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Top 7 Games of 2017

My favourite games from Twenty-One Savage.

List items

  • I'm not sure I can remember having anything less than a great time with Super Mario Odyssey. It is exceptional, a masterfully designed game that offers a bottomlessly creative take on Mario's anything-goes approach. Taking over different creatures and objects is a fun move to perform that is also a great visual metaphor for how you're shifting between dozens of distinct platforming setups without it ever feeling sporadic or unnatural. There was the odd moon I didn't care for getting, sure. Weighing that against what's probably the best-looking, best-playing, most creative platformer around? No big deal.

  • Pyre is truly original, lovingly crafted and my favourite Supergiant game. I was hooked making my way through each new wrinkle in the journey and taking in all the particulars of its striking landscape, the Downside. Getting to know your team was wonderful, and having to let them go never lost impact. A nod to Greg Kasavin's script, which balances a large air of mystery with a seemingly endless supply of intricate world and character detail. That's to say nothing of the complex fantasy sport you play, the incredible artwork and character designs, or the brilliant music.

  • Breath of the Wild is a reconsideration of how an open game should be built. Different from every Zelda game before it, it feels essentially like its namesake but adds an almost immersive sim functionality to its massive world. Giving you all of your key abilities from the start, letting you loose to experiment in its massive sandbox, and completely avoiding map clutter along the way. As someone who has grown pretty tired of the same-old open world design in the past few years, Breath of the Wild made the design adventurous and fresh again.

  • I wish the cast of Night in the Woods were my pals. My cute, sassy, fucked up pals. This pointed but heartfelt look at how awful your 20s are deals with everything from drunk dads to fucking up the mall of your adolescence to small town slam poetry, all set against the backdrop of a severed arm and a bold, cute art style. My wife and I were hooked until the very end.

  • It feels a little weird including a remaster of something eleven years old, but it would be disingenuous to say that Zodiac Age wasn't some of the most fun I've had with a game this year. This remaster and its revamped character building improves the best part of one of the best Final Fantasy games: it lets you dive down into the minutia of your gear and party's behaviour more than ever before. Tinkering my way to an ideal setup while soaking in some political intrigue and beautiful landscapes was a blast, and it all felt surprisingly current in 2017.

  • Yakuza 0's often riveting and largely serious story sequences smash right up against brawls where you can breakdance fight street thugs before pummelling them with a bicycle. Maybe you'll help a prostitute regain her confidence, or get some batteries for a man dealing with the limitations of a 1980s cell phone. It whips between the sacred and the profane with a ferocity that, on paper, shouldn't work. It does. Yakuza 0 is an absurd and intriguing ride, and you should absolutely play it.

  • Lots of games have explored the "walking sim" design since Gone Home popularized it. What Remains of Edith Finch is the best one since then. Learning about your family history by sifting through somebody's dream or viewing a scene through a baby's perspective felt so novel, and many of the emotional moments in this video game short story collection landed. This would be great in VR.