- Thimbleweed Park is an entertaining old-school adventure
- Assassin’s Creed Origins is a welcome return for the series
- Hellblade and Pyre show that indie developers haven’t given up on PC
Sony has the PS4 Pro and Microsoft has the Xbox One X. The humble PC doesn’t need to brag about 4K resolution or HDR when customisation and flexibility lie at the core of its appeal, though it’s equally possible to power up your PC to a point where it outperforms the top end consoles. It’s this flexibility and variety that extends to its games too. From alien-infested space stations to nostalgia-fuelled pixellated towns, here are our favourite PC games of 2017.
Helmed by ex-LucasArts game veterans, Thimbleweed Park is a point and click a dventure in the vein of classics such as Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. There’s a wealth of engrossing puzzles, a ton of meta commentary, and dark humour. If that wasn’t enough, there’s oddball bunch of characters from foul-mouthed clowns to deadpan government agents, giving it a sense of variety few can match. It’s not as cinematic as most modern titles and it doesn’t sport an open-world either, but that doesn’t make it any less enduring.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
The open-world historical assassination simulator is back with a vengeance. Set in Ancient Egypt, you’re Bayek — a warrior on a quest for revenge. Along the way you’ll battle the gods, taken in the sites of Egypt in all their glory, and partake in a plot that’s just as intriguing and mysterious as sailing down the Nile under the moonlit sky.
Ubisoft’s decision to give Assassin’s Creed a yearlong break has paid off and it shows in Assassin’s Creed Origins. The combat in particular is a massive step up borrowing from the likes of Dark Souls making each encounter deliberate where planning is of utmost importance. It helps that the game world is one of the most expansive and dynamic we’ve seen this generation, making Assassin’s Creed a must-buy.
Unlike Supergiant Games’ past efforts, Bastion and Transistor, Pyre is a slow burn and a hodgepodge of genres — borrowing from role-playing games, MOBAs like Dota 2, and sports like basketball in equal measure, with combat being a mix of the latter two. Set in a high fantasy world, you’ve been exiled to purgatory and the only way out is to defeat other exiles in a game that’s best described as Quidditch by way of Dota 2. There’s a deep, engaging narrative around redemption that strings it altogether making for one of the more distinctive titles of 2017.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is what happens when adult animated TV series South Park decides to parody superhero movies in a video game. The stellar combat, engaging narrative, and quirky humour make this 30 hour romp through the quiet mountain town of South Park, Colorado, worth checking out. That’s particularly true if the TV show’s brand of humour gels with you. It’s a marked improvement over 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth in almost every way.
Prey is an FPS (or immersive sim if you’re a pedant) that takes place aboard the Talos I – a sprawling space station orbiting the moon – as you take on the role of a scientist named Morgan Yu. You quickly realise you’ve been reliving the same day over and over again, as the result of an experiment gone wrong. Worse still, aliens known as Typhon have overrun the station, and it’s up to you to stop them, as well as discover your past. The fresh take on a well-worn premise coupled with an assortment weapons and powers such as the exceptionally cool GLOO gun make Prey near perfect, even if Bethesda was lazy enough to choose such a boring name.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is not what you’d expect from Ninja Theory, the developers behind Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and DmC: Devil May Cry. This action game features a darker tone than those titles, and limited upgrades. You take on the role of Senua, a Celtic warrior determined to bring her betrothed back from the land of the dead. And along the way you’ll bask in mythical landscapes, satisfying combat, and a gripping story that make it worth playing through. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is greater than the sum of its parts, making it well worth its asking price. It might not be the sequel to DmC: Devil May Cry, but it’s a tense, dramatic experience that’s worth the price of entry.