Over the next ten days, Hardcore Gamer will be revealing its Best of 2017 Awards leading up to our Game of the Year. Today we present you with the Best PS Vita Game, 3DS Game, DLC, Artistic Design and Technical Graphics.
As long as imported gems from Japan exist, PS Vita may be struggling, but it won’t be dying for a while. And this year it had some additional support from one of franchises it helped make popular in the West: Danganronpa. While Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony didn’t quite hit the heights of it predecessors, it still provided well-crafted murder mysteries to solve, tense gameplay in the Class Trials that felt more improved than ever, another enjoyable cast of students to root for with some true standouts for the series and rather surprising twists in its story that most won’t see coming. Whether Danganronpa V3 truly ends up being the final game for Monokuma and company has yet to be seen, but at least they went out on another high note.
|Yomawari: Midnight Shadows||Mary Skelter: Nightmares||Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth||Collar X Malice|
Though many consider this to be the 3DS’ supposed twilight period — made even more decisive now that the Switch has started to take some of that former portable novelty for itself — that hasn’t stopped Nintendo from continuing to release solid first-party and third-party titles on their trusted through-and-through handheld. Prior to E3 of this year, few would’ve banked on getting a Metroid game — let alone two — but while some were understandably antagonistic towards their immediate DMCA notices beforehand, it seemed that Nintendo were also working on their own remake of Metroid II, in the form of Metroid: Samus Returns. Bringing arguably the most overlooked entry in the series into the modern era, Samus Returns retained the 1991 Game Boy original’s ambient mystery and staple exploration while incorporating new mechanics and tensely evolved combat set-pieces with the titular menace. But in retrospect, not only was Samus Returns a pleasing appetizer for those eager to see the popular bounty hunter return, but it garnered notable and justifiable optimism as we await the main course that is Metroid Prime 4.
|Pokémon: Ultra Sun & Moon||Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth||Monster Hunter Stories||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia|
DLC is tricky to nail down. Developers tread a fine line between charging the right amount and making sure the content on offer justifies the price. Guerrilla Games walked this line perfectly with Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, offering a tantalizing amount of content at a reasonable price. With a brand new large area to explore, Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds gave players new activities to complete, allies to meet and ferocious machines to take down. While the story didn’t move the established plot forward, it did further build on the mystery of the game’s world. Beautiful to look at and fun to play, Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds is the best DLC money could buy this year.
|Nioh: Defiant of Honor||Battlefield 1: In The Name of the Tsar||Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood||XCOM 2: War of the Chosen|
Even in such a consumer-trusted part of the industry where visuals and aesthetic are often a treat for the eye and guaranteed to provide delightful affairs, it says something when Cuphead undoubtedly stood as one of the most unique and captivating games to indulge in. With painstaking detail pouring from out each one of its hand-drawn still frames, watercolor-painted backdrops and general 1930s film grain-coated aesthetic, seeing it all flow together and work in tandem with one of the year’s best gameplay experiences was a testament to just how much effort Studio MDHR clearly put into presenting a game, despite its nostalgic trip down memory lane, that was just as mesmerizing to look at as it was addictive to play. Anything that succeeds it thereafter may well be perceived as imitation for Cuphead’s artistic and visual design will undoubtedly go down as one of the best we’ve seen and one video game fans far and wide have clearly welcomed with open arms.
|Persona 5||Sonic Mania||Nex Machina||Hollow Knight|
There are few studios in the world that can make games as beautiful as Guerrilla Games can. Powered by the studio’s Decima Engine, Horizon Zero Dawn is a feast for the eyes. Vegetation flows in the wind, Machines vividly break apart as you tear them apart and snow realistically deforms as Aloy wades through it. Guerrilla Games took full advantage of the PS4 when developing the game and it shows in all the gorgeous locales players visit. Those with an HDR TV and PS4 Pro are in for a bigger treat thanks to the excellent HDR implementation and checkerboard resolution. Horizon Zero Dawn is an absolute stunner and the most impressive use of technical graphics in 2017.
|Uncharted: The Lost Legacy||Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice||Assassin’s Creed: Origins||Call of Duty: WWII|