My Favourite Games of 2017: Day Five

It’s that time again. When we as a collective come together to write, read and argue about our favourite games of the year. Not wanting to break from tradition, I proudly present to you, my favourite games of 2017.

Now instead of boring you with a traditional list, I thought I’d ‘spice’ it up a little by writing a post about each game. Don’t worry, this won’t take long. I’m a busy man and let’s be honest, you guys have read enough about PUBG and why Hellblade is amaze-balls on this blog already.

 

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds

 PC – PUBG Corp

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I think I’ve finally found my forever game. Yes, I’ve said this before with games like Rocket League, Destiny and Overwatch, but this time I think it’s going to stick. Because even after nearly 250 hours of this ugly, buggy and at times downright infuriating mess of a video game……I can’t stop playing.

PUBG isn’t the prettiest game. It’s far from the most feature complete and it certainly won’t win any awards for polish. However its core concept is so perfect in its execution that it doesn’t matter. It’s proof that above all else, gameplay wins through.

The idea is simple: 100 people jump out of a plane armed with nothing but pants. The last person alive wins. It’s so simple that I can’t believe it’s taken as long has it has done to truly take off outside of the occasional in-game mod.

As simple as it is, don’t be fooled for thinking it’s short on depth. Far from it. Solo play delivers a genuinely nerve-wracking experience that is unmatched in the competitive online space; it’s a horror game masquerading as a shooter, and whilst it’s not the first to try this type of thing, it’s certainly the most effective.

Duo’s and Squads takes the game in a much different direction. Less tension inducing horror and more tactical squad combat. It’s a subtle difference but one that allows the game to offer two distinct types of play experiences without changing the games basic concept.

PUBG is going to change what online shooters are for the next decade. In much the same way that Modern Warfare changed how we play the FPS, Battlegrounds will surely have a similar effect on the games we’re playing over the next 8-10 years. And that’s a testament to just how utterly successful this game is at what it tries to do.

There will undoubtedly come ‘PUBG clones’. Many of them will look, run and feel better than Battlegrounds does, and I cannot wait for them. Because what PUBG gets right, it gets so right that I may never need to play another shooter again.

And so I’m pleased to say that not only is Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds my new ‘forever’ game, it’s also my favourite game of the year.

Surprise.

 

 

 

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My Favourite Games of 2017: Day Three

It’s that time again. When we as a collective come together to write, read and argue about our favourite games of the year. Not wanting to break from tradition, I proudly present to you, my favourite games of 2017.

Now instead of boring you with a traditional list, I thought I’d ‘spice’ it up a little by writing a post about each game. Don’t worry, this won’t take long. I’m a busy man and let’s be honest, you guys have read enough about PUBG and why Hellblade is amaze-balls on this blog already.

Super Mario Odyssey

 Switch – Nintendo

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I’ve grown up playing Mario games. From the Super Nintendo through to the Switch, Mario has been a constant bringer of joy and an unwavering sign of quality. And Odyssey may well be the franchise as its very best.

Confident in its approach, it’s willing to try new things whilst offering fans of the franchise and of the larger platforming genre as a whole a huge playground in which to explore and ultimately, have a boat load of fun in.

It’s not trying to tell you an incredibly story of overcoming the odds. It’s not looking to let you experience life as someone else and it’s not asking you to be the best in a field of millions. Instead it wants you to sit back, relax and have a truly wonderful time. And if that’s what you’re after, I don’t think a game released in the last 5 years does it quite as well as this one.

Truth be told, I’m struggling to put to paper what I think of this game. It’s a Mario game; perfected. And as I’ve said in all of these posts so far, if you like video games, you owe it to yourself to play this. I’d even make the argument that it’s worth owning a Switch for.

 

 

 

My Favourite Games of 2017: Day Two

It’s that time again. When we as a collective come together to write, read and argue about our favourite games of the year. Not wanting to break from tradition, I proudly present to you, my favourite games of 2017.

Now instead of boring you with a traditional list, I thought I’d ‘spice’ it up a little by writing a post about each game. Don’t worry, this won’t take long. I’m a busy man and let’s be honest, you guys have read enough about PUBG and why Hellblade is amaze-balls on this blog already.

What Remains of Edith Finch

PC/PS4/XBOX One – Giant Sparrow

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Rare are the games that can elicit an emotional response from me. Rarer still are the games that manage to pull two or three different ones out of me at any one given time. What Remains of Edith Finch is one of those games.

Finch is ultimately about loss, grief and moving on. It manages to tell it’s emotionally charged story with just the lightest flicker of comedy. A flicker that takes what should be a dark and gloomy tale of one families tragic past, and turns it into an emotional and yet, incredibly uplifting tale about what comes next.

it’s a relatively short game, but one that knows exactly what it wants to say and gets out before it overstays its welcome. I was never bored with it. Where Gone Home relied on the illusion of horror to propel you through its story, Finch ditches that for good old fashion story telling. Where Firewatch slowly builds to a crescendo of fire and tension, Finch remains focused on telling you the story of its characters, their lives and ultimately, their deaths.

What Remains of Edith Finch is, to be entirely reductive, a walking-simulator. But you know what? It’s the best walking-simulator I’ve ever played, and I hope we see an awful lot more games that handle their subject matter and their narrative like this in the future.

There’s always going to be a small but incredibly vocal audience who’ll avoid this type of game, but don’t let them dissuade you. What Remains of Edith Finch is without a doubt one of the better games to release in 2017 and you absolutely should experience it.

 

 

 

 

My Favourite Games of 2017: Day One

It’s that time again. When we as a collective come together to write, read and argue about our favourite games of the year. Not wanting to break from tradition, I proudly present to you, my favourite games of 2017.

Now instead of boring you with a traditional list, I thought I’d ‘spice’ it up a little by writing a post about each game. Don’t worry, this won’t take long. I’m a busy man and let’s be honest, you guys have read enough about PUBG and why Hellblade is amaze-balls on this blog already.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

PS4 – Guerilla Games

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I thought I was over the open world game. I thought I’d done my last side-quest. I thought I’d stopped worrying about pelts and boring dialogue choices. I thought wrong.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a visual masterpiece. It’s landscapes are huge and varied. It’s  characters and interesting and well acted in equal measure and it’s story and lore are both well realized and incredibly deep. Above all else though, Horizon: Zero Dawn is an incredibly fun video game.

Where other open-world games struggle, Horizon lurches ahead, with incredibly combat and a fun selection of weapons that will make you actively seek out combat encounters. Those combat encounters feature enemies that are as diverse and varied as the world they inhabit and require skill and patience to bring down. The best part? If you’re not careful they will fuck you up in a big way.

The game’s story is just the right sort of stupid that it allows the writers to go all in on some of its ideas, blending science fiction with history and even a little light fantasy. The worlds lore is hinted at, but never spoiled. Allowing the player to think about ‘what it all means’ without ever over-selling its hand and ruining the surprise. Zero Dawn is without a doubt one of the prettiest games ever released, but underneath that incredibly well painted canvas there’s an even more interesting painting to be discovered. And hopefully in sequels-yet-to-be-announced we’ll get just that.

I really like Horizon, but I fear coming out so close to a new console and (perhaps) more importantly, a new Zelda game may have damaged the game in some people’s eyes. It shouldn’t. It’s a truly fantastic game that deserves your attention.

So if you’re reading this blog and haven’t yet allowed Aloy and giant mechanical dinosaurs into your life, fix that. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

Twenty17 So Far: My Favourite Games

Fun fact. Did you know there are only 21 more weeks until Christmas? Amazing. Before you know it we’ll be eating minced pies and sitting our children on the lap of some fat bearded bloke in a red suit.

However, we’re not quiet ready to crack open the mulled wine just yet. And as a video game blogger, it’s of the upmost import that ‘offer’ my opinion on the years best releases to you.


 

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Horizon Zero Dawn – PS4

The first open world game on my list, and what a game it is. Beautiful, exciting and unique; Horizon should be the years run away winner for GOTY. Unfortunately for Horizon, Zelda happened. And whilst the two games are both incredibly, Horizon is likely to fall victim to the Switch success story.

I loved Horizon. I loved fighting mechanical dinosaurs. I loved the setting, I adored the lead character and I desperately want more from this franchise in the future. Horizon is likely one of the best games released this year. And in any other year it’d be the defacto GOTY winner. Unfortunately for it…

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Switch

…Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is for me at least how game developers should look to carry the open world game forward. It doesn’t hold your hand. It doesn’t push you in one particular direction and most importantly, it allows the player to find his or her own way. And from an Open World game, do you really want anything else?

I’m not really the ‘Zelda’ guy. But Breath of the Wild is a truly special game that absorbed any and all of my free time for the best part of a month. It’s a game that grabs you and refuses to let go. No gimmicks, no bullshit. Just good old-fashioned gameplay.

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What Remains of Edith Finch – PC/ PS4/XBOX

A real late addition to the list. Edith Finch was a game I’d been waiting for the right time to play. And that time was last week. I found an evening to sit down and experience this wonderfully heartfelt game about loss, family and love. And whilst certain moments are emotionally devastating, the game is also capable of laughing at its protagonists misfortune.

It’s a unique take on the walking simulator that I recommend anyone who might be reading this blog give a look. It’s not perfect, but in a world full of shooters and science fiction. It’s a welcome breather.

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Player Unknowns Battleground’s – PC

Technically PUBG isn’t released yet. Given that it’s still in Early Access it shouldn’t qualify for this list. However it’d be really disingenuous for me not to include my favourite game of the year on here.

Yup the game where 100 naked people fall out of a plane and fight to the death to earn a chicken dinner is my favourite game of the year so far. By some distance.

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Stories Untold – PC

It wouldn’t be a Dan Holt list if I didn’t include a game no one had heard of, and this time that game is Stories Untold. Which, for those of you who aren’t in the cool indie game club like myself, is a unique combination of old school adventure game and new school puzzle game.

It’s eerie and frightening in equal measure. It’s got some of the most beautiful looking desk recreations I’ve ever seen and the game’s opening credits feature arguably my favourite video game music ever created. Y’all should play it.


 

What about you? What are your 5 favourite games released in 2017? 

My Gaming Resolutions for 2017

2016 is finally in the rear view mirror, and with 2017 looking set to be (cough) just as much fun, let’s have a look at what I’d like to change in 2017. With Video Games. Obviously.

Yeah.

 

Mix it up

Despite my best efforts over the last 3 years I’ve fallen into something of a video game rut. I still play way too many games, but instead of finding new experiences to enjoy, I’ve played it safe with my time and money and almost entirely stuck with what I already know.

In 2017 I’d like to change that. I’m not saying I’ll get big into grand strategy games, but I want to test the waters a little, I want to allow myself to try new things once. After all, whats the worst that could happen? I decide that maybe pigeon dating simulators are my thing after all?

There are many interesting, beautiful and truly novel games coming out every single day, in 2017 I’d like to challenge myself to try some of those games, even if it means me taking a risk or stepping out of my comfort zone.

Newest latest best?

As someone who enjoys playing and writing about games, I’m often too busy with the new hotness to look around and enjoy what came before. I get stuck in a bog of my own making, a bog that restricts my ability to play games that aren’t in the cultural zeitgeist at that very second. The classic ‘I Want To Be In The Conversation’ problem. Stupid right?

As a famous 20th century philosopher once said ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it’ — A Righteous Dude

In 2017 I want to become less worried about playing the latest games and allow myself to enjoy games from previous years whilst shedding the need to ‘be in the know’. If a game released in 2017 is good enough, I’ll likely get to it eventually, and if I don’t? Thats fine too.

Write em up

Finally and despite my not being all that good at it, I want to spend a little more time writing about the hobby I love; video games.

Video Games are my thing. I’ve got Ice Hockey, I enjoy films and the occasional book, but make no mistake, if I had to do one thing for the rest of my life, it’d be in video games. And as such, I spend way more time than is normal thinking about games, the industry at large, and the people who make them.

Writing about games not only gives me an outlet for my thoughts about games, but it gives me a path to one of my other resolutions, it can allow me to try new games. And that’s exciting to me.

In 2017 I want to continue writing about the games I love, the people who make them and the hobby that has given me so much pleasure over the last 22 years.


What are your gaming resolutions for 2017?