Kurtis' Best and Worst of 2017
We're now at the end of the year which brings us to our obligatory lists and rankings of everything we liked and hated during 2017. There was so much that happened this year that it's easy to forget if it was an actual 2017 title or if that's just your brain misfiring. I'm also lumping movies and games into one post because I was not able to get to play or see everything I was hoping to. Be sure to listen to our 2017 pod episode here!
2017 Best -
Logan - Logan was by far one of the best movies to come out in 2017 if not the last 10 years (easily.) This movie gave us a darker, more unique look at everyone's favorite X-Men. It had an amazing story with a real ending and did not contribute to a saga, universe or trilogy. The R rating was used to aid in the heavier story telling and more aggressive themes and wasn't taken advantage or or misused.
Horizon Zero Dawn - As a fan of massive open world games like Skyrim and Fallout, this was kind of a no brainer for me. Exploring this unique world with it's well executed blend of future tech and post-civilization tribal elements was a lot of fun. The story was well written and I enjoyed the payoff at the end. Horizon also had some of my favorite gameplay elements of the year with some really difficult challenges and boss battles to overcome.
Pixar's Coco - 2017 was a rough year for me personally. I lost a very dear friend and struggled through some issues with depression in the weeks and months following. Coco's message hit me harder than most other movies ever have. It's a beautifully animated tale about family, memories, and self discovery. The original score was one of the best parts of this movie and to me, stands out among other Pixar classics like Toy Story and Wall-E as some of the best music they've ever created.
Destiny 2 - Now I'm not much of a fan of shooters, especially competitive multiplayer shooters. The first destiny didn't really click for me because it just seemed like another game. Granted I only played on my friends Xbox when he wasn't using it and really never gave it much thought. This year, armed with my own console and a group of friends to roll with, I have had an absolute blast with the sequel. It's not a perfect game and I understand a lot of the complaints with story telling and character development. What this game is to me though surpasses any single player discrepancies. It's a social activity that I have been really enjoying this year with a good group of people.
Wonder Woman - In 2017 it would appear that Marvel is still winning the comic book movie war. Their blend of action, humor, and familiar characters has created a money making machine. DC on the other hand has been desperately trying to find an audience to appeal to. To me Wonder Woman gave us a glimpse at what a good DC movie could be. Gal Gadot was great in the roll and the WWI action sequences were awesome. The ending definitely had some issues but I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching this movie.
IT - Stephen King had a lot on the big and small screen this year. Gerald's Game, 1922 and the Dark Tower all saw some success but nothing like IT. There's a reason this movie is now the top grossing horror movie of all time. Bill Skarsgård was brilliant in his portrayal as Pennywise and the Loser's club was everything they were meant to be. I'd highly recommend seeing this if you haven't already.
Dunkirk - Dunkirk is a hard movie to describe if you haven't seen it. It's a WWII action/drama that appeals to all of your senses in a way that many movies can't. The limited dialogue in the film allow you to be completely consumed by the cutting edge sound design and hypnotic score by Hans Zimmer. It's a Christopher Nolan classic and one of my all time favorites.
South Park's Fractured But Whole - As a lifelong fan of the South Park franchise, I was always curious about the Stick of Truth game but I never really got around to playing it. My wife got the Fractured But Whole/ Stick of Truth bundle for an early Christmas gift and neither of us could put our controllers down for a solid week after we started playing. In a world of long, drawn out single player titles and online only multiplayer games, TFBW is a refreshing, crass, absurd, hilarious, game that violates everything and everyone. In true South Park fashion, this game constantly finds ways to entertain. I do wish it had a Couch Co-op mode because it would play into the turn-based style and there are plenty of characters you could play as.
Cup Head - One of the most unique games to ever be released, Cuphead is a delightfully challenging multiplayer that is entirely hand drawn. It's styled after 190's animation and has some of the most difficult boss battles in recent memory. The challenge of the game never feels out of place and the amount you die in the game only makes you want to play more.
Forza 7 - Forza will always be one of my favorite games wether it's the more arcadey Horizon or the simulation Motorsport series. The latest addition to the series runs beautifully on the Xbox One X and the ever expanding car selection gets more vast every year. The improved driving mechanics, textures, and dynamic weather all make this a must play title of 2017. I do have some issues with the menus and mod cards but not enough to ruin the game overall.
2017 Worst -
Loot Boxes and Micro Transactions - While Loot boxes and micro transactions aren't new concepts to gaming, they were basically the villains of the entire industry in 2017. EA took most of the heat towards the end of the year for their implementation of loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2 but they weren't the only culprit. The fact that developers have started to charge people to play that games that they've already purchased is pretty disheartening. Some companies have even said that they will be moving away from Single Player experiences to cater to the more lucrative online multiplayer genre of games as s service. Hopefully the fallout over EA's decisions this year will clear the air and make developers pause and rethink some of their choices in 2018 (PLEASE DON'T RUIN RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2)
Mass Effect Andromeda - I guarantee my 2017 worst list won't be the only one with this game. Mass Effect was such a beloved series and the release of Andromeda showed just how little Bioware actually cared about the franchise. The game was buggy, underdeveloped, and uninspired. After EA/Bioware announced the future release of Anthem in the summer of 2017, this had people thinking the studios had moved developmental resources from Mass Effect to the new IP division. Mass Effect has been placed on a permanent hold since this disaster with no further updates, DLC or future titles to be announced in the immediate future.
Net Neutrality - 2017 was a politically charged year and in some pretty unique ways. Normally we are worried about health care, war, infrastructure and so on. Ajit Pai of the FCC however made us afraid of losing the INTERNET! On December 15th, the FCC voted 3-2 to end Net Neutrality which kept the internet as a protected utility. This protection meant that internet providers couldn't charge differently, regulate speeds or access to specific websites or access to other online services. Now it's too early to see what the repeal of the Net Neutrality rules will actually mean for all of us but nobody feels good about the decision. Hopefully people won't need to pay their ISP extra to access our website in the future.
The Sexual Assault Scandals - After Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault in mid 2017, the accusation flood gates opened and many hollywood giants fell in the wake. Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, and Dustin Hoffman all came under fire for alleged molestation and assault charges. Movies and shows were canceled, re shot, or forgotten at the sudden disgust of some of our favorite cinematic idols. I guess depending on how you look at the situation it could be classified as something "good" that happened this year since it sparked the #metoo movement and brought some much needed attention to these issues that many women face daily. The reason i'm adding it to my worst list is due to the fact that it took so many accusations in such a short amount of time and after so many years (in some cases) for any of these men to face some kind of consequences.
The Last Jedi - Star Wars the Last Jedi has been insanely divisive since it's release in Early December. I have heavily sided with the crowd of fans who disliked this movie. While some people praise it for being "different," I see it's subversions as lazy, and irrational as a sequel. While it's hard to say if I'd like this movie without ever seeing the Force Awakens, knowing what I know, I think Rian Johnson completely mishandled the continuation of the story that JJ Abrams started. There are good ways to subvert fan expectations and take characters in different directions but none of them can be found in this movie.
That about sums it up for my 2017 Best and Worst list. While there was a lot more I enjoyed in 2017 like Netflix's Punisher series and the Live Action Beauty and the Beast, what I listed are the things I enjoyed the most. And while there were plenty of other movies and games that completely sucked this year, I actually did a decent job avoiding them, (unless you count the random trash I like to stream on Netflix like Don't Kill It starring Dolph Lundgren.) I'm also aware that my worst list mostly contains movements and concepts as opposed to individual titles and that's because I see those as more of a detriment to these industries than any single title. So what did you hate or enjoy most about this year. Leave a comment below!