CGMagazine Best of 2017: Brendan Picks

CGMagazine Best of 2017: Brendan Picks

It was hard to know what to expect with 2017 when it came to the games. The PlayStation 4 Pro was just released at the end of 2016, and the age of 4K console gaming was becoming a reality. Yet, with all the potential, it was not the best looking games that drew me in, it was the ones that pushed concepts and revived old ideas in new ways that captured my attention.

Diablo 3: Rise of the Necromancer

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Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer – gameplay image provided by Blizzard.

While not a full blown new release, or even much beyond a character pack, Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer was the push I needed to dive back into the game. With new abilities, new armour, and even new voice acting for the game, Diablo III never felt closer to a near-perfect game as it has so many years after launch.

Jumping into the experience on console with a group of friends, I found myself losing full days building up my Necromancer; trying to scavenge for the newest and best gear, and pushing the skill higher to build the ideal character. Blizzard put care into making Diablo II: Rise of the Necromancer a solid experience for new and old players alike, and if you are a fan of Diablo III and have been holding off jumping back in, there has never been a better time. A great expansion to an already fantastic game, I can only hope Blizzard brings more additions as time goes on.

Prey

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Prey – gameplay image provided by Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks.

The development of Prey was an interesting one. I remember sitting in a press meeting at E3 where they first showed off the concept of a new Prey that was a fresh take on the franchise. Building on the universe the first game hinted at, the new Prey would end up as a bounty hunting, open-world city game. When Arcane finally took charge of the series, they crafted something very different that shared little in common with the Prey franchise at all—and you know what? I did not care.

The end result was a game that I dove into and quickly found myself hours deep without even realizing it. The world and the characters had me hooked. It was a game that rewarded innovation and allowed for some truly unique and fun gameplay methods. Should you want to decimate everything in your path or try to be merciful, Prey gave you the tools to make it a reality. The core of the game remained a first-person shooter, but the multiple story paths make the trek while worth it. Combine that with a phenomenal soundtrack that has made its way into my daily Spotify playlist and you have yourself a winning combination. While it was not a massive success when it launched, it’s now on many best of lists and has dropped in price, so it’s time to give Prey a second look.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

CGMagazine Best of 2017: Brendan Picks
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – gameplay image provided by Capcom.

I had long since given up on the Resident Evil franchise. It had some phenomenal ideas early on and even had me hooked on its gameplay for over four games, but in recent years I’ve fallen off the franchise. Resident Evil 5 was more of an action game, and Resident Evil 6 felt like a series of quick time events wrapped in a convoluted story. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard changed that. It brought the series back to its horror roots and injected a shot of freshness its zombie-like corpse was long overdue for.

The franchise moved into in a first-person perspective and presented a game that—although in the same universe as the previous games—feels out of place and time. The visuals were unnerving and beautifully twisted. The antagonists pushed the horror in new ways, and the puzzles made for a challenging yet rewarding experience.

Resident Evil 7—despite some worry from myself and other press—was one of the best VR experiences to date. Strapping a PSVR on and jumping into the horror-filled world was rewarding and nerve-wracking. Capcom hit it out of the park with the seventh instalment, and it has me excited to see what they do next.

Persona 5

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Persona 5 – gameplay image provided by Atlus.

It is no secret I am not a fan of the JRPG formula. Random battles and constant grinding never appealed to me. But after my time with Persona 5 from Atlus, I may be a convert. Everything in the world of Persona 5 had me hooked. From the story, the visuals, and the gameplay to the fantastic soundtrack, Persona 5 was overflowing with style.

The core of the game remains what past fans of the series should expect: the life simulator crossed with a dungeon crawler JRPG, and despite how odd that may sound it all works exceedingly well. Persona 5 is a rare game I not only played through once but jumped right back into after the credits rolled. If you ever had any interest in the series, Persona has never looked as good as Persona 5. Give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

Cuphead

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Cuphead – gameplay image provided by Studio MDHR.

Years in development, and with a concept that sounded difficult to realise, Cuphead from Studio MDHR was an achievement in design and concept. All aspects of the game were hand drawn, from character movement to worlds, and the game is a stunning thing to behold.

One of the most difficult games on my personal game of the year list and arguably one of the hardest games hitting shelves in 2017, Cuphead takes the conventional platformer/boss fight concept and builds something wholly unique. The small Canadian team has made something truly special with Cuphead, and anyone with an Xbox One or PC are doing themselves a disservice by not picking up Cuphead and giving it a test drive.

Retail versions of some the games mentioned were provided by the publisher for previously published. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Brendan Frye’s work such as his interview with EA Motive about Star Wars: Barttlefront II, and his in-depth look at the Equifax Hack!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

5 Games from 2017 I Might Have Actually Played if They’d Come to Switch

5 Games from 2017 I Might Have Actually Played if They'd Come to Switch

In 2017 I have lived quite the hectic life. Along with being in school full-time, working two jobs, and attempting to have a social life, my time to actually play games is usually reserved for a very particular time of the day (read: night). However, that all changed when I finally got my very own Nintendo Switch. I’d been holding off for a while, but after seeing the Super Mario Odyssey bundle and those gorgeous red Joycons I knew it was time for me to make the jump.

In the time I’ve had my Switch I’ve become obsessed with the device, carving out time between classes and during work breaks to slowly pick away at the Power Moons and puzzles Odyssey has to offer. If it hadn’t been for the Switch, I think I would have been inclined to put Odyssey down after I reached the credits. But using the Switch to take the game wherever I go has given it some longevity in what little playtime I have. Conversely, games like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus sit in my PS4 awaiting my return. Whereas if I were playing the game on Switch I could be picking away at it like I have been Mario. As such, I have come to the conclusion that every game should be on Switch. Every game should be free from the tethers of a television or monitor.

2017 had so many good games I missed out on just due to a lack of time. But the Switch, this wonderful little thing I can carry around with me to all my time-sucking responsibilities, fills holes in my gaming life that my PS4 or PC can’t.

Here are the games I would have actually gotten around to if they were to grace the Switch.

Cuphead

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Cuphead – gameplay image via StudioMDHR.

Who wants to sit down with a controller and endure several hours of getting beaten down by the unrelenting difficulty of Cuphead? Well, a lot of people, apparently. But those people have a lot more patience than I do. Something as staggeringly difficult as Cuphead requires a level of tenacity I don’t usually have the time or energy for. However, if it were on the Switch and I could just pull it out of my bag and give myself a few chances at overcoming any of the game’s many challenges, it would be easier to parse. Cuphead is too much of a stressful ordeal to use what little time I have with my TV in front of me, but if it were more easily accessible and easier to put down, I think I’d be more than willing to jump into StudioMDHR’s arduous genre masterclass.

 Doki Doki Literature Club!

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Doki Doki Literature Club! – gameplay image via Team Salvato.

I play some visual novels, but I’ve never been huge on playing them on consoles or PC. In the past I’ve used my phone or Vita to play these text-heavy adventures because it’s the closest equivalent to reading a book, and I can read short sections in my downtime rather than committing to several hours at a time. Doki Doki Literature Club! has been making the rounds with several people in the industry these past few months, and I still don’t really know why, given that visual novels are generally considered a niche genre, but the thought of finding out on a computer I’d have to lug around just doesn’t have the same allure as playing it on the Switch.

 Persona 5

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Persona 5 – gameplay image via Atlus U.S.A., Inc.

Unlike every other game on this list, Persona 5 is one that I managed to see through to completion when it launched earlier this year. However, Persona 5 is a lengthy game full of content I missed out on the first time. Characters to meet, stories to hear, other Personas to collect etc. But when you’ve already sat in front of your TV for 100 hours, another 100 to see everything the game has to offer is a big ask. I played both Persona 3 and Persona 4 on my Vita, and being able to chip away at the days each of the social sim/RPG hybrids had made it all more manageable, and my play time in Persona 5 was already twice as much without seeing everything. Hopefully we’ll see a definitive edition on the Switch, because I’d love an excuse to go back to its twisted version of Tokyo.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

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Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite – gameplay image via Capcom.

If you want to actually be good at a fighting game, you have to invest a lot of time into any given one. In my limited play time I’ve indulged in my ongoing addiction to Injustice 2, so adding another timesink of a fighting game wasn’t feasible unless I wanted to divide my time between the two. I’ve spent several months honing my skills in Injustice, so despite my interest in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, it would have been a detriment to me ultimately to give it the time it deserved. However, had it been on Switch, I could have played it more casually, taking part in a few matches at a time, rather than spending hours I would need to competently play it at a competitive level. If Injustice and Infinite were sitting in front of me in my PS4, why would I give up the game time with the one in which I’ve already invested so many hours?

 Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

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Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon – gameplay image via Nintendo.

Nintendo has already confirmed it has plans to release a mainline Pokémon game on the Switch in the future, but that didn’t stop it from making one more set of games as a swan song for the 3DS. Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are a second shot at exploring a side of the Pokémon world I skipped over with the original Sun & Moon, but after you’ve played the Switch who really wants to go back to the 3DS?


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Kenneth Shepard’s reviews, such as Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Episode 2, and find out why Kenneth thinks Danganronpa V3’s ending makes a polarizing case for letting the series go!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

“It Wasn’t In Our Vocabulary to Compromise.” – An Interview with Cuphead Artist and Producer Maja Moldenhauer

"It Wasn't In Our Vocabulary to Compromise." - An Interview with Cuphead Artist and Producer Maja Moldenhauer

Ever since it was first announced during the Xbox Press Conference at E3 2015Cuphead has ranked high on everyone’s “games to watch” list. Who could blame them—a small studio that promised to create a game by hand-drawing every frame using techniques similar to that of cartoons from the 1930s?

Read more“It Wasn’t In Our Vocabulary to Compromise.” – An Interview with Cuphead Artist and Producer Maja Moldenhauer

First 15: Cuphead

First 15: Cuphead

CGM’s Paul Turner takes us through some of the first and second area bosses in the highly-anticipated run and gun from Studio MDHR, Cuphead.

After its reveal during Microsoft’s Press Conference at E3 2014, Studio MDHR has worked tirelessly to bring their 1930’s cartoon-inspired creation to life. The team has uncompromisingly stuck to their commitment to painstakingly recreate the look and feel of the classic age of cartoons through the use of traditional hand-drawn cel animation, watercolour backgrounds,acoustic jazz soundtrack.

After numerous delays, Cuphead will finally hit stores on September 29, 2017. With gameplay that is reminiscent of Contra and Gunstar HeroesCuphead will dazzle and challenge players, making it well worth the wait.


Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15 – Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony!

Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Joel Couture’s review of Ruiner! You should also check out Jesse Cabral’s review of the latest fighter to come out of Devolver Digital, Absolver!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Predictions of What We’ll See from Microsoft at E3 2017

Predictions of What We'll See from Microsoft at E3 2017

E3 is coming, and that means there is no shortage of rumours flying around about what will and won’t be shown. Here at CGMagazine, we’ve sat down and put our heads together and have made a list of what we think Microsoft might show this year. Let’s take a look at what we think might be shown at this year’s conference.

Read morePredictions of What We’ll See from Microsoft at E3 2017

This E3 Was The Year Of Colour

This E3 Was The Year Of Colour

This year’s E3, more so than any other, showcased a plethora of colorful video games. Everywhere you looked, there was a game that sported an eccentric, and visually extravagant art style that further helped the game look, and feel distinct. Suffice it to say, it seems developers have finally discovered color palettes that aren’t so callous – there was barely any gray, finally! Usually indies take visual risks, and really do interesting things with the tools that they have at their disposal. This year wasn’t any different.

Cuphead, which is being developed by two brothers who formed their own studio called Studio MDHR, was one of the highlights of E3 2015. Wonder why? The game looks like a breathing, and playable 1930s cartoon coupled with distinct mono sound, and nostalgic character designs. It seemed everyone wanted to get their hands on the game, and it was one of the best games on the show floor. Camp Santo’s first-person exploration game Firewatch is yet another indie game that simply looks stunning. It gives off a grand canyon, Wild West vibe with its heavy use of orange and yellow. The colors pop, and complement the narrative and gameplay mechanics.

firewatch-4
Firewatch

But outside of indies, triple-A studios are also getting in on the artistic action. Besthesda’s Fallout 4 looks markedly different from Fallout 3. The latter game just always looked so bleak, depressing, and quite uninviting, and understandably so. Fallout is about exploring a post-apocalypse setting fresh off of a nuclear bomb going off. But Fallout 4’s Boston setting, from what was shown so far during Bethesda’s conference, looks as if it actually does contain sunshine! Who would’ve thought!

Though of course there’ll most certainly will be places to explore where the average person wouldn’t want to step foot in, but the game mostly looks brighter than anything Bethesda Game Studios has done so far. Sony’s Guerilla Games also revealed a new IP, titled Horizon: Zero Dawn that contains lush, green foliage, quirky enemy designs, and distinct character designs. Even though it is essentially a post-post apocalypse world, it still looks inviting due to just how visually pleasing it looks.

Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn

This artistic trend shouldn’t be surprising however, it’s actually quite expected. This console generation did not have the benefits that the last one did in terms of having a huge technological leap. The jump from PlayStation 2 and Xbox to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was a drastic change from experiencing games from SD to HD. That was a markedly huge difference that was easily spotted by the average consumer, and thus helping to justify them purchasing these new machines. This isn’t the same case now, as the differences are quite minor for most people.

The natural progression will, and currently is consisting of creating games with breathtaking artist directions. Developers have to wow people with just how zany, and eccentric their games can get. Something like Cuphead probably wouldn’t be able to run on Xbox 360, and it actually is an Xbox One console exclusive. That’s a game that will entice people to purchase a new console, and be once again enchanted by what these new machines can do. Photorealism, and the push for grittier looks should be, and actually is, fading away.

Cuphead
Cuphead

Nearly every game that was on the show floor – Uncharted 4, The Last Guardian, Halo 5: Guardians, Star Wars Battlefront, Mirror’s Edge, Yarny, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Firewatch, Cuphead, Drawn to Death, etc. – all are just visually fun to look at. Actual art design seems to be finally taking over, and this not only allows for prettier games for people to play, but for said games to actually do something original, and refreshing. May it long continue.