Games I Played 2017

It's this time of the year again. Here are the 17 games I played in 2017, ordered by how much I liked them (worst first; best last). As always, it doesn't matter if they were released in 2017, it matters that I finished them in 2017 (credits rolling).

This year I changed the rating slightly: Previously my ratings were percentages, ranging mostly in the 70s and 80s, which was a bit boring. This year I want to have a simpler format, but with a broader spectrum. So, what would be a 70% last year is a 3/10 this year. Games with 85% and above can get a 10/10.

I also divided the games into three categories: "Skip", "Maybe", and "Must". "Skip" are games that I wish I hadn't played. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are superbad, but I think I could have spent my time better elsewhere . "Maybe" are games where I am not sure. They may not be that good, but part of a bigger franchise, and when I like a franchise I want to play its shitty parts too; or maybe there are just a few aspects of that game that I really liked, but overall it wasn't a great game. "Must" are games that I thoroughly enjoyed. They may not be flawless, but I can recommend them to any fan of their respective genre.

2017 - Skip
17 - Grim Fandango Remastered - 3/10
Let's start by giving a beloved classic the worst score of this year! Grim Fandango, compared to other adventure remakes I have played, still looks and feels very outdated. It doesn't have a real widescreen (16:9) view, so it either stretches or you have to live with bars on each side of the screen, there is no button to view hotspots, the inventory system is cumbersome, and there are very long distances you have to walk. I played this with a walkthrough, as the story of Grim Fandango is good, the main character is sympathetic and there are a lot of funny jokes.

16 - Dead by Daylight - 4/10
This is one of those games I didn't play long enough to review it properly; Anyway, I played it for a few hours with friends. It could get really scary at times, especially that Chainsaw Killer, but overall, despite the random level design, the gameplay felt a somewhat monotonous, and as a killer it could get really frustrating when you just couldn't find any victims. Also, the graphics looked bad.

15 - Outland - 5/10
This game was free on Steam so I grabbed it. It was nice to try my wireless XBox One Controller, which I had bought just before. Outland has a cool look, it's gameplay is good, but platform games have experienced a mini revolution in the past years (thinking of Rayman Origins/Legends), so I felt like this game could have either done more, or just be a bit shorter. Often it felt like it dragged on too long.

14 - Broken Age - 5/10
A nice game with an interesting setting, storyline and nice graphics. Sometimes the puzzles were a bit too hard for me and the game spends way too much time in the same locations.

2017 - Maybe
13 - The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - 6/10
What? Did my favourite Telltale adventure fall from grace? Only 6/10 for the third Clementine-game? It's not bad. Graphics got a nice boost since the previous The Walking Dead game. The focus on the new family was OK; but personally I would have wanted the game to stay centered on Clementine. The story was OK, but I was thinking often of the first Walking Dead game, where I was so much more emotionally attached. I am happy that the next season will be the final one. Give this series the chance to end before the horse is dead ... or ressurected as a zombie horse.

12 - Shadow Warrior - 6/10
Another freebie via Steam. It's fun, but being a horde-shooter it automatically adopts some flaws. There's a lot of action, but a bit too much for my taste. I don't like it that much when you destroy an enemy wave, and then another one appears, and then another and so on. Also the abilities and weapons weren't as fun as I had hoped.

11 - Batman: The Telltale Series - 6/10
I am not an avid comic book reader, but even I feel like there have been plenty of retellings of the story of Batman. The Telltale Series gives some villains a new twist, making it surprisingly good. On the gameplay-side, the detective stuff was nice, but there could have been more.

10 - StarCraft: Remastered - 7/10
It's basically the same game from 1998-1999 but with updated graphics. Personally I feel they could have done more. Better animations, better controls, better cinematics. I understand the focus on e-sports, and there is also that total conversion for Starcraft 2, which already has all the things I mentioned (minus better cinematics). The story still holds up, though.

9 - Day of the Tentacle Remastered - 7/10
Now this is a proper Remaster. It captures all the essence of the original game without just depending on nostalgia. I never played the original, but I got enough info to be able to paint the picture. There is a button to view hotspots, the walking distances aren't very long, and it is a very funny game. Initially I thought I had to walk to the toilet to move each item seperately; was I glad when I found out I could just drop it onto a character's portrait. I only got two problems with this game: First, it opens up way too quickly. There are a lot of items with a lot of rooms and it's hard to figure out which what to do at times. Second, there are too many copy-paste rooms, with just the textures being changed. But all in all a good game.

8 - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice - 7/10
A technical marvel. Rarely have I stopped and just gazed and at the visuals of a game as much as I did with Hellblade, but the real star of this game is the sound. Put on decent headphones and the voices in the game will sound like they are actually inside your head. It's fantastic. On the downside the gameplay is pretty lackluster. You have some simple puzzles and a pretty generic combat system with enemies that mostly behave the same, with the exception of a few bosses.

7 - Outlast 2 - 7/10
I read a lot of reviews criticizing how confusing the level design is. This is only in some parts of the first third of the game. One thing I didn't like about Outlast 1 was how it was really scary in the beginning, and then got less and less scary towards the end, with the exception of the Doctor. Outlast 2 is the opposite. It starts pretty unfrightening and gets extremely creepy the longer you play, especially during some parts in the school. There are a few more negatives I need to mention: The bosses weren't as memorable as in the first game and the story seems very confusing; I had to watch some YouTube videos to clear it up.

2018 - Must
6 - Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus - 8/10
It's more or less the same game as Wolfenstein 1. The setting mixes serious and comical moments well. The combat works. Killing is visceral and fun. Revisiting the main base isn't as boring as in the first game. Other than the first level the story is pretty uneventful at first, but after about half of it, it gets really crazy and I loved it. It doesn't do anything new though. Some new gadgets, but no new weapons or enemies worth mentioning. The ending was dissapointing.

5 - Resident Evil 7 - 8/10
It's a good mix of old-school Resident Evil and modern indie horror. On the one hand you solve minor puzzles, gather items, and occasionally fight a monster. On the other hand it takes the first person perspective of Outlast, puts you into tight spaces and lets you run scared. For me the combat is where is outshines Outlast. Running from monsters might get boring after a while, so I really liked getting revenge on them by blasting their faces off with a shotgun. Also, the story works, the bosses and boss fights are interesting. RE8 will hopefully take the same route.

4 - Hitman - 8/10
I only got this after all the episodes were released and when it was on sale. The previous Hitman game was a bit dissapointing. You were constantly being chased and the levels were made up of small areas. This new game has big levels, nice graphics, and a lot of replayability thanks to many solutions for each level. It also lets you roam around with no time-pressure and it's very satisfactory to get your target unnoticed. The one big flaw it has, is that it has only six missions plus a prologue. That's very little content in my opinion. As I said, there is a lot of replayability, and there are some bonus missions which play in altered areas of the same missions, but you can only play a mission so often until you know every inch.

3 - Dishonored: Death of the Outsider - 9/10
I should be writing about Dishonored 2 first, but anyway ... If you liked any game in the Dishonored series you will like this as well. Intially I found it strange that there are no magic potions, but then I realized that I was just waiting for the magic to be refilled automatically anyway. Also, the new type of Blink is a bit weirder than the others. The last level was a bit too monotonous for my taste and overall I felt that a story like this should have gotten its own game. Read the Dishonored 2 mini review to get more info.

2 - The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone & Blood and Wine - 9/10
The Witcher 3 is one of the best games ever created, maybe even the best RPG. Its expansions follow
its footsteps flawlessly. Excellent storylines, good gameplay, new areas filled with interesting lore and side quests and very good graphics. There are barely any new mechanics, so it's simply more content, but for a game like this, it's enough.

1 - Dishonored 2 - 10/10
I don't think I have ever replayed a game as often in such a short time span over the past years. Just like the first game you can kill everything in your path or just avoid enemies altogether, or have any kind of inbetween mix of this two types. This is achieved by your characters' abilities and the level design. You can be as flexible and creative as you can imagine. The environment also supports this by giving you multiple options for each problem. Allow me to mention a few more reasons to replay the game: Two protagonists, each with his/her own set of abilities. New game plus. Numerous options to configure your gameplay experience (choosing between multiple difficulty levels or hiding various portions of the user interface). And let's not forget the No-Powers-Mode: I vastly underestimated the potential of this mode, thinking you would just have less toys to play with. Playing with no powers at all forces you to be creative in a different way. Now you have to use your ears to figure out where guards are, throw bottles to distract them, and make sure you hide their bodies after knocking them out or killing them. Without Blink you also have to figure out new routes to get to where you want. You will see the levels in a new light this way. Definitely give No-Powers-mode a try.

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