25 Best Games of 2017

2017 may go down as one of the great years in the history of video games. In every month you can find at least a few gems that are worth your time. Whether they are big AAA titles or indie releases. Starting with a quadruplet of titles in late January Gravity Rush 2 Yakuza 0, Tales of Berseria and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard to early and mid December with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Okami HD. There’s Persona 5 in April. Tekken 7 in June. Destiny 2 and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony in September. Wolfenstein 2 and Assassin’s Creed Origins in October too.

Nintendo

Best Games

However, this wasn’t just a year for software though. Nintendo dropped the Nintendo Switch in early March. Gracing the gaming world with a true hybrid console that can be played anywhere.

The Switch also brought with it at launch one of the landmark games of the year as well. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild changing the way players think of the series. Then, at the end of October brought out another incredible title in Super Mario Odyssey. However, those were not the only big games either. The Switch would have a number of releases that hit with console owners. Some of which made our final list below. While there are many others that did not. Seriously, the high-quality software Nintendo put out in 10 months is staggering. Releasing at least one big title each month. Plus, hundreds of titles released on the E-Shop too.

Best Games

In fact, all of this helped the Switch in becoming the fastest selling console ever in both Japan and the United States. Breaking records set previously by the Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii respectively. It has also outsold the Wii U in Japan too. This doesn’t even include the release of the highly sought after Super NES Classic in 2017 as well.

Sony

Sony also had a great year themselves. Hitting a landmark of their own in sales, as the PlayStation 4 sits at the 73.6 Million mark in consoles sold. In addition, Playstation VR also left an imprint on gamers and looks to have an even bigger 2018 as well. Sony themselves published some great games too. Horizon: Zero Dawn Nioh and Uncharted: Lost Legacy to name a few. The only thing one could call remotely negative for Sony is perhaps Andrew House announcing he’s departing the company. Although, they should be fine with John Kodera in charge.

Microsoft

Microsoft kept the world waiting until the fall for the new Xbox One X using the tagline of the “most powerful console ever.” It certainly lived up to the hype. Although, its success may hinge on what happens in 2018. However, Microsoft says it won’t make a profit on the actual console itself. They need other things like software to get it out of the red. That being said, it largely lags behind Sony in a lot of things including sales and exclusives. The list for Xbox was scant in 2017. Halo Wars 2, Forza Motorsport 7 and Super Lucky’s Tale are the few to mention. But at least they introduced Original Xbox backward compatibility.

They did manage to hit it big on one game I’ll mention below, and perhaps the sensation of the year PLAYER UNKNOWNS BATTLEGROUNDS too. Although honestly, it came out so late in December, it barely counts. The impact of PUBG is all about what it did on PC. Reaching heights of three million concurrent players and becoming the game many wanted to imitate. Something we’ll surely see well into 2018 as well.

Touching on Indies

Pyre Review

2017 had its share of major AAA hits. Many of them are on our final list below. However, one could argue that a list of 25 Best Indie Titles could have been made just as easily. The year was that good for indie games. Every month had at least one pretty good, if not a stellar much publicized release. Starting in January with Rise & Shine and on into February with a duo of releases, Night in the Woods and Hollow Knight. There’s also Pyre in July too.

Tacoma, Observer, Absolver and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice in August. Plus, the beautifully designed and hand-drawn Cuphead, Doki Doki Literature Club, Golf Story and Steamworld Dig 2 in September. Honestly, that’s just naming some. The slew of terrific indies even carried on into December with Nine Parchments and Gorogoa as well. This all proves just how deep 2017 was for gaming.

Best Games

That even with all of the negative press from loot boxes, microtransactions, studio closures, important people leaving studios, it was overall a largely positive year for video games. With the shadow of so much controversy and sadness from more important things last year, it’s nice to see that so many can take solace in things that bring them joy. – Sean Garmer

25 Best Games of 2017

Best Games

Final Introduction to the Article

The list of 25 games was compiled of votes from each member of the Games staff. Those votes helped make the initial Top 25. Using what you see directly below.

These types of games were disqualified from being voted on: NO remasters, remakes, straight ports, glorified ports or collections were allowed.

The following is how the staff voted based on how many played a certain game and enjoyed it enough to put it in Top 25 consideration. * The games with links are reviews for the game. *

6 Votes: Horizon: Zero Dawn, Assassin’s Creed: Origins

5 Votes: Super Mario Odyssey, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, South Park Fractured But Whole, Wolfenstein II, Nier: Automata

4 Votes: Persona 5, Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

3 Votes: Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Golf Story, Yakuza 0, Uncharted: Lost Legacy, Nioh, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Resident Evil 7, Tekken 7

2 Votes: Pyre, Steamworld Dig 2, Cuphead, Divinity Original Sin 2, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Injustice 2, PLAYER UNKNOWN BATTLEGROUNDS, Life is Strange: Before the Storm Series, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy Series, Little Nightmares, Friday the 13th Game, Sonic Mania, Destiny 2.

1 Vote: Shadowhand, EVERYTHING, Night in the Woods, Forza Motorsport 7, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Call of Duty WW2, Everybody’s Golf, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Gravity Rush 2, Splatoon 2, Seasons After Fall, Halo Wars 2, Evil Within 2, Prey, Farpoint.

Then, I and three others went on a podcast to discuss, debate, and make the ultimate final list that you see through the article. If you’d like to listen to said podcast, you can do so directly below.

One last thing I’d like to mention is that the staff may be small in number, but they did a lot of great work in 2017. However, there is no central office for everyone to get together and play games. Therefore, be aware that the voting list above and the final list below, reflects what the staff has played on their own time, mostly through purchases made by themselves. Since only one person gets a review copy.

Even then, there are games on the list that we don’t have reviews for, or even that many of the staff played. It is extremely difficult to attempt to respect staff votes. While also trying to strike a balance in what ultimately comes down to a subjective format. However, when doing the podcast, we ended up going with respecting the staff vote, more often than not. So, hopefully, this reads and encourages exactly what is meant. A celebration of new games that released in 2017. – Sean Garmer

* Editor’s Note: Please be aware that the written blurbs are the thoughts and words of the specific writer. They do not reflect the thoughts of the rest of the staff, the website, or the final rankings as a whole. *

25. Steam World Dig 2

SteamWorld Dig 2

Platforms: Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation Vita

Developer & Publisher: Image And Form International AB

Image and Form hit upon something with the original SteamWorld Dig. Grasping at one’s innate desire to explore and be rewarded for it. The loop of collecting, selling, upgrading and then doing it all over again is at the heart of the franchise. The second game takes everything from the original and makes it better. Stripping away the procedurally generated mines gives Dig 2 a much more curated feel. Where you can feel the love given to the caves that have enemies and traps waiting for you.

Dig 2 also allows players even more freedom in tailoring their experience by introducing mods called Cogs. So, you can continue to explore deeper and deeper into areas. Although much of the game can be very relaxing, especially if played on a Switch or Vita in shorter bursts, it still has enough of a challenge that even after pouring in many upgrades, can put Dorothy at risk of death. Throw-in a more focused story and some loveable characters and you have a game that wonderfully blends multiple genres in one package. Delivering satisfying gameplay that rewards you in so many ways. – Sean Garmer

24. Night in the Woods

Platforms: Playstation 4, PC, Xbox One, (Coming to Switch, IOS & Android in 2018)

Developer & Publisher: Infinite Fall & Finji

Night in the Woods is an adventure featuring anthropomorphic animals that hits you right in the feels. Even if you don’t self-identify with college dropout Mae or one of her friends, their characters are so well written that its hard to imagine that you don’t get hooked into their story arcs. Whether its playing bass in your band Guitar Hero style, or walking through a mall and shoplifting. It all somehow works in a cohesive way. The game shines brightest in how it broaches mature themes such as mental illness, the reality of life, depression and more. However, it is not just full of serious subject matter.

The town Mae calls home, Possum Springs, is its own enigma. Slowly providing more places each day for Mae to find at her leisure. As if the town were its own character within Night in the Woods. Exploring the town provides constant secrets to unlock and Mae has the freedom to find them by jumping on power lines, or by simply listening to someone else’s conversation. Add all that to a unique art style and a soundtrack that’s perhaps one of the best released in 2017, you have one of the triumphs of the year. – Sean Garmer

23. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Developer & Publisher: Ubisoft

If you would have told me a year ago that Ubisoft would make a strategy game featuring Mario, his friends and the Rabbids I’d be laughing. In fact, I laughed a lot playing Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle because of how hilarious the Rabbids are. They are perhaps one of the best parts of the entire game. Others may malign their existence, but they are so charming and so silly that they add a lighthearted nature to something that gets serious rather quickly.

Yes, the easiest way to define Mario + Rabbids is Mario X-Com, but what it brings to the Nintendo Switch is deep, difficult and delightful. Using team jump, dash and other unique abilities players can knock out foes. However, positioning is still key to ultimately winning. However, battles aren’t the only thing that makes this stand out. Exploring the worlds in Mario + Rabbids is equally just as fun. Solving puzzles grants rewards and extra loot. All so you can invest it in upgrading weapons or unlocking more from the skill tree. Even if this was just a one-off thing for Ubisoft and Nintendo, what they accomplished with Mario + Rabbids stands alone. Making it one of the must-own games on the hybrid console. – Sean Garmer

22. Golf Story

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Developer & Publisher: Sidebar Games

Imagine having a dream of being a pro golfer, and then real life smacks you in the face. Forcing you to put your dream in the past and go after something much more mundane. But one day, you decide the hell with it, I’m going after that elusive dream. Even if it’s at the cost of losing a loved one or job security. That’s the premise of Golf Story. A 2D Golf RPG with a 15-20 hour story that features quite a lot of well, golf. Even with seemingly every character telling you how much you suck at, golf, you carry on competing in tournaments, completing various sidequests, and building up your skills by getting better at, golf.

Golf Story blends hilarious writing, quippy NPC characters, and crazy sidequests like stopping a zombie invasion, with astute golf mechanics. Taking the serious aspects of the sport and having other-worldly events around it is rather silly at first glance. However, this is also the charm of Golf Story. At every turn, there’s someone downplaying your abilities, but you continue pushing through each course trying to accomplish your goal. But the best part is you never know what you might run into next. A group of folks expounding upon the greatness of Disc Golf, or an elderly fellow who delights in the virtuosity of tidy play. In fact, these folks you meet may be the most memorable parts of Golf Story.

That’s ultimately the magic of this game. Whether you want to take it seriously and get the best score at every course, unlock every set of golf clubs, or just put the ball down anywhere and just hit it as hard as possible, or even, forget about all that and go exploring around a course finding things, there’s a little something in there for just about anyone. – Sean Garmer

21. Tekken 7

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer & Publisher: Bandai Namco

Tekken 7 had a joy of familiarity about it, doing enough to keep up with the changes in Fighting games. While also keeping people who have stuck with the franchise for over 20 years now, more than happy. Links to the world of New Japan Pro-Wrestling brought some new eyes to the series as fans of the Bullet Club could dress their fighters as their favourite Elite wrestlers. However, this was merely window dressing for a fantastic fighting game that does everything in its power to put Tekken back at the top. – Stewart Lange

20. Cuphead

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Developer & Publisher: Studio MDHR

Two years ago Cuphead was demoed at E3 and received massive interest mostly due to the art style. After some delays, we got a great game that not only looks great (the art style really is incredible) but it plays well also. I felt like the gameplay is uneven, making it fluctuate between challenging and insanely difficult. If you want a challenging game that tests your abilities this is it. – Daniel Anderson

Who knew signing a contract with The Devil would bring both excruciating pain and sheer joy in one sitting. There’s no doubt that what grabs your attention about Cuphead is the beautiful art style. However, it isn’t just about having something cool to look at, Cuphead immerses you into that world. From the NPC characters that give you hints to the pig character at the shop with the eye patch. The soundtrack is so vibrant and catchy I found myself just leaving the game on a screen to listen to it. This doesn’t even include Cuphead or Mug Man themselves who have that cute appeal but are also cool at the same time.

There’s no way around saying that the game is really hard. Although there are attacks from certain bosses that are a bit cheap, it never feels ridiculous either. It’s a game that teaches you so much from dying. Every time I died, I could immediately see what I did wrong. There are bosses I played quite a few times, which made me want to quit, but each time Cuphead encouraged me to keep going with its lighting fast level reload. All of this constant “ok one more time” would push me to keep getting better at the fight. Eventually, I’d beat it.

This loop may seem annoying, but considering there’s so much that’s great about Cuphead, it almost seems unfair to not give something a chance because it may be difficult. That being said, what I most enjoyed about Cuphead outside of the music and art style, are the “Run n Gun” levels. This is where you learn game mechanics and get a great view of the art style with platforming and enemies coming at you constantly. Cuphead is one of my favorite games of 2017, and Studio MDHR deserves every award the game’s been getting. Not only for the hand-drawn art, but also for making an indie game that is a true masterpiece in so many aspects. – Sean Garmer

19. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Platform: PlayStation 4

Developer & Publisher: Naughty Dog, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy showed that the Uncharted series could survive without Nathan Drake. Casting two strong female characters (including the fan favorite Chloe.) Naughty Dog gave new life to the series, showing it doesn’t have to end just because Drake’s story is finished. (Supposedly anyway,) the game is typical Uncharted which means you will get a lot of action, some humor, and good gameplay all rolled up into one.

However, you could argue that it generally feels like DLC, because it is fairly short. Still, though, the story is pretty great. And worth playing for that alone. Lost Legacy is a very solid game that feels must-have for fans of the Uncharted franchise. – Daniel Anderson

18. Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Review

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer & Publisher: Bungie, Activision

Although the first game was fairly divisive, with many players put off by the repetitive nature of the loot grinding, there are many that remained dedicated right until the release of the second game. Sticking to the same formula as the first, Destiny 2 gives the players a bit more story to get through before landing into the strikes and end-game content. There’s still plenty of PvP content in The Crucible as your Guardian levels-up and strives towards the top light levels.

I can completely understand people not enjoying Destiny 2, it’s not for everyone and there have been times where I ask myself just why I keep going back to it. Especially considering my Clan-mates moved on to other games fairly quickly.

However, for a few of my gaming hours every week, I’m more than happy to jump back into Destiny 2 and take on the Vex, Fallen and Hive in the battle to get a couple of extra shiny pieces of loot. It doesn’t hurt that it’s absolutely beautiful to look at and with new content arriving at a nice clip, Destiny 2 could continue its momentum for just as long as it’s predecessor. – Stewart Lange

Destiny 2 Review

17. Injustice 2

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer & Publisher: NetherRealm Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Honestly, Injustice 2 isn’t too much different from Injustice 1. It still has the same, slightly neutered super-moves. The three-button combat, and the weird “Clash” system, that I don’t think anyone actually likes. The edges of the game though have had a lot of stuff added to them. Making it a much different experience. Chief among them is the loot box system.

In every other game, it feels exploitative and lame, but the loot boxes in Injustice 2 aren’t game breaking and are mostly a cosmetic thing. You can buy higher-tier ones with more money, but you earn so many of them just in the mission mode. They are pretty unnecessary to buy. The mission mode is also changed so that there are now different Earth’s for you to visit and beat down various other characters in. This nets you the boxes, and also various gear for the other characters. Plus, this game has Hellboy and soon the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which nets it an automatic placement on this list. – Marc Morrison

16. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer & Publisher: Massive Entertainment & Ubisoft

Wildlands puts you in Bolivia as part of a team of four Ghost operatives. They are tasked with taking down a drug lord. It’s a fantastic open world experience, with enough fun and distraction to keep you from the main objectives. The graphics are fantastic. With minimal glitching involved. There are some extremely fun gameplay additions that make it genuinely easy to play.

You can either play the game stealthily or all guns blazing. Critically, this game shines with the multiplayer mode, and my team and I are still playing this game currently. With Ghost War PVP now added and special events such as the Predator arriving, Wildlands is easily the game I spent the most time with, in 2017. And I loved every single minute of it. – Stewart Lange

15. Nioh

Nioh Review

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

Developer & Publisher: Koei Tecmo & Sony Interactive Entertainment

For me, Nioh is the first actually “playable” Dark Souls-esque game. You have a very limited stamina bar, some labyrinthine levels, and almost no explanation of game systems, outside of the training areas. Still, Nioh just seems fairer when it comes to enemy encounters. Where if you get too aggressive, you will get owned almost immediately. The mission structure I think adds to the experience, since no one level is overwhelming. And each stage does have its share of secrets as well. I don’t like it as much as other people do, but it’s still the first one of these games that actually managed to hook me. – Marc Morrison

Nioh Review

14. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard Review

Platform: PlayStation 4 & PC

Developer & Publisher: Capcom

There’s no doubt that the Resident Evil franchise had been on the decline in quality since Resident Evil 4. It just seemed that Capcom was having trouble deciding where to take the franchise. Luckily, their most recent answer turned out Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. RE7, especially on PSVR, plays as a great survival horror game. In fact, I would say it is one of the best survival horror games from the last few years. Some people complain about a shift in playstyle at the end. However, I enjoyed it. This was one of the great games of 2017 and a possible GOTY when talking about PSVR. If you want to introduce someone to VR, and want to see some funny reactions to boot, this game does both. – Daniel Anderson

13. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds

Platforms: PC, Xbox One (Game Preview)

Developer & Publisher: Bluehole Studios & PUBG Corporation

PUBG truly kicked off the whole survival/battle royal game type. Sure there were survival games prior, like the eternally-in-alpha Rust, ARK: Survival Evolved, H1Z1, which either are never coming out of Early Access, or are way too overly-complicated to make most normal people appreciate them. Also, most of them run terribly.

PUBG isn’t without its faults, like a somewhat inconsistent server, and the usual ARMA 2 funkiness. But it manages to surpass them, with some great, tense gameplay. You never know what’s around the next corner, or in the next building you come across, which makes scavenging a real suspenseful moment.

The pressure is also always on with the constricting circle, which closes up the available player space every few minutes. PUBG’s popularity also made it kosher for other games to institute battle royale modes. Essentially keeping Fortnite relevant, and even causing CS: GO to look into it as well. PUBG requires a lot of time and dedication, but it is rewarding once you finally get a chicken dinner. – Marc Morrison

12. Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Developer & Publisher: Monolith Soft & Nintendo

Following the much beloved Xenoblade Chronicles (Nintendo Wii & New 3DS Only) and its somewhat maligned spin-off Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U), Monolith Soft capped off the Nintendo Switch’s incredible first year with Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The game has received quite a bit of love and hate since its release on December 1. Honestly, as someone that was enthralled by XC2, (in fact, I loved XC2 so much, I went back and played and beat XC1 as well,) both of those assessments are pretty fair.

The change in character design and aesthetic from XC1 can be jarring. Especially, if you are far removed from caring about Anime. (Something I have no shame in saying that I enjoy a lot.) Although, I’d say some of those drastic turns come from Monolith Soft deciding to bring in a whole bunch of different artists, including one Tetsuya Nomura and even a Hentai designer, instead of opting for one core group of artists. However, if you can get past that, Xenoblade 2 offers a heck of a lot in one package. A 70 + hour story that while carrying typical shonen attributes with its main character Rex, has so many other great characters to invest in, such as the Nopon Tora and the darling artificial blade Poppi, and late-comers to your party Morag and Zeke. Not to mention, it has two pretty well-written villains as well.

If you played the other Xenoblade games, the battle system isn’t as obtuse as it’s made out to be. However, it does such a bad job at explaining some of its mechanics that I went almost the entire game without really understanding one of its main draws. There are also huge landscapes to explore, which aren’t always beautifully rendered on the Switch. But there’s so much to look at in certain areas, texture mapping issues and some framerate dropping can be forgiven.

I wanted to say all that because I feel like you can’t talk about XC2 without mentioning its faults. But, for me, I got hooked in so hard that those other things didn’t bother me very much. This was the one game in 2017 that had me thinking about it when I was at work, or doing other things. All I really wanted to do was spend more time playing it.

And that I did, putting over 100 hours into it before I finished the main campaign. The story and its characters worked for me. I enjoyed the writing, exploring different titans was somewhat frustrating at times, but it also brought me great joy. Once you get the battle system, it is actually quite deep and fun. Perhaps what I loved most about XC2 was its great soundtrack.

Seriously, there are some straight banging songs on it. From the ripping battle themes to the more melodic night time songs, some tracks even closely resemble some of the more iconic tracks from XC1. The whole soundtrack is quite captivating. Not to mention, it truly rewards those that have played the first game as well, which is not something you can say about every video game series out there. Overall, XC2 is a flawed game for various reasons, but a game that I absolutely adored, warts and all. – Sean Garmer

11. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice Review

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

Developer & Publisher: Ninja Theory

Sometimes there are things, which you can’t just read about or even watch on Youtube. You simply have to experience it for yourself. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a AAA indie game from Ninja Theory that for me, is right up there with Journey as far as delivering on something unlike anything else. I mean, when one of the first things you see is the developers thanking a mental health physician, you know this one’s a little different. Hellblade literally follows Senua on an inward and outward journey in search of her love.

At first glance, it may all seem rather cliche.’ However, once you hear the first trail of voices coming from Senua’s head, it transports you into what she’s feeling and never let’s go from there. Throughout said journey, Senua does battle with Norse beings, goes through important trials, all while combating the darkness inside of her. Darkness is literally eating away at Senua, and you as the player are her guide. Making sure you don’t fall victim to her issues.

This also presents in very real and graphic fashion a person’s battle with mental illness. Although, yes, in real life you aren’t going on some horrific adventure, the torment Senua goes through is no joke. At some point, actions you take in the game may cause you to question your own choices. And it is all part of what makes Hellblade a terrific yet also at times terrifying experience. – Sean Garmer

10. South Park: the Fractured But Whole

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer & Publisher: Ubisoft

It is hard to keep something of a certain quality when making a sequel to a GOTY contender. Stick of Truth was a shockingly good game that had a lot going against it (closing of a publisher, constant delays, history of bad South Park games.) However, it turned out pretty great, even if a simple game. Fractured But Whole, which was developed by a different developer than Stick of Truth, improved upon the original in many ways.

Making the battles more strategic real gives the battle system a bit of depth. They also managed to keep the humor at the same level, if not at a higher level too. There’s also a better upgrade system for players as well. Ultimately, they improved upon everything from the first game, and also made it feel like a different game a the same time. If you enjoy South Park, or just enjoyed Stick of Truth, Fractured But Whole is a great game that surpasses all, but a few other games in quality from this year. – Daniel Anderson

9. Assassin’s Creed Origins

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer & Publisher: Ubisoft

I’m honestly a lot cooler on this game than most people. I think Bayek is an interesting character and some of the loot stuff was fun in the game, but that’s kind of about it. The actual story for Origins is straight up bad. Although the premise is interesting, the game really does nothing to set up the villains. It also barely sets up your wife as an important character and then keeps piling on more villains. After paying close enough attention to the sequence in question, there weren’t 12 people there, it was five.

Also, one late-game reveal is supposed to be sad but winds up hilarious instead. Expecting you to care about a character that’s probably only in the game a whole 10 minutes. Combat is unwieldy, the pyramid tombs aren’t interesting to explore, and while Egypt looks nice, there’s nothing really unique to the setting. At least Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate gave you a cool grappling hook to get around with. I don’t fault people for liking this game at all. I dumped about 40 hours into it, but it ultimately left a bitter taste in my mouth and is one of the more disappointing Assassin’s Creed games. – Marc Morrison

Sometimes a year off can be a good thing for a franchise. Before Origins, Assassin’s Creed was on uneven ground. Partially, due to needing to be a yearly release. This led to a couple of poorly received games and people began to sour on the AC games. However, this changed in 2017. Origins brought the franchise to Ptolemaic Egypt and made it feel new again.

Yes, the combat system was controversial, but everything else was unquestionably polished. The story was entertaining and the controls worked well (this was the first game that I never accidentally fell to by death from the character deciding to jump off a wall randomly). If you have fallen off the Assassin’s Creed bandwagon, this game provides a good starting point to get back into the franchise. – Daniel Anderson

8. Yakuza 0

Platform: PlayStation 4

Developer & Publisher: SEGA

Yakuza 0 is the game that actually got me into the Yakuza franchise. I’m still amazed that feat is even possible. Yakuza games always seemed to appeal to very specific crazy people. People who mixed in Japanese words in the middle of their daily speech, or could name all 47 prefectures of Japan. The fact that the sales base for these games dried up is further evidence of this. However, SEGA (along with Sony’s help, I imagine) brought over Yakuza 0 to the West. Thus helping resurrect the franchise.

Yakuza 0 has two playable characters, Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima, and is set in the 1980’s Japan. Each character has their own distinct fighting styles, and storylines. While each character is seemingly on a separate path at the start, they do eventually crossover as the story unfurls. Although based on a PS3 game, the world of Yakuza 0 is incredibly detailed, fun, and funny. Plus, there’s a whole host of wacky side characters and sidequests for you to accomplish. The karaoke sequences alone make this game worthy of a pickup for any player. – Marc Morrison

7. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein 2

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developer & Publisher: Machine Games & Bethesda

Given the trend for most games to have multiplayer shoehorned in regardless of how much a game actually suits the need for it, those of us who just don’t like interacting with others much are thankful for games that are focused on the single player. The second entry in the reimagining of the Wolfenstein series is a perfect example of just how good it is to get a game that is focused on having a fantastic campaign.

Set in an alternate America under Nazi occupation, the New Colossus does everything right in carrying on from the incredible New Order. Including a bigger, badder and possibly even better game in every way. The sheer joy in tearing through wave after wave of evil Nazis is satisfying from start to the finish. I for one will be waiting for Wolfenstein 3 with baited breath. – Stewart Lange

Wolfenstein 2

Aside from the crazy difficulty, which can be remedied by dropping down to baby mode, literally, Wolfenstein II hits all the notes of New Order and then surpasses them. The story is not only dealing with Nazi’s and a new America but also in several very hard-hitting themes that smack you in the face. The story is also really good and keeps you interested and invested throughout the journey of demolishing any Nazi’s that come into your path.

Shooting feels satisfying and is at a face pace, but you can also sneak around to avoid being bombarded. Locations get more interesting as you go along. Plus, the characters are engaging, and that’s perhaps where Wolfenstein II delivers the most. I didn’t think I’d find myself rooting for B.J. Blazkowicz again, but dammit he did it again. – Sean Garmer

Wolfenstein 2

6. Divinity Original Sin 2

Platforms: PC

Developer & Publisher: Larian Studios

For me, this game deserves even way more publicity and awards but doesn’t get them because it’s a PC only game. Just to be clear, this is an epic RPG. However, I’m not using that in reference to the size of the game. But more because of the feel and the stakes of the game. This game feels huge. It just has a different feel than the typical RPG. This is a very story driven RPG and the NPCs you use, can die and that can lock out major portions of the story.

Thus making easily replayable because there are always other decisions that can be made. This doesn’t even cover the online Co-op and custom matches a GM can put players through. The game truly feels like there is always something new to discover. If Divinity Original Sin 2 was on console, there’s no doubt it would be considered one of the greatest games ever released. – Daniel Anderson

I liked the first Divinity: Original Sin game, but something about the starting area and general questline felt a bit too antiseptic to me. It was a good game, but it felt somewhat lacking in personality. This isn’t the case with Original Sin 2, which has playable characters of an animated skeleton, overthrown lizard king, and possessed singer, rounding out your party.

You can still create your own characters but taking one of the pre-made ones with their own unique backstories is far more rewarding. Combat largely remained the same, at least in my view, but I’m still impressed by the environmental interactions you can accomplish in battle. Say you come across a band of enemies close together, you can either make it rain on them, then throw a lightning spell shocking them all, or teleport a fire barrel in the middle of the group and detonate it. Divinity: Original Sin 2 felt like a much more confident game than the last one, and I imagine Larian Studios next game will be even better. – Marc Morrison

5. Nier: Automata

Nier Automata

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

Developer & Publisher: Platinum Games & Square-Enix

If you had said to me at the start of 2017, that a NieR game would be one of my favorite games, I would have laughed at you. The existing NieR franchise wholly passed me by, and I imagine most of the gaming public as well. Still, Nier: Automata brings a few things to the equation that really make it stand out. First is the combat, which is a Platinum Games staple. It’s not as deep as Bayonetta or Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but it still feels the same. Albeit with different attacks, dodging around, and time (slightly) slowing when you perform a good counter.

The characters of Automata are great, from 2B’s initial stoicism to caring about 9S, even to what happens to Pascal, and the history of Emil, almost all are memorable. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that NieR: Automata has the best soundtrack of the year (with Persona 5 being a close second). Not to mention, it has 26 different endings for you to try and find. – Marc Morrison

Nier Automata Review

4. Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn Review

Platform: PlayStation 4

Developer & Publisher: Guerrilla Games

In a just world, Horizon would have come out three months later and not been forgotten come award time. Horizon is a great game that a player can play over and over and still find new things to do. The story is engrossing and keeps your interest from the beginning. I never got bored when playing Horizon, which is not something I can say often for open world games. Everything just works, and the world feels unique enough as well.

It is not another post-apocalyptic wasteland like in Fallout and not another zombie fall of civilization game. While the basic premise has been done before it feels different in this game. The main character, Aloy is another aspect of this game that makes it work so well. In games like Fallout 4 or the Far Cry series if the main character is not appealing, then it is easy to lose interest in the story. This doesn’t happen with Aloy. You actually want to learn more about her mysterious background. – Daniel Anderson

Horizon Zero Dawn Review

Horizon Zero Dawn tends to crib from elements of other games. But adds wholly unique elements of its own, to create something special. On the surface, it looks just like a Batman game, or Assassin’s Creed game, but those looks are wrong. Horizon is much more focused on your character, Aloy, having battlefield knowledge, and letting you set up traps.

Some of the bigger machines you have to set up traps because just trying to take them head-on is a death sentence. The designs of the robot animals are all great, from the weakest ones to the strongest, as each are detailed, and you can see specific weak spots on them. Considering this is the (likely) start of a franchise. It is one of the strongest debuts of a game in a long time. – Marc Morrison

Horizon Zero Dawn Review

3. Super Mario Odyssey

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Developer & Publisher: Nintendo

Despite the fact that Breath of the Wild will likely clean up most of the awards, it wasn’t my personal system favorite this year. That honor goes to this little gem, which reinvents the Italian Plumber merely by adding the ability to throw a hat to possess nearby creatures. A nearly flawless game, Super Mario Odyssey is great fun and totally accessible for all ages and abilities. A vibrant, exciting world to explore with a gimmick that breathes new life into a franchise that almost everyone has experienced, means Nintendo have nailed the first truly accessible must-have title on the Switch. – Stewart Lange

It can be hard to make a Mario game. Go too far one way and people complain that it doesn’t feel like a Mario game. Play it too safe and people complain that it is just a reskin of a previous game. Odyssey is one of those Mario games that adds to the Mario formula but doesn’t feel like a retread. Odyssey is a fun game that explores a lot more than just the Mushroom Kingdom and adds a new type of puzzle with the cap that lets you take control of creatures.

The quest for getting more fuel for your airship feels natural and does not feel like a cheap gimmick that forces you to explore the various maps like I feared it would. Overall, the game is a great one and was a key cog in a great year for the Switch. – Daniel Anderson

There’s been one huge constant in console gaming for over 40 years that is an Italian Plumber and his iconic Super Mario Bros. franchise. Not only because his mere silhouette is legendary, but because the first Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System literally saved video games. Every single Nintendo system has had some sort of Mario game. His platformers hold quite a number of industry records and are games that have touched the lives of gamers of all ages and over multiple generations. The franchise is so huge that its created numerous spinoffs that have reached varying degrees of success.

Not only that, but those Mario games have also built up a cast of characters that could stand next to other great ones in other entertainment forms. Time and again, Mario has set the standard for what a great platforming game is. You’d think there’s only so many times it can continue to break its own achievements. For that reason, Mario is in an elite class of game, one where only a few others sit alongside it.

Meaning Mario is either given a lot of leeway because of its past accomplishments or is heavily criticized when its gameplay mechanics don’t move heaven and earth. Super Mario Odyssey can easily be classified as another great Mario title. However, for me, Mario Odyssey is my personal GOTY because of how it uses Cappy to help you find the over 800 Moons that exist in the game. Although, Odyssey is much more than just flinging a cap at objects. It has aspects of other Mario games like the exploration and sense of freedom from Super Mario 64. The type of scale from Super Mario Galaxy And even has the beloved nostalgia of the first NES game with its 2D sections.

Overall, Super Mario Odyssey brought me so much joy just running around, jumping on objects and throwing cappy around to see transformations, I’d forget about finding moons at least once in each world. Many of the worlds are so vibrant with creatures and color that its easy to see why you’d get lost. There’s nothing quite like getting to New Donk City and experiencing what it has to offer.

I normally never care about changing outfits in games, but for some reason in Mario Odyssey, I always wanted to find the store to see what it contained. Throw in some cool surprises all throughout, a soundtrack that has some great instrumental gems, and an end-game that keeps you busy after completing the main quest. I don’t know what else you can ask Nintendo to put in a Mario game. They gave you pretty much everything that makes Mario special in one $60 package. – Sean Garmer

2. Persona 5

Persona 5 Review

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Playstation 3

Developer & Publisher: Atlus

Persona 5 is a game that I’ve replayed twice and got pretty deep into a third run of that game. Considering the first run of that game took me about 80 hours, and the second playthrough took me about 40, that speaks volumes about how much I enjoyed it. Persona 5 isn’t without its faults, Ryuji really sucks as a character, and occasionally the game can be obtuse in what you have to do next, but these are minor issues.

No other game, to me, looks as great as Persona 5. Especially, from a creative and style standpoint. The other characters like Futaba, Tae Takemi (goth doctor), and Morgana really standout in the game. Plus, the battle system, once you learn it, belongs at the forefront of all JRPG classics. Then, there’s the soundtrack that is simply one of the best in 2017. I bought the special edition of the game and it’s a purchase I’ve never regretted in the slightest. – Marc Morrison

Persona 5 Review

1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Developer & Publisher: Nintendo

Nintendo was in trouble entering 2017. The Wii U was a flop that hurt the company. Nintendo needed a hit with their next console, the Switch. However, it doesn’t matter how great the hardware is if it doesn’t have great software to play on it. Especially, great first party games to show why the console is worth having. Breath of the Wild was that game. Before Breath of the Wild, the Zelda series had generally been fairly linear.

Sure there were large maps, but the player generally had to do things in a certain order. Breath of the Wild was the first truly open world game in the Zelda series. Not only that, but it also introduced other gameplay features such as breakable weapons. The game just felt like a massive departure over previous Zelda games and has earned its spot not only on this list but in all the other awards its won. – Daniel Anderson

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a majestic piece of gaming. Yeah, it’s also on the Wii U, but it is the game that defines what the Nintendo Switch brings. A big game feel on a machine you can take anywhere. It’s also a game that takes the meaning of its machine and puts it into practice. You can literally go anywhere in Breath of the Wild and find a shrine, Korok seeds, or just climb the landscape.

The map gives you very little clues, and it’s up to you to take Link on this epic journey in ultimately defeating Ganon. In fairness, there are mechanics like breakable weapons or cooking that don’t work for everyone, but it is another small nugget of the experience. Breath of the Wild is just as much about surviving, as exploring on this grand adventure. These small things are what makes it truly open world. Left to your own devices, everything happens at Link’s pace. There’s so much to do, it can sometimes feel rather overwhelming, but there’s no doubt it brought a massive overhaul to the Zelda series. One it highly needed, Nintendo took that and ran with it. Creating a game that surely will stand the test of time. – Sean Garmer

Hopefully, you enjoyed our last look back at 2017. Now, as we move ahead with new games to play from 2018, it really is incredible to look at all the great games big and small from last year. 2018 has a lot to live up to in quality from everywhere around the industry. It is truly a blessing just to be able to go into another year full of anticipation and expectation for video games.