With 2018 just around the corner the Gaming Nexus Staff is taking some time to reflect on the games they played in the last year.
Today we are talking about our replay game of 2017. These are the games that we played a lot in 2017 but weren't released this year. Some of these games are games out of our backlogs that we finally got to play while others are games that have kept us hooked.
Bioshock Remastered: A lot of my gaming this year, when not for Gaming Nexus reviews, has been on the Nintendo Switch. However, a few months back I got the urge to fire up Bioshock Remastered on Steam as I hadn't played through it in quite some time. When I went through it the first time I basically stuck to a couple of the same plasmids throughout the game and barely ever used any of the others. This time around I'm planning on experimenting with different plasmids just to see what they can do. When I'm not using plasmids to completely electrocute and burn my enemies, I'm also doing something that I started doing in Bioshock 2: use melee attacks as much as possible and save my ammo for when I really need it. Granted I'm learning that's not the best way to do things as so many enemies have guns, but I'm still just having fun trying to play through the game in a different way than I did the first time.
Borderlands 2: Whenever the topic of games we've replayed comes up, my go to game has always been Borderlands 2 and it still is. While I've never gotten every character up to level 72 (though my main Siren is at OP1), I've never grown tired of going through this game and experiencing the incredible story and gameplay. It also helps that over the past few years I've grown wiser and more well versed in the different kinds of guns and shields to be on the look out for. My first few times I just enjoyed the game for what it was. Now I have the fun of farming up new Bee Shields and Unkempt Harolds every few levels. Then again, this is one of the few games I've played where I actually enjoy farming for new equipment and will likely be my go to game for a long time to come.
Total War: Rome 2: My replay game of the year was undoubtedly Total War: Rome 2. I built a gaming PC this year and started a co-op campaign with a friend and had some of the most fun I've ever had with an RTS. My friend had never played the game before, so sort of guiding him along the way, teaching him the basic tactics of the game, fighting battles alongside each other while planning maneuvers with the little tools that let you draw arrows on the screen. It's such a solid game, and even though it takes forever to play with a friend, it's totally worth it.
Dead Space Trilogy: I had been wanting to replay the Dead Space series for a while now but when I heard of Visceral Games' untimely demise, a playthrough was mandatory. All three games have their problems, the third game more so than the others, but they're all excellent survival horror games with a healthy dose of action. The story isn't half bad either; Isaac Clarke confronting and defeating his guilt resonated with me a lot more than it did when I first played the games, as nameless, illogical guilt is something I struggle with. Visceral did such an amazing job with worldbuilding that the Ishimura, the Tital Sprawl and Roanoke graveyard all feel like real places with real organizations vying for power, with poor Isaac thrown into the middle just trying to stay alive and keep some tenuous grasp on his sanity. It's a damn shame that the franchise is probably deader than Mass Effect at this point, but here's hoping the ex-Visceral staff land on their feet, and maybe even start working on an indie spiritual successor.
Overwatch: Is it any surprise that your friendly neighborhood Overwatch gremlin is here to talk about Overwatch? Of course, I stopped playing nearly as much when they RUINED Mercy's build with an ultimate that promotes the very Battle Mercy that so many of us wanted to avoid (and yes, I'm still bitter about that), but the game as a whole still runs smoothly and is updated enough to keep it from getting too stale. It's just the right balance of serious and fun, assuming you opt to stay off chat, and is something that I foresee myself revisiting multiple times over the next few years. It will take me ages to find a new main, though, because it makes me so sad to know that I'll never again see that x5 triangle pop up...
Red Dead Redemption: The number one lost treasure of 2017 was Red Dead Redemption. It wasn't exactly a reunion, though; I was one of the multitudinous PC players that got left behind on this one. I finally managed to borrow and Xbox One from my daughter and give it a try. It was worth the wait! Although I eventually did find it becoming something of a grind, there was a two week period that was entirely devoted to RDR. I went through what was probably a very common transition from well-intentioned cowboy to vile gunslinger and back to peace-loving good guy/wolf hunter/treasure hunter. That middle period as a really rotten guy still haunts me, especially how cavalierly I would grab my rifle and shoot a guy just for the crime of taking a leak against the side of a boulder, or kill everyone at the poker table if I lost too much money.
See also: Mafia II. Same story, different era.
IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad: I also had a major rediscovery of IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad. I had never gotten into it before, but when the Rift arrived I started taking a look at some of my older titles that had been updated with VR support. Dogfighting had always been difficult in that it is very hard to keep your eyes on the target, even with the help of TrackIR. Padlock and target indicators never really worked for me, but with VR everything is different. You can swivel your neck around enough to keep your eyes on the target even when maneuvering violently, something that was completely impossible with the limitations inherent in the TrackIR technology. I went from being Lt. Meat Target to Maj. Killer of the Skies almost overnight.
Valley: I can’t stop booting up Blue Isle Studio’s Valley. I got Valley on sale for five bucks and it turned out to be the best five bucks I spent all year. This single player action adventure game is a total diamond in the rough. I can’t describe it in a few short sentences, so I will just say that it is beautiful, unique and it fills me with a sense of freedom, which is totally unreal for a linear game like this. Valley is my rainy day, chicken soup game, and I’m sure I will continue playing it through 2018 and for years beyond that.
Runner-up: Fallout 4
Elite Dangerous: I went through a heavy Elite Dangerous phase this year. It's like a good finished version of Star Citizen/No Man's Sky. The game does have a bit of a vertical learning curve (especially when it comes to landing) but once you master these skills the game really pays off. The game can be a bit grindy but I kind of needed that in my life as the hum and drum of delivering goods to stations all over the galaxy was an easy way to be distracted from the work and the general awfulness of 2017.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: What can I say? Skyrim is a phenomenal game. It always will be. I’m glad this Replay Games category is included this year, because Skyrim has secretly been my Game of the Year, every year, since it launched in 2011. Every few months, I threaten to reinstall this other game, or boot up that whatever game one more time. When in reality, Skyrim is the only game I’ve never had to reinstall because it’s pretty much never left my disc drive. Get mad if you want when Todd Howard announces Skyrim is coming to yet another platform hungry for Skyrim. It makes me happy that the sun never sets on the Skyrim empire. This year’s official Survival Mode also preyed upon my base survival-sim needs, giving me even more ways to die—via starvation, sleep deprivation, and exposure—up in the cold land of the Nords. Although our own Matt Mirkovich told me this cynically, I reiterate it proudly: Skyrim will never die.
Elite Dangerous When I got back into PC gaming this year, #1 on my must-have list was 2015's Elite Dangerous. Was it because I missed the good old days of Wing Commander: Privateer? Was it because, after another game's promise of infinite procedural galaxies, that getting "only" 100 billion stars in a re-creation of the Milky Way felt more than enough? Was it because I loved the coyote-ugly workmanlike ship designs? Or did I just need a game that presented 30-minute flights through outer space as their own kind of reward? The answer to all of these question was, and is, a big huge yes. I needed all those things. Elite Dangerous can be sparse and repetitive. It can be overbearing. It can be overwhelming. Elite Dangerous questions your personal definition of fun. And in a game with only a cold and tenuous relationship with social mores and morality, it brought me to crisis with its inclusion of human trafficking and slavery. I have to commend a video game that has me actively searching its open-ended gameplay in order to fight its problematic ethics.
The Last of Us Remastered: The Last of Us was the final game I played on my PS3 before abandoning it to concentrate on school and work. I only had time to hurry through the main story once but was blown away but what I had no doubt was the best game I had played in that console generation.
Fast forward about 2 years and TLoU Remastered is a free bonus digital download when I purchase my PS4. I completed that download about as soon as I had plugged in the system, but kept putting off rejoining that rich and amazing post-zombiepocalyptic world Naughty Dog had crafted.
Fast forward another 2 years to early 2017 and I finally jumped back in. This is a game that truly stands the test of time. I still have no doubts about it’s place as the best game of last generation and I’ll put the Remaster up there with any game in this generation. The main story itself is a masterpiece, the DLC adds a real depth to the backstory while stretching the gameplay ever so much into a few new directions, and it adds a unique twist on the multiplayer that sticks to the world it has created while still offering a compelling challenge.
The Last of Us is simply a game that every gamer should play through at least once. If you haven’t yet, then let your replay of 2018 be this one.
Fallout New Vegas: I bought New Vegas during a Steam sale and played the game day in, day out for weeks on my PC. It crashed, it lagged, but by the grace of God Howard, I beat the game and all it's DLC in those same weeks. It's still amazing.
Battlefield 1: I got back into Battlefield 1 on my PS4 after I gave my Xbox and my copy of BF1 to my brother. At first, it was a real learning curve getting back into the game. But after enough play, I've managed to average placement in the top 5 players more than a few times (humble bragging I know). It's got plenty of players, and the chaos is addictive. I can't wait for the final two pieces of DLC.
Final Fantasy XIV: For me, the game that I keep going back to, is Final Fantasy XIV. We got a new expansion, Stormblood, and with that, two new job classes, a level cap increase, a retooling of my favorite class (Bard), that basically changed how the class played from the ground up (again), and a new adventure as the Warrior of Light. The additional content isn't wildly different from what came before it, but it still has a level of quality and polish that we've come to expect from Naoki Yoshida's retooling of what was once a broken game. They've got a new patch coming soon, and hopefully I'll have the gear necessary to tackle it with the Red Mage and Samurai that I've been leveling up.
Overwatch: Even though I haven't had nearly enough time to play it, Overwatch is still there in the back of my mind. No doubt my skills as a D.Va main have diminished over the past few months, but I still like to pop in every now and again when new skins drop and try my luck at grabbing some of the Legendary skins. The new maps and characters coming as free updates, along with occasional timed events make this worth popping in to once in a while.
Rocket League: Yeah, I know it was available late 2015 on PS4, but the XBox One version (which I have) came in Feb 2016. My son and I have had quite a few full season fests and have had a brilliant time doing so. The game is NOT the game of the century, but it creatively makes for a hoot every time we play. There is never "this is the best shot ever" because we know one of the next few will kill better than that one. The two of us are making strides to take on the All-Star League and I think we are almost there. It is silly... it is childish... but more importantly - it is fun as heck!
7 Days to Die: Look, I'm as surprised as you are. These types of games normally don't interest me. I'm not a Minecraft fan and I'm not a survival game fan. But what The Fun Pimps has managed to do is make a really engaging game that's a ton of fun to play with and even more fun with friends. Like Minecraft, you mine, build and explore and there are zombies that come after you. But making it more adult and adding a survival element to it just made it a lot more engaging to me. I can restart a game and play it differently each and every single time. I never thought 7 Days to Die would lead my Steam library in hours played, but here we are. It's the one game I keep going back to when I finish something else in my library.