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Best Games We Played 2017 Runner-Up: Destiny 2

Posted on January 4, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Destiny 2 was one of the most hyped games of this past fall, and with the amount of online advertisements and cross promotion it was must have been hard to not get caught up in the waves of hype (I got so excited for D2 I ended up playing it on both PlayStation 4 and PC). Now that the dust has settled and the hype surrounding Bungie’s follow-up online FPS effort has disapated – it is time to have a discussion about why Destiny 2 didn’t make it among our “Best Games We Played” finalists.

The experience of levelling a brand new Guardian from 1 through 20 is an exhilarating ride, especially if you have the entire campaign ahead of you for the first time. Bungie took all of the feedback players gave them through the years of D1 and that game’s particular shotgun approach to narrative and used it wisely. While certainly not award winning material in the writing department, Destiny 2’s narrative introduces all of the core gameplay mechanics and worlds to the player in under 15 hours. Providing players with an enjoyable introduction to the world of Destiny, even if they happened to skip the first game.

It is after level 20 that the lack of “post-campaign” content becomes apparent. Instead of levelling up past 20, each successive level will award players with a “bright engram”, which can be traded in at the Ever Verse for an assortment of random items. Forcing players into your RNG based cash shop in the hopes of catching a few whales, who might drop a few hundred dollars in the hopes of securing an entire set of matching shaders, is pure averse at best and certainly praying on the psychological vulnerabiltiies of those who are prone to addictive behavior. “Ignoring the cash shop” is certainly possible if you wish to horde all of the bright engrams D2 throws at you but you’ll still be faced with another problem – tripping over legendaries left and right.

Remember how in Destiny 1 legendary weapons were a point of pride for players who spent the hours grinding out the RNG drop on heroic strikes and the like? I’m all for the game giving casual (and less skilled) players the same gear as the “hardcore” who are going to run the Leviathan raid 50 times. But with the abundance of vendor tokens to be found within the game’s many open worlds, there is no challenge or even pacing to the legendary gear. Instead of say tying them to weekly quests or daily activities, it is entirely possible to horde EDZ tokens until you have so many that legendary turn ins that can max out area NPC’s legendary rewards in a couple of hours. If Bungie’s intention was to make D2 a game that players were supposed to play for a number of weeks or even months, they’ve failed in that regard.

All of this discussion of Destiny 2’s end-game doesn’t even begin to discuss how they locked paying customers out of content that was readily available to them before the first expansion dropped in December. How they accidentally turned PVP into laser tag by releasing a broken Exotic Weapon and instead of pulling the weapon or nerfing it, they decided to just give it to everyone until a further patch in January.

Destiny 2 is a fun game with very pretty graphics and satisfying gun-play. Unfortunately Bungie has mismanaged the game spectacularly and after all of the shiny guns and flashy animations have worn off – at its core, it just isn’t very appealing. D2 has been haemorrhaging players for months now and with each misstep Bungie is reducing the chances that existing players will want to come back.

This is why Destiny 2 is only a runner-up for one of the best games we played in 2017.


Best Games We Played Runner-Up: Persona 5

Posted on January 3, 2018 by Broken Joysticks

Article By: Victoria Rose

This past year saw a lot of major releases in quick succession. From the scary corridors of Resident Evil 7 this past February, or the whirlwind of the Nintendo Switch launch in March or the constant hype rush of new trailers and news that is E3 – there was a lot to be excited about. Wedged in-between all of this was Atlus’ long awaited JRPG sequel, Persona 5, debuting nearly 3 years after its initial Winter 2014 target date. Tori Rose takes a look back at one of Atlus’ big releases and recounts what worked and didn’t work in this high school simulator / monster battling JRPG mash-up.

2017 was the year in which even our power fantasies came with inextricable baggage. Much like its predecessors, Persona 5 was designed from the ground up to be a power fantasy for its teenage audience. Its central premise of forcing a change of heart onto others by your own hand is a potent one indeed, and would have been more than compelling enough on its own, but Persona 5 has a very different spirit than its predecessors.

The game masterfully paints you and your group of friends as outcasts, thieves, and criminals of all sorts. It does everything in its power to make the player feel like the world does not appreciate them and is wrongly turned against them, and such is the justification for their actions. And who comprises this band of outcasts? Perhaps those who actually do face discrimination in Japanese society, such as queer people, those not of Japanese descent, or perhaps differently-abled people? No, of course not – this is Atlus, so the protagonists are on average all releatively-privileged heterosexual, cisgender Japanese youth. You may even start to realize that the narrative constructed around the game’s Phantom Thieves is suspiciously similar to the one used by the very oppressors of those aforementioned marginalized groups. Yet in spite of all that… there’s something about Persona 5 that makes it hard to ignore just how well it succeeds at selling that fantasy. Even labouring under all those criticisms, the game still makes its central premise deliciously tantalizing, especially in a year in which the desire to change the hearts of the evil and powerful is more desirable than ever.

Persona 5 is still a masterwork of JRPG design, with a mechanics sets that interweave in countless interesting ways to create an core macro-level gameplay loop that is deep, varied, and downright addictive. And how appropriate it is to describe this game as a drug – pulling you in with its intoxicating power fantasy, latching onto you with its mechanics of encouraging endless experimentation, and always having you coming back to get that sweet drip-feed of well-crafted narrative nectar. Persona 5 is a masterpiece, but in 2017, we can no longer ignore the problems in the media we consume.


The Best Games We Played 2017: Snipperclips

Posted on January 1, 2018 by Kirk Williford

To say Nintendo had a strong year in 2017 would be an understatement. The launch of their new handheld-meets-home-console-hybrid not only brought newfound success for a company whos previous foray into the living room underperformed, but it brought arguably one of the strongest launch year lineups for a game console — ever. But when I look back at the Switch’s legendary 2017, it’s not Splatoon 2, ARMS, Super Mario Odyssey or even The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that I was most impressed with – not to take anything away from those titles, which are all incredible in their own way.

It was the charm of a small puzzle game called Snipperclips that left the largest impression on me. It’s one that might have fallen to the side in terms of coverage due to it launching the same day as the Hylian goliath, but Snipperclips is the first game I always find myself recommending to anyone who picks up a Switch for the first time.

The basic concept in Snipperclips is simple – you have to cut shapes of 2-4 characters in order to accomplish your goal, whether that be matching a shape or getting an object from one side of the stage to another (to name a few). The entertainment comes in the communication it encourages when you play through with friends – and the hilarious scenarios that result from miscommunication. It’s a ton of fun and extremely satisfying when you manage to finally accomplish your goal as a team.

One of the main things that makes Snipperclips one of the best games I played in 2017, however, was simply how approachable it is for gamers both old and young, experienced and new. The game is playable with the Joy Cons that come with the Switch console and the controls are so simple that just about anyone can pick the game up and have fun with it. As games become more and more complicated with layers-upon-layers of different systems in them, it’s quite nice to find a game that manages to entertain as well as Snipperclips does with an easy learning curve.

Snipperclips provides enough entertainment to easily justify it’s small cost. Levels can get quite challenging later on, but those who spend time working together with the game are sure to enjoy figuring them out. Those looking to extend the fun for even longer can check out the PLUS DLC for even more stages to tackle.

The Switch has blown away all expectations I had when it comes to its appeal to gamers of any age and experience level. When you find yourself needing a break from an epic journey through Hyrule, or an intense match in Splatoon 2, do yourself a favor and give Snipperclips a shot – especially if you are interested in playing with friends and family. There’s even a demo available!


The Best Games We Played 2017: Nier Automata

Posted on January 1, 2018 by Meghan Kass

As 2017 comes to a close, it is a time to reflect on the year, both the good and the bad. While there were many downs and it can be easy to focus on the negatives in a year, especially one as rough as this, we need to remind ourselves of the positive things that came out in a year and how they affected us. There were so many great video games that came out this year that all deserved to be recognized, but one that really stuck out to me in many ways was Nier: Automata from Platinum Games and Square Enix.

Nier: Automata, to me, was more than just a game, it was an experience and work of art. All the beautiful surroundings of the world, the characters, the fluid and fun gameplay, and the story suck you in and leave you begging for more, which made its multiple endings all the more desirable to get to and see, it all just sucked me in.

What really affected me though, was the message and that message was stated beautifully in the game with one quote:

“What is it that separates machines from androids like us? The machine has gained emotion…Consciousness. The final screams they summon on the edge of death…They still echo within me”.

What makes something alive? What makes something different from being human? What does it take to have a soul? I love and media that makes me question what makes us different from other beings and where the line is between using a tool and abusing a being with feeling and sentience that deserves dignity and respect and even love. Even more, is war, pain and causing hurt really the right thing in the end? Do the ends really justify the means? Your enemy might be more like you than you think.

We need as humans to take a step back and reflect on messages like this. We need to see how we affect one another, how we affect the world and how we need to show respect, tolerance and even love more. What a better time to do this than as the year comes to a close? Maybe we could all use the message of this game and make 2018 just a little less painful and be just a little more mindful of how we treat others, even those we may not be able to relate to.

That is why Nier: Automata is one of my favorite games of the year. Cool, fun to play and most of all, poignant. It is really the type of game that really shows how games have evolved from simple “toys” to works of important art and made me think just a little harder of my effect on others.


The Best Games We Played 2017: Night In The Woods

Posted on December 29, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

2017 is coming to a close and that means it is time for our contributors, editors and staff to look back on the best games that they played over the past twelve months. Whether that game was on the brand new Nintendo Switch, an aging Dreamcast or the original N.E.S, it matters not. If a game was played by our staff in the past twelve months it is eligible for one of these personal retrospective pieces.

Contributor Jeb takes a look back at indie darling Night In The Woods, and why it resonated so strongly with them. If you enjoyed this piece, you can find more Jeb over at the podcast Downloadable Concept.


As 2017 winds down, it has become evident that this has been an exceptional year for video games. The topic has been discussed for months already, and I am certainly not going to dispute that. However, it makes for a very difficult decision when trying to find a single game to call best. 

At least, it would have been for me, had it not been for a bunch of trash mammals (and a reptile). 

Night In The Woods from Infinite Fall was a game I knew very little about going in. I heard tidbits of excitement from various circles as release came close, and I was intrigued enough to pick it up. By the time I put it down I had not only finished it but I spent a good week digesting what I’d just played through. 

The story of Mae coming back home from an unfortunate attempt at college itself resonated hard with me, but the town of Possum Springs hit close to home too as its old ways struggled feebly against the demands of modernity. The cast clinging to each other at the same time trying to hold on to their individuality only reinforces this same clash. 

Night In The Woods tells a small story in a big way, and in doing so, swept me up into the lives of characters who felt unique and familiar at the same time. I could talk for hours about the relationship between Angus (my sweet good boy) and Gregg (gregg rulz ok), or the aspirations of young Lori as she smashes figurines under trains, but all of these on their own don’t do justice to everything going on. 

Even the silly minigames scattered throughout were endearing instead of tedious. Whether it’s batting light tubes, knife-fighting with a friend, or doing crimes, these reinforced the slowness of the town; and I was reminded of a time when I was desperate for anything at all to do in my own dead-end town.  

Night In The Woods is nostalgic in a way that most games playing for nostalgia never attempt. It is warm and familiar, while still being something very different. I have never met these characters, but I know these people. Possum Springs isn’t real, but I’ve lived in that town many times.  

In a year of big games with grand narratives and vast expanses and content content content, a number of which are outstanding in their own rights, it was a tiny game about insignificant people in a wilting town that stuck with me most of all.  


The Best Games We Played 2017: A Hat In Time

Posted on December 28, 2017 by Broken Joysticks

Contributor Victoria Rose shares her thoughts on the best game she played this year – A Hat In Time. Over the next week, into early 2017, our editors will be sharing their picks for the best game they played this year. They’ll also be sharing some of their choices for runner-up. “The Best Games We Played 2017” is a reflection of the year that was in interactive entertainment for our editors and contributors. To be eligible for mention in TBGWP 2017 a title need not be released this year, our editors and contributors simply must have played it.

2017 was the year in which we all desperately needed a break that we never got. Something to take our minds off of the awfulness of the world around us and remind us what in life makes us happy. A Hat in Time is the closest thing that I got to that break in 2017, but even it couldn’t escape getting marred by scandal. On its own merits, A Hat in Time is a joyous, adorable, expertly-designed 3D platforming treasure that has been polished to a mirror shine, and a game which can confidently stand alongside titans of its genre. I honestly cannot remember the last time I had this much fun with a platformer. Each of the game’s worlds is fleshed out with vibrant, memorable characters and unique level designs. The locomotion controls are more logical and approachable than that of its contemporary Super Mario Odyssey while offering just as much depth to its platforming. The latter may be a more professionally-made game with far more content and development talent, but it simply cannot match the care put into each level and world of A Hat in Time. I adore every moment of this game, and we are richer for its existence.

However, it would not be 2017 without a bad apple spoiling even the sweetest of bunches. It is not responsible nor ethical to discuss A Hat in Time without condemning the actions of project lead Jonas Kaerlav. Stealing artists’ work while creating whole websites to defame and silence them, firing members of the team for petty and personal reasons, and refusing to remove vocal white supremacist Jon Jafari as a voice actor in the game, even after Playtonic Games did the right thing and removed him from their own game’s voice actor lineup. This man has a rap sheet a mile long, and it is impossible not to bring up when discussing the game. The fact that A Hat in Time is one of the best platformers of all time with level and input design unmatched amongst its peers does not matter when those same designer associates with Nazi sympathizers and refuses to pay artists. Real lives are affected here, and it is irresponsible to ignore that. And that is a damn shame because A Hat in Time truly is a masterpiece. It’s undoubtedly my favorite game of the year, and I want to play through the game a dozen more times right away. I want to cosplay Hat Kid. I want to draw fanart. I want to design my own games inspired by this. I WANT to love this game. But sometimes life is more complicated than that. Sometimes you have to accept that even the things you love bear a tragic hamartia. Sometimes, life can just be one nasty, foul 2017.


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