2017 was a stellar year from games, and is likely to be looked back on as one of the greatest years in recent history for it. This year I’ll be breaking the list down into 3 parts based on release date: January-April, May-August, and September-December. These 58 games represent the best of what this year had to offer, and generally are games you don’t want to miss. Also included at the bottom is an honorary list of games that didn’t make the cut, or that were at least worth mentioning for one reason or another.
2017 was front loaded with a ton of GOTY contenders, massive worlds, Japanese games and indie darlings. For the first 19 games that were the cream of the crop for 2017, read on!
Gravity Rush 2
A fantastic sequel that elaborates on the gravity bending shenanigans of the original, Gravity Rush 2 is an underrated gem that was kind of buried in the rush of brilliant Japanese games in the beginning of the year.
Resident Evil 7
Nobody had high expectations for the latest sequel in the seminal franchise, thanks to both the poor reception of previous entries since 4 and the suprising change to first person. Turns out, Capcom gave it their all for RE7, and (at least the first 2/3rds of) the experience is some of the best horror in years. To top it off, the whole experience can be played in VR, which only heightens the frights - something I would totally nope out of personally, but different strokes and all that.
Tales of Berseria
The Tales series has been around for a long, long time, but even so Berseria stands as one of the best. While the first solo female protagonist for the series has some problems (the choice of clothing, for instance) the cast and story of this tale are some excellent anime bullshit. The characters of your party are the stars of the show, with extremely deep backstories and own personal motivations to boot.
The open world beat-em-up Yakuza games have been a niche slice of absurdist Japanese gaming since the PS2, but the prequel in Yakuza 0 really brought it’s wonderful wacky humour to the fore this year, with endless gifs and videos of chicken property managers and elaborate answering of phone calls. A fresh take on the GTA formula.
Samurai Dark Souls has been a request from that fanbase for a while, and this timed PS4 exclusive delivered. Nioh sets itself apart with an alternative loot system, replayable mission areas and of course it’s unique setting, offering up a challenging but satisfactory alternative to the Souls formula.
Ubisoft have been pretty good about launching their multiplayer games and sticking to them (see: Rainbow Six Siege) and For Honor is no exception. Boasting seasons of multiplayer sword-and-other-weapon combat with a complex battle system, the game has amassed a large following despite it’s relative lack of news coverage.
Night in the Woods
The realities of being a millennial mixed with cute animal people, this adventure (and slightly horrific?) game is a relatable exploration of what it’s like to be of this demographic in the world we currently live in.
Another gem that flew under the radar thanks to a torrent of AAA goodness, Hollow Knight brings it’s cute art and tight metroidvania style gameplay to challenge even the greatest of the genre. Expect this one to blow up next year when it’s finally released on Switch.
Horizon Zero Dawn
The pinnacle of big budget open world action adventure games for 2017. Possibly the most gorgeous game to be released ever. Fantastic gameplay, beautiful vistas, compelling story, great voice acting, tons of worthwhile activities. A compelling choice for overall GOTY. Need I say more?
Torment: Tides of Numenera
A spiritual successor to the much lauded Planescape: Torment, Numenera strongly stands on it’s own as a great example of modern day CRPGs. Come for the story, stay for the extended philosophical pondering and extended dialogue.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Zelda has, since Ocarina of Time, had 2 distinct styles of game - 2D top down, and 3D adventure. Breath of the Wild introduces a new, 3rd style of Zelda - an open world sandbox, brilliantly built and expertly crafted. The game gives you a chemistry set to play with, and delights in the player making their own solutions, bending the game to their will rather than rigidly setting guidelines. Breath of the Wild is a pure joy to explore, through every inch of the map, in a way that other open world games just aren’t.
Nier Automata is a once in a generation game, one that brings together all aspects of it’s design - the world, quests, characters, music, gameplay, everything - to create something truly special. I devoured every part of this game, seeking out every little bit of dialogue, every quest, reading every information entry, everything, it was just that good. This game is now my favourite of all time.
From the creator of Mountain comes another game/interactive art project that is intriguing, wistful and ponderous. Become literally everything, from molecules to lions to rocks to solar systems, in an exploration of what it is to be a part of this universe we call home.
A vibrant puzzle platformer with no jumping whatsoever, Snake Pass is reminiscent of the Nintendo 64 games of old while bringing something entirely new to the table. Levels are built around the player slithering around using a unique control scheme.
Basically Sailor Moon the video game, this persona-like is good wholesome JRPG fun about high school girls defeating evil with magical powers. What’s not to love?
With style by the boatload, Persona 5 certainly does not disappoint. Work on your relationships and part time job by day, delve into monster dungeons to heal the sinners by night. Be prepared for a 100 hour epic focused around awesome characters and anime-af plot lines. Seriously a bummer that you can’t take screenshots - this game would’ve went insanely viral if you could.
The Sexy Brutale
A puzzle game unlike any other. Through the power of time travel, witness the murders of an entire mansion worth of guests to figure out how to save them all, unlocking more and more interesting abilities along the way.
What Remains of Edith Finch
In what might be the best of the genre to date, this walking sim experiments with story presentation and clever gameplay vignettes to tell a tragic yet never depressing story around the deaths of an entire family line. Very whimsical, with a beautifully realised space to wander in.
A side scrolling horror game straight from the dreams of a child. Everything is slightly wrong/gross, in that almost Tim Burton-esque way. Similar to Inside, Limbo and its ilk.
In the interest of keeping records, here are a bunch of other games of importance, for one reason or another, to be released this year, part 1: Halo Wars 2, Sniper Elite 4, Beserk and the Band of the Hawk, 1-2-Switch, Super Bomberman R, Atelier Firis, Lego Worlds, Danganronpa V3, Styx: Shards of Darkness, Mass Effect Andromeda, Toukiden 2, Mario Sports Superstars, Has-Been Heroes, The Signal From Tolva, Yooka-Laylee, Cosmic Star Heroine, Flinthook, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Dragon Quest Heroes 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Dawn of War 3, Stories Untold, Fire Emblem Heroes, Typshift, Rain World
See you tomorrow for part 2!