My games of the year include virtually none of the big-hitters, because I was too poor to afford the overpriced bastards.
Instead, I rinsed my way through the sales and sampled a limited selection of the new releases, which I enjoyed for the most part.
Here’s my top 5 games of 2017 in reverse order:
5. Cities: Skylines (PS4 edition)
The unstoppable juggernaut that is Cities Skylines trampled onto Playstation 4 this summer, meaning that us lowly scum without high-performance PCs can enjoy building a massive metropolis without horrific frame rates.
The release was not even a “definitive” edition, lacking all the bells and whistles which have been added to the PC version, but I still absolutely love it. Additional content, including a season pass for all DLC packs, will be coming later this year, so there’s plenty of life left in this game (originally released on PC back in 2015).
The controls are not ideally suited to console, and some of the mods are desperately needed to make the game experience truly complete, but I’m still happy ploughing dozens of hours into this enormous and beautifully-realised city builder.
The free-to-play mode Battle Royale has been a rousing success, mixing unusual multiplayer battling with (often hilarious) construction elements. Getting a bunch of friends to fling themselves out of the party bus with you can be exhilarating… right up until you land and get splatted immediately by some wanker who found a rifle.
The variety in the games you will play, and the continual updates to the game (silenced SMGs FTW!), mean that Fortnite is worthy of a mention on this list.
The single-player mode looks equally fun, but I still haven’t paid for Founder’s Access and might wait until the official release next year.
3. That’s You
An odd inclusion on my list, and one that some of the other LLC writers will probably start shouting about… but I still highly recommend it. Each time I fire up “That’s You” with a group of friends, we end up playing a few rounds of genuinely funny and seriously silly quizzing and drawing action.
Yes, a large part of my love for this game comes down to the rude drawings we seem to regress back to doodling on each other (every. single. time) but that’s just one option. I’m sure a well-balanced and mature group of friends would just answer questions and annotate friends’ photos with PG-13 rated scrawlings… and more fool them.
I suggest firing up That’s You whenever round with a group of friends now and it generally ends up with tears of laughter all round.
2. South Park: The Fractured But Whole
This game excelled in many areas, not least the engaging and varied battle system which kept the action fresh until the final battles.
The humour which pours out of the game, the character “development” and working to gather your band of merry superheroes to fight for you, all adds to the rewarding and joyful experience playing through this game.
With only a small number of annoyances, not enough to detract from the main experience of battling your way through South Park and learning who is behind the shocking events in the town.
1. Yakuza Zero / Yakuza Kiwami
This gets a tied vote, as I genuinely couldn’t pick my favourite between them. They are similar enough that they can get grouped together but different enough that I should explain what each one is about – here goes:
This is the brand new prequel to the series, which revolves around a gang murder but more importantly lets you run a Nightclub where you can play dress-up with hostesses and waste hours in the club management mini-game.
This game is a remake of the original Yakuza, which has been updated with new combat and gameplay based on the elements introduced in Yakuza Zero. Where Yak0 was a thoroughly enjoyable romp, Kiwami ramps pretty much everything up by 10%. The dialogue, encounters and story are all ridiculous and helps to move along a complex tale about an orphaned child and gangland struggles.
Which should you choose? Well probably both, which is why they both get a mention here. If you are new to the Yakuza series, Zero will walk you through the basics and get you up to speed. Once you know what you’re doing, get a copy of Kiwami to take your new-found skills against a tougher and broader set of challenges.
Both games offer a bizarre selection of mini-games, including karaoke, wrestling, phoning sex lines, but to be honest Yakuza Zero gets the best selection. Apparently more mini-games are coming for Yakuza 6 (the next new installment) and also Yakuza Kiwami 2 (the remake of Yakuza 2 for worldwide audiences).
It’s a fantastic time to get into the series and the two games released this year have made me very excited for their future offerings.