Best video games of ’17 – new worlds, old friends

|     Tom Ham     |

THIS year has been a great one for gamers. Game developers continued to push hardware limits so that players could experience incredible new worlds and stories. Old friends made appearances as well. Mario, Link, Crash, Samus and Sonic all returned to the gaming fold and did not disappoint.

Without question, rounding up the top five this year was really tough – so many games were worthy of being included – but we feel we picked the best of the best.

‘Cuphead’

Cuphead has players taking on the role of the lead character as he platforms his way through numerous levels, dodging fire and engaging in incredibly tough boss battles. The visual style of the game is what puts it in a league of its own. Inspired by 1930s cartoons, each frame, animation and background was hand-drawn. Seeing the game in motion is pure magic.

Be warned: The gameplay is pretty tough. Only seasoned platformers need apply.

A scene from ‘Cuphead’
A scene from ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’
A scene from ‘Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy’

‘Super Mario Odyssey’

In the latest instalment of an open-world Mario game, Bowser has once again kidnapped Princess Peach, and it’s up to you to save her before their wedding. Joining Mario this time around is Cappy – the hat that can take on many forms and help Mario get through enemy-filled levels. ‘Odyssey’ looks like a full-featured animated movie.

From the various landscapes and environments to the character animations and variety of enemies, it’s visually stunning. Without a doubt, Super Mario Odyssey is the best Mario yet.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’

Breaking the meld of the typical linear style of game-play found in Zelda games, this latest version introduces the idea of a fully open world. Players can approach the game any way they like. You might want to explore the land of Hyrule before tackling the main objectives. It’s up to you. As players progress, they will come across shrines containing puzzles, tasks and challenges. As you complete these, you are given items to help you in the game.

From start to finish, Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Ever wondered what would happen if the crazy Rabbids teamed up with classic Mario characters in a video game? Say hello to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. At first glance, you might think it’s a typical Mario game, but it’s not. It’s a turn-based strategy game, which means players will have to plan their moves in advance. This allows players to get their attacks just right.

Spread across four worlds with a host of challenging enemies and bosses, players will have to put their thinking caps on to make it to the end.

‘Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy’

If you’re a PlayStation fan, you might remember the Crash Bandicoot series, in which players would guide a feisty marsupial through challenging jumping puzzles. Now Crash is back on the PS4. The N Sane Trilogy has all three games of the Crash series: ‘Crash Bandicoot’, ‘Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back’ and ‘Crash Bandicoot Warped’. All the fun platform action from the originals has been faithfully restored in this version.

Fully remastered in HD, Crash has never looked better. – Text and Photos by The Washington Post