Though both Listmas and 2017 are over, it doesn’t mean that I can’t still reflect on the recently-passed year in list form. As low as the year might have been generally, it was a high point for me with games, particularly games that had been sitting in my backlog. True that I spent much of the of the year replaying a number of key (ahem, BioWare) titles, but I also found time to sink my teeth into titles that, while not new, were new to me. So off we go here with five of my favorite not-new games that I played last year, presented here in “award” form, just for fun!
The award for most enjoyable game involving radioactive scorpions (:::shivers:::) goes to…
Fallout: New Vegas!
Of all the games I spent time with last year, Fallout: New Vegas turned out to be the most enjoyable and engrossing of them all. Something about traveling the open emptiness of the game’s desert wasteland just clicked, and its story played out so beautifully, romantically almost. Well…morbidly romantic, if you will. Even after the passage of many months, I still think about the ending I got and how I might have changed it. (And might still, should I choose to replay it at some point.) Fallout: New Vegas worked, and it worked well. Though I’ve only dipped my toe into the questionable waters of the Fallout universe, I’m glad that this entry only made me want to really dive in.
The award for “I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying!” goes to…
Shadow of the Colossus!
Shadow of the Colossus was a tremendous game in multiple ways. In two words, it was tremendously frustrating. For me, anyway. I wouldn’t call it a difficult game, per se, but as fans know, each colossus required a certain amount of deft and patience, neither of which I have, ever, when playing most games. But despite this, I kept coming back for more, coming back to slowly but surely uncover bits of the story of Wander and Mono and Agro. Only in the eleventh hour did tremendous frustration turn to tremendous reward, unexpectedly so in one of the most emotional moments I’ve ever had with a game. It still makes me…oh shut up. I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying!
The award for one twist to rule them all goes to…
I still cannot get over just what a masterpiece Bioshock is…or how long it took me to finally realize it! Not only did it present me, the player, with a unique way of fighting my way through the twisted, broken world of Rapture, but it game me a story with a plot twist that had me totally floored. Not only was it’s revelation brilliant, but the way it was revealed resonated with a strange sense of tact, as well as cleverness. And it changed the way I had viewed everything about the game up to that point. Bravo, Bioshock. Bra-vo.
The award for “I need a bigger gun oh wait I think I have one” goes to…
I like to think that I have good times with most games. But something about Borderlands 2’s devil-may-care attitude turned a good time into a totally freakin’ awesome time! I mean, I had a great time in the game over and over and over again, no matter how many time I revisited a stage or died or found myself retreading a beaten path. Every time I fired up the game, I knew I’d be in for something new, whether it was a new stage, a new challenge, new loot, or some new discovery. The game felt expansive and endless, as if I thought I could find every last box of goodies and yet still find another one hiding around an unseen corner. Oh, and that story. Handsome Jack’s tragic tale was one for the ages.
And finally, the award for the best use of spirit mediums in a court room goes to…
Phoenic Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations!
This past year, I dove head first into the wild world of Phoenix Wright, and I came out a believer. A believer in visual novel games. A believer in storytelling with craft. A believer that game characters could be more than tired tropes. I chose the third game in the series here because, while the first two were no slouches (the original game contains my favorite soundtrack of them all), the third game presented a story told in a unique and captivating way. In fact, I didn’t even realize that I was following a cohesive story until the game’s final trial. Once it became clear to me that Trials and Tribulations presented more than just an “ending” the Phoenix Wright’s own tale, I knew that the game was something unforgettable.
What are some of the best games you played from your backlog last year?
Lede image taken by cary.