My Top Ten Games of 2017

This is my first year writing my top ten list on Giant Bomb. I wrote one last year but didn't share it online at all so this is gonna be fun! This has been a great year for video games, and I've played about 40 that came out this year. The fact that I was able to catch up on so much that came out this year only made it harder to pick my ten favorites, but I'll do my best to justify my choices. I'll start here with the honorable mentions of Pyre and Assassin's Creed: Origins. I loved both games but they barely missed making my top ten. Observer was also very good, but I felt it couldn't hang with the other games on the list.

The list will be backwards from #10 to #1, so the last game will be my pick for GOTY.

List items

  • 10. When this was announced at E3 I was totally disgusted. The idea of another studio doing a prequel to LiS sounded terrible, and there was also the fact that it's a scab game. The original voice actress who played Chloe was on strike and they got an unknown to fill the role. It turned out to be one of my favorite games of the year, and although the third episode isn't out at the time I'm making this list I am still comfortable putting it on here.

    I was moved by the troubles of Chloe, in large part because I was also a high school delinquent who almost didn't graduate. I had problems with drugs and apathy, and hated my parents. Chloe deals with similar issues, and they are portrayed in a way that feels honest and heartfelt. The relationship that Chloe develops with Rachel Amber is so touching, I started tearing up towards the end of the second episode. Masterfully done, and blew my expectations out of the water.

  • 9. Another story driven game, although this one falls into the category of a "walking simulator" which is a terrible phrase. You play as a young woman named Edith Finch, who is going back to her childhood home in order to piece together a family mystery. She narrates a lot of what happens through her diary, which has presumably been found by someone (who?). I don't want to spoil too much but this game plays with the first person exploration genre (is that a good name for it?) in ways that felt very unique and special. The game guides you through it's narrative in a linear fashion, but I never felt like I was on rails. A problem I had with Virginia last year was that it felt like I had no agency, but Edith Finch allows you to explore the environments in a more free-form fashion. It's just a really good story.

  • 8. The glorious return of Samus Aran, the bounty hunter of legend. It's been a long time since the last 2D Metroid, and Mercury Steam has done a great job at bringing the format into the modern era with 3D graphics and some cool new mechanics. The main additions are radial aiming and the melee counter system. Both of these felt like really fun ways to make combat in Metroid more engaging, and I enjoyed my time with the game immensely. It's one of the few Metroid games I've gotten 100% in, because it was so much fun I didn't want to put it down until I'd gotten everything.

    I'm still torn between whether I like this game or AM2R better, but AM2R was also on my top ten list last year and it feels so natural to give Samus another spot here. Let's hope Metroid Prime 4 can also breathe some new life into the formula.

  • 7. The other Nintendo game on my list. Nintendo has been killing it this year, but BOTW has too many flaws for me to list it in my top ten. Odyssey, however does a great job of taking what people love about Mario and giving them a ton of it. Cappy is great, the level design is top notch, and there is a lot of cool fan service in there that I appreciated. The only reason I don't list the game higher is that it feels like a roller coaster ride of a game. I got on, enjoyed my ride, and got off. It's a hell of a ride though.

  • 6. This is the game on this list that more people really need to play. I saw someone on twitter mention it and it was free so I gave it a go. What I expected was a high school drama about lesbians who play baseball, and it kind of is that. But it's also just a very human story that anyone can relate to, and it just happens to be told in the style of a Phoenix Wright game. Yes, you will recognize sounds effects and tropes from that series as you play through Butterfly Soup. It's all so seamlessly done that it doesn't feel like a cheap rip off, the story is completely different to PW so it works.

    The story was obviously based on real experiences, and I was moved to tears by the end. Highly recommended.

  • 5. BJ is back baby! The New Order is one of my favorite games in recent memory, and it's sequel did not disappoint. The story was excellent, and the voice acting continues to be stellar. The gameplay isn't as much a problem for me as it was for others, I found it to be a lot of fun trying to kill all the Nazis (though I bumped the difficulty down one notch after a million deaths).

    This series remains one of my favorite FPS series of all time. I love a good shooter campaign and Machine Games knows how to deliver.

  • 4. Full disclosure: I haven't finished this game yet, I'm about halfway through I think. But man, I am going to finish it because it is damn good! The art style blows me away every time I look at it, why are people talking so much about Cuphead when this game exists!? It's gorgeous and breathtaking, the way it moves is something to behold. But it also plays like a really good Metroidvania, which is one of my favorite genres. There's also a healthy dose of Dark Souls thrown in, and that's my favorite series right now so this game is tailor made for me. By the time I finish I might regret not putting it higher, to be honest.

    I just love the little guy.

    [Update]: Finished the game with 90% completion. Loved it from start to finish! This is essential for fans of Souls/Metroidvania style games. I'll be thinking about it for years to come and will double dip when it comes out on Switch.

  • Who would've thought this game would actually be good? When Capcom first revealed that RE7 would be a single player only FPS, I was kinda bummed. I'm one of the people that really liked RE5 and RE6 for the co-op aspect, because I played them with my sister and it helped us bond. They were guilty pleasures and fun for the sake of fun. RE7 is actually just a really good video game though. They take all the trapping of classic RE: haunted mansion/house, dis-empowerment, even a save system with physical media, and brings it all into the format of a first person game. This game FEELS like Resident Evil from top to bottom, I never felt like it was a reboot (even though it kind of is).

    Sure, the ending is a bit much. But that's not enough for me to put this any lower than number 3.

  • 2. Like many on this site, I have a lot of love for Persona 4 (3 also, despite not finishing it yet). I went in expecting something about on the same level as P4, and was only slightly disappointed. It's still a phenomenal game, but the writing and characters are slightly less impactful this time. They improved the combat and the dungeons in every possible way, though. The gameplay is actually really good, and I had fun fusing my personas into badass monsters. I got the confidant bonus to fuse a persona higher than my player level, made a level 80 something Black Frost, and went to town. This game is excellent.

  • 1. This game is a very "love it" or "hate it" kind of deal. I played the first Nier last year when this one was announced and loved it. Fishing aside, the story was touching and really well done. It reminded me of playing a Metal Gear game but without a lot of the trappings of that series. It felt special. This game feels like the natural evolution of what the first one was trying to do (but failed because of flawed gameplay). With Platinum at the helm, the game plays extremely well. I had a lot of fun with the combat and the chip upgrade system, and thought it managed to feel like an RPG despite the action oriented combat.

    The story is the story, and you either love it or you don't. I will say it didn't have the same impact as the first game did for me, but it managed to explore some of the same ideas from a different angle. It's a huge accomplishment and I'm glad it's caught on so Yoko Taro can keep making games (I heard he was thinking of quitting before being offered this project). This game has had the most impact on me this year, and it challenges you to think about why you play games in the first place.

    Every part of it comes together to make something larger than the sum of its parts, which is why it's my game of the year.