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RPGamer's Halftime Report 2017

Severin MiraSeverin Mira News Director/ReviewerRPGamer Staff
edited July 17 in Latest Updates
After seven years in the wilderness, RPGamer's Halftime Report returns. After a busy six months for RPG fans, select staff members highlight some of our personal favourites so far as well as letting you know what we're looking forward to for the rest of the year

[ Feature ]
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Comments

  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited July 17
    It feels like I've been saying it every single time I post here, but this year has just been so stellar that I can't remember the last time I even had half as much fun. And I still haven't had the time to get around to some of the games on ya'lls list like Horizon, Yakuza 0, or Tokyo Xanadu. Though in Xanadu's case its mostly because I'm waiting on the PS4 version.

    Speaking of Xanadu, I'm glad to see you're enjoying it and that its not just a ho-hum action RPG. That its a highlight for you this year is pretty impressive and it makes it tougher to wait for the console version. Its good to see developers making stuff run well on the Vita in general, but after Accel World I earnestly don't think I'll ever play the Vita version of any PS4/Vita release ever again.

    My highlights of the year are, obviously, Persona 5, Tales of Berseria, and Breath of the Wild. P5 and Berseria in particular are both in my top 10 favorite RPGs and my favorites in each of their respective series now. Three games of that high a caliber is unthinkable compared to most years. Automata and Trails the 3rd are also both truly memorable and enjoyable experiences in their own right too.

    There's also so much I'm looking forward to in addition to some of the titles like Ys 8 and Xenoblade 2 on the list. My most hyped right now is Danganronpa 3. In the RPG realm though its most likely Etrian Odyssey 5 and Monster Hunter XX (Japanese Switch version). Etrian Odyssey 4 truly captured everything I love about the series, and its been nearly 4 years since then, so hopefully it makes it out this year. Monster Hunter XX is of course the first console release of a game my friends and I have been craving to play all year, so we can't wait.
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    I wish I loved persona 5 as much as everyone else did. Almost all the things I disliked about it are nitpicking, but I didn't like it as much as 2, 3, or 4. After how good 3 and 4 were maybe I expected to much from it.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Utterly baffled by the lack of Breath of the Wild
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    Wheels wrote: »
    Utterly baffled by the lack of Breath of the Wild

    *looks for write-ups from Apps*

    0 Results Found
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    edited July 18
    For all forum discussion, the only RPG definition that matters is "Do we cover it?" Posts which attempt to justify certain games as/not RPGs will be either mocked or deleted at the moderators' discretion. No derailing threads into what is/not an RPG, or asking why we cover Zelda and not God of War.
    The Tea and Biscuits Brigade offers you tea and biscuits.
  • ultranessultraness Member Full Members
    Persona 5 is easily my favourite in the series, and Trails in the Sky 3 is another game this year I liked a lot. I'm looking forward to playing Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, and Breath of the Wild. It's been a good year so far.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Macstorm wrote: »
    Wheels wrote: »
    Utterly baffled by the lack of Breath of the Wild

    *looks for write-ups from Apps*

    0 Results Found

    I already said all I wanted to say about the game in the review, was looking forward to reading someone else's thoughts
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
    sig.gif
  • jscarpejscarpe RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited July 18
    Early personal top 5:
    1. Yakuza 0 (seriously the best entry in the series, a blast from beginning to end)
    2. Trails in the Sky The 3rd (Trails gets dark. This was such a good game, but Yakuza edges it out because it was a more positive fun experience. Star Door 15 still haunts me.)
    3. Fire Emblem Echoes (Ranked here because I finished it unlike the next two. Had some flaws, but I enjoyed it considerably more than Fates.)
    4. Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Not a 5/5 for me: the combat is sloppy and weapon degradation can go to hell, but the world exploration was fantastic. So nice to see the Zelda team try something totally different.)
    5. Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception (Plenty of flaws in this, but I'm enjoying the heck out of it.)

    Still need to get to: Cosmic Star Heroine, Gravity Rush 2, Tokyo Xanadu, Nier: Automata, maybe Horizon Zero Dawn

    The second half of the year slacks up slightly, but there is still a bunch of good games I'm looking forward to: Summon Night 6 (if Vic can ever get it out, not holding my breath), Ys 8, Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection, the second half of Utawarerumono, Yakuza Kiwami, and Danganronpa V3. Uhhh, maybe it doesn't slack up much at least for me. Lord knows how I'll get through all of those.

    Budai wrote: »
    I wish I loved persona 5 as much as everyone else did. Almost all the things I disliked about it are nitpicking, but I didn't like it as much as 2, 3, or 4. After how good 3 and 4 were maybe I expected to much from it.

    You aren't the only one, Persona 5 was a big disappointment for me as well. The characters didn't click with me and I think it continues with some bad design choices in 4, but that is a discussion for another day.
  • AttackcobraAttackcobra Full Members
    I believe the first half of this year has been the best in recent memory. Right now Persona 5 is my top game; its story and characters didn't engross me quite as much as Persona 4 did, but I really liked the improvements they made to the gameplay and what they did with the visuals was just amazing. Though Breath of the Wild is close second. Most open-world games bore me after a few hours, but BotW finally showed me what it's like getting lose in one. Tokyo Xanadu is also good. I can't say it blew me away, but the action-combat is fun and done well for a handheld, and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. And then there are the games I own but haven't played that much yet: Tales of Berseria, Fire Emblem Echoes, Nioh, and Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age.

    The only disappoint for me has been Mass Effect: Andromeda.

    Looking ahead, I don't think there is much to match the first half of this year. Mario + Rabbids: Battle Kingdom, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Fire Emblem Warriors all look fun, but none of them are games I'm besides myself in anticipation to play.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    edited July 18
    I can understand liking Persona 3 and 4 more than Persona 5. For me, it's a toss up on any of those three. Persona 2, though? I don't get it. I never finished it, so maybe there's some interesting plot twists, but in general Persona 2 is less story intensive and also has much worse gameplay. The gameplay isn't completely terrible, but the early Persona games are very grindy in a bad, monotonous way. You basically have to keep doing the same negotiations over and over just to get enough cards for a single Persona. That part is straight up awful and basically the reason I haven't finished the game.
    The Tea and Biscuits Brigade offers you tea and biscuits.
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    Well it's one of those things that it probably is inferior now, but at the time I held it to high standards so I can sort of look back on my enjoyment of it then in comparison. But art is possibly my most important category, and I've always perfered Kaneko and the atmosphere his work creates.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Horizon has to be one of the best franchise launches in recent memory, really need to get back to it before the Zelda dlc consumes me.
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
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  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Budai wrote: »
    I wish I loved persona 5 as much as everyone else did. Almost all the things I disliked about it are nitpicking, but I didn't like it as much as 2, 3, or 4. After how good 3 and 4 were maybe I expected to much from it.

    One of the things I love about Persona 5 is how though similar, they all feel like different flavors, so which of them is different peoples favorite is a fun discussion. Personally, I love the gameplay in 5 more than the previous games, but the overall story hasn't drawn me in as much (still have a ton to play though).
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
    sig.gif
  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    Generally speaking I've heard nothing but good things about Horizon. Unfortunately I think it was kind of overshadowed by the release of Breath of the Wild. I can only handle one huge open-world excursion like this every 6 months or so, and that ended up being Breath of the Wild for me. Everyone I talk to was so enamored with Breath of the Wild that it was pretty much the dominant discussion when it came to gaming for the first couple months of its release.

    Right now I'm just waiting to be in the mood for a large undertaking like Horizon again, but I don't know when that will come. Especially when you consider that there's like, at least 9 or 10 more releases this year to buy. Hopefully its every bit as amazing as those who have played it seem to indicate.
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    Horizon will probably be next for me after this run through of ff12.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    Horizon Zero Dawn is fantastic. Interesting story, fun gameplay, good main character. Most side characters are a bit bland with a few exceptions though. I prefer Persona 5, but this is definitely my runner-up.
    The Tea and Biscuits Brigade offers you tea and biscuits.
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    Also don't get me wrong, I still like persona 5. It's just what I would call good but not great for me.
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    Wheels wrote: »
    Budai wrote: »
    I wish I loved persona 5 as much as everyone else did. Almost all the things I disliked about it are nitpicking, but I didn't like it as much as 2, 3, or 4. After how good 3 and 4 were maybe I expected to much from it.

    One of the things I love about Persona 5 is how though similar, they all feel like different flavors, so which of them is different peoples favorite is a fun discussion. Personally, I love the gameplay in 5 more than the previous games, but the overall story hasn't drawn me in as much (still have a ton to play though).

    Same for me. The biggest improvement for me was fighting the actual demons rather than other monsters which 3 and 4 had. Which I'm glad atlus took the effort to update all the monsters, which I'm sure was big undertaking with animations. It basically boils down to cast, setting, and dialog which I found not as interesting as 3 and 4. But I'm also weird in that I enjoyed 3 more than 4, mainly because the tone and atmosphere of the game.
  • ScionScion RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited July 19
    Wheels wrote: »
    Macstorm wrote: »
    Wheels wrote: »
    Utterly baffled by the lack of Breath of the Wild

    *looks for write-ups from Apps*

    0 Results Found

    I already said all I wanted to say about the game in the review, was looking forward to reading someone else's thoughts

    As someone who is not the biggest Zelda fan, let me preface my opinion of the game with saying it is the first title in the series I finished, at least story-wise. That's significant for me, I've played every mainline game minus Skyward Sword and could never finish them due to disinterest. I think part of the problem with trying to come up with a write up is that there isn't anything interesting to add that hasn't already been said, good and bad. But I can give it a shot.

    Pros:
    -Best open world in a game in a long time, possibly since Morrowind or Gothic 2.
    -Tying into the main game, but the world design is excellent in how it manages to inform the player through prominent, significant landmarks rather than waypoint markers.
    -A truly open-ended approach to gameplay that usually is reserved for overly ambitious Early Access titles on Steam but with far more polish.
    -Capable of a truly distinct atmosphere I feel is lacking from other titles in the series, especially at key points in the game (Hyrule Castle, Lost Forest, etc.)
    -Because I've been asking for it for a while as well, I appreciate the voice acting, even if it is uneven and few and far between.
    -Shrines were a clever idea, especially with how they tie into character progression and ease of mobility around the map.
    -I liked the Divine Beasts conceptually and even a bit in practice, wish there were more things like them and that they weren't as scripted.
    -Figuring out overworld puzzle quests. Easily the best part of the game.

    Cons:
    -Could never get a feel for the combat and found it clunky and uninteresting. Actively avoided combat when able.
    -Climbing felt great at first but growing the stamina wheel along with Link's gecko effect eventually made it uninteresting. There isn't so much gameplay to the climbing as there is brute forcing vertical limits with potions and such. And not have a method to get around waiting for rain was aggravating.
    -Enemy variety was really bad.
    -Story was a poor mix of fill-in-the-blanks, exposition dumps, and underwhelming payoff. I love the idea of a post-apocalyptic Hyrule but outside of some ruins the game does almost nothing to exploit this. Most of the villages you visit no one seems to care that, you know, the world might be ending soon. Except maybe it isn't, since I've been running around for 100+ hours and Zelda seems to be holding her own.
    -Mostly didn't mind the crafting system, which I normally despise in games, but it did leave me with a cluttered inventory that I had no desire to go through. Cooking was fine except for being unable to craft a bunch of things at once.
    -And yes, I am one of those who didn't like the durability system. I get that it is an integral part of the game's design and allows for much more interesting combat scenarios, but it was another factor in me avoiding combat, since the rewards didn't seem worth it. The few times I did get rewards, they felt less interesting because most of the time it was a sword I had already broken 3 of in the last two hours. Master Sword was excellent, however.
    -No hookshot in a game that desperately needed more options for vertical traversal. I know the sequel will basically have to have it, but it should have been here.

    Overall, it's a game in an overrated series that, for once, deserves its accolades. It's hard to stress just how much of the game is a breath of fresh air in the open world department. It falls victim to plenty of irritating open world designs, mainly too many Shrines and Korok Seeds and unevening pacing. I definitely prefer fewer, more significant improvements than a higher quality of junk to fill out a game world, though even Breath of the Wild is less egregious with this than its contemporaries. I'm mainly excited that other series can hopefully use this as a barometer for design, since the core package is basically flawless. I just had a few tiny gripes with the game that grew the longer I played that were never properly addressed.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    Wait....you never finished Link to the Past?
    The Tea and Biscuits Brigade offers you tea and biscuits.
  • ScionScion RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Nope, got stuck in the dark world and lost interest. I remember being a bunny and not knowing where to go next.
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    The answer to that would be "out of the dark world." There was a warp back to Hyrule in that area.

    Might be worth a featurette for you to revisit some of the classic favorites of the series with us egging you on ;)
  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    The answer to that would be "out of the dark world." There was a warp back to Hyrule in that area.

    Might be worth a featurette for you to revisit some of the classic favorites of the series with us egging you on ;)

    Yesssssss
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Thanks for your thoughts Scion!
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
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  • ClixClix Listmaster Full Members
    Well, so far, I have only played Tales of Berseria and Fire Emblem Echoes, both of which were quite excellent and renewed hope for both series. I plan on playing FFXII:TZA, TLoZ:BotW, and Pokemon Ultra Sun later this year to round out my 2017 games in 2017 (well, also Assassin's Creed: Origins, which isn't an RP--wait, they announced that it kind of is now. Is RPGamer going to cover it, then?)
    ClixPsi.png
  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
  • ScionScion RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Wheels wrote: »
    Thanks for your thoughts Scion!

    My pleasure.
    The answer to that would be "out of the dark world." There was a warp back to Hyrule in that area.

    Might be worth a featurette for you to revisit some of the classic favorites of the series with us egging you on ;)

    I do remember phasing in and out of the dark world but not knowing where to go after that. I'd consider giving the series another go around, shouldn't be too hard to find them all in my stores of Nintendo consoles. If Nintendo had bothered launching the Switch with a VC this would be even less of an issue.
  • riulynriulyn Member Full Members
    I don't think I'll have time for Horizon this year (I need to work on a grant instead of beating games...and also that backlog), but I think I will definitely enjoy it when I finally get to it.

    I have to say NieR Automata is my favorite from this year so far, but I really, really enjoyed Persona 5 and Tales of Berseria too. The cast of Berseria was especially great for a Tales game, and I usually enjoy Tales casts (except Innocence, they should be banished forever). Persona 5 was just so stylish and a complete package. Nier Automata just stole my heart, though (took it before those phantom thieves could).

    As for the future, I am most looking forward to Ys 8. Second for me would be Tokyo Xanadu eX+. I'm actually glad I played Tokyo Xanadu when it first came out considering how long it took to actually get localized, but I will enjoy eX+, which I have not played, this fall.
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