7 Meaningful Video Games from 2017 Dec04

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7 Meaningful Video Games from 2017

Promotional artwork for RiME commissioned by Grey Box Games.

1. RiME

This game is a balm for my torn-up soul. It begins as a quiet, peaceful exploration of a gorgeous, sunlit island, then turns dark as I stumble belowground, meeting shadowy figures that whisper as I pass by. The character I control, a young boy in a red cloak, never meets anyone else on his journey, and for some reason the solitude and lack of dialogue is comforting. Finding a way back to the sun and some surprising scenes with the boy’s father reveals the game has been about working through grief. RiME, with its intriguing puzzles and gorgeous soundtrack, reminds us that sometimes we have to let ourselves experience the darkness before we find hope again. Allison Barron

2. Destiny 2

Destiny 2 brings me all the joy I’ve been missing since the original Halo trilogy. The single-player experience resonated with me deeply. The Guardians have lost their powers. Not only does this rob them of their immortality, but makes them vulnerable to the onslaught of the Red Legion. This loss gives way to hope under the light of the Traveler. The multiplayer is where the game really shines, incentivizing friends and clanmates to play together to complete the quests, spurring us into community with each other.  —Justin Koop

3. Assassin’s Creed: Origins

I love the determination of Bayek as he moves through Egypt to destroy the people responsible for his son’s murder. The game’s attention to cultural and physical accuracy was remarkable in the art full of vivid blues and greens, the temples and their devotion to worship. The waters were muddy and you could see how dirty it was when you swam in it. The environment looked so real that our dog kept trying to play with the camels.

The first time Bayek meets up with his wife, Aya, you can feel the love they share and the hurt. But as the story moves on, Bayek is focused on avenging Khemet’s death while Aya becomes obsessed with destroyed a mysterious order involved in killing their son. This divergence puts a strain on their relationship and tests their love to the breaking point. Aya becomes the creator of the assassins and their love is the sacrifice that births the creed. It is a story of sorrow, pain, and hope. —Susan Schellenberg

4. Mass Effect: Andromeda

In the truest geek parlance, Andromeda is Star Trek to the Mass Effect trilogy’s Star Wars—focusing on exploration and discovery more than the impending doom of the universe. As the Pathfinder, the kinds of decisions you face are vastly different than previous games; how do you tell a Salarian settler that they’ll die before seeing their family because you chose to unfreeze a more economically viable group of people in their place? Few games have caused me to call into question whether I value truth more highly than justice but every choice in this game asks you to carefully and sincerely weigh the needs of the many against the needs of the few. Jason Dueck

5. Pinstripe

When an ex-minister’s daughter is kidnapped and taken into the depths of Hell, what choice does he have but to follow? Pinstripe is a beautiful combination of art, music, story, and gameplay—the culmination of five years work for Thomas Brush. In the story, we learn the ex-minister was an addict and, as the son of an addict, I feel like this game captured their Hell in such a way that I was simultaneously horrified and filled with compassion. Hell is often understood as a place where external forces lay siege to your dying soul, but in Pinstripe, Hell becomes the thing we choose out of desperation and hopelessness.  —Kyle Rudge

6. Breath of the Wild

Finally, a Legend of Zelda game that actually shows Zelda as a hero instead of a damsel in distress. Breath of the Wild is a beautiful story about working together to become a force to be reckoned with. Though one person is insufficient to save the world, a community might manage it if they work together. Breath of the Wild opens the world up to see, feel, explore, climb and be killed—with little hand holding. It is the best open world game I’ve ever played because while you can go anywhere, many of those places are merciless and might result in instant death. You can tackle puzzles multiple ways. Your willingness to explore, meet new people and help them out will make the story richer and your battle more successful, but how you interact with the world is your choice. Dustin Schellenberg

7. Horizon Zero Dawn

Open world—check! Crafting system—check! Gorgeous art style—check! Giant robot animals stomping around, prepared to attack you if you don’t hunt them down—wait, what? A rich story about caring for your community even if it hates you, the dangers of abusing the planet, and the risks of uncontrolled technological advance, Horizon Zero Dawn comes wrapped up in one of the most beautiful environments seen on a console. There is juxtaposition between stopping to gaze at a herd of robotic deer foraging in a forest as the sun bathes the surreal leaves in a golden glow, and chasing down the main storyline to find out how this world came to be. The questions eventually get answered, but not without waves of shock, awe, and heartache along the compelling journey. Dustin Schellenberg

AoE Staff

AoE Staff

Staff Writers at Geekdom House
We think it's Gaius Baltar in Rivendell with the Master Sword.
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