By Henry Badilla / January 17th, 2018
I guess I never had the chance to properly introduce myself. My name is Henry, I’m from Costa Rica and I started writing reviews last year for oprainfall. I used to like Sony’s consoles over Nintendo in the past and never liked the Xbox. I had the first one which was proof enough for me that Microsoft’s vision of what their audience wanted didn’t align with mine. Having said that I know a good game when I see it, and while I haven’t played Zelda it definitely looks like a great game alongside Mario Odyssey (which I greatly enjoyed).
The thing is, most lists are going to have either Mario or Zelda on their top spots. These are well-known franchises with a huge fanbase, and that will make most lists a bit repetitive. So I decided to exclude both games from my list and instead show you 6 games that I really liked this year that may not be as famous as those two and are still worth your time. The reason I choose 6 is that I couldn’t get it to 5… and they’re not in any particular order.
What Remains of Edith Finch
I have a love-hate relationship with Walking Simulators. I remember reading a lot of praise for Dear Esther, and when I finally played it I found it boring and lame. I feel the same about Gone Home. While it wasn’t bad, I never found what made it so special that most gaming websites were crazy about it. However, games like The Stanley Parable really make good use of the tools available to tell a unique story that couldn’t have been told otherwise.
What Remains of Edith Finch is the same. You live through the eyes of several members of the Finch family and learn how each one of them died. But while the controls are simple we won’t be just walking through it all. This game manages to take a simple control scheme and provides different things to do with it while telling a unique and sad story. This game shows what a walking simulator can and should be, taking the genre to new heights.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
This game comes with a requirement that you should keep in mind before playing it. You need a nice pair of headphones to play it. Hellblade tells the story of Senua, a Celtic warrior on a journey to rescue the soul of her loved from Helheim (Hell according to Nordic mythology). While this doesn’t sound all that unique, Senua suffers from psychosis, which she believes to be a curse, and through the game we will hear the voices in her head through our headphones. I haven’t played a game that used sound in such an efficient way to make you feel the same stress that the character experiences.
While there’s combat, puzzles and some suspense sections in the game to spice things up, the experience of living a couple of hours in Senua’s head is a unique experience that everyone should try. I remember that there was a section during the game in which the voices constantly question everything you do. “What is she doing?”, “Why does she do that? It’s useless.”, “she’s lost, she doesn’t know what she’s doing” along other phrases keep repeating in Senua’s head and in my ears to the point where I wanted to scream to shut them all up! And that’s when I understood what a person with this condition may be going through and what an amazing experience this game is.
Children of Zodiarcs
So here’s a bit of trivia about myself. I love playing Magic: The Gathering (mainly commander) and Final Fantasy Tactics is one of my favorite games of all times. So I always wanted to create a board game that combined both. While that never happened, Children of Zodiarcs is pretty much the same idea but executed better.
While the game may be a bit short compared to other RPGs and there are not a lot of customization options, the core system is solid and unique and the story is quite interesting. I feel that most RPGs of late recycle the same ideas and tropes and their combat feels more like a chore. So it felt refreshing to experience something unique that doesn’t take inspiration from any other game or pretend to be a “Spiritual Successor”.If you like card games and tactical games give it a shot!
Now, this is a game I already talked about a lot in my review, and it did cause some controversy in regards to difficulty. But I still feel that this is one of the best games to come out this year so I have to include it on this list. Bosses are usually the best part of a game, and this one is all about bosses. That, plus the amazing animation is all that you need, just buy it already if you haven’t.
A Hat in Time
So are you feeling like playing a 3D platforming game but can’t stand Italian plumbers? I have the game for you! Unfortunately, this game came out the same month that Mario Odyssey did so I imagine a lot of people decided to play Mario instead. But please don’t ignore it. A Hat in Time is a great game with unique scenarios, a likable cast of characters, cute graphics and a really interesting story. And honestly I feel that the controls are better than Mario but that may be just me.
Check my review here and if you already completed Mario give this one a go, it’s a really good platformer that stands on its own.
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Well, I love Danganronpa so this may be a bit biased. Then again this is an opinion piece so of course, it will be biased. While some people didn’t like some choices that this one made in its story (Our review by Benny Carrillo covers more of this), I personally loved all of the plot twists in it and feel that they all really go along with the narrative and take the game in a direction that I wasn’t really expecting. It always kept me guessing what was going to happen next.
Games like this tend to be mysterious at the beginning, but usually halfway through them you already have an idea of who the villain is or what the big reveal is going to be. This time that didn’t happen, which for me is reason enough to be on this list. The plot was really good and it wasn’t until the final act that everything came together and I can say I didn’t see it coming. I was speechless!
And that’s a wrap! Feel free to leave your comments below if you feel that one of these games doesn’t deserve to be on this list, or suggest which games I should play. I have South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Gravity Rush 2 and Everybody’s Golf pending (and I’m planning to fake my death to have time to play Xenoblade 2) but I want to know which other games I must play before we get to the big ones next year.
And in case you’re wondering, my most anticipated game of 2018 is Monster Hunter World. I can’t wait for it to suck hundreds of hours of my free time!
A Hat in TimeChildren of ZodiarcsCupheadDanganronpa V3: Killing HarmonyHellblade: Senua’s Sacrificetop 5 listTop games of 2017What remains of Edith Finch