Declan and DEFCON’s: Best Games of 2017 So Far

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10. Sniper Elite 4

Sniper Elite 4 was the Sniper Elite series’ best work and Rebellion Development’s best game by far. The stealth and tactical assertion mechanics were perfected as Rebellion gave players a variety of effective and lethal weapons and the brutal signature X-Ray takedowns were the game’s high points. The problem with Sniper Elite 4 was that it brought little new content to the table. It was fun but did not compel gamers to purchase it because it lacked exciting and exhilarating new content. Our review: good, but sub-par by comparison. Better luck next time, Rebellion.

 

 

9. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War was an entertaining and difficult experience. The game included great conquering mechanics, rigorous and intense gameplay and a truly great storyline. Unfortunately, the gameplay was virtually the same as its predecessor Shadow of Mordor, which made it the equivalent to 2012’s Batman: Arkham Origins, in that it brought no new mechanics, nor innovative concepts.

 

 

8. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Resident Evil 7 was one of the most anticipated games of 2017, and it did not disappoint. The game was terrifying, intense and surprisingly distant from the previous installments of the Resident Evil Series.  There were several new elements introduced such as the first person concept, which was a huge leap for the Resident Evil series’ platform. The game was scary and truly a great survival horror game, but Resident Evil 7’s campaign was missing some of the punch that the previous installments brought to the franchise. RE7 was fun, but the story was hard to follow, especially for those who haven’t been with the series since its beginning.

 

7. OUTLAST II

Jeez, this game was scary. OUTLAST II followed closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, bringing the dark and terrifying landscape of OUTLAST: WHISTLEBLOWER to a ghost town setting. I was locked in total suspense and complete terror the entire time as I tried to uncover whatever the heck was going on while dodging the countless psychopaths in my way.

The soundtrack, just like in the first game, was absolutely horrifying. High violins keep players at the edge of their seats as they want to keep their eyes shut whenever the time comes to turn a corner. The con that put OUTLAST II in seventh place, however, was the lack of uniqueness that the first OUTLAST brought to the table. There’s a new sound mechanic that allows players to see the footsteps of their enemies on the video camera, but aside from that there was nothing new. I was honestly a lot more scared of OUTLAST: WHISTLEBLOWER than I was of this installment and WHISTLEBLOWER was just downloadable content.

 

6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands

GHOST RECON: Wildlands was probably the most overall fun game to play so far this year. The game provides not only a story driven Ghost Recon option to pursue, the game also gives players an amazing, beautiful open world landscape to explore. Wildlands allows you to use an assortment of weapons and vehicles to utilize for your play style throughout the Bolivian drug kingdom. The game was fun and definitely a must-play for a long time Tom Clancy fan such as myself, but I was thoroughly disappointed by the fall in storyline quality. The game was far too run of the mill, and instead of being stealth action-y and unique, the game seemed like Watch Dogs: Las Vegas Edition. Great job Ubisoft, but don’t forget which series you’re writing for.

 

5. HORIZON: ZERO DAWN

HORIZON: ZERO DAWN was amazing. The game was new, innovative, and definitely deserved to make it to the top five. The game introduces an emotionally understandable character named Aloy, who grows up in a post apocalyptic world of beautiful synergy between machines and nature. The graphics design and character interactions were essentially flawless aside from a few minor glitches and instances of lag during slow motion scenes.

The game’s writers did an amazing job using what the new native people did not know as a basis for religion. That faith, which is a major part of human nature, and history was a key aspect that added to the realism and effect of HORIZON.

The game was visually stunning, and this is one of the few RPG games who have immersed me in their combat with creative systems, not run-of-the-mill numbers floating off of characters as they are damaged. The only reason this game wasn’t in the top two is because of the sheer fantabulousness of the four other games above it.

4. PREY

PREY was one of the most anticipated games of 2017 after its identically named predecessor absolutely destroyed GameStop shelves in 2006 as it revolutionized the entire action-adventure with-a-dash-of-horror genre (totally made the name up). The sequel not only met the first PREY’s expectations, it obliterated them. The game’s graphics, gameplay and dialogue were fantastic.

The storyline was different than the predecessor and integrated several new mechanics such as choice and far more open exploration than the cramped corridors of PREY 1’s spaceship. 

The issue with PREY was that it felt like the simplicity of the first installment was replaced by Next-gen consoles’ lust for overblowing everything. Landscapes were beautiful when they should have been bleak and characters who should have been just plain bad were far too dynamic.

3. For Honor

For Honor was the combat game every gamer has been dreaming to have since they were kids. The gameplay was amazing and was able to successfully integrate a strategically complex and rewarding battle style.

However, it was lacking in one major area: Multiplayer. Not only did the multiplayer, the most important part of this game, just get repetitive with only 4 basic game modes, but it feels as if you can experience the entire game in just 1 day. This game would be possibly number 1 on the list if it were not for the clear dents in its shiny armor.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

 

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the greatest Nintendo games ever created. After a 100-year slumber, Link wakes up alone in a world he no longer remembers. Now the legendary hero must explore a vast and dangerous land and regain his memories before Hyrule is lost forever. Let’s get this out of the way though: the aesthetics of this game are absolutely mind-blowing. For many, this game alone is reason to buy the Wii U or Nintendo Switch. The only major flaw of this game is that it got repetitive. However, it shadowed an even better game which is number 1 on this list.

1.INJUSTICE 2

 

This sequel to 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us was an improvement in every way. Every shortcoming that irritated fans of the ultra popular predecessor was remedied in this new and innovative fighting game that has forever changed its genre. Now, instead of a simple roster of DC comics heroes and villains to choose from, a new element has been beautifully integrated into the 1v1 fighting game genre; customization. Ed Boon and his I2 team designed a custom gear system that players can use to customize the appearance and effectiveness of your favorite characters.  

Thirty new characters have been revealed as brand new playable characters in Injustice 2. The fans decided who they wanted to include in the new game, and Ed Boon listened; he even held a poll on his twitter as a decision for which Mortal Kombat guest character would be included (Injustice 1 had Scorpion). One of the most irritating parts of Injustice: Gods Among Us was also attended to in Injustice 2: entrances and exits.

Every character has their own unique entrance and exit cinematic prior to each match, but these intros got annoying after the millionth time entering a battle. Now, thanks to Ed Boon and his creative staff, every character has unique and individualized entrances and exits for every other character (1,600+ entrances). On top of the pre-released roster, there are premier skins that were only available via pre-order for the Flash (Reverse Flash), Green Lantern (John Stewart) and Supergirl (Power Girl). Each of these skins has a different entrance, costume, voice actor/actress and dialogue.

The new campaign brings a new villain into the works: Brainiac, who is one of Superman’s all time most formidable enemies. Brainiac’s threat to the universe brings lone vigilante Batman and outlawed Regime Leader Superman together for a fight against a greater menace. The game’s only flaw was the poor placement of certain characters during the campaign, which made battles seem somewhat random and haphazard (i.e. Cheetah’s scene in Atlantis). However, Injustice 2 game was revolutionary in graphics, gameplay, combat mechanics and immense roster. Injustice 2 just delivered a fatality to the 1v1 fighter Game genre: sorry Street Fighter.