This is it. 2017 has wrapped up, and it has been a pretty wild year for video games. This is the time where many people from the community to the staff put in their top games of the year, and I am here to add fuel to the GOTY fire. This is my top games of the year of 2017. And if anyone is wondering, I will not be including games that are still in early access. I will even include games I played last year and got out of early access this year, but the rule is it had to be out of early access this year. Let the reading (or the quick scrolling to see what I chose) commence.
10. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
My first pick of 2017 is one that surprised me in many different ways. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus takes us back to the journey started in 2014 with Wolfenstein: The New Order in which you play as B.J. Blazkowicz trying to survive in a world controlled by Nazis, or rather the Nazis are trying to survive in a world with Blazkowicz. The last game started us off in Europe, and this game takes us to a Nazi-occupied America, where B.J. goes cross-country with three goals in mind: get revenge on the one who killed Caroline Becker (this happens in the beginning of the game, so it's not a spoiler), liberate America, and kill every single Nazi you see. So what surprised me? It was the story, the characters, and the locations that stole the show for me, while the action felt just okay to me. Despite that, this game stays at number ten because of its okay combat like I said earlier, repetitive gameplay, and horrible post-content. But I am still excited for the future of this series, as for Machine Games talks of this game being part of a trilogy.
9. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
Dishonored: DOTO is a little weird for me to put on this list because I feel that this is a really large DLC more than a separate game, but it is technically a standalone game, so I had to put it on the list. in DOTO, you play as Billie Lurk as you and Daud plan to kill The Outsider, a supernatural being in the game that is the cause of everyone's powers. This game doesn't play that different from other Dishonored games, but the small changes they make are good ones in my opinion. The story and characters are more interesting to me, the charging mana made me feel like I can fully use powers without the need to constantly get more remedies, the new powers are a blast to use, the custom difficulty level that is surprisingly robust, and much more. Despite that, I thought that some of the story points were uneventful, the ending was an utter disappointment, and I wish Death of the Outsider was a full game at sixty dollars instead of a half-game at thirty dollars. In the end, DOTO kept true to its amazing formula while make small tweaks that were for the better. It's sad to see the franchise go, but I would rather have something finish strong and on its own terms than for it to have constant releases and eventually be shunned from the public.
David O'Reilly's Everything was a game I would never have thought would be this good, but here we are. This game is essentially a simulation game mixed with the teachings of Alan Watts. So what do you simulate? Well, Everything! From little molecules to the galaxies and everything in between, Everything has got everything in it. And it was this discovery of how big the scope of this game was that actually got me to stop and stare at the game with awe, a feeling that I have never had in a video game and one that I cherish. Mix that with philosophy of Alan Watts, excellent music, and a mode that will play the game for you if just want to watch, and you have an experience that can't be replicated. I even gave this game five stars for this experience. But looking back at the game, I realized that this incredible experience is short-lived. I reviewed this game on my initial experience, but failed to look past that. Add to it the areas repeating themselves too quickly, and this is a game that keeps itself at a number eight position. It may be number eight on my list, but this game may have a chance at being number one in the Academy Awards.
Coming in at number seven is Prey. This game is about an alternate future where the Soviets and the U.S. actually worked together and eventually made it to space, where they are hunted by aliens. To me, this was essentially a Dishonored but better in its own way. I enjoyed the space setting more, the different ways you spec yourself and the different ways you can tackle objectives were more robust, the weapons and powers were more fun to use, the enemies were better, the game was more open than Dishonored, and more. But in the end, this is essentially a space Dishonored to me, which I loved at first but by the end I felt that it overstayed its welcome. In the end, I thought this game was a great experience and is great especially for those looking for a game similar to Dishonored.
6. Golf Story
The first Switch game to hit this list will be a game about hitting golf balls. Golf Story for the Switch is a game puts RPG elements into a retro golf story and tells the tale of a person trying get back into golf one last time and get into the pro tour. This game does two things and they do them pretty well. As a golf game, it is quite a lot fun. With eight full courses filled with wacky elements, golf challenges, the ability to drop a ball anywhere and hit, other golf-like modes like disc golf and mini golf, and more. As an RPG, it's also pretty good. Each course allows free roam where you can meet people and take quests, which will earn xp and cash that can be used to upgrade your stats and get new equipment. I think this game is at number six because it is a solid game, but for games five to one, I have a special attachment to those games that I don't have with this one. But that doesn't mean this game is bad in any way. I mean, it's number six on this list. It's not the best golf game or the best RPG, but Golf Story combines the two well and makes a game unlike any other.
5. Slime Rancher
This game feels really weird to put onto this list because I played it in early access in 2016, and then came back to it and started over right before and after the game fully released. But it is a 2017 release, so it does count. Anyways, Slime Rancher is a farming/ exploration game where you play as Beatrix LeBeau, who leaves Earth and goes to a distant alien planet inhabited by slimes. Slime Rancher is such a great game to me in so many ways. This was one of only few games that really sucked me in, but after playing five hours straight I didn't feel that my time was wasted. Its sense of progression is great, its farming/exploration aspects are a blast and well balanced, the slimes are cute and fun to experiment with, the different areas are really cool, and so much more. What was the biggest thing for me and what kept me playing for hours-on-end was the fact that their was always something to do. Their was never a moment where I wandered aimlessly trying to find something to do like pick up some dumb collectible. This game was a blast, but I felt was a number five game because of my experiences with the top four and the fact that I already played the game before 2017. I absolutely needed to put this game in this list, but I felt my previous experience with it would make it unfair, so I put it right here. This game was an absolute blast, and I can't wait to see what is in store for the future.
4. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
Despite the very late release, this is a 2017 game that had a full release on PC, so it is eligible. PUBG is a multiplayer competitive game where you are thrown into an island with ninety-nine other players and is given one task: survive. The catch: only one (or one group if you play in group matches) can survive and the viable living areas of the island shrinks. Ever since I watched the film Battle Royale, I have been in love with this concept, and this game takes this concept and makes a really fun, adrenaline pumping game out of it. While other battle royale games exists, I think this one is the best as for it simplifies the game without over-simplifying it to a level I like and makes the game precise and strategic to a way that makes it a blast to play and adrenaline-pumping in a way I don't feel with any other game. Unlike other games, PUBG's story comes from experiences in the game and with friends, which is great. Initially I had my doubts with the game, but PUBG proved to be one of the best online experiences this year.
3. Super Mario Odyssey
Now we get into the big three, and starting off that list is fat (former) Italian plumber himself, Mario. Yet again, Bowser kidnapped Peach and you got to save her. This time though, he also kidnapped a cap, who is the sister of Cappy, a hat that can be used to take control of other objects. So you and Cappy decided to team up and save the princess and Cappy's sister as you voyage from one diverse kingdom to the next. Also, Bowser is well planned this time, with the theme being he is preparing a wedding. This game was a blast. The platforming was excellent, the environments were diverse and a lot of fun to explore, each environment is filled to the brim with content, the capture mechanics work really well, and much more. Sadly, a couple of things kept this game from being truly great though. The game uses motions controls, which are okay at best, but the reliance on these controls were quite annoying and made playing portable less viable. Another issue that is more of a disappointment is that the game never quite caught the magic of the Super Mario Galaxy series for me. But not living up to the Galaxy series didn't keep me from having an excellent time with the game and having it make my number three pick.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The final two choices were really tough, but in the end it was the Switch's launch game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that took the number two slot. Just like any other Zelda game, you play as a hero named Link who is tasked with saving the princess Zelda from a villain named Ganon. This time around though, Zelda actually tried to get heroes from different parts of the land and tried to defeat Ganon, but lost. You were thrown into a rejuvenation chamber and are now 100 years past the fateful event, back at trying to defeat Ganon once again. BOTW is an excellent game, and its 360 square kilometer map is filled to the brim with fun missions, excellent combat, fun puzzles, exploration, a minimal yet amazing soundtrack, and so much more. This game is getting game of the year for so many people, but unfortunately not for me. Why? The game's story was weak when I felt it shouldn't have been, and the weapon system was annoying on multiple levels. But even if these problems weren't there, I still wouldn't think it could top my number one entry on this list. Still, this game is a Switch essential and can be considered one of the greats over the past decade.
I know I am in the minority in saying this, but I think Cuphead was the best game of 2017. This game follows a character named Cuphead as he and his brother Mugman lose to the devil and are forced to travel Inkwell Isle collecting soul contracts from others.This game was the best to me on so many levels. The art style is the best I have ever seen in a video game, the upbeat jazz was amazing and is the one video game soundtrack I listen to on my free time, the gameplay was a blast on both platforming and boss levels, the bosses were expertly crafted, and its difficulty and difficulty settings is tough yet rewarding and is perfect. I have been following this game for years, and I can say that this is the one game that lived up to its hype. Honestly, the biggest complaints I had with the games are the slight glitches I encountered late into the game, one of the powers I had showed a heart item but didn't give an extra life, and a bad fandom that formed around the game. Where a lot of the other games on this list felt like good or even great versions of other games or is just a really good game in that genre, Cuphead to me was a game that elevated above just being a great platformer. For those reasons and many more, I say that Cuphead is my top game of the year.
Special: The Early Access games
I didn't consider Early Access games, but that doesn't mean I didn't play any good ones. I decided to make a little section dedicated to the games that released into Early Access this year. I don't think any of these would've made my list even if they did release this, but I still wanted to make this section anyways.
The three games I played in Early Access that were worth mentioning are Dead Cells, Tiny Rails, and Superhot: Mind Control Delete. I chose Dead Cells because of its fun gameplay and the fact that it is a rogue-like game but the levels don't feel like lego blocks being placed together. I chose Tiny Rails for its progression systems and for the fact that it is a great background game. This wouldn't have made the list anyways because it was a mobile game before 2017. Finally, I chose Superhot: Mind Control Delete because it's more Superhot and I love that. It is still very early, so the levels repeat pretty often and it is filled with bugs, but I still have had a good time with the game.
Well, that is a wrap on games in 2017. This year was a great year for video games, and I hope that 2018 will bring even better games for us to enjoy.