5) L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files – Metacritic Score: 84
When the remaster of L.A. Noire that came to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in November was first revealed, a shorter VR version was also announced. However, it was delayed shortly before release and came to HTC Vive in December. In The VR Case Files, you jump into the shoes of Cole Phelps and tackle select cases from the various police departments of the main game.
An important part of the original release was the facial animation technology that conveys small tells on the NPCs’ faces when you were interviewing them. Being so immersed in the action, that system works even better in VR, and the interactions feel far more intense. It also offers more variety than most other VR titles, allowing you to explore, drive around LA, and solve tricky puzzles. The Case Files VR makes you feel like a detective and that’s all you want from L.A. Noire.
4) Pinball FX3 (Switch) – Metacritic Score: 85
The Pinball FX series of games are some of the best pinball titles on the market. They offer a deep experience that has far more variety and is far cheaper than the traditional format. Now that FX3 has come to Nintendo Switch, there’re even more reasons for pinball fans to pick the game up. While it is generally the same solid experience from other consoles, the Switch exclusive options, including the ability to have the handheld screen vertical to help it look like a real pinball machine, are what make it stand out.
The portability, HD Rumble, and couch-multiplayer options are some of the reasons why critics have suggested that it is the best way to play the game. It may not feel entirely like the authentic pinball experience, but it is as close as you could expect on a handheld gaming system.
3) PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PC) – Metacritic Score: 86
Arguably the most popular game of 2017, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG), hit insane concurrent player figures without even being a full release. Taking on players alone, or as part of a squad, players hunt for weapons and items that help them be the last one standing and get that Chicken Dinner. Finally, in December, version 1.0 released alongside the Xbox One preview version of the game, prompting critics to publish finalized reviews.
As it had been by fans throughout 2017, critics praised PUBG for its compelling gameplay loop. Whether you’re playing one game or binging tens of them, the game feels fresh due to the tactical variety and well-designed map. The possibilities for additions in terms of map and gameplay options are exciting and the popularity is a testament to how impressive of an experience it is. Hopefully, now that the game has reached full release, the developer will begin to smooth out the rough edges.
2) Enter The Gungeon (Switch) – Metacritic Score: 89
Enter the Gungeon was a hit on other consoles but it may be at its best on Nintendo Switch. For those that haven’t played it before, Enter the Gungeon is a roguelike twin-stick shooter that tasks you with exploring a procedurally generated dungeon to fight bosses, discover secrets, and find new weapons.
The Switch re-release was praised for many of the same reasons as the original release was, as well as for some Switch-specific reasons. The art style and visuals look wonderful on the Switch’s small screen, the twin-stick gameplay is compelling, and the frequent rewards make it tough to put down. The satisfying combat and inventive selection of weapons also make it a joy to play. Enter the Gungeon is one of the best indie titles currently available for the Switch.
1) Okami HD – Average Metacritic Score: 89
The cult classic action-adventure game, Okami, was remastered for current generation consoles and released in December as Okami HD. The game sees you take control of the mythical sun goddess Amaterasu, in the form of a wolf, and restore color to the world by destroying the monsters that have stolen it. The unique experience has been rated as the best game of December 2017.
Critics praised the beautiful visuals and impeccably designed world, both of which are given a new lease of life from the remaster. The brush-based gameplay has aged well and compliments the other excellent mechanics and level design. Aside from the visual upgrade, Okami HD largely remains the same game, but that doesn’t stop it from being a truly unique experience that should be played by anyone who missed the original release.