Well, it’s officially 2017 around the world. The start of a new year. Which means that everyone’s looking back on the last year and going, “Well that was a bit toss, wasn’t it?” That is, except for the people who are taking the opportunity to look back at their fond memories from the year past, namely when it comes to video games. There were countless fantastic games that got released last year, so many of which I desperately wanted to try out. Unfortunately, as a university student, there are two things that I severely lack in: money and time. As a result, it is incredibly common that I have to watch as new releases are hyped, released, and enjoyed by the masses, while waiting patiently for the day that they inevitably go on sale and I actually have the time to sit down with them. Some of these games have been sitting in my library for months, awaiting their eventual installation. Others are on my wishlist, hoping to one day be added to my ever-growing backlog. Whatever the case, these are (in no particular order) the games that I wish I had gotten to in 2016. You can also consider this to be a “To play in 2017” list, if that’s your thing. Either way, you’ve probably all already played all of these and think I’m a pleb for not looking at them yet.
Dark Souls III
The Souls franchise has fascinated me for a long time. I first got into it when I decided to pick up Dark Souls on Xbox 360 for around $10 a few years ago. I found it brutally punishing, and didn’t really get that far. However, it was a game that some of my friends swore by, and as time’s gone on, I’ve only heard more about it. As somebody who regularly follows the Podquisition podcast and its hosts, I got to hear plenty of discussion on Dark Souls III over the course of 2016, and each time, it made me long to experience the terrifying foes that lay within. Unfortunately, the fact that I hadn’t even played Dark Souls II yet was a big turn-off for me, despite knowing that there’s not a huge amount of continuity in the series. I had to be content with playing the first one for now, but one day…I’ll get there.
Limbo was a beautifully dark game the first time I played through it. When I heard that the developers were working on a new project, I was thrilled. Once I started seeing trailers, my hype only increased. Then Inside was released, and it took all my willpower to not throw $20 at my computer monitor on launch day. Once I started seeing the praise it was getting and heard about how horrifying some of its twists were, I made it my mission to play it before it got spoiled for me. The good news is that it still hasn’t been spoiled for me. The bad news is that I still haven’t played it. All I know is that there’s flesh. Lots of flesh. Oh boy.
Pokémon Sun & Moon
The only Pokémon generation that I’ve skipped over at the time of writing was when Pokémon Black and Pokémon White came out. I really wanted to pick up Moon at launch and continue my Pokémon adventure. I had even managed to avoid a lot of spoilers for the game! Sure, I had seen the majesty of Alolan Dugtrio, but there were still plenty of mysteries left undiscovered. Unfortunately, the fact that it came out around the same time as Dishonored 2 meant that I had to pick one. I picked Dishonored 2, and then ended up cancelling my pre-order due to financial concerns. Really dropped the ball on that one, I guess. Then again, maybe that was a good thing, because writing a review for the game only to have to go back and replace each ‘e’ in Pokémon with an ‘é’ might just make me give up then and there.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
I started watching the Danganronpa anime a few years ago and was really enjoying it. Then it ended, and I felt like it had been a complete waste of time. Needless to say, I was not at all satisfied with the conclusion. At the time, the game that the anime was based on was only available on PlayStation Vita, which is a system I still don’t own. I decided to just write off the franchise until the day that I was able to play it. Little did I know that that day would come this year, with the release of the first two Danganronpa games on Steam. Even now, I’m eyeing the bundle of the first two games for $35 and contemplating picking them up. Unfortunately, the fact that the average playtime for each seems to be around 30 hours is a bit of a turn-off at the moment. One day I’ll have the time to do that in time for a weekly review. Sadly, now is not that time. But hopefully soon I’ll be able to experience the “true” (and hopefully more satisfying) story of Danganronpa.
I love shooters. I love innovation. In case you haven’t heard, many people say that Superhot is an incredibly innovative shooter. That sounds good to me.
In all seriousness, though, I played the original demo version of Superhot a while back and was amazed. The whole “time moves when you move” concept was so simple, yet so cleanly implemented that I couldn’t believe nobody had come up with it sooner. When I heard that there was a full release in the works on Kickstarter, I considered funding it. However, it had no trouble meeting its goals without my help, and I was left to cross my fingers that the finished product would be up to snuff. Based on what I’ve heard, it certainly is. Now I just need to wait for the inevitable sale because I’m a cheap piece of crap. Oh wait. If I’m waiting, does that count as standing still? Will the game only ever go on sale if I stop waiting for it to go on sale? Okay, I’m stopping now. My head hurts.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
When Dragon’s Dogma was originally released for consoles, I thought that it looked really cool; like Skyrim with better combat. I know that that’s probably both an over- and underestimation of the game’s potential, but hey: that was a few years ago, and I was (and probably still am) young and stupid. Anyway, for whatever reason, I distinctly remember wanting there to be a PC version of the game. Kind of a weird thing, considering I did own a console at the time that I could play it on. I don’t remember, maybe it was really hard to find or something. Anyway, when I heard that there was going to be a re-release of the game on Steam, I was all over that. When it came out and was highly praised? So much the better. I actually do own it, too. I picked it up about a month ago in a Humble Bundle. The problem is that it’s a great big open world RPG. That means it’s a long game. Which means that I haven’t really felt like I’ve had the time to sit down and settle in with it. Maybe I just need to load it up one of these days and start chipping away at it? Yeah, maybe that’ll work.
In the past, the only reason I’ve ever been excited for a Battlefield game was because I could look at them and think, “Oooooo, that looks really pretty!” Then the Battlefield 1 reveal trailer came out, with The Glitch Mob’s remix of Seven Nation Army playing in the background, and my hype went through the roof. I hoped and hoped that it wouldn’t end up being another boring grey-brown military shooter, and based on what I’ve seen, it’s been quite well-received. However, it’s a AAA new release, so it’s expensive. And I have enough trouble justifying buying a $10 game, let alone an $80 one. My hope is that I can get into it some day before the online community completely dies, but the fact that it apparently has a competent single-player campaign manages to significantly lessen that fear.
Hyper Light Drifter
If I remember correctly, I came across Hyper Light Drifter when I was browsing a list of games made with GameMaker one day. Its detailed and colorful pixel-art style drew me in, the ferocious and kind of creepy-looking titans kept me around, and the flashy combat practically had me foaming at the mouth. This was another one where I really had to restrain myself from jumping on it on launch day. There was a somewhat mixed reception to it when it got released (nothing bad, but around the 7-8 range), so the thought of dropping $20 was made that much more difficult. Plus, it came out when I was approaching the end of a university semester, so I knew that exams would be monopolizing most of my time. Since its release, though, the game has gone on to receive almost unanimous praise, sporting an overall 94% positive score on Steam at the time of writing. The good news is that it seems to be the perfect candidate to show up in a Humble Bundle some day, so there’s a decent chance I’ll be able to get a hold of it on the cheap soon-ish.
Based on everything I heard around the time of its release, Pony Island was to 2016 what Undertale was to 2015. And I freaking loved Undertale. So it should come as little surprise that I made a point to snag Pony Island not that long after it came out; an easy decision, given its low price. And then it sat. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t a very long game, and I should just sit down and play through it one afternoon. Apparently, that’s a lot easier said than done. I was actually hoping to play through it on New Year’s Eve this year so I could get a review out around a year after its initial launch. Instead, I drank and watched a movie about Hitler showing up in modern-day Germany. Don’t ask. Anyway, this is probably one that’ll get knocked off my backlog early on in 2017, so hopefully that’ll be a good start to the year.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
I loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The weird thing was, I didn’t consider it perfect by any stretch. I still have yet to play the director’s cut, which meant that I was stuck with the original’s less-than-stellar boss battles, among its other problems. Yet something about it just fascinated me. Certainly, the gorgeously-realized cyberpunk aesthetic was a huge asset, as no game that I had played up to that point had really captured the tone the way Human Revolution did. Whatever ultimately tipped it over the edge, though, for quite a while I considered it to be my favourite game of all time. I didn’t really have solid reasoning for it. It was just the game that held a special place in my heart. So when Mankind Divided was announced, I got hyped almost instantly. Once the trailers started coming out, I couldn’t wait. Then it got delayed. I cried a little inside, but told myself that the game would be all the better for it. I preordered the collector’s edition so I could get a super shiny Adam Jensen statue (it’s now guarding my Blu-rays), and eagerly awaited the game’s launch. After countless shenanigans with Square Enix’s online store (feel free to go back to August on my Twitter feed for some insights on THAT), I finally got my copy of the game. And then I told myself that it had been forever since I last played Human Revolution. I figured I should replay it to refresh my memory of the story. That was a mistake. Now both games sit in my library, relatively unplayed, and I’m just praying that one day I’ll feel like I can make the 20+ hour time investment for each. To bring in an overused joke, I asked for the games, but I never asked for this particular set of circumstances.
And there you go! Ten games that I really wish I had gotten to experience with the rest of you this year. Maybe one of these days I’ll be some super famous games journalist who can afford to buy and play all of these great games on launch. Until then, I’ll just continue checking out the games that have long since been played, beaten, and mastered by the masses, letting people know what might be worth a second (or third, or fourth) look.
Happy 2017, everyone!