Our end of year favorites continues. Today, we present the video games that we loved most.
Austin: Is it cheating and/or lame to pick a live trivia game show app for iPhones? Maybe, but hey, I’ve never said I play a lot of video games. You want to hear me talk about playing NBA 2k17 all the time cause I’m too cheap to buy 2k18? Nah. So let me hit the most addicting and topical game there is: HQ.
HQ is just what I said, an actual live trivia game played through an app, hosted by some random former comedian, for real money. Generally the prizes are about $1500 a game (two games happen a day: one at 2pm CST and one at 8pm CST). The catch? All that money is divided up between everyone who answers all 12 questions correctly and you can only cash out once you get $20. If you’re thinking, “Austin, you dumbass, why not just google every question? So easy”, then you are actually the dumb one. There are only 10 seconds to answer and 2-3 of those seconds are spent reading the question and choices. It ain’t easy. But it is addicting, and free money with no ads (yet) make you itching for it every time 2pm rolls around.
Honorable Mention: Madden 18 (so much better than past year iterations in terms of being able to play a balanced, realistically playcalled game)
Andy: If you asked me my game of the year last year, this might be the same answer BUT trust me, it’s warranted. Rocket League’s developer, Psyonix, have stated they have no plans to release a sequel, but to keep cranking out free upgrades with new modes, cars, skins, arenas, etc. The ‘cars with rockets playing soccer’ game I played in 2017 was very different than 2016. As you probably guessed with my Rocket League review, I absolutely love this game. With ridiculously sharp controls, real life physics based gameplay, and slick presentation, this game has something for everyone.
2017 led to multiple game updates, introductions of new modes of gameplay including the retro-synth dropshot, and tons and TONS of smaller items like toppers, antennas, and skins added. Rocket League continues to be the game I find myself coming back to both when I have 10 minutes to kill, or when I want to grind out 4 hours to try to sneak into a higher rank for bragging rights, and for that it tops the list as my Favorite Game of 2017.
Honorable Mentions: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario: Odyssey
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Pat: From the first minute I started playing, until the last minute of my 200+ hour journey, this game was cemented into my brain as not only the best game of the year, but one of the (if not THE) best games of all time. There is no hyperbole whatsoever in that last sentence. This game is THAT good. For every minute I played, I was totally engrossed and grinning from ear to ear. For every minute I wasn’t playing, I was thinking about playing. For every time I told myself “Okay time for bed.” I found myself staying up for an extra hour because I just wanted to “Check that thing out real quick” or “Just make it to the top of this mountain”. Breath of the Wild is one of the defining moments not only of this generation of gaming, but of gaming as a whole.
Okay. I think you get it. But what makes it so great? I don’t really have the space here to cover everything so let me elaborate on the main theme: freedom. After a very small, very open tutorial area, the game becomes an open book with empty pages and asks you, the player, to write the story. No, I’m not talking about the actual plot, but the journey that weaves you through it. The game dares you to get creative, to play your story, to approach the challenges any way you’d like. The freedom here is staggering and you have before you a gameplay playground to match it. Everyone I talked to who has played the game played it in a different way, chose a different path, progressed in a different order and told me stories of things I hadn’t come across yet. Some went North first, others South. Some found a horse right away, others well, they rode a bear. (Yes that’s a thing). Some went in, bomb arrows blazing, some chose to manipulate the physics of the world in order to conserve arrows. You create your own experiences and make your own fun, the game is just here to facilitate all the awesome possibilities you can imagine.
Breath of the Wild is a stunning example of what a game can be, a permanent resident in “Best of All Time” lists, and easily my personal game of the year.
Honorable Mentions: SteamWorld Dig 2, Mario Odyssey, Stardew Valley
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Chandler: Honestly, I don’t think there is a series of video games that have captivated me quite like the Legend of Zelda. Over the years these games have continuously pushed the boundaries for design, storytelling and innovation. But no game has tackled the open-world genre quite like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and it’s hard to image if anyone will be able to top what is arguably Nintendo’s finest achievement and one of the greatest games ever made. That’s quite a statement but this game backs it up in every sense of the word.
Right from the start I quickly lost myself in the freedom to create my own adventures and stories in the vast landscape of Hyrule. As hour after hour ticked by, there was so much to explore and stimulate my curiosity. Mysterious landmarks, complex puzzles, enemy camps to raid, limitless weapons to loot and crafting stations to create items were all completely open to me in no have I ever experienced before. It’s incredibly liberating to explore your own side quests while never drifting too far from the main path. Yes, Breath of the Wild is beautiful, but also elegantly complex and filled with a perfect blend of contrasting locations from grassy fields to rocky ruins. And yet the system is so intuitive and realistic at times that I was often surprised it all worked so well. Pick fruit from a tree, roll a boulder down a mountain to crush an enemy or set a field ablaze – is there anything I can’t do? I love this game!
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to drop 100+ hours like some people but months later I’m still in sheer awe of the scope and scale of this game. I often find myself counting down the days and hours when I can jump back in.
Honorable Mentions: Rocket League, COD: WWII
Smithers (TheChumpcast): Imagine you’re Marty McFly’s little brother. One day, you stumble into the DeLorean and realize you can travel back in time. You’re not a sucker like he was, so you grab your Nintendo Entertainment System and take it with you back to the 1930s. You share this technology in order to gain endless riches, which inevitably leads you to do some weird-ass drugs. The style of the time mixed with your designer amphetamines, magic mushrooms, and a love of cartoons breeds only one good thing: Cuphead.
Cuphead is a true couch co-op in a time when we needed it most. It’s a run and gun platformer set over backdrops similar to the hand-drawn rubber hose cartoons of the 30s. You’re a cup-domed gambling addict who loses his soul to the devil in a loaded game of dice. You and your homie, Mugman, embark on a quest to collect a debt of souls from a whacky cast of murderous characters to hand over in your stead. It’s Battletoads-level difficult, and that’s part of the charm. As frustrated as you may become, you’ll resist Randy Johnson-hurling your controller into the TV in favor of giving the level another go. Maybe you can beat that anthropomorphic frog on your 312th attempt.
Honorable mentions: PUBG, Friday The 13th: The Game