Monday, January 22, 2018

Loquacious Gamer's #TeamHandheld Best of 2017

1) Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (3DS)

A remake of a Japanese-only Fire Emblem game from over two decades ago, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia captured me with its amazing character designs, superb voice acting, dynamic battle animations, strategic gameplay, and mesmerizing soundtrack, while still maintaining what I had enjoyed about the original. I actually beat this game twice in the same year—once in Japanese and once in English—and despite the sometimes repetitive or tedious nature of the game, I enjoyed it both times and will likely look fondly on it for years to come.

2) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

Admittedly, I'm not very good at puzzle games, and I'd often get stuck for long periods of time in previous Zelda entries, especially the 3D ones, so I wasn't sure if I should really be buying yet another installment in this critically acclaimed franchise. However, it turns out the game's core mechanics are very intuitive, yet still rife with possibilities, and once I got far enough that I could comfortably and quickly get to where I wanted, Breath of the Wild really took off for me, making it what is probably now my favorite entry in the entire series.

3) The Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki Evolution (Vita)

I sure do like the PlayStation Vita, and I sure do like me some good ol' Falcom RPGs, so being the big Trails fan I am, I finally gave in and played one of the Japanese-only entries in the game with added voice acting that really made the characters come to life. The story, characters, world-building, and music are as interesting as ever, and...well, that's all I'll say for now. Hopefully we'll get an official localization sometime soon!

4) Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)

Honestly, games #1-4 were close enough in enjoyment for me that they could probably switch places based on my mood alone, and I say that because for me, Metroid: Samus Returns was a really, really satisfying entry in the 2D line of Metroid games. I wasn't sure we'd see another 2D Metroid, but it looked, felt, and sounded great, and I was just having so much fun, I ended up 100% completing it just because. I rarely ever do this for any games, even my favorites. Plus, having the map visible on the bottom screen of the 3DS has spoiled me now, and I imagine I'll probably complain the next time I have to press a button to see a map in a Metroid game.

5) The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

I actually had this game for a long while, and told myself I gotta beat this before I play Breath of the Wild, so I did. Thankfully, it was easy enough that I didn't get stuck, and enjoyable enough I didn't quit out of frustration, so as weird as it is having two Zelda games on a "Top 10" list when I don't even consider myself a fan of the series...A Link Between Worlds is worthy of the spot.

6) Rhythm Heaven Megamix (3DS) 

I've liked every Rhythm Heaven game so far, especially the DS and Wii ones, so I figured I'd like this one too. I did, though the story ended up being kind of annoying, and the remixes and difficulty levels really didn't hit the right spots for me. So despite the large amount of content available here, it was only really good for me. But still it was good enough to make this list, and good enough that I'm glad I played it.

7) Splatoon 2 (Switch)

A fun new campaign and a fresh coat of paint on a game I enjoyed plenty on the Wii U made this worth the pick-up, and I honestly had a blast in both the competitive multiplayer modes and the new co-op mode Salmon Run. What unfortunately made Splatoon 2 NOT much higher on this list were some of the frustrating decisions behind online play. As much as I liked being able to play on-the-go, certain ranked modes only being available at certain times hurt the convenience of that, and along with connection issues and limited/poor communication methods, my drive to continue playing couldn't hold up forever.

8) Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 (3DS)

I'd say I'm a fan of both action and platformer games, and the Azure Striker Gunvolt series doesn't disappoint in giving me a healthy mix of both with some great music and a cool art style. If I had to take off points for something here, it'd probably be the questionable story, but overall I found it to be a relatively enjoyable game.

9) VOEZ (Switch)

I wasn't sure I'd like the aesthetic of this rhythm game, but with the Switch being pretty new and not having a lot of games yet, I figured I'd give it a try, and I wasn't disappointed. The gameplay is simple, but effective and the presentation is colorful and catchy, so I found myself enjoying a number of the tracks that the game had to offer.

10) I Am Setsuna (Switch)

Because RPGs can be such a time investment, I try not to start too many new ones—especially if I'm not already a fan of the series—but the prospect of playing a shorter RPG on-the-go was tough to pass by, and the simple but charming art style managed to capture my eye enough that I figured I'd give this a chance. Though it was admittedly somewhat repetitive, unexciting, and predictable with the story, the core of the game held my attention enough that I made it to the end, and the portability made it much easier to sink time into. While it wasn't so good that I plan on getting Lost Sphear too, it was still enjoyable in its own right, and I don't regret playing it.

Honorable Mentions: Blaster Master Zero (Switch), Gunman Clive 2 (3DS)

By Loquacious Gamer

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