Sunken Treasures Games

[Games of the Year™ that I played last year, 2017 Edition!]

2017 has come and gone and I managed to play a whole lot of games, a lot of them alongside my son/trusty sidekick Dean! In June I did a progress report documenting all of the games I’d played up to that point in the year and ultimately I ended up completing about 30 games. As per tradition I’m (for some reason) ranking all of these based on the amount of fun I had playing them. But remember, just because your favorite game is low on my list, it doesn’t make it a bad game — I just had more fun playing the games ahead of it!

First up, there’s a few games that aren’t ranked because I play them all the time and they’ve been ranked in previous years. These, are the GAMES OF THE FOREVER!

[Games of the Forever]

∞ Fortune Street (Wii)
Fortune Street is a game we’ve played a ton since it’s initial release in 2011. If you’re unfamiliar to the Itadaki/Fortune Street series, think of a Monopoly/Mario Party style game but with a full blown stock market and tons of licensed characters — in this case from Dragon Quest and the Mario games. It’s an incredible 4 player game that gets fairly competitive, although for us it’s kind of like video game comfort food. But, with last year’s release of Itadaki Street for PS4 (the first non-mobile entry in the series in quite some time), Fortune Street may finally be ready to retire. It’s been a wild ride, Birdo! Take the night off ~ you’ve earned it.

∞ Final Fantasy XV DLC Episodes + Comrades & NG+ (PS4)
I’m fairly certain that I’ve gotten more mileage than most people out of FFXV. The original launch game has it’s issues but throughout the year it’s been consistently updated with new content, quality of life improvements, weird crossovers, and full blown DLC Episodes focusing on your bros, all of which I’VE LOVED. With the announcement of the upcoming FFXV: Royal Edition and another season’s worth of DLC, don’t be surprised to see this on here again in 2018!

∞ Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Growing up, my family never owned a Nintendo Entertainment System, so all of my Mario action was limited to friends and neighbor’s houses. I was OBSESSED with Super Mario Bros. in part because I didn’t have it, and took to drawing up my own intricate levels in my spare time. Eventually — 30 years later — Nintendo thought, “Hey, we should hook that Aaron guy up and develop a game where he can make all of his own Mario levels and share them with the world” and so Super Mario Maker was created. This game’s been out for quite a while, and even though I’m not making any crazy levels these days, I always love checking out everyone’s latest creations. In addition I’ve been using it as a tool to teach my son Dean the basics of platformers. I can’t wait for him to start making his own levels! I’m sure we’ll be playing this game for years to come.

∞ Animal Crossing: New Leaf Amiibo Edition (3DS)
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is installed on my 3DS and I don’t know that I’ll ever delete it. With the addition to the Amiibo content a year or so ago, I ended up rediscovering my little town and all of the hard work I had put into it. It’s my perfect drop in for 5-10 minutes and get some random stuff done gaming experience.

[Games of the Year™ (that I played this year) 2017 Edition!]

Alrighty, here’s the big list. These are all the games I completed 2017 that may or may not have come out that year. And when I say completed I’m referring to either a credits screen or in the case of a never ending game, that a significant amount of hours have been logged in. So let’s get things going or else we’ll be here forever!

28. Fortune Street (iOS)
It’s Fortune Street on iOS but without any licensed characters. It’s fine. I don’t really have a reason to play it often since we have the console versions. That is all.

27. LEGO City Undercover (Wii U)
Dean and I played through this one and while I enjoy the LEGO games overall, I felt like things got a little too repetitive. It was fairly charming but most of the comedy fell flat for me. This is problematic because I’m pretty sure the pop culture references/jokes exist in these games for the parents as most 6 year olds aren’t really going to get callbacks to Shawshank Redemption or Dirty Harry. Anyways, we had fun with it for the most part, but I prefer my LEGO games like the earlier ones where characters don’t really talk.

26. Minecraft Story Mode (Wii U)
I was pretty shocked how much I enjoyed this! I feel like a lot of Telltale’s games can be a bit janky and this game is no exception. And like LEGO City Undercover a lot of the humor didn’t do it for me… but I tell you what, I kept coming back for that story! I wanted to know what was going to happen, and the actual dramatic story and characters they created were great. Solid voice acting, and fun stuff overall.

25. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U)
Alright, I’m going to try (and probably fail) to keep this short. Unlike Super Mario Maker, Breath of the Wild was not made with me in mind. I’m typically not into open worlds, and the lack of traditional dungeons, an interesting story, and meaningful rewards really took away from this experience for me. I am in the minority with this, and that’s fine. Instead of listing ALL of the things I disliked though, let’s talk about things I loved, starting with the music — BOTW’s minimalist approach to the music was fantastic and surprisingly one of the most memorable aspects of the game for me. The shrine music, Hateno village, Tarrey Town, and everything involving Kass are especially fantastic. And speaking of Tarrey Town, another aspect of this game I loved was Hudson’s story. Helping him build a town and complete his quest was more interesting and fun to me than any of the actual main storyline. Overall BOTW is a good game, but don’t take my word for it — it’s won like 150+ Game of the Year Awards, so if you’re one of the few people who hasn’t played it, check it out and decide for yourself.

24. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)
Being a huge fan of Mario 3D World, I finally got around to checking out it’s predecessor Super Mario 3D Land. As I mentioned earlier I’ve been playing more games with Deano this past year, and basically every Mario game or platformer I played was played with him watching. His reactions to all of these games, Mario 3D Land included, really elevated the experience. There was some super clever level design in 3DL and I could really see how they expanded upon a lot of these ideas in 3DW. We played through this game in like 2 or 3 marathon sittings — it’s one of the best games on the 3DS and quite memorable!

23. Wario Land Shake It! (Wii)
2017 was the year I rediscovered original Wii games. Since the Wii U is backwards compatible I decided to dig into the original Wii library looking for more games that Dean and I could experience together. I came across quite a few games that I may not have otherwise played, Wario Land Shake It! included. I’m a mark for 2D platformers, and the art coupled with the end of level RUN FOR YOUR LIFE gimmick really made this game for me. Highly recommended.

22. Dragon Quest Heroes (PS4)
DQ Heroes is another Dynasty Warriors-esque all star adventure from Omega Force and while I dabbled with this game when I initially purchased my PS4 a couple years ago, it didn’t really click with me until now. Again, playing this game with my son cheering me on was super fun. This was definitely the year of Dragon Quest for us, and Dean’s enthusiasm for learning about every monster and hero really enhanced my time with this game. It’s story is about what you’d expect from one of these games, and if you’ve played Hyrule Warriors or any of the others you probably understand the fan service fiesta that you’re getting into. My friend Sean said it best — your enjoyment of the Heroes/Warriors style games is really dependent on your love of the source material as most of these games are really about hacking and slashing and defending/capturing points on a map.

21. Dragon Quest Heroes II (PS4)
See the above ranking but add free roaming areas, sharper graphics, a better user interface, and subtract the charming original protagonists from the first game. I enjoyed this game and it’s story more than the first, but depending on the day you could probably interchange them.

20. Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U)
This is the most relaxing platformer I’ve ever played. While I enjoy Yoshi’s Island on the SNES, Baby Mario kind of stresses me out. This is the opposite of that. It’s a little too easy, but it makes up for it with tons of collectibles, fun to find secrets, and a violently cute aesthetic. I had never played Kirby’s Epic Yarn, but now that I’ve played through this and I’m ripe for more original Wii experiences you can expect to see that one on the list in 2018.

19. Splatoon (Wii U) [Campaign]
I played a bunch of Splatoon multiplayer in 2015/2016, but had never completed the campaign. I’m super happy I finally got around to it. Splatoon feels like a game that was secretly developed by SEGA in 1999 or 2000, but then buried in a time capsule outside of Nintendo’s headquarters. It has the quirky appeal that radiates from games like Space Channel 5 and Jet Grind Radio, and the campaign did nothing but drive this feeling home. While I didn’t love navigating the hub world, the actual level designs are great, and boss encounters are even better! If you only ever played Splatoon’s multiplayer, be sure to take the time to blast through the campaign mode when you have the chance. Looking forward to playing the 2nd game whenever I eventually get a Switch!

18. Little Big Planet 2 (PS3)
17. Little Big Planet (PS3)
I’m bundling these up because there’s too many games to write about! I played a bunch of Little Big Planet when it originally released, but like Splatoon I don’t think I ever fully completed the campaign. Going through it again after all of these years I remembered bits and pieces of it, but a lot of it felt pretty fresh. It was also great revisiting my old levels that I’d uploaded nearly 10 years ago, and sharing those with Dean. All of them involved our old cat that passed away shortly after Deano was born, so it was a neat way to show him what a crazy awesome cat Rinoa was. While I loved some of the new mechanics/creation tools introduced in LBP2, the first game’s presentation, music, and campaign just really take the cake for me. I think these games have aged very well, and encourage you to check them out if you never have!

16. Itadaki Street (PS4)
While I’m definitely missing Mario and his friends (BIRDO RIP) it’s great to have a new full blown iteration of Itadaki Street. Final Fantasy characters are a welcome addition and the voice acting/dialogue they’ve included for the computer controlled opponents is fantastic. Currently this game hasn’t been announced for release in North America, but if you’re familiar with and enjoy Fortune Street, I highly recommend you import it.

15. Rocket Slime (DS)
I originally beat Rocket Slime ages ago, but that was before I was ranking games! So having played through it again in 2017 it finally gets it’s moment in the sun. Rocket Slime is one of my favorite games for the DS and one of the best games that the system has to offer. If you’ve never played/heard of it before, you play as Rocket, a determined little slime from the Dragon Quest universe who’s town is destroyed by the vicious platypunk gangster organization known as THE PLOB. It’s a top down Zelda-esque action game that’s crossed over with these amazing tank battles and if that all sounds crazy to you, you’re not wrong. But it’s adorable, and perfect, and I insist you check it out!

14. Katamari Damacy (PS2)
Speaking of crazy, Katamari Damacy! Another game that I’m happy to see has aged well and still exudes all of the weird charm that was there when it originally came out in 2004. I don’t have much to say about Katamari except it takes me to this place of comfort that no other game does. It’s rolling/collecting gameplay, presentation, localization, and especially it’s music are wonderful to this day.

13. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
I played this game right before Breath of the Wild came out, and that might have been unfair to Breath of the Wild. A Link Between Worlds is everything I want in a Zelda game. While I’m all for change and innovation, sometimes you just want what you expect. This was the case with A Link Between Worlds, though it does have it’s own smaller tweaks to the Legend of Zelda formula. Being able to rent tools/items to tackle the dungeons in almost any order is a good change, and the entire living painting mechanic was very well executed. The climax of the game had a fun twist I didn’t expect, and in the end this game over delivered for me. Really fun stuff!

12. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
I’m not sure how I didn’t get sucked into Mario Galaxy the first time around but man, I was missing out. Aside from the swimming controls, and the spring power up, I think this might be like, my 2nd favorite 3D Mario game? The presentation and music are really on another level here, and while I’m not the biggest fan of motion controls they thankfully didn’t go overboard. I don’t think a Mario game has ever been this creative before and am looking forward to tackling Galaxy 2 soon.

11. Yakuza Kiwami (PS4)
In 2017 many of you finally got to see what all of us crazy people have been screaming about for 10+ years — that the Yakuza games are amazing. Or at the very least you got an insight into our weird personal tastes! Kiwami is a remake of the first game in the series that came out for PS2 in 2005 in Japan. If you’re unfamiliar with Yakuza it’s sort of a action adventure/beat’em’up hybrid with an intricate long running story.

The Yakuza/Ryu Ga Gotoku games are my favorite game series and if you’ve come into the store before chances are I’ve recommended them to you. The only tricky thing is there’s never been an easy place to jump in. That finally changed this year with the release of Yakuza 0 in February and then continued with this release, Yakuza Kiwami, in August. Kiwami, in addition to retelling the original story of protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, really plays off the release of Yakuza 0, expanding on characters and sub stories that are prominently featured in that game. That, coupled with the addition of the Majima Everywhere system (which is basically Majima fan service for Yakuza devotees), and new cutscenes better explaining Nishiki’s motives make this an excellent remake of the series’ initial entry for newbies and long time fans as well.

10. Yakuza 3 (PS3)
I originally completed this game in 2010 but NO JOKE I barely remember any of it. I had played during a time where my work situation was super stressful, and I think I may have blocked out large portions of that year. Either way, going back to it almost 8 years later was a real treat! Yakuza 3 is infamous for it’s localization which saw the removal of several key features for budgetary reasons, and I unfairly judged it for this initially. I remember really liking it, but this time around I truly loved it. It has some of the best side characters in the series (I’m looking at you Rikiya) and a simple and concise plot that doesn’t get overly confusing with the addition multiple protagonists like some of the later games. It took my eyes about an hour to adjust to it’s more antiquated graphics after having played Kiwami and dabbling in Yakuza 6, but it’s story and gameplay still hold up.

09. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
I love this game, and technically by my own rules I don’t know if I should even rank it again, but playing through with Deano was a whole new experience for me. “Daddy let’s play kitty Mario!” “You don’t have to twist my arm, son.” Instead of an elaborate write up for this one, I’m just going to let you enjoy it’s soundtrack while you finish reading the rest of this list!

08. The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)
Holy cow, another game where I think to myself, “How did I not get into this originally?”. I understand that tastes evolve and change over time, and maybe 10 years from now I’ll have a new list where the Breath of the Wild HD 4K Remaster is ranked higher, but yeah — to beat a dead horse: Twilight Princess, like A Link Between Worlds, is what I want in a Zelda game. There was an interesting story, with new/weird/entertaining characters, huge dungeons with complex puzzles, bosses and set pieces that made everything feel like a big spectacle… I just really loved it. The visual aesthetic has not aged as well as Wind Waker, but the weird Twilight stuff holds up. I anticipate that this will see a re-release on the Switch, so if you didn’t get the chance to play the HD remaster on the Wii U, definitely snag it down the road.

07. Ryu Ga Gotoku Kiwami 2 (PS4)
Yakuza 2 is my favorite game in the Yakuza/Ryu Ga Gotoku series and a remake ala Kiwami is something a lot of us have been praying for since Kiwami’s initial release in Japan in January of 2016. Kiwami 2 sees the 2nd game in the series get a makeover via the updated “Dragon Engine” that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio developed for Yakuza 6 on the PS4. While there are a couple minor nit picks regarding creative changes to a few cut scenes, I was happy to see that the base storyline of Yakuza 2 holds up so well. Ryuji Goda is my favorite antagonist in the Yakuza series, and they really did his character justice in this remake. Also, continuing upon the trend set by 0 and Kiwami, storylines central to those games were again continued in this iteration of Yakuza 2 including a fantastic epilogue to Majima and Makoto’s story from Yakuza 0. Anyways, it hasn’t been announced for North America yet but I’m optimistic we’ll be hearing about “Yakuza Kiwami 2” sometime this year.

06. Dragon Quest Builders (PS4)
I thought there was a good chance I’d love this game given my affinity for both Dragon Quest and Minecraft, but something prevented me from picking it up on day 1 in October of 2016. Regardless, I made the time for it this past summer and quickly realized that I was going to need to make A LOT of time for it. It’s easy to look at this game and dismiss it as Minecraft clone, but those who have played it know better. The game starts with a fun twist regarding the ending of Dragon Quest 1, and quickly introduces a more objective based take on building. The world in Story Mode is hand crafted so everything feels a lot more deliberate than Minecraft. However if all you want to do is build stuff, you do unlock a procedurally generated Free Build mode after completing the first chapter. The story itself isn’t groundbreaking but the interaction with the various NPC’s in your village is pretty top notch. I really loved the room mechanic, where depending on the items/decorations placed in a room, you get various bonuses/XP for your town. I found myself experimenting a ton to try and discover new types of buildings and rooms. I can’t wait for the second game to come out later this year as it has multiplayer which is honestly the only thing lacking from Dragon Quest Builders 1.

05. The Witness (PS4)
The Witness is a game that demanded my full attention once I got into it. It completely consumed me to the point where I was losing sleep playing it and even getting a bit frustrated and snippy with those around me… Multiple times I was jotting down notes, and attempting to solve the puzzles on paper before I tried them in game. I can’t remember the last time a game had this sort of effect on me. In a way, it’s kind of an evolution of all of the point and click adventure games I used to play — except instead of combining items to solve a puzzle, you’re solving literal puzzles right in front of you, over and over. Very few games make you feel smart, but this game was incredibly rewarding in that department. There’s also tons of secrets and puzzles that I didn’t even know existed until after I’d completed the game and did some research. Anyways, if you even remotely like adventure/puzzle games, you should probably check this out.

04. Dragon Quest VI (DS)
Dragon Quest VI is a very good SNES era DQ game that was probably going to be ranked a little bit lower on the list if it wasn’t for the EPIC final battle that I had. Like most Dragon Quest final bosses, there are multiple forms, and it’s usually pretty difficult depending on your level and what not. I ended up playing through the last boss of this game at my favorite brewery and it took somewhere around 45 minutes to complete. Now, part of this was because I didn’t realize one of my characters had an very useful ability that would’ve made things a smidge easier (I blame the beer) but the other part was because I was just at the sweet spot level wise where it was a monumental challenge. With each attack round I anticipated swift, unmerciful death. But some how, some way, I persevered. It was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget.

03. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice (3DS)
Spirit of Justice lands right behind Trials and Tribulations as my 2nd favorite Ace Attorney game. The overarching story and reintroduction of characters we haven’t seen in the series in nearly a decade was incredibly well executed. The idea of this nation, Khura’in, where defense lawyers are effectively banished and all that remains is a prosecutor and basically magic to decide whether or not somebody is guilty makes for a really great place for Phoenix and his friends to leave their mark. The interactions that come out of this a super entertaining. The Ace Attorney games, I fear, have become something akin to the Yakuza games in that there isn’t really an easy spot to jump in. But fortunately they’ve re-released the games on a bevy of platforms including cell phones, so if you’re curious about getting into the series but don’t have a DS, definitely check ’em out there!

02. Yakuza 0 (PS4)
Like Spirit of Justice, Yakuza 0 lands right at #2 in it’s respective series for me. This game is a prequel to the entire Yakuza series and as I mentioned stands as the best place to jump in for new players. It takes place during the 1980’s in Japan and feels like nothing else on the PS4. The line that Yakuza walks between serious drama, and complete absurdity is something few other games manage to nail, and the sheer amount of content and side activities in this particular entry is overwhelming. It usually takes me about 80-100 hours to feel fully satisfied with a Yakuza game before moving on, though the base story can be completed in around 30-ish hours. This game released on the same day as Resident Evil 7 in North America and I was really worried that a lot of people may have skipped it as a result. But I was overjoyed to learn that it’s become one of the most successful games in the franchise and one of the most revered games of 2017. It totally deserves it, so huzzah! Take us away, Kiryu!

01. Dragon Quest XI (PS4)
As I stated earlier — 2017 really was the year of Dragon Quest for us. XI is the first mainline game in the series that we’ve been able to play since Dragon Quest IX on the DS in 2010 and while the wait sucked, it was absolutely worth it. Dragon Quest XI is a traditional JRPG, the kind that the Dragon Quest series pretty much invented, and a sort of a culmination of the whole series up to this point. It’s loaded with nostalgia but there’s still plenty of new things to experience and fall in love with.

The game was released in Japan for both PS4 and 3DS and both versions of the game are very different in presentation. They feature the same characters and storyline, but have entirely distinct visual flairs. As I do not have a Japanese 3DS I opted for the PS4 version of the game, but will absolutely be replaying the game on 3DS if/when it’s localized for the west hopefully later this year.

Gameplay footage via our stream!

Dragon Quest XI has what I consider to be one of the best casts of characters in any RPG I’ve ever played. All of the characters have purpose, full story arcs, and are heavily effected by the events that happen as the game progresses. I worried for and cared about all of these characters in a way I haven’t in a game since Dragon Quest V, or maybe even Final Fantasy VI. If you’re a fan of old fashioned JRPG goodness you have a lot to look forward to here.

Not only was Dragon Quest XI the best game I played last year, but it was the most fun I had playing a game with both Sarah and Deano, and it’s an experience that’s been ingrained in my son’s being. We battled through and experienced it together and I’ll never forget it!


Before I go though, here’s a few other fun bonus categories!

[Multiplayer Good Times]

Super Smash Bros. Wii U (Wii U)
Icewind Dale (PC)
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Die Hard Arcade (Arcade)
Streets of Rage II (SEGA Genesis)
Virtua Tennis 2K2 (DC)
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

[Games I gave up on for various reasons!]

The Wonderful 101 (Wii U)
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC)
Final Fantasy III (DS)
Project X Zone (3DS)
Def Jam Vendetta (PS2)
Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii)

[Games I started and intend to continue in 2018]

Dragon Quest IV (DS)
Icewind Dale (PC)
Kentucky Route Zero Part IV (PC)
Ryu Ga Gotoku Kurohyou (PSP)
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Wii U)
Doom (PC)
Xenosaga (PS2)
Indigo Prophecy (XBOX)
Tekken 7 (PS4)
Boku no Natsuyasumi (PS1)

And lastly…

[Games I’m looking forward to playing through (in some cases AGAIN) in 2018]

Yakuza 6 (PS4) [March!]
Hokuto Ga Gotoku (PS4) [March!]
Uncharted 3 (PS3)
Uncharted 4 (PS4)
Folklore (PS3)
Nier (PS3)
Yakuza 4 (PS3)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (3DS)
Super Mario Odyssey (NSW)
Binary Domain (PS3)
Dragon Quest XI (PS4/3DS) [In English!]
Shenmue (DC)
Shenmue II (XBOX)
Final Fantasy XV: New DLC Episodes (PS4)
Dragon Warrior VII (PS1)

Anyways, if you made it this far congrats! Thanks for checking out my big crazy list, and I’ll be seeing you again in June for a 2018 progress report. Until then, see you at the shop!

Leave a Reply