DarthOrange's Top 10 Games of 2017

This has been quite an amazing year for games. I have been pretty down on games these last few years but this year I was completely sucked back in. Video games were pretty damn great in 2017, the best year since 2013 in my opinion. I played 41 games this year that actually released in 2017, and that does not include the numerous other games I played this year that were released in previous years. If you would like to see the full list of games I played this year and my thoughts on them you can find that here. You can also find my previous GOTY blog posts at the following links: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

I work and go to graduate school full time and so free time is a real luxury for me. Because of this, I have come to really appreciate shorter games as well as games that don't require a large time investment to learn how to play. Those games that I could easily finish in one sitting or come back to after a month and easily pick up where I left off were the ones I ended up valuing the most. My top five games were incredibly difficult to rank because they were so different in what they excelled at. It should be noted that I feel those top five games are all on the same level in terms of quality.

Anyway, here are my top ten games of 2017.

Note: At the end of my brief write up for each game I state which system I played the game on and provide a link to the games trailer so that you can easily get more info if you would like it.

10. Golf Story

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I got it on a whim because I was hearing good things. I've never liked golf (neither in video game form nor in real life) but this game was pretty great. The actual act of playing golf itself is serviceable (not my cup of tea) but it is inoffensive enough to keep me going. What puts this game on my list are the phenomenal story and characters that completely carry this game. The writing is hilarious and the characters are all fleshed out and have a surprising amount of depth for such a goofy game.

I played through this game on the Nintendo Switch. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

9. Universal Paperclips

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A clicker about making paperclips. It is a simple premise that gets really really dumb in the best possible way. You are never doing the same thing for too long and the game was able to hold my attention through to the end due to how absurd the tasks kept getting. I first checked out this game at work when I had some down time and I ended up spending an unreasonable amount of that workday making paperclips. I then left work and used what I learned to play through the game in a more efficient manner at home. Introducing it to other coworkers and getting them hooked on it was also good fun.

I played through this game on both Chome and Safari. The game does not have a trailer but it is completely free to play and can be played here: http://www.decisionproblem.com/paperclips/.

8. Midnight Scenes: The Highway

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This point and click adventure is the video game equivalent of a horror short story. It sets up its premise, makes you feel tense and scared as it tells its story, and then it is over. Short, sweet and to the point. It does what it sets out to do perfectly and there isn't really anything bad to say about it. It takes less than half an hour to download and play through so it isn't too much of an investment to check out.

I played through this game on Mac. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube. The game can be download for free on the following site: https://pixelshuh.itch.io/midnight-scenes-the-highway.

7. Old Man's Journey

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A dialogue and text free point and click puzzle game that tells an engaging story using only its beautiful art and music. The puzzles are all simple and the game itself only takes about 90 minutes to beat so it is over before it overstays its welcome. It is a complete experience that I was able to have in about the same amount of time I could have spent watching a movie which I very much appreciated.

I played through this game on Mac. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

6. A Normal Lost Phone

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A game about snooping through a phone you find. The narrative is a great coming of age story and the puzzles and detective work required to unlock the different parts of the phone are all fun. The game takes some interesting directions with its gameplay as it goes on and turns the player into a real piece of shit for the steps you are required to take in order to find out more information about this individual. But in a game about invading someones privacy and snooping through their shit I am glad the game goes all the way and really has you do some messed up stuff. This direction gives A Normal Lost Phone an added layer to reflect on besides the content of the story when you finish the game.

I played through this game on Mac. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

5. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

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I bought this game because it was made by Ninja Theory and came in expecting a character action game with awesome combat. What I got instead was a puzzle/adventure game with about a dozen or so combat scenarios (which are obviously top notch). Not at all what I was expecting but the game has such an engaging story that I did not mind it. It is a narrative driven psychological horror game that takes you through Norse mythology and does some incredible things with binaural audio to create an experience unlike anything else out there. I also need to give Ninja Theory huge kudos for including a documentary featurette that goes over the making of the game. It is super well done and a great way to help you process the experience after finishing the game.

I played through this game on the PlayStation 4. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

4. What Remains of Edith Finch

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More of a story than a game, but damn if it isn't a really great story. Exploring the Finch house and messing around with the different interactive sections was a lot of fun and I found myself completely captivated by the narrative and its presentation. The game is a series of short stories told from the perspective of a different narrator and there is not a single one I did not enjoy. Everything from the way that the narration pops up on screen to the lightly interactive sections make this feel like a pop up book for grown-ups. Like many of the other games on this list, it also ends before it overstays its welcome.

I played through this game on the PlayStation 4. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

3. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

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This is a game that has no business existing, let alone being as amazing as it is. The Rabbid characters are all super charming and mesh surprising well with the Mushroom Kingdom. It feels like a Nintendo game and despite a lot of absurdity nothing sticks out or seems like it doesn't belong. The game has a real Borderlands vibe (complete with its own Claptrap stand in) and the turn based gameplay provides variety when tackling missions. The characters are all unique and the challenge levels provide a solid level of difficulty beyond what is found in the story mode. Top to bottom, everything about this game just works and feels right.

I played through this game on the Nintendo Switch. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

2. The Sexy Brutale

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As the name suggests, The Sexy Brutale is indeed a brutal tale that is quite sexy. An amazing premise (Clue meets Groundhog Day) and a catchy title were enough to get me to buy this game, but the incredible aesthetic and soundtrack solidified it's place on this list. It is easily the best soundtrack of the year that I found myself listening to time and time again. Every track, from One Look to Carousel Macabre, evoke a feeling and set a tone. This soundtrack, combined with the the art style and story, made me get completely lost and immersed in the world. I normally ignore the bits of lore collected in games that you need to read but this game was so damn interesting I read every last note and enjoyed every minute of it. This is an incredibly unique and beautiful game.

I played through this game on the PlayStation 4. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

1. ARMS

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The simplicity of the gameplay made me completely fall in love with this fighting game. It is a game with two punch buttons, a jump button, an evade mode, and a block button. I have been able to come back to ARMS again and again without having to worry about memorizing combo inputs. Those simple controls ensured that I never lost because I fumbled the execution and did a regular kick instead of the spinning bird kick I meant to. The party mode offered enough variety to keep me coming back again and again, even if only for short bursts, and the free DLC updates that came throughout the year were all amazing. The new characters all feel right at home with the original cast as do the new ARMS. The events that were added post-launch also gave me reason to come back and experiment with new ARMS combinations. This game oozes style and the character and stage designs are all top notch. The soundtrack is also great with a leitmotif that is catchy as hell. All this was enough for ARMS to just barely squeak out ahead of the other incredible games I played this year.

I played through this game on the Nintendo Switch. Click here to see the trailer on YouTube.

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