Wednesday, January 24, 2018

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Five Most Overlooked/Underrated Games

Routinely on SuperPhillip Central I write about the games that didn't quite get as much attention as I personally thought they should have, whether through sales or through word of mouth. Obviously your Call of Duty games, Star Wars Battlefronts, and Assassin's Creeds get a lot of attention, but so many other games fall through the cracks. These five games of 2017 are the ones that I played that I believe deserved more mentions from folks in the industry and game players in general.

5) Fire Emblem Warriors (NSW, N3DS)


Musou games don't really review well, but the Fire Emblem franchise generally does. Since Awakening on the Nintendo 3DS, the Fire Emblem franchise has also seen higher sales than it originally did. Thank goodness for waifus, I guess. Thus, the combination of the Musou genre and the Fire Emblem franchise seemed like a match made in heaven. However, many decisions on both the developer side and the publisher side did Fire Emblem Warriors more harm than good. For one, the selection of characters for the roster was picked from a limited selection from Fire Emblem's illustrious history. Secondly, Nintendo unfortunately decided to release Warriors but a week before Super Mario Odyssey. Guess which game won out in sales. It's a shame, as while Fire Emblem Warriors does have its issues, it's still a highly competent and rewarding Musou game. Instructing units before and during battle to specific locations to strategically take care of objectives, being concerned with the paper, rock, scissors-like weapon triad, and more made for a Fire Emblem game worthy of the franchise name.

4) Monster Hunter Stories (3DS)


The Nintendo 3DS's 2017 was a good one, despite the system starting to fade out of the spotlight thanks to the release of the hotly anticipated Nintendo Switch. Many 3DS games were cast to the wayside in interest compared to how they would have been welcomed when the system was in its golden years. This past fall's Monster Hunter Stories was one of these games, and not just because of the 3DS fading out, but also due to a much more important entry in the series, Monster Hunter World, getting all of the attention. That said, Monster Hunter Stories itself carried all of the greatness and features of the Monster Hunter series and reestablished them in turn-based RPG form. You still explored vast lands searching for monsters to do battle with, earning their hides and pelts from defeating them, but this time you could have them on your team through entering monster nests and stealing and hatching eggs. This Pokemon-styled collection aspect meant that not only was the forging of new weapons and armor a fun grind, but so was adding as many monster species to your arsenal as well.

3) Knack II (PS4)


The first entries of some games have then soured players on trying out future titles due to the first entry being less than fantastic to play. That was the case with the Knack, a game that saw much success in sales due to arriving as a launch title for the PlayStation 4, even being bundled with the system in Japan. However, the game itself was pretty repetitive and was more of a technological showcase for the system than a fun game. Thankfully, Knack and the dev team were given a second chance with a sequel, and while many turned up their noses at it or hyped the game up ironically through meme usage, Knack II ended up being a really good game overall. A nice mix of combat, platforming, and exploration made for a sequel that improved on the original Knack in every conceivable way. Here's hoping that somehow Sony bankrolls a third chapter in the Knack series so we can get a full trilogy, and maybe some more memes, too.

2) Gravity Rush 2 (PS4)


This next game released to little fanfare and even smaller sales. Much like its PlayStation Vita predecessor, Gravity Rush 2 failed to light the sales charts on fire and has become an overlooked, under-appreciated, but still high quality game in the PlayStation library. The gravity-bending mechanic from the original Gravity Rush returned, and it never felt better, being much more improved and comfortable to use. Main character Kat was as ever adorable and precocious with her unending optimism and positiveness, and of course, all of her gravity abilities allowing her swift travel across the game world and new combat techniques in battle. Gravity Rush 2's online services are already on the chopping block, not even a year after release, and while no trophies are affected, the superb online experience will no longer be available. Still, Gravity Rush 2 is a certifiably noteworthy game within the PS4's ever-extending library.

1) Ever Oasis (3DS)


From the mind of the man behind Secret of Mana and the developer team behind the Nintendo 3DS remakes of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Majora's Mask 3D, comes this wholly original game made exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS. This action-RPG had plenty of personality to it, dungeons to explore, quests to complete, baddies and bosses to bash, loot to hoard, and your grand home, the oasis, to build up and replenish. Ever Oasis was part dungeon-crawler, part exploration, part action-RPG, and part simulation, and it all added up to an amazing experience. Like many Nintendo 3DS games released last year, the hardware Ever Oasis was released upon was deemed old hat by the March arrival of the Nintendo Switch. That said, if breaking out your old Nintendo 3DS doesn't churn your stomach after experience an HD portable experience with the Switch, then Ever Oasis is definitely a great pickup and game to engross yourself in.

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