Gregg’s 2017 Game of the Year

With sales for PS4, Xbox One and PC titles running strong, the video game industry continues to do financial cartwheels year after year. And as technology progresses with such grand rapidity, fans of gaming demand more out of these titles with each passing year. The Madden football franchise continues to be a dollar bill powerhouse with its gargantuan following. Call of Duty revisited a pivotal point in our history with their WWII release that showed off some impressive cinematic sequences and gameplay footage in their TV spots. Let’s not forget Nintendo’s latest tool of the trade, the Switch, and their growing library of games that’s entered the fray as well.  Nevertheless, only one can be king. Which game gets the crown for 2017?

One title that was very much on my radar earlier in the year was a game I backed on Kickstarter, which was none other than the horror film juggernaut Friday the 13th.  The first (and only other) time Friday the 13th was a video game was back on the good old 8-bit NES.  You played as a camp counselor fighting zombies and eventually Jason Vorhees himself.  For the 8-bit experience, it was a decent game with a suitably creepy string of music.

The Xbox One/PS4/PC version brought us modern graphics and the opportunity any fan of the films wanted…a chance to actually play as Jason.  The game delivered numerous kill methods from the goalie-masked marauder as well as a plethora of opportunities for the camp counselors to escape and defend themselves.  For the doubters of the game because of the Kickstarter origins, shame on you.  This one turned out to be a pretty decent game, save for the occasionally horrendous wait times when trying to find a game to join.

Actually that was a serious flaw for a while until servers were upgraded and expanded for more people to join in online.  I tried to play it for the first time in months last week and the wait times returned.  Either no one wants to play it anymore or we’re back at square one with the server issues.  Whatever the case may be, that knocks it well out of contention for game supreme in 2017.  Where’s the single player mode, fellas??

Another title I had high hopes for is the much-anticipated Star Wars Battlefront II.  It brought back character classes (sniper, heavy gunner, standard trooper, etc.) from the original Battlefront (Xbox and PS2) and a very worthy single player mode where you play as a small variety of characters, most notably Iden Versio, an Empire loyalist who leads the special forces Inferno Squad quartet against the Rebellion.  One huge drawback for this title is the in-game purchases to acquire better equipment and abilities.

Yeah, I know, this is the state of gaming today.  I’m okay with paying for DLC for a game that’s the same for everyone across the board, but not this nickel-dime thing that amount to big expenses just to be able to compete with others who have the money to shell out.  The graphics are spectacular and the story mode concludes with a wow that’ll connect fans right up to the point of the The Force Awakens.  Controls are slippery though, and as a result, aiming can be a little more tricky than its last Battlefront predecessor.  Needless to say, it get frustrating rather quickly.

Alright, let’s cut the chatter.  Love it or hate it, my pick for top game of the year came from a genre I’ve never excelled at (and quite frankly, I still don’t).  From a lengthy list of street fighting titles, my number one game of the year goes to none other than Injustice 2.  Here is why this game absolutely rocks it out.  For starters, the controls are pretty intuitive.  You’re able to execute a variety of proficient combos without having to performs some ridiculous string of button pressing just to execute a mid-air punch.  A beginner like myself can jump in right away without needing any previous street fighting video game success.  Let’s not forget about the power bar that grows during a fight where you can unleash a beautifully violent cinematic move that is unique to each character in the game.  Characters you say??  Who’s in the game anyway?

DC mascots Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are present of course, but one of the many things I love about this game is the addition of some less household-name DC characters such as Cheetah and Captain Cold.  One of the biggest surprises for me as far as who’s in it was the addition of Swamp Thing.  Sure I’m awful playing as him but he’s a brute force to face off against and his inclusion is much appreciated.  Others on the roster include Black Adam, Blue Beetle, Robin, Cat Woman, Deadshot, Gorilla Grodd, Green Lantern, Atrocitus, Poison Ivy, Joker, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Supergirl, Bane, Cyborg, the Flash, Doctor Fate, Cyborg, Scarecrow, the always entertaining Harley Quinn and my personal favorite, Aquaman.  There also exists the opportunity for payable DLC that includes playing as Darkseid, Black Manta, Red Hood, Starfire, Hellboy and Mortal Kombat stalwarts Sub-Zero and Raiden.  Available for early access on December 12th, players will be able to purchase fighters Atom and the Enchantress.  Did I mention the boys in green will be joining in?  That’s right.  All four of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be available as well.  You can bet I’ll have an itchy trigger finger on the Donatello download when he shows up in the Playstation Store, but I digress.

The story mode proves to be an interesting tale as you fight through various levels as various fighters.  Brainiac is coming to capture Earth and then discard it into oblivion once he obtains the knowledge he’s after.  After you’ve finished the story mode, you’ll get to play as Brainiac (or you could drop the five bucks and get him early) so you’ll have another weapon in your arsenal of fighters (or punching bags on the menu…however you like to look at it).  In addition, Injustice 2 offers five difficulty settings and a slew of gear for each character to power them up.  Mother Boxes are also found throughout the game of varying values that you can unlock to get the aforementioned gear.  Some Mother Boxes can be bought with credits you amass while others are earned from challenges in the Brother Eye/Multiverse single player levels.

The graphics are absolutely stunning in this game.  The characters look life-like, not like blankly-straring humanoids that move with robotic-like motions. Things operate fluidly and the interactions with the surrounding environments are also impressive (and sometimes deadly).  Supporting all of this is the very vibrant and widespread color palette that breathes life into the fighters, their costumes and the backgrounds they get tossed around in.  Dialogue from the characters before each match adds to the confrontations though after several play-throughs, may get a little tiresome after a while, but I still find it humorous (especially Harley’s, “HOW ‘BOUT A KNUCKLEBUSTER PARFAIT?!”).  These intro scenes are easily bypassed with the tap of a button so you can move on past them if you so desire.

So there you have it.  This comic book junky fell for the game he sucks at that’s filled with content he adores.  The folks at NetherRealm Studios just did everything right with this game and the fact that TMNT will soon be part of it is just a massive bonus.  The controls are easy to use.  The tutorial is brilliant.  The levels/environments you fight in are magnificent.  The bonus content is great and there is always that hunt to get bigger and better gear so the game doesn’t get old.  Let’s not forget all the costume changes the characters can undergo as well as the fact you can join (or create) guilds where you and other like-minded players can work cohesively to get all that gear I keep talking about.  When it’s all said and done, this game is just a wicked delivery of substantial might and entertainment.  Anyway, I gotta go.  There’s some more smashing that needs to be done.


4 Responses to “Gregg’s 2017 Game of the Year”

  1. Brian White

    Awesome read! As I sat down to read this I was like please let it be Injustice 2! I was rewarded!
    Great time playing it last night. I felt a sense of accomplishment finally beating Aquaman. He’s a bad ass in the game.
    What all add ons did you buy? I don’t see Braniac in store to buy. When will turtles comes out for purchase?
    How do you equip new skins on characters? I’m willing to buy Harley’s Suicide Squad costume if they sell it.
    I also played some of the single player campaign yesterday through Chapter 2. Even liked that too!

  2. Gregg

    Yeah that was great! TMNT is either middle this month or sometime in January. Skins are unlocked through either playing through the solo campaign or using in-game credits to buy. Brainiac should be in the PS Store.

  3. Brian White

    I can’t find Braniac in the PS Store 🙁
    What ones did you purchase? Did you do a pack?
    I want the TMNT ones!
    So for skins…I don’t see where you can buy them at? I see how you can purchase different shadings (colors of their outfits), but that’s different than skins yeah?

  4. Gregg

    So I checked the Playstation Store tonight and yeah, Brainiac is nowhere to be found on there. He was up there last week. As for the skins, you buy them in the character loadout section. You have to choose the option on the main menu to customize characters. That is their skins. Like for Superman you have all those different colors and then there’s the Bizarro skin.