The Delfies 2017 #8

Among the many strong titles of 2017 vying for a gamer’s time, there’s always the allure of the persistent games from yesteryear further muddying that choice. It’s not even a case of going and cleaning your backlog of The Witcher 3; I’m referring to the multiplayer games that remain a constant time sink in the gaming landscape. The MOBAs like Dota 2, the shooters like Counterstrike, the card games like Hearthstone, and, of course, the MMORPGs.

While the genre has retreated to more of a niche in the past few years, the behemoths of the MMOs still lurk… and one of them put out an expansion pack in 2017 that I thought was pretty damn good.

Delfies 2017 #8: Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood


Played on: PC, also available on PS4

Final Fantasy 14 has a development history unlike any other title in video games. If a bad game is released, it will usually remain bad, and even if the developers are somehow able to improve the situation it is unlikely to receive the attention of gamers a second time. It doesn’t matter what company you are or the size of your budget; releasing an awful game to abysmal scores and catastrophic results should not ever see the game rise above it to become great.

Still, most developers don’t have the budget or pedigree of Square Enix in order to make their second attempt. Even then, that pedigree isn’t exactly saying much when a trilogy of Final Fantasy 13 titles produced only one good game between them, and there’s a lot I could say negatively about their last ten years of JRPGs. Nonetheless, when the release of FF14 proved disastrous on all fronts, Square Enix decided to double down on the project and do their best to fix it, to the point of remaking the entire game from scratch as a sequel.

By all accounts, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn should not have been possible. Even reusing assets and concepts from the original release, they effectively built an entire MMORPG from the ground up in just two and a half years. And somehow, that newly released title managed to recapture the goodwill of players who had written off the first, continuing to grow and improve into one of the largest and most successful MMORPGs in history.

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The Delfies 2017 #9

Assuming you don’t count any Switch titles as exclusively handheld games — and the jury is still out on that one — then this is the sole appearance of a game on a handheld console this year. Given that the 3DS has mostly been supplanted by the Nintendo Switch and the PS Vita continues to barely exist outside of Japan, this might be the last hurrah for solid handheld exclusives for the rest of the console generation.

That said, it feels fitting to me that perhaps the final game on the 3DS to get this distinction is also a glorious return to form for a long absent series, as well as a solid reimagining of a classic game.

Delfies 2017 #9: Metroid: Samus Returns

Genre: 2D Action/Adventure/Platformer

Played on: 3DS (Exclusive)

It’s been a while, Samus. Good to see you again; I know many missed your games, and I’m definitely among them.

2016 was the 30th anniversary of the original Metroid, but it barely received even the slightest acknowledgement from Nintendo during this time. It had been six years since the last Metroid game, unless you count Federation Force (which nobody does), and it had been even longer than that since the last good Metroid game. For a long time, the fanbase of Metroid was distraught and felt that perhaps there’d not be a return of the armour clad bounty hunter heroine’s adventures.

Instead, it took the extremely well made fan game of Project AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake) to acknowledge the prestigious date of the anniversary. Boasting immense attention to detail and quality pushing it well beyond what fan games had ever seen before, Project AM2R was an instant success and massively adored by players. It was sad, then, that Nintendo culled the project barely a week after its release, ordering its total closure.

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The Delfies 2017 #10

The first entry on this list is somewhat special, as it immediately stretches the criteria I set up for determining my favourite games of the year. That said, had I not done so, you’d be reading either a Top 9 or instead reading about another game that I finished but didn’t consider worthy of this list.  Given what I feel about that game compared to this one, that’d just be unfair, so this title gets the sole exception.

The Delfies 2017 #10: Prey

Delfies Prey header

Genre: FPS/RPG
Played on: PC, also available on PS4, XB1

(Note: For future entries, I’m planning to include a launch trailer here. In Prey’s case… the launch trailer just does a disservice to the game as a whole, quite frankly, so it’s omitted.)

It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Prey 2017 completely flew under the radar, but it did seem to get less attention than it otherwise should have. Perhaps that’s because people still long for the now canceled Prey 2 cyberpunk alien bounty hunter action shown only in glorious trailers. Maybe it was following right on the heels of a string of hotly anticipated games from February to April. Whatever the reason, people are missing out.

Prey is probably the closest an action game has gotten to evoking the sense of tension and unease that made System Shock 2 one of the most memorable games in history. Most other titles that accomplish this are usually firmly in the horror genre, and they usually do so by taking away any sense of empowerment a player might have against the creeping terrors; it’s hard to maintain that same sense of fear and tension when the game puts a shotgun in your hands.

Now some might quickly interrupt me here and say that Resident Evil 7 managed to accomplish this in the same year as Prey, and you’d be correct. But I would say that Resident Evil was firmly a horror game, pitting you against tough situations that you had limited resources to overcome. Prey? Prey doesn’t limit you nearly as much.

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The Delfies 2017: Introduction and Quick Links

Welcome to the Delfies Awards of 2017!

Starting with the number 10 position and counting down one per day, I shall be going over what I considered my favourite games of 2017. This post shall be kept at the top of the blog for the duration and will be updated with each new entry for quick links. Be sure to check them out!

#10: View
#9: View
#8: View
#7: ASAP
#6: ASAP

(All dates will usually be met around 11pm AEST, if not as soon as I can readily have them available)

While each post will be fairly detailed about what the games are and why I like them so much, I also want to go over my criteria for what qualifies for selection. There’s also a pretty big disclaimer in there that I shall direct you to if, for any reason, you want to protest my choices or believe something should be higher, lower, or absent. That said, I still welcome all discussions on the matter so feel free to message me and we can chat about it. More after the cut!

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Backlog Battle Report (15th Jan 2018)

This week’s report is sponsored by sleep; appreciate what you get of it, because you probably are more rested and feel better for it than I do presently. In conjunction with a big sleep deficit, I’ve also been very fickle and have jumped from game to game pretty rapidly, meaning we’re back to having a wide assortment of titles listed today. So here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

Heroes of the Storm (PC)

I’ve eased up a little bit on the relentless Heroes games over the last week, but it’s still seeing at least a game or two from me on most days. As suggested, the latest patch went through last week and attempted a few balances to keep the games from being snowbally stomps. It also introduced the newest hero: Blaze, a Firebat from Starcraft. Betcha that name took a while to come up with. There’s also been a handful of buffs/nerfs and another rework for Malfurion.

I haven’t played Malfurion just yet so I can’t speak on how that treated him, but I can talk about Blaze and the other changes. So, did the changes make the game less early game centric? A little bit. Towers and keeps hurt a bit more so minions won’t completely bulldoze them if a specialist walks up to them with a wave and a funny look, but they’re still not the threats of yore. Things are a little slower and late-game is a thing, but it’s certainly possible to keep rolling through and win fairly easily. Probably could use more tweaks, but we’ll see. As I said last week, I don’t really mind the faster pace of the games.

So, Blaze. At long last, the long awaited and anticipated Firebat enters the field. With his release, every leaked hero from a credible source has now hit the Nexus, which means anything further from here is new ground. No idea who’s next, which is always a fun place for speculation… but even if the next release is a way off, I’ll probably need that long to fully acquaint myself with Blaze.

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Backlog Battle Report (8th Jan 2018)

Aaaand I’m immediately back dating the first article. Figures, right? Well, in my defence, it was half finished on Monday evening and then continued to prove larger and more unwieldy as the week progressed. There was also nearly a month of material to go back through, a lot of which I’ve cherry picked for the sake of preserving briefly played games for Right Click to Zoom related articles. This isn’t a comprehensive list, far from it… and reasons for that will quickly become evident.

Anyway, with that said, here’s the bulk of what’s gotten my playtime in the new year.

Heroes of the Storm (PC)

(Addendum: This was the first game I covered for the article, and since it’s been a while since writing, there’s been an update patch and the Firebat hero Blaze has been released. That wasn’t the case when this was written though, as it was still a day before the patch. Thoughts and feelings of the patch and new hero next week!

…The Hanzo buffs, though. Oh god, the unnecessary and powerful Hanzo buffs…)

The inevitable constant and semi-dependable comfort game in my library, Heroes of the Storm was a given to be listed in any recent playtime. It might shock people to know just how damn much I’ve been pouring into this game over the last few weeks, however. I’d normally play a couple of games to in a week, usually in one or two sessions with friends.

By contrast, I began December as account level 830, and I am now 885 at the very least.

To those who don’t play, it’s worth explaining that account level is derived from the total level of all heroes. Those levels start out fairly swift, and you’ll probably get level 2 with a new character on all but the fastest, worst games imaginable, but it becomes increasingly tougher. Once a character is level 12, the experience needed remains constant, and will usually take about four or five games (provided you have an experience boost, which I do).

There were two characters in this patch I played from 1 upwards, that being Hanzo and Alexstrasza, but everything else was about level 6 or higher all the way up. You can do the math there if you’re really interested, but we can sum it up as “Delfeir played a ton of Heroes of the Storm to close out the year”.

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Delfeir vs. 2018

Been a little while, hasn’t it? So much so that the calendar ticked over yet again, faster than ever. Well, now seems as good as any to get this project back on track and give an update.

First things first: If you’re reading this, thank you immensely for your time, interest, patience and dialogue. I’m not exactly standing on a large podium and reaching a significant crowd, and my name doesn’t exactly carry any weight online, so consider yourselves the few and the proud. All that said, it seriously means a lot that people take time out of their day to read what I have to say and take that discussion up with me or to other places. Might be fairly typical to thank everyone for it, but it is what it is, so thank you guys very much.

With that said, what’s been happening with the blog? Well, I was only planning to miss one Backlog Report largely due to not actually playing anything of note that week. It was fairly quiet and was filled pretty much only with Heroes of the Storm or games that I was going to be reviewing in full soon after. Unfortunately, that continued into the next week as I stopped playing interesting games so much as sticking to comfort picks during the busy end of year period. Since everyone was occupied with wrapping up their year, I just turned that into a break from which I am now returning.

I was also playing games for the sake of research for future Right Clicks, many of which I didn’t dive into that heavily individually but instead was looking at the genre or platform as a whole. The research phase is now mostly done so I’ll hopefully be coming out with a couple of articles on those topics soon, but as usual with Right Click, I don’t have a solid timeframe for you and will release it when it’s ready.

The Backlog Battle Reports, on the other hand, will be resuming their usual spot on Mondays (give or take a few hours that I might stealthily backdate) starting on the 8th. They’ll be functioning much as they always have and will give snippets and thoughts/discussions I have on the stuff I’ve been currently playing. Nothing new or groundbreaking there, but it’s a fun little exercise that I want to keep maintaining, so there we have it.

For other projects, I’m still writing up my own little “Top 10 Games of 2017” to be released over the coming days. I don’t have a specific day that those will start, but each entry will be a full sized article of its own for each game, so there’s a fair bit to talk about and write for it. Given my tendency to overshoot the mark, I’m writing up a buffer of a couple of entries ahead of time so that I can keep them posting consistently once I begin. We’ll see how that pans out, and I’m aiming for the first to be up sometime in the next week.

That will be 11 articles, with the last being a list of honourable mentions, and there’ll be a mini-update like this one accompanying it to list my personal rules and criteria on what makes a game qualify. I was also considering including a worst of list, buuut… with all the outrage and frustration that a lot are feeling at the games industry as a whole after 2017, I strongly believe it’s better to look at the positive and give due credit and attention to where it’s deserved. The failures and mistakes can rot out of the limelight: we’re here to talk about stuff worthy of being talked about.

Lastly, reviews. I’m still going to be writing and linking to the reviews I do for Switch Indie Reviews as always, and my work for them continues. I like the group there and what they do, so I’m going to be doing my utmost to see that site continue to grow and expand.

Now, there was a second website I was going to be writing for, but during the busy December months I had to look at my workload, health, and other factors and determined that trying to maintain all of those was probably too much for me right now. As such, I quietly withdrew from that project for now, so SIR and this blog are the only places I’m writing for currently. Once I feel I’m able, you can be sure I’ll be looking for new prospects, if not just expanding this site further; expect to see a review or two here for non-Switch consoles, just because.

I think that covers everything from the writing perspective, so that should about do it for this update. Once again, thank you everyone reading this. 2017 was, for all its faults and flaws, quite possibly the best year I’ve personally had in quite some time. Lots of positive improvements and changes were made and I’m doing a lot better than I have been in a while, and all of that was furthered by being able to write about some truly awesome video game experiences. Here’s to hoping 2018 sees the same kind of positive trend and good games.

See you soon for more!