Thursday, January 11, 2018

2017: The Good, the Bad, and the SaHD

Man, looking at last year's post, I had some high hopes for 2017.  Considering the travesty that had taken place the previous November, I'm not sure why I thought things would be okay.  Anyway, let us start with the good stuff from 2017.

There were some really fun games released this year, so was hard for me to pick a favorite for the podcast.  Tokyo Xanadu was a lot of fun.  I didn't know what to expect going in, but the combination of story/characters that I liked with some fun action-RPG gameplay made it one of the best games I played this year.  Similarly, I had a blast playing Killing Floor 2 with my friends.  There were a few other good games, like Monster Hunter Stories and Disgaea 5 Complete, too.  Even though it released last year (but in 2017 on PC), World of Final Fantasy is a wonderful game.  I bought and played it on the Vita early in 2017, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of Final Fantasy.

As much as I rightfully dislike Nintendo, the Switch is a great system.  Easily their best one since the Super Nintendo.  It's what the Wii U should have been, in my opinion.  While the battery isn't the best, I play it most often in portable mode.  For slower games, I can even lay down on my bed, prop the screen sideways on my nice stand, and hold just the joycons in my hands for the ultimate lazy experience.  If we could get some visual novels on the system, I'd be even happier.  TV mode is also good, where I use the Switch Pro controller for things like Fire Emblem Warriors.

On the Transformers front, we had some really good releases this year (if you could find them).  Titans Returns brought back the headmaster gimmick, where the head transforms into a little robot.  Triggerhappy and Topspin are solid and fun figures.  They both turn into different spaceships that I'd love to see in a shmup-type game.  Masterpiece Megatron also debuted this year, and although I got a KO of it (in my defense, the official is hard to get and way too pricey), it is a wonderful figure, and a good one to display for my collection.  The transformation is pretty crazy, so I don't think I'll be doing it too often.

For the record, The Last Jedi was pretty good, too.  There were some things I didn't agree with, but it was enjoyable.  More importantly, my wife liked it (she's the huge Star Wars fan of the house).

Now for the bad.  There's an elephant in the room, and it has tiny hands, bad hair, and is a complete douche.  So, obviously, the worst thing is the state of my home country, the United States, but we will try to focus on other things.

Gaming wise, Drive Girls was a big miss.  The idea was fun and quirky, but the gameplay just didn't add up.  Bad decisions, boring enemies, and unexplained combat mechanics all dragged it down.  Metroid: Samus Returns had some fun elements, but was again a disappointment (the melee counter was way too prevalent).  Breath of the Wild, while an okay game in its own right (small inventory and weapon durability are two things I hate in games), didn't feel like a Zelda game, and deserves to be here, too.  The Nintendo love train gets way out of hand.  I think every one of their releases saw a month of massive Twitter hype, and it got old fast.  The only consolation was that it would drop off completely the next month.  Remember ARMS?  Yeah, me neither.

However, the worst gaming-related thing was what happen with Gazillion and Marvel Heroes Omega.  I got review codes for the starting bundles, and tried the game out.  I really enjoyed it, and played with not only my wife, but one of my other friends as well.  Gazillion then closed down, but the servers were supposed to be up until the end of the year.  Turns out, they just left them up that week, and shut it all down.  None of the actual workers for the company got their severance or accrued vacation pay, either.  I'm sure the a-hole that ran the company (into the ground) was well compensated at the expense of everyone else, though.

For Transformers, the big negative was distribution.  There were several figures that just didn't get wide enough releases.  While normally the first waves are overstocked and later waves under, this year felt even worse.  Besides the fact that "the normal" should exist like that, even the second wave of things barely hit stores.  The movie line was especially bad.  I'm assuming that the movie didn't really catch on had something to do with it, but also decisions about the toy line itself were terrible.  It was just loaded with repaints or re-releases of figures from the previous movie.  There was a Barricade in the first wave, and it was the only new deluxe mold for a bit.  I never saw the Cogman figure in stores, and I only saw one report of two figures anywhere in my state.  The few good figures didn't last long on shelves, assuming they were even there.  I'm glad I got Nitro the first time I saw him, as it was probably the last!

For the new year, I am definitely excited to play Monster Hunter World.  The demo showed me that the game hasn't really changed that much, but I could easily do without following the monster's tracks with my bloodhound firefly.  I'm still undecided what system to get it for.  I might have more people to play with on the PS4, but I want to support companies that actually release stuff on the Xbox One.  Plus, the XB1X enhancements (if they do them) would look amazing.

I'm hoping for some good sales on some of the stuff from 2017 that I don't have yet, and a few more good review games for the Switch.  The new Transformers line, Power of the Primes, should be in full swing soon.  I'm sure the distribution will still be a mess, but I'm going to try and get the few figures I'm really interested in.  I'll again hope the QC gets better than the previous two years.

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