The end of a year is a time to reminisce on the good that happened in the year that is leaving, but also a time for building up excitement about what is to come. I’ve already talked 2017, unveiling my Game of the Year list just a short while ago, so I wanted to take some time as the year ends to talk about what I am excited for in the year to come. With how packed 2017 was, what could 2018 possibly have left for us?
Adol Christin, the long-running amnesiac protagonist of the Ys series, is back for another adventure. In Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, you quickly find yourself stranded on the mysterious, uncharted ‘Isle of Seiren’. As none have ever landed on the Isle and escaped, and ships that come too close have a tendency to disappear, never to be seen again, the Isle is surrounded in little more than legends and warnings.
Unlike previous Ys games, in Lacrimosa of Dana your exploration is fueled primarily by the desire to survive, and the survivors of the ill-fated Lombardia – the ship Adol’s journey begins on – must band together in order to not perish at the hands of this strange island full of creatures thought extinct millennia ago. And, if that wasn’t enough, one night, Adol begins having strange dreams of an advanced, majestic civilization and a lovely young lady he’s never met named Dana.
It’s that time of year again. The time when we look back on the year and decide – in some strange arbitrary fashion – which games reign supreme!
Today we’ll be revisiting the realms we’ve explored, reminiscing on the rivals we vanquished, scrutinizing the structures we built (and destroyed), deliberating about the dungeons we discovered, and judging the year’s journeys. Who will survive all of this speculation and come out on top?
This was a year that featured a new console; new entries in many long-standing franchises including Mario, Persona, Assassin’s Creed and more; entirely new IPs; and even the birth of a new genre. Many exceptional games will fail to make the cut, but for those who do… the glory will be all the sweeter. So without further delay, it is time for me to reveal the best games of 2017.
Nights of Azure flew completely under the radar when it came out last year, but it was one of the most charming JRPGs I’ve ever played. It featured an approachable tale of two women desperate to save each other from an unfortunate fate: the Knight protecting her beloved – the woman chosen by their leaders to be sacrificed to the great evil. Naturally, I was more than a little excited when I heard a sequel was being made, carrying the same themes forward.
In Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon, we’re again asked to take on the mantle of a knight of the Curia, this time a young lady named Aluche, tasked to protect her childhood friend Liliana who has been chosen to be sacrificed to a demon known as the ‘Moon Queen’. As you can see, the game carries forward many of the same story elements… including the fact that things are not always what they seem.
The Persona series’ Velvet Room has always defined each game. In Persona 3, the room appeared as an elevator representing one of the game’s core story themes. In Persona 4, it is a limousine shrouded in fog signifying our protagonist’s current transient state. Persona 5 ups the symbolism a notch by making the Velvet Room the prison that is meant to be a window into the lead character’s current peril.
Within the first hour of your time with Persona 5, you’ll come to the realization that the story here is not light-hearted. For all that the music is extremely up-beat, what we’re dealing with her is a story of misfits ground down by the world and trying to strike back – to reclaim some sense of life for their lives. In Persona 5, our protagonist – known by the code name Joker – forms a group of thieves known as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and seeks to right the wrongs of the society that has failed him by stealing the twisted hearts of the wicked who are preying upon the innocent. Sounds simple, right?