The final 4 months saw a massive uptick in games for the holiday season, and while the mainstays fell into disappointment (mostly around loot boxes - Battlefront 2, Forza 7, COD WW2 among others) there were still plenty of top tier experiences to be had. Even some games with loot box problems still managed to have strong cores (Destiny 2, Shadow of War). In the end it, was mostly the up and coming indies and (relative) smaller AAA games to pull us through and finish the year on a high note.
While the community surrounding Destiny 2 have seen it’s endgame lacking and it’s push for microtransactions rise aggressively, the very core of the game is the best feeling shooter to ever be released. With a great campaign and a constant feed of loot through your playtime, Destiny 2 stands up in ways the first game never did.
Divinity Original Sin 2
The sequel to one of the most open RPG’s of the last decade takes the formula and only expands it, giving the player room to play the game exactly how they want it. Feel like turning the final boss into a chicken? Go ahead.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
Tightening the scope of the main series proved to be an excellent idea. Play as Billie, a young assassin with a limited but powerful array of abilities across 5 well crafted levels. No chaos meter is in effect this time around, allowing you to go full wrath if you so choose in this well crafted immersive sim.
Metroid: Samus Returns
Nintendo fans had almost given up on a new Metroid game being released, yet amazingly we ended up with not 1, but 2 announcements this E3. The second of which was Samus Returns, a remake of Metroid 2 for 3DS. The game has been reinvented while still remaining true to the core of the franchise, in a game that is likely to be a swan song for the ageing system.
SteamWorld Dig 2
Benefiting from being early and first on the Switch, SteamWorld Dig 2 is a pseudo metroidvania game where you dig down further and further into a vast mine, collecting gems and obtaining power-ups on your search for the original games protagonist.
Doki Doki Literature Club!
The less that is said about this game the better before going in, but suffice it to say DDLC is a must play game. Set up as a regular visual novel from the outset, you begin with the premise of meeting and dating cute anime girls, before things start to get… off. Lets just say the trigger warnings this game put up are valid, it falls into the category of horror and where this game goes you will not see it coming. Plus, it’s free!
Another of the indie darling must plays released on the Switch this year. Golf Story is an Aussie made pseud-golf playing RPG that is absolutely charming. Perfect for the device it launched on.
Gorgeous hand drawn 1930s animation meets tough as nails boss rush platforming. Cuphead stands out as one of the most unique experiences all year, and one of the biggest wins for Microsoft in 2017.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
While a lot of the press around Shadow of War negatively focused (rightly so) on the post game grind and loot box crap, the main bulk of the game is more of what the first game was - the nemesis system is still brilliant (and expanded on), the combat is still excellent, and the Orcs are back and better than ever.
The Evil Within 2
Horror had already had a great year in 2017, but then came along The Evil Within 2. Building on the best things that worked in the initial game and ditching the stuff that didn’t, TEW2 is a semi-open world horror shooter with some sincerely gross visuals.
ELEX is janky as hell, has a bunch of bugs, and yet, has one of the most compelling worlds we’ve seen in games. ELEX is very much an open world RPG with abundance of heart, and is the kind of game that rewards those who really dive in.
A Mortician’s Tale
Self described as “death positive”, A Morticians Tale is a narrative driven management game where you take on the role of running a funeral home. This game is really eye opening in ways you wouldn’t expect.
From the makers of Layers of Fear comes this cyberpunk horror adventure that is less jump scare and more disturbing to the core. Hack into the minds of the insane to discover a truly dark future for humanity.
Assassins Creed: Origins
Ubisoft proved that a year off for Assassins Creed was exactly the right move, coming back with one of the best Assassins Creed entries in the entire franchise. A beautiful open world unlike no other, Origins takes the story back to the beginning of when the Assassins were formed. A great jumping on point for anyone interested in the series.
Super Mario Odyssey
Mario has always been the pinnacle for 3D platforming, and Odyssey continues that trend. Odyssey certainly takes Mario on an insane trip, running through a crazy array of worlds that are simply a delight to explore. Odyssey pulls on the nostalgia strings just the right amount, mixing in pleasant old-school surprises with fantastic new additions, creating some of the best moments in gaming this year.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Nazi’s are bad. You should punch Nazi’s. Also, shoot them. A lot. Fuck white supremacy.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Nintendo finished the year off well with one of the biggest RPG’s yet, a 100 hour epic anime adventure. Explore a gigantic world with your party of heroes, weaving in a fantastical story along the way.
Goragoa is one of those games that simultaneously came from nowhere yet has been in the making for many, many years. A beautiful puzzle game that falls perfectly in that “make you feel extremely clever when you figure it out” box.
Finally, possibly the biggest success story of the year, PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds. 1v100, scrounge supplies, survival of the fittest. Finally left early access this December, PUBG is a global phenomenon in ways no-one saw coming this time last year.
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 3: Songbringer, Knack 2, Hob, Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth, Monster Hunter Stories, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, Tooth and Tail, Marvel VS Capcom Infinite, Project Cars 2, Ruiner, Total War Warhammer 2, Star Fox 2, Battle Chasers: Nightwar, A Hat in Time, Guardians of the Galaxy The Telltale Series, Etrian Odyssey V, Gran Turismo Sport, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Fire Emblem Warriors, Nights of Azure 2, The Mummy Demastered, Call of Duty: WWII, .hack//G.U. Last Recode, Hand of Fate 2, Super Lucky’s Tale, Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon, Star Wars Battlefront II, Seven: The Days Long Gone, Spellforce 3, Tokyo Xanadu EX+, Okami HD, Romancing SaGa 2, Far From Noise, Finding Paradise, Rumu, Bridge Constructor Portal, Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King, Opus Magnum, Battle Chef Brigade, Getting Over It, Reigns: Her Majesty, Bury Me My Love, Life is Strange: Before the Storm
And that’s the year in the best games of 2017! See you in 2018!