Epic Final Fantasy XIV Online and Monster Hunter: World Collaboration Begins Today In this update, the mighty Rathalos is brought to the world of Final Fantasy XIV Online.

Epic Final Fantasy XIV Online and Monster Hunter: World Collaboration Begins Today

Final Fantasy XIV Online and Monster Hunter: World’s collaboration begins today along with its newest update.

Read moreEpic Final Fantasy XIV Online and Monster Hunter: World Collaboration Begins Today In this update, the mighty Rathalos is brought to the world of Final Fantasy XIV Online.

Final Fantasy XIV Continues to Soar on Rival Wings: An Interview with Naoki Yoshida and Hikaru Tamaki

Final Fantasy XIV Continues to Soar on Rival Wings: An Interview with Naoki Yoshida and Hikaru Tamaki 4

It has been more than four years since the release of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and it still continues to top the MMORPG charts for number of players, ranking above World of Warcraft, according to various reports. And those numbers keep growing. According to a report from Square Enix, as of August 2017, a month after the release of their second full expansion, Stormblood, including two new playable characters, the Red Mage and the Samurai, and access to a free trial of the game that would allow players to enjoy all content up to level 35, the community of players peaked at over 10 million worldwide.

But what keeps the community of this game growing?

Read moreFinal Fantasy XIV Continues to Soar on Rival Wings: An Interview with Naoki Yoshida and Hikaru Tamaki

Game of the Year: Derek’s Top 5 Games of 2017

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Every gaming site across the web is likely to preface their Game of the Year awards with a similar statement: 2017 was nuts for video games. That’s because it really was. We saw a plethora of outstanding releases across every platform, both big and small, grand and intimate, spectacular and subdued. It was also the debut of what is arguably Nintendo’s greatest (or at least potentially greatest) console in decades, complete with its own small yet outstandingly robust library of diverse games. Given that I’m especially enthusiastic about RPGs, it was incredibly fulfilling to see so many dazzling titles take the spotlight this year. I honestly believe that 2017 might be the most quality-rich year in gaming since…I don’t know, 1998? This year’s releases have turned several longstanding design philosophies on their heads, and I can’t wait to see how that influence takes shape in the future. Here are my top five examples of how that innovation shone through in 2017.

Persona 5

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Persona 5 – gameplay image provided by ATLUS.

I tend to have a pretty solid finger on the pulse of my own tastes. To that end, it almost felt like I knew what my top games of the year would be before 2017 ever even rolled around. Persona 5 was destined to be one of those sure-fire wins right out of the gate. With an inimitable sense of style, Persona 5 feels like the apex of modern Japanese RPG design. It elevates the series’ signature socialization-meets-supernatural concept to such a high standard of excellence that it’s hard to imagine any game surpassing that bar until the inevitable Persona 6.

Persona 5 isn’t perfect; some troublingly regressive ideas arise throughout its nearly 100-hour narrative. It’s surprising that a game built around such a progressive theme—rebellion against an unjust society—didn’t quite nail the execution of its story, but everything else about it is so unceasingly good that it’s much easier to focus on what it does right. A nonstop spectacle of audiovisual decadence, Persona 5 didn’t steal my heart; it earned it, fair and square.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Game of the Year: Derek's Top 5 Games of 2017
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – gameplay image provided by Nintendo.

Breath of the Wild is a supremely important release in a year packed full of standout titles. Not only did it debut alongside Nintendo’s new console as a show-stopping demonstration of everything it can do, it redefined Zelda as we know it. Elegant and restrained, there’s a sense of fulfillment inherent to the mere act of discovery in Breath of the Wild. While other games incentivize exploration with material rewards, Breath of the Wild successfully convinces the player that their feats are rewards in and of themselves.

Breath of the Wild‘s sheer volume of things to do (or “content,” if the word is more palatable) is hugely impressive. It’s the sort of game that every player approaches differently, thanks to its beautifully realized mechanical language. Objects in its world behave and react with a natural sort of logic that is immediately understandable, even to unseasoned players. Plus, with two sizeable pieces of add-on content now available, there’s even more reason to revisit the game nine months after its release. Mark my words: Breath of the Wild is going to be influential for a long time to come.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

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Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood – gameplay image provided by Square Enix.

Naming an MMORPG expansion one of the best games of 2017 may seem like an unconventional choice, particularly in light of the genre’s comparatively limited appeal, but Stormblood is a particularly transcendent example of an expansion done right. If Final Fantasy XIV is a Final Fantasy theme park, Stormblood is its latest attraction. It’s a bold tale of revenge and revolution that manages to feel incredibly grounded in light of its eclectic, moogles-and-magic framework. The superb quality of its writing genuinely rivals (and often surpasses) that of its single-player contemporaries.

Stormblood is also notable for introducing two fan-favourite Final Fantasy jobs that fans have been requesting for years: Red Mage and Samurai. Both handle like a dream, with unique class mechanics and visual panache that demonstrate producer Naoki Yoshida’s deep understanding of what makes an MMORPG fun to play. Did I mention the soundtrack? Twelve forfend, that soundtrack is phenomenal. Stormblood isn’t done, either, with at least another year’s worth of additional content in the pipeline. I guarantee I’ll be along for the ride.

Super Mario Odyssey

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Super Mario Odyssey – gameplay image provided by Nintendo.

Super Mario Odyssey is happiness distilled. Mario is one of the most iconic characters in gaming for a reason; his games exude a positive, whimsical sensibility that feels precision-engineered to generate joy.

Thinking about Super Mario Odyssey, it’s not necessarily the most revolutionary game in the world. It retains the tried-and-tested, go-here-collect-that formula that Mario games have pioneered since the early days of gaming. Yet Odyssey settles for nothing less than perfection in every iota of its execution. Mario’s weight and momentum make traversal a joy. Its careful consideration of the series’ history pervades its design. Every world, every character, every detail burns bright with endearing personality. There may have been more influential or even artistically significant games released in 2017, but I cannot remember a single session of Super Mario Odyssey that did not begin and end with me smiling from ear to ear.

NieR: Automata

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NeiR: Automata – gameplay image via Square Enix.

My favourite games this year all excel in at least one key area, whether it’s their reinvention of formulaic gameplay structure or sheer audiovisual excellence. NieR: Automata does both of those things to some extent (particularly in regard to its show-stopping soundtrack), but where it really stands out for me is the way it defies narrative conventions. NieR: Automata is a game that must be completed three times—yes, three—before the full breadth of its brilliance becomes evident. It’s nothing short of awe-inspiring.

A tale of troubled androids in a bleak, post-human future, NieR: Automata’s robotic protagonists grapple with existential queries that make them feel convincingly alive in spite of their mechanical bodies. The game’s stirring climax cements itself as one of the most powerful moments in video game storytelling, period. It’s a testament to the power of a well-developed narrative, and proof of the medium’s artistic potential.

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 Derek Heemsbergen’s  reviews, such as  Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth and his second look at Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age!

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!

Top 5 PC Games to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday

Top 5 PC Games to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday 2

In a year that saw countless video games released on PC, it may be difficult to find the diamonds in the rough for those who prefer to click their way through problems. Fortunately for you, CGMagazine’s Preston Dozsa has the perfect gift guide to treat the PC gamer in your life.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PC) – gameplay image via PUBG Corporation

PUBG is a simple game: One hundred people parachute onto an island and are forced to kill each other until only one remains. Using pistols, shotguns, rifles and the occasional flying car, you’ll need to work hard to survive this brutal battle royale.

Why They’ll Love It: The biggest PC gaming hit of 2017 is an exciting and tense experience where you need equal parts skill and luck in order to win. Whether with friends or playing solo, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds provides an experience that is surprisingly polished in its current Early Access state.

Total War: Warhammer II

Top 5 PC Games to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday
Total War: Warhammer II (PC) – gameplay image via Creative Assembly and SEGA

Have you ever wanted to pilot a giant hamster wheel that is loaded with lightning cannons and covered in spikes into a crowd of elves? If so, Total War: Warhammer II will give you that opportunity in the newest edition of the ever popular RTS series.

Why They’ll Love It: With four new races and clever new mechanics, Total War: Warhammer II improves on nearly every aspect of the original. And if you own the original game, you can play in a combined map where the factions of both games fight for supremacy.

Hollow Knight

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Hollow Knight (PC) – gameplay image via Team Cherry

Take the exploration of the Metroid series, mix it with a gorgeous art style, throw in a dash of Dark Souls, and you get Hollow Knight. Your task is to explore the long-abandoned ruins of an insect kingdom, which holds deadly and ancient secrets in its depths.

Why They’ll Love It: Hollow Knight is a game for explorers, rewarding those who stray off the beaten path with even more difficult encounters and treasures. There is always something around every corner, and thanks to some great mechanics and controls, is a delight to play.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

Top 5 PC Games to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday 1
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood (PC) – gameplay image via Square Enix

The second expansion to Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, finds players starting a revolution against a militaristic empire, adding two new jobs, two new countries to explore and a host of new dungeons to conquer in the ever-popular MMORPG.

Why They’ll Love It: Square Enix continues to improve Final Fantasy XIV with each new expansion, and Stormblood is no different. With a fantastic story, streamlined gameplay, and a gorgeous new world to explore, Stormblood is a memorable experience.

Divinity: Original Sin II

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Divinity: Original Sin II (PC) – gameplay image via Larian Studios

At its core, Divinity: Original Sin II lets you create the character of your dreams and throw them into a fantasy world that is as fantastic as it is deep. Also, you can play as a skeleton who steals people’s faces.

Why They’ll Love It: Divinity: Original Sin II is an RPG to get lost in, with countless different playstyles and storylines to follow in a massive world. Larian Studios have crafted an engaging experience that will take dozens of hours to scratch beyond its surface.

Still unsure about what to get that special someone this Holiday season? For more suggestions, check out the CGMagazine Buyers Guide – Best of 2017 Edition, available for pre-order now, in print and digital formats. Get yours here.

EDITORS NOTE: Retail versions of the games in this article were provided by the publisher for previously published reviews. 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 by Preston Dosza here and here!

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!

CGMagazine December 2017: The Buyers’ Guide – Best of 2017 Edition

CGMagazine November 2017: Behind the Minds of the New Colossus 2

The 2017 CGMagazine Buyers’ guide is here! With guides to help you make the purchases for people on your holiday wishlist and selections of the best products of the year, this is an indispensable resource for the shopping season.

Inside, you’ll find:

  • Best of 2017: Action Game
  • Best of 2017: Platformer
  • Best of 2017: Simulation Game
  • Best of 2017: Puzzle and Rhythm Games
  • Best of 2017: RPG
  • Best of 2017: Horror Game
  • Best of 2017: Fighting Game
  • Best of 2017: Strategy Game
  • Best of 2017: Racing Game
  • Best of 2017: Sports Game
  • Best of 2017: Adventure/Visual Novel games
  • Best of 2017: Hardware
  • Best of 2017: Comics
  • Best of 2017: Movies

As usual, this month’s issue is packed with exciting features, including an exclusive interview with Naoki “Yoshi P” Yoshida and the team behind Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood and their take on why now is a better time than ever to join the fight for Eorza.

You won’t want to miss a word! Get your copy today! Pre-orders are available here.

CGMagazine December 2017: The Buyers' Guide - Best of 2017 Edition


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!

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

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!

Want more of some the topics in this month’s issue? Check out Jordan Biordi’s review of The Sims 4, and Derek Heembergen’s review of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood!

New Lands and Samurai Await in Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

New Lands and Samurai Await in Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood 2

The third and final leg of the worldwide Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival tour kicked off in Frankfurt, Germany early this morning. After the debut of a stunning cinematic trailer for the MMORPG’s next expansion, Stormblood, director Naoki Yoshida took to the stage to make several announcements about what to expect when it releases on June 20.

Read moreNew Lands and Samurai Await in Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

CGMPodcast Episode 72

CGMPodcast Episode 72

The regular crew discuss the finalized release date of the Xbox One, Sony’s top secret experiments with a VR system, and the games they’ve been playing like Diablo III on consoles, the disastrous launch of Final Fantasy XIV, and Disney Infinity. There’s also a special interview with Jason Bourque, the mind behind the bizarre, cult (?) gaming movie Maximum Surge/Game Over that featured Walter Koenig and a lot of reused cut scenes from FMV games of the 90s. All this and digging up dad’s nudie magazines from the bottom of the box in episode 72 of the CGM Podcast.

Read moreCGMPodcast Episode 72