The Fun We Had: Best Games of 2017

As years in video games go, 2017 has been a big one. Loot Crate gambling systems and exploitative tactics are finally being noticed by people outside the game-o-sphere. The whole saga illustrates that the video games industry still views itself as a cultural niche, rather than a multi-billion pound industry. People got away with the uniquely exploitative practices because video games are to an extent ignored by the wider society. Still, it’s not all bad. This year we saw more games recognising LGBT identities with some excellent games and PlayStation sponsoring Pride in London. There was also the addition of Co-pilot on Xbox which makes games far more accessible for people with disabilities. See it isn’t all money grabbing corporations, there is a lot of good in the world of video games. Speaking of good, nay great, here are our best games of 2017.

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Best Bits – Until Dawn

Until Dawn is a game where you play all the roles in a teen horror movie. You get to choose how each character acts, what they say and whether they live or die. It is a game where your decisions matter and affect the direction of the story. All of which is brilliant, but isn’t the best bit.

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Turmoil – The Most Relaxing Game Ever

Have you ever wanted to be an oil baron? Live at the top of the world looking down those poor miserable peons below? Have unlimited wealth and have every possible door open to you? Ever wanted to manage excessive budgets and make decisions that affect millions? Fortunately, Turmoil is nothing like any of that. Instead, it is a light time management puzzle game where players take on the role of 1800’s American oil hunters. While drilling for black gold, you will begin to accrue a small fortune, upgrade your equipment and if you are doing really well then obviously you can buy a small town.

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Mini Metro – The Most Relaxing Game Ever

We all have those days. You feel tired for one reason or another. A long day at work or maybe you’re feeling a little under the weather. You want to wind down and play a game, but nothing overly complicated or taxing. Fortunately, Mini Metro exists and is possibly the most relaxing game ever.

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Why You Should Play The Witcher 3 on Death March Difficulty

The Witcher 3 might very well be one my favourite games of all time. It has an intricate and well thought out main plot alongside a myriad of other really interesting and engaging side stories. The combat is fun, reinforces the narrative of the game and who/what witchers are. I love it and you should definitely play it, but I’m not here today to sell you on why The Witcher 3 is amazing – it does that all by itself. Instead, I’m going to try and convince you to replay this glorious game on its highest difficulty setting – Death March.

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Divinity: Dragon Commander – Less is More

Less is More is a series of articles that looks at games mechanics, gameplay elements, locations and other such design choices that weren’t needed and how they retract from the overall experience of the game.

I really wanted to like Divinity Dragon Commander. On paper, it ticks all my boxes. Unique-ish fantasy world, a rich tapestry of characters, turn based world conquering, oh and RTS battles where you play as a dragon with a jetpack. Honestly, they had me at jetpack dragon but the rest did sound really interesting as well. The problem with Divinity Dragon Commander is that it is the very same rocket fueled dragon that lets the rest of the game down, too. I know, I was disappointed, too.

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Husk – Less is More

Less is More is a series of articles that looks at games mechanics, gameplay elements, locations and other such design choices that weren’t needed and how they retract from the overall experience of the game.

Husk isn’t a great game. That isn’t to say, however, that it is a bad game. It rests quite neatly as one of those games that despite being irritating and not all that good, you want to finish all the same. It does something that in lots of other horror games would’ve had me spinning in circles looking for imaginary enemies or running in terror. However, since Husk manages to so royally mess up the fear element of its game this wonderful feature is nothing but an irritating sound effect.

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The Final Fantasy XV Camera is Rubbish

I should start by stating that when I say camera I don’t mean the one that Prompto uses. That one is amazing. What I mean is the one that you are constantly at odds with as you teleport all over the place, perform crazy moves and swaps to your allies while they do their abilities. That one is rubbish.

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How Free-to-Play MMOs Retain Their Players

One of the hardest things for any game to do is retain its player base. This is a less pressing concern for games that require an upfront purchase as they are still receiving some income. However, free-to-play games all require their players to spend money in game to fund them. With AAA releases often only having around 10% of the players completing their story modes, is there much hope for any free-to-play MMO? Clearly, there is, since plenty of them have gone on to be a smash hit.

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What Ever Happened to Rhythm Games?

I remember in my teenage years’ rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band were massive. We’d meet up all the time and bust out the guitars, grab cool plastic drums and then pick some poor fool to do the singing parts. I spent probably far too much time mastering the various songs in Guitar Hero 3 on expert. I even saw my time to shine at University by impressing the ladies – pretty sure that’s how drunk me remembers it. They then just seemed to gradually disappear.

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