2017 - a great year in gaming
December 31, 2017

Another World
I had never played Out of this World (same game - different name) back in the 16-bit days, so it was nice to finally see what all the fuss was about. It was an interesting game for sure, and with the smooth animation and atmospheric world, I can understand why it made an impact in the 90s. It has enough puzzles to make you think a bit, but unfortunately it also has frustrating stilted action sequences.

Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair
I was still playing this one as 2016 became 2017. It's a fun game, and probably the best online experience I've had from a Japanese developer (who are generally incompetent at incorporating online play). The co-op missions are the same as the singleplayer missions, and there is SO MUCH GOING ON. Killing insects, shooting down flying saucers, facing giant walking mechanical behemoths... love it. If you haven't ever played EDF, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. And then convince a friend to pick it up and play with you.

Diablo III
When my EDF buddies were busy, this is the game that I played with a friend. It must have been alright, since I spent something like 75 hours on it, but ultimately it wasn't memorable at all. Grimdark scenery, standard monsters, a few decent bosses... but it was too easy, even on harder difficulties.

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone
It's the best Miku game on the market.

Twisted Metal: Black
Gave the PS4 port a shot, and it was pretty good. Bunch of cars thrown into a demolition derby with a sinister vibe. I won't go overboard -- there's definitely room for improvement -- but it's the best game of its kind. Someone should really get on the ball and surpass it.

Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae
This is basically a poor man's indie take on Oneechanbara. Since Oneechanbara was already a budget title, the end result isn't too impressive. The combat is responsive enough, but arena battles on flat terrain can only go so far.

There's a law somewhere that I'm required to play all dungeoncrawlers. This really isn't a particularly good one, but it's got some nice music. The guy who did the music for Emerald Dragon composed it!

Lost Dimension
The characters are cardboard, the storyline is trash, but the strategic combat itself is fantastic. This is a great implementation of SRPG gameplay into 3D. I definitely recommend it, but I can't give it a perfect score due to the way it forces you to sit through boring "brainscan" sequences or the frequent crashes. I figured out some way to bypass the crashes, but I don't remember exactly what I did. It involved bringing up the PS3 dashboard and waiting several minutes, which forces the disc to reload.

Elevator Action Deluxe
Oh man if you haven't played this, then you're missing out. Available on PS3! It's a super-fun revamp of the original game (as opposed to the hyperactive sequel), and I love trying to get all the stars on each stage.

Tales of Berseria
I really like the character designs, and the dark nature of the story, but it all feels so linear. It's definitely not on par with Tales of Graces (which was wonderful). I haven't finished, and I'll keep plugging away in 2018.

The Legend of Korra
Worst game from Platinum that I've ever played. Couldn't bother finishing it.

Double Dragon 4
This pile of crap is why I gave Legend of Korra a 2. Korra was boring. This is just bad. Complete letdown, and even though it only cost a few bucks, I regret this purchase more than any other in 2017.

If you haven't played Nioh yet, then you are missing out. It's Team Ninja, so you know the action is going to be great, but they've decided to make a "Souls-like". Harrowing and heart-pounding stages -- lengthy stages -- make victory feel that much sweeter. There's an early boss (the winged lady) who makes newbies cry, but aside from that it's actually a pretty fair game.

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3
This game will find its way into my PS4 every summer. Virtual vacation!

Warriors All Stars
I was so hyped for this game that I actually preordered the Japanese version. It's good -- it really is -- but not as good as it should have been. That's mainly because the missions are too straightforward. Warriors Orochi 3 and Hyrule Warriors are still the king of musou. The characters from Deception are pretty awesome, I must admit.

Toukiden: Kiwami
Before playing Toukiden 2, I decided to revisit Toukiden Kiwami to refresh myself on the lore. I had beaten the main storyline years ago, but there were still some undone missions. And then, 70 hours of playtime later, I realized that I was supposed to be playing Toukiden 2. But in case you were wondering, this game is amazing.

Toukiden 2
This is the most "open world" Monster Hunter that I've played, and it works well. That being said, Toukiden Kiwami proved that you don't have to be open world to be amazing. The combat actually feels a little bit sloppier than Kiwami, but the new additions (weaponry and bosses) make up for it. It's an ultimately amazing game that doesn't completely supercede the original. Play them both!

Space Channel 5
Pickhut nailed this one. A music game with poorly-cued timing: unforgivable! I stuck with it, and can report that the first stage has the best music. Mexican Flyer!

Space Channel 5 Part 2
Now THIS one I really like a lot. I played the PS3 version. The timing is much better, and I love all the secrets and unlockables. The original game didn't have much reason to replay stages (and the timing killed any reason to "replay just for fun"), but they solved that issue here.

Final Fantasy Type-0
Best Final Fantasy ever. Not perfect -- Square isn't as adept at action scenes as, say, Falcom -- but still the best FF.

School Girl / Zombie Hunter
Not as good of a game as Oneechanbara, but a hell of a lot of fun. Someone here wrote a nice review of the game, check it out.

Record of Agarest War
Decided to revisit this one and yeah, it's still painfully boring. Nice music, but even the appealing character art feels flat because of the color choices. But man, that gameplay... so slow and tedious.

Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online
This is a great riff on MMORPGs. No, it's not an MMORPG, but it pretends! Get past the RPG trappings and you'll realize that it's actually a 3D beat 'em up, which is probably why the action feels so much better than other fake-MMORPGs like Final Fantasy 12. The online mode is totally tacked on though, and reaffirms my assertion that most Japanese companies know nothing about how the internet works.

.hack // Infection
I always meant to play these games, but never had... until now! It's simplistic, but smooth enough to keep my interest. Nice audiovisuals too. It's fun to see what Japan imagined the future of gaming would be like back in 2000, kind of a precursor to Sword Art Online. SAO sucks, by the way. This doesn't.

Finally fought through the first Yakuza game. I've got to say, the setting gives this one its charm, because the stilted combat sure doesn't. I really, really enjoyed the game but I'm not going to fool myself and pretend that it was for any reason other than my love for Japan.

Valkyrie Drive Bhikkuni
If you're going to play a beat 'em up about scantily clad girls killing things, I recommend this above Senran Kagura. The color choices are particularly appealing.

Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls
Now this is some hardcore dungeoncrawling. Man, this takes me back. I love the music in town, and I love the "monster ambiance" sound effects in the dungeons. The game starts out fair (which is different from the original Wizardry!) but gets tough a nails by the end. Lots of extra content if you pick up the DLC expansions, by the way. But you'll have your hands full even without that.

Phantasy Star Online 2
Still the best MMO after five years. They keep introducing new worlds, new bosses, and new classes. And it's free to play! (Without being "pay to win".) This is proof that Sega can still make something great when they put their minds -- and money -- to it.

Tokyo Xanadu eX+
This is the game that I'm ending 2017 with. It's actually really good -- nice story, dungeons that feel so Falcom, and great music. I especially like how there are so many shops with so many items that are each slightly different. Unless someone is using a FAQ (which are for losers), I can't imagine two people going through the game with the same gear. Hard choices are good.

There are some that I missed, but I think that's enough for one post.

Most recent blog posts from Zigfried ...

joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - January 01, 2018 (01:29 PM)
The Tales franchise peaked with Vesperia and it just hasn't been as good ever since. I'm hoping for a return to form on the Switch, but I'm not holding my breath.
honestgamer honestgamer - January 01, 2018 (03:28 PM)
2017 was indeed a great year for games. This list was fun, and a reminder that not all of a given year's great games had to release during the year in question. Each year that comes at us brings a bunch of new stuff, but the old games don't suddenly stop being good (assuming they were good in the first place, which sometimes later years reveal actually wasn't the case)!
dementedhut dementedhut - January 01, 2018 (04:02 PM)
Double Dragon 4 is so bad, that I recently bought the limited physical copy of the game on the PS4. This type of badness needs to be preserved. I might donate it to a museum some day.
EmP EmP - January 09, 2018 (03:01 AM)
This reply is late because I'm still choking back anger on your less than perfect score for Another World.

This anger will be reflected in an upcoming and openly spiteful El Viento review.

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