It goes without saying that 2017 was a fantastic year for video games. A year we will look back on with fondness, as quality titles were released in mass quantities. To help commemorate this year as we move forward to 2018, our gaming division consisting of me, Chris Del Castillo, and Alan Plummer have created our personal Top 10 list of favorite 2017 games. So without further ado, here is my list.
Widely considered to be a disappointment after one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns, I still enjoyed what Yooka-Laylee had to offer. Being a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, this game had the makings of a true sequel, but suffered with a small amount of levels and some oddly-designed bosses. That being said, it still offers the nostalgic feel of 3D collect-a-thon platformers of the late 90s that will give a lot of gamers something to enjoy. I’m currently replaying the game on my Switch and I’m enjoying it all over again.
9. Thimbleweed Park
The second entry on this list happens to be another Kickstarter game. This time from the minds of Ron Gilbert and Garry Winnick, known for their point-and-click adventure games from Lucasarts like Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle. Like Yooka-Laylee was to Banjo Kazooie, Thimbleweed Park is another perfect successor to these games, feeling exactly like a Lucasfilm adventure game from the early 90s that had just now been released. The story is interesting, the humor is spot-on, and the puzzles are challenging. I don’t know why, but I went through this strange point-and-click adventure phase early in the year and Thimbleweed Park helped satisfy that itch.
8. Splatoon 2
I loved the first Splatoon on Wii U, so you can imagine that I was pretty excited for the second game on Switch. Splatoon 2 improves on just about every aspect of the first game, with a more fleshed-out single-player, more weapons, and a new mode called Salmon Run. Though it is number 8 because of Nintendo’s questionable decisions involving voice chat and schedules on Salmon Run. Still, Splatoon 2 is one of the most innovative online shooters of this generation, utilizing colored ink instead of bullets or rockets. This makes for unique game modes like Turf War, where and your team must cover the map with more ink than the other team. If there is one thing Splatoon has always been, it’s fun.
7. Resident Evil 7
Being the first major game release of the year, this was when I knew 2017 was going to be good. Resident Evil 7 is a hefty combination of new and old, adopting a first-person perspective and a set of characters that aren’t Chris Redfield or Leon Kennedy. The bet part however is that the game isn’t all shooty-shooty like 5 or 6. No, Resident Evil 7 goes back to its survival-horror roots, with limited ammo, tight corridors, and keys shaped like scorpions. Classic Seasoned Resident Evil fans will also have fun figuring out how the game’s events tie in to the series’ lore. It’s also compatible with PlayStation VR if you feel like crapping your pants.
6. Sonic Mania
Leave it to the fans to make the highest rated Sonic the Hedgehog game in recent memory. Heck, it may be the best 2D Sonic period, capitalizing on everything that makes the games fun: speed, momentum, and incredible music. The only complaint I had was that it wasn’t long enough. Combining new levels with old and the ability to play as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, Mania takes only the good stuff from the Genesis days, with not a single flaw I could think of. Sonic Mania is not just a great game, but it’s the ultimate love-letter from fans FOR the fans.
5. Horizon Zero Dawn
Established franchises are great and all, but a new IP taking the gaming world by storm is always a great thing for the industry. Horizon Zero Dawn was created by Killzone developers Guerrilla Games, taking place in a post-post apocalyptic Earth where machines have taken over and mankind has reverted back to medieval times. With an interesting premise and story, Horizon also has great gameplay with an emphasis on combat. Customize your gear and craft arrows as you face off against giant dino-machines. Not to mention the graphics engine is just downright gorgeous. Horizon Zero Dawn is no doubt the best PS4 exclusive this year.
4. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
After taking an extra year by not releasing the game in 2016, Assassin’s Creed: Origins aims to revisit the franchise after the last couple of entries have been less than exciting. Thankfully, Origins is exactly what the series needed. For one, the MASSIVE open-world of Egypt is a welcome change from the dull, grey cities of London and Paris. Combat has also been reinvented to make it more challenging but fair, unlike having to press counter to win. As I’ve stated in my review, I was a lapsed Assassin’s Creed fan, but Origins brought me back into the brotherhood.
3. Super Mario Odyssey
A new 3D Mario game is always worth a celebration, but there was something truly special about Odyssey. Nintendo made it a point to return to the traditional 3D Mario formula left behind with the Galaxy games: having players explore large sandbox levels. Super Mario Odyssey has all of that and more. Way more. Like, way more Power Moons than you can possibly imagine. The main goal is to collect Power Moons to power Mario’s ship and travel the world’s vast locations, from the urban streets of New Donk City, to the sandy plains of Toastarena. Not only that, but Mario’s hat sidekick Cappy can possess enemies to have Mario control them! Holy moly, Super Mario Odyssey is a grand adventure that some would consider to be the best game of the year. Obviously, it’s only number 3 on my list because once I hit 500 moons in about 11 hours, I was pretty much done with the game. That being said, it’s one of the best games of the year and probably the best 3D Mario game, period.
2. Metroid: Samus Returns
Metroid is my favorite game franchise of all time, so you can imagine just how frustrated I’ve been for the past 7 years. Things were not looking good for Metroid after Other M and Federation Force. Some of us were beginning to wonder if there was even a future for Samus Aran. Then E3 2017 happened, and Metroid Prime 4 and Samus Returns were announced and I immediately blasted my vocal chords that same day. Metroid: Samus Returns may have been a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, but it still feels like a brand new game in it of itself. The classic Metroid formula is here, where you explore dangerous corridors in search of new weapons and tools to help you progress further. Through and through I adored every second of my 14-hour 100% playthrough so much that I immediately started a new file. Honestly, it’s probably my favorite 2D Metroid next to Super Metroid. As a die-hard Metroid fan, it feels good to see Samus back. I could almost cry.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Ever since it was announced for Wii U in 2014, I anticipated Breath of the Wild moreso than any other game (until Metroid Prime 4 of course). After a series of frustrating delays and a lack of updates about the game, I can say wholeheartedly that the wait was worth it. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is quite literally a game-changer. For a development studio that hasn’t handled a modern open-world game before, Eiji Aonuma and his team sought to redefine the term “open-world.” The land of Hyrule feels alive, with a sophisticated physics and chemistry engine that makes the flora and fauna move in such a natural way. I’ve played a lot of open-world games, and nothing compares to Breath of the Wild, where every surface is climbable and you can glide ANYWHERE. It does suffer in some regards, most notably with the dungeons and story, but you simply can’t ignore the creative risks the team took to create such an unforgettable experience. When I think of the year 2017, I will always think of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
I do regret having not played more games like Hellblade, Persona 5, and Cuphead, but 2017 was such a good year that I can’t even complain. I would rather have too many great games to play than none at all! Don’t forget to check out Chris and Alan’s lists as well, and we hope 2018 will be filled with just as many if not more fantastic titles!