The only games on this list that I’ve actually finished are Persona 5 and Pokemon Sun, but I greatly look forward to beating the rest over the next few months.
I am SO CLOSE to beating FFXV finally, and I keep putting it off because I don’t really want it to end. I love my car boys, and their road trip from hell. I loved their banter, and obvious affection for one another. I loved making all the rest of the car boys watch Noctis fish for twelve straight hours in the pouring rain, and sorting through dumb photos and selfies taken in a dank cave full of monsters. Prompto’s insecurity and eagerness spoke to my heart in a way Final Fantasy characters haven’t since Rinoa Heartilly waltzed into my eleven year old life, and I think he ties with Gregg from my next entry for best boy of 2017.
Night in the Woods
Holy shit. If you are or were a first generation university student, or from a small town, or just had a bit of a nervous breakdown at around 20, this one’s for you. Night in the Woods takes a long time building its characters and their relationships, which is great because every second of that build up is crazy enjoyable, and it also pulls no punches in showing how capitalist life leaves so many of us behind. I’d highly recommend this one even if the animations weren’t beautiful (the animations are totally beautiful).
Super Mario Odyssey
Nintendo recently sent me a survey asking what I liked/disliked/etc. about Super Mario Odyssey, and honestly the only thing I could think to suggest that I would change about it is that I’d prefer if it didn’t star Mario. Even if you also feel nothing but apathy for the little mustachioed plumber, I can guarantee you’ll love this game. The capture mechanic is so fun, and you feel a constant sense of discovery as you figure out what you can capture and how you can use it. Each town is run by adorable people, like the robots who garden or the seals who race like bouncy balls. Also, equally as important as all the previously mentioned factors, YOU CAN DRESS UP THE LITTLE PLUMBER MAN IN OUTFITS (one of the outfits is culturally insensitive I’m not gonna pretend it didn’t happen but the rest are very good).
Okay, this is not a perfect game. There’s some homophobia that’s kinda gross. Some of the characters are underdeveloped. Occasionally the translation rules, occasionally it’s a little awkward. But I LOVED this game. I loved so many of the social links and characters, I loved the dungeons, I loved the vibe, I loved the BURN IT ALL DOWN START THE REVOLUTION plot. I even loved that they let the main character have a little more personality this go around (he’s a sassy boy). And I’m starting a New Game + as soon as I finish Mario and FFXV.
Pillars of Eternity
For someone with zero nostalgia for isometric RPGs, I’ve sure gotten CRAZY INTO some isometric RPGS in the last few years. Pillars of Eternity grapples with interesting themes of death, religion, and reincarnation, and the supporting cast and quests are well-written and very interesting. Add to that the fact that I can put the intense DnD style combat on easy (thank u game I can’t figure out grimoires and disengagement penalties to save my life), and you have the makings of a Ruby Warren certified classic. Pictured above is the portrait I used for my Death Godlike Monk (she also has an amazing lady starscream voice even if she’s mostly a nice lady who’s more death-positive than most).
Full disclosure: this will probably be on next year’s list as well, as I haven’t even gotten the second ending yet. What I did see, however, haunted me. As robots cried and pleaded and raged at me and I killed them anyway, I started to get upset and angry that destroying them was the only way to progress. This only got worse as I learned more about the world around me. I’m looking forward to seeing what Nier: Automata is going for as a full story, because the limited amount I got to last year really stuck with me.
I feel like every new generation of Pokemon has been this insane leap forward the last little bit, but Pokemon Sun/Moon are particularly notable because the big leap forward was in crafting characters and a story that actually have some personality. For the first time ever in a Pokemon game I actually cared about my travelling companions. I also actually had opinions on the kahuna’s/captains that weren’t just “ugh that one with the miltank is such a pain”.
Also I got to dress up my lady which is a HUGE selling point in any video game.
Breath of the Wild
I don’t play this one (well, I cook things for my dude when he gets to towns because I like the cooking jingle) but I love it so intensely. It’s beautiful, the characters aren’t deep (it’s for children, obviously) but they’re well drawn and charming, and it’s got this adorable sense of humor. No one told me Zelda was cute? Like, years of people trying to get me into Zelda (“what do you MEAN you don’t like Zelda games?!” – every male gamer friend I’ve ever had), and if it was all this cute they probably should’ve just told me that to begin with and I’d have been completely on board. I do the inventory expansion dance with Hestu like I’m a five year old because it’s just that charming.
Plans for 2018: finish everything here