Nintendo / PC / PS4 / Switch

Games of the Month – March 2017

About time, right? Every time I’ve sat down to write this one, I end up giving a whole game its own treatment instead. And, y’know, Zelda happened. Then Persona… but we’ll talk about that one soon enough.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Right? No surprises here. If you want several thousand words regarding what I think about this game, check out the two previous posts. Long story short: It’s good.

2. Nier: Automata

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Okay so this one may take a while. I think the original Nier is a flawed game with a lot of cool ideas. Nier: Automata is a less flawed game with even better ideas. Platinum Games jumped in and fixed all of the sluggish combat issues, and the story is amped up further into (somehow) even more meta territory. Since the narrative is 95% the draw here, the actual mechanics are going to be the unsung hero, but they really make all the difference. I’d guess that many people who dropped Nier (like me) did so in part because of how uninteresting the combat was. Not the case this time. It’s no Bayonetta, but it’s a huge step up from any other Yoko Taro joint. The mixing and crafting of weapons and OS upgrades is the icing on the cake, providing an extensive way to customize and upgrade how you play.

But let’s get to the meat of Automata. This game has more wild story twists and turns than anything else I’ve played this year. If you’ve talked with me about video games in the last month, you’ve probably heard me ramble for half an hour about the intricacies of Automata’s weird, complex story. And well, sorry about that. But it’s a story with moments that beg to be talked about. The way we all feel when we find a cool thing in Breath of the Wild and want to see if someone else found it is the same feeling for a half-dozen story beats that you’re guaranteed to see in Automata. I will consume any spoiler discussion there is to see about this game, because of how many interesting, horrifying, and surprisingly self-aware moments there are spread through its roughly 40 hour campaign. I don’t dare spoil anything here, (though I’ll most likely talk more thoroughly during Game of the Year Discussion) but trust me when I say that Automata puts together a series of events like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

In conclusion: If you like stories about weird robots and being sad, go play Nier Automata.

3. PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS

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This is a kind of thing that I’ve dreamed of for a long time. This is my first real entry in the Battle Royale genre, so cut me some slack for raving over how special this specific one is. But man, oh man is it special. This is the “crazy story from [open world game]” simulator. Get a couple of friends together, jump out of an airplane, and survive. 99 other people are doing the same thing. Every single time I’ve played this game I’ve come away with a story I can’t wait to tell. Just now I ended a match clipping a man with a shotgun as he proceeded to run and cut me into pieces with a machete. This person sprinted at me while I aimed a shotgun at him, and because I suck at third-person aiming in stuff like this I died. They had nothing left to lose. This game rules.

Honorable Mentions:

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment – Yacht Club Games knows what’s up, and they are continuing to make one the best 2D platformers ever even better. I can’t believe they are still giving us this stuff for free with our original Shovel Knight purchase.

Snipperclips – A fun little co-op game on the Switch that’s one of several reasons Nintendo’s new console is the best local multiplayer machine around. Cute and silly while surprisingly tough in spots. I just wish there was a little more of it.

1-2-Switch – Probably not worth $50, but seems like almost a requirement if you’re testing out the Switch’s party capabilities. It’s easy to complain about a mini game collection… but you’ll be hard pressed to not have a least a little fun with this one. (I like it more than any of my friends but hey, whatever!)

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