December 25, 2017 4 min read
Ed Boon is the Creative Director at NetherRealm Studios, and co-creator of the now 25-year-old Mortal Kombat franchise. His most recent directorial effort, Injustice 2, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim.
You can tell him which characters you think should be released as DLC via Twitter.
To me, this is unquestionably the game of the year. Unfinished or not, there is no denying the impact and influence this game has made in such a short period of time. It's so influential that one of its clones is also in my top 10 games of the year. By no means would I consider myself “good“ at this game, but it certainly evokes a lot of tension that reminds me of the few times I have played paintball. Genuine nervousness...in a good way. The fact that this game is continuing to improve and evolve makes it even more exciting.
While I got nowhere near the point of finishing this game, the mood, feeling, and pace is still resonating with me. Love the fact that you can do the dungeons in whatever order you want, and can even go directly to the final boss, only to get your ass handed to you. Continuing with the Zelda games tradition of amazing puzzles, but with the feeling of true exploration (like never seen in past games) that makes you want to check out every area. Breath of the Wild satisfactorily answers the question of why it takes so long to make these games.
Who would have known that making a great Zelda and Mario game shortly after a Nintendo system launch would result in that system selling huge? Just amazing that Nintendo would have two games at such a ridiculously high quality level so close together. Amazing accomplishment. Every Mario game introduces a brand new fun mechanic, and this one is no exception. The new hat-throw is fun to take over opponents, but even more fun is the way you can jump off of it, introducing a million new platform strategies and tricks. I would not of guessed that the 2D “play inside the walls“ would be so much fun, but that's why Nintendo are the platform experts/masters and I’m not.
The original Fortnite game seemed to be in development for ages. While first Minecraft inspired, it really hit its stride when the (PUBG inspired) Battle Royale mode was introduced. As I think about it, I don’t know if the fact that FBR made it into my top 10 is more of an accolade for Fortnite or for PUBG. Obvious similarities aside, I still found Fortnite’s experience to be amazing and (in some cases) unique with the different design decisions they made. The additional ability/element of being able to build during the chaos added another layer of strategy in trying to decide the best time to build versus hunt for weapons versus fight in combat. The arcady look and shorter game times made things feel more frantic to me. This game is not afraid to be silly. The smaller maps and greater variety in background objects also makes for wilder encounters.
You have to admire a game that takes such a bold approach to focusing on narrative and exploratory aspects over combat or other tried-and-true mechanics. The fact that it recently won “Best Narrative“ at the game awards is not an accident. This is one of those games that truly has the ability to bring in non-gamers. Amazing storytelling and mood broken up into nine chapters make this approachable to anyone. It was admittedly creepy and dealt with death a lot, but that added to the emotional element of it.
Like Edith Finch, Cuphead’s bold, unique, retro direction is something you have to love. Old-fashioned look, old-school mechanics, and old-school (translation: super difficult) gameplay. Though admittedly I’m not sure why they made the game SO difficult. Reminded me of the insanely challenging Castlevania experiences from back in the day. I remember seeing this game at various trade shows for what feels like years, and it looks like the team really took the time to make a modern/old-fashioned classic. There is simply no other game that looks or plays (translation: SUPER DIFFICULT) like it in 2017.
Have to be honest and admit that this game impressed me much more than I was immersed in it, mainly because of the limited amount of time I had to play. Amazing graphics, and the variety of mechanical monsters/animals was incredibly creative. I found the bow much more useful and fun than the closer combat, and I loved the way new abilities for it kept revealing themselves. Again, half of the awe I had for this game came from the amazing execution from the dev team. That alone made it one of the most memorable experiences in gaming for me this year.
I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since the first Gears of War was released. The Gears series made such an impact on the last generation of consoles. Gears 4 says, “Remember that feeling when you first saw/played Gears 1?" and adds to that with enough new elements to keep the experience fresh. It’s been so long since I’ve played a shooter with so much emphasis on the cover system, and (as much as it's been copied) Gears 4 brings it back in a great way. The campaign/story is fun, the graphics, while still decidedly "Gears", are great (bonus points for the addition of more colors)…but for me it's all about HORDE mode. Infinitely addicting.
I’ve never spent too much time with the RE series, but always admired them from afar. The combination/companion of the PS4/PS VR versions pushed this into the top 10 for me. The PS VR version was so intense, that it almost became a deterrent to me. Is there such thing as "too much" immersion in a game? I liked aiming more in VR, and personally prefer the 3rd-person perspective (introduced in RE4)…but I got used to the first-person quick enough. The Texas Chainsaw "creepy family" thing felt a bit familiar, but that didn’t deter from this game scaring the crap out of me.
Unexpected choice? Perhaps, but for a game that I’ve been playing the entire year, it would seem odd to not include it in this list.
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