The Gold Standard – 2017

2017 is dead, but it’s worth looking back on.  It was a big year for Ninja Refinery.  In fact, whilst the site existed, and posts were made, it was the birth and proper realisation of the site.  It’s been great!

More importantly, I played some great games, some of which were released in 2017, most of which, were not.

I don’t keep up with the latest gaming news on here, it’s not possible, it’s not the point of the site, and I have no interest in doing that.  However, the Ninja Refinery 2017 in gaming has seen some real gold.

This is all about the best gaming experiences, and a bit of a round-up from everything I’ve played.

No need to harp on about things that weren’t so great.  Let’s share some more love for the best bits of the year.

Surprise gems

I’ll be honest, I’ve approached a couple of games with a little trepidation.  This is no bad thing though, being able to be caught off-guard and pleasantly surprised is one of the best ways to experience something.

The biggest surprise to me this year was Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U.  I had so much fun with this game, it’s excellent!!  Definitely worthy of the gold-standard award.

The other major surprise to me was Ghost Recon Wildlands.  Underwhelming reviews and lots of online disappointment, I had a whale of a time with this game.  People didn’t seem to care too much for it initially, but with the inclusion of the online PvP modes, it’s seeing new life, which is great.

Late to the party

With the core focus of this site being that I go over older games, and see them post-release furore and DLC/patches, I’ve been able to tackle some great games, albeit much later than everyone else.

The biggest standout to me in this category is definitely Batman Arkham Knight.  I’ve loved the Arkham series, but I was a little deterred by Arkham Origins, and then the poor release of Arkham Knight meant I wasn’t too eager to get involved.  Lucky for me, I finally got around to it.  It was excellent, unsurprisingly.

In a very similar set of circumstances, I’d say that Assassin’s Creed Unity came along at the right time.  Again, hampered by a lot of bugs and bad press at release, plus my burnout of the series, I left this until it was ridiculously cheap.

Not the pinnacle of the series, but a real diamond in the rough and a game that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I hope others give it the time, too.

The no-brainers

Some games are just going to be good.  Either because of the studio making them, or because the come from a long long line of excellent preceding releases (usually a combination of both).

I’ll short list here because there’s plenty written about them elsewhere.  Suffice it to say, I’ve loved all of these games, and still go back to them often.

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

Super Smash bros. Wii U

The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the wild (Wii U)

Hitman

Re-visiting some of the best

Sometimes it’s good to go back and re-evaluate a game, sometimes it’s good just to dive back in and enjoy something you enjoyed previously.

In the back-end of 2017 I found myself playing a lot of Titanfall 2 again. One of the best First Person Shooter campaigns in recent memory, the continuation of the excellent gameplay established in the first one, and a whole new set of Titans to master.  It was great the first time round, and it’s still superb.

Along with Titanfall 2, I found myself investing more time in The Division.  It’s been vastly improved upon in the past 12 months, it plays great, it feels great, it sounds great and it’s a really good online experience.  Really pleased I dived back in!

Finally, I finished Forza Horizon 2 having played it for a good chunk of time last year, I got caught up in other things and never finished it, but I couldn’t be more pleased to have given it more of my time.  It is bloody excellent!

 

Still playing

Overwatch was pretty prominent in my year.  Getting rankings for most of the seasons, trying new heroes and maps.  Such a great game.  Alas, the back-end of the year meant I didn’t commit as much to it as I’d like, but it’s not going anywhere and I love diving in and out of it to see how it’s changed, how my playstyle changes and to see if I’ll ever get higher than silver.

Rocket League is another of those that just keeps on going.  You dive in and out, and play your matches for your rank.  It’s always fun, it’s always frustrating and it’s still one of the best.  Again, I didn’t give it much time towards the back-end of the year, but it’s always there, ready to get back involved with.

 

New favourites

Finally, the end of the year saw the rise of the Battle Royale gametype on consoles. Initially Fortnite: Battle Royale was released for free on PC, PS4 and Xbox, and stole a bit of thunder from the genre-dominating PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).

Then, the Xbox One release of PUBG saw a shift in my time, spending more and more of it here than in Fortnite.

Both great fun, both worth getting into, but PUBG has pipped it at the post for my preference.

Either way, both get the gold standard from me!

All in all

2017 was a massive year for me personally, it was a massive year for Ninja Refinery and it was a pretty big year for gaming.  Sure, we’ve seen the rise of lootboxes, micro-transactions and other nefarious bollocks, but it was much more than that.

For everything that 2017 started, let’s see the good stuff continue and improve, and lets see the death of bad practice and trying to milk every last penny out of the players.

2018 is going to be good.  I can feel it!

Thank you to anyone and everyone that has bothered to click on a link to bring you hear, or to follow Ninja Refinery on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  Thank you to those companies that have worked with me, and communicated with me, regardless of my “nothing” status.  It’s been a real learning curve, and it’s been an absolute pleasure.

Here’s to the new lessons ready to be learned, new relationships ready to be built, and more games played in 2018.

 

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