- Nier: Automata (PS4) (9.5/10) One of the best stories I've ever experienced in video games with wonderfully written characters, combined with a huge amount of gameplay variety and a fun and fast-paced combat system, which had been the weak point in Yoko Taro's earlier works. Easily going to make my top 50 games of all time list this year.
- GRIS (PC) (8/10) An absolutely gorgeous 2D platformer, easily one of the best looking games I've ever played, with a beautiful soundtrack layered on top of it all. The actual gameplay is quite simple, but solid, and there are some very satisfying moments of platforming in the game, even if none of it is all that challenging. It is a very short game, but every moment I spent with GRIS was thoroughly enjoyable.
- Middle-Earth: Shadow of War (PS4) (8/10) A solid open world game made better by the nemesis system that did the same for Shadow of Mordor. The gameplay is fun, the world has a lot of nice variety to it, and although the story is kinda silly in the context of the books, but as a kind of non-canon side thing it's fine enough. Gets a bit grindy at the end, which soured me a little towards it, but it wasn't too bad. If the epilogue had been like in the original release before the balance changes and the removal of lootboxes I probably would have not been nearly as kind towards the game, but as it stands now I do recommend Shadow of War.
- Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (PS4) (8.5/10) A charming and gorgeous and a sequel to one of my favourite games from the previous console generation. I'm not sure if I would rank it higher than the first game, though. The gameplay is vastly improved compared to the first one, with the battle system, side quests and the other side stuff available for you to do just being much more interesting and varied in comparison. The story and character are also very good, but I might still prefer the first game's cast and story to this one. Still a very good game, and well worth the time I put into it.
- The Banner Saga 2 (PC) (8/10) The Banner Saga-games (at least the first two) aren't necessarily groundbreaking tactical RPGs in any way, at least as far as gameplay is concerned. Every element of the gameplay can be found in other games in one form or another, but these are still very well put together games with a battle system that has plenty of tactical depth to it. The nordic mythology-inspired story is very well written and the characters are interesting as well. Still, perhaps the most impressive aspect of these games is the visual style. The backgrounds and characters look absolutely gorgeous, and the animated sequences always look great as well, though I wish there were more of them. Overall, Banner Saga 2 is a good game that I enjoyed playing through, just one that doesn't really bring anything new to the genre.
- A Short Hike (PC) (7.5/10) A charming little game that I finished on a single sitting. It's unlikely that I'll ever go back to the game, but the short story it tells is quite lovely, and the relaxing, low-stakes gameplay is perfect for unwinding in-between other more demanding games. If you're looking for a game to just take your mind off things and just relax for a few hours, this is a very good option for that.
- Nioh (PS4) (8/10) A very good Dark Souls-inspired games, that doesn't quite reach the same heights as FromSoftware's titles. I enjoyed the gameplay for the most part, the story was fine, if somewhat disjointed, and William is a good main character. The locations aren't as interesting as those found in Dark Souls for example, and the world as a whole also feels like a collection of disconnected places that don't feel like part of the same world very often. Still, despite my issues, I very much enjoyed the game overall, but unlike Dark Souls or Bloodborne I'll likely never replay it.
- Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince (PS4) (8.5/10) Played through the game in co-op, and as of right now it might be my favourite in the entire series. I'll have to go through it alone at some point to come to a conclusion, but even with the co-op playthrough Trine 4 is a very good game. The puzzles are better and more varied than in previous games, the gameplay much more fluid and intuitive, and while the story has never really been that important in the series outside of setting up a fairytale-like tone, it's fun and charming as well. Just an overall enjoyable game to play, and a great co-op title as well.
- My Time At Portia (PC) (8.5/10) This was a really fun and relaxing game, that in a lot of ways reminds me of Harvest Moon, except instead of building a farm you do so with a crafting workshop. I put almost 130 hours into this game, and I finished the main storyline and most of the sidequests in that time, and I enjoyed pretty much all of it. There's just so much stuff you can do here, besides crafting new machines and items there's farming, relationship building, dungeons to explore, ruins where you can mine for ore and relics, and so much more.
- Deponia (PC) (7.5/10) Every once in a while I get in the mood to play some traditional point-and-click adventure games, and I'd had Deponia (and two sequels to it) on my Steam library for ages, so this was a good time to get around to playing it. Visually it's a very good looking game, and the setting is interesting and unique. The story and characters were pretty good too, though it does show that this was essentially just the first chapter in the story, so a lot of stuff was left unfinished. The main character can be somewhat annoying at times, especially early on in the game, but that also gives him some clear room for growth and development, which is nice. I guess the best thing I can say is that after finishing Deponia I'm still looking forward to playing the rest of the series.
- Wild Arms 3 (PS4) (8/10) It had been a while since I'd played a proper old-school JRPG that I hadn't previously experienced, and since I had bought Wild Arms 3 a while back on a sale I thought I'd give it a shot. Overall, I really enjoyed it. The music is great, I really like the world these games take place in, the characters are well written and interesting, and the gameplay has enough unique elements to separate it from the pack. The story is fairly standard JRPG fare, but the main issue I had with the game is the fact that it just doesn't really explain a lot of its mechanics to the player very well. Several times over the course of the game I had to go and find out what certain things actually meant from guides or forum posts, because I couldn't find the information within the game itself. Still, this is a good game well worth playing though, especially if you're a fan of the genre.
- Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4) (9.5/10) I genuinely loved this game, and it could very well end up as my GotY at the end of the year. I thought the battle system is excellent, with a genuinely well designed take on the classic ATB system at its core, the expanded story and characters were great, and visually this is one of the best looking games of the year. I'm also very curious to see where they take this story going forward considering how the game ended. The sidequests were the one aspect I would have liked to have been more interesting, but at least the gameplay made them enjoyable enough. A great game, without question. I won't compare it to the original until the whole story has been told, but this is definitely a good way to get things started with the remake.
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III (PS4) (9.5/10) I finally got around to playing and finishing Trails of Cold Steel III after having it sitting on my shelf since last Christmas, and it was just as great as I expected after the previous two games. This is now the fifth game in the series that I've played, and they've made the series one of my absolute favourite video game franchises of all time, behind only Final Fantasy and Dark Souls. The story and characters are among the best I've ever seen in video games, the gameplay is a lot of fun, and the music very good as well. Now I just need to wait for Trails of Cold Steel IV
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Remastered (PS4) (8/10) After several huge RPGs I really needed to play something much smaller for a change, and since I had the Nathan Drake Collection downloaded on my PS4 I though I'd replay the whole series through for the first time in several years. The first game in the series is still the weakest of lot, but the remastering has improved the gameplay noticeably, which was always the biggest issue in the game. Drake's Fortune also always had problems with its pacing, especially in the latter half, and that's still the case here. Overall, this feels like a game that already has all the right elements in place, they just aren't quite polished enough or don't come together as well as they should yet. Fortunately, this would change for the better in the sequels. Still a very good game, but not as good as the follow-ups.
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Remastered (PS4) (9/10) Basically just a better version of the first game, with improved balance between puzzles, exploration and combat, great set-pieces, and just an overall excellent presentation.
- The Messenger (PC) (8.5/10) A clever retro-style game that starts as a straightforward action-platformer in the style of old-school Ninja Gaiden that turns into a Metroidvania a few hours in. The time-travel mechanic is really clever and well-designed, and the art style shifting between 8- 16-bit graphics depending on which time period you're in is a wonderful touch.
- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS4) (8.5/10) Basically Uncharted 2, just not quite as well-thought out in terms of story and pacing. Still a great game, but some of it feels like Naughty Dog just trying to come up with ways to upstage the previous game's setpieces rather than logically leading Drake to those situations in service of the story.
- Doom (2016) (PS4) (8.5/10) Finally got around to playing Doom 2016, and I'm very glad I did, as it ended as one of the three best FPS games of this console generation alongside Titanfall 2 and Wolfenstein: New Order. This is how you stand out in the FPS genre, by taking things back to basics and just being faster and more straightforward than pretty much any other mainstream FPS around these days.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) (9/10) It's a weird feeling when I finish a game and think it's both great and overrated at the same time. I finally got around to playing Breath of the Wild after getting a Switch and the game for christmas last year, and overall it's an excellent game. The world is gorgeous and filled with interesting places to visit, the gameplay mostly really fun, the story is good for Zelda-standards, the sense of adventure and discovery is impeccable, and yet it's just not quite as exceptional as it's been made out to be. For everything the game does right there is always a minor source of annoyance or frustration that put a damper on the adventure from time to time, and that keeps it from being the masterpiece a lot of others consider it to be in my mind. Still an excellent game, regardless.
- Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4) (9.0/10) Overall, I'd probably call this the best game in the series. The gameplay is the more polished and varied than before, the story serves as a wonderful final chapter to Drake's tale, and the different locations you get to visit in the game are all memorable and gorgeous. The only thing it's missing is that one mind-blowing setpiece akin to the train level in UC2, but otherwise it's a wonderful game.
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PS4) (8.5/10) A great Metroidvania with a cool setting, fun gameplay, great music, and a lot of secrets and easter eggs to find. About as close to Castlevania you can get without being called that. The only real negative for me was the lack of any clear guidance at certain points in the game. There were more than a few times were I had no idea where I was supposed to go next, and had to just run around the world before I happened upon the right place.
- Final Fantasy IX (PS4) (10/10) Still my favourite game of all time. It had been quite a few years since I last played it, and the digital version on PS4 gave me a nice excuse to go back to it once more. The only real issues I had with it were related to the port, and not the game itself. Things like less smooth menus than in the original, minor audio issues and other small things that had for some reason been made worse in the remaster. Besides that, FFIX is without question a masterpiece, and my personal best game of all time. I guess the game could have one or two more challenging superbosses, but that's just nitpicking.
- God of War (PS4) (9/10) If I had managed to finish God of War a little earlier it would have been in top 50 games of all time this year. Obviously the visuals are absolutely gorgeous, the music is great, and the gameplay is extremely satisfying and fun. However, the real star is the story, and especially the character development that happens throughout the game. It's genuinely amazing that Santa Monica have managed to somehow make Kratos of all characters actually relatable, and do it in a way that doesn't feel disjointed or at odds with how he was portrayed in the previous games. The rest of the cast is equally excellent and written wonderfully.
- The Witcher (PC) Slowly making progress on-and-off. About halfway through at the moment I think, maybe a little more.
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PS3)
- Dark Souls Remastered (PS4)
- Chaos in Deponia (PC)
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