As we approach the last few pages of our edifying (verb. [ed-uh-fahy] ) word of the day calendars, it’s tempting to look back and honor the best of the best that 2017 has to offer.
The problem is, I’ve only played a few of those games, so my ‘Game of the Year’ lists would basically be my ‘Here’s a few things Steve played’ list. That’s not very exciting. So instead, here’s my ‘Games of A Year’ list. They’re games. Some are good, and some are bad, but all of them were released during a year. Njoy.
I tried to play the first Uncharted. No, not when you all were playing it. I tried to play it last year. I loved the story, setting, and characters. I hated the shooting, platforming, and basically anything that happens when you push a button or a stick on the gamepad.
At some point prior to that, I’d played the demo of Uncharted 3. In that very limited time, I loved the story, the setting, and the characters, but I hated the cover-based shooting that made up about 90% of that demo.
Why, then, did I even try to play Uncharted 4? Well, for starters, it came as part of my PS4 bundle. Also, I always wanted to like these games. Besides, the saying is three strikes and you’re out; since I never played the second game, Drake was still at the plate oh-and-two.
As it turns out, Nathan is a pretty good hitter even when he’s behind in the count.
I’d been advised that Naughty Dog has done a great job improving upon the series with each subsequent game, and I think Uncharted 4 is finally the point in which the weak spots—still the shooting, and some of the platforming—have finally been refined enough that I can enjoy the rest of the game despite them.
The environments are absolutely gorgeous, the characters are engaging and well crafted, and searching for long-lost pirate treasure is always cool. I guess there’s multiplayer too, for some reason, and I know a certain segment of gamers really enjoy it. I couldn’t be less interested, but it’s existence doesn’t change how much I enjoyed the single player experience.
Ben gifted me this last Christmas, and lucky for me, he’s a way better gift-giver than I am. Superhot is super-neat, and I really enjoyed the time-bending puzzle approach to the first-person shooter genre.
It’s a game that often made me mad, but in that good way that games like Trials or Cuphead tend to do. There’s really not much more I can say about it, except that this year gave us a VR version, and while I don’t have the means to play that myself, Superhot seems like it would be a fabulous game for VR.
Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dragon Age: Inquisition
I picked both of these up on Playstation+ sales, and I’m glad I did. By that, I mean that I’m glad I picked them up, and also that I did it at a discounted rate.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is a perfectly cromulent Dragon Age game. Okay, honestly, it’s a really good game. I’d probably be a lot higher on it if I cared about the deep inter-character relationships that drive Bioware’s games, but as someone who tends to approach these strictly as an Action-RPG experience, it falls to all the familiar fetch-quest, busywork trappings of the genre.
That said, I still really enjoyed it, and poured more than forty hours into the game without even coming close to finishing the main story. Definitely worth the $15 or $20 I paid for it.
Mass Effect: Andromeda left me a little more sour. Again, I’m glad I got to play it. After having played Mass Effect 1 and 2, I never got around to playing 3. I was interested to see where the series would go with a new cast and a new development team.
Unfortunately, outside of the interplay between characters, Andromeda is a pretty shallow and generic take on the Mass Effect universe. And the loading screens! My God, the loading screens!
The Last Guardian
After what felt like 20 years of build-up, I couldn’t possibly write about things I played without mentioning this! So, yeah. It’s mentioned. The end?
I didn’t dig The Last Guardian as much as a lot of people did. I appreciate what it was trying to do, but I found the gameplay to be so clunky, awkward, and tedious that I ended up not enjoying the experience at all.
I’m okay with a game being more about story than gameplay; in fact, some of my favorite games fall into that category. But The Last Guardian was painful to play, and I didn’t find the narrative payoff to be worth the physical effort.
But hey, it does earn some points for having a giant bird-dog best-friend.