2017 has been uncharacteristically stacked, as far as video game releases go. Thus far we’ve seen an incredible array of games in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Persona 5, Horizon: Zero Dawn, NieR: Automata, Resident Evil VII, Splatoon 2, ARMS, Prey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nioh, Injustice 2, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, and Yakuza 0, with smaller titles like Cosmic Star Heroine, Tacoma, Rime, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and What Remains of Edith Finch? also winning over the hearts of many.
And the crazy part? There’s even more in the pipeline for the next five months — Super Mario Odyssey has “game of the year” contender written all over it, not to mention Metroid: Samus Returns on 3DS, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Destiny 2, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Fire Emblem Warriors, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, The Evil Within 2, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Vampyr, Crackdown 3, and Horizon: Zero Dawn’s upcoming DLC, The Frozen Wild.
Yeah. That’s pretty fucking intense.
Even Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller tweeted that the current year has been the best in gaming’s history, then dared his followers to prove him wrong. There was a strong case for 2007, which featured Portal, BioShock, Uncharted, Halo 3, Super Mario Galaxy, The Witcher, and many others, but 2017 has been excruciatingly brutal to many a wallet thus far.
Aside from going a little crazy during Steam’s summer sale, in which I sold a few amiibo and replaced them with $120 worth of games, I’ve spent most of the year working through my atrocious backlog. I’ve picked up a few newer releases, sure, but I think I’ve done quite well considering the mountain of games I’ve avoided throughout the last eight months.
I made two separate lists for myself — one with games already released that I’d like to pick up if their price is right during Black Friday, and the other with must-have titles that have yet to come out. I’m a full-time student with very limited income and afford most of my games by selling off older ones on eBay or saving up holiday gift cards. Like you, I can’t afford everything that comes out; especially in a year like this one.
That being said, I’ve tried to narrow down my new purchases to 4 or 5 games for the remainder of the year, with the stragglers being tossed around as Christmas ideas from immediate family.
First, the to-buy list:
Nioh is a challenging action RPG that feels like a perfect marriage between the Xbox-era Ninja Gaiden reboot, the Onimusha series, and Dark Souls. It has a great style that’s steeped in Japanese mythology and, from what I’ve been told by others, a rather addictive loot system that allows you to replay missions and battle the stronger phantoms of deceased players in order to farm better gear.
What kept me from buying this at launch was a combination of money and timing. I loved the demo, but Nioh released too close to Nier: Automata and Horizon: Zero Dawn, not to mention the Nintendo Switch console.
2. Yakuza 0
I’ve never played a single Yakuza game in my life, but I’ve always been intrigued by them. A game that on the surface looks like Grand Theft Auto if it took place in Japan and actually played well, in an action-based Shenmue or Sleeping Dogs kind of way? Sign me up.
With Yakuza 0 garnering a lot of praise on social media, I took a deeper look by delving into Giant Bomb’s premium series Beast in the East — in which the Giant Bomb East team does an entire Let’s Play as series newcomers. The game is way more insane than I ever imaged. There’s karaoke, host clubs, claw machines, retro Sega arcade games, campy cinematics, and money that explodes from enemies as if they were literal loot pinatas… but also a gripping story.
Yakuza 0 is a prequel, which seems like the perfect jumping-on point, but it released in the middle of March after I had already dumped my funds into the Nintendo Switch console and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild special edition.
3. Dragon Quest Heroes II: Twin Kings and the Prophecy’s End
I played an unhealthy amount of the original Dragon Quest Heroes in 2015, but when the sequel released in May this year I just wasn’t in the mood for a musou (a Dynasty Warriors-style game, but with Dragon Quest heroes).
I love me some Dragon Quest and look forward to picking it up at some point, but I was already distracted by the utterly fantastic Injustice 2 and being disappointed in the PS4 performance of Prey.
4. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
I may lose a handful of followers for this, but Ninja Theory’s reboot of Devil May Cry is my favorite in the entire series — and I say that as a day-one fan of the core games. Ninja Theory excels at crafting fantastic worlds and interesting characters (which the core series just doesn’t have, in favor of a more refined focus on demanding gameplay, which is equally great). Many people have fond memories of their earlier titles, like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and Heavenly Sword, for similar reasons.
Ninja Theory’s latest release, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, follows the titular Senua as she traverses a mystical realm that appears to be crafted from her own psychosis. She hears voices, sees things, and if the latest reviews are anything to go by, is the center of one of the most incredible stories told in 2017.
5. Final Fantasy XV: Season Pass
I know the season pass became available when Final Fantasy XV launched near the end of 2016, but I’ve purposefully held off until the final story chapter releases this December – Episode: Ignis.
I loved Final Fantasy XV (it was my Game of the Year last year) and will definitely make time to revisit it this December. Square has updated the game numerous times since I last played, including EXO suits, off-road driving, and new abilities, so there’s plenty to look forward to, on top of three episodic adventures that further flesh out the supporting cast.
With everything releasing between now and December 31st, it was tough narrowing down my 5 must-buy titles.
For future releases, I’m aiming for:
1. Super Mario Odyssey
It’s a new Mario game and I’m eager to play something substantial on my Switch after finishing up The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild back in April. The gameplay shown looks great and it’s been receiving glowing reviews from the lucky games press who’ve managed to get their hands on it at various media events.
Take me to New Donk City, Mr. Nintendo. My body is ready.
2. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Dragon’s Dogma and its expansion, Dark Arisen, combined into one of my favorite open-world, class-based RPG experiences of all time. Capcom took the open-world nature of western RPGs and the engaging, fun combat of more Japanese-influenced games and the result was an alchemical concoction the likes of Shadow of the Colossus, Monster Hunter, and The Elder Scrolls series.
I’ve already played through the game on two separate occasions and built my initial blog following with my in-depth PAWN system guides and FAQs, but I can’t wait to revisit the re-release on PS4 later this year. Trust me, it’s the best action RPG you’ve never played.
Oh, and it had the raddest intro song ever before it was replaced by the Dark Arisen theme. Click the link. Listen. Rip your shirt off and dive from a cliff into the ocean.
3. Fire Emblem Warriors
I like Fire Emblem. I like musou games. This one is a no brainer, really, but I’m mostly interested in it as a game that’ll fill the “mindless enjoyment” role on the Switch so I have something to play before bed that isn’t Breath of the Wild.
Omega Force’s Dynasty Warriors-style spin-offs typically work out okay, as was the case with Hyrule Warriors and Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below, so I have faith that Fire Emblem Warriors will, at worst, be a fine experience. My primary concern, however, is whether or not the game will run well.
Omega Force doesn’t have the best track record and current demo footage of Dragon Quest Heroes II running on Switch looks absolutely abysmal. Digital Foundry dissected Fire Emblem Warriors back in June and, as I feared, its performance isn’t that great, but I’m sure it’s something I can overlook.
Side-note: I’d really like a Switch port of Hyrule Warriors with all of its DLC. That game ruled.
4. Metroid: Samus Returns
Metroid is tied with The Legend of Zelda as my favorite game series of all time, and the fact that we’re getting a new 2D Metroid in 2017 is fucking amazing. Granted it’s being developed by MercurySteam, who did the awful Castlevania stuff a few years back, along with Clive Barker’s Jericho (a turd of a game that I embarrassingly have all the Xbox achievements in), but I have faith that the reimagining of the Game Boy’s Metroid II: Return of Samus will at the very least be serviceable.
Early footage of the game looks fairly good, considering it’s running on the now-dated 3DS hardware. I don’t think it’ll hold a candle to AM2R, but it’ll be fine. It’s a new Metroid. That’s all I need to know.
5. Destiny 2
While the original Destiny bungled its launch and always felt like it didn’t have enough to do, I’d argue that it’s the most fun co-op experience I’ve ever had. As I’m sure you know, Destiny is a first-person shooter RPG with a leveling and loot system, but never really felt like it focused on the story and world building — two things I find important in my RPGs.
Bungie, however, knows how to make an incredible feeling first-person shooter, having worked on the Halo series for nearly a decade — many would say (and I’d agree) that the Halo series hasn’t been as enjoyable since Bungie left. Destiny just felt good and I had a blast roaming Mars, the Moon, and Earth with my friends, completing missions and instanced dungeons, and, of course, getting new loot.
Destiny 2 seems like more of the same, but I liked the original enough to sink at least 200 hours into it on Xbox One. I look forward to jumping into Destiny 2 with my girlfriend and our mutuals this September.
What about you, folks? What games do you intend on buying throughout the remainder of 2017?