Persona 5 stole my heart. It was impossible to believe that the best game of the already venerated series was still to come, and yet somehow everything works wonderfully. I’d rather the dialogue didn’t pad things out as much as it did, but I was captivated from beginning to end, while it successfully brought back mechanics long thought out-dated, and introduced smart changes for the better. An essential RPG for 2017 that you should not miss out on.
Civilization VI is my new favourite addiction that I honestly can’t really fault. Each of the gameplay changes provides a fresh challenge, but they were well worth undertaking once they clicked. It’s packed full of the stuff that made the previous games great, but also has a crisp style that makes things clear enough when the game gets extremely busy. As such, the vanilla version of Civilization VI is so good, expansions aren’t really necessary to improve upon it. Having said that, I’m excited for what’s next.
Sonic Mania surpasses the Mega Drive/Genesis originals. It not only incorporates what made Sonic great, but has the inventiveness to shatter what was possible in a 2D platformer. As a nostalgia trip, it sets the bar for what comes next for the modding community. For those unexposed to what made 2D Sonic great, this is still a solid game in its own right and may create new fans in the process. If being this good took ages, it's about damn time.
Fallout 4 is hugely ambitious and without a doubt one of the best games this year. It's not without its flaws, but very few games made me care more about what I was picking up, how to use it, what choices I made, and even the communities I'd founded. By streamlining some mechanics, Bethesda has made room for other more complex ideas. If you can forgive a few technical imperfections, of which there aren't as many as prior instalments, Fallout 4 exceeds all expectations.
Dark Souls III offers more of the same intensely difficult combat, ambiguous overarching story, and some striking locales and bosses in the franchises' history. The only real objective criticism on the PS4 version is that the combat doesn't feel responsive enough thanks to the 30FPS cap and frame drops. Dying in Dark Souls III is part of the territory and if that doesn't faze you, then this is an easy recommendation for those with the patience of a saint.
Doom is a truly spectacular bit of ultraviolence, but it's deceptively smart in how it goes about it. It knows that all you want to do is blow stuff up in increasingly more brutal ways, leading to a single player that is probably the best FPS campaign since Wolfenstein: The New Order. While multiplayer is almost a damp squib, Snapmap allows for those with creative minds to unleash their creativity with an easy-to-learn map editor. To describe Doom in two words: Bloody brilliant!
Even as a person whose grasp of fighting games is nowhere near top-tier standard, Street Fighter V is the most fun I've had in a fighting game in years. It's a bold choice by Capcom to make this an expanding platform rather than a simpler game release, and it means that while it's light on content, you have to appraise its stability, core combat and look to its true form in the future. Based on the strangth of the gameplay and performance, Street Fighter V is a sublime fighting game and shows that this old dog still has some new tricks.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is captivating from start to finish, giving players more freedom to make their own choices. Controls are sublime, whether you're massacring the enemy or avoiding them; with enough tools to make both viable options. The take on a futuristic Prague is unsettling, yet hugely immersive, together with some interesting social commentary. It's been a long time coming, but Mankind Divided was worth the five year wait.
As light on gameplay as it is, Everbody's Gone to the Rapture is as beautiful as it is thought provoking. It's hard to find fault with its technical prowess, showcasing just how detailed interactive media can be, but on top of this we have a narrative that is disjointed yet somehow works wonderfully as it increases curiosity, and music that is poignant in all the right ways. If Dear Esther was pretentious, in my eyes, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture can only be described as enrapturing.
Guilty Gear XRD Revelator feels more like an expansion than a legitimate sequel, but this isn't a bad thing, as the fighting is still highly engaging and the numerous teaching materials allow newer players to get up to speed nicely. No English dub after Sign's decent dub is a bit of a black mark, but if you're not bothered by fighters in an anime style, Guilty Gear XRD Revelator is the best of the bunch.