Not often enough does a story in a video game leave you as speechless as Nier: Automata left me when I played it this past year. Starting off as a fairly common “how human are robots” type of tale, it escalates with each ending. Eventually, the places it goes will leave you a quivering pile of personified existential dread that few narrative media forms have been able to match up to this point. Nier: Automata also sports some of the best characters of the year and manages to make good on their arcs more often than not. In a play of classiness, not often seen in huge games like this one, it will even let you buy any of the game’s trophies after you complete the game so you can enjoy it without worrying about completing every last thing. Many of the mechanics in the game can be used in surprisingly creative ways and there are a few side-quests that are just as good as the main story. Nier: Automata definitely deserves the spot as the 6th best game of 2017.
Tabletop gaming has been something I’ve only gotten deeper into with the last few years, while my video game hobby has been around since I could hold a controller. Since I started getting more into playing board games, I’ve been excited to see the two types of games blend together. There has been no better example of this concept than Hand of Fate. Taking some core concepts of tabletop gaming, like drawing cards for random chance encounters, and mixing them with video game concepts like real-time combat encounters, it worked surprisingly well. Hand of Fate 2 takes all of this and expands upon everything adding more elements and improving the overall structure of how the game is played to make for an even better blend.
Porting classic games has become something of an epidemic during this console generation. What’s worse is that, more often than not, these ports act as a reminder of just how far graphics in video games have come across the years. Rare exceptions to this rule do occur and when treated with the proper care, some games shine on the newer platforms. If I hadn’t played it back on PS2, and you told me that Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir was a brand new game I would likely believe you. The upgrades they’ve made to this classic action RPG were smart and the gorgeous graphics, a trademark of Vanillaware, looks as good today as they did back in 2007.
Entering fresh into a well-established franchise can be a pretty intimidating prospect. Warhammer 40,000 has a storied history in numerous media types including tabletop, video games and even a movie. Thus, coming in blind would be kind of like going to see Captain America: Civil War without seeing any of the previous movies. It’s certainly entertaining, but a little hard to follow in terms of character motivations and the established universe. Still, as I have found in the past, sometimes diving into this proverbial deep end is the perfect way to shoulder your way into something new and find the perfect jumping off point to becoming a fan. This is the approach I took in checking out Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor — Martyr at E3 this year and from what I saw, it looks to be the perfect on-ramp for me to get into the series.