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Concordian 2017 Video Game Round-Up

By Kelson Howerton
On November 30, 2017

While 2017 has been a pretty dismal year in real life, this year has been an incredible year for everyone favorite forms of escapism – video games and movies. Join me as I take you on a round-up of some of the best pieces of entertainment of the year, starting with 2017’s greatest video games.

    2017 has been a banger of a year for the video game industry, seeing multiple console launches and a litany of incredible and unique titles across every platform.

    Starting with third-party titles (those released on every platform), renowned publisher Bethesda Softworks delivered some of the best titles of the year, including the psychological sci-fi shooter “Prey,” and the bombastic first-person shooter “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.” Following the series’ surprisingly well-written protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz, “Wolfenstein II” takes players back to a Nazi-controlled America in an alternate-history where the Nazis won World War II. Activision had a similarly productive year, launching “Destiny 2,” the sequel to “Halo”-developer Bungie’s incredibly popular “shared-world-shooter,” and “Call of Duty: WWII,” returning the highest selling video game series to its roots with a World War II shooter. Ubisoft took 2016 off from its previously annualized “Assassin’s Creed” franchise, and that extra year of development really paid off with 2017’s addition, “Assassin’s Creed: Origins,” this time taking the series to the deserts of Egypt. Capcom brought back the fan favorite Resident Evil series with the release of “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard,” which takes the series to even deeper horrors with the first-person perspective and support of VR headsets.

    On the other hand, Xbox had a pretty lackluster year regarding first and third-party console exclusives, with just Halo Wars 2, the sequel to 2009’s real-time-strategy game set in the Halo universe, Tacoma, an indie sci-fi exploration game, the charming but crushingly hard “Cuphead,” a platformer inspired by 30s cartoons, and the next iteration of Microsoft’s flagship racing game, “Forza Motorsport 7.” While few in numbers, Microsoft at least delivered a solid bunch of games for you to pick up this holiday season.

    However, what Microsoft lacked in games, they sure made up for in hardware releases, with two new consoles hitting the market this year -- the Xbox One S, the slimmer, sleeker, and slightly more powerful version of the Xbox One, which will now serve as the standard console moving forward, and the Xbox One X, which is marketed as the most powerful console yet, and has the internals to back up that statement.

    Sony similarly launched a more powerful version of its PlayStation system with the PlayStation 4 Pro. However, if you don’t have a 4K TV, I’d hold off on the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 4 Pro for the time being.

    For PlayStation owners, Sony delivered an incredible offering of console exclusives this year, spanning multiple genres. The year kicked off strong with “Nioh,” an action RPG inspired by the brutal “Dark Souls” series set in Edo period Japan; the sequel to the acclaimed Japanese RPG/social simulator series, “Persona 5;” the highly anticipated “Horizon Zero Dawn,” an open-world RPG set in a “post- post-apocalyptic” world dominated by robotic creatures; and the hack-and-slash action “RPG NieR: Automata.” This fall, Sony also brought the heat with psychological horror/action game “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrfice” and the cinematic action/adventure “Uncharted: The Lost Legacy,” a standalone story in the world of Uncharted. While “Lost Legacy certainly shined, “Hellblade” still stands as one of the most unique games of the year, as it uses its Celtic protagonist Senua to explore mental illness, specifically psychosis, in a terrifying and emotional story praised by critics.

    PC gamers were treated with two standout titles this year, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and “Divinity: Original Sin II.” Battle royale game “Battlegrounds,” or simply referred to as “PUBG,” has taken the PC gaming community by storm, with the game outselling every other game on the platform while still being in early access. “Divinity: Original Sin II,” is a charming and incredibly intelligent fantasy RPG that gives players a ton of freedom in how they wish to go about the game’s narrative and gameplay, even offering cooperative and competitive multiplayer and a D&D-inspired Game Master mode.

    No company had as great of a mark on the industry in 2017 as Nintendo, which launched a brand new console along with a healthy helping of Nintendo games to go along with it. In March, Nintendo launched its hybrid console the Nintendo Switch, alongside the long-awaited “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” which brought the series to a gorgeous open world that gave fans the freedom to go anywhere and climb anything. Since then Nintendo has added the colorful and charming kart racer “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” the incredibly fun and goofy multiplayer shooter “Splatoon 2,” the surprisingly deep and engaging turn-based tactical strategy game “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle,” the punchy party fighting game “Arms,” and the return to Nintendo’s beloved 3D platforming series, “Super Mario Odyssey,” to the Switch’s growing library of games. With only nine months out on the market, the Switch has already garnered a solid list of titles, with “Breath of the Wild” and “Super Mario Odyssey” receiving almost universal 10s and a number of Game of the Year nominations.

    From shooters to platformers, there has been a title for kind of gamer this year. Whether you’re picking up a brand new Nintendo Switch or stocking up on the latest PlayStation games, there are a number of excellent titles worthy of checking out as we move into the holiday season.

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