It’s that time of year again when the team here at Darkworld Gaming cast their minds back and try to decide on the games that provided the best stories, entertainment and experiences during 2017. Looking back, there have been so many great titles to choose from and we have tried to cover as many as we can around our busy working lives which tend to get in the way of the much needed gaming time! So here are some of the titles we have enjoyed this year and we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on:
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – Ninja Theory – Lefranzine
I thoroughly enjoyed this game as you may have gathered from my review earlier in the year. Not only are the visuals impressive but the wonderfully effective audio and the story that intertwined Celtic and Norse mythology kept me hooked from start to finish. Senua is a strong character weighed down by the psychosis that she suffers from and the journey through Hell to save the soul of the man she loves is a battle through puzzles and a dark, yet hauntingly beautiful world. I will certainly be revisiting Hellblade in the future to experience it all again but would certainly recommend to anyone looking for a different gaming experience that not only will draw you in but also handles the subject of mental health with care and sensitivity along the way.
SOS – Outpost Games – Teeny
Even though SOS has been available as a PC closed beta for limited weekends, this new kind of Battle Royale experience is already making a splash in the streaming community. Players can host their twitch.tv channel on the games website hero.tv to gain viewers. These viewers can vote on in-game events and react in real-time. As for the game itself, 16 players enter, only 3 can escape the island. And that’s only if they have to chops to defeat hordes of what I can only describe as demon monkeys, as well as other players desperate for their place on the podium. The unique draw for SOS is the TV-style presentation. Players can use their microphones to present a character for the audience to root behind. At the beginning and end of matches, players can interact with their audience and even with other players that they have met in previous matches. Keep a close eye on this one, it’s going to take Twitch by storm.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo – Kuniku
When Breath of the Wild released alongside the Nintendo Switch, many words such as “Perfect” were being thrown around. And instantly everyone knew that the latest instalment of the Legend of Zelda franchise was going to be in the game of the year conversation.
While I thought that “Perfect” was a moniker that was unachievable, I still rated it as close to a 10/10 as you could realistically get. I loved everything about this game. People questioned if the Switch was worth buying on release day for this game alone, and I gladly told them at the time, that it was worth getting the Switch, the collector’s edition of the game AND loads of the accompanying Amiibos, just to play this game!
If you own a Switch, you do yourself a dishonour if you don’t have Breath of the Wild in your collection. If you don’t own a Switch, there are so many great games on it now, that you should get one, and get Breath of the Wild.
Horizon Zero Dawn – Guerilla Games – Lefranzine
A popular choice among the critics but Horizon Zero Dawn is possibly my overall game of the year, not only because of the hours of gameplay I have put into the main campaign and The Frozen Wilds DLC, but because even now I would love to experience it for the first time again (which I sort of am through watching Kuniku play though it at the moment!). Not only is it a beautiful game with an interesting and original story but it also has a very enjoyable combat system throwing you into battles with unpredictable machines. I loved Aloy as a character with her sarcastic attitude and witty comebacks but with a softer, more understanding side at times. The vast landscapes you cover as you explore take you through ever changing weather and picturesque settings providing hours of entertainment and opportunities to use the brilliant photo mode. With the developers keen to continue to improve gameplay and the recent release of The Frozen Wilds, Horizon Zero Dawn is still very much a title which will draw in audiences for years to come. If you haven’t played it yet, be sure you don’t pass up any opportunities to give it a try.
Night in the Woods – Infinite Fall – Teeny
Gregg rulz okay! Night in the Woods is an utterly charming, relatable story of a woman who drops out of college and returns to her hometown to find nothing is really the same as it was. She is also a cat, called Mae. The game explores a rundown rural town facing a slow death as jobs and opportunities become scarcer. Mae tries to reconnect with her old friends and find her place in this town. But it’s not as easy as she hoped, and she can never return to her teenage years. My favourite feature of this game is the dialogue between Mae and those around her. As a player, you can choose responses from a dialogue tree, but each response is so quintessentially Mae that you can’t help but be enraptured by her personality. If you missed this one, go pick it up in the Steam sales, it is worth your time.
Mario Odyssey – Nintendo – Kuniku
If Breath of the Wild was the game that got people talking about the Switch at its launch, then Mario Odyssey was the game that kept people’s interests piqued throughout the rest of the year, leading up to its release.
And it was worth the wait! Mario Odyssey is one of the few titles this year that can truly challenge the aforementioned Zelda title for the Game of the Year bragging rights. It is the total package, that ticks all of the boxes that are required in a game and then some. It’s a close call if I can tell if it’s my fan-boyism of all things Zelda that keep Breath of the Wild ahead of Odyssey for me or not, they’re that close.
Serial Cleaner – iFun4All – Lefranzine
It would be rude not to pick a favorite indie title of the year and Serial Cleaner captured my attention as soon as we found it at EGX early in 2017. The concept of killing up crime scenes without getting caught is not only challenging but incredibly humorous. With a 70s style and soundtrack, you can happily spend hours getting stuck into the challenge modes or pick up and play when you fancy. Now also available on the Nintendo Switch, this is no longer a game that is restricted to the home and we will definitely be picking it up on the Switch for more opportunities to play and share with our friends. A simple concept, brilliantly executed. Highly recommended as one of my indie games of 2017.
Stories Untold – No Code – Teeny
With the popularity of Strangers Things and the release of season 2 this year, it is no wonder that a game like Stories Untold fits right into the theme of wonderful things to discover in 2017. Stories Untold is unlike anything else I have played this year. It’s the sort of game that your sister buys for you without asking, and then screams at you until you play it so you can both talk about it. To go into too many details would spoil the magic of this game, so I shall just say that it is a kind of puzzle adventure game. The story-telling is dark and sinister, but compelling beyond control. There are 4 chapters to play through, each playing on a different puzzle mechanic which follow disparate parts of a dark, creepy tale. If I had to recommend one game this year, Stories Untold would be the one.
Thimbleweed Park – Terrible Toybox – Kuniku
We’ve covered this one a fair bit over the year, updating our review to cover various iterations of the game’s release on different platforms as they’ve released over time. And while PC will be my favourite platform, it works brilliantly on them all.
While my other Game of the Year considerations might be AAA titles, Thimbleweed Park comes from humbler roots, in the indie developer, Terrible Toybox setup by Ron Gilbert and Garry Winnick the creators of pretty much every famous point and click adventure game of the past.
Thimbleweed Park blew up as Kickstarter project, and is everything that I, a huge fan of the genre growing up, wanted in a modern day made point and click adventure game.
As an indie game, it comes with the indie price tag, which gives you no excuse not to check it out!
Assassin’s Creed Origins – Ubisoft – Lefranzine
I am well aware that I haven’t finished Origins yet, however, this latest release in the Assassin’s Creed franchise has most certainly re-established my faith in Ubisoft following on from the very enjoyable Syndicate. The story so far has been very enjoyable, the setting is beautiful and I can happily spend hours exploring Egypt with Bayek and Senu while completing side quests or heading into the pyramids! The attention to detail is lovely and the game provides a few challenges along the way to keep you on your toes. I’m looking forward to spending more time with this game before I force myself to complete the main story but this has most certainly been one of my favorite titles to see out 2017 with.
Player Unknown Battlegrounds – PUBG Corporation/Bluehole – Geoff
I am going to be that guy, I’m afraid. My game of the year is an early access game. But my word, what a game. I have always been sceptical and haven’t enjoyed multiplayer games very much – so really the idea of me being versus 99 other people in a single match definitely turned me off at the beginning. I’m super glad I gave it a go, though. The game rewards most styles of play – I actually won the first game I ever played. How? I hid in a bathroom as the glowy circle of doom moved in closer and closer, and popped out at the last minute to kill the only other remaining person. Yet it’s the group modes that shine. I have had some of my most fantastic gaming moments with friends andyf and stoopiduk, sometimes taking it super seriously, mil-sim almost: and other times just being ridiculous: but every time I have come away from it thinking “I’m glad I spent my time on that tonight.” 2018 will be full of battle royale clones trying to emulate this: but I don’t think anything else is going to come close to these tiny, wobbly, baby-deer steps that PUBG has established itself with.
It would be rude not to have some honorable mentions of some of the other titles that we got stuck in to this year and thoroughly enjoyed! Among this list are Prey, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Stardew Valley, Street Fighter 5, The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth+, Overwatch but Kuniku wanted to mention a handful of titles he either didn’t play, didn’t own, or didn’t get enough time on to really consider them for this list, but are worth mentioning anyway:
Persona 5 – I played the demo of this at EGX Rezzed, and was promised a review copy that never came, and I just never got around to buying it. Fell in love with the demo and do plan to get my hands on it soon. But probably would’ve been a contender had I played more.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus – A game I have, but haven’t played enough to really put it above other games on my list. Mostly because there was an issue with the PC version crashing lots after a bug, which was happening at the time I was trying to play it – a game I intend to go back to once I’ve finished Horizon: Zero Dawn.
Tekken 7 – Not a missed title, per se, but more a great game that just isn’t my cup of tea, I’m a 2D fighter kind of guy, but the few times I dabbled in this I was impressed – probably the best fighting game launched this year!
What were your games of 2017 and why!? Let us know in the comments!