In a banner year for video games, here are my Top Ten Games of 2017

By Corey Dirrig
Instagram: @coreyinhd  |  Twitter: coreynhd 

Last year was a monumental year for games. Nintendo launched a new hit system and rewrote their legacy again, Sony had colossal exclusives, and Microsoft launched the most powerful box on the market. There was a lot to love from all three systems and their partners. So much in fact, this was personally one of the hardest years coming up with a top ten list, and I didn’t even get to some of the biggest players for Game of the Year talks. Not only are some of these games my favorite of last year, but some of my favorites of all time.  With that said, here are my personal top ten games of the year and five of my honorable mentions.

GAME OF THE YEAR AND TOP TEN GAMES EPISODE!

Honorable Mentions

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy: As the Uncharted game we deserve, Uncharted The Lost Legacy delivers a tight, cohesive experience staring two great characters in Nadine and Chloe.  The combat and enemy AI are still subpar, but the exploration and environments are some of the best the series has to offer.  It seems the way to keep Uncharted fresh is to diverge from Nathan Drake.

Arms: Arms was definitely my biggest surprise of the year. A deliberate fighting game that uses motion controls as it’s primary scheme doesn’t seem like the experience I’d go for, but the crazy cast of characters, the customizable controls, and the different mini games kept me coming back to unlock more Arms. Though it may not be on the level of Overwatch, it is the closest thing Nintendo has to the hit series and should not be overlooked.

Gravity Rush 2: A game sadly overshadowed by Resident Evil VII, Horizon Zero Dawn, Nioh, Nier Automata, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Gravity Rush 2 has an amazing art style, awesome traversal controls, and a really compelling world that PlayStation 4 owners should definitely check out. Kat for the Win!

Shovel Knight Spector of Torment: This would be in my top five, but some of my cohorts say it’s technically an expansion to an already fantastic game. Shovel Knight Spector of Torment is the best campaign to date, offering a dark story of betrayal, awesome new abilities, and a cool new traversal mechanic. If you haven’t picked this up or downloaded your Shovel Knight Treasure Trove update yet, it’s definitely worth playing through.

Biggest Regrets

Cuphead: An amazing art style that makes me miss the Silly Symphonies of old, Cuphead is definitely at the top of my regrets list.

Persona 5: After loving Persona 4 Golden on Vita, I definitely regret not playing this. Being overly excited for Nintendo Switch and Zelda, I skipped Persona to play more games on the go.

Nioh: As a Souls-like with more Ninja Gaiden mechanics and a Diablo style loot based gear system, Nioh is a challenge I can’t wait to tackle early this year.

Halo Wars 2: As a huge fan of the original, I completely missed the release of Halo Wars 2. With little marketing and a slew of fantastic games early on, Halo Wars 2 is a game I plan on revisiting.

Top Ten List 2017:

10. Destiny 2 (PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC): Destiny 2 was a tough one to put on this list. The game has a few outstanding end game issues that are hard to ignore. But as I sat and thought about it, Bungie did deliver an all-around better game than vanilla Destiny 1. They delivered a solid campaign that, though simple in premise, made sense and allowed the player to explore the different elements of activities, systems, and weapons without feeling overwhelmed. And though not the best raid Bungie has designed, Leviathan: Eater of Worlds is one of the best co-op experiences on console. Destiny 2 is a game that will grow over time, but for now, it sits at the bottom of my list at number ten.

9. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch): Super Mario Odyssey is a tough pill to swallow. To me, Mario games have a sense of direction of what you’re going after, whether it’s the green stars in Super Mario 3D World, the flag pole in New Super Mario Bros., or the big yellow stars of Super Mario 64. As great as the world design and controls are for Super Mario Odyssey, the game did feel very overwhelming with all of the moons to collect as well as all of each kingdom’s specific purple coins.  A lot of the in-between moments were great such as the end celebration of New Donk City, the cool 2D segments, and the kingdom that unlocks after the credits. All in all I had fun getting to the finish line, but the end game was super overwhelming.

8. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch): In one of what I’m sure will be many JRPGs to come to the Nintendo Switch, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has every cliche in the book, but does them all very well. As Rex, a salvager who lives on the Titan known as Gramps, you uncover the mystery of the blades, mystical powerful beings.  The environments are beautiful (as they should be, given that they helped design the world of Breath of the Wild), the characters are fun, and the writing, even though it covers some generic JRPG tropes, provides enough comedy and whit to keep me interested. If you are a JRPG fan, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a great one to lose yourself in on Switch.

7. Snipperclips: Cut It Out Together! (Switch): One of the best kept secrets on the Nintendo Switch, Snipperclips is a fantastic game delivers on exactly what the hybrid console is. It’s an experience where you and up to three other players must cut shapes out of each other to solve puzzles. It’s a simple concept, but definitely delivers some great laughs and challenges friendships at the same time. This adorable game also just released a physical version with extra puzzles, so make sure you add this hilarious, colorful game to your collection!

6. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (PlayStation 4/PC): From a studio who tends to tackle over the top stylized action games, Ninja Theory’s independent experiment delivered on so many levels. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice tackled some hard concepts with psychosis and mental illness while delivering a gameplay experience that made you pay attention to sound. The game even opens up telling you to wear headphones. But the thing that sells the experience is the performance by Ninja Theory’s video editor Melina Juergens. Starting as a stand in, Melina delivers one of, if not the most believable character performance in my opinion.  If she doesn’t sell the performance, the game does not work, end of story. The Norse setting, monsters, puzzles, and cutscenes really round out this fantastic game. (Check out our review by Jesse White here.)

5. Injustice 2 (PlayStation 4/Xbox One): I loved the first game in the DC fighting series, and the sequel doesn’t disappoint. Injustice 2 provides a strong, compelling continuation of the story from the first game while switching up the formula by adding a new loot system that not only works but creates a new dynamic. Customizing your favorite fighter and upgrading your gear through the Multiverse system kept this game on my hard drive long after I finished the story mode. Adding cool characters like Supergirl and Swamp Thing really gave this game some new life. Also, TMNT is coming so bonus points for DLC. (Note: That TMNT comment didn’t actually influence this game’s placement on my list, the game is great.)

4. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Switch): If you would have told me a Rabbids game exclusive to a Nintendo console would have made my top ten games last January, I would have smacked you and laughed in your face. As I’m sure most of you did, I rolled my eyes at the thought of mixing the Rabbits into the Mario Universe as the characters we loved growing up were now wielding laser guns. But somehow, in some way, it not only happened, but an amazing XCOM style game came out of it. The Rabbids were hitting on all the right cylinders without going over the top. Selfie-taking Rabbid Peach was endearing, Rabbid Mario was literally a tank on the battlefield, and Rabbid Luigi might have provided the best literal laugh out loud moments I had this year. Their was a lot of thought and care put into this version of the Mushroom Kingdom with jokes for adults and children alike. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is my second favorite Switch game this year.

3. Assassin’s Creed Origins (PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC): Another Ubisoft game has made my top five. As a series of so many hills and valleys, I was very skeptical going into Assassin’s Creed Origins. I knew that this team had created my favorite game in the series (Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag), but I was worried that the systems introduced to the series and other Ubisoft games would influence too much of this game. Fortunately the changes made greatly benefited the experience. Adding RPG influences, loot based weapon loadouts, and adding a great skill tree really allowed me to feel like I was playing the way I wanted to. Adding a compelling character in Bayek, a deep relationship with his wife, Aya, and a very simple yet compelling revenge story really influenced the rise of Assassin’s Creed Origins to the top of my top ten list.

(2). Horizon Zero Dawn (PlayStation 4): Guerrilla Games shocked the world when they went from a solid but mediocre first person shooter franchise in Killzone to one of the most fleshed out worlds and one of the best new characters this generation.  Though at first Horizon Zero Dawn was overshadowed by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the amazing Switch launch, PlayStation owners were treated to their own Game of the Year contending exclusive. Aloy leads an outstanding cast in a compelling world rising from the ashes of the old civilization, a mystery of how humanity survived the uprising of AI, and the whole draw to the game, badass robot dinosaur battles. 

What makes Horizon stand above the rest is Guerrilla’s attention to detail in their own lore, the history they’ve created, and giving even the most minute characters intriguing back stories. As I have said on many of our podcasts and YouTube videos, if Guerrilla can really nail down movement, make Aloy feel more agile, and make the bow play react a hair faster, the sequel will be a hard one to top.

(1): The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch/Wii U): Not only was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild my favorite game of 2017, it’s currently being debated as my favorite game of all time. Ten months after release, I am still going back to the dark, broken, wondrous world of Hyrule to finish up the side content, cook food, and tackle the DLC challenges of the Champions’ Ballad.  Nintendo was in a tough place with Zelda after Skyward Sword seemingly failed to please many fans (including me) by staying tried and true to the formula while having the played out motion controls, but they came out the other end and delivered a game the redefined a storied franchise and open world games to come. 

Breath of the Wild created an open world that was not only vast, but dense, interesting, dangerous, and diverse. The departure of traditional dungeons was also a large risk, but filling the world with some of the most amazing puzzles ever placed in a Zelda game quickly made me forget. Even the Divine Beasts were a spectacle, and though they weren’t the best dungeons, the ideas were smart, making me excited for how they take the feedback for future titles.

All in all, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild took my breath away multiple times. Every hill I climbed, every valley I trekked through, and every boss I encountered kept me engaged. Even after it was all over, I went back in collecting every outfit, korok seed, side quest, and shrine. This game is not only my game of the year, but the game of the generation, and as of this post, one of my favorite games of all time. Also Nintendo gets the last laugh as a Wii U game wins Game of the Year.

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favorite games of the year? Let me know in the comments!

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