My year in video games (2017)

Video games have been my greatest hobby since we had a 286 PC back home. I love how I’ve been witness to the whole evolution of video games over the years. From pixelated images, to the current, photorealistic video games that make you feel as if you’re part of a movie. Last year was a special year, because we saw the release of the latest Nintendo console, the Switch. As a real fanboy I pre-ordered mine to have it on launch day, along with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. So, yes, this year has been a Nintendo heavy year for me, but I have been playing on my PS4 a lot as well. Here’s what I’ve been playing this year.

Let me Switch real fast

The release of the Nintendo Switch was a pretty big thing this year. Not only because the expectations about the system were high, and speculation about what it was going to be wild, but also quite accurate. I myself was a firm believer that the Switch would be part console, part handheld. All rumours pointed towards Nintendo’s latest console being just that. I’m very glad that it is, because not only is it handy to be able to take your Switch on the go, it’s also very important to Nintendo as a company. Their 3DS is still going strong, but once they discontinue development for any further games on the system, they’ll only have one system to focus production for, which is a great move, if you ask me.

As I said, I got mine on day one, and I’ve been loving it a great deal ever since. My current library of games includes seven retail games, and a couple of e-Shop purchases. One thing is for sure, Nintendo’s been having a great year, with tons of big releases. It looks as if they learned from the Wii U flop and games draught, by releasing a large number of triple A games.

 

The best games on Switch in 2017, according to me

I’ve been having so much fun with my Switch, and although I did get a lot of the new Nintendo releases, I also skipped a few, because I knew I wouldn’t have time to play them all. If I’d have to give a top 5 of my Nintendo Switch library, I’d break it down into these five:

 

#5 Fire Emblem Warriors

My first introduction with the Warriors series from KOEI TECMO games was Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U. I loved that game to bits. It was fun, hectic, and contained all the right ingredients from the Legend of Zelda to keep the game interesting, even though combat gets quite repetitive. I was hoping the same to be true for Fire Emblem Warriors.

A new story with twins, whatsherface and whatshisface...

A new story with twins, whatsherface and whatshisface…

 

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Fire Emblem Warriors, and I’m sure I’ll be playing it a lot more when I feel like hacking and slashing again, but for some reason this game feels a bit stale and dry at times. The story mode wasn’t very memorable, which is something I wasn’t used to when it comes to Fire Emblem games. I always loved the interaction between characters, building their relations and seeing the story develop, but this story felt forced, and was quite dull and predictable.

What the game does awesomely is the History Mode, where you can play battles in an ever changing map. It’s similar to what Hyrule Warriors had with the Adventure Mode. The DLC seems to focus on that mode as well, which is for the better, because I’m not planning on playing the game’s Story Mode any more. This is a game you can play for hundreds of hours, and since I already clocked quite a few, this is my top 5 entry for this year.

 

#4 Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

I was sceptical about this game at first. I didn’t know Ubisoft’s Rabbids that well, and I had no idea what to expect from this game. Then I heard it was a turn-based tactical game with some RPG elements. That checked all boxes I needed to purchase this game, and I can tell you, it’s been a blast! Literally.

Rabbid Kong, the first boss, and very memorable as well!

Rabbid Kong, the first boss, and very memorable as well!

I’ve been playing the game together with a friend, alternating controllers after every battle. The game just oozes with Ubisoft’s love for Nintendo and the Mario franchise. The game contains so much detail, a wonderful soundtrack and the gameplay is surprisingly deep. I wouldn’t have guessed that when I first booted up the game. This game should be an instant buy for anyone who loves Mario and turn-based combat. It really is a no brainer.

 

#3 Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

When I heard that they were remaking this gem of a game from the old SEGA Master System, I just had to have it. This is one of my favourite games from my early gaming years. I spent hours playing it, and replaying it, because it was just such a fun game. The remake is a very true to the original take on the game. With wonderful, hand drawn graphics and a perfect soundtrack.

Mouse Man vs the Zombie Dragon!

Mouse Man vs the Zombie Dragon!

 

I heard people complain about the controls, but it seems LizardCube stayed true to the original in all aspects. I was never bothered by the controls, but I can understand many modern gamers when they complain about it. The controls are a bit clunky and the rhythm of the game’s enemies feels odd, but that’s part of beating the game for me! Definitely Euros spent wisely for me!

 

#2 Super Mario Odyssey

No Nintendo console is complete without a brand new Super Mario entry. Odyssey is everything I hoped it to be. It’s fun, crammed full of content, and can be challenging and frustrating at times. Especially if you’re aiming to get all 999 Power Moons, you’ll be in for a challenge. I’m currently nearing half that amount, and I’m still not bored of the game!

Goombas, goombas everywhere!

Goombas, goombas everywhere!

One of the most fun gameplay elements is the ability to control your enemies, much in the same way as Kirby does. By controlling them, the game opens up a whole new spectrum of gameplay possibilities. It’s good to see that we still got the game we wanted, but also with some refreshing new additions. I suppose in many ways this game could be considered an evolution of the Galaxy games. And it proves that Nintendo still can come up with some fresh new ideas when it comes to their mascot!

 

#1 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I’ll admit, I’m heavily biased when it comes to Nintendo, and Zelda games in particular. They have always been a great part of my gaming career, and I loved nearly all of them. I wasn’t too fond of Skyward Sword, with its forced motion controls, but hey, you can’t love them all, right? Ask any hardcore Star Wars fan about Episode VIII and how it ruined their childhood, etc.

I’ve clocked a whopping total of 120 hours on this game, and I still haven’t explored every single nook and cranny of Hyrule. I haven’t played the game’s DLC either, which I’m set to do next year, when I’m also planning to play the game on Master mode.

That's one huge mother!

That’s one huge mother!

This game is everything I could have hoped for when it comes to open world games. Exploration is key, and Nintendo just filled the game with all kinds of sights for you to see. One other relief for me was the fact that the game doesn’t take you by the hands. You’re completely free to do whatever you wish, whenever you wish.

Story wise, the way the game tells its story can be a bit lacklustre sometimes, but at the same time, I think Nintendo wanted you to make your own story in the game. For me, this game was a huge success, with one small design flaw; the weapon’s and gear durability. I think weapons break down a little too fast, and seeing as you can’t repair your favourite ones, you can end up farming weapons for quite some time, which can get a little annoying at times. Other than that, I think this is my favourite 3D Zelda entry to date, and you’d be crazy to skip it.

 

Enough about Switch, what about the other games you’ve played?

I realize this article is getting a bit long, but I’ve been playing so many games this year, and I feel like I should give at least some credit, where credit is due. My PS4 has been on for countless hours as well this year. I’ve enjoyed some remastered games, like Resident Evil HD and  Resident Evil 4 and Day of the Tentacle.

Since I was experiencing a Star Wars craze, I also clocked tons of hours on Star Wars Battlefront 1 and 2. Both are great games, although the latter has had to deal with quite some backlash in the media due to the loot box system in the game. It’s true, it’s a horrible system that has punished me many times over, by giving random star cards, and thus giving my tons of duplicate cards. It’s very annoying and doesn’t feel rewarding in any way.

The battle on Crait feels truly epic!

The battle on Crait feels truly epic!

Despite all of that, the game itself is a beautiful fan service of a game. The gameplay is smooth, although it did feel a bit slower than its predecessor. If you forget all about the lousy crate system, the game is great. I’ve been gunning down many starships in epic space battles, and killed a lot of rebel scum. It just feels great being part of these epic battles we all love from the movies!

 

What’s next?

As many other gamers experience, my backlog just keeps growing, and growing. I bought Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but I won’t boot it up until I’ve finished a few other games. That’s also what every gamer tells him/herself. 😛

I haven’t really dug into what the big releases for next year are, but that’s mainly because I’ve been having so much fun with what I’ve got at the moment. I’m hoping Nintendo will keep up the momentum going into next year. The release of a main Pokémon game for Switch could do just that. I’m also hoping that EA will keep up support for Battlefront 2 going into next year, since they promised free DLC for this game, to prevent the player base from splitting up.

So what have you been playing this year? And what are you looking forward to next year? Please drop me a line! 😀

Happy gaming!

Jeffrey