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Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by PlasticFrogCG in Recognition with full speech capability.
Yeah, pretty much what crab said. Despite some advances the tech really isn't there, and honestly I'm not sure it's even close.
However, when it is...I fully expect to be able to play a game where player responses are actually voiced by the player and the AI reacts to key words in the player's response! It would be the most awesome and infinitely re-playable RPG EVER!
PlasticFrogCG liked a post in a topic by Crazycrab in Recognition with full speech capability.
I'm not convinced that what your suggesting is even really possible right now. I know you can get text-to-speech software which works fine as an aid for someone who is mute for example, but for this mechanic to actually work in a game it would also have to use the correct inflections, tone of voice, volume and the characters would have to be animated to match. In effect it has to do the job of a voice actor and an AI just isn't smart enough to do that! The only other option would be to get the voice actors to record thousands upon thousands of hours dialog for each conceivable name which is far beyond the realms of practicality.
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by PlasticFrogCG in Videogames: The superior Story Adaptor?
If handled right. Lately most of the AAA developers have focused less on good storytelling and more on mass market.
But that's not to say they don't try.
Last year we got Horizon Zero Dawn, which was fantastic from beginning to end! Even the side quests were interesting and made me want to explore and find out more about this strange new world after the fall of civilization.
Aaaaaand then there's Overwatch.
Millions spent on marketing and creating this rich environment with interesting (looking) characters...and the game itself is nothing but a moba arena shooter that does little to expand on it. It irks me every time I hear fans go on about Tracer's "backstory" when the only way to learn it is supplement materials that aren't a part of the game itself. Such a waste of the medium.
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by Cyborg-Rox in Processor Problems (maybe?)
Alright, I just played GTAV for 3 hours, and there was hardly any stuttering at all, and when it did, the stutters were very quick and short, so it wasn't really annoying me at all.
I checked temperature while playing, and the highest I saw was 76 degrees.
So unless you got something to add, I think I can finally write off this topic as resolved C:
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by Kaz32 in Doki Doki Literature Club! Visual Novel Review....... EAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
A free game that's available on Steam, and also on the game's very own website. I decided to try this game out since it's going to be a few more days before Wolfenstein New Colossus, and I want to play a VN game after I played Root Double, so meh, I gave it a try.
So this game is about you, a guy that you can name to whatever you want, joining a Literature club, where you can meet and interact with 4 cute girls:
Sayori (the one with the red ribbon)
Monika (the one with the white ribbon)
Natsuki (the pink haired girl)
and Yuri (the long haired girl)
It's up to you to decide which one of these girls you want to spend most of your time with, so if you have played a high school romance type Visual Novel before, this game is going to be right up your alley!
Oh, and it also comes with this message on the start screen.
And after playing this game..... I'm going to have nightmares. Holy mother of shitting Gods. This.... is quite possibly the scariest Visual Novel I have ever played. And THAT...... THAT is saying something considering I have played fucked up VNs like Higurashi and Umineko. Plus this game which has a surprisingly scary as hell route during the part with the girl that looks like Miku from Vocaloid.
Doki Doki Literature Club has the most unsettling use of a VN interface ever. It's actually excellently done considering that it's a VN we're talking about where all that happens is you read through texts and see CGS passing around, but this game did it in such a way that I actually freaked the fuck out and quit the game 5+ times whenever something I didn't expect happen, because I'm scared of what's coming up next. The last game that made me do that is Alien Isolation. I actually think that this game is scarier than Resident Evil 7, Outlast 2 and Evil Within 2 from this year. So...... bravo game!
I can't spoil anything about this game, other than it's a perfect game in preparation for Halloween. It's a game that you have to play for yourself, and it's free on Steam, so if you want a good scare, try this game out. I give this game the rating of
9 out of 10.
PS. I can't get the game's theme out of my head. It's so...... catchy
Oh, and apparently, there's a hidden reference to something called "Project Libitina" in the game file itself, which most likely means that there's going to be a sequel to this game which will explain what the hell is going on. Or maybe it's an upcoming game easter egg. Either way, I can't wait to see what's next from this game dev!
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by RuneX in Im new and not shore what im doing
Hello and welcome!
Well, you've come to the right place to seek help. There are a few things you can do to start things off. First, please feel free to join the AJSA Discord. Alongside the forums, Discord is a key hub of activity and live discussion among AJSA members. It is completely free! Check it out: https://discordapp.com/invite/0iHbkwYao3Pl1zdj
I noticed you said you're on Xbox One. You can check out our sub-forum and get caught up with the Xbox crew with our Xbox Community Info thread. This should help you get all caught up with what the Angry Army on Xbox is all about. We hold consistent events and game nights, so there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved and playing with us!
If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to respond to this post or contact me via Xbox Live for additional assistance.
JacobMoses liked a post in a topic by Crazycrab in When are you upgrading to the Next Gen?
Making those internal components out of steel to address a problem that very few people get is a really dumb idea. Your standard controller would end up costing upwards of $150, would be far to heavy, have an increased risk of electric shock and might actually make the very issue your addressing even worse since the hard steel components would wear out the plastic ones their attached to even faster.
I think the current line up of standard PlayStation and XBox controllers are the best we've ever seen. Inevitably you'll get the occasional defective product but unless it's a consistent issue then there's to redesign the whole line.
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by JacobMoses in When are you upgrading to the Next Gen?
What sort of controller are you using? I am 3 years into the lifespan of my DS4 controller and so far only had to replace one of the triggers when a family member pressed the triggers a bit too hard. Other than that it’s been fine.
I upgraded to next gen in Christmas of 2014. I remember because me and my cousin got it at the same time. This month Injustice Gods Among Us was awarded in a ps+ bundle. One of the better ones. We played the shut out of that game.
Overall I must say this Gen gen is proving to be one of the better ones. The only complaint I have is the console market now pushing so much for VR. This doesn’t interest me at all. It feels more like a gimmick like the Nintendo Wii’s motion controls. I really long for it to disappear.
cheekbonepunch liked a post in a topic by Crazycrab in Should I buy the PlayStation VR if i only have the standard Ps4 and not the Ps4 Pro?
The PS4 Pro isn't really worth it if you already have a PS4, not even for VR. I would recommend a PS4 Pro if you don't already have a PS4 since the Slim model is complete waste of the planets precious resources.
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Nintendo Labo....... da fuq???
There will be most likely a market for this but I'm not sure in what situations I would find this useful and fun myself. As long as these requires that I'm at present while my children are playing with these I rather would do something much more developing and fun with them. From six year old forward we are able to build our own toys with various of materials and do software for them ourselves. I can imagine they would find Labo very simple and boring quite fast.
cheekbonepunch liked a post in a topic by Crazycrab in Should I buy the PlayStation VR if i only have the standard Ps4 and not the Ps4 Pro?
The PS4 Pro isn't really worth it if you already have a PS4, not even for VR. I would recommend a PS4 Pro if you don't already have a PS4 since the Slim model is complete waste of the planets precious resources.
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by Kaz32 in The F*** That Game list of 2017!
Aside from the EA games that has those free to play bullshits put into them which I don't play because they don't deserve my money, there really ain't much game this year that makes me go "fuck this game".
But that doesn't mean there's no such games though. Ohoho no. There are those that pisses me off so much. And they're GOOD games! Like these:
Oh..... how sad I was. The game itself is actually damn good. Singleplayer has a lot of cool battles which I made even better using the final battle song from the Raid 2, and the multiplayer is fun as well.
That is until they fucked up the multiplayer so hard, that I gave up on the game entirely. Initially the multiplayer is fine. I can join in games fast with no problem. BUT FOR SOME REASON, 1 month after the game is released, the multiplayer becomes completely unplayable. I had to wait 10 minutes before I join in a solo duel, and whenever I joined a 2 vs 2 or dominion, forget about it. The game instantly says "connection error." and then I was kicked out. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. What a fuck up that was.
Next is Tekken 7.
This game is fucking great, with one of the best netcode ever that makes fighting people online feel like playing local multiplayer. I spent 250+ hours playing the crap out of the multiplayer. But it pisses me off so much for 1 simple reason: the singleplayer content, aside from the main story, is HOOOORRSSEEEEEEESHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT! Where's the fun beat em up Tekken Force mode? Why are the story portion for the side characters so fucking lazy and horrible?
Why do they smugly take the free Tekken Bowl from Tekken Tag and put is as dlc??? AND WHY IS THE SONG FOR THE INFINITE AZURE STAGE GO FROM AWESOME, TO FUCKING DOGSHIT IN THE SECOND HALF????
And finally: Absolver.
It's an easier Dark Souls but with kung fu fighting. Should be awesome, and it is in core gameplay. How then, can this game only have 1/4 of the complexity of Dark Souls, be really2 unfinished with so many lacking content, a story that's so bare boned that even the Destiny has more story in it, and with the most broken multiplayer I had ever experienced that makes every single person I see do this?
There is hope for this game. If the dev decided to inject more content to it that is. Otherwise, it's such a disappointment.
Rojo_The_Great liked a post in a topic by Crazycrab in The F*** That Game list of 2017!
Hi everyone! We all know there was some fantastic games in 2017, so much I'd be willing to call it the best year for quality games that we have had for a long time. This however does not alter the fact that it had more than it's fair share of bad games, disappointments, controversies and some seriously shady business practices that ruined what cold have been some solid releases. Rather than doing separate topics for these I've decided to amalgamate these into one, so post your list of games for whatever reason had you saying to yourself or out load.. Fuck This Game!
Allow me to make a start (in no particular order):
FUCK The legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild!
Possibly not going to be a popular choice here but someone has got to say it. This game is overrated, annoying and tedious with the vast majority of it's many shortcomings passing through the filter of the gaming media and even independent YouTuber's underplayed or even totally ignored. Don't get me wrong, it has aspects of genuine brilliance in the combat, the intelligent AI, shrine puzzles, it's numerous in game mechanics, the ingenious level design and in amount of freedom it offers. However at other points it also one of the most frustrating and least fun gaming experiences of my entire life with it's overly fragile weapons, seemingly randomly spotted difficulty spikes, the needless necessity of having to travel back to specific points in order to level up, the stamina gauge, the fact the huge map seems to have been specifically designed to make the simple task of travelling from A to B as tedious and difficult as it can possibly be. For me at least in looking exclusively at the game itself this is 2017's greatest disappointment.
FUCK Middle-Earth: Shadow of War!
Riding off the subject games that I am unable to understand why so many like them so much we have the sequel to critically acclaimed but in this ones humble opinion FUCKING GOD AWFUL Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Yet I can comfortably say without even touching it that this follow up..... is even worse! Not only does it not seem that any of issues concerning the story, laughable stealth detection and lack of challenge have been addressed, (I heard some say they are even worse) but Warner Brothers Interactive decided to play the ultimate card in corporate smut and re-package the Nemesis system into a glorified gambling simulator. Thanks to the introduction of lootboxs you can pay your way into making Tallion and his army even more so the bunch overpowered jackasses than they already were without even playing the fucking game! Even honest attempts by the developer to pay tribute to a late colleague were left dripping with the disdain of corporate greed. I know now that this Middle-Earth will never be what I was hoping for.
FUCK Life is Strange: Before the Storm!
Now I already wrote a full review of this so I'll keep this brief. If you thought that going forward with such a well received new IP without the support of the original developer would be a mistake or that a prequel to a game that had such focus on player choice would be DOA when we already know what is ultimately going to happen.... then you'd be absolutely right. With less interactive gameplay, downgraded production with story and writing that plays out more like an amateur fan fiction than a legitimate prequel and what you get another huge let down in 2017.
Full Review here: http://angryjoeshow.com/ajsa/forums/topic/39559-life-is-strange-before-the-storm-episodes-1-3-crabby-review/
FUCK Destiny 2!
Here's the skinny on this one at least from my perspective. Despite it's issues I enjoyed the original and had every intention of paying this. However, during the open BETA for both PS4 and PC I was plagued with technical issues that as far I know almost nobody else seemed to suffer. In hindsight it almost seems to me now that this was a sign of an ill omen and I stayed away.... and thank fuck I did when you consider everything that has happened since.
From players being banned for using totally innocent software like Discord or MSI Afterburner, locking players out of base game content unless they bought the first expansion, Bungie secretly capping XP gains to encourage players to spend more real money in the Eververse, designing a seasonal event to make it impossible to get every limited time item in the Eververse unless you gamble for it among so many other controversies that would even make EA blush! There's to much for me to even go through here but I'll leave a link to YongYea's YouTube channel if you want to learn more. It seems that Bungie have lost their drive here and don't really seem to care anymore.
FUCK The Life of Black Tiger!
One the worst games if not THE worst game of 2017, not to mention one of the most confusing. I guess it's not that surprising that asset flipping trash made it as a freebie on mobile. This piece of shit truly stepped up to the plate by not only managing to get on the PlayStation store, not only charging $10 for a "game" that was originally free, not only getting activity promoted by PlayStation on their official YouTube channel with a trailer that (as you can see) is still there to this day but that very Trailer uses music directly stolen form JackonTC's piano cover of "Next to You" from the Anime Parasyte/Kiseijuu.... HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!
How the hell did Sony allow this to happen! It truly beggars Belief!
FUCK Star Wars Battlefront 2 EA!
Well..... Well.... Well..... What more is there really about EA and their magnum PR disasterpiece that hasn't already been said by every gamer, journalist, members of the pubic and even government officials that hasn't been said already. To quote Hawaii House of Representatives member Chris Lee "It's a trap!".
I could go on and ranting and raging as much as anyone about EA's ludicrous and greedy decision to include a Loot box glorified gambling system a AAA Star aimed at children. I could go even further in that they made it infinity worse by tying Crafting Parts required for progression as well as Star Cards that give players significant in game advantages to the Loot Box's making it a Pay-To-Win system. The truth is though.... I actually want to thank them! The swift and decisive retribution of the gaming community got the attention of the media at large and now legislators all over the world are looking in to regulation for these in game Casino's all because EA took a step to far.
It's more possible now more than ever that we may get a day when every copy of Overwatch, Fifa, Need For Speed Payback, COD WWII, Forza Motorsport 7, Destiny 2 and all the other gambling simulators of the world could be re-classified for sale to adults only and removed from most stores. If that happens be rest assured that I will be there at the closing time penultimate to that day watching them being removed from shelves with a cold beer in my hand and big fucking smile on my face! If 2017 was "The Year of the Loot Box" then thanks to EA 2018 might very well be "The Year the Loot Box Dies!"
There's more games I could cover here but I don't want to be a whole hog so I'll stop there. Thanks for reading!
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by DestinyDecade in DestinyDecade's Top 15 Best Games of 2017
Remember me? Remember my Top 10 Best Games of 2016? Well I'm taking it one step further with a list that's so big, I raised it up to Top 15. So here you are for your enjoyment and this is an opinionated list so you are free to disagree. Besides, there were so many games I missed out last year that I really need to get into playing them.
Top 15 Best Games of 2017
If you thought that 2016 was good in terms of gaming, 2017 simply tells you to hold my beer. 2017 in gaming has had some ups and downs, especially downs in the terms of behind the scenes. But regardless, this year alone has been home to a number of great games. Nintendo’s arrival of the Switch bringing the company back to providence and the PS4 bringing in games that only show why it’s the console of choice. I sadly can’t say the same for Microsoft since well this year has been a disappointing year with games either being delayed or cancelled for one reason or another. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about right?
2017 game-wise was an awesome year and this list culminates the very best that gaming has to offer. This here is my Top 15 Best Games of 2017.
Before I begin, this here is a list consisting of games that I have played and experienced. This is also an opinionated list so you are free to disagree with me. If for whatever reason a game you expected isn’t on this list, it’s either I haven’t played it or never knew about it. Also since many games released this year are remasters of previous games, I will be limiting things on this list for the sake of things… or not because I didn’t get to play that many games and the rest turned out to be letdown after letdown. I vote with my wallet.
15) Gravity Rush 2 – PlayStation 4
We start off this list with a game came out on the first month of the year, Gravity Rush 2. A sequel to the original, which had a remastered version last year, the game focuses on Kat and Syd in a new place, as they must find a way back home. Along the way many secrets are revealed, along with an origin tale for our favorite Gravity Shifter. The game is an improvement over the first, fixing many problems while adding new gameplay elements, such as the Gravity Styles. They also provide a lot not only on backstory but also on the world and its characters. It’s an amazing game that offers a lot and it also comes with free DLC, detailing a tale about Raven. The tale involving her is just as good as Kat’s tale and plus you get to play as Raven as well.
It’s #15 on my list since I never thought we get a sequel but I’m happy that it’s now possible. The people behind it should be proud to deliver a game like this. Now if only they don’t shut down the online aspect of it because it’s going to feel a bit stale without it.
14) Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue – PlayStation 4
Let me explain first. It’s on this list for two reasons. First is that we finally get an HD version of Dream Drop Distance. The second is A Fragmented Passage and it serves as a sneak peek for what to expect in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III, if it ever comes out. But regardless the game is incredible to look at. The presentation is a huge step-up with the game running flawlessly at 60 frames per second! I mean it, purely flawless. The inclusion of Chi Back Cover adds some backstory for the mobile game and it’s pretty good.
For a compilation it’s amazing and you can get it now in a cheap price. Unlike the 1.5 + 2.5 Remix that had some problems when it came out and they had eventually been fixed, this had absolutely no issues and felt like a well deserved upgrade. I feel Square-Enix should have put a bit more time in checking before they released that. So yeah, this game is #14 since it’s a compilation that does offer new stuff alongside a remastered 3DS game from 2012.
13) Fire Emblem Warriors – Nintendo Switch/New 3DS
The Warriors series are best known for hack-and-slash fun and when Nintendo franchises are involved, they ultimately become fun experiences. It was like it with Hyrule Warriors and the 3DS port, Hyrule Warriors Legends. But then they decide to try their luck with Fire Emblem and the results are great. Fire Emblem Warriors is what you’d expect; it’s simple hack-and-slash fun. This game offers a lot in terms of content with a campaign, having multiple difficulties and a history mode where you relive certain moments in FE history. Elements of Fire Emblem such as the weapon triangle are implemented, adding a level of strategy for players.
Although the game does have some issues such as the roster and the fact some characters are only unlocked in the History Mode, it does offer a lot and for a Switch title, it’s impressive. There is DLC and like in Hyrule Warriors, it’s done right offering new characters and maps to play in. The game is also released on the 3DS handheld but only as a New 3DS exclusive, probably after how Hyrule Warriors Legends fared, having it on the New line is a good alternative. Personally the Switch version is the best one.
12) Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age – PlayStation 4
Celebrating the 11th anniversary of the PS2 release of FF12, Square-Enix brings the twelfth entry of their beloved franchise to the PlayStation 4, in the form of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. It’s a remaster yes but thing is, this game uses the FFXII International Zodiac Job System. For the first time, players can experience a version of FFXII that is quite different than what they once played back in 2006.
The visuals are a big step up, the music is great while the gameplay is just as you remember. It’s a perfect way for fans to celebrate a game that is part of a series of games taking place within the continent of Ivalice. For anyone that has never played a Final Fantasy game, it’s one place to start and for those who have experienced it, it’s going to be one ride you should relive. Why it’s #12 on my list since you know it would be obvious but hey, I enjoyed FF12 back in 2006 and I enjoy this even more now that it was given the upgraded treatment.
11) Metroid: Samus Returns – Nintendo 3DS
Amazing how in one year a franchise can go from have an uncertain future to a ray of hope. With Federation Force being a massive dud, fans wonder if this was the end for Samus Aran. Nope. Nintendo not only announced a new Metroid Prime game but also a remake of a Game Boy classic, Metroid: Samus Returns. A remake of the original Metroid, this game retells Samus’ journey through Planet SR388 as she’s ordered by the Galactic Federation to hunt down and eliminate all the Metroids while having to contend with everything the planet has to offer.
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the old adage and it shows here. In addition to what makes Metroid great, they add a bunch of new things to help streamline the experience such as the Melee Counter and Aeion System. But the only gripe the game has is that the DLC for it is restricted to it’s exclusive Amiibo line. Despite this, Samus Returns is Nintendo saying I’m sorry for Federation Force. The fans have accepted this apology but let’s only hope that the upcoming Metroid Prime 4 can deliver on all fronts.
10) Cuphead – Xbox One, PC, Steam
It started as an ambitious project, made by three people who were willing to risk everything to make this possible. Three blossomed into 19 and once it got some help from Microsoft in exchange for exclusivity, their dream and ambition became a reality. Cuphead is one of the few games that is just spectacular. All you do is take on bosses while trying to study their patterns and survive. There are also some run and gun sections and it helps balance the intensity of this game.
Cuphead is hard, a very hard game that offers a lot of challenge. It’s presentation is phenomenal, paying tribute to the 1930s and 40s era of animation. The music is some of the best I’ve ever listened to with tracks that are so addicting and the gameplay is simple but there’s a level of depth that can have you using various weapons for different strategies. It’s hard yes but it’s the challenge that makes it rewarding, as it’s a nod to old school games that were hard but rewarded you for persevering. For a $20 game that’s on Xbox One, PC and Steam, you can’t say no to a game like this. Absolutely not! This game deserves to be in your collection and I highly recommend it.
9) Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – PlayStation 4
2017 is the year where classics that we grew up on in the 90s and 2000s get a needed HD makeover for a new decade. Some were well received while others were so and so. But Activision and Vicarious Visions delivered on a compilation that hit for all the right reasons, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, released on the PlayStation 4.
This compilation takes the original three PS1 games and giving it a serious facelift on all sides: presentation, sound and gameplay. It serves not only to celebrate the series but also introduces new players to the lovable marsupial Crash Bandicoot. At around $40 (or cheaper), you get three games for the price of one with trophy support and there’s even DLC of a level that is so hard, you will be pushed to your limits. It’s nostalgia kicking you in the rear end right here for all the right reasons. It’s a must-buy for anyone that grew up with the franchise or for someone that wants a first-hand experience.
8) Splatoon 2 – Nintendo Switch
In 2015, Nintendo released Splatoon for the Wii U, their take on the shooter genre that Call of Duty would claim popularity over. It didn’t had much when it launched but in time it would grow to be a game that people loved. Two years later, Splatoon returned for another round except this time it would be taken to the next level. Splatoon 2 improves so much on the original that it’s considered better than the first in every way.
You have a single-player campaign with a lot of replay value, an online component that can have you going back for hours on end whether it be co-op or multiplayer and continuous updates that would add more such as splatfests, new weapons and refinements that make it feel like a complete package. Honestly what else is to say about Splatoon 2 that hasn’t been said? It’s enjoyable whether you play alone or with friends. It deserves the #8 spot and if you haven’t gotten this game, you should because it’s worth it.
7) Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon – Nintendo 3DS
Wait one minute! This game at #7 and you ask why?! Here’s why!
Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are considered to be huge improvements to the originals in so many ways. The story is better with the introduction of new elements such as Necrozma and the fact you travel through different worlds via Ultra Warp Ride. The game is still the same as it always has been but that isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s good, very good. Plus since they are the last games on Nintendo’s handhelds, it’s a fitting yet beautiful way for it to end.
The game is the same as Sun & Moon released last year but with a lot of improvements while fixing some of the problems that plagued the previous game. Not to mention the post-game is incredibly massive with you being able to catch every legendary Pokemon from the past sixth generations. It’s truly the last hurrah for the franchise on handhelds and the future for it is going to be really bright.
6) Steamworld Dig 2 – PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PS Vita, PC
2017 is the year where Indie developers were able to do what Triple-A publishers can’t: deliver great games. Image & Form Games, best known for the Steamworld series of games hit this one right out of the park. Steamworld Dig 2 is the sequel to the original Steamworld Dig released four years ago. Focusing on Dot as the main protagonist, her job is to find out what happened to the previous protagonist, Rusty.
It’s a Metroidvania-style game but it excels on it in so many ways. The presentation shows as you explore the underground, finding treasure and using what you earn to upgrade your character. It’s gameplay is solid and the music is soothing to listen to as you explore. The game has replay value but overall, it’s one you shouldn’t miss out on. Show your support and get this game! It’s available on almost every current system.
5) Persona 5 – PlayStation 4
This is one game that I really should put more time towards because there were so many other games that came out this year, I’ll keep it short and brief.
Atlus has done it again with the fifth main installment of the Persona series. Persona 5 takes everything that makes the other games good and goes full throttle. Everything about Persona 5 is awesome: the characters, the gameplay, the music, the story, it has enough twists and turns that it has you on the edge of your seat. Not only that but bonding with your allies help boost your confidants’ strength and in turn makes you stronger. It’s one of the best Atlus has delivered and it’s one that makes you want to go back. Persona 5 deserves its spot at #5 and I’ll say this, you never saw this coming.
4) Nioh – PlayStation 4
What do you get when you take Dark Souls and combine it with the feel of Japanese tales and folklore? You get Nioh! Nioh is a game that I have spent hours upon hours on trying to be as strong as I can be. It’s that addicting. Nioh is such a marvel to play and even more of a marvel to look at. The Dark Souls mentality exists but in turn, the game is more fast-paced requiring you to be on your toes against enemies that will spare no expense in taking you down. In addition you can customize the protagonist William “Anjin” Adams however you want, adding more replay value to the game.
Replay value for the game is through the roof with New Game+ and even after beating that, you unlock New Game++ and so on. The DLC for the game add hours into an otherwise complete package, with new weapons, guardian spirits, balance tweaks, etc. It’s incredible. Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja should be praised for giving us a game that is not only challenging but fun. If you are in a fix for a game that’s like Dark Souls but intense and action-packed Nioh is it. Take it from me. This game is awesome. Hard, but awesome!
3) Sonic Mania – PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
A Sonic game made by fans for the fans and it shows. Sonic Mania is 2D Sonic at it’s absolute best. Sonic, Tails & Knuckles return for a new adventure, journeying to stop Dr. Eggman who has gotten his hands on a gem called the Phantom Ruby and uses it to do some crazy stuff like turning a pack of Egg Robos into the Hard-Boiled Heavies. You travel through 12 zones, eight of them being retreads of zones from previous games while adding something new and making nods to all things Sonic.
Christian Whitehead and Tee Lopes should be praised all the way to high heaven for their contributions. Whitehead especially for the gameplay! He understood how a Sonic game should be done and it shows. Tee Lopes nailed it on the music with many tracks being so amazingly good. It’s a game for fans who grew up with Sonic and for people that want to get into it but don’t know where to start. Sonic Mania is the game of choice. The only sad thing is that this ties in to the disappointingly Sonic Forces but regardless it shouldn’t dissuade you from playing this. No way.
The last two entries on this list is just so hard to decide. Both of them came out on a console that has become a massive moneymaker for Nintendo. If I wanted to, I would have both of them fit the #1 slot but I can’t. I honestly can’t.
2) Super Mario Odyssey – Nintendo Switch
People say that this banks heavily on nostalgia. I disagree. Super Mario Odyssey is the definitive 3D Mario Game taking what made the 3D Mario games good like 64, Sunshine and Galaxy and improving on them. It’s a celebration of the Mario franchise while offering an adventure like any other. The biggest addition and one that’s considered a major game changer is Cappy. Having the ability to possess anything it comes across adds a whole new layer of gameplay I have never seen. In addition the game is so much fun with exploration being it’s highest point. There is so much to do in Mario Odyssey that it’s nuts. It’s completely nuts.
The gameplay is refined and almost perfect, its presentation is just delightful with each world being able to stand out offering something different with the Metro Kingdom being my personal favorite. The music is what you’d expect in a Mario game: a joy to listen to and combined with the fact that the game has massive replay value. It’s incredible. This here is a game that anyone who owns a Switch should have. If you have a Switch, get it. NOW! You won’t regret it.
1) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Switch
You all knew that this game would be on the list! You all know that this game has won numerous awards and has gone on to become one of the greatest games ever! What else needs to be said about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that hasn’t already been said. It’s one of the best Zelda games hands down. An open world experience that offers so much to do and it depends on what you do. You could go straight to Ganon if you want or you can pretty much take your time exploring Hyrule and getting yourself stronger. This game offers a freedom I never thought I’d see and it’s so good.
I don’t have much else to say about it. Breath of the Wild is a game that says farewell to the Nintendo Wii U and hello to the Nintendo Switch. A game that earns it’s praise and the added content via Expansion Pass offers more to an otherwise incredible game. People can say I’m biased about it but no, I don’t think that way. Breath of the Wild is the definitive Zelda game that is a celebration of the franchise but also one of the best games of 2017! Hands down.
· A Hat in Time
· Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
· Fire Emblem Heroes
· Hey! Pikmin
· Horizon: Zero Dawn
· Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
· NieR: Automata
· Super Mario Run
· Uncharted: Lost Legacy
· Yakuza 0
· Yakuza Kiwami
· Yo-kai Watch 2 Psychic Specters
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by Legolas_Katarn in Best Games Writing of 2017
2017 is now behind us and I've put together a list of some of the best writing I saw throughout the year. Created with the goal of highlighting the work of some of the best writers and journalists in the industry and to share topics that can enhance understanding of the game industry, events of the previous year, and of the games themselves. Many of these have been shared in my weekly This Week In Gaming articles.
These articles might focus on developer and game history, what working in the industry is like, what games make us think and feel, things that have effected the industry this year, the effects of games on people and culture, entertaining stories, lessons learned and connections established through games, and articles that can give you a greater understanding of game development. Links are included to author's social media account and it is worth following them and their work if you are interested in games and the industry.
Previous Best Games Writing Articles
History of the Industry, Developers, and Games
Articles and interview that examine the life and work of developers and studios and the games and franchises that they created or worked on.
"OK, so maybe I did kill Aerith. But if I hadn’t stopped you, in the second half of the game, you were planning to kill everyone off but the final three characters the player chooses!"
Final Fantasy 7 An Oral History (By Matt Leone)
"Bamberger stayed calm. Years of prep and planning, countless conversations with the marketing gurus at TBWA\Chiat\Day, packaging and posters and commercials and magazines branded with the game’s release date—everything he had worked for hinged on this moment. “How do you get a game to sell through a million units at the time we were trying to do it?” he asked me. “A lot of that is, you build your case slowly over time, like a drumbeat.”
How Final Fantasy 7 Revolutionized Videogame Marketing and Helped Sony Tackle Nintendo (By David L. Craddock)
Matt Leone gives us a look at the creation of Final Fantasy VII, told by those that worked on it, while David Craddock looks at how the game was marketed and the team behind it.
"So, the sun was shining, with the lens flare, and Steve sort of stopped the demo right there and said: “Yeah, but you know, at Pixar, we can render dozens of suns.” Jason’s immediate reply to him was: “Yeah, but can you do it in real time?” There was this pregnant pause and Steve’s says: “Okay, you’re in.” And he picked up his Fudgsicle and walked back into his office, and that was it. So that’s how we got in, a little bit of chutzpah and an OpenGL tech demo running on what was soon to be the Mac."
The Complete, Untold History of Halo (By Steve Haske and and edited by Mike Diver and Austin Walker)
Steve Haske gives us the history of the Halo franchise, as told by the people that created it.
"[What] I remember being a huge problem was [on] Episode One, like literally three days before we weren’t allowed to touch the project anymore, Pierre comes to me — I think Guardians of the Galaxy had just come out. There’s a moment in the first episode where your friend Loader Bot can explode, and it’s based on a player choice. Pierre comes to me and says, “I don’t think we should let Loader Bot die.” I’m just like, “Well, okay. We’re 36, 48 hours away from this thing going live, what are you talking about? That choice is there.” And he said, “I think we might be blowing up our Groot.”
Tales from the Borderlands: The Oral History (By Duncan Fyfe)
Duncan Fyfe tells the story of how Tales From the Borderlands came to be from his interviews with Telltale and Gearbox staff members.
"We would send renderings of Superman, and we would get images back from Warner Bros. with his crotch area circled, 'Make this part bigger; make this part smaller.' This went on for months."
Superman Returns: What went wrong (By Matt Paprocki)
Matt Paprocki learns what the development of a failed Superman Returns game was like.
"Mass Effect: Andromeda was in development for five years, but by most accounts, BioWare built the bulk of the game in less than 18 months. This is the story of what happened."
The Story Behind Mass Effect: Andromeda's Troubled Five-Year Development (By Jason Schreier)
Jason Schreier looks into the troubled development of Mass Effect Andromeda, the original ideas behind the game, cut elements, a team spread across the world, and how most of the game was made in 18 months despite the five year development.
"While there are dozens of perspectives on whether or not EA’s decision to axe the studio was justified, many who worked at the studio say they couldn’t see this ending any other way. “Honestly, it was a mercy killing,” said one former Visceral employee. “It had nothing to do with whether it was gonna be single player. I don’t think it had anything to do with that. That game never could’ve been good and come out.”
The Collapse Of Visceral's Ambitious Star Wars Game (By Jason Schreier)
Schreier looks into the closing of Visceral studio by talking to former Visceral developers and looking at studio responses, industry trends, issues with Star Wars being owned by another company, Amy Hennig’s role in the company, embracing poor decisions to impress fans and executives, problems with adapting the game engine for a new genre, problems with studio size and division, the immense scope of the project seeming more like a fever dream to some, the history of Visceral's recent projects, and how their Star Wars game partly began life as an open world pirate game. If you liked his articles looking into studio and game development, Jason also released an excellent book this year looking into the development of 10 different games Blood, Sweat, and Pixels.
"Infocom believed that what Meretzky had created was more than just a game – it was a piece of interactive literature. To stress the seriousness of its ambitions, they held a press conference for A Mind Forever Voyaging's release at the New York Public Library. Meretzky himself desperately wanted to see the game's pointed message spark some real controversy. "I was hoping I'd get dragged in front of a congressional committee," he says."
Flashback: How 'A Mind Forever Voyaging' Took Aim at Right-Wing Politics (By Chris Baker)
Chris Baker writes about the development of 80s text adventures, focusing on a classic 1985 game that offered social commentary at a time when games weren't thought to be capable of that, and on how the game inspired the writers of stories like Rogue One, Book of Eli, Telltale's The Walking Dead, and Her Story.
"Big Bang Bar's creation is a story of pinball's near death, of one man's attempt to become a piece of pinball history, of bankruptcy, of obsession, of short-lived redemption and personal disaster."
When pigs flew: The strange history of Capcom's Big Bang Bar (By Brian Crecente)
Brian Crecente writes about the history of Capcom with pinball machines and attempts to find a long lost table and the man behind its creation.
"So, when it came to games that weren’t Ultima Origin had had to content themselves with projects one notch down from the top tier — projects which, whether because they weren’t flashy enough or were just too nichey, weren’t of huge interest to the bigger publishers. Those brought in enough revenue to justify their existence but not much more, and thus Robert Garriott continued to bet the company every two years on his brother’s latest Ultima. It was a nerve-wracking way to live. And then, in 1990, all that changed practically overnight. This article and the one that follows will tell the story of how the house that Ultima built found itself with an even bigger franchise on its hands."
From Squadron to Wingleader and From Wingleader to Wing Commander (By Jimmy Maher)
Jimmy Maher looks at some of the history of Origin Systems, the hiring and early work of Chris Roberts, and the people and ideas behind the creation of the game that would rival Ultima, Wing Commander.
"At one point he said: 'I hope you appreciate that this is the last time any of you will be able to work on games in this way. The industry is changing.'"
Death or Glory: How 1997 Changed Video Games Forever (By Keith Stuart)
Keith Stuart looks at the way the game industry changed in 1997, the games that were released, the changes made by companies and developers, and losing old habits and freedoms in order to embrace the future.
"There was a lot of internal criticism about deducting so much life gauge with one attack. SNK management said this design had to be changed, but I thought it was very interesting to have players fight under the risk and fear of fighting with weapons and feel the destructive force of the sword, so I ignored them and kept it in the game."
The making of Samurai Shodown (By James Mielke)
James Mielke interviews three of the developers of Samurai Shodown and talks about how the game came to be and the ideas behind it.
"They didn't know it at the time, but the members of Naughty Dog in that room — Kurosaki, Rafei and co-founders Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin — were looking at the system that would host the team's next game: Crash Bandicoot. They were seeing the console their company would eventually create the unofficial mascot for — the console they would develop Naughty Dog's first smash hit for. It was Kurosaki and Rafei's second day with the company."
Crash Bandicoot: An oral history (By Blake Hester)
Blake Hester speaks to creators of Crash Bandicoot, a game that helped redefine platformers and that helped to turn Naughty Dog into the studio they are today.
"My mandate to re-envision and redesign The Oregon Trail was almost overwhelming at first—the possibilities were endless, yet I had to get it absolutely right on the first release. For 13 years, from 1971 to 1984, the OREGON game had remained essentially unchanged. A few small details had been tweaked along the way, but never had the product been completely re-imagined and redesigned. Never had the underlying models been changed—the structures, algorithms, and assumptions upon which the game is based. For the very first time, we were going to throw out everything—including all of the existing software programming, which dated back to 1971—and start completely from scratch."
I Designed The Oregon Trail, You Have Died of Dysentery (By R. Philip Bouchard)
R. Philip Bouchard on the history of The Oregon Trail, the original text 1971 version, and changes that were made and that weren't able to be included in the newer version that would be designed for a home market instead of a school market.
"Sadly, it's here the story takes a darker turn and we come to the crux of why Whittaker's achievements have gone unsung for so long. "There were issues with my name, because my christened name is Jane," he explains. "I was asked to use a male name on titles, because at the time if you were doing a macho shooting game it was thought that a female name would downgrade the brand. My dad came up with the idea of using Andrew - I think he got as far as A in a book of names and got bored. So most of my games went out as Andrew Whittaker to avoid advertising these gender issues to the outside world."
Threats, fake names and philanthropy: The untold story of Jane Whittaker (By James Batchelor)
James Batchelor tells the history of developer Jane Whittaker, who moved to America to work with Atari at 16, and why he was told to use a fake name for most of his career as he worked on a large number of popular and influential games.
"I remember when I left [the company, right before Underground was released], I sent [Joel an] email and was like, "Hey, Joel. Can we have a chat?" He said, "Yeah, come to the office." So I went to the office and I walked in. He had both feet on the table. He had a revolver in his hand and he spun the barrel, like flicked it in, pointed the gun at me and then said, "So you're quitting, huh?" …I had this speech worked out in my head, but how do you get over that?"
From Busted Teeth to Broken TVs: The Oral History of Tony Hawk's Underground (By Blake Hester)
Blake Hester talks to the development team behind Tony Hawk's Underground covering topics that include the ideas behind the game's creation, the culture of the studio, working with pro skateboarders, Activision forgoing their normal greenlight process, and how they did it in under a year.
Writing On Games
Articles on the games themselves, effects they had on the industry, the stories they tell, how gameplay is used, deeper meanings of titles, etc.
"The point is, the moment is scripted in such a way that you can’t get past the officer, and the only way to progress is to hit him. But players don’t spend time to figure out what to do next, they just do it. Because the level made players go past their breaking point just like the whole situation made Emile go past breaking point."
How Valiant Hearts drives you to the breaking point (By Stanislav Costiuc)
Stanislav Costiuc writes about one of the most memorable levels and moments in Valiant Hearts and how the mechanics put you in the mindset of the protagonist.
"The true evil in Night in the Woods is both rampant capitalism itself and the hate that is so easily fueled when people become disenfranchised as infrastructures collapse and jobs dry up. And Night in the Woods is so fiercely, justifiably angry at these things."
What Lies Beneath: On the Love and Anger of Night in the Woods (By Carolyn Petit)
"Infinite Fall’s Night in the Woods poignantly and sympathetically captures the human scale of the widening millennial vs baby boomer gap. Setting aside stats and diatribes, it explores the messy, awkward nature of a paradigm shift that lives under the same roof, shares the same blood, and harbors the same deep familial love and frustration for one another."
The Human Cost of the Millennial Generation Gap in Night in the Woods (By Jess Joho)
"Because its too soft to say I disagree with the notion that the last acts of NitW are out of place: the truth is I think the supernaturalism of the game is as crucial as any moment in the narrative. It cements the message of the game by prefacing the structurally crucial epilogue with this severe moment of politically charged unreality, a moment that ultimately leads the reader to conclude with Mae that as long as nothing is real or rational or fair, the best we can manage is to hang on to individual moments of social connectivity."
The Monster at the End of Capitalism (By Trevor Strunk)
I've probably read more articles on Night in the Woods than on any other game this year, some of the best pieces I've seen have been Carolyn Petit's on the fierce and justifiable anger of the game, Jess Joho's on the generational themes of Night in the Woods, and Trevor Strunk's on the supernatural elements that appeared in the late game and why they work.
"NieR, and its strange mom Drakengard, are series that accomplish this a lot: affect physical feeling in some way. Their mastermind is a masked man named Yoko Taro who loves beer and who wants Square-Enix to hire him. Mainly, he wants to surprise us players with our own feelings by reminding us they’re still in there, somewhere."
Yoko Taro: Weird feelings for weird people (By Ruben Ferdinand)
Ruben Ferdinand looks at the characters and themes of Yoko Taro's games and how the main thing we learn from them are the roles of violence and silence.
"As S.R. Holiwell explains in A Maze of Muderscapes, Metroid II is ultimately a game about genocide. It’s a singular minded push into the territory of an indigenous species to wipe out a lifeform that has been designated a threat to the galaxy, despite their inability to escape their native planet. Everything about the game contributes to that: the hostile, painful soundscapes, the restrictive corridors, and the counter that makes a permanent space on your HUD, counting down the number of Metroids left alive on the planet. AM2R retains none of that, replacing every aspect with elements that imitate the blueprint of Super Metroid."
Picture in a Frame (By Amr Al-Aaser)
Amr Al-Aaser on how we talk about games, how we frame and describe them in ways that can cause us to fail to understand what an individual game says and does on its own terms. Amr uses the recent fan remake of Metroid 2 as an example for how the game completely changed the tone and narrative of the original, if you are interested in the topic of tonal changes that AM2R and Metroid Returns made to Metroid 2, Mark Brown did a video looking at all three games.
"That’s where the extraordinary Nier: Automata comes in. This is a game that, in its own way, takes a long, hard look at the same forces of hatred, prejudice and fear that Geralt speaks about in The Witcher 3, and grimly acknowledges how tragically destructive they are. And then, in the end, when everything seems to be lost and it appears as if ignorance, fear, and hatred have all but devoured every last glimmer of hope and life and love, the game does something truly extraordinary."
Contained in Our Moments: Ignorance and Love in Nier: Automata and The Witcher 3 (By Carolyn Petit)
Carolyn Petit on the expressions of emotion in The Witcher 3 and Nier Automata and Nier's more hopeful tone compared to Geralt's world weary cynicism in combating violence and ignorance.
"Horizon is inspiring because it doesn’t boast about humanity being worth saving, it doesn’t put hope on a pedestal. Instead it deals with reality, it says mortality is coming and we’ve fucked up."
Horizon: Zero Dawn and the beauty of annihilation (By Tauriq Moosa)
Tauriq Moosa on how Horizon Zero Dawn was inspiring to him and how, in dealing with reality, it makes him want to be a better person.
"But she definitely helps, and I’m glad she’s here, because if Breath of the Wild fills me with hope and excitement for the worlds that action-adventure games may create in years to come, then Horizon Zero Dawn makes me a little more optimistic about who might populate those worlds, and the heroes who may rise to save them."
Children of the Earth: The Limits of Link and the Promise of Aloy (By Carolyn Petit)
Carolyn Petit looks at what games in the future can learn from the world of Breath of the Wild and the characters of Horizon Zero Dawn.
"Quadrilateral Cowboy is built on relationships that are recognizable, that can be mapped to real life, even though the setting is in many ways fantastical. It's based on an idea of closeness not as a sudden thing or as an object of extreme drama, but as a slowly germinating process in which people's lives and spaces blur into one another. And in portraying friendship so effectively, it highlights how rare those relationships are in game narratives."
'Quadrilateral Cowboy' Points to a Different Kind of Intimacy in Games (By Bruno Dias)
Bruno Dias writes about game's struggle with intimacy and how Quadrilateral Cowboy's story is built on recognizable relationships.
"While the situations are often overblown and bizarre, there's something at their core that still feels grounded in the era's reality: furors over hot new game releases and technology, youthful rebellion against boring corporate life, and the excitement that celebrities and media would create."
'Yakuza 0' is A Postcard from Another Time (By Heidi Kemps)
Heidi Kemps explores how Yakuza 0 acts as a postcard from 1980s Japan.
"That’s the thing with fictional violence—it’s never actually representative of real violence, but instead serves as a dramatic and thematic tool to convey a feeling or idea. This plays a large part into what makes the recent video game Yakuza 0 so compelling—it takes the traditional violence of crime fiction and repurposes that into this wider idea of constructive resistance."
The Transformative Violence of Yakuza 0 (By Patrick Larose)
Patrick Larose on the framing of violence in Yakuza 0 and how it can be channeled into a reconstructive force.
"This is how these games convey the purpose of taverns as interstitial spaces between the mundane and fantastic. In the Torment games, bars mean finding reflection and escapism amidst confusing worlds so vastly different than our own, yet with characters so strikingly resonant when given the chance to unwind. Speaking with characters, learning about their pasts and their cultures, what this place means to them, is valued alongside the protagonists’ player guided self-discovery."
Hold my Beer — Why the Torment Games Have the Best Video Game Bars (By Dakota Joyce)
Dakota Joyce on how simple taverns end up having some of the more interesting moments in two games with the most fantastical settings.
"Especially in these dark days, the warmth and humanity of Sareh’s depiction is a much needed point of light. As a protagonist-like figure, she neatly expresses a theme endemic to all of Tacoma: that even in a grim, dystopian future, there is always hope to be found in the way people manage to simply survive."
Opinion: In praise of Tacoma's character Sareh Hasmadi (By Katherine Cross)
Katherine Cross on the portrayal and humanity of Tacoma's character Sareh Hasmadi.
"If a game about Egypt's history, released in 2017, is to say anything about its setting, taking aim at the abuses of power that have oppressed its population for millennia seems more than appropriate."
How Assassin's Creed Origins Captures the Politics, Colonialism, and Betrayal of the Real Ancient Egypt (By Reid McCarter)
Reid McCarter on how, by diving into the past, Origin shows insight on the history of Egypt and the modern world.
"The men are forced to deal with the bodies that society would typically let them ignore, watching them break down around them."
Wolfenstein 2 and Mending Broken Things (By Brendan Keogh)
Brendan Keogh on how Wolfenstein is about the fragility of two types of bodies that underpin Western values, what it takes for them to fall apart, and giving form to emotions that capture the current atmosphere.
"Whatever we may spend our time doing, who doesn’t want to do that? And when it comes to a medium like video games, where developers are crafting interactive future visions that can sell to millions, which creators don’t have a touch of the obsessive about them?"
Gore as Art in The Evil Within 2 (By Richard Stanton)
Richard Stanton on The Evil Within 2 antagonists Stefano Valentini.
"It’s an odd, ill-fitting note in a game that filled me with a strange sort of grief, because it is the moment I could feel a culture’s connection to the recent past growing weaker and fainter. The grim, driven men of this story have a coldly distant, heroic quality to them that belongs more to myth than history. It reminded me that my grandfathers with all their flaws and frailties are both gone, and so is my grandmother with her shoebox full of small, fading Victory Mail letters, a War Department telegram, and photos of her one trip outside the United States, to a military cemetery in France."
Watching History Fade Away in 'Call of Duty: WWII' (By Rob Zacny)
Rob Zacny on the fading memory of WWII and the portrayal of the war in Call of Duty WWII and other media that have helped us replace the truth of the past with myth.
Articles that focus on game design and the ideas and process behind them
"Game designers work with and for the human mind; we have to consider human experience, perception and our mindset when we are at play. Whenever you choose to play, you likely want the game to feel internally consistent enough that you can buy into the experience. You're able to go along for the ride if the game feels like it makes sense."
Games aren’t always fair, the magic lies in making you think they are (By Jennifer Scheurle)
Jennifer Scheurle's article on her twitter thread where she asked developers to talk about game mechanics that are hidden from players, reading this can help you understand the kinds of things developers have to do and think about in order to create an enjoyable game.
"For Robert Yang, a game designer and professor at NYU Game Center, this prioritization is a natural outcome of the unchecked biases that lie behind the 3D technology that powers modern gaming. "When 3D artists test their new skin shaders, they often use a 3D head scan of a white guy named Lee Perry-Smith," he notes. "What does it mean if we're all judging the quality of our skin shader solutions by seeing who can make the best rendered white guy?"
Black Skin Is Still A Radical Concept in Video Games (By Yussef Cole and Tanya DePass)
Yussef Cole And Tanya DePass on how the technology behind film and games were never created with darker skin tones in mind.
"That’s where glitches come in. The competitive community has always had a strained relationship with them, preferring to rely on skill instead of exploit a mistake. But they’re often the best way to push a game to its limits. Sometimes, these discoveries even have the potential to make the game more balanced."
Finding Beauty in the Weirdest Fighting Game Glitches (By Ian Walker)
Ian Walker writes about fighting game glitches, how some ended up helping to balance games, how they lead to popular mechanics, and how they have impacted the course of the entire genre.
"If you work on [a] game that includes a little bit of yourself — in [the] form of an Easter egg — you treat it more personally, and you care more. It becomes your game, not only a game that you happen to be working on," says Katarzyna Tarnacka, a concept artist at Polish developer Techland. "And I think a similar thing applies to the players. When I find Easter eggs in other games, then those games become special. It's a real human touch that I can sense."
The costs of developing Easter eggs (By Blake Hester)
Blake Hester looks at the work that goes into adding easter eggs in games and the situations that can lead to their creation.
"I have a firmly-held belief that to honor a medium, and for it to grow, you have to do what it does that no other media can do. When I look at what games can do that other media can't, I instantly go right to the immersive sim. That sort of real-time you are there, nothing stands between you and belief that you're in an alternate world, that is something that I guess LARPing gets a little close to, and D&D gets pretty darn close to, but we're the first mainstream medium that can actually do that. And the immersive sim is the perfect way to do it."
Working In the Game Industry
Articles focused on what it is like to work in the game industry or in fields connected to the game industry.
"Along with my friend and photographer, Levi Ryman, I spent a month between February and March of this year in my Ford Escape traveling 9,000 miles across the United States and back, visiting families, communities and developers in an effort to create a scrapbook of sorts, full of stories and profiles showing what it's like for developers across the United States to create games. What I learned is that, just as no two people are the same, no two games are made the same way. Everyone we visited had a different story about how their location and the people around them has influenced the way they work and the games they put out."
A month on the road: My indie developer road trip (By Blake Hester)
Blake Hester spent a month traveling around the United States to learn the stories of developers and how their lives and games are influenced by where they live.
"I wrote one of the first stories about Blizzard Entertainment, when they were known as Chaos Studios. They sold their company for a very small amount of money these days, $7 million or something, to Davidson and Associates, but went on to be very successful. The president of Blizzard recently said to me, “Thank you for 25 years of good coverage.” It’s this guy, Mike Morhaime. I covered Brian Fargo of Interplay, and still cover him today. He’s about to retire. I’m not quite ready to do that."
A life in game journalism (By Dean Takahashi)
Dean Takahashi writes about his life and experiences as a game journalist and the events that got him to where he is today.
"There can be a conflict when talking about what it’s like to be a woman in the industry, and how to balance being honest with how bad it can be, but also wanting to be encouraging. Most of the women I spoke to had their eyes firmly forward, looking toward the future."
Women in Video Game Development in 2017: A Snapshot (By Lucy O'Brien)
Lucy O'Brien interviewed 55 developers about the moments that influenced their career paths, educational institutions and the way games are marketed turning people away from development or not informing them about the kind of careers available, social stigmas and workplace conduct that prevent people from joining the industry or that causes veterans to leave it, and communities that help support and offer new opportunists.
"A living legend was talking about what a great job that Soliani did, and in response, his eyes welled up with tears. He stood up, waved awkwardly, and tried not to completely break down in front of the theater of people."
This E3 Was All About Men Crying Onstage, And That Is Wonderful (By Cameron Kunzelman)
Cameron Kunzelman covers how game development can be an emotional experience and how that was shown at this year's E3.
"Jason Brassard, owner of Trade N Games in Fenton, Mo., gives the same five-to-10-year timeframe. "I don't think this industry, in retail, is left in 10 years," he says. "… No, not in the least bit. I mean, there will be some collectibles, but paying two employees who work full time and paying a few thousand in rent, nah. No way. Not a chance."
What it costs to run an independent video game store (By Matt Leone)
Matt Leone looks at the costs of running independent game stores by talking to people who have done it through the 80s to modern times and talks to them about adapting to changing times, store policies and how they did and do business, and the future of retail gaming stores.
"It's not farfetched to suggest that the implementation of the ACA in 2010 played a large role in the 'boom' of independent game studios."
Game Developers Speak Up in the Face of Obamacare Repeal and More Stories of How Obamacare Has Affected Game Developers (By Joseph Knoop)
Joseph Knoop talks to developers about the negative effects the ACA repeal can have on the industry, getting stories from those that needed to be hospitalized, hearing about the ways the repeal can end the careers of women, and how developers can be prevented from leaving larger studios to pursue their own passion projects.
"As an independent video game developer, The Chinese Room lives by the seat of its pants. It is the same for so many across the video game world. If money's not coming in, you can't pay the bills. That's why developers often spend as much time pitching projects as they do building games. If there's nothing coming next, it could be hard to keep the lights on - possibly impossible."
The doors close on The Chinese Room - for now (By Wesley Yin-Poole)
Wesley Yin-Poole on the closure of the studio The Chinese Room and the struggles faced by independent developers.
"I did a public talk a couple weeks ago to a room full of all ages kids, and afterwards, a kid came up to me and was talking about stuff. And I shit you not, this kid (somewhere between 13-16 I'd guess) starts talking about how bad devs are because of a youtuber he watches. He nailed all the points, "bad engines", "being greedy", you name it. I was appalled. I did my best to tell him that all those things people freak out about are normal and have justifications. I hope I got through a bit. But I expect he went back to consuming toxic culture via youtube personalities, and one day he'll probably harass a dev over nonsense."
Game Designer Says Developers Would Be More Candid If Gamer Culture Wasn't So Toxic (Twitter thread by Charles Randall and write up by Jason Schreier)
Charles Randall writes a thread on Twitter about what keeps developers from being more candid about the way games are made.
"In that same vein, if I didn’t want to be banned from Steam, I shouldn’t have made You Must be 18 or Older to Enter. The logic follows. If the game had monsters, or violence, or death, or used other traditional horror aspects over childhood curiosity, it probably wouldn’t have been banned from Steam."
The Fun is Over, We Have to Get Serious about Games (By James Cox)
James Cox talks about the need to stop treating certain subjects in games as jokes, his game being wrongly classified as porn and removed from Steam, and the cycle created by distribution platforms, streamers, and Youtubers that influence gaming culture and makes developing or even having the language to talk about new and unique experiences difficult.
Life and Games
Articles on the meaning that games can have for people, connections they help create, and why they matter.
"I grinned, and halfway through my amusement I suddenly realised that while my mother could read up on the games news, there was another language that my mother did not speak: the language of games. For all her enthusiasm and knowledge of the medium, she had never once held a controller, or booted up a video game. We had been talking about games, the business, the people, and the stories and moments that impacted me for almost a decade, and my mother had nodded along understanding everything but the heart of it: the games themselves."
Mom, 'Final Fantasy' and the Language of Gaming (Rami Ismail)
Rami Ismail on teaching the language of gaming and a year spent gaming with his mom.
"With his beloved science fiction novels to the right of the desk and a view of the garden stretching from behind his computer screen, Stephen would become enveloped first in The Flame In The Flood and then in Firewatch. At the age of 63, Stephen, recently retired, rekindled a passion that had been with him since the early '80s."
The 63-Year-Old Retiree Who Broke A Game Looking for The End of the World (By Lewis Gordon)
Lewis Gordon writes about how The Flame In the Flood and Firewatch helped a man rekindle an old passion.
"It’s hard to say exactly how many women feel burdened by the responsibilities of motherhood, but from anecdotal experience I’d say it’s not uncommon. And yet we don’t feel comfortable expressing it, as if somehow, by admitting our infallibility, we’re no longer capable at all. Life is messy, yet nothing short of perfection is enough. To be a mother is to agonize over every decision, to accuse yourself of selfishness for having basic needs. Every second spent on anything other than your child comes with an extra side of shame. “If only I’d been more attentive” becomes the answer to every perceived failure. It always seems as though the second you look away, that’s when everything will go wrong. For Karen, it did."
How I Finally Found A Mom I Can Identify With—In A Videogame (By Holly Green)
Holly Green writes about motherhood and finding a mother she can identify with in the game Through the Woods.
"Everyone I talked to for this story had one thing in common: games. Sometimes video games, sometimes tabletop games. But what bound them together was a sense of being thrust into the shadows of society, forced to hide themselves, and finding solace, hope, and even careers in games. While they waited for the world to change, they embraced games."
Undocumented Immigrants Describe Life Under DACA, and How Games Helped Them (By Patrick Klepek)
Patrick Klepek talks to DACA immigrants about how games helped them and their desire to work in and their current contributions to the game industry.
"History has a habit of repeating itself when people forget, you see, but are videogames the right place to remind us? They’re bigger than any other entertainment medium, after all, but often the medium with the least to say."
Videogames’ portrayal of the Holocaust does a disservice to both players and victims (By Kirk McKeand)
Kirk McKeand talks to Jewish game industry veterans on the portrayal of Nazis and the holocaust in video games, covering topics such as how pop culture influences the appearance of Nazis in media, the way games ignore certain topics, and the portrayal of similar topics in indie and lesser known titles.
"The hero’s own voice may be crafting a narrative to be used against them, via events and recordings that they don’t remember or maybe never made in the first place. While trapped in this location, surrounded by infinite void on all sides, the main character must either reject the horrific mistakes of their past as outright lies or accept their sins, making amends or choosing to lean into the power and freedom of their new role as the villain. This is also how it feels to be bipolar. I know that now, because I was diagnosed while I was playing the game."
When the Void Stares Back: Prey, Post-Humanism and Mental Illness (By Brock Wilbur)
Brock Wilbur writes about playing as an unreliable narrator in Prey and the ability to be one in your own life.
"In part, Neo Japan Games has become a mini-power plant. A generator which Robles has been running daily since re-opening the store 14 days after the storm makes it an oasis of sorts."
In Post-Hurricane Puerto Rico, This Used Game Store Is A Welcome Escape (By Ethan Gach)
Ethan Gach on how a used game store serves as a refuge as the population attempts to rebuild.
Game Industry Abroad
Articles covering the game industry of different countries, mostly focused on the ones that we don't often associate with video games, or covering how the industry is growing and effecting people and places worldwide.
"Secret gaming networks entwine utility lines, broadcast from rooftops and piggy-back phone cables over highways. Speakeasy arcades can be found in many Havana neighborhoods, locked away behind closed doors. Blocked by two governments, U.S. video games — normally priced in the U.S. at more than a Cuban makes in a month — are as inexpensive as they are ubiquitous in Cuba’s thriving black market. And the people who play these games are just as passionate about making them, writing about them, competing in them. This is a new generation of Cubans; raised on illicit video gaming, born to love everything those games offer from the ability to create interactive, moving art, to gaming’s deep social roots and frenetic sense of play."
Cuba: Where underground arcades, secret networks and piracy are a way of life (By Brian Crecente)
Brian Crecente gives a detailed look at gaming culture in Cuba in a series of 12 articles covering piracy, esports, development, secret networks and arcades, and more.
"And yet, innovation within China is not dead. Thanks to the recent success of digital marketplaces like Steam and itch.io which sit outside the Chinese government’s scrutiny, in combination with the increasing accessibility of game-making tools like Unity and RPG Maker, local developers are pushing back against the stereotypical depictions of China in video games. By telling personal, human stories, these developers want to show the world that Chinese culture is so much more than Kung Fu and red dragons."
Why It's So Hard To Make Games In China (By Matt Sayer)
Matt Sayer on the game industry of China and difficulty of developing games there.
"Clearly, no one pays for content in Pakistan; everything is pirated," he says. "So I looked at the biggest spenders in the space, and one of the bigger spenders in Pakistani cricket is Pepsi. So I contacted the marketing company who handles their account."
What it’s like making games in Pakistan (By Basim Usmani)
Basim Usamani looks at the game industry of Pakistan and how a small team of developers turned there game into a financial success when most things are pirated.
"According to Overwatch lore, D.va is a pro gamer who serves and inspires her country. In real life, D.va’s role is starting to mirror her in-game persona, as she becomes a symbol of hope for women in South Korea."
D.va From Overwatch Has Become A Symbol of Hope In Real Life (By Nico Deyo)
Nico Deyo talks about how Overwatch's pro Korean gamer D.Va is used as a symbol for female gamers in Korea.
"In Seoul, where corporate-sponsored teams live in gaming houses and play in front of packed arenas, the top players are all men. The scandal swirling around Geguri felt like a tipping point. She was a unicorn, and people didn't believe she was real."
Game: Interrupted (By Mina Kimes)
Mina Kimes writes about the culture and esports scene of Korea and interviews a player that became a reluctant icon for other female gamers after her talent got her accused of cheating.
“A huge chunk of the world gets disqualified over factors they can’t control, and this game company didn’t take the effort to think about how their supposed attempts at diversity actually backfired. If they’re already fucking up this way, how do you expect them to respond to the travel ban? Preemptively ban people from applying for jobs there? Closing down offices elsewhere? Only taking in super local people? Options that are actually legal and viable get thrown by the wayside.”
How Trump's Travel Ban Impacts the Games Industry (By Holly Green and Creatrix Tiara)
Holly Green writes about how immigration, passports, and travel bans have impacted the life of one developer.
"The first obstacle to PC gaming's growth is a simple one: very few people own PCs in Japan. But there's much more to it than that. There's the challenge of using Steam in Japanese. There's the frequent need for a champion—sometimes a single person in a huge company—to boldly fight for a PC port. There's the long history of 'doujin' fan games in Japan and a struggling indie scene finally beginning to find its footing. There's a genetic predisposition to motion sickness that turns Japanese gamers away from first-person games. And there's 7-Eleven."
How Japan learned to love PC gaming again (By Wes Fenlon)
Wes Fenlon on how PC gaming has started to make a comeback in Japan.
"July 2017 marked the first annual Tehran Game Convention. It felt like an event that had been refined over years. It was strikingly well organized, hosted 2300 attendees, and featured speakers from 14 countries covering a range of topics from scalable game servers (Ashkan Saeedi Mazdeh), to expanding existing universes (Rayna Anderson), to meaning and ethics in games (Wolfgang Walk), to applying game design techniques to understanding mental illness (David Baron). The games industry in Iran is well-established and sophisticated."
Making Games in Tehran: A massive market, disconnected (By Brie Code)
Brie Code attends the first game convention in Tehran and gives details about their growing game industry.
“If it’s preserved, and if it’s accessible to the public, I hope writers, researchers, and historians will find those little gems, talk about it, and rewrite history,” he said. The history of games that’s commonly spread around—in the beginning, there was Space Invaders, which begat Pac-Man, which begat Mario—might be the history of the most successful products, but it’s not the history of the most influential art. “When you’re talking about art, you forget that it sold one million copies,” he says. “The history of video games that I’m reading every day on the internet everywhere is not the history I know. And is not the history as it was back in time.”
Saving Japan's Games (By Chris Kohler)
Chris Kohler writes about the Game Preservation Society, which is dedicated to the research and preservation of Japanese games. Chris covers why games and their associated materials is important to preserve, the history of the man who started the organization, how preservation is handled, the history of older computers, and the culture and laws of Japan that can make preservation efforts difficult.
"Released that May in North America, Vagrant Story was a significant step forward for English localization. A taut, lean story of dark medieval intrigue and magic, it was a game with a depth of language still uncommonly used to this day. I recently had the opportunity to interview localization editor Richard Amtower and famous translator Alexander O. Smith over email on their breakthrough early work in the field and to reflect on the rise of localization as a craft that truly mattered."
"Make it Biblical:" How Vagrant Story Changed Game Localization (By John Learned)
"One day in the late 1990s, Myria walked into the Irvine High School computer room and spotted a boy playing Final Fantasy V. There were two unusual things about this. The first was that Final Fantasy V had not actually come out in the United States. To play the 1992 Japanese game in English, you’d have to download a ROM, then install the unofficial fan translation patch that had recently begun circulating the internet. Myria knew about this patch because of the other unusual thing: she helped make it."
How Three Kids With No Experience Beat Square And Translated Final Fantasy V Into English (By Jason Schreier)
Jason Schreier tells the story of the kids that translated Final Fantasy V before Square and did a better job of it. He looks at how they got started, the influence of the translation, and at how the work was done.
"Why do fans of JRPG giants assume Japanese writers can't write?"
Persona 5: Phantoms of Translation and Persona 5's translation is a black mark on a brilliant game (By Connor Krammer)
Connor Krammer created a website to explain some of the translations issues with Persona 5, give examples of a variety of problems, and to answer questions about localization and possible critiques of his observations. This was followed that up with a freelance article on Eurogamer where he talks about Persona 5 and localization. Krammer later wrote two threads on Twitter about some accusations and harassment that he had received after creating his site, which can be read here and here.
Stories From Games
Apart from the stories told by games there are the stories players create with them
“Samantha Myth has shown me the dangers of trust, but also the power of friendship,” Tikktokk writes in a Reddit post updating everyone on the situation. “Long term friends can stab you in the back at any moment without reason or consequences. At the same time, those who have the opportunity to, but choose not, have proven [themselves] to be true friends who I hope to keep in contact with long after EVE Online shuts down.”
How a scam in EVE Online turned into its greatest rescue mission
Meet the most honest man in EVE Online
How an EVE Online con artist tricked a ruthless pirate into giving him his priceless ship
How one mistake turned EVE Online's deadliest hunters into corpses (By Steven Messner)
Steven Messner has been keeping PCGamer readers updated with some of the stories from EVE Online over the last two years and these are some of the most entertaining ones from 2017.
"I was there, embedded within an armada of more than 1,000 ships known as the Premonition Allied Coalition, or the PAC. They were there to defend a fictional character named Salomé, the invention of a science fiction author. Arrayed against them were the most deadly player-controlled fleets in the entire Milky Way galaxy."
Elite: Dangerous' 3,000-player battle royale (By Charlie Hall)
Charlie Hall covers the story of how Harry Potter's betrayal would influence the future of Elite Dangerous.
"As Allison's corpse sank, so too did my chance at finding love."
I was drugged, forced to sing, and accused of murder in one night on an Ark roleplaying server (By Steven Messner)
Steven Messner sings, tries to find love, and causes a dinosaur stampede on an Ark roleplay server.
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by Kaz32 in The time has come again: Top 10 games of 2017
I'm glad that Gravity Rush 2 is in someone's top 10 game list besides mine. That game deserves more recognition for how much it improves upon the first game in so many ways.
BTW now that I think about it, I find it ironic that the androids + other robots in Nier Automata are more like human beings than 80% of the humans in Horizon Zero Dawn who are just racist sexist tools that can't think for themselves.
And come now.
You're not the only one. Thou cannot betray thy true feeling: Nier Automata maybe number 4 on your list, but in thy heart, 2B is all thy can think about, more than Senua, Kat, Aloy and all the girls in Horizon Zero Dawn ever will since.... well..... their faces are as stiff as a board and uncanny valley as they come. THOU SHALL NOT FORGET ABOUT 2B FOREVER! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
Kaz32 liked a post in a topic by Crazycrab in The time has come again: Top 10 games of 2017
Well I've taken some time to think about it so now going to share my top 10 games of 2017.
I'm going to start with a few Honourable mentions. There were so many good games this year and these and inevitably some of them I didn't get a Chance to play or didn't play enough to merit an inclusion but possibly would if I did. These include but are not limited to:
Super Mario Odyssey
The Evil Within 2
Resident Evil 7
Now on with the Top 10 List!
#10 Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
What? Only number 10!
To be honest I kinda grudge including this one. As much as I give it credit on it's scale, ambition and fun combat it's also one of the most hair pulling and frustrating games I've played all year. Certain aspects of it are ingeniously designed and expertly crafted but each one of those there's another that pisses you the fuck off! It just made the top 10 best but spoiler alert..... It's also going to merit a place in my top list for most disappointing.
#9 Road Redemption (PC)
What's this.... a GOOD Biker game!
This is a game that is just classic old Skool fun! If you remember Road Rash on the good-old SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive then this is one for you! It's got all the bells and whistles form both a game of that and the modern era with a multitude of weapons and bikes, Track design featuring jumps shortcuts, up to 4 player split screen as well as online multiplayer, tons to unlock and no microtransactions! I've also heard rumours that a publisher of Henti Porn games is looking make an X-Rated version..... so I guess we've that to look forward to!
#8 Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4)
Oh! Another "Remaster"!
Yeah this is technically a bit of cheating since it is a remaster of a game that came out 10 years ago but I fell it merits inclusion in my list because they actually made measurable improvements to what I already considered one of the strongest games in the franchise. The inclusion of the Zodiac job system which previously only appeared in the Japanese version alleviates the majority of the problems with the initial release without adding a load of unnecessary fodder like they did with Final Fantasy X/X-2. This is a remaster done right and It was just announced that it is coming to PC next month so if you missed this one there is no better time to try it out.
#7 Tales of Berseria (PC)
Psst.... The chick on the cover art is almost naked in this! Don't tell anyone!
In many ways this is your standard JRPG affair..... but I mean that in a good way! This is the sixteenth entry in the long running tales series but his is the first one I have played and I'm not even close to finished it yet. It's a game I've been meaning to get back to since I built my new PC because I really enjoyed what I played of it so far. The combat is fast, The art direction is great, the characters have a ton of charisma and the story despite a rather generic plot is still a lot of fun. I'd love to give a full opinion once I get further through it but for now, it's a thumbs up.
Assassins Creed Origins (PC)
Yeah it's good game but.... BUY YOUR OWN COPY!
My experience of this game has been dented a bit because some weed whacking cheapskate form the Netherlands hacked my UPlay account and completed the game for me! I however will hold not it against the game itself which is actually.... pretty fucking cool! The two year break has certainly done this franchise some good with an improved combat system that feels more weighty, the production values are top notch and the AI is far more competent than in Syndicate. The only Assassins Creed better than this one is Black Flag and that's saying allot.
#5 Sonic Mania (Switch)
Sonic, Sonic, Sonic....Sonic Sonic..........SONIC!
Allot of you are probably gonna think I'm crazy(er), but this is by far the best game I played on my Switch this year! Yep, this throwback to the classic 2D side scrolling Sonic games is more fun than Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Cart 8. I guess it shouldn't be that surprising since this is and most likely always will be where the Blue Hedgehog is at his best. It's also helped along by the fact that every detail from the graphics, music and sound have all been so loving re-created that a less informed gamer might not be able to tell the difference. Not to mention it has arguably the best level design in any Sonic game to date with a mix of both classic and fresh new ideas. It's multi-platform but the Switch is by far the best place to play this in my opinion but regardless this is definitely worth your time.
#4 NieR Automata (PC)
I'm all about dat ass and so are you!
Another one those game I REALLY need to get back to. As a player but a long way from a fan of the original I was pretty sceptical about this release. So it was great relief to see a follow up that took all the interesting concepts and great gameplay ideas and put them into a project that they actually.... well.... finished! This is a classic example PlatinumGames (it is apparently is one word, shrugs) doing what they do best with creative ideas that it's predecessor couldn't follow up on and created one of the best games of the year. The first game was an under-cooked roast that gave you stomach pains this is a where you ask the waiter to pass on your complements to the Chef..... and you've completely forgotten you sitting in a hooters!. DAT ASS!!!!!!!!
............. Ok, so moving onto the top 3.
#3 Gravity Rush 2 (PS4)
More Flying Ass... ah... I mean Catsuits!
What to say about this game? Well it's pretty much like the first, except bigger and better in every way! This is the title that got PlayStation of to a riot year of quality releases and Sony first party studio's pulled no punches this year. I love everything about it form it's visual style, much improved storytelling, lovable characters, excellent missions, fabulous gameplay and truly ingenious open world design that will leave you just fucking around in for hours! The developers took full advantage of added power of the PS4, adding substantially to the game while still preserving the charm of the original PS Vita release. I for one cannot wait to see what these guys do next, as long as it's still skin tight!...... Oh fuck you NieR now my head is permanently in the gutter!
#2 Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PS4/PC)
Ok, serious game dealing with serious issues... all you have is not think about 2B's ass for 5 minutes.......
I've been a big fan of Ninja Theory since they launched Heavenly Sword on PS3 back in 2007. Since then they have become renowned in their big budget AAA commercial releases for their combination of fast action packed gameplay and their storytelling which focused heavily on motion captured cutscenes and cinematics..... all of which were legitimate reasons for any fan like me to get VERY worried about this release.
The developers went solo without the backing of a major publisher for this project leaving them with a tiny fraction of the budget. Among other things they had to abandon their own hi-tech Mocap studio and produce almost the entire thing in a tiny London flat. Ninja Theory set out to do what few thought could truly be done. A lower budget independent title with AAA aspirations in terms of quality and production tackling the difficult and taboo subject of mental illness head on and yet still be digestible enough to be an entertaining game and commercial success..... BUT HOLY SHIT THEY DID IT!!!!!!
What they lacked in resources they more than made up for in creativity, ingenuity and bravery which resulted in 2017's true underdog darling. With a skeleton crew of around 15 to 20 people using motion and performance capture equipment assembled from parts you could buy yourself from Amazon they delivered a game that's not only interesting in concept but spectacular in terms of quality. The visuals are creative and stunning, the gameplay is engaging and the sound design including Melina Juergens performance (who is Ninja Thoery's YouTube Video Editor) blows it out of the park winning 2 VGA's. It's not a long game and it doesn't have much replayability either but by making the best out of what they had Ninja Theory have manged to impress me more than any other developer this year, so much so I bought this game twice!
#1 Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)
Let's just get this out the way.....The game is called Horizon: Zero Dawn, the main character is called Aloy, we all know both these names are silly but the game is fucking awesome.... GET OVER IT!
Some consider Guerrilla's first attempt at an open world game to be derivative, that it's essentially a bowl of common ingredients to this genre and then being sold to customers as if it were the all new all hip Horizon: Caesars salad. To tell the truth that is kind of what it is, except it's garnished with flames the waiter is a robot dinosaur! It came out around the same time as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and that was the game I expected to consume me. Ironically not long after playing Zelda I went back to this...... and I've barley picked it up since. In terms of both visuals and gameplay this is one of the best designed open world games I have ever played. Not only is it fucking beautiful but it's dense and the PS4 is able to run this engine extremely well.
The story is fantastic and it's all supported by superb voice acting from everyone especially the lead played by Ashley Burch. The way that the back story of this world and Aloy's past tie together is so clever and it only get's more and more interesting towards the end. Aloy is a fun and likeable character who often employs allot of sarcasm and a sense of humour.
As I mentioned the gameplay has allot of derivative elements but these are executed brilliantly so that combined with it's original story and enemy design the game still feels fresh. Like for example the so called "Walking Ubi-Towers" that not only add a legitimately fresh twist on the idea but they differ from each other with each one presenting a different environment, obstacles and/or enemy's to find your way around. Combat is fucking intense as well and you'll employ skill, strategy and preparation in order to survive. Especially if you are playing on one of the top tier difficulty settings and even more so on the Frozen Wilds DLC, they should have named this expansion Get Ready to Freeze and Die....... Allot!
On the subject of DLC Guerrilla and Sony seem to have fucked this up because apparently they made the complete game. Sold it as a complete game with no season pass, microtransactions or DLC already made aside from a couple of throw away pre-order bonus'. THEN they started making the DLC and sold it several months later at a reasonable price while still making improvements to the base game at no extra charge. Not to mention it's a single player game, a brand new IP, female lead and diverse cast of characters yet it was still a commercial and critical success?...... It's almost like they made a game rather that a games for service platform.... and it worked....... funny that!
So Horizon: Zero Dawn is my game of the year for not only being a title worthy in it's own right but for not caving in to the usual commercial pressure to squeeze as much money out of their consumers as possible. It helps to prove ultimately that we were right! Thanks for reading and have a happy game time in 2018 2B has nice ass bye!