Note: I wrote this so long ago now, that it’s almost too late to post it. But screw that – I spent time on this, so up it goes! Plus, regardless of when you may read this, the games on this list will still be good.
2017 was a great year for games – really one of the better years in living memory. Sure, there were some major controversies and disappointments, but in terms of the sheer amount of quality titles released, 2017 was wallet-cripplingly good. However, I have two young kids at home, so it was a struggle to get across everything – in fact, it was likely impossible. Still, here is my list of best games for 2017 – including games I played, and games I missed that I really wanted to play (and still hope to, in many cases). Sure, some of this is copied from my previous post, but most is new.
- Yakuza 0 – I love this series, but it’s so well written and so batshit insane that I feel it will appeal to anyone. Yakuza 0 comes highly recommended, and was one of my favourite games of the year, but it was just too good of a year for Yakuza 0 to hit the top 5, unfortunately.
- Horizon: Zero Dawn – As good as “they” say it is. Well-crafted and highly polished, this is a must-play for anyone that enjoys single-player action RPG experiences. And this one DID make my top 5.
- Resident Evil 7 – I’m still yet to finish this game, but it’s a very refreshing new take on the series. Possibly as impactful as Resident Evil 4 was at the time.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo’s new Zelda title blew everyone away on release. My take was a little more reserved (I felt it got extremely repetitive over time), but still clearly a classic.
- Nier: Automata – While imperfect in many ways, much of this imperfection is deliberate. An experience that still gives me shivers to this day when thinking about it, Nier: Automata sits comfortably at the top of my Top 5 list for 2017.
- Persona 5 – Fans of this series should already have played this game. A very Japanese RPG, but overly long and tedious in later hours. I’m still yet to complete it.
- Paladins (beta) – sure it’s a beta, but there’s as much content in this beta as in a full game, and the current client will eventually become the release client, so it’s essentially the same. And while it’s been out on PC since 2015, it only released in May 2017 on PS4 and Xbox One, so it makes the list. Great free-to-play game that I still love and play on a regular basis. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that I like it more than Overwatch.
- Yooka Laylee – A loving return to 90s 3D platforming. Imperfect in some ways, but charming in so many others.
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Just buy it. You’ve played it before, but it’s the best version of Mario Kart to date.
- Tekken 7 – I love the Tekken series, and this one has so much content that it’s just worth buying.
- Wonder Boy: the Dragon’s Trap – One of my favourite games on Sega Master System as a child, remade for modern systems. I can’t recommend this game enough.
- Polybius – I love Jeff Minter’s various takes on the Tempest arcade formula, and Polybius hit the mark for much of what I was looking for. Certainly not for everyone, but great for those who enjoy old school arcade shooters.
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) – this title came out of nowhere and hit the PC’s Steam platform like a storm. Still in Early Access and clearly bursting at the seams with bugs (none of which have been game breaking in my experience), PUBG has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds, and sits proudly at the top of the Steam Charts day in day out, with no sign of things slowing down any time soon. Also just released to Xbox One (but not the PS4… yet?) – and even to mobile phone, PUBG is just simply such an enjoyable experience that it can’t be recommended highly enough. As a result, it’s one of my top 5 for 2017.
- Yakuza Kiwami – A remake of Yakuza 1, which was never released outside of Japan, updated and improved with all the elements that constitute what makes the Yakuza series great – a deep and engaging story, great action, silly sidequests, fun minigames, and an immersive approximation of Tokyo. Not quite as full featured as Yakuza 0, but wonderful nonetheless.
- Destiny 2 – sure, it was (and continues to be) disappointing in certain ways, but Destiny 2 is still a highly polished and enjoyable first-person shooter. I’m going to leave it off my top 5 list this year, and replace it with a title that wasn’t even released in 2017, because Destiny 2 kind of deserves the smackdown.
- South Park: The Fractured but Whole – while it doesn’t quite have the same impact the The Stick of Truth had a couple of years prior, The Fractured but Whole is still an enjoyable and amusing romp through the South Park universe.
- Super Mario Odyssey – it was tough to give the number 1 slot to Nier:Automata over Super Mario Odyssey, but in the end, Mario just wasn’t as “original” as Nier. That said, Odyssey is an absolute must play, and will put a smile on your face from the very first moments.
- Fortnite – While the whole (PvE) game is still yet to be released as Free-to-Play, 2017 saw the release of Battle Royale, a take on the PUBG formula. Some saw it as a better game, while others still preferred PUBG, but no-one can deny it made its mark in a big way. If you haven’t tried it out yet, it costs you nothing but time to download (and a little of your pride). I love Battle Royale – it’s become my nightly warm-up title.
- Lawbreakers – it’s such a shame that Lawbreakers wasn’t the success that I was hoping it would be, but it’s just such a GOOD GAME that I still feel I should mention it. Sure, it’s punishingly difficult, but man… it’s fun. Probably not worth buying, unfortunately, as nobody plays it anymore.
- Cuphead – I’ve been waiting for this game for YEARS. It’s not exactly what I was hoping for it to be, but holy crap it looks and sounds amazing. In fact, you should buy it for those reasons alone. Yeah, it’s actually quite fun (if somewhat… difficult, to say the least), but it’s the music and artwork that makes it worthy.
- Call of Duty: WW2 – while it’s cool to hate on CoD, they do make good mindless shooters. This is what I play when I can’t think of anything else to play, and I always find myself enjoying my time
- Nioh – a samurai-themed Dark Souls-alike that I may not get the chance to play
- Thimbleweed Park – a modern point-and-click adventure title that unfortunately slipped through the cracks
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands – the beta was great, but not great enough to make me want to buy it on release. Maybe a bargain bin purchase…
- Mass Effect: Andromeda – as much as I enjoyed the original trilogy, I just couldn’t get excited by this new title in the series… Reviews were unfavourable, but I’d still like to work my way through it someday
- Prey – apparently VERY good, but again, I may not get the chance to play
- Injustice 2 – I need this game. I buy all Netherrealm fighting games, so it’s only a matter of time (and money)…
- Wipeout Omega Collection – another one I’ll need to purchase at some stage. Wipeout is amazing, and this collection is fire
- Nex Machina – not only a new game from Housemarque, whose titles I generally love, but a twin-stick shooter made in collaboration with Eugene Jarvis, the “godfather” of twin-stick shooters (if I may be so bold as to make that claim – I’m sure there are others I’m overlooking, but Robotron: 2084 and Smash TV were amazing)
- Splatoon 2 –I wasn’t a huge fan of the original, but apparently the second title has far more content and has had amazing reviews. I’m interested, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to it
- Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – the Uncharted series is essentially a must-play series
- Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle – this game looks so good, and has had great reviews… I need to find the time and money for this at some stage
- Marvel vs Capcom Infinite – anyone who doesn’t like the MvC fighting games probably hasn’t played them
- Pokken Tournament DX – this will be huge, but I’m still 50/50 as I’ve never been a Pokemon fan
- Middle Earth: Shadow of War – putting the loot box controversy to the side, I know there’s a great game to be played here
- Assassins Creed Origins – I am a big fan of Egyptian history and mythology, but not so much of a fan of Assassin’s Creed. Colour me interested, but time will tell if I ever get around to playing this one
- Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus – this looks amazing, much like the previous title in the series, but I’m not sure I want to play it enough to make the purchase
- Star Wars Battlefront 2 – sadly, the issues with loot boxes have overshadowed what is probably a very capable Star Wars shooter. I’d like to play this, but EA really over-stepped the mark in many ways
- Final Fantasy 12 – regarded by many as one of the best in the series, I really have to play this someday
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – while I liked the look of Hellblade, it was the critical acclaim that followed its release that piqued my interest. This is high on my list of must buy games as soon as I win the lottery
Warframe “Plains of Eidolon” – yes, I am aware that Warframe released 4 years ago. However, like many, I simply ignored it while it bubbled and churned and turned into one of the best games I’ve ever played. In 2017, developers Digital Extremes released their most ambitious update yet, adding an open-world environment to the hundreds of more linear missions already available in the game. For a free update to a free-to-play game, the Plains of Eidolon is so good (and I’m aware of its flaws, don’t get me wrong) that not only does it make my list of best games of 2017, but it also makes my top 5. To be honest, Warframe probably also makes my “top 5 of all time” list, but I guess that’s another post entirely…
Top 5 for 2017
- Niew: Automata
- Super Mario Odyssey
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Warframe: Plains of Eidolon