January 14, 2018

I don't show up often, but when I do, I talk about video games. Or kpop. But usually video games. This time around, I'm here to talk about my TOP TEN games from twenty seventeen! So, here is this year's ESPIS™

10. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

Shovel Knight is the gift that keeps on giving. I enjoyed both the base game and the expansion that allowed you to play as Plague Knight, but this is the best one yet. I'm a big fan of Zero from the Megaman X series, and being able to dash around as Specter Knight, slashing with my scythe and dashing through the air was such an awesome feeling that it catapulted an already great game to wondrous new heights.

9. Zwei II

It's a Falcom game that finally got an english release. While it's not the best product Falcom has ever made, it does enough to differentiate itself from their other main series' and remains an exciting dungeoncrawling action RPG from start to finish.

8. Resident Evil 7

This game made Resident Evil good again.

7. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

When the original Final Fantasy XII launched, I wasn't a big fan of it. Parts of it, particularly in the latter half, dragged on for WAY too long and the structure of the license board system encouraged you to build all your characters to be exactly the same. This remaser fixes literally every issue I had with the original FFXII, revealing the excellent game that lies beneath. Just be sure to play it in active mode. Wait mode is for wimps.

6. Sonic Mania

After a string of disastrous releases, I was all aboard the "Sonic is dead" train... And then comes along this game made by fans to derail the shit out of it. Sonic Mania is an excellent experience that absolutely deserves to be played. If you've played the original Genesis games, you'll be right at home here; in fact, Sonic Mania is BETTER than any of the Genesis releases. And if you've never touched a 2D Sonic, this is absolutely the best point of entry. While I'd prefer for there to be less emphasis on the "revisited" stages from previous games (the brand new stages are absolutely fantastic), this is still a wonderful game that truly replaces Sonic 4 as, well... Sonic 4.

5. Cuphead

I LOVE animation. The oldschool art style that Cuphead revels in would be enough on its own to merit a spot on this list, but it's also paced with nail-biting, hard-as-shit run + gun gameplay. The game kicked my ass more than I'd care to count or admit to, and I kept back coming for more because each and every fight feels fair. This isn't a game that's hard because a bunch of numbers are algorithmically stacked against you. This is a game that's going to kick you in the balls, but will always feel winnable, giving you the drive to keep trying "just one more time," and the elation and sense of satisfaction from toppling a hard-won battle simply cannot be understated.

4. Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Future Tone

I played this when the game first launched in Japan the year before, but who cares? This rhythm game has it all, and Future Tone has more of it than any of the other Project DIVA games, combined. This game would be worthwile purely for how much bang for your buck that you get...But the fact that it's also (still) the best rhythm game series out there means it more than deserves its spot on this list.

3. Zelda: Breath of The Wild

I like the Zelda games. Lots of people do. But I feel like Zelda lost what it was about as the years went on. When first released, the original Zelda dropped you into a world and told you to explore. The more recent ones, however, were getting more and more overly linear, culminating in the terrible Skyward Sword, among the only Zelda titles I never finished thanks to a combination of shoddy controls and just how funneled the entire experience felt. Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out at the perfect time, when Zelda was feeling stagnant and the absolute openness and invitation to explore again, just like in the original Zelda, is exactly what the series needed. By returning to its roots, Nintendo launched a title that reminded us all of what Zelda is, and truly should be, about.

2. Ys VIII

Despite a shoddy localization that is getting patched later this month, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is an excellent entry in a series well-known for being packed with excellent entries. Very few games of this series are bad, and this one is no exception. Exploring the lost island of Seiren is tons of fun, and while some of the spotlight gets stolen from Adol in this entry, Dana is a wonderful character all on her own. In fact... I kinda find myself wanting to play games just about her.

1. Nier Automata

Nier Automata fucked me up.

That's all I can really say about it. I went into it expecting a solid-but-weird action RPG thanks to the combination of PlatinumGames and Yoko Taro. I came out of it questioning my very goddamn existence. Nier Automata is the sort of trancendental experience that can only be provided by a video game. Many games these days are basically just long movies with bits of gameplay between them... But Nier Automata flexes the muscles of its medium to create an experience that can only be experienced this way. Also the music is pants-shittingly incredible. It IS a bit of a slow burn though, so if it doesn't immediately hook you, give it time. It is absolutely a masterpiece of gaming, and my top pick of 2017.

Those were my top ten games of the year, what were yours? Tell me in the comments below, and if you'd like to you can check me out on Twitch or Twitter!

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honestgamer honestgamer - January 14, 2018 (08:32 PM)
This seems like a pretty good list, from my experience with the games on it. I'm not able to completely endorse any list that doesn't put Breath of the Wild in the number one spot (it's my game not only of the year, but of the decade thus far), but otherwise I have no real complaints.
espiga espiga - January 15, 2018 (10:21 PM)
There were a few problems I had with Breath of the Wild which prevented it from being GAME OF THE YEAR for me, let alone game of the decade. Particularly just how DAMN annoying the rain is when trying to climb.

Having said that, I feel Nier Automata's narrative is one that can *only* be told through the medium of a video game, due to how it weaves its mechanics with its story. In doing so it has catapulted itself into an echelon of games that are more than just interactive cutscenes, and it's a game that deserves to be dissected and discussed for years to come. On its surface level, Nier may be just another action RPG, but peel away that surface layer and you will reveal something that very few games can claim to.
honestgamer honestgamer - January 16, 2018 (01:44 AM)
The rain was annoying in Hyrule at times, but then, rain is annoying in the real world at times. I happen to live in a place where it rains even more often than in Hyrule. It's pouring rain right now, in fact! At least in Hyrule, you can always warp to some other place and do some exploring. I'm stuck here!

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