Sunken Treasures Games

Games of the Half-Way Through the Year that May/May Not Have Actually Come Out This Year Awards™ 2017!

It’s that magical time of the year folks — July! We’re just over half way through the year and that means award season has finally arrived. What were your most cherished games that you’ve played so far in 2017 that may or may not have actually come out this year? Which one(s) deserve a nonsensical award? All of them??? Should you put them into a list and share them with the world, celebrating their greatness!? Here are the games I’ve enjoyed so far this year in the order that I love them.

gamesofthehalfwaythroughtheyear

∞. Fortune Street / Final Fantasy XV
These two games are games I’ve been playing for what feels like a lifetime. We still play Fortune Street regularly, and cannot wait for the new one to come out in Japan this year for PS4. Final Fantasy XV is my Stockholm syndrome game of the forever. I can’t pinpoint exactly why I keep playing this game. They keep updating it and I keep loving it. It’s resonated with me in a way I haven’t felt about a game in a long time. It’s really weird. Recently I got a sick Turntable greatsword that blast music as you bludgeon enemies with it. So that’s cool!

1. Yakuza 0
Depending on how the rest of the year goes, this might be the Game of the Year for 2015 when it originally launched in Japan. It’s absolutely incredible and probably my second favorite Yakuza game behind Yakuza 2. The game is bursting with colorful characters and locales, and nearly brought me to tears on multiple occasions due to both it’s dramatic scenes as well as it’s humorous ones. Later this summer we get the Yakuza 1 remake (Kiwami) and next year we get the 6th game in the series and the final entry in Kazuma’s story. It’s a great time to be a fan of this series. If you’ve never played it before 0 is the PERFECT PLACE TO START.

2. Phoenix Wright – Spirit of Justice
Another shockingly great addition to a long running series, Spirit of Justice is the most recent game I’ve finished, and one of the most satisfying Ace Attorney stories since the third game, “Trials and Tribulations”. Now granted, I’ve never played an Ace Attorney game that I didn’t like, but the unique setting of the Kingdom of Khura’in really sets this particular tale apart from the rest.

3. Twilight Princess HD
I’ve played what feels like 100 Zelda games this year, and don’t plan on stopping through the second half. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! The Legend of Zelda has never been a huge series for me. I loved Link to the Past, and played through Wind Waker a year or two ago, but I wouldn’t call myself a big Zelda fan. That said, I’m a much bigger fan having played this incredible game. Everything about the Twilight Realm completely makes this game for me. The wolf Link gameplay was super fun and some of the set pieces/bosses in this game were a sight to behold. It’s a video-game-ass-video-game. I loved it.

4. A Link Between Worlds
Speaking of Zelda games! This was the first that’d I’d completed this year, and being a fan of Link to the Past I thought it was fantastic. The main gimmick of the game — merging onto walls as a graffiti looking painted version of Link — made for some pretty clever puzzles, and the base LttP style combat was as solid as ever. If I had any complaint about the game I’d say it went by too quickly.

5. Katamari Damacy
This was only the second time I’d played through Katamari Damacy (the first time being around when it came out in 2004) and I had forgotten what a perfect little game it is. One thing I had not forgotten about was the game’s heavily praised soundtrack which I’ve been listening to for over a decade now! Outside of the indie games scene, few games that come out these days are this creative/interesting.

6. Little Big Planet 2
I dumped so much time into LBP1 back in the day, making levels, playing multiplayer, etc. — that when I sequel came out I thought “Why would I play a sequel to a game that in theory I could make last forever via user created content.” And to be honest, a teeny tiny part of me still feels that way. But that said, this was a blast to play through with my son via the story mode, full of great, quirky characters, and it’s amazing that all the content from the first game carries over to this one. I didn’t get that same feeling of wonderment as I did with the first game all those years ago, but it still was a fun and rewarding experience.

7. Breath of the Wild
If you’ve talked to me about Breath of the Wild before, you might think that I don’t like it very much. But the fact of the matter is I put 40+ hours of my precious free time into this game and ultimately enjoyed the experience. BotW was sandwiched between Link Between Worlds and Twilight Princess for me and maybe that was a bit unfair. I feel like the ultra-gratifying “traditional” Zelda experience might still be hidden away somewhere on that massive world map, but during my time with the game I never really came across it. But I guess that doesn’t matter, since that’s not what this game is trying to do. It’s evolved what, for a lot of people I imagine, is the stale format of the average Zelda game; and in the end that’s a good thing. I just hope for the next game the developers don’t forget what got them there. Basically, I want to see BotW but with massive dungeons and bosses. That said, the best part of this game was the journey I made to each of the towers and the little experiences I had along the way. The soundtrack’s great too!

8. Wario Land Shake It!
Where was I when this game came out!? This was a super fun little platformer with a really nice hand drawn art style. The juxtaposition between the laid back exploration of the first half of each level, and the mad dash back to the entrance at the end was really great. There were some genuinely challenging bosses sprinkled throughout, but overall the game was a pretty chill/relaxing experience. Even if I was violently shaking the controller regularly.

9. LEGO City Undercover
Now that our kiddo is 3 years old and we’re trying to find more games that we can play with him, the LEGO games have become a big thing for us. Now, let me be the first to say that the majority of the LEGO games we’ve played have all pretty much been the same thing with a different coat of paint, but this LEGO City Undercover game is quite different. It’s an ambitious, open world style game that has TONS of stuff to unlock and places to explore. My only complaint is that like most LEGO games I feel like it controls a little wonky. I also wish more of the buildings/environments looked like they were made from LEGO bricks, but I imagine that would be super difficult/time consuming from a development standpoint.

10. Virtua Tennis 2K2
Over the last year we’ve had the opportunity to play tons of multiplayer with this game, and it just doesn’t get much better/intense than 4 player Virtua Tennis. Why isn’t this game at EVO!? Maybe next year it could be tucked away in the corner with competitive Catherine.

11. Streets of Rage II
Another multiplayer gem, I actually decided to get into this series after picking up the soundtracks on vinyl. I had briefly played a Streets of Rage game before, but it wasn’t until I listened to the second game’s incredible soundtrack that I decided Sarah and I needed to sit down and destroy this game. As it turns out by the 6th stage, we were the one’s getting destroyed! Amazing game though, regardless.

12. Die Hard Arcade
The latest addition to our store’s ever growing arcade, Die Hard Arcade is a game that’s close to my heart. My friends and I played a lot of Dynamite Cop on the Dreamcast, and while we joked about how ludicrous it was, I think secretly we all enjoyed it. It’s a multiplayer beat-em-up after all, from a time when SEGA’s creative output was kind of on fire. Die Hard Arcade is actually the first game in the Dynamite Deka series, and has little to nothing to do with the Die Hard film series outside of them modeling the protagonist after Bruce Willis. The game does take place in a large building, so that too I guess? Next time you’re in the shop, drop a quarter into this wacky brawler and marvel as your character uses bazookas in-doors at point blank range. It’s super fun!

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Anywho, that’s it for games I feel like I fully experienced. Way to go you games! You beautiful beautiful games!! And congratulations on your inclusion in my epic list. Now onto a short list of games I’ve merely dabbled in. These are games that I’ve only played a bit of, but am enjoying so far:

Rhythm Heaven Fever
Splatoon (single player)
Little Big Planet 3
Tekken 7
Ryu Ga Gotoku Kurohyou

I’ll hopefully have something positive to say about these at our end of the year award show!

And lastly an even shorter list of games that I’ve given up on complete w/ a reason why.

Wonderful 101 — I went into this game REALLY wanting to love it, but after about 5-6 hours I had to call it quits. I just could not get the hang of the controls and the whole experience became very frustrating. I love how the game looks, I love the idea of the game, but I just don’t think it’s for me.

Oracle of Seasons — Hey! Another Zelda game! I managed to get through the 5th dungeon, where you get the magnet glove, but after that just completely lost interest. I enjoyed my time with it for the most part, I just don’t think it’s aged super well.

Project X Zone — I’ve always struggled at sticking with tactics style games and it would appear Project X Zone is no different. The battles just take way too long! I put about 20 hours into this game and then went to howlongtobeat.com and read that the main story of this game is 56 hours long. I bounced at that point. Really loved the crossover/silly interactions between all of the characters, but it wasn’t worth slogging through the long ass battles for me.

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Well that’s it for this half of the year folks! Thanks for joining me and we’ll see you again in December!

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