DualShockers’ Favorite Games of 2017 (So Far)
With the first half of the year already behind us, the DualShockers staff gets together to reflect on some of 2017's best titles from the year's first half.
The first half of 2017 is already behind us, and while many of us are still baffled at how the year has gone so quickly already, there’s probably one easy answer – the fact that 2017 has already been filled with so many amazing games to fill our time (and our backlogs).
Now that 2017 is entering its second half when it comes to new game releases, the DualShockers staff came together to look back on the past six months of the year to highlight some of our favorite titles that 2017 has offered so far. While our selections only cover a few releases from the year and may leave out some notable entries, these are just a few of the titles that have (already) made 2017 a year to remember, as far as games go.
Josh Brant, Staff Writer
Nioh is the type of game you continue to get excited about coming back to, even if you’ve already spent 100 hours in its harrowing world to vanquish Oni. I still enjoy finding new gameplay systems and discoveries while adventuring through feudal Japan, and am continuously amazed at all the fresh and constantly rewarding quests to gain experience. It’s a polished, fun hack-and-slash adventure that oozes sincerity and charm, while also being accessible yet deep for those who invest the time.
Persona 5 may be the most stylish video game ever created, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is a wonderfully-crafted experience providing some of the best turn-based combat ever seen in a JRPG, while also providing the series’ signature social aspects in creative new ways. Gorgeous yet dark, compelling yet terrifying; Persona 5 is a masterclass in storytelling and presentation.
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
Resident Evil VII brings the series back to having the perfect blend of grotesque imagery and oppression to renew what made the series great in the first place. Vastly more terrifying and intimate (especially in VR) than the out-of-control gunfest that Resident Evil was becoming in its later entries, the change has been a resounding success in Resident Evil VII. Not taking itself too seriously, but also providing a rich, atmospheric look into the horrors of the insane Baker family, Resident Evil VII has no shortage of memorable and jaw-dropping moments.
Tyler Fischer, News Editor
Emily is Away Too
For me the unique way video games can tell a story was the reason I was so drawn to games in the first place, and continue to come back every day. Emily is Away Too tells a personal, immersive, and nostalgic-fueled story that I think about often. It is the experience that occupied my mind-space the most this year, and the one I yearn to experience for the first time all over again the most.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
In terms of gameplay, I can’t think of many better western RPGs than Horizon: Zero Dawn. The story told on-screen and the one I develop in my head off-screen is normally why I sink so many hours into so many RPGs against my best interest, but it was the gameplay that kept me coming back to Horizon with a fervor each and every day. If the story and characters resonated with me more — this would easily be my Game of the Year (so far).
What Remains of Edith Finch
Story. As I mentioned above, I’m an absolute sucker for a great narrative. What Remains of Edith Finch tells a powerful, fully-realized story. It’s a game that sets out to do something and does it masterfully. It’s often over-said that games are art — but it’s true — and this is a perfect example of that.
Tomas Franzese, Staff Writer
I love fighting games, and I had a ton of fun with Injustice: Gods Among Us a couple of years ago, though there were a few areas that game needed to improve. That is why Injustice 2 was one of my most highly anticipated games of 2017, and fortunately, I was not disappointed. The game looked breathtakingly gorgeous, the fighting mechanics were highly refined, and it had a very competently made story mode that rivals some recent superhero movies.
I rated the game highly in my review, and since then, the title has quickly become one of my favorite fighting games of all time, and I’m still playing Injustice 2 a ton almost two months after its release. The game is both accessible for new players and deep enough for genre veterans, and it will end up (probably) as one of the games I spend the most time playing this year.
Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together!
“What? A Switch game on this list that isn’t Zelda!” is what you are probably thinking right now. While The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a great game, one adorably fun Nintendo Switch title that I hope doesn’t get overlooked at the end of the year is Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together!. This puzzle game has players, either alone or with a buddy, solve tons of varied puzzles by cutting each other out into unique shapes. This title’s seemingly gimmicky concept actually ends up well-developed, and makes excellent use of the individual Joy-Con controllers.
The game is really fun even if you are playing on your own, and helps show just what the Switch can do with its unique setup and controls. If you own a Switch and love co-op or puzzle games, Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together! is definitely worth checking out; it is probably not going to be like any other game you play this year.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap
Prior to this year, I had never heard of the Wonder Boy series. It was a somewhat obscure series, but still was considered a cult-classic by many. The favorite of these titles is Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap, so Lizardcube and DotEmu decided to team up and remake it. I was intrigued by what I initially saw of the game, so I asked to review it, and ending up loving it. It’s a beautifully animated game and actually allows you to toggle between the retro graphics and sound with the new ones at any time, which makes it the ultimate remake in my mind. It manages to introduce something new and beautiful while still remembering where it came from.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is also a really solid platformer mechanically. While I don’t usually like to say a remaster or remake is one of my favorite games of the year, I can’t ignore the amount of fun I have had with The Dragon’s Trap on PS4, and I am seriously considering picking it up again on the Switch. If you are a fan of either retro games or platformers, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
Azario Lopez, Staff Writer
When I think about my favorite games of 2017, I like to look at the games that I keep returning to after I beat them. This year has proven to be the most difficult time to return to previous titles because there are just so many great games that have released. So, I have given the top three games that I simply cannot part with and have spent more time with since they released, when I should probably be completing Persona 5 instead:
Blaster Master Zero
Yea, this is strange for me because I’m not this huge retro-loving platformer nerd like others on staff. However, Blaster Master Zero is probably the only game that I have consistently played on the Nintendo Switch, even passing up my time with Disgaea 5 Complete. The game has also been offering free DLC (paid DLC after two weeks) almost every month in the form of extra characters to keep me coming back for more action.
Dragon Quest Heroes II
Here’s another title that I didn’t expect to love so much. Dragon Quest Heroes II gave me my fill of fast-paced Musou action and RPG elements that I need. The game has a clever story with a large open world just waiting to be discovered. What brings me back are the the multiplayer missions and a little bit of trophy hunting, but the game has some strong post-game content to satisfy any fans that need to hang out with the Dragon Quest cast members a little longer.
Tales of Berseria
What can I say? This is the best Tales game since Tales of Xillia in terms of its story and characters. I adore the way that Bandai Namco creates a narrative that makes you care about a group of characters so much that you kind of don’t want to beat the game because you don’t want it to end. Berseria also has enough post-game content to warrant another playthrough, and offers some secret quests for those who jump back in.
Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Pretty much all that’s needed to be said about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has already been said on every corner of the Internet (and most of my feelings about the game have already been summarized expertly in our 10/10 review of the game from Lou). To summarize quickly: Breath of the Wild is the type of game that comes around once in a generation, and one that I’ve found myself in constant awe of since the moment that I started playing it and set out across Hyrule and the Great Plateau.
However, it’s a game I continually find myself at a loss of words to try and describe, and instead a game that feel. From hunting down Korok seeds, to climbing towers and opening up the map of Hyrule, to uncovering the hidden memories of Zelda laid out across the map, few games not only gave me as much to do as Breath of the Wild, but also fed my curiosity and chance to explore on my own terms. Even 50-60 hours into my adventure, I was still finding new ways to engage with the enemies, characters, and world of Breath of the Wild, and it’s a title I expect to spend dozens of hours more with this year to uncover all that it has to offer.
While the title came from (virtually) out of nowhere and I’ve only been playing it recently, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the title that I just can’t keep putting down. Thanks to its streamlined approach to survival mechanics and fast-paced action, PUBG has been an addicting experience that I’ve kept coming back to again and again, and is a title I can see myself playing for the remainder of the year.
With its massive sandbox map and endless potential for creating situations both hilarious and terrifying, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a title that, at first glance, I probably would never have dove into given my (usual) apprehension towards survival games, especially ones in Early Access. However, after 35+ hours diving into warzones and scrambling to gather weapons against enemy players, it’s been the title I’ve most looked forward to hopping into night after night.
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
As a longtime fan of the series since those harrowing moments of the original (I still have nightmares from the dogs jumping through the windows), I (like anyone else) knew that the Resident Evil series was having a bit of an identity crisis. Trapped in an action-focused mindset from Resident Evil 5 and 6, to my relief Resident Evil VII marked the exact change that the series needed to shift back towards its survival-horror roots, and Capcom more than delivered in making Resident Evil scary again.
From its top-notch visuals and sound design to some truly memorable characters (the Baker family will be trapped in my memory for quite some time), Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is a title that stands on its own for providing a compelling horror narrative as its does for revitalizing the Resident Evil series as a whole. More than anything, I hope it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle (given its early release date) at the end of the year among some of 2017’s bigger titles, as it truly deserves to be recognized as one of the year’s best.
Logan Moore, Staff Writer
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5/2.5 ReMIX
I usually try to avoid listing remastered collections of old games in articles like this one, but I felt like this one was worth mentioning. Despite the amount of phenomenal new releases that we have seen so far in 2017, one of my personal favorite moments from this year was rediscovering this fantastic series of games. The last time I played through the original Kingdom Hearts titles I was in grade school. Coming back to the games after so many years was like comfort food that I didn’t know I was looking for. Despite the concept of these games being quite goofy (pun definitely intended), I’m so happy that I decided to revisit the series just to remind myself of why I fell in love with the journey of Sora and friends as a kid.
If there has been one game that I have come back to time and time again this year, it’s Nex Machina. While it may appear to be a simple twin-stick shooter, the amount of depth and content that Nex Machina boasts will keep anyone busy for quite some time. This combined with the overly satisfying gameplay loop has led me to pouring hours upon hours into the game, despite it being out for less than a month as of this writing. While it may be quite difficult at times, Nex Machina is on a select list of games that I will keep returning to, no matter how much it continues to kick my face in.
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
As a massive fan of the classic Resident Evil games, I was incredibly nervous coming into VII. The transition to first-person had me concerned, as well as the fact that leading up to release, I just wasn’t getting Resident Evil vibes from any of the preview footage that I saw. However, once I got my hands on the game early this year, I realized how perfect it was. Resident Evil VII doesn’t just return to the roots of the series in many ways, it does so while also defining what the franchise will be like moving forward. Once you make your way into the manor, the game pushes the pedal to the metal and doesn’t stop until the credits roll. More so than any other game I have played this year, when I started Resident Evil VII, I didn’t want to put it down. In my wildest dreams, I wouldn’t have expected Resident Evil VII to turn out as well as it did. Now if only I had the bravery to play through the entire game in VR.
Now that 2017 is halfway over, what titles have been some of your favorites from the past six months? What titles are you looking forward to for the rest of the year? Sound off and let us know down below in the comments!