Greg Miller's face has been on the gaming internet for quite some time now, and you can primarily see him over on Kinda Funny these days. He likes buffalo wings, hot dogs, the Vita, and his dog Portillo.
What’s up, everybody? I’m Greg Miller, and I’m back for another Giant Bomb Top 10 List. “Yay!” or “Sorry!” depending on how you feel about me.
Man, 2017 can go to hell, eh? There were way too many amazing games. Usually, this list is easy to build, but I left so many great things on the cutting room floor. Shout outs to Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (still need to finish it), Persona 5 (I put in 25 hours and loved it, but I can’t motivate myself to do the next 65 hours), and South Park: The Fractured But Whole (It’s good but not as good as these games).
As a reminder, these are my favorite games and not the best games of the year. Confused? I think “best game” means I put on the ol’ reviewer hat and try to be objective as possible. “Favorite game” means you can kiss my ass; these games defined 2017 for me.
10. Resident Evil 7
I should be a Resident Evil fanboy. Zombie movies are my favorite horror genre and I bought the original PlayStation for cinematic experiences, but the franchise never clicked for me--until Resident Evil 7. Ditching the Umbrella Corp, focusing the story on a weird ass family, and giving us a game that VR made scarier? All brilliant decisions. When I slid on the PlayStation VR and walked into the Baker family home, I was enraptured. I remember removing the headset after hours of play and finding myself in my own pitch dark home--the sun had set while I was playing, and I had no idea. The bosses felt conquerable, the house felt terrifying, and the puzzles were a blast to solve. Plus, who doesn’t love a good scare?
Yeah, that’s right, Patapon originally came out in 2008. Correct, this remaster didn’t change much beyond adding 4K visuals. Um, yeah, I did hear that the audio sync was a problem for some people with their fancy TVs and/or speaker systems. Here’s the thing: I love Patapon. I’ve been asking for a Patapon with PlayStation Trophies since Eric Lempel first showed me PlayStation Trophies in 2008 and asking for another Patapon since I reviewed Patapon 3 in 2011. This is more Patapon with Trophies. I was the first person to Platinum it. The return of my tribe? It was like being reunited with family. And even if you’re not a PSP nut like me, Patapon’s great and weird and worth your time. Who wouldn’t want to control a tribe of one-eyed creatures via drum beats?!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best Mario Kart for racing. (I don’t do that Battle Mode stuff.) Sure, you could make the same argument for Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, but no one played Wii U, so I won’t. Instead, as a Mario Kart crazy person, I’ll tell you about how beautiful this game is, how smooth the gameplay is, and how the fun is amplified simply by having it on the Switch. Long flight by myself? Switch in tablet mode and I’m using a Pro Controller. Flight with the wife? Switch in tablet mode, she’s using joycons, and I’m using a Pro Controller. At a Kinda Funny meet and greet and someone’s talking trash? Either it’s head to head and we’re splitting joycons or (most likely) everyone there breaks out their own Switch and we go at it. Mario Kart is an amazing game on it’s own, but the times I’ve bested buds at the bar or waiting in line at PAX--that’s the stuff that makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe from being a great game to being one of the best gaming experiences of the year.
Life Is Strange: Before the Storm has no business being as good as it is. The original (amazing) voice cast isn’t back, the gameplay doesn’t feature any supernatural abilities like the first game, and I never asked for a Chloe prequel. But here I am telling you it’s a 2017 must play. Why? Well, because the story is great and the gameplay is unexpected. You see how Chloe becomes the woman she is in the first game, why she says “hella,” and how messed up she is over the death of her dad. Playing tabletop Dungeons and Dragons, breaking down in the junkyard when she sees “that van,” and trying to memorize Tempest lines? These aren’t just wonderful moments in Before the Storm, they’re some of the most poignant moments in gaming in 2017.
True story: I almost cried after I played the first 20 minutes or so of Everybody’s Golf. Why? Because it was everything I’ve ever wanted out of one of my favorite video game series. After graduating Mizzou, I treated myself to a PSP, Lumines, and Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee. I loved both games, but Hot Shots hung around the longest--I had better scores to post and more customization items to unlock. I’ve played all the Hot Shots games since then, and they always left me wanting. I wanted to build a character from the ground up, I wanted stellar visuals, and I wanted a reason to come back day after day. Everybody’s Golf accomplishes all that. In the first minutes, I had an avatar that looked like me, I was online playing friends, and I was competing in daily challenges. Since then, Clap Hanz has added new courses, seasonal items, and kept me playing. The game can be a stress reliever as I just get in a few holes before bed or an edge of my seat match as I try to take down a new versus opponent. It’s what I’ve always wanted.
5. Destiny 2
The original Destiny didn’t grab me. I made it to the end game content at launch, saw that I was looking at another gear grind like DC Universe Online, and I bounced. So when I popped Destiny 2 in to try it out, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Today, I have the Platinum Trophy and am ready to run the raid if any of you want to set up a time. I know the hardcore Destiny folk have been upset with how obtainable everything is in Destiny 2, but for me, that’s perfect. I like that I was able to max out my power level before Osiris and not feel like I had neglected my life. The gunplay is smooth, the environments are colorful, and the score is amazing. I’m not someone you’re going to find running the Crucible over and over again, but I am someone who has learned why failing at the raid for five hours straight is fun and the satisfaction of having an amazing looking gear set. Destiny 2’s been some of the most fun I’ve had in 2017, and I’m excited to put more time into it in 2018.
I’ve done about 400 hours of podcasts telling you that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is incredible. The thrill of the unknown, the exhilarating combat, and the challenge of the Divine Beasts? It’s a one of a kind game. But you know that. Everyone knows that. If you don’t know it by now, there’s nothing I can say to you that will change your mind. <3
FUCK ME; I’M A PIECE OF SHIT, RIGHT?! I know, I know--No. 3 for the broken, janky Friday the 13th? This is a great time to remind you that these are my FAVORITE games and not the BEST games, but yeah, Friday the fucking 13th. Listen, I’m not the multiplayer guy. I’m not the “games as a service guy.” Friday the 13th hooked me so hard that I was setting up Friday the 13th dates, using voice chat, rolling for perks, buying DLC, canceling plans on Double XP weekends--you name it, I was on it. There’s just something so special about this glitchy game. The thrill of the perfect warp as Jason, the smug satisfaction of using a pocket knife on your assailant and walking to the police, and the cunning wit I use to outsmart attackers. Each and every Friday the 13th match (that doesn’t crash and rob me of all progress) provides me with some “oh my God, that was so much fun” moment. Yeah, Zelda’s a better game hands down, but next year I’m still going to be playing Friday the 13th and have more noteworthy memories of it.
Honestly, I didn’t know if Guerrilla had it in them. When it was announced that the developer wasn’t doing another Killzone, I was like “Oh, great!” When it was announced that the developer was doing an open world action RPG, I was like “Oh…” But before I was even out of that opening bunker as Aloy, I knew this was something special. Meeting new machines, methodically taking them down, and then harvesting their parts? Fun. Stumbling into a hole, discovering an Iron Man-like suit, and setting off to acquire it? Great. Being hooked by the main story, desperate to find the side story breadcrumbs, and never wanting the game to end? Something I’ll never forget. Horizon is an astounding game, and in just about any other year, it’d be my game of the year by a long shot.
Here’s what I’ve been saying: Mario, Zelda, Horizon, PUBG, and Persona? I could make an argument for any of them to be Game of the Year. Mario, Zelda, and Horizon? I think you could make an argument that they’re all 10s. But what makes Super Mario Odyssey my Game of the Year is this: I never wasn’t having fun in it. Zelda? I remember being perplexed from time to time about where to go and dropping a weapon when I meant to swing it. Horizon? I remember a lull in action as I crisscrossed the map here and there. Sure, they’re small gripes, but I don’t have any for Super Mario Odyssey. I have a big ol’ dumb smile plastered on my face whether I’m just clothes shopping or whether I’m trying to get a moon in a tough 2D level for the umpteenth time in 45 minutes. The game’s pure joy, and I find myself getting excited for trips just so I have the excuse to play it again on my flight.