I think that 2017 is going to be one of those years that will be remembered for just having a plethora of fantastic game releases for a long time to come. Spoken in the same conversations as years like 1998 and 2007. The early part of this year in particular was just chock-a-block full of really great games. I don't play quite as much games as I used to, and have in the past struggled to even come up with 10 games to put on these lists, but this year I managed it with games to spare! There were so many great games I didn't play because I was too busy playing other, also great games! So, here is the Top 10 2017 Games That Were Definitely Pretty Decent.

Tekken 7

AKUMA IS IN IT

I have a long, but sporadic history with Tekken. Back when I was but a wee sprog, Tekken 2 was one of the games I played a lot of during the PS1 era. I have fond memories of Tekken 3 releasing, and my dad spending days phoning up the local video-rental shop to see if their one copy of it was available to borrow. Eventually, it was, and it was great. Of course, I wasn't particularly good at them, nor really understood any fighting game fundamentals (and wouldn't until a few years ago when I started getting really into Street Fighter IV), but mashing my way to victory against easy-level CPU was a good, fun way to spend many hours of my pre-teen years. I also spent a lot of time doing the same with the PS2 and PSP versions of Tekken 5. Fast-forward to this year, and Tekken 7 is finally here. It's... a little sparse in the single-player content. I can't play Tekken as well as I can SF, so I actually found myself a little wanting for solo stuff. There is a fancy single-player story which is... very silly, but still pretty fun. Simply put though, it's still Tekken. It looks and plays like Tekken, which is all you can really ask for.

Also, Akuma is in it.

Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy

This is what PS1 games looked like, right?

Crash Bandicoot 3 is one of my favourite video games of all time. This game could've been a remake of just that, and it still would've made this list. The fact the first two games are also in here is just icing on the cake. The remade visuals are pretty much perfect, invoking that "this looks exactly how I remember it as a kid!" feeling.

The only real knock I can give it is that the platforming physics for all three games are based on the third. This generally isn't a huge problem, but, for the first game in particular, which demanded a lot more precise platforming challenges from its players, makes it a little bit of a tougher game than the PS1 originals. A lot of fun hours packed in this package, and it launched at sub-£30! Best Value™!

NieR:Automata

This game gets me.

As always, I never rank these end-of-year lists that I write. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't have some semblance of an order in my head. So, let it be said that Nier: Automata is not only my game of the year, but my game of the generation thus far. Sure, the game isn't perfect. The game's combat definitely has a lot of depth available to it, if the player wants it, but the game never really invites the player to delve deeper, especially on the normal difficulty. The game's world, while, in my opinion, is pretty great, could definitely do with some fleshing out and polishing (there are a few invisible walls strewn about in places you'd think there shouldn't be). The game's plot, while enjoyable and certainly goes some places, isn't totally outstanding. The side-quests, some of which have some truly incredible writing and worldbuilding, are usually little more than fetch-quests. The pacing of the second "playthrough" could've done with some work to trim it back a bit. The game absolutely has faults. But then you have Ending E. Quite simply, the most profoundly emotional sequence I have ever experienced in my over two decades of playing video games. It's such an amazing, incredible thing, which I absolutely won't spoil, that, above all else, works because it is a video game. Transplanting that moment into any other medium (including simply watching a let's play) without losing any of its impact, is impossible. And that should be celebrated. Nier: Automata takes such advantage of it's existence as a video game for storytelling purposes, that I can only hope that other developers take inspiration from it to create truly unique story experiences that are unique because they are video games. Nier is filled with so much heart that, for all of it's faults, I can't help but utterly adore it. This game is so, so much more than the sum of its parts.

Also, the soundtrack is fucking sublime. One of the few I've felt compelled to physically buy a copy of. Keiichi Okabe is one of the best composers currently in video games.

Persona 5

Look at this dope-ass battle menu!

Persona 5 might be the most stylish video game I've ever played. The fact people were going completely fucking apeshit over footage of menus during early trailers should say it all. This game looks and moves like no other, especially among games in its genre. Turn-based combat is almost always a slow and deliberate affair, but Persona 5 makes it fast and punchy, not just through the unparalleled UI design, but also seemingly obvious decisions like mapping all the top-level battle options (attack, magic, items, party, etc) to a single-button press. While the overall visual aesthetic of P5 feels like an evolution of the previous couple of games, it's such a massive improvement that it's almost as if they skipped a game or two in that progression. It's incredible. Shoji Meguro's always impeccable soundtrack (this time focusing on jazz, compared to P3 and 4's hip-hop and J-Pop, respectively) slots in perfectly, with a whole host of superb standout tracks. The story while, maybe not ending in a way I was particularly liked, was still overall great, with a framing device that I personally thought was amazingly cool. I spent damn near one hundred hours playing Persona 5 to completion, and I had to try real hard to not immediately becoming totally invested in a new game plus playthrough. It is a damn good game, one of the masters of its genre. I can't wait to have my mind completely blown by what Persona 6 might end up looking like.

Also Haru is best girl, for those of you wondering.

Hollow Knight

original content pls dont steal

The debut game from Team Cherry, a new Australian developer who have made pretty much the best metroidvania game in recent memory. A really nice, hand-drawn art-style, set in a deep, dank, dark underground fallen civilisation populated by bugs, both humanoid and less so. From a storytelling and lore perspective, Hollow Knight takes a lot of cues from Dark Souls: hard exposition is scarce; a good deal of the storytelling is done through environment; friendly NPCs are sparse, and they mostly talk in riddles. The whole game is dripping in atmosphere. The gameplay itself is also great. A combat system that, while fairly simple, is tough but not punishingly so, and new movement abilities are decently paced so that, by the time you're nearing the end of the game, you rarely feel like you're not in complete control of your character. The world map is huge, though I will admit, making your way through it can be tedious at times (since backtracking is a staple of this genre). There are also a couple of issues I have with the mapping system, but these are two niggles in what is otherwise, a very exceptionally well made and enjoyable game.

Also, the devs are supporting it greatly, with (so far) two decently-sized content expansions released for the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

BotW has some real pretty vistas.

So, this will be the part where I say for the first time on this blog that I bought a Nintendo Switch. For all intents and purposes, it is my first Nintendo home console. Of course, I own a SNES, an N64 and a Gamecube, but those I all acquired during a retro collecting phase; I never had them when they were the current hotness. Nintendo handhelds, however, I've grown up with all the way since the original Game Boy, so naturally I'd eventually end up with a Switch, Nintendo's latest handheld/home console hybrid. I have been mostly using it as a console however, hooked up to my TV.

I bought it for this game.

Breath of the Wild is a triumph. It is the greatest open-world game ever made, and I sincerely believe that. Previous entries in the Zelda franchise (namely, the very first game and Ocarina of Time) pretty much created their respective genres. BotW however, looks to an already well-established one, and polishes it to near-perfection. This game is a true open-world experience. You are only given one concrete goal: Defeat Ganon, something which the game leaves completely up to you in how you approach. The entire world itself is expertly crafted in such a way, that, no matter what where you look you will see something interesting to do or a cool place to go. There is always some reward for anything you do, even if that reward is simply a breathtaking view after climbing to the top of a mountain. As someone who loves exploring for the sake of exploring in games, BotW feels like it was made for me. There are climbable towers: however, upon scaling them the game doesn't just jizz a bunch of waypoint icons onto your map like every other open-world game with towers: it simply fills out the topography of the local area. You then have to use your newly-acquired vantage point to visually check out interesting waypoints yourself. Such a novel concept!

I honestly could speak a lot more about BotW: the game's writing is full of charm and a really goofy sense of humour; the combat is fun and challenging, with an unbelievable amount of options at your disposal; the way the game utilises its amazingly understated soundtrack is nothing short of masterful. However, I've already waffled on for much longer than I usually do about a game in these end-of lists. All I will say is that Breath of the Wild was easily worth the £300+ I had to pay in order to play it.

Destiny 2

Have you played Destiny? 2 will feel pretty familiar.

Honestly, there's been so much negative press and drama surrounding microtransations and base-content eventually getting locked behind DLC and shaders being consumable and other such silliness (not that any of those complaints aren't valid, because they are) that, to a lot of people, Destiny 2 being on a top 10 list is quite possibly sacrilege. But as somebody who, on-and-off, put a whole lot of hours into the original Destiny and mostly enjoyed it, and who also played solo and never even did a raid, the sequel is a much better game from that perspective. When you stop caring about the end-game and maxing out your light level and efficiently farming with all three of your characters (and again, caring about that is absolutely fine), Destiny 2 is a very, very enjoyable game that you play for 10-50 hours and then... just put down. Like most any other game. In a time where a lot of "games as services" are vying for your gaming attention all the time, Destiny is, in my opinion, ideally a game you play for a relatively short amount of time, and then maybe come back to later, if the new content intrigues you. As a fairly casual Destiny player, having a story campaign that... well, exists, as well as being more generous with legendary and exotic loot (because again, I'm not the hardcore player who's going to grind to collect all of it) is a marked improvement over the first game. Destiny 2 is an enjoyable shooter and for me, someone who as the years go by is becoming generally less interested in shooters, is all it needed to be.

Doki Doki Literature Club

DDLC is... well, it's a visual novel. I don't want to say anything else about it because, if you aren't aware of what DDLC is, I'd absolutely hate to ruin that for anybody. I'm not even going to attach a screenshot to this entry.

All else I will say is that it absolutely is one of the most memorable and affecting experiences I've had this year.

It's only a few hours long. It's also free. Heed the warnings the game throws at you, but otherwise go in blind.

Just Monika.

Undertale

Biting social commentary.

Usually, there's always at least one game on my list that is technically cheating, due to being a re-release of a previously released game. This year it's Undertale. I never got to talk about it in 2015's list because I hadn't played it back then. It released on PS4 this year though, which means I can talk about it!

Undertale is another game that is best experienced with as little prior knowledge as possible. It takes your expectations from playing an Earthbound-looking JRPG and subverts them in lots of really interesting, funny and surprising ways. It's one of the most consistently funny and charming games I've ever played, while also not holding back on some emotional punches. The gameplay is a neat mix of JRPG combat and bullet-hell games. The soundtrack is also god-tier, with Toby Fox putting on an absolute masterclass on how to use leitmotifs.

The fanbase is, to put it generously, a little over-bearing. But things that gain such fervent fans usually do so for a reason, and Undertale absolutely earned it.

Super Mario Odyssey

These guys kinda suck tho

With the Nintendo Switch being my first real Nintendo home-console, it would stand to reason that would mean Super Mario Odyssey is the first 3D Mario game I've ever really played. And you'd be right (I've played 2D ones, don't worry). And boy, what an impression to make. I initially was a little weary of the amount of acceleration Mario has on his movement speed, but eventually became comfortable with it: the controls are on-point. I have little prior experience to base this on, but this is probably the best Mario has ever felt to control, a character who I'm lead to believe has usually controlled very well. Visually, the game is a marvel both technically and stylistically. The large amount of different worlds, all with very different looks come together into a veritable smorgasbord of great art-design. The music is fucking dope. Everything about Odyssey is just an absolute joy to behold and feels like the embodiment of Nintendo's philosophy: that games should be fun and enjoyable for everyone.

As far as honourable mentions go: Horizon: Zero Dawn is a pretty good open-world game that made the mistake of releasing at the same time as Zelda. I'm super interested in seeing where the story goes, and the world Guerilla have built is really intriguing, but I hadn't played enough to feel comfortable including it on this list. Chaos;Child is the latest visual novel from the folks that what did Steins;Gate, but being a long, solely story-focused VN, the fact I haven't finished it means it wasn't going to be on this list. SteamWorld Dig 2 is a really good game in the "do a thing to collect resources then sell those resources to buy upgrades that let you do the thing better" genre. I look forward to finishing it. Golf Story is a really silly, fun 2D golf/RPG-hybrid thing. It's mostly story-based with a bunch of quests and stuff, and you can tee up wherever the hell you like, it's great. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the third big Switch game I bought this year is... well, it's Mario Kart, it's great! But the single-player offerings are pretty sparse (and, outside of the 200cc mode, almost completely devoid of any challenge) and while online-multiplayer is fine, it's not going to hold my interest for long periods of time. Quake Champions seems like a pretty good Quake game, but I'm capital-G Garbage at arena shooters, and it still had some (mostly netcode related) issues when I last played. There's probably other games I'm forgetting, so that'll be your lot.

And that's it for 2017! Pretty fantastic year for games, as I said at the top, lets see what next year brings!

Another year, another top 10 post. This year, a lot of the anime I watched was stuff that didn't actually air this year (whether it be catching up on semi-recent seasonal stuff or just backlog shows), so I wasn't exactly spoiled for choice when writing this year's list. It's also why there's a conspicuous absence of the second season of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu after gushing over the first season last year, because I've simply not got around to watching it yet. Nevertheless, this list is still full of stuff I'd happily recommend. As always, a Japanese airing or home-media release is the only qualification required for The 2017 Top 10 Japanese Cartoons that were Pretty Okay.

Interviews with Monster Girls

Demi-chan wa Kataritai / 亜人ちゃんは語りたい

Pretty sure I've said this exact line myself a few times in the past.

Starting out with a show-stopper. I don't rank these lists, but this show might be my favourite of the year, for no other reason than I simply connected to it in a way I never have with any other show. Unlike with other shows about monster-girls, you know, the boobalicious ones with actual snake ladies and centaurs and spider girls and whathaveyou, the ones here are... mostly normal. Every "monster-girl" in the show is basically just a metaphor for various conditions, disabilities and social anxieties, and how they deal with them in their everyday lives. Being diabetic (that is to say, someone who is mostly "normal" but not quite), I related to the show in a very personal way, something that I've never done with any other show.

The show's overall message of being comfortable with yourself, as well as accepting what makes people different, while not particularly deep nor heavy-handed, is nice nonetheless. Interviews with Monster Girls is ostensibly a cute-girl-slice-of-life show, so obviously won't be in everybody's wheelhouse, but certain people will be able to get something out of it they wouldn't from most other shows, and for that, I absolutely commend it. For a show about "monsters", it ends up being very human.

Miss Kobayashi's Maid Dragon

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon / 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Just a dragon and a salarywoman getting drunk in the woods, nbd

From Kyoto Animation, the masters of pretty TV anime, their latest is a little different from their more recent output: it's an adaptation of an property they don't own, and the visual style is more stylised and cutesy compared to the more realistic looking shows they've become known for in recent years. Our protagonist, Kobayashi, is a twenty-something office worker who, one night, got fucking wasted, strolled into the woods, discovered a dragon exiled from its own realm and offered for it to come live with her. The next morning, naturally remembering none of the previous night's adventure, Kobayashi is greeted by a massive dragon outside her apartment, that promptly shape-shifts itself into a cute, busty girl in a maid outfit... with horns and a tail. The dragon, Tohru, took Kobayashi up on her offer from last night and decides she wants to be her maid.

What follows is a comfy, supernatural-laced slice-of-life show, which, when younger dragon Kanna joins the fray, is primarily focused on the strange but lovely little family unit that Kobayashi has found herself in. KyoAni's penchant for cute comedies is shown in full-force here, and is absolutely recommended if that's the sort of anime you're into. The opening and ending songs are also hella catchy.

Little Witch Academia

Akko's stupid, dumb face is the best.

From those lovable bozos at Studio TRIGGER, Little Witch Academia is basically just Harry Potter: The Anime. Except, if Harry were a cute Japanese girl, and also a total idiot with no magical prowess whatsoever. Atsuko "Akko" Kagari decided she wanted to attend Luna Nova Magical Academy after seeing a magic show as a child. She struggles due to her non-magical background compared to her peers from prestigious magical families, but if nothing else, she has a bottomless well of determination and manages to make a bit of a name for herself regardless... though mostly because she's a bit of a dimwit who keeps finding herself in ridiculous situations. The first half of the show is a mostly episodic affair, before the main plot kicks into gear proper during the second half.

A full TV show borne from the two short films TRIGGER had made previously, it retains all of the charm of those while offering a more meaty character and plot experience afforded by the increased runtime. Due to its setting and subject matter, LWA is probably the most un-anime anime on this list and also completely family-friendly, something you could show to almost anyone who enjoys a good, lighthearted adventure.

Made in Abyss

Don't be fooled, this isn't all cute fun and games.

One of the more popular standout titles from this year, and with good reason. The setting is based in a city that surrounds a giant, gaping hole in the Earth, the titular abyss. The abyss extends a completely unknown length down into the ground below, though is roughly segmented into layers, each with their very own unique ecosystems and dangerous flora and fauna. More importantly however, is the curse of the abyss: ascending in the abyss has various psychological and physiological tolls on the body, worsening the deeper from which you ascend. It eventually reaches a depth where, escaping the abyss is impossible: the effects of ascending from the sixth layer are death or "loss of humanity". The story centres on Riko, a young rookie cave-raider who, in the first layer, discovers a strange robot boy who she names Reg. The plot kicks into gear when news reaches the surface that Riko's mother, a legendary cave-raider and White Whistle (raider ranks are based on the colour of whistles they possess) has made her "last dive": she has descended to a layer from which return would be impossible. Riko and Reg set off on a one-way journey into the abyss to find her mother, dealing with the trials and horrors they encounter along the way.

Visually, Made in Abyss is a strong contender this year, with a somewhat cutesy art-style that belies its generally much darker nature and tone. Also accompanied by an absolutely stellar soundtrack, it's no surprise that this show was one of many people's highlights for the year.

Blame!

Looks good, as far as CG anime goes.

Apparently not the first adaptation of Tsutomu Nihei's stunning manga, this one is produced by Polygon Pictures, fairly well known at this point for producing full 3D CGI anime that doesn't look like total ass, such as Knights of Sidonia (another of Nihei's works) and Ajin, previously. The film does a pretty decent job of portraying the atmosphere and architecture of Nihei's original work and while it isn't the full story (there is apparently a sequel in the works), the movie ends at a pretty natural stopping point. The plot and world of Blame!, a massive, continuously expanding city is super interesting, though important details are tantalisingly sparse, leaving me looking forward to the next instalment. Maybe not one for you if you're not into broody, mostly silent, badass protagonists though.

Also, Biomega adaptation when??

The Ancient Magus' Bride

Mahoutsukai no Yome / 魔法使いの嫁

This derpy axolotl-sprit-thing is the cutest and I want one

Chise Hatori hasn't had a particularly good life. As a Sleigh Beggy, she naturally attracts all sorts of spirits to her, not all of them good. After her father leaving, and her mother killing herself, Chise eventually also tried to commit suicide, but was stopped by someone who convinced her to sell herself into slavery, in the hopes of finding someone who would care for her, a choice she readily accepted in her deep depression. Eventually, she is bought for the princely sum of £5 million (this is another show this year set in Britain) by one Elias Ainsworth, the titular ancient magus. Rather than buying her for any reasons particularly untoward, he seemingly bought Chise for the intention to make her his apprentice; Chise's natural spiritual affinity give her great magical potential. Thus far, the story has Chise learn magic and deal with encounters with the various spirits and faeries that inhabit the nearby, sleepy locales of the UK, whilst also learning to come to terms with and repair her damaged self.

Brought to us by WIT Studio, the folks that also made smash hits like Attack on Titan, the still ongoing Ancient Magus' Bride is an absolutely stunning show, with some really enjoyable world-building and plenty of nuanced, enjoyable characters.

Your Name

Kimi no Na wa. / 君の名は。

is this real life??

The latest film from Makoto Shinkai, if you're at all into anime and aren't aware of Your Name, that must be a pretty large rock you've been living under for the past year or so. Making its way to the 4th spot of Japan's highest-grossing films ever, it's been a massive success both in as well as out of Japan. The film tells the story of Mitsuha, a schoolgirl living in a small, rural town in the mountains, and Taki, a schoolboy living in the heart of Tokyo, who suddenly find themselves swapping bodies for the duration of random days. Initially each thinking of their experiences as very realistic dreams, the two eventually realise what's happening and begin to leave notes for each other. The films starts out with the comedic hijinks you'd expect from a couple of teenagers randomly swapping bodies, it eventually a shifts into a more serious and gripping tale.

As expected of Shinkai's works, Your Name is absolutely fucking gorgeous, with both the rural and urban locations shown in exquisite detail, though I will admit that his previous work, The Garden of Words is still his best looking in my opinion, though that's somewhat to be expected due to being well under half the length of this latest offering. Short of anything by Studio Ghibli, Your Name is probably the most notable anime film for a good while, so you probably owe it to yourself to give it a watch.

A Silent Voice

Koe no Katachi / 聲の形

Sometimes, you just want to punch a young schoolboy in the face.

The second production from Kyoto Animation on this list, this time a feature film and while not quite on the same level of hype and success as Your Name, A Silent Voice is definitely one of the standouts from this year. Directed by the young Naoko Yamada (K-on!, Tamako Market), who is quickly becoming considered one of the greats in her industry, the film deals with the type of heavy topic seldom dealt with seriously in anime: bullying. The film centres on Shoko, a deaf girl, and Shoya, the boy who used to bully her in primary school. The early scenes of the film, set during their early childhood at school are fairly powerful, incredibly hard to watch without getting very angry at the characters making Shoko's school life a living hell. It's equally impressive that the film manages to make the audience accept Shoya's sincere attempts to redeem himself as a young adult, who had become crushed under the guilt to the point of suicide.

As expected of a KyoAni production, particularly one with a theatrical budget, A Silent Voice is a looker (though, some of the post-processing effects could stand to have been toned down a little). I eagerly await to see what's next from the aspiring young director.

Girls' Last Tour

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou / 少女終末旅行

Though the character art is very simple, there is some stunning background and shot composition here.

Girls' Last Tour is the story of Chito and Yuuri, as they explore the post-apocalyptic ruins of a civilisation that was ended because of... who knows what? That doesn't really matter. Society is long gone, but our two protagonists aren't. Super atmospheric and fairly slow-paced: a combination I've come to enjoy a lot as of late. Armed with just some basic supplies and their trusty Kettenkrad (a WWII era tractor-truck-motorbike-vehicle thing), they continuously push forward on their journey through a massive city built on multiple layers. The show shares many similarities with simple, cute, slice-of-life shows, but also likes to get a little introspective and philosophical, with the girls often having conversations on such topics as: what is a god to someone who has little to no experience with societal concepts like religion? A particular favourite of mine is episode 9, where the girls meet a cool little robot bro and a cute little fish, which prompts musings on what it means to be alive and the meaning of "empathy".

The show is brought to us from White Fox, know for shows such as Steins;Gate, Katanagatari and last year's Re:zero, the former two of which are big favourites of mine. Girls' Last Tour is a show with a lot of nice, lighthearted moments, a lot of amazingly poignant ones, and plenty of others that are a combination both. A little shout-out to the ending animation as well, which is entirely animated by the author of the manga the show is based on, and in the same style. It's great. This show is great. It's a shame a lot of people will discount it due to the inclusion of roughly 0.2 seconds of dabbing featured in the opening...

Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Netojuu no Susume / ネト充のススメ

This pretty much exactly mirrors my own monitor setup

I don't have a whole lot to say about this one. Visually, it's average at best. MMO-anime are also dime-a-dozen at this point. However, MMO Junkie is good because it's a sweet romance show that not only has some real progress, but also starring characters that aren't high-school students! That's a novelty in and of itself. You'd be hard-pressed to find many (or any) contemporary shows whose protagonist is a thirty-something woman.

MMO Junkie is the first production I've even heard of from its studio, so I'd be iterested in seeing whatever it is they so happen to tackle next. Anime could certainly do with a few more comfy romance shows that are a little bit removed from can't-spit-it-out highschool kids.

And so, those were the best animes what I watched this year. Nothing too surprising or out of the ordinary. Like I said, I didn't watch a whole lot of stuff from this year: in fact, if I remember right, I only watched a single other thing that wasn't on this list. My on-disc backlog is also starting to reach frankly ridiculous levels of large, so there's a very real chance that this list next might be clipped down from ten entries. It might not even be the same format, it could very well end up being simply "best anime I watched this year", regardless of when they were produced.

See you in 2018!

2016 was by all accounts a pretty fantastic year for games. Unless you're me, because I barely played most of them. So many critically acclaimed games released this year that I just didn't get around to playing, or even buying. Games like DOOM, Inside, Uncharted 4, Hitman, The Witness, Superhot, Firewatch, The Last Guardian, Darkest Dungeon, Hyper Light Drifter, Salt & Sanctuary and a whole bunch of others I'm definitely forgetting. I didn't play a whole lot from this year, but what I did I enjoyed. Here are The Top 10 Games That Are Probably Perfectly Acceptable of 2016:

Street Fighter V

I'm just glad Urien has graced us with his presence once more.

If you know me at all, you'll know that I love me some Street Fighter. Sure, V didn't have a particularly successful launch, and sure, it was (and still is) missing quite a few features, modes and quality-of-life that you would expect out of a modern fighting game... but I still like it. I think (some character model clipping issues aside) that it's a really nice looking game, and I certainly enjoy playing it. I think that Capcom need to fix quite a few things, both in the core gameplay and the things surrounding it, but even in it's currently pretty barebones state, it's the game I've put the most amount of time into in 2016.

Overwatch

fuckin loot boxes HELP

Blizzard's latest was that game that reminded me that I still like first-person-shooters. After a few years of getting burnt out on the latest Call of Duty releases, and other similar, modern/near-future military shooters, along comes Overwatch to let me know that the shootan can still be fun. And boy, do I think Overwatch is fun. For a game where me play-time in hours is at three digits, the amount of time I've spent getting annoyed and salty is surprisingly low, especially so when I've payed most of that time solo. I also may have bought a few too many loot boxes...

 

Titanfall 2

Finally, I can be a pink lady-robot.

Hot on the heels of Overwatch is another FPS game to let me know that FPS games can still be awesome. Respawn's first attempt at making a post-Call of Duty shooter was very promising, but lacked a lot of that customisation that keeps you coming back for more. It also lacked a single-player campaign. Titanfall 2, does not, and Titanfall 2's single-player campaign is, perhaps one of the greatest single-player campaigns since these guys made a little game called Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The fact that the multiplayer is still really fantastic (albeit with a few little changes from the first game I'm not a huge fan of) and a bunch of visual customisation, Titfanfall 2 is absolutely the game Titanfall 1 should've been. I just hope it can maintain a healthy player population for more than a few months.

Dark Souls III

Never change, Dark Souls players.

I played a decent amount of Dark Souls. I didn't play it to completion, nor come close, but I put a solid chunk of time into it. I didn't play a decent amount of Dark Souls II, in fact I barely played any of that game. I played a lot of Bloodborne. It was one of my favourite games of last year, perhaps even my favourite. Dark Souls III, I played a decent amount of. I played it to completion. It's a game that has clearly come after Bloodborne, but still retains it's identity as Dark Souls. The combat isn't as fast and hectic as Bloodborne, but there are some hints of influence there. The way the game looks as well, with the environments very dense with detail also looks like something informed by FromSoft's previous game. I still think that Bloodborne is my favourite out of all these games, but DSIII is definitely a solid offering.

 

VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

Sage advice.

I adore this game. I adore it so much I wrote my first review in over three years about this game. VA-11 HALL-A is a visual novel through-and-through, but it's not something typical of the likes you see coming out of Japan. It isn't 400 hours long for one thing. There aren't any shoehorned in sex scenes for another. The plot is delightfully small in scope, dealing with a decently sized cast of well realised and fleshed out characters that feel somewhat like real people and not just vaguely anime-shaped pixels on your screen. The player choice is interestingly obtuse, though ultimately doesn't have a whole lot of effect on things. The retro-Snatcher-esque aesthetic is nice and the tunes are banging.

Stardew Valley

This screenshot isn't mine. My farm doesn't look this good.

Imagine that there was a guy who really liked Harvest Moon. He liked it so much, but he thought he could do better. Imagine this guy, dreaming of a Harvest Moon game where, not only can you farm, you can do a whole bunch of other stuff. Collecting wood, fishing, mining, hunting monsters, interacting with the locals and forming relationships with them. Well, imagine no longer, because that guy is real and Stardew Valley is that game what he made that is exactly what I just said. It wins the coveted Jeo Dot Me Oh Lemme Just Play One More Day Wait Now It's 6.30am What Award.

 

 

Pokémon Sun/Moon

POPPLIO DA BEST

You know me. I love Pokémon. A new set of Pokémon games came out, so of course it's going to be on this list. Sun and Moon shake up the formula of these game in the most dramatic way since... well, ever. I mean, you're still a little kid who gets a pokémon from the local professor or whatever and leaves home to go on a journey collecting pokémon and making friends and fighting trainers and stealing their money and all that shit but the overall structure just isn't quite the same as it always is. Pokémon gyms are gone, replaced now with the Island Challenge (the region in these games is a set of islands modelled after Hawaii) where you have to undergo and pass a bunch of trials which consist of a variety of things ranging from different minigames to just "beat this strong pokémon". Sun and Moon shake things up enough to make things feel fresh but still familiar. Also the story, something you don't normally expect too much out of a Pokémon game, is pretty good. The characters are great. Lillie is a cutie.

Steins;Gate 0

Presented without context.

Seven years after the original visual novel, Steins;Gate 0, the first (and lets be honest, likely only) real sequel is out, and available in English in relatively short order no less! Steins;Gate was a time-travel story and so, the sequel, rather than being an arbitrary continuation of that story, takes place in another worldline (timeline, to grossly simplify things for the uninitiated) from the original, and details a lot of events that allow for the true ending to the original game to come to pass. I can't really go more detailed without spoiling some things, which I don't like to do in these posts, so I won't. I can say however, that if you were a fan of the original, you will undoubtedly enjoy this latest offering. I do have a few somewhat relatively small complaints, and I don't think it matches up to the, quite honestly, 10 out of 10 original game. But those were huge boots to fill, and 0 is still by-and-large, very great.

Guily Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-

what is even happening

Let me say this up front: I am terrible at Guilty Gear. Like, really bad. Capital G Garbage. It's a fighting game that's so far removed from what I'm used to playing (Street Fighter) in terms of movement, options available to you and just the general speed of the gameplay that it kind of overwhelms me. There's a lot to like though: The soundtrack is choc-a-bloc full of ridiculous J-metal; It looks fantastic, they way Arc uses 3D models to emulate sprites is a technical marvel; The character designs are nuts, and not just visually, but from a gameplay standpoint also: There's a character that's basically just a tower-defence game imported into a fighting game. There's another character that fights using pool balls; The single-player offering is plentiful, including a really good tutorial and a bunch of combo trials and missions to help you get a handle on the game. I'll never be as good at this and most anime fighters as I am at Street Fighter (and I'm not even that great at that), but it's hard to not like Guilty Gear. If I may be cliché for a moment: it oozes style.

Final Fantasy XV

YO LOOK AT THIS FROG

I'll admit, I haven't finished Square Enix's latest yet, probably not even close. However, in the 10 or so hours I've put into it so far, I've liked what I've seen, more so than most other modern Final Fantasies I've played. I have pretty much no idea what's going on in terms of actual plot because... the game doesn't really tell you. There's something to be said about the way it just kind of drops you into this large open world  with these 4 pretty likeable characters without really giving it a whole lot of context and letting you mostly just do your own thing. The world so far is fun to explore, and there's a looot of sidequests to keep you busy from just beelining the main story quest. The game does a really good job of showing off the personalities of it's main foursome through mostly natural-sounding and enjoyable banter between them as you go about doing your thing. The general consensus seems to be that the game takes a bit of a nose-dive in quality during one of the later chapters, but we'll see how that pans out. I'm only at chapter 4 at the moment, and I've thoroughly enjoyed the time I've spent with Noctis and his similarly silly-named buddies so far.

And so brings us to the end of 2016. Next year should be a fairly interesting one, what with the launch of a new Nintendo console and all. I wonder if I'll play enough to not struggle to put together a top 10 list.

Probably not.