As expected, 2017 has been another strong year for gamers with some huge releases coming out. The mighty PlayStation 4 has served up a menu of AAA titles, remastered classics and a host of indies filling up the PlayStation Store. While the PS Vita drought did continue in the latter part of 2017, we did still see a collection of interesting titles trickle their way onto everyone’s favourite handheld. Games such as Papers, Please, Xenon Valkyrie+ and Super Hydorah have definitely given the Vita a much needed boost this December. And not to forget the gaming juggernaut that is PSVR, which was a huge game changer for PlayStation when it was released. With the likes of Gran Turismo SportWipEout Omega Collection VR and Doom VFR, the potential of the headset is looking even more promising as we enter 2018.

So as 2017 comes to a close, it’s that time of year to pick a bunch of games that we feel deserve a special mention as we charge head first into 2018…

Punk

This year my favourites all turned out to be story heavy games. These 3 in particular I really enjoyed:

Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is a narrative adventure game of conquest, betrayal and survival with multiple endings. When the fates of a tribe of apes and a band of human survivors intertwine, two worlds collide as their precarious existence hangs in the balance. Set between Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes films, Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier plunges the player into a rich, cinematic experience where every decision impacts the fragile balance between peace and war. This game really blew me away and I really think it’s the best emotionally driven decision-based game since The Walking Dead Season 1.

Blackwood Crossing is a story-driven first-person adventure game exploring the relationship between Scarlett and Finn, orphaned siblings growing apart as Scarlett is coming of age and leaving childhood behind. When they cross paths with a mysterious figure, a seemingly ordinary train ride evolves into a magical story of life, love and loss. There’s a real childlike wonder in this game and it hits a lot harder than you think it would.

Late Shift is a high stakes FMV crime thriller with branching storylines. After being forced into the robbery of a lucrative auction house, mathematics student Matt is left proving his innocence in the brutal London heist. The consequences of his actions take him on a vicious and violent journey across the capital, escaping the twisted web the player has the power to weave. This one is cool, classy and my favourite FMV game so far.

As for 2018? Well the games on my radar so far are The Inpatient (January – VR), The Council (February), The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker (Spring), A Way Out (March) and of course Detroit: Become Human. Now that you’ve heard my choices let me hand you over to Lizard for his picks of the year…

 

Lizard

In no particular order, I have to start with Project CARS 2. Slightly Mad Studios certainly made some huge and impressive changes in this sequel. Apart from improved handling, the career mode really made you want to stay with the game. Speeding your way through open-wheels, GT, prototypes, rallycross and touring cars gave us a really full on single player experience.

With a choice of 180 cars to race over 60 tracks, this racer doesn’t do things by halves. Adding extra tension and excitement to the race dynamic weather gave a real life like feel to being out on the track. While the likes of Gran Turisom Sport still delivered some excellent racing and knockout looks, I just felt that Project CARS 2 gave a touch more with exhilarating and exciting racing, also with more bumber to bumper action. Epic cars and legendary tracks, this really is the best racing sim out there.

Next up – Aaero. With music and gaming being my thing, this was a title I was drawn to immediately. UK indie outfit Mad Fellows gave us something rather special and created a tidal wave of rave reviews when Aaero released. A musical rail shooter with eye catching visuals and a beautiful neon tinged look, Aaero came from another planet. Both gameplay and the stunning soundtrack connected to give a super smooth ride.

The talented guys at Mad Fellows also took control of the publishing and re-released Aaero this December. There’s also a feast of DLC available now so you can rince even more pleasure out of the game. Not forgetting the 1000DaysWasted: Drum & Bass Pack, which adds more challenges and a further 12 Trophies. There’s even new ships to toss around the screen too. A stunning piece of art and music brought together with exceptional gameplay, Aaero is one of the finest indie games out there.

Now if banging buttons to the beat is more your thing, then Invector nails it.
Inbetween the addictiveness of each level, there are sections where you’ll zoom away at a tangent and have to guide your craft through neon hoops dotted in space.

There’s also a sweet story that’s being told as you progress. Cut scenes of Stella, an edgy space pilot, help break up the action. The contrast of her exploits against the actual gameplay make things more interesting and Invector even more endearing. Every bit different from Aareo, but just an intense.

Next on the list – Ruiner. Ruiner is a top down shooter from Polish developer Reikon Games. Published by Devolver Digital, Ruiner is a brutal release that sits perfectly in Fort Parker’s locker room. This shooter really is something.

You play in the cyber metropolis back alleys of Rengkok. It’s 2091, and a world full of looters, henchmen and outcasts. It’s a tough, relentless backdrop that oozes style. There’s a tactical time to be had which brings heaps of depth to the game. These options display there is a lot going on under Ruiner’s glossy textured look that makes this shoot standout from the crowd. Ruiner is an essential purchase if you’re looking for a bloody, fast rolling top down shooter.

 

Right now that’s done, let’s dive into…Ones to keep on your radar for 2018

The year ahead is looking a mighty fine one with the likes of Detroit: Become Human, Tomb Raider, Far Cry 5, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Vampyr and the final installment of The Walking Dead all coming our way. Here’s some others to keep on that gaming radar too:

Being a huge driving fan, one release I’m pumped for is Steel Rats. It’s a new bike brawler that we’re hoping will pack an almighty punch when it drops in 2018. So far it’s looking and sounding super good.

Gravel brings a new drit slinger our way which is looking nice and dirty.

Storymind Entertainment, a Ukrainian studio based in Kyiv, bring another interesting release I’m excited for, a 3D mystery action/adventure game called My Eyes On You.

Antigraviator is a sleek new take on the anti-gravity racing genre. Using traps, power-ups and boosts to overtake your opponents, it’s a racer with no speed limits.  Antigraviator aims to deliver the fastest racing experience out there when it hits in 2018. Excited? Hell yeah!

So that’s it from us for another year. Whatever console you’re playing on, happy gaming everyone!

Punk and Lizard