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Amirul Ashraf’s Top 5 Games Of 2017

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2017 was a good year for video games. As 2018 starts, this is the best time to reflect on what games the crew has been loving the most. And so, here’s the first of many list by our crew, starting with Amirul “meckronos” Ashraf.

What a year for video games. 2017 finally saw a lot of different games for all kinds of gamers to love. While there are a lot of strong, well-made game of the year contenders out there, I for one appreciate that so many niche genres like racing games and fighting games, now return with a bang.

I narrowed down my selection to just 5 instead of the usual top 10 lists, with one game represented per genre (I consider immersive sims- FPS/RPG hybrids- and JRPGs different genres). That said, there are a few honourable mentions further down the list as well.

5. XCOM 2 War Of The Chosen

Firaxis’ expansions are rarely disappointing, and War Of The Chosen adds the right stuff to XCOM 2. The new factions brings an extra wrinkle to the base management, the Nemesis System-like Chosens make an already hard encounter infuriating, which is a good thing since the power creep here is real. Those new faction units and the new abilities your XCOM soldiers can now get are overpowered.

I enjoyed the vanilla XCOM 2 experience, yes even the turn timers, but all the extra bells and whistles in War Of The Chosen makes it worth another playthrough.

4. Prey

I have a soft spot for immersive sims. I like FPS controls but not good at shooting accurately. I like the idea of exploring a world and piece together what happened there but walking simulators are not my jam (I need some gameplay to go with the exploration).

Prey 2017 may have a sour taste among fans that wanted to see the original vision of Prey 2 realised, but this is as close for me to experience something like a System Shock 2 and Bioshock, a game I unfortunately did not manage to finish. Prey wears its 0451 influence on its sleeve with pride and still does some cool stuff with its world. I just couldn’t get into Dishonored, but Prey finally made me appreciate a game from Arkane studios. If you love the original Bioshock, Prey will scratch the same itch.

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3. Injustice 2

2017 is a good year for fighting games. There are now so many new games out there. But for a casual fighting games fan like me, not all of them hit the mark.

Injustice 2 proves that you can deliver good value for money in a fighting game. A decent roster, a story mode that shouldn’t be as good as it is, plus a sizeable single player content to bolster a decent multiplayer suite. It also did loot boxes right!

Unfortunately the game isn’t as popular here, so you won’t see many streams, tournaments and coverage. But injustice 2 should be the gold standard all fighting games should meet if publishers really want to grow the community with newer blood.

Check out our review of Injustice 2 here.

2. Gran Turismo Sport

Honestly, I kept my expectations low for GT Sport. The first few announcements left me worried, but a long stint in the closed beta convinced me the racing’s good like GT should be. Maybe not so good for more hardcore PC sim enthusiasts, but a casual like me will love GT.

I slowly warmed up to GT Sport, but it seems many Malaysian fans were overly hyped only to be let down by the package it offers out of the gate. Small amount of cars and tracks. No proper single player campaign. Online only requirements.

Thankfully, developers Polyphony is listening and has been addressing feedback. Updates to deliver more content has so far been promising, and after some launch hiccups servers are great as ever. Even after my review was done I have been hopping into the game just to practice 4 laps around the Nordschlife once in a while.

It’s a slow burn, and it sure has bounced off by a lot of fans, but I strongly hope GT Sport pulls an Overwatch, continuing to support the game in the later years to come.

Check out our review here.

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1. Persona 5

Don’t say you never saw it coming. P5 was worth the wait. While it is mostly a JRPG, it is a solid JRPG from a team that knows how to sew in a strong theme into both game mechanics and choice of aesthetics. The whole story is not entirely original but delivered in the most compelling way.

Persona 5 is the epitome of a well made game from an experienced team of developers. Sure, it isn’t pushing new boundaries or take big risks, but it does everything I expect a proper JRPG would do and it does so with style. At a time where publishers want to make us pay more than we should with loot boxes and games-as-a-service initiatives, Persona 5 reminds me what a good old single-player video game should be: everything is great right out of the box.

(The last paragraph was previously featured in Kakuchopurei.com‘s list of game of the year from various Southeast Asia’s gaming outlets)

Check out our review here.

Honorable Mentions

There are a few good games that did not made the list. Pyre is the best sports game this year in my opinion. Shout out to Tekken 7, which some may argue to be the better fighting game this year. That slow-mo should be a standard in all fighting games, it’s rad. Yakuza 0 is a great game I didn’t get to play, but even after watching a full playthrough I really wanted to pick up the game (or Yakuza Kiwami, or the upcoming Yakuza 6) in the future.

Sony had a great year of exclusives. I’m glad Guerrilla Games made a new IP that people really loved in the form of Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is worth mentioning because a few Malaysian studios contributed to the development and a great standalone expansion to boot. I wish the Nintendo Switch was reasonably priced here, because this list would look a lot different if I managed to touch The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Maybe next year.

Here’s to another great year for video games!