RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Dec 26th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (Disposed Hero)
Posted under Gaming, 2017, games, RPG, action, adventure, shooter, story

Late last year, once all of the annual 'Best of' lists started coming out for the games released in 2016, I lamented the fact that I had only played a paltry four new release titles from the year and thus had no opinion on many of the games that were being discussed.  So in 2017, I was determined to play more new release titles during the year in an effort to stay more up-to-date with all of the discussions going on for the latest and greatest games.  And just like with everything I do, I went insanely overboard and ended up playing nearly 30 new release titles this year.

Instead of doing a traditional Top 10 list of the games I played this year, I wanted to focus on a select few that I thought were particularly great but may unfortunately go unnoticed and slip under the radar of most people.  Most of these games really aren't what you would call obscure, but with the massive amount of great games released this year, it can be easy to forget about the ones that didn't get quite as much coverage.  These also aren't necessarily my favorite games of the year, as I am intentionally leaving out some of the more popular titles that were released.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade was the subject of my front page article last month, but seeing as how this was my biggest surprise of 2017 and is probably one of the lesser known games I played, I had to talk about it again.  This is a game that is hard to recommend, not because it isn't good, but because the entire draw of the game lies in its story and subject matter, and giving too much of that away will lessen its impact.  The gameplay elements here are more minimal and straightforward, however it probably works to the game's advantage that it isn't loaded with combat sections.  This probably isn't a game I would recommend for someone looking for a straightforward action game, but if you don't mind the slower pace and want a thought-provoking story, Hellblade is definitely a game to check out.


Most of you probably know what Cuphead is by now, and most of you have probably heard about how crazy difficult it is.  If you're like me, you still underestimated the game's difficulty and went in thinking it was going to be a cakewalk.  You would have been wrong.  Yeah, this is one of those 'git gud' games, and I'm usually not a fan of them.

Cuphead is a game that frustrated me to no end.  It is brutally difficulty and unforgiving, and being able to overcome its challenges will require many futile attempts until you have sufficient practice of the level.  I usually hate this approach to game design, but Cuphead is so well made that it kept me playing until the end.  This is due in part to the game's tight and precise controls, along with the interesting mechanics that it employs.  The other major aspect of the game that impressed me was the amount of diversity and creativity that went into the design of the game's more than two dozen boss fights.  The aesthetics, animations, and attack patterns of these encounters are truly unique, and I am astounded that the developers were able to come up with so much variety.  These boss encounters alone make it worth seeing Cuphead through to the end.


Although I wrote about Prey in a blog post several months ago, I feel the need to mention it again since it is a first-person shooter that I feel will likely be overshadowed by the likes of Wolfenstein II and Resident Evil 7.  What sets Prey apart from these other titles is its depth and the freedom to play the game however you choose.  You can upgrade your character how you see fit and tailor them more towards fighting, stealth, engineering, or just give them a bunch of really cool abilities based on the Typhon organisms that you fight.  There are plenty of options, and there really is no wrong way to play the game.  If you're a fan of games like Deus Ex and BioShock, Prey should be right up your alley.

Yakuza 0 / Yakuza Kiwami

Although the Yakuza series began on the PS2 back in 2005, my first experience with the series was Yakuza 3 in 2010.  Since then, Yakuza games have been few and far between for the American audience, with Sega reluctant to localize the series due to its relatively small fanbase.  For a time, it was uncertain if the series would continue to be localized at all for North America.  Fortunately the series has gained some momentum in recent years, and Sega has been gracing us with new installments of what has quickly become one of my all time favorite video game series.

The Yakuza games typically drop you into the city of Kamurocho (although other locations are used on occasion) where you are free to explore the town at your leisure.  Kamurocho is full of all sorts of activities, side stories, and plenty of street thugs to fight, so you always get your money's worth.  The fighting mechanics are fairly simple and intuitive, so it's easy for a first time player to jump into the game and bust some heads, but there is a decent level of depth if you choose to delve into the intricacies of the combat system.  Last but not least are the excellently told and intriguing stories that these games always have.

Yakuza 0 is probably my favorite game in the series so far, and it is an excellent point of entry for a newcomer to the series.  With Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, and Yakuza 6 all being released within the time span of just over a year, it has never been a better time to be a Yakuza fan.  This is a series that I would urge everyone to check out.

Nier: Automata

I have no experience with the original Nier or the Drakengard series, but to say that I was intrigued by the cult following Nier: Automata has amassed over the last several months would be an understatement.  So I played through Nier: Automata recently and got all the major endings (A-E), but honestly I didn't love this game as much as most others seem to.  I did enjoy it, but it just didn't have an impact on me like I thought it would.

So why am I still recommending this game here?  Well, there is still a lot to like with Nier: Automata.  I particularly enjoyed the way that the game merges hack & slash third-person combat with shooter mechanics.  It also has a unique and thought-provoking story that will likely stick with you after the credits roll (multiple times).  Despite not enjoying it as much as I thought I would, I would still encourage everyone to give this game a try.

Persona 5

I probably can't rightly classify Persona 5 as a 'hidden gem' since it has a fairly high level of popularity, but I just had to mention it here.  Persona 5 was the big JRPG released this year that had fans of the genre waiting with bated breath, and it certainly didn't disappoint.  Atlus' latest iteration of their increasingly popular Persona series mostly sticks to the same formula of recent titles in the series, albeit with a few new bells and whistles thrown in for good measure. 

When it was all said and done, I had spent 120 hours with this game according to my save file, and at no point did I ever feel like I wanted it to end.  In fact, I was tempted to keep playing the game with a New Game Plus file, but I convinced myself to shelve it for now and get around to some other games.  It's rare that a game can hold my interest that long without it starting to feel like a grind after a while, much less make me want to play through the entire experience again.  Honestly, despite how great some of the other games released in 2017 are, I don't think any other game I played this year could make a claim like that for me personally, and for that reason, Persona 5 is without question my Game of the Year for 2017.  It may not be for everyone, but I would encourage everybody to at least check it out.  Despite the length of time it takes to finish the game, if it sinks its claws into you, you'll be glad you made time for it.

With 2017 coming to a close and a new year upon us, I hope everyone can look back fondly on this year.  Be sure to keep some of these titles in mind if you're looking for something to tide you over until that next big game releases.  Happy holidays!

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Glad to see Prey getting love.
This was a crazy good year for games. I didn't even come close to playing all of them. Cuphead and Nier were amazing. I'm still hoping to get to Hellblade before I finalize my list. We'll see if that actually happens.
@noiseredux:  Prey would probably be in my Top 5 games of 2017.  Hopefully more people give it a chance.

@zophar53:  Hellblade is pretty short, like around 5 or 6 hours, so maybe you still have time!

Thanks for reading!
I've only played Cuphead on that list, but I'd have to toss in Nioh as a game from 2017 that shouldn't be missed.
Great choices! I'm looking forward to playing Yakuza 6 in March next year. What were some of your runner-ups?
@Addicted:  Yakuza 6 will be a day 1 purchase for me!

This list was more for lesser known games of the year, but Resident Evil 7, Super Mario Odyssey, and Breath of the Wild would have ranked very highly had this been an all encompassing GOTY list.
Cuphead is great, but I think GOTY 2017 has to go to Shovel Knight because that Specter Knight DLC was sublime.

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