As a whole 2017 has been a fairly insignificant year in the world of gaming with most developers opting to play it safe. The fairly predictable annual releases of series like Fifa or Call of Duty did very little in the way of innovation or originality.
These 10 are some of the few titles that did manage to stand out from the crowd.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Nintendo seems to be one of the few companies still at least trying to innovate. This was demonstrated this year by the release of their long anticipated console; the Nintendo Switch. Ironcast was a game that took me by surprise. Taken in by my love of steampunk and the low price point, Ironcast was one of the first games I purchased for the switch. As is it not only a match three game but also an IOS port, I expected afew hours of mindless entertainment, some decent graphics and maybe even a basic story. What I got was instead one of the most gripping and tense combat systems i’ve ever seen in a game, a good plot complete with a fantastic setting and a great art style. Ironcast is the very best of the match three genre and a gripping roguelike.
9: Splatoon 2
Platform: Nintendo Switch
The original Splatoon was groundbreaking. It redefined the dull grey third person shooter genre with its bright graphics and joyous splatting action. The biggest issue with Splatoon wasn’t the game itself, but instead, the console: the WiiU. The WiiU was one of the biggest flops in recent console history. Splatoon 2 debuts on the infinitely more popular nintendo switch Switch and despite being nearly identical to its predecessor, with the addition of the Switch’s portability, Splatoon‘s formula still feel fresh. Splatoon 2 is essential for anyone who missed out on the first game. Luckily, this constitutes almost everyone.
8: Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2 (The Great Ace Attorney 2)
2015’s Dai Gyakuten Saiban was a tragic case of region locking. Arguably the most interesting entry of the Ace Attorney series probably never seeing light of day in the west. Afew years on and the sequel is here, the aptly named, Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2. Unfortunately, whilst the first Dai Gyakuten Saiban was fairly flawed , the sequel is nothing short of a masterpiece, making the lack of an English translation even more tragic. The award-winning orchestral scores of the first game return, the story winds to a satisfactory close and the characters remain some of the funniest and most interesting the series has ever seen. Although the fan translated youtube playthroughs are still very enjoyable to watch, my collection just doesn’t feel complete without a nice physical copy.
7: Resident Evil: Revelations
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, 3DS
One of the lesser known Resident Evil games debuted on the Switch earlier this year. A 3DS port with new HD graphics, Resident Evil Revelations looks better than ever. The nautical setting suits the Resident Evil formula very well, with the tight corridors leading to claustrophobic and tense battles. Resident Evil Revelations seems to focus more on the survival horror aspect of RE and it works very well in its favour. While the campaign is lackluster in length, the bonus “raid modes” are superb fun and will definitely keep you coming back for more.
6: Sword With Sauce
Price: £1.99 – £4.79
I have never known another early access game with as much potential as Sword With Sauce. Great loadout customisation options, intriguing levels, an interesting art style somewhat reminiscent of Superhot and great parkour mechanics all make Sword With Sauce an immensely enjoyable and varied experience. With the prospect of future updates and an upcoming multiplayer mode Sword With Sauce is certainly one to keep an eye on.
It’s a Sword With Sauce. No ketchup.
(I sincerely apologise)
Platform: PC, XBOX ONE, PS4
Developer: FantaBlade Network
Yes, this is that ICEY, the one that everybody bought just for a £0.80 Steam Link The game itself is even more amazing than the prospect of getting $40 worth of hardware for less than the price of a pack of Haribo. A very linear hack-and-slash with a maleficent narrator, quite reminiscent of The Stanley Parable, with an engaging story and plenty of secrets to discover; ICEY is a very memorable experience.
4: Doki Doki Literature Club!
Developer: Team Salvato
A deeply disturbing, morbid and dark parody of the anime visual novel genre; Doki Doki Literature Club! is more of a physcological horror game than a dating simulator. Not wishing to spoil the experience, which is best if experienced first hand, I will say no more. Do be warned though, this game is not for the faint of heart.
3: Okami HD
The pinnacle of the PS2 era, Okami is back and looking better than ever. With memorable characters, enchanting visuals, a satisfying plot and great music Okami HD is an adventure unlike any other.
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4 & Nintendo Switch
Slime-San is fun. Slime-San is a lot of fun. Leaping, from platform to platform, avoiding red spots of insta-death is as fun as it is rewarding. With plenty of collectable currency spread throughout each level and a lot of cosmetics to spend them on, you’ll find yourself constantly revisiting each level striving for that delicious 100%. The sound effects are unique and although the art style takes alittle getting used to, it’s pretty in its way. Its own red, blue and green way…
1: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
With a beautiful map, charming graphics and varied quests: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the pinnacle of open world gaming. Exploring the wonderfully detailed world of Hyrule, full of colour and variety, with the orchestral soundtrack caressing your eardrums is a serene joy. The combat side of things is intense, satisfying and deeply rewarding.
Mechanically, the game is also incredible. With stealth options, a hugely in-depth cooking mechanic, and even a thermometer to keep track of temperature. From how Link’s breath steams in the cold, or how he slips while climbing wet surfaces, every single small detail is lovingly and intricately crafted. Small things matter, and here they work in harmony to create an experience that is, no pun intended, breathtaking from start to finish.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has something for everyone, and so much more.