The Best Games of 2017: Day 5

Posted in Kulturecade by - December 30, 2017
The Best Games of 2017: Day 5

In less than 32 hours, we can finally close the book on this hellish nightmare of a year. Sadly it seems not even the world of gaming is immune to the pressures of the outside world.  From overzealous consumer bleed out by way of the loot box to shady DLC practices it’s easy to drown in the malaise and mire of the previous 300 days.

Due to the absence of many “AAA” blockbuster franchises, 2017 may not be remembered as the pinnacle of modern gaming.  Nintendo may have dominated the headlines thanks to the release of the Switch and two huge franchise releases, However, several new IPs and a surprise smash hit held us over and kept us glued to the television.

Now friends, as a public service I present to you in no particular order, my picks for Best of 2017.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

There aren’t enough synonyms for the word “disaster” to describe the release of No Man’s Sky.  Not only was the chink in Hello Games’ armor wide as a canyon a ripple effect occurred in the world of fresh intellectual properties.  Next in line to release was Horizon: Zero Dawn.  For many, the allure of traveling a ruined midwest United States in search of robot dinosaurs was wiped away thanks to the biggest scam in gaming.  Every one of us fell for Hello Games’ confidence game and at least for me, any hype for Zero Dawn had been wiped clean.

From the second your eyes meet with the world Guerilla Games has created, you will be enveloped in the world at your hands.  Your first takedown of a Sawtooth is a white-knuckle, anxiety reducing feat.  And that’s just the third monster you face in the game.  Vistas are lush and filled with nature’s beauty as it overtakes the land while skies and water share the same vibrant views.  Utilizing the in-game options to reduce the game’s on-screen hub leaves you with one of the most breathtaking experiences you’ll lay eyes on in modern console gaming.

As good as the game looks, it plays even better.  The narrative spun is among the most captivating you’ll find.  Minutes become hours as you find yourself lost in Aloy’s plight to unravel the secret of her origin.  While; a knock can be given to the game’s fluctuating difficulty, especially as your character becomes “perfect” that’s hardly enough to not recommend this game.  Horizon Zero Dawn has ascended to the level of required play for anyone with a PS4.  Saying this game is a console seller is an understatement.

Rocket League

Rocket League may be the perfect video game.  Gears of War and Borderlands may have a stranglehold on my heart, but I keep coming back to Rocket League.  This year Switch owners had their chance to get in on the frenzy when Rocket League made its way to the hybrid console.  For short bursts or marathon sessions, Rocket League is the perfect way to wind down for a night or lose yourself in for an entire evening.

What sets top rated video games apart from the pack is the ability to allow players to adapt to their mood. Much like Halo, Rocket League can provide you a pulse-pounding, highly competitive experience or a laid back laugh-filled evening with friends.  Through time, for those of us who’s air game isn’t as strong, Hockey has been introduced, for the opposite skill set, there is basketball.  With Mario Kart-style power-ups available and multiple game modifiers, Rocket League can be tailored to any play style or party preference.  It is what you make of it, and that’s what keeps us coming back.

Basic Rocket League skills can be honed in a short period but the game takes a lifetime to master.  Once your ground game is focused, you then take to the skies, for some a nearly impossible task… but that’s what keeps you coming back.  The thrill of that first aerial goal blasting past a defender is a certain high that is hard to top.

Once you get a taste, you’ll find yourself itching for that daily fix of one of the greatest games ever made.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

When you’re done with the cuteness overload from the glut of “E” rated hit games released this year, South Park rushes in to rescue you.  However, unlike the prior outing, this edition brings with it a fleshed out RPG experience, one that makes combat an actual exercise in planning and logic.  The lessons learned from The Stick of Truth are on full display as everything is simply better in this game.  The script is funnier.  The combat is more rewarding and the characters are more interesting.

Combat is where the game shines.  The grid system from Stick of Truth returns, but this time combat is far more challenging and deep.  Once the training wheels are off the game smacks you in the head with reality.  This is a game for adults, and it isn’t just the toilet humor that is directed towards the older crowd.  Of course, this is a South Park game and it reminds you at every turn.  If off-color jokes about abortion and Black people offend you then you should still play this game.  It’s that fun.

The serialization experiment in the recent seasons of the source material has been regarded by many to be a failure, but somehow the trials of Coon and Friends have translated into a gold star experience.  This isn’t the childish romp that has you collecting monsters for days on end.  This is South Park at it’s finest.  Expect bouts of uncontrollable laughter and careful planning as you navigate battles against child strippers and Catholic priests.

This post was written by
He is the senior editor at Kulture Shocked. A Nebraska boy born and raised, where he spends most of his time as a writer. When not tearing up Xbox Live, he spends most of his time divided between Magic: The Gathering and his fiancee.

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