Fraser Brown’s favourite games of 2017

We asked a handful of our contributors to put together a list of their three favourite games from 2017. Their picks are running across the week while the rest of RPS slumbers.

I think I would have lost my mind if it wasn’t for the many incredible digital holidays I’ve taken in 2017. It’s been a bit overwhelming to play so many great but also massive games in a single year, however. New Year’s resolution: squeeze more brief games into my life.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

If I only got one pick instead of three, this would have to be it — a game where you can chat to haughty crabs one minute and steal someone’s face to hide the fact that you’re a walking, talking skeleton the next. It sets the bar for sandbox RPGs but also boasts exceptional (and crazy) tactical combat that, incredibly, I might enjoy more than XCOM’s. What can I say? I love to set fire to things.

Tacoma

The impetus for my resolution, Tacoma is as slick and clever as it is intimate and heartfelt. The titular space station made for a wonderful, temporary home, and its inhabitants fantastic company. 50 hours of world-building couldn’t make it more vivid, and there are few stronger examples of fantastic environmental storytelling and incidental flavour. I must have read the ingredients to every packet of food on the station, and I have no regrets.

Total War: Warhammer 2

Warhammer 2 might have finally knocked Shogun 2 off the top of my Total War list, and when combined with the first game via Mortal Empires, it’s the most ambitious thing Creative Assembly has ever made, both in terms of its incredible scale and its elaborate, diverse factions. It’s the Skaven who are the stars though — nothing will ever be as fun as commanding armies of chittering ratmen as they devour an entire world.

9 Comments

  1. Jeroen D Stout says:

    I was really surprised by how much I liked Tacoma. The casualness of it, and the great way of viewing the story won me over. I started wishing more television shows had similar scrubbing-through-timeline ability. Watching someone’s photos, missing a few words and thoughtlessly scrubbing back just is a great mechanic.

    Add to that the intrige of playing a character whose motivations are kept from you, and it is all really quite tidy and nice.

    It was also very satisfying finishing the game and feeling you just watch-played a short novel, with no gameplay ‘hooks’ that demand you go back and collect all the sauce packets. Just the satisfaction of having a story well-read, which you can look back fondly on.

    • Fraser Brown says:

      Yeah, I absolutely loved sneaking a glimpse at a letter home or an email argument while the crew chatted away, knowing that I wouldn’t have to miss anything.

  2. Carra says:

    Divinity is also my game of the year. It also means I’ve only been playing that game for three months. I’m trying to balance that by playing some small games in between the giga games.

    • ashleys_ears says:

      This is why I appreciate Dead Cells so much. It’s basically perfect for just picking up and playing for an hour here or there. Also Kingdom: New Lands. It’s nice to have stuff like that to fit in while I’m diving into giant, sprawling titles like Nier: Automata, Divinity and The Witcher.

  3. MaxMcG says:

    I think they ruined the TW games once they started speeding everything up by 5000% or whatever. I hate playing it at half speed, with the dulled sound; engagements are over in no time. It’s hard to plan tactics on the fly without pausing constantly. Why the rush? Why can’t they at least make speed an option for us 40-somethings?

    • Halk says:

      Oh dear! That is a valid concern I have given that I prefer playing strategy games at a more leisurely speed in my dotage. Is there really no in-game speed slider function?

      • Fraser Brown says:

        There are many speed settings, just like every other Total War. The default speed should be fine most of the time, and I rarely slow it down, but the faster speeds are handy when a battle is pretty much done and you’re just waiting for it to end.

  4. poliovaccine says:

    Tacoma reminds me of something I’ve always wanted out of books, and might try myself someday. Yknow how, when you read something online, particularly an encyclopedic entry or something with a citation or a footnote, sometimes you can mouse over the relevant word or phrase, which will be hyperlinked, and then a bubble or window pops up displaying further information? I want to see that with *detail,* in *fiction.* Maybe even in screenplays, but definitely in novels – like, so that details which are enriching but unnecessary can find their way into that same moment – can even hyperlink to other points in the story’s chronology as they refer to them, so that you can pick your way through the book mosaic-style if you rather, and there’s no directly obvious linear way to read it. Sort of like what Naked Lunch wanted to do/arguably does, but supported by technology. Is it clear what I’m describing, and why Tacoma reminds me of it so much?

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      Yossi says:

      Tyranny does the first half of what you describe, very well. Some words in the dialog are colored, hovering on them you get a more detailed background, or a reminder to something that your character did earlier, and in some cases you can click to get even more details.

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