Article originally published on Juice.sg
July is coming to a close; it’s already past the halfway point of 2017. Time sure flies, eh?
With an onslaught of games coming out in the next few months, it’s time to remind everyone about the highlights. We don’t mean the “so bad it’s good and funny” kind of highlights like the “Mass Effect: Andromeda funny faces” kind. We mean genuinely good fun games to buy right now.
In no particular order, here are the best games of 2017 so far, because frankly the first half of the year has been incredibly kind to us. Let’s just cherish this moment before the year-end blitz of game releases happen.
Nex Machina (PC, PS4)
It’s Robotron: 2084 meets Smash Hit meets a Zouk rave. Nex Machina is a twin-stick shooter that requires your utmost precision and dodging skills. To say nothing of its presentation and audio; it’s friggin’ stellar. But underneath it all is a frenetic fast-paced top-down shoot-em-up that rewards diligence and punishes you with swarms of robots and bullet hell.
It also helped that the game’s creative consultant was the legendary Eugene Jarvis, who was known for the arcade games mentioned earlier. If you need your 2017 retro gaming fix, look no further than this PC darling.
Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)
What’s the best way to spice up a post-apocalyptic open world adventure game? Simple: with robot animals and dinosaurs. Guerilla Games, the folks behind the maudlin Killzone series, said “screw it” and went for broke with the game’s polish and setting.
True, the open world gameplay may be familiar to those who play too much Witcher 3 and FarCry 4, but the way it’s handled and designed is in a league of its own. Main character Alloy is a great heroine to follow, its loot-and-crafting system is criminally easy to switch in and out of, and the combat and traversing is excellent. You’ll never forget the first time you’ve taking down your very first Thunderjaw.
NieR: Automata (PS4)
Chances are no one reading knows of the first Nier for PS3. That’s okay, because NieR: Automata is its own story and continuity (sort of). You play androids 2B and 9S as you clear out an Earth inhabited by dangerous robots. Not everything is as it seems, of course, as there’s a lot of heavy narrative bombs and philosophical questions regarding existence that crops up as the story unfolds.
NieR: Automata needs to be in your collection because its story is off-the-wall, its characters are well-written, and its combat is polished and intense thanks to Platinum Games’ assistance in development. If you want to uncover the madness and genius that is Yoko Taro’s writing, this is the perfect place as any to jump in.
Persona 5 (PS4)
Have 80+ hours to kill? Then you should take a ride in this anime turn-based role-playing game adventure set in modern-day Tokyo. You play as a leader of a group known as the Phantom Thieves as you right the wrongs of evil adults by entering their minds which are represented as giant dominions to steal their hearts.
It’s as wacky as it sounds, but there’s a lot of drama, action, and rich narrative to be had here. You’re going to miss your gang of heartfelt Phantom Thief members when the game’s over, but you sure as heck aren’t going to forget that catchy battle theme.
Gravity Rush 2 (PS4)
The open world action game genre hasn’t seen much innovation as of late, which is why it’s great that the guy behind the Siren horror games decide to start off 2017 with this PlayStation exclusive. This gravity-shifting French art-influenced adventure features two loveable protagonists, the joyous Kat and the serious Raven, who complement each other and carry the story filled with allusions to class divide.
There’s a lot of sidequests and rich main quest-type adventures to partake in, there’s an awesome soundtrack that accentuates the action, and it ends on a high and epic note.
If you loved the hardcore Dark Souls series but wished you could cancel your attacks into safer defense options, you will have loads of fun with NioH. Oh, and if you prefer samurais and Japanese mythological settings instead of dystopian fantasy worlds, you’ll dig this Tecmo Koei action game too.
The main reason why Nioh works is because it takes the foundation of the aforementioned RPGs and builds a fluid and fast action game around it. This title is definitely Team Ninja’s finest since Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden 2 for the Xbox.
We might be cheating to include a 2010 game for the Xbox 360 and PS3, but hear us out. You have yet to live life to the fullest until you’ve seen this fast-paced breathtaking hyperactive shooter in 60fps. In retrospect, no other third-person shooter has lived up to the hype and action beats that Vanquish introduced.
No other shooter gives you the ability to dash & boost through the stage cover-to-cover while initiating slow-motion bullet time when dodging enemy fire and giant mechs. Vanquish encourages you to be proactive in your fights and always be on the move rather than cower and healing up. Why aren’t there any shooters apart from last year’s Doom that surpasses this notion?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (Nintendo Switch, Wii U)
We shouldn’t be surprised that the latest Nintendo adventure game is going to be a stellar experience. After all, Breath of the Wild has the same high-level polish and exploration adventure mechanics that made the previous Legend of Zelda titles stand out.
Granted, it’s not the most original since it falls back to the whole “save the world from Ganon, unite the races as the chosen one” schtick. But just playing it, fighting random enemies in different encampments and dungeons, solving puzzles, and surviving in this version of Hyrule: all of this culminates into a very loaded entry that is worth your attention, whether you have a Nintendo Wii U or a Switch.
Night In The Woods (PC, PS4)
This adventure game’s aesthetics and story is filled to the brim with charm. You main character Mae can run, jump, and use astral projection to explore the many sides and sections of Possum Springs and discover its dark secrets.
The best thing about Night In The Woods is its simplicity in telling its story and presenting its gameplay. It can swerve from its hijinxes to its serious subject matter without abruptly shifting its tone. Not many games can balance that well.
Injustice 2 (PS4, Xbox One)
This DC Comics fighting game is superheroics made fun. Not only is the fighting game system for this sequel reworked just right, it also has a huge cast of heroes and villains with various playstyles, and a lot of DC Comics fan service right with its story campaign and its clashes/intros.
Best of all, there’s a ton of activities and multiplayer to partake in so that you can get that sweet, sweet Harley Quinn and Black Adam chest and head gear for your customization needs. Until Marvel vs. Capcom Infinity comes out later this September, fighting game fans should invest in NetherRealm Studio’s latest.
Resident Evil 7 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Instead of following the convoluted Resident Evil Umbrella Corporation storyline, this new Resident Evil says “forget all that” and just goes straight to first-person survival horror foundations. You’re stuck in a cabin, you have nigh-invincible redneck cannibals hunting you down, and you can’t fight well so you have to hide, run, or at least fend for yourself temporarily. Both newcomers and veterans of the horror franchise will appreciate the exploration bits, the puzzle-solving, and most importantly, the scary parts and the sense of dread that creeps up onto you as you make your escape. If you were burned by past Resident Evil entries, part 7 can be the cure.
TumbleSeed (PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4)
Want a roguelike experience in your puzzle game? Then you should add TumbleSeed to your list of games. The game’s objective is to move a seed up a randomly-generated mountain filled with holes; you have to tilt the green vine left and right while going upwards to avoid pitfalls and traps. Because the levels are randomized and each level goes by quick, there’s that “one more try” factor to it. With lovely bright graphics, simple mechanics, addictive gameplay, and a moderate price tag, this puzzle game can’t be beat.
Disney Afternoon Collection (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
And now for something retro-tastic: six awesome Capcom titles from the NES days in their original state, made playable and in pristine condition. We’ve got the two Chip & Dale: Rescue Ranger co-op platformers, both DuckTales games featuring Scrooge McDuck’s pogo stick platforming, the Darkwing Duck game that’s essentially Disney’s version of Mega Man, and the TailSpin shoot-em-up.
There’s clearly a lot of great care to make these games easy to play and get into, and they even included the intentional slowdown bits for some of the titles just like in the original. The bonus gallery featuring Capcom’s concept art and the chiptune version of the Disney Afternoon theme are a bloody good touch. This is one nostalgia trip worth retaking over and over again.
If we missed out a title or if you love/hate this list, do let us know on our social media platforms & Discord channel.