Wooderon Games of the Year 2017: #6

This time last year I was talking about Nintendo and how I felt bad that they didn’t have that many good games for me to talk about. It wasn’t really a good time for them though to be fair. The Wii U was basically flopped into oblivion, and the 3DS is on its way out. It’s funny looking back, because, not to spoil anything about how this list is going to go, but Nintendo have bounced back in a big way.

I did get a Switch though. I held off for a while, after being burned by the Wii U. But I eventually crumbled and picked one up when there were a good handful of games out for it I felt I could sink my teeth into. And do you know what unexpected positive came from the Switch, it’s a hell of an indie game machine. I’ve found myself getting buried into Battle Chef Brigade and Steam World Dig 2 in a way I probably wouldn’t have ever done with them on console.

Anyway, time to crack my knuckles. I feel like this might be a long one.

#10: Prey

#9: Star Wars Battlefront II

#8: Cuphead

#7: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

#6: Destiny 2

Played on Xbox One | Released 6th September | Developed by Bungie

I tend to have a predisposition to start these posts as though being on this list isn’t a good thing. I make out that this is a list of the biggest cock ups of the year rather than the best games of it. I suppose passion is a double edged sword in that regard. I do like Destiny, like, a lot. I poured more hours than I want to remember into the first game, and continued playing it right up until the release of its sequel. Mostly anyway.

Leading up to release, there was a lot to be excited about for Destiny 2. It was the game where Bungie could make the game they had initially intended before Activision’s meddling turned the first game into a huge stinking mess. They had the money and the lack of pressure to get the 10-year game plan back on track. And is it back on track? Er… yes?

Destiny 2 fixed a whole lot of problems that I had with the first game. Which is great. The problem is they found a bunch of new problems to have in the process. Again though, I’m not trying to be negative. Destiny 2 is a far, far better game than the first game was upon release. For one it has an actual story, with characters, and a coherent through line. It has a clear villain who you fight at the finale, like some kind of… final… boss.

There is much less of a grind to the game, gear come much easier and is much less random, meaning you don’t have to spend hours on hours farming the same weapons in a hopes of getting one with a good roll. It’s not held back by being a game that has to straddle the line between the current and previous console generation anymore, so you can get even more stunning sky boxes like the one seen below.

In the end, it’s still Destiny, which means the running around the the shooting of the guns feels really good. The MMO style open worlds are here again in an even greater form than before. The loot grind is still here, getting new guns is exciting. The biggest change in that regard is a real mixed bag. All guns have set stats and mods now, so rather than finding the gun you like and continue to grind it over and over for the best mods, you know what you’ve got the first time one drops.

This can be a bit of a problem in the end game, which would be me going off into a bunch of negatives again, which I don’t want to do here. The game feels like a product of two halves, once you finish the main story and dive into the end game grind towards Trials and the Raid, it becomes a different beast. The campaign is actually really fun. It introduces a bunch of fun characters and has some really cool environments and stunning action set pieces, especially towards the game’s end. The end game is more like the Destiny experience of old. Playing repeatable content on a weekly basis in order to get the things you need to level up to the cap.

Making the grind much smoother means Destiny 2 doesn’t have the same “play all year round” feel of the first game. While a lot of Destiny fans want this game to get the same attention and support as an actual MMO, it’s just not possible for this kind of game. Thus Bungie seem to be finding themselves in hot water as they try to keep their player base happy. A seemingly impossible task. Despite a few issues, the game that shipped was a very good one, and it’s only my storied history with the previous game that makes me seem like I’m so conflicted about it. Destiny 2 is real good. The fan’s are just impossible to please.

 

Addendum: Everything above was written before the Curse of Osiris DLC and Dawning event were out. Since then, Bungie seem to have really dropped themselves in hot water on a number of occasions. Regarding blocking off content to people who haven’t purchased the DLC, secretly decreasing the amount of exp players gain to slow them collecting the paid currency cosmetic items, introducing three of coins only to have it not work and the nature of the Dawning event being a grind for items that you can buy for real money.

Bungie seem to be in the firing line from fans and the media alike right now. And while I personally feel like some of their actions don’t feel too great, they do feel like they’ve made some steps in the right direction. Adding more long term goals to the game for those of us who do want a MMO like experience. Adding masterwork weapons, armour ornaments and the lost verse weapons on the new planet. I’m still enjoying Destiny 2, and I look forward to what they add going forward.

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