Sean White is one half of the 2 Player Co-Op Youtube channel. Aside from co-hosting the main podcast and doing Let’s Plays and reviews, Sean can be seen talking all things Zelda all across the interwebs( spoilers the word Zelda appears many times on this list) you can find him on twitter @realseanwhite.
How we doing? Sean, from the 2 Player Co-Op Podcast here. Hopefully, y’all know of me already, but if not, here goes. I’m an avid video gamer, and have been since the ripe age of 3. After the days of the NES, I grew up a Sega fanboy, and later a Sony fanboy, but my heart will always be with Nintendo and The Legend of Zelda. A couple of years ago, my brother Kevin and I decided to get into the podcast realm, and we started the 2 Player Co-Op podcast. This has since evolved into movie reviews, lets plays, unboxings, etc.
Before getting into my Top 10 for the year, I just want to say how much fun I had gaming this year. 2017 was truly a special year, which saw the release of some all-time great games, as well as the Nintendo Switch. This is one of the most stacked years I can remember, and coming up with this list was very difficult. I’m sure you’ll disagree with a lot of what I have to say, but that is one of the best parts about all of this, nobody is right, and nobody is wrong. Everyone likes their own things, and that’s pretty cool. Anyway, without further ado, here is my Top 10 list for 2017!
10) Blaster Master Zero
Admittedly, when I bought this game, I was not expecting a game that would end up on my top 10 of 2017. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this title. When I think back to some of my favorite games from the NES, Blaster Master was always up there, even though I didn’t quite remember a whole lot about it. The memories came flooding back when I started playing this. This game is a solid addition to the Metroid-vania genre, with lots of exploring, backtracking, and upgrades to be found, however where the game really shines, is the top-down perspective areas. For the low price tag, this is a tremendous value for the Switch.
9) Ultra Street Fighter 2
The sole game on my top 10 list that I don’t actually own, Ultra Street Fighter 2 encompasses all of the best parts of one of the best fighting games (and all of its various versions) of all time. Kevin and I did a livestream, Best of 75 matches in this game (see it here for a solid 3 hours, and it was a blast (I won). The updated graphics are beautiful, but if the old-school graphics were that of the arcade version, I would probably prefer playing it on those. However, they chose to go with the more 16-bit style. Still pretty, and nostalgic, however the new graphics are too beautiful to pass up. I have said on multiple occasions that the days of the traditional fighting game are gone, however, this game brings us back to the glory days of the genre.
8) What Remains of Edith Finch
There’s not much to say about this game that I haven’t already said in my review of this game (read it here) from back in June. Unravelling the Finch family history was so much fun, yet emotionally draining. The storytelling in this game is beyond compare. Bottom line, this game is beautiful, emotional, and unlike any game I’ve played before.
7) Metroid: Samus Returns
When this game was first announced, I was over the moon excited. Super Metroid, in my mind, is a 10/10, and one of my favorite games of all-time. I thought this had a chance to be up there with it. In the end, this was a very good game, however I feel as though it was very limited in what it could be, due to it being a remake of a Gameboy game. The potential was there (as it always is with any Metroid title) to be one of the all-time greats, however this didn’t quite feel like a true Metroid game to me. The game was a little too linear for my tastes, and the repetitive Metroid fights definitely left something to be desired. The game is beautiful, however, the game didn’t quite deliver all that I had hoped in the end.
6) Sonic Mania
As I’m writing this, I’m noticing a pattern developing. Four of these first five games (and spoiler alert, I’m not done yet) have been, more or less, remakes of older games. Growing up as a Sega kid, and constantly hearing comparisons between Sonic and Mario, I can look back now and say that the Sonic games were nowhere near what the Mario games were. That being said, Sonic will always hold a special place in my heart. Unlike Metroid, this game actually exceeded my expectations, which were lower than they were for Metroid. Looking back at the classic Sonic games, I remember them being fun, yet somewhat repetitive. Sonic Mania made me rethink this. Maybe Sonic games were more fun than I remember, or maybe it was the handful of new zones added, and the slight tweaks made to the old zones that they brought back. Either way, this game truly brought me back to my childhood, and rekindled my love for Sonic.
5) Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
The 5th (and final, I promise) remake on my top 10 for the year, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a game that needed to be re-released. In my opinion, Final Fantasy XII was a game that was ahead of its time when it was released on PS2, and changed the way Final Fantasy games were to be going forward. Gone were the days of battles taking place on a separate screen, as well as being confined to discrete paths while progressing through the game. Instead, the map is wide open, allowing the player more freedom in exploration than ever before, and battles take place right out in the open as well. While certainly not the best story that has been told in Final Fantasy lore, the gameplay in this game is about as perfect as a Final Fantasy game has ever been.
4) Super Mario Odyssey
I’m sure this game will top many people’s game of the year lists this year, but I just couldn’t put it any higher than #4. This game is beautiful, fun, and with the exception of a few odd control choices, an absolute joy to play. Unfortunately, I feel as though the game peaked at New Donk City. I will say, “that part” in New Donk City, is one of the most joyous moments I’ve played in a video game. However, the more time I’ve spent away from the game, the more I’ve come to realize that the game is slightly too repetitive. The sheer number of power moons in the game is intriguing, but you quickly realize that there are so many moons because a lot of them are yours for the taking, for not really having accomplished anything. Sometimes it is as simple as looking behind a box, or under a pile of dirt, or in an alleyway, and you are rewarded with a power moon. As such, finding the power moons feels cheapened, and not as rewarding as it should. Now, I feel as though I am being overly critical of this game, because I feel the need to justify why it is only #4 in my GOTY list. Do not get me wrong, this game is fun, and in a less stacked year, this game could easily win game of the year, but this year was just too good.
3) Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil 7 is unlike any game that I have ever played before. I can still remember playing the original Resident Evil, on our beloved Sega Saturn, when I was 12 years old, and refusing to play the game at night by myself. Fast forward 20 years, and here we are again…the only difference being that I was now a 32 year old man, and only slightly more willing to play this game at night by myself. I found myself hesitant to pick up and play this game even during the day, because of how stressful the game was. Somehow, it was a good type of stress though. Granted, the game loses some of its luster in the last quarter or so of the game, yet the first three quarters and especially the first third or so, are absolute perfection. Capcom took quite a gamble in changing the franchise to a first-person perspective, but in the end, it completely paid off.
2) Horizon Zero Dawn
In almost any other year, this game is the game of the year for me. Combining elements of action, stealth, and RPG, this game was made for me. The game is absolutely beautiful (save for some weird facial animations during conversation), and the story is just so engaging. I won’t even begin to get into the story details, because I don’t want to spoil anything…but to me, it’s fantastic and one of the best in years. The combat took me a little bit of getting used to, as I started playing this game after several months of playing nothing but Breath of the Wild, but once I did, it was pretty flawless. There is a multitude of ways to proceed in taking down enemies…whether you want to stay back and snipe them with your bow and arrow, set a trap for them, go for the stealth kill, override the machines to use for your own benefit, or just go in with your spear and go for the melee kills. The map is huge, and there is more than enough side content to keep you busy for probably well over a hundred hours, if you so choose to. Bottom line, this game is a solid 10/10, and if not for another solid 10/10, this would be my game of the year.
Game of the Year: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Wow. Just…wow. Any time a new Zelda game is announced, I find myself counting down the days to its release it is essentially like a holiday for me when it comes out. Combine that with the release of the Nintendo Switch, and you have what was probably my most anticipated release of all time. It was obvious, as more and more information came out about this game, that this was not your standard Zelda game. The Legend of Zelda had grown up, and Nintendo really tried some new things. There were countless ways this game could’ve disappointed; even more so for me with the sheer magnitude of hype I had built up in my own mind. From the minute I started the game, somehow I already knew I would not be disappointed. When the camera pans out to show Link on the Great Plateau, and I saw for the first time, a glimpse of the world out in front of me, just waiting to be explored, I couldn’t contain my excitement.
The controls are very easy and intuitive. The climbing mechanic, while seemingly so simple and obvious, is one of the best mechanics to be included in a game in as long as I can remember. The glider is fantastic as well. With these two combined, for once, everything you see on the map is a place you can explore. That deep crevasse out in front of you? Float harmlessly down to the bottom. That tall mountain in the distance? Climb it. And when you’re done exploring the mountain? Jump off, pull out your glider, and take in the beauty of the world around you, until you’re back on solid ground. The game has a completely different feel to it, compared to other Zelda games. As much as I love the music in Zelda, it wasn’t needed in this game. Instead, you play a majority of this game with no backing track whatsoever. There aren’t many big set pieces. The world is mostly in ruin, however the world never feels empty or boring. The combat I would say is easy to learn, but hard to master. This was made evident when I tried to play through the two DLCs, after not having played the game for months. I found myself dying time after time after time. After not too long though, it all came back to me. With the release of the first DLC, and Hero’s Path, which shows you on the map everywhere that you have set foot, I realized that I had missed a LOT of this game. Upon exploring these new areas, it was as if I was playing the game again for the first time. Every new place that I hadn’t yet been to before, even after about 100 hours of gameplay time, brought back that same excitement as it did in the beginning of the game, when I was exploring EVERYTHING for the first time. Do I miss having your “standard” Zelda dungeons, such as the Fire Temple, the Water Temple, etc.? I do. Do I miss having only a select few weapons that don’t ever break, that you can use throughout the entire game? I do. I would love to have these changed in the next iteration of Zelda, however in Breath of the Wild, it works for the aesthetic they are trying to achieve. I know there are a lot of Zelda haters out there, and I am about as big of a Zelda fanboy that you will find, so take this with a grain of salt…this game is truly one of the all-time greats. And even in a very stacked 2017, this is 100% my game of the year.