2017 has been a HUGE year for SquareXO! We’ve seen new contributors, new guest post writers and even received press passes to cover some of the biggest events in the gaming world! So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and recap the best of what 2017 had to offer.
January saw Joe review several games including Quest of Dungeons and The Flame in The Flood. Dan grabbed his platinum trophy #122 with the completion of Nitroplus Blasterz: Herorines Infinite Duel. And, of course, the podcast continued to be recorded and uploaded to the site. However, big changes were afoot behind the scenes…
In February, Rebecca Stow joined the website as a contributor number three. Her first review was of dark indie game INSIDE. Only a few days later Nicole Hall also began writing for SquareXO, with her debut article being an opinion piece about Abzu. Que March and release of the Nintendo Switch with Joe sharing his thoughts on the new console via video. There were also reviews of Horizon Zero Dawn by Joe and the appearance of the first ever ‘Why I Love Piece’ about thatgamecompany’s Journey.
April saw the 13th annual BAFTA Game Awards, held at the Tobacco dock in London, with the evenings events being covered in a recap article by Rebecca. The event was full of surprises and well-deserved wins but, for a proper insight, click on the link above to read the full article. Alongside the BAFTA Awards in April we had Joe’s reviews of Parappa the Rapper, Lego City Undercover and City Skylines.
In May the podcast returned after a short break. You can listen to episode 18 ‘We Are Back’ on iTunes, Podbean or Youtube as well as all the other episodes. Episode 19 ‘A New Voice’ saw Rebecca Stow join as podcast host number three. Also in May, Dan received his #127 and #128 platinum trophies from Gravity Rush and Batman: The Telltale series respectively. Finally, Rebecca published her review of indie game RiME, and babbled about her Love of Bloodborne (as usual). June saw the introduction of our monthly screenshot competition with #SQXOJune (which is still ongoing to this month and next!) Rebecca posted a review for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier. Then it was E3 predictions time on the podcast, with Nicole Hall joining as host number four!
By July the site had gotten big enough to attract the attention of new writers wanting to contribute guest posts. Jack Croxall (a sci-fi/horror author) kindly contributed his article My Favourite Video Game Stories in which he discussed his favourite gaming storylines of all time and spoke about how they match those of film and TV. Reviews also continued through the month including Little Nightmares, Serial Cleaner and Crash Bandicoot the N. Sane Trilogy.
August was filled with opinion pieces as the video game releases began to slow down. Nicole published her thoughts on No Mans Sky and Bioshock. And for anyone tearing their hair out trying to grab the platinum trophy for Bloodborne, you can read Rebecca’s first platinum report here. A review for Prey was also published alongside podcast episodes 30 and 31.
September was an exciting month as Rebecca headed to Birmingham to cover EGX. Attending the conference over all four days Rebecca’s daily highlights can be found on the site here. Her experience includes playing Forza 7 on the Xbox One X, ransacking a town in Far Cry 5 and queuing for hours to play Sea of Thieves. Also in September Joe published a review for Life Is Strange: Before the Storm. Nicole reviewed and praised Uncharted’s DLC The Lost Legacy and Destiny 2 and Dan completed Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash. Finally, our fifth contributor Rob Pitt joined the website starting with his touching review of Fragments of Him.
October saw the site boom with five contributors and a few guest writers also producing content. A sample of the reviews that graced the site includes Hob, The Lego Ninjago Movie, Dungeons 3, and Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden. We also had a new guest post from a member of our twitter community, Shaun Sannerude. Shaun kindly wrote a lengthy opinion piece about Metal Gear Solid, a retrospective which details the timeline of the games. Bloodborne fanatic Rebecca also posted two articles ranking the bosses of the game.
During November Rob once again filled the site with reviews for games of all genres. Some of his standout pieces for the month include The Invisible Hours, The Girl and the Robot, Outcast Second Contact, Burley Men at Sea and Black Mirror. Rebecca posted reviews for the second Little Nightmares DLC: The Hideaway, Oure and Aer: Memories of Old. Then, with Black Friday game prices dropping, Rob thoughtfully compiled a list of all the PSN prices during the sale. Finally, to close the month Joe wrote an opinion piece called I Want to Game but I Have a Pile of Shame, something most gamers can relate to! Shaun Sannerude once more lent his writing skills to SquareXO and posted a review of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. This truly unique game was highly praised by Shaun and for those of you who want to know why give his review a read above!
On to Christmas! A Hat in Time kicked off December, a cracking review from Rob. Nicole posted her review for Assassins Creed Origins, one of the biggest games of 2017. PlayLink was a big-seller at the end of the year and you can read Rob’s review of the PlayLink medium with all the game links at the bottom. You can also read Rebecca’s review of Knowledge is Power. To close the year we had reviews for Shooty Fruity (an enjoyable PSVR game) Cat Quest and Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood from Rob, and Rebecca reviewed Okami HD, a game which has successfully been ported to its third console generation and one which everyone should play! Finally, we recorded our game of the year podcast which included a countdown of our personal favourites concluding in our number one game of 2017. You can listen to episode 45 ‘Top 5’s of 2017’ here. Be sure to comment your own game of the year below!
So that’s it for 2017! As you can see it’s been an amazing year for Square XO and we’re truly thankful for all of our new readers, friends and contributors. We’ve run competitions which will continue into 2018 and the website looks better than ever thanks to the dedication of our super-talented graphic designer/writer/podcaster, Dan! Let’s hope for a wonderful 2018 with even more games, events and reviews!
Finally, to close the year each of the contributors has picked their favourite review from the year:
Joe – Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn is here at last and we have spent a lot of time with Guerrilla’s first attempt at an open world RPG to bring you our thoughts. One thing’s for sure, it’s a wonderful looking game and in many ways a surprising one too. Even when the main quest is complete, Horizon offers up the sort of experience which will keep you going back for more thanks to its beautiful wide open world which is ripe for exploration.’
‘Overall, I would say if you are a fan of any of the Senran Kagura games, you will feel extremely at home here. Yes, it isn’t the same, but good on Marvelous for shaking up the formula and releasing something a bit risky. I am not sure it will cater for all, but if you want a laugh and a single player blast – Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash is worth a night of your time!’
Rebecca – Little Nightmares
‘A short and not so sweet game that concludes around the five-hour mark, Little Nightmares ties elements of psychological horror together with touching segments of childlike calm to make a well-rounded game. Little Nightmares offers up a thrilling experience, one that leaves us scratching our heads for a long time after the game is over.’
Nicole – Assassins Creed Origins
‘With a charming lead, powerful story, completely refreshed gameplay mechanics and a extensive map to explore, Assassin’s Creed Origins may well be Ubisoft’s most outstanding Creed release to date. It would seem they have collectively brewed a potion of all the most successful aspects of the series, Origins being the final product. Bayek is a wonderful asset to the Creed catalogue of protags and you’ll enjoy every second of the emotional journey he and his wife, Aya embark on in Origins.. Ultimately, Ubisoft took a widely loved series that was heading downhill fast, totally re-imagined it and have been met with a reception that shows off their decision as a worthwhile one.’
Rob – Shooty Fruity
‘Shooty Fruity is my favourite PSVR shooter released so far, the guns feel weighty and real, the splats of the fruit is strangely satisfying and the fruit themselves are all created with love and strategic personalities. The game itself isn’t the longest, but with its short mission lengths and multiple objectives per-mission, it’s a game you can easily pick up and play a few rounds of here and there. If you have a PSVR or if you are getting one for Christmas, ensure Shooty Fruity is on your shopping list and don’t forget, the fruits are revolting’
Happy New Year from all of us here at SquareXO!