drops - Price Inconsistencies The launch lineup, as dismal as it is right now, is just one part of the equation. The part where "the other shoe drops" is with the price of extra controllers and such. Namely, a Switch Pro controller will run you $70. Two extra Joy-Cons will run you a cool $80. If you opt for just one Joy-Con? Not $40, but $50 (what??). Now, I can understand why the Joy-Cons cost as much as they do, especially with the new HD Rumble functionality that's probably not too cheap to implement; there's a decent amount of tech in those controllers. Still, that isn't much of a comfort to anyone who has to spend close to one third of the price of the console just for extra controllers. So why is the Switch Pro controller $70? I can only imagine it's because they want to profit heavily on people wanting a traditional controller, much like how Sony wanted to profit on Vita memory cards by charging much higher than other companies would for similar cards (like SDHC). I mean, the Wii U Pro Controller was $50 initially (even less now) -- what is it about the Switch version that merits an extra $20? Western third-parties are still very much a question mark One important thing that I was hoping would be addressed that totally wasn't is the acceptance of Western third-parties. Nintendo had all of two Western third parties say something at the press conference: Bethesda's Todd Howard confirming Skyrim on Switch, and EA's Patrick Soderlund confirming FIFA. What other western publishers that were previously announced seemed to be showing token support so far, with Take-Two and 2K bringing only NBA 2K17, Activision bringing Skylanders Imaginators, and Ubisoft with Just Dance 2017 for now (though the latter has other rumored stuff in the works). I can understand why any Western third party would be cautious about working with Nintendo after the Wii U, but so far the future does not look good for Switch and Western AAA games -- something that many hoped would change with this new generation. It's too early to say for sure, though, but the early outlook isn't promising. I'm more optimistic than I was with Wii U because Nintendo getting Todd Howard aboard isn't an easy feat and it at least shows that they're trying this time around. However, it does look like most third-party support will be from Japanese publishers unless the install base really takes off, along with support from indies. But here's the good news... First-Party Lineup is incredibly promising Despite an auspicious start, the Switch's first party lineup from now until the end of the year and beyond is looking incredibly good. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Edition may be a port, but it will sell and people will want it especially as a multiplayer experience when there will be few others available at that time. Xenoblade Chronicles 2, if it makes 2017 as planned, will be a welcome title for RPG fans and hardcore gamers alike. Super Mario Odyssey looks like it could be the most influential Mario game since Super Mario Galaxy, and it's the game people are most excited about other than Breath of the Wild. I've seen many people on Twitter and elsewhere who haven't been into Nintendo for a while that are pretty excited for this one and have voiced their interest in getting a Switch to play it. We'll hear more about Fire Emblem Warriors in just a few days, but it is also another big reason to be excited about this year's lineup, especially after how well Hyrule Warriors turned out. ARMS looks like goofy fun yet could be a deeper experience with how the mechanics work, leading to a game that could potentially be a new, breakout hit. And Splatoon 2 looks like it'll help kick off Switch's multiplayer in a big way. There are also a number of big games that have already been leaked but haven't been talked about officially just yet. Pikmin 4, the Mario x Rabbids RPG by Ubisoft, rumblings of a Metroid game which may be Retro's next project or even an internal Nintendo team, and even the upcoming Super Smash Bros. port, which will likely contain extra content. And that's not counting other games we don't know about that might also be announced at E3. It'll be a fairly good first year for Switch as far as first-party games go once we pass through the dull launch period. Virtual Console and eShop news is still coming Easily one of my most anticipated features that will still have yet to hear about is the Switch eShop and rumored Gamecube Virtual Console games. Fans have been wanting Gamecube VC games for the longest time now, and the mere thought that we'll be able to play those games on the go is incredibly exciting. But even excluding the Gamecube, it's exciting to think we'll be able to take any VC game on the go now (aside from Game Boy/NES/SNES with New 3DS). And hopefully they'll begin putting various SEGA titles back on the eShop this time around; we'll see. The Tech is intriguing Despite the overall horsepower being purportedly lower than a PS4 and Xbox One, I'm looking forward to seeing what developers do with the Switch overall. While it may have sounded uninteresting or gimmicky at first, the HD motion capabilities do seem pretty clever after dwelling on some of the possibilities. Someone on Twitter gave a great example, saying that a new Metroid Prime game could benefit from this by providing different sensations as you select different types of beams -- the sound/sensation of ice tensing up with the ice beam, a sort of pulse sensation as you fire off the wave beam, and so on. I'm also interested to try the Joy-Cons as individual controllers and see if the 2-player holds up with them. While it probably won't be a preferred way of playing, I could see myself casually playing with one or more people on the Switch tablet at certain times, provided that the game works with the multiplayer feature. And like I mentioned in the section above, playing console games on the go is going to be a fantastic choice to have. Switching things Up In any case, I would have to sum up my thoughts by saying that Switch has a rough short-term and a potentially great long-term ahead of it. We'll know a lot more about to what to expect in regards to third-party support and how often it'll get games by E3, but in the meantime, I'm looking forward to the few main games that will be coming out beforehand. Nintendo definitely has some kinks to work out in regards to the pricing of various things (and the decision not to bundle in a game), but I'm hoping they'll come their senses and fix what's not working over time. If anything, I'll probably be mostly lost in the splendor of Breath of the Wild instead of getting upset at why there aren't more games out in the first month or two anyhow. What do you guys think about the Switch, both in the short-term and long-term?
  12. Nintendo unveiled a bevy of game announcements during last night's Switch presentation, and while ports were to be expected, there were also a number of pretty big surprises, both from Nintendo and third-parties alike. Here's a rundown of some of the biggest games that were announced for the Switch, in addition to everything else that has been announced and confirmed thus far. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Releasing March 3 - Ending the presentation with a bang, Breath of the Wild looks absolutely stunning with its latest trailer, this time focused on the plot of the game. We had previously heard that the villain in this game would be Calamity Ganon (which appears to be an incarnation of the series eponymous villain), but we finally get a good look at the evil being unleashed on this Hyrule in addition to loads of supporting characters, and yes, even Zelda herself. This one can't come soon enough, and you won't have to wait long enough either -- it'll be one of the first Switch games releasing at launch on March 3. Super Mario Odyssey - Releasing Holiday 2017 - Ever since its initial tease in the Nintendo Switch trailer that released last Fall, fans have been wondering what exactly what Mario has been up to in his latest game, and now we finally got to find out. Super Mario Odyssey looks to be the series' biggest game yet, with large, open sandbox levels for players to explore. Even some of the themes appear to be very different this time around, including a fiesta-themed level and even one based on the real world. Unfortunately, this game won't be out until later in the year, but it looks like it'll be worth the wait. Splatoon 2 - Releases Summer 2017 - We had previously known that Splatoon would show up as part of the Switch lineup, but it was rumored to be an port of the Wii U game from a few years back. Needless to say, it took fans by surprise when it was announced that this one would be a brand new sequel. Splatoon 2 expands upon the first game's addicting gameplay by adding brand new levels, characters, weapons, and more. Unfortunately, this one won't make launch either, but you'll be playing it before long; it comes out this Summer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POsTR5iy_TI Fire Emblem Warriors - Releasing TBD - When Hyrule Warriors initially released, many fans wondered what other Nintendo series could become a musou spinoff. Fire Emblem was naturally one of the very first series that people thought of, and it seems Koei Tecmo had the same idea. While we got a short teaser for the game, it would seem this one is early in development since there's no gameplay footage yet. Time will tell if this is a 2018 or beyond title, but for now let's just be glad we're getting a Fire Emblem Warriors game! ARMS - Releasing Spring 2017 - Quirky name aside, ARMS is one of Nintendo's new IPs and essentially combines boxing with... um, long arms. It's a unique idea, and banks on the motion control scheme for the Switch with each player utilizing both Joy-Con to act as your fists. Is this the spiritual successor to Punch-Out? It certainly looks like it, and we'll find out if this game has what it takes to become a new classic when it releases this Spring. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Edition - Releasing April 28 - An enhanced port of Wii U's Mario Kart 8, this deluxe edition collects the entire original game with the 16 DLC tracks that came out and adds five new characters (Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl, King Boo, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr.), three new vehicles (two inspired by Splatoon), and brand new battle courses (which also include returning battle courses from previous games). 1, 2, Switch - Releasing March 3 - Another new IP from Nintendo, this one is a party game where you'll look directly at your opponent instead of the screen as you participate in games like a Wild West faceoff, copycat dance-off, cow-milking contest, and more. Sounds pretty zany, but this could end up being a surprise hit at parties so we'll see what it's like when it releases at launch! Other Surprises Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Release TBD - New Shin Megami Tensei title - Release TBD - Dragon Quest X and XI - Release TBD - Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2 - Release TBD - Project Octopath Traveler - Release TBD - New No More Heroes Title - Release TBD - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f98ZwgzYyig Super Bomberman R - Release TBD - Tentative list of confirmed upcoming games (still being updated) Also Releasing in March Has Been Heroes - Frozenbyte Super Bomberman R - Konami Just Dance 2017 - Ubisoft Snipperclips: Cut it out, together! - Nintendo I Am Setsuna - Square Enix Releasing in Spring 2017 Sonic Mania - SEGA LEGO City Undercover - Warner Bros. TBD The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Bethesda Shovel Knight - Yacht Club Games FIFA - EA Ultra Street Fighter V: The Final Challengers - Capcom Disgaea 5 Complete - NISA Arcade Archives - HAMSTER, Co. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 - Bandai Namco Farming Simulator - Focus Home Interactive Fast RMX - Shin'en Minecraft: Story Mode - The Complete Adventure - Telltale Games Minecraft: Switch Edition - Mojang AB Puyo Puyo Tetris - SEGA Rayman Legends Definitive Edition - Ubisoft Rime - Tequila Works, Grey Box Skylanders Imaginators - Activision Steep - Ubisoft Syberia 3 - Anuman Interactive NBA 2K17 - 2K Games Sonic Mania - SEGA Project Sonic 2017 - SEGA The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth - Nicalis Redout - Nicalis What are your thoughts on the games coming out for Switch so far?
  13. I actually did hear sort of hear about this as it was (allegedly) happening since someone made a tweet about it and it was retweeting like crazy. Anyhoo, the story is that someone went into full-on heist/hacking mode at E3 and tried to steal the demo for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Kotaku did a story covering it, and though it's hard to prove, it does sound like there's enough evidence to show that the attempt was a real thing. Of course, they didn't get away with it (or at least the story doesn't say they did), but it's interesting to think that someone tried. It's a pretty interesting read too, so check out the story if you get a chance. In the meantime, I think I've seen all that I need to of Breath of the Wild for now, although I really want to see a story trailer for it next. Can't wait! What do you guys think? Do you believe the rumors that someone almost stole the demo?
  14. Nintendo surprised more than a few people when they said the new Zelda would be the only playable game they bring to E3 2016. Whether or not that was the best approach for them, or overall, will be the subject of many thinkpieces for some time to come, I imagine. But one thing“s for sure: impressions of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are highly sought after by show goers and series fans alike. Those of you at home have likely seen Nintendo Treehouse Live“s of the game, and y“all definitely liked the initial trailer too. Here on the west coast -- well -- the line completely filled up in six minutes. It took six hours of rigorous standing for me to finally reach the collective experience of Nintendo“s booth. And gosh, is it ever a sight to behold. But, I“m here to talk about how the game plays, not the journey it took for me to get there, right? I“ll get to that. But I think it“s important that I first address a series of prejudices I have, so you know what perspective I“m coming from. I rarely couple hands-on previews with caveats, but I feel like I was and still am in the minority of people -- who reacted to Tuesday morning“s big reveal with trepidation, not unrivaled glee. Here“s the thing: the Internet affectionately referred to Breath of the Wild as “The Legend of Zelda: Skyrim” before we learned a lot about it. However, I“ve never once played Skyrim, or ever completed a single Western-developed open-world “sandbox game” like what inspired Breath of the Wild because -- almost everything about how open-world RPGs work has consistently intimidated, overwhelmed, and ultimately shunned me as a player. They don“t respect my time, or my level of anxiety. The basic philosophy of modernizing the first The Legend of Zelda on NES to create a seamless, living world to explore forever is not why I play Zelda games, and not something I was attracted to from the onset. I waited for as long as I did not because of unrivaled excitement, but because of unrivaled worry. Why We Play The Legend of Zelda, as a franchise, is something I can usually turn to in order to help introduce non-gaming folks to how great games can be. I can pick any title from the entire series and heartily recommend it to anyone who“s never played a video game before in their lives. Because of how they instruct the player from the beginning and teach them how the basic controls work each time -- any given Zelda title is simple to learn, but hard to master. The reason the first Zelda worked so well as an introduction to gaming was because... well... the NES controller had two buttons, and the world -- while ultimately open for exploration and map-drawing -- was pretty tiny and manageable. This one has a billion buttons and things to do -- and just the area you could explore in the E3 demo was but a tiny spec of dust in the grand scheme of things. This is definitely the first Zelda in thirty years to leave newcomers completely in the dust. Its lack of direction and ultra-focused realism is terrifying to me, in ways that most modern open-world games are. It didn“t sit well with me in the reveal, and it still doesn“t sit well with me after I“ve played the demo. So it goes. And that“s where my perspective comes from. I don“t play these games for the same reasons most of my Twitter feed seems to. I enjoy the sense of exploration and figuring stuff out that most of Link“s adventures provide, but there“s always been a certain degree of linearity to tell me where to go when I“m done. If the guiding hand that leads you forward isn“t specific enough -- it could lead to folks getting lost in this hugely vast Hyrule, where literally everything you see is a place you can go. I think there are two types of Zelda players: the ones who enjoy the more 2D, Link to the Past-style Zeldas where both the world and narrative are small, manageable, and enjoyable -- and those who absolutely pine for "The Legend of Zelda: Skyrim" to be a reality. As you probably gather by now, I“m in the former camp. And there are many people who are like-minded here; I“m not on an island. Plenty of the 3D entries have provided a perfect balance of linearity and complexity. But gosh, if it“s not too careful, Breath of the Wild could leave this type of person behind -- leave me behind. Two Demos The collective “experience” in Nintendo“s booth is the summation of two demos. They gave me fifteen minutes of being dropped in a world with no direction or place to go, so I could just explore and see what happens. Then, I got to play from the very beginning of the game, where Link wakes up and first begins his new adventure. Now that my prejudices are out of the way -- I“m just going to tell you what happened during each of my sessions, not necessarily how I feel about them (yet). Despite my fears -- there is something immensely satisfying about taking a Bokoblin“s club and beating his friends with it. Everything you“ve seen from Treehouse Live is as fun as it seems. The enemies are more alive than we“ve ever previously seen in a Zelda game. The sounds you make will tip them off. They“ll summon their friends and make your life really difficult, really fast. You“ve got to micromanage even the tiniest bits of exploration you do if you“re not confident about your combat skills... because there were no hearts to be seen in the demo, only food to find and eat. The standard skull-type enemies that used to haunt the nights in Ocarina of Time can now be chopped apart, and they summon the rest of their body and put themselves back together if you fail to destroy the head. You“ve got to make sure you completely eradicate your foes if you don“t want an overwhelming situation. Breath of the Wild is definitely not going to be “too easy” -- far from it. I wandered the earth for a bit, and didn“t really discover anything too noteworthy. Collected a few materials, dispatched a few foes, scaled a cliff or two. One thing about the basic gameplay, for those who haven“t really paid much attention to all the streams: the systems first introduced in Skyward Sword, like stamina and weapon durability, are back. You“ve got to keep every single aspect of Link“s health in mind if you wanna survive for longer than five minutes. In previous games, falling from a cliff might lose you a heart or two. In this one -- if you scale to the top of a super-high cliff, then lose your footing because you run out of stamina -- you“ll die. It“s a big bad world to explore -- the big is evident, but the mercilessness didn“t really sink in for me until I played the demo. So yeah, back to my wandering: I was minding my own business, chucking bombs at things because I wanted to see how satisfying the explosions were and I honestly felt like some of the simpler weapons I picked up didn“t get the job done (especially when it came to destroying the heads of those dang persistent skeletons). And then, a gigantic rock titan boss appeared. My peers playing the demo around me didn“t find that, so I all of a sudden had an audience -- and I didn“t have the means to kill him since I“d wasted all my bombs! It was an opportunity lost, as my “Exploration Demo” ended. From the Start The second demo started you off at the very beginning of the game. A practically naked Link wakes up after being submerged in water to find himself in a deserted temple. You find some clothes in a few chests and can choose whether to put them on or not. I used the Sheikah Slate to find my way to the outside world -- and with very little words exchanged, the title appeared on the top right corner as Link ran to the edge of the cliff, as seen in the initial trailer. It“s extremely reminiscent of NES Zelda -- seeing that in action will delight series fans in every way; that can“t be overstated. You even get to follow an old man to a cave, like in the first game. He seemed pretty indignant, and he scolded me (at first) when I snatched an apple from the stick he was roasting on an open flame. If every NPC reacts the same way the old man did, I can surmise that this Zelda will have just as memorable characters as ones that came before it, despite being heavily inspired by a game whose narrative was ultimately held back by hardware constraints. What little story I did see gives me the impression that the narrative could end up being relatively solid. I was a little worried they might “phone in” the story, after hearing things like “you can skip right to the end, if you want”. But it seems like the story“s there if you“re willing to follow the game“s lead -- it“s not necessarily something you“ll have to dig out, like some quests in Xenoblade Chronicles and games of the same ilk. That“s definitely comforting to me, since narrative is always an important part of my “personal” Zelda experience. Rest easy if we“re in the same boat. Here“s the thing about following the game“s lead, though. I got lost, right from the beginning. As soon as you discover the Temple of Time (that“s noticeable, and the game points you towards it from the onset), the guiding voice tells you to “follow the Sheikah Tablet”, which marks an objective spot on your map. There were two objective spots marked on my Gamepad -- one, I assume, was to continue the narrative, and the other must have led to something else -- or would have. I worked my way over to the first marked spot on the map, which led me to a mountain with a curious structure poking on top of it. I inspected the poked out structure, looking for a way to interact with it. And when I found nothing, I gave up and went to the other marked spot on my map, assuming my objective was there instead. The person working the booth had to tell me where to go, and when I went back towards the poking structure, I saw the giant cave underneath the mountain that I“d climbed from the other side before. I“m not dumb -- I“ve played every single game in the series. The objective point of “follow the Shekiah Tablet” wasn“t specific enough. I missed my mark, and wasted what precious little time I had with the demo wandering aimlessly back and forth. Without more specific directions for folks who don“t wish to wander -- it could leave many feeling like their time“s been wasted. I know I was sad, and I kind of wanted a do-over. But that“s the way the ball bounces. Something like that can be an easy fix during localization, though. “Follow the Shekiah Tablet... to the cave” gives you something to look out for, as you explore. It“s not too late for them to consider changing something like that, so the folks who approach this brand new kind of Zelda scared out of their darned minds can feel a little more at ease when they know exactly what it is they“re looking for. And Overall... I“ve fully outlined how aware I am that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I don“t agree philosophically, at all. I know I“m an outlier when it comes to how my impressions read overall. But I hope I“ve clearly articulated my point of view, after all this. The new Zelda terrifies me, and as a result of that -- I got way lost and squandered away my limited demo time with the beginning of the game. If the development team (and particularly localization) doesn“t work extra hard to provide a much better sense of signposting to the objectives at hand, it could sour someone“s experience of what the game is trying to accomplish. I know the game is trying to articulate a sense of harsh realism to make Hyrule feel more alive than ever before. But the objectives in a Zelda game should be crystal clear, so that folks who prefer to take this gigantic experience in more manageable chunks don“t get lost and waste time along the way. That“s the end of my experience. If you“ve got something to say or questions to ask, I“m more than happy to hear you out. Please, please share your thoughts below. In case you didn“t know, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is slated for release on Wii U and “NX” sometime in 2017. We“ll offer more information as it comes.
  15. Today at Day 2 of E3 2016, Nintendo finally revealed what many fans have been wondering most during their Treehouse Live segment -- the full name of the upcoming Zelda title for Wii U and NX, which is officially titled The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Accompanying the title was a brand new trailer that showed off the spirit of that title, in which the world was brought to life with its many varied locations. Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime mentioned that Breath of the Wild will be the biggest Zelda game to date, and that everyone playing the demo at E3 will not be able to explore all of the large area available to them during their time with the game. Even more impressive is that the large area on demo is just a small portion of the actual in-game map. You can check out the trailer and get a sense for how big the game is below. Fils-Aime mentioned that more about the game's story and characters will be discussed at a later date, and that they would be focusing on the gameplay itself this week at E3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is currently slated for release on Wii U and NX in 2017. Source: (via Nintendo) What are your thoughts on Breath of the Wild? Are you excited by what Nintendo showed today?
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