The consensus among gamers in 2017 is that it’s actually a pretty good year for video games. Already several big titles racking up gaudy scores on Metacritic, and the year isn’t even halfway over. But, rather than look ahead for what is soon to regale us, let’s look backward.
If we’re being honest, even among the best games this year, we can admit they need a change or two. Maybe it’s an extra bit of content that should have already been there. Maybe it’s a small technical change that would make all the difference. There are very few perfect games, after all, and we know not every title can be Persona 5 or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (if only). So what can we change? Let’s do some spit-balling.
- Decreased load times on PS4.
- New Game Plus added.
Discussion: If I had reviewed Prey on the PC, it would have received even higher marks. It’s problem was that it’s third act required copious amounts of intra-station travel aboard the Talos I. On the PC, this was no problem – a brief pause if anything. On PS4, this meant waiting 3-5 minutes in between each area, artificially inflating the amount of time it took to finish the game by a considerable sum. Any efforts to decrease this wait time would be well-received.
Additionally, new game plus would make Prey an even more replayable experience. Right now, it already has achievements for beating the game with only Typhon upgrades or with only Human upgrades. Add that together with New Game Plus, and you have reason to beat the game at least five or six times.
Ghost Recon Wildlands
- Increased PC performance and multiplayer stability.
- Added a real Yeti.
- Narco Roads wiped from existence.
Discussion: Ghost Recon Wildlands is one of two severely underrated games on this list, one that people didn’t give a fair shake. That doesn’t mean it’s entirely off the hook, though. Frequent framerate drops plagued the more intense action segment, of which there were many, and multiplayer matches were about as stable as you can expect from a multiplayer Ubisoft title, which is to say they aren’t stable. Any improvements in those areas would be a welcome treat.
Also, Ubisoft strung the community along for months with the promise of a terrifying Yeti, but that, unfortunately turned out to be a just a guy in a white ghillie suit sniping people from atop a mountain. All indications from Ubisoft are that the Yeti hunt is officially over. Throw us a bone, give us a real Yeti.
And surely you don’t need an explanation for the Narco Roads removal.
Horizon Zero Dawn
- Fixed AI grass exploit.
Discussion: Horizon Zero Dawn was hailed as a Game-of-the-Year contender roughly around the same time it hit the shelves at your local GameStop, and this discussion had very few detractors. But even those who love the game don’t defend its piss-poor human AI. This is highlighted best by the ability to sit in the grass and whistle repeatedly, attracting scores of enemies. Then, even with every enemy watching, you can pull someone into the tall grass and knock them out, all without raising any alarm from the still-confused on-lookers. It’s the kind of last-gen clockwork that would have ruined a less-impressive game visually. A few simple AI checks should make this issue a thing of the past.
Friday the 13th: The Game
- Made doors more responsive.
- Doubled Morph cooldown.
- Fixed Steam achievements, retroactively awarded them.
- Added re-mapping for keystrokes.
Discussion: If not one of the best games of the year, Friday the 13th: The Game certainly one of the most unique and fun. While many reviewers didn’t take enough time with it to figure everything out, the game did still have some considerable issues, particularly on consoles. Since the patches for console matchmaking have already been announced, though, we’ll focus on the other issues.
First off, you can still encounter a glitch with doors where you have to be right in the sweetspot to be able to lock them. You can’t be too close, or too far away. More than just that, you can end up closing a door on yourself rather than entering the cabin and then closing the door if you hit the button too soon. That window should be increased As for morph, many people feel it should be used solely as a teleport. With such a short cooldown, many Jasons merely use it as a second Shift, closing small gaps between him and counselors. With the Shift-Grab being as strong as it is, there’s no reason to make Jason’s pursuit even easier by allowing him a second opportunity to kill helpless counselors.
Finally, Steam Achievements are still bugged out for many users, myself included, not allowing those affected to actually unlock them, even upon meeting the requirements. At the same time, the game lacks the ability to remap your controls. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s certainly patch-worthy.
Stellaris – Utopia
- Added new victory conditions for Diplomacy, Economy and Technology.
Discussion: Although technically an expansion, Utopia added a ton of new content for the base game, increasing the overall experience by a large factor. Utopia did not, however, add traditional victory conditions, something Stellaris still desperately needs. The developers have admitted as much, lamenting that the only two ways to win are to subjugate every other empire or control 40 percent of all habitable planets in the galaxy.
While addicting, the lack of victory conditions can make even everything added in Utopia feel fruitless. Becoming more traditional would do a lot to make people return to Stellaris and keep playing once they’re there.