It’s been a truly spectacular year for gaming, Nintendo treated us to a brilliant new console and new games from classic franchises (Mario / Zelda), while there’s also been many exclusives from Sony (Horizon Zero Dawn for example) and Microsoft (erm, Xbox One X ?). As the year draws to a close, some awesome games announced for next year keep on coming from Playstation Experience such as a new Soul Calibur (About time, Namco!), also a new Tomb Raider (that Square Enix is teasing as a whole entirely different adventure but no more info as of yet) and more to come – will 2018 be able to beat the highs of 2017 in gaming?
Let’s start this off with Nintendo. Not only has the company risen from the ashes of the Wii-U like a phoenix to launch an innovative console but also gained respect from competitors at launch with most publishers / developers praising Nintendo on their success. Recent figures suggest 10 million Switch units have been sold worldwide, proving their approach of launching a console during an unusual time period. And Christmas will bring even more console sales meaning 2018 looks bright for the company.
In part this could be down to two of Nintendo’s most iconic game series being launched – Zelda and Mario. While Mario took a little while to appear on the Switch, Zelda: Breath of the Wild launched with Ninty’s new console and proved the console could kick out some power as Breath of the Wild looked stunningly beautiful on the new console. The game not only looked good but also played great as well – Nintendo re-invented the game to be played more open world – sandbox style. It helped sell a lot of Switch consoles making it the must own game for the new system.
Nintendo has managed to release a steady stream of great games both new titles in series and entirely new games such as the brilliant Arms. Nintendo managed to get a lot of indie developers on board too – so a flurry of existing titles have been released for Switch – such as Stardew Valley.
That brings us pretty much up to date with the release of Mario Odyssey – whenever a Mario title is released Nintendo knows it will be a success, but as the first Mario game to be released for the new console, Odyssey was an important staple in the series. Like Zelda, the format was changed to be more open – gamers have the choice in the way they get to play the game. Giving gamers the freedom to play in the way they see fit ensures the game will appeal to a wider audience.
Nintendo have triumphed this year, proving the naysayers wrong that as a company, they are relevant In today’s ever changing market.
And it’s not just Nintendo that have performed well this year either – Sony have released a number of exclusive games such as Horizon: Zero Dawn and more recently, their PlayLink range of games – that utilise apps on IOS / Android phones to control the games. The games themselves are pretty simple – quiz / party games that appeal to a mass market but are fun, easy to play and around £16 each.
I’m not much of an Xbox gamer though I still need to mention Microsoft have released their Xbox One X console – while I hate the name, It’s one of the most powerful consoles on the market. And I feel it’s mainly just a response to the PS4 Pro, it’s still an example of the gaming market being expanded upon. We are maybe a bit far off the PS5 and whatever bizarre name Microsoft think of for their next Xbox, however.
While there have been many fantastic games released this year, only one stands out for me. My Game of the Year has to be Zelda: Breath of the Wild unsurprisingly. I may be biased as Zelda has always been a favourite game of mine, but Breath of the Wild took the series to a whole new level. The graphics, music and gameplay all combine together to create a game that for me, is near enough perfect.
Other games released this year haven’t been able to match it. While I haven’t really been back and played it again after completing the story, I still feel it’s an immersive, wonderful experience as all games should strive to be. Even my beloved Mario (whilst still an amazing game) could not compete with Breath of the Wild’s charms.
With so many games being announced already for next year – it looks set to be a good year ahead for gaming. Do you agree with my Game of the Year choice? Or was there one you felt more deserving of the title? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year if I don’t blog over the Christmas period J