By the middle of this year, 2017 had already cemented itself as one of the best years in gaming history. By the end of the year, it was just showing off. Continuing the trend of releasing so many incredible games that it made it almost impossible for gamers to keep up. What problem to have: too many fantastic games to play. Woe is us.
Though I’ve taken something of an unintentional hiatus from the blog (hope to pick it back up in the new year), I wasn’t just twiddling my thumbs and was actually playing some these titles. Enough in fact that I wanted to make my own top 5 games list for 2017. Usually, I’d put 10 items on the list, but I felt that shrinking the size of the list meant that for a game to be here, it had to really stand out (apologies to Pyre, you were definitely in the top 10). There’s a very good chance that a game that you loved this year is not on this list. In fact, I guarantee it. It’s either not on the list because I didn’t enjoy it as much as you did or, more likely, I didn’t get the chance to play it. Some of those titles include Horizon: Zero Dawn, Prey, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, Golf Story, and many more. Sorry, not sorry.
So without further ado, here’s what I felt were the Top 5 Games of 2017.
5. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
I, like so many of you, was convinced that there was no way this game was going to be any good. While I’ll admit that I don’t dislike the Rabbids like so many gamers do, that leaked promotional art made me think, what on earth were they thinking. And yet when we finally got to see gameplay at E3 this year, boy did we look the fools. When I got to play it at the Ubisoft booth at E3 this year I was a total convert, who’d have thought that Mario meets Rabbids and XCOM would work. The beauty of it is that not only is the main story a ton of fun, but the bonus levels’ difficulty ranges from easy to OH GOD HOW AM I SUPPOSE TO DO THIS. It’s not a kid’s intro to strategy games.
If you own a Switch, you need to check out this game.
4. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Ah, Breath of the Wild, you will probably go down in history as one of the best launch titles ever. I may have put this game as this year’s number 4, but it’s easy to see why for so many people this is their game of the year. Despite its flaws when you really dig deep, it does so many things right that it in many ways is deserving of all those perfect scores it got back in March.
To you use the cliched marketing line that sums up the game so well: “You see that mountain? You can climb it.” And you actually can, which let me tell you is one of the most satisfying gaming experiences of the year.
But perhaps what I’m the most excited about is taking this fantastic formula and improving on it for the next game. Maybe the Majora’s Mask equivalent to Breath of the Wild will be even better.
3. Nier: Automata
You really have to play Nier: Automata to understand why this game is going to be on so many top games lists this year. Sure you can watch the trailers and see the fantastic action combat Platinum is known for and hear a sample of the award-winning soundtrack. But in true Yoko Taro fashion, this game was made to be played multiple times to get the full experience. And if it wasn’t for the fact that there games that I haven’t played this year that could challenge the following statement: It has possibly the smartest story of the year.
Basically, if you want a game unlike anything else released this year you should play Nier: Automata. Heck, you should just play it.
P.S. the soundtrack is soooooo good.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
Perhaps the most significant debate for most Nintendo fans this year will be whether or not they liked Zelda more this year or Mario. Because really they’re both near-perfect gaming experiences. For me though, it has to be Super Mario Odyssey.
As someone said online, it’s clear that Breath of the Wild was made of the Wii U and then ported over to the Switch. Super Mario Odyssey, on the other hand, was specially made for its platform. The end result is a game that controls beautifully, has gorgeous worlds to explore that were optimized for the system, and a fantastic send-off for Nintendo’s best year in recent memory.
Filled with plenty of surprises to keep wowing players, Super Mario Odyssey is another reminder that Nintendo’s still got it after all these years.
1. Persona 5
One of my regrets of the year was not finishing my Persona 5 review before I took my extended leave from the blog. I only say that because I wanted to tell you all why Persona 5 was already at the time my game of the year. Even now, despite having played several other incredible titles, it still is.
The main Persona series is filled with great games, Persona 4 Golden alone being one of the greatest JRPGs of all time. Even in its short existence, Persona 5 has quickly become another game that could make the same claim. So many things about the game are pure perfection. The art, the gameplay, the design, the music, the story, the characters, pretty much everything about this game oozes style and mastery. Even the odd voice direction given to the English voice actors doesn’t affect the overall great performances by the game’s cast.
We’ll probably have to wait a really long time for Persona 6 if that game will ever even be developed. But after putting in over 170 hours into Persona 5 this year and will inevitably pick it up again, I’m ok with the wait.