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EGM's Best of 2017: Mollie L Patterson's Editor Awards


 

Every year when I write the intro to my personal list for my favorite games of the year, I make it a point to be very clear that readers should have no expectations for seeing a lot of big games on my list. I tend to focus on the smaller, more niche releases, and especially those projects that hail from Japan.

Of course, last year threw that idea completely out the window, as the games that grabbed me in 2016 were titles like Overwatch, Titanfall 2, Street Fighter V, The Division, and Dark Souls III. This year, however, boy could things not have fallen more onto the opposite end of the spectrum. 2017 was the year that Japan reminded the world of its gaming prowess, and there were so many great games that I feel bad for everything that I ended up leaving off my list.

#5 Publisher: Koei Tecmo, Team Ninja
Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PS4
Nioh
And, really, there’s no better proof of what I was just talking about than Nioh. What to put in my #5 slot was a decision I wasn’t able to make until I was forced to, and there are plenty of other games that could have been in this position instead, from Gravity Rush 2 to Cuphead to Persona 5 to Nex Machina to others. There was something about Nioh, however, that made it stand out in my mind as something deserving recognition. To be totally honest, I’ve wanted a “Japanese Souls” ever since Demon’s Souls was a thing, and Team Ninja’s efforts satisfied that long-standing craving while also charting its own path to not just be another clone of FROM Software’s hard work. Hell, I even came to kind of like William—and I was certain that I’d spend the game mad over not being able to make my own character. And, I mean, Joro-Gumo… am I right?!
#4 Publisher: Sega, Crypton Media
Developer: Sega
Platforms: PS4
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone was the culmination of a love affair I’d had with Sega’s Vocaloid-focused rhythm game series since its debut in 2009. The original Project Diva mixed two things I adore—pressing buttons to a beat and virtual J-pop idols—and over the course of the next eight years, the series had some amazing highs (and frustrating lows) with each successive release. In Future Tone, I got a game that gave me pretty much everything I’d loved gameplay-wise from past releases mixed with the better framerate that consoles provide and a selection of music far beyond anything we’d gotten before. Future Tone is one of those kinds of games that I could still see myself playing 10 years from now, sitting alongside other beloved rhythm games in my heart.
#3 Publisher: Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games
Developer: Sega
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Sonic Mania
Had you told me a few years ago that I’d be putting a Sonic game into a list of my five favorite games for 2017, I’d have fallen onto the ground laughing. And yet, here we are, in a world where a ragtag team of Sonic fans has given us Sonic Mania, the best thing to happen to Sega’s spikey mascot in (console) generations. Sonic Mania at once feels both fresh yet familiar, like returning to a place you’ve long loved and discovering things there you somehow never noticed before. Nearly every element of the game works wonderfully, from the far more open (and interesting) stages, to its slavish devotion to proper Sonic physics, to a soundtrack that couldn’t be more perfect for our favorite hedgehog’s return to his past self. Congratulations Christian and crew, not only did you bring more life back to a franchise than its own creators might ever hope to do, but you’ve also—somehow—got me actually waiting for news on future Sonic games.
#2 Publisher: Ninja Theory
Developer: Ninja Theory
Platforms: PS4, PC
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade was a game that I was outrageously curious yet terribly worried about. I’d loved Ninja Theory’s efforts in DmC: Devil May Cry—no matter what some longtime fans may have thought—and wanted to see what the team had up its sleeve next. The story of a young girl’s adventure through both a cruel landscape and an even crueler fight with mental illness seemed utterly compelling, and yet the studio’s decision on things such as camera placement and battle engine just filled me concern. Then, I got my hands on the final release—and boy oh boy did all of the pieces fall into place like they needed to. The daring camera and combat styles worked beautifully in practice, but far more than that, Senua grew into a compelling character on a level that few other gaming protagonists are ever able to achieve. At times brutal and unforgiving, at times tender and almost uncomfortably intimate, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice may not have been the biggest or loudest game this year, but it was damn sure the most gripping.
#1 Publisher: Platinum Games
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4, PC
NieR: Automata
Hellblade could easily have taken the crown for me when it came to offering up a compelling, engrossing, emotional roller-coaster of a ride this year had it not been for a man named Yoko Taro and the team at Platinum Games. I went into NieR: Automata loving the concept but unimpressed with its demo, and later walked away feeling like I’d just played something truly special. It’d be easy for a cynical person to pick apart the adventure on various technical and design levels, but Automata is no one individual piece or part—it is the coming together of every element into a complete whole that reminds of of why we fall in love with games in the first place. 2B totally stole my heart as one of my favorite Japanese heroines since Kat (funny, then, that they’d see some official cross-promotional moments together), and helping her slice through her robotic foes just felt so satisfying and empowering—all done to the sounds of one of the most masterful soundtracks in recent memory. The best part? NieR: Automata wasn’t just the weirdo Japanese game that Mollie won’t shut up about but no one else has even heard of—the game found a following around the globe that it so rightly deserved. If 2016 was about the temptations of Western offerings for a Japanese game-loving weeaboo like me, NieR: Automata was a platinum-haired black-clad maiden extending her hand to show me the way back home.
In Memoriam
Xbox Live Indie Games
While it’s possible that many of you will have no idea what the Xbox Live Indies Games program was, Microsoft’s effort to provide an open and community-managed way to get indie games onto the Xbox 360 was something I’ve cared deeply about since it launched in 2008. When the program began, indie games were still trying to find their footing outside of PCs, and the idea that any developer could just make a game and get it published onto a major console like the Xbox 360 seemed an unbelievable idea. Sure, over the years the service ended up loaded down with a lot of garbage, but it also played home to games such as I Made a Game With Zombies In It, Protect Me Knight, Techno Kitten Adventure, Breath of Death VII: The BeginningMimi in the Sky, Chiebura, LaserCat, and other fantastic releases—some of which will sadly disappear along with the service itself. The loss of PlayStation Mobile in 2015 was hard; the loss of Xbox Live Indies Games is heartbreaking.
The “I Love You, I Hate You” Award
Horror Games
If there was any singular thing in gaming that caused me the most confliction this year, it was horror games. 2017 started with the much-anticipated Resident Evil VII coming out, and when I finally got my hands on it, I found my biggest fear coming true: that I’d not enjoy it just like I’ve not enjoyed every other first-person attempt at horror that I’ve played. (The same crushing realization also hit me when I played the Korean-developed thriller White Day.) While fans new and old hailed it as the rebirth of the series, I see REVII as the catalyst through which a franchise I’ve loved dearly for twenty-one years will now become a party to which I’m no longer welcome. Then, we were given another horror game that went through a bit of a transformation—The Evil Within 2—and where I had been let down by its predecessor, I legitimately enjoyed the experience when I had zero expectations for doing so. How did 2017 put me into a position where I was utterly disappointed in Resident Evil yet quite satisfied with The Evil Within? Horror games are scary, man.
The “Don’t You Dare Call it Dead” Award
PlayStation Vita
Wait, didn’t I have this exact same award—and exact same winner—last year? That’s right bitches, but it’s back! Gaming vultures (especially you Switch people who think the system “deserves” everything) have been circling the Vita for years now, every month proclaiming the system dead so that they can pick its bones clean of games. And yet, the little handheld that even had its parent leave it to die in a gutter continued to soldier on in 2017. Here in North America, that “dead” system received over 150 games over the course of this year, and there’s still games being announced for 2018. As well, the platform continues to break new ground genre-wise, as it played host to releases such as Nurse Love Addiction—the first “Girls’ Love” game to ever drop in English for a console or handheld. Look, I’m not dumb—I know that the releases are going to be drying up next year, and that, unless a miracle happens, I won’t be able to repeat this award a third time in a row. Still, the PlayStation Vita provided those of us who still believed in it some fantastic handheld experiences all throughout this year, and I refuse to let it go quietly into the night.
EGM’s Best of 2017 Coverage
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2017 all week, from Christmas day through December 30th. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2017, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.
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About Mollie L Patterson

view all posts

Mollie got her start in games media via the crazy world of gaming fanzines, and now works at EGM with the goal of covering all of the weird Japanese and niche releases that nobody else on staff cares about. She’s active in the gaming community on a personal level, and an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming, consumer rights, and good UI. Find her on Twitter @mollipen.

EGM’s Best of 2017: Mollie L Patterson’s Editor Awards

Mollie gives her thoughts on the year in gaming that was 2017

By Mollie L Patterson | 12/19/2017 09:00 AM PT

Features

Every year when I write the intro to my personal list for my favorite games of the year, I make it a point to be very clear that readers should have no expectations for seeing a lot of big games on my list. I tend to focus on the smaller, more niche releases, and especially those projects that hail from Japan.

Of course, last year threw that idea completely out the window, as the games that grabbed me in 2016 were titles like Overwatch, Titanfall 2, Street Fighter V, The Division, and Dark Souls III. This year, however, boy could things not have fallen more onto the opposite end of the spectrum. 2017 was the year that Japan reminded the world of its gaming prowess, and there were so many great games that I feel bad for everything that I ended up leaving off my list.

#5 Publisher: Koei Tecmo, Team Ninja
Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PS4
Nioh
And, really, there’s no better proof of what I was just talking about than Nioh. What to put in my #5 slot was a decision I wasn’t able to make until I was forced to, and there are plenty of other games that could have been in this position instead, from Gravity Rush 2 to Cuphead to Persona 5 to Nex Machina to others. There was something about Nioh, however, that made it stand out in my mind as something deserving recognition. To be totally honest, I’ve wanted a “Japanese Souls” ever since Demon’s Souls was a thing, and Team Ninja’s efforts satisfied that long-standing craving while also charting its own path to not just be another clone of FROM Software’s hard work. Hell, I even came to kind of like William—and I was certain that I’d spend the game mad over not being able to make my own character. And, I mean, Joro-Gumo… am I right?!
#4 Publisher: Sega, Crypton Media
Developer: Sega
Platforms: PS4
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone was the culmination of a love affair I’d had with Sega’s Vocaloid-focused rhythm game series since its debut in 2009. The original Project Diva mixed two things I adore—pressing buttons to a beat and virtual J-pop idols—and over the course of the next eight years, the series had some amazing highs (and frustrating lows) with each successive release. In Future Tone, I got a game that gave me pretty much everything I’d loved gameplay-wise from past releases mixed with the better framerate that consoles provide and a selection of music far beyond anything we’d gotten before. Future Tone is one of those kinds of games that I could still see myself playing 10 years from now, sitting alongside other beloved rhythm games in my heart.
#3 Publisher: Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games
Developer: Sega
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Sonic Mania
Had you told me a few years ago that I’d be putting a Sonic game into a list of my five favorite games for 2017, I’d have fallen onto the ground laughing. And yet, here we are, in a world where a ragtag team of Sonic fans has given us Sonic Mania, the best thing to happen to Sega’s spikey mascot in (console) generations. Sonic Mania at once feels both fresh yet familiar, like returning to a place you’ve long loved and discovering things there you somehow never noticed before. Nearly every element of the game works wonderfully, from the far more open (and interesting) stages, to its slavish devotion to proper Sonic physics, to a soundtrack that couldn’t be more perfect for our favorite hedgehog’s return to his past self. Congratulations Christian and crew, not only did you bring more life back to a franchise than its own creators might ever hope to do, but you’ve also—somehow—got me actually waiting for news on future Sonic games.
#2 Publisher: Ninja Theory
Developer: Ninja Theory
Platforms: PS4, PC
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade was a game that I was outrageously curious yet terribly worried about. I’d loved Ninja Theory’s efforts in DmC: Devil May Cry—no matter what some longtime fans may have thought—and wanted to see what the team had up its sleeve next. The story of a young girl’s adventure through both a cruel landscape and an even crueler fight with mental illness seemed utterly compelling, and yet the studio’s decision on things such as camera placement and battle engine just filled me concern. Then, I got my hands on the final release—and boy oh boy did all of the pieces fall into place like they needed to. The daring camera and combat styles worked beautifully in practice, but far more than that, Senua grew into a compelling character on a level that few other gaming protagonists are ever able to achieve. At times brutal and unforgiving, at times tender and almost uncomfortably intimate, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice may not have been the biggest or loudest game this year, but it was damn sure the most gripping.
#1 Publisher: Platinum Games
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4, PC
NieR: Automata
Hellblade could easily have taken the crown for me when it came to offering up a compelling, engrossing, emotional roller-coaster of a ride this year had it not been for a man named Yoko Taro and the team at Platinum Games. I went into NieR: Automata loving the concept but unimpressed with its demo, and later walked away feeling like I’d just played something truly special. It’d be easy for a cynical person to pick apart the adventure on various technical and design levels, but Automata is no one individual piece or part—it is the coming together of every element into a complete whole that reminds of of why we fall in love with games in the first place. 2B totally stole my heart as one of my favorite Japanese heroines since Kat (funny, then, that they’d see some official cross-promotional moments together), and helping her slice through her robotic foes just felt so satisfying and empowering—all done to the sounds of one of the most masterful soundtracks in recent memory. The best part? NieR: Automata wasn’t just the weirdo Japanese game that Mollie won’t shut up about but no one else has even heard of—the game found a following around the globe that it so rightly deserved. If 2016 was about the temptations of Western offerings for a Japanese game-loving weeaboo like me, NieR: Automata was a platinum-haired black-clad maiden extending her hand to show me the way back home.
In Memoriam
Xbox Live Indie Games
While it’s possible that many of you will have no idea what the Xbox Live Indies Games program was, Microsoft’s effort to provide an open and community-managed way to get indie games onto the Xbox 360 was something I’ve cared deeply about since it launched in 2008. When the program began, indie games were still trying to find their footing outside of PCs, and the idea that any developer could just make a game and get it published onto a major console like the Xbox 360 seemed an unbelievable idea. Sure, over the years the service ended up loaded down with a lot of garbage, but it also played home to games such as I Made a Game With Zombies In It, Protect Me Knight, Techno Kitten Adventure, Breath of Death VII: The BeginningMimi in the Sky, Chiebura, LaserCat, and other fantastic releases—some of which will sadly disappear along with the service itself. The loss of PlayStation Mobile in 2015 was hard; the loss of Xbox Live Indies Games is heartbreaking.
The “I Love You, I Hate You” Award
Horror Games
If there was any singular thing in gaming that caused me the most confliction this year, it was horror games. 2017 started with the much-anticipated Resident Evil VII coming out, and when I finally got my hands on it, I found my biggest fear coming true: that I’d not enjoy it just like I’ve not enjoyed every other first-person attempt at horror that I’ve played. (The same crushing realization also hit me when I played the Korean-developed thriller White Day.) While fans new and old hailed it as the rebirth of the series, I see REVII as the catalyst through which a franchise I’ve loved dearly for twenty-one years will now become a party to which I’m no longer welcome. Then, we were given another horror game that went through a bit of a transformation—The Evil Within 2—and where I had been let down by its predecessor, I legitimately enjoyed the experience when I had zero expectations for doing so. How did 2017 put me into a position where I was utterly disappointed in Resident Evil yet quite satisfied with The Evil Within? Horror games are scary, man.
The “Don’t You Dare Call it Dead” Award
PlayStation Vita
Wait, didn’t I have this exact same award—and exact same winner—last year? That’s right bitches, but it’s back! Gaming vultures (especially you Switch people who think the system “deserves” everything) have been circling the Vita for years now, every month proclaiming the system dead so that they can pick its bones clean of games. And yet, the little handheld that even had its parent leave it to die in a gutter continued to soldier on in 2017. Here in North America, that “dead” system received over 150 games over the course of this year, and there’s still games being announced for 2018. As well, the platform continues to break new ground genre-wise, as it played host to releases such as Nurse Love Addiction—the first “Girls’ Love” game to ever drop in English for a console or handheld. Look, I’m not dumb—I know that the releases are going to be drying up next year, and that, unless a miracle happens, I won’t be able to repeat this award a third time in a row. Still, the PlayStation Vita provided those of us who still believed in it some fantastic handheld experiences all throughout this year, and I refuse to let it go quietly into the night.
EGM’s Best of 2017 Coverage
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2017 all week, from Christmas day through December 30th. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2017, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.
0   POINTS
0   POINTS



About Mollie L Patterson

view all posts

Mollie got her start in games media via the crazy world of gaming fanzines, and now works at EGM with the goal of covering all of the weird Japanese and niche releases that nobody else on staff cares about. She’s active in the gaming community on a personal level, and an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming, consumer rights, and good UI. Find her on Twitter @mollipen.