My Favorite Ten Games of 2017

I'm willing to assume that there are likely several games made available in the year of 2017 that I would enjoy as much or more than some of the stuff on this list. Unfortunately various financial hardships kept me from buying a Switch, upgrading a PC, or even buying a new TV. The only thing I could do reliably in relation to this hobby was buy and rent games on a normal PS4 and yet I still had a great time with video games this year.

Honorable mentions:

The Nonary Games - It was the year that I finally had a way to play Virtues Last Reward and I was not disappointed. Easily my favorite visual novel series at the moment as these two games together in one package feels more than justified if it means more people get to experience it.

The Evil Within 2 - Since we probably won't see another Silent Hill game it's cool that Evil Within is around to pick up some of the slack for this style of horror. While it doesn't do anything revolutionary it is a solid entry of the genre that I was happy to have played.

Injustice 2 - I'm far from an expert when it comes to fighting games but I still like playing them quite a bit. I like that NetherRealm continues to make fighting games people can enjoy playing alone by including loads of single player content.

Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer - They bring back my favorite Diablo 2 class and put it into one of my favorite Blizzard games to date? Yes please. This continues to be the perfect podcast game for my needs.

Games I meant to play: Assassins Creed: Origins, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Prey, Cuphead(PC), Hollow Knight (PC)

List items

  • I've had a fickle relationship with the Yakuza series. I only played the first two games to the very end but never finished the final bosses. I liked them a lot, I just couldn't muster enough interest in the main plot to want to see the conclusion, plus I get distracted by a lot of side quests. Structurally this game isn't all that different from those early games and they themselves are throwbacks to a type of game as old as River City Ransom. There are several reasons why I loved this game so much, not the least of which include its top notch production values, excellent writing, and tons of goofy side content to engage with. The thing that makes Yakuza 0 my favorite game this year is two-fold. For one it so wonderfully encapsulates the anachronisms of the late 80's in ways that are both fascinating and hilarious. I might go so far as calling it my favorite game set in that time period. And secondly making Goro Majima a co-main character to me ranks as one of the best things Sega has ever made happen period. So while it may not be the most innovative design to come out this year it is without a doubt the game that brought me more joy than just about anything else. It is in my opinion one of the biggest triumphs of the beat-em-up genre to date.

  • +War of the Chosen. The first two entries of the XCOM reboot are undoubtedly two of my favorite games of the previous console generation. This was the year I played two full campaigns back to back, one before War of the Chosen and one after. I fell back in love with this series' penchant for brutal enemy encounters. War of the Chosen adds so much more flavor to the personal story of a given campaign by including some of the tensest boss fights I've ever played. There are still certainly big technical hiccups, particularly on a normal PS4. However I can't deny how much fun I had building a team of soldiers so powerful that they steam roll through just about any and all combinations of crazy aliens the game can throw at them. It's almost dangerous how much I would replay this game had I the time or the energy because it has quite literally become an all time favorite for me in the amount of time I've spent with it in 2017.

  • It's strange to think that I've always liked the Persona series. To see it go from a quaint little side-series spun off of the SMT games to one of the most hyped franchises of the genre is kind of crazy. I honestly don't play JRPGs anymore for many of the ways that all the Persona games including 5 could be seen as a bit tedious. The important thing is that I came to this game as a throwback to the genre and it hit everything it needed to for me. Between the amazing soundtrack, the slick visual style, and silly anime nonsense I had a blast with this game. There are even a few things that evoke that first Revelations: Persona game. The only disappointing thing is that perhaps the actual character interactions weren't as fun as in past games but I thought the cast was on par and in some ways better than others. That said it continues to be the main JRPG franchise that I always seem to enjoy keeping up with even after all these years. My biggest hope is that if they do another Persona game that it won't be constrained graphically for older hardware versions because they could still find ways to make this series look even better visually.

  • Genuinely thought I was done for good with this series having not played anything beyond RE5. Who could've guessed that there'd still be some life left in this horror franchise that refuses to die. Even having not played it in VR I was thoroughly creeped out and stupified by some of the crazy things that happen in this game. There are only a few different enemies and yet it does a lot with a little by maintaining an unnerving atmosphere every step of the way. Never delved into the DLC but it seems like there's quite a bit to keep you coming back to one of the coolest Capcom games to date as well as one of the best survival horror games I've ever played.

  • Pyre moved me with its very low key approach to story telling in yet another wonderfully bespoke game world from the minds at Supergiant. There aren't a lot of game studios period that can craft such beautiful yet haunting realities with this level of creativity. The art and music weave together a gorgeous tapestry of a story that dares to question the concepts of winning and losing in a way most games never even attempt. While playing the Rites might not appeal to everybody I personally found a fun flow to it by the end. I finished the game with a perfect win record, but playing it that way filled me with more a profound sense of ennui than actual satisfaction. I would go so far as to call this Supergiant's best game in terms of blending the game mechanics into the fiction and leaving an emotional impact by the time the credits roll.

  • For something that features animal people who can walk on power lines there is probably more humanity in this game than anything else I've played this year. I found myself relating to Mae Borowski on a personal level despite having some signifcant differences in our backgrounds. It's pretty easy to relate to the anxiety of an adult returning home from being abroad. A lot of things about the characterization in the writing really made me feel for these blue collar misfits, which totally should've been their band name. Quite a few games have featured existential dread as a primary theme yet this felt like the most down to Earth portrayal of it I've seen all year.

  • I'm cognizant enough to know that video game characters aren't real and are primarily just tools with which we get to experience our escapist tendencies as human beings. However this is one of the few things I've played that has me question the feelings of the game itself. I can't help but ponder if the playable characters would appreciate the notion of being locked in a cycle of playthroughs beholdened to the whims of us gamers who pilot them to our hearts content. It's hard to pinpoint a specific aspect in which Automata shines the most. It more feels like it's built up such a better sense of styyyyyle than a lot of fiction that deal with similar concepts that makes me automatically like it more despite the underwhelming combat design. Playing on easy while not challenging still allowed me to appreciate the best things about that game's overall presentation. This isn't the first piece of media I've seen to feature a world in which robots find meaning through inevitability, but it was probably one of the very best at conveying it.

  • As it turns out even a short form version of an Uncharted experience is still pretty fun to play through. Focusing on some of the more likeable supporting cast members of the mainline series works in this game's favor as it creates more of a hook for this franchise to continue as frivolous treasure hunter adventures as opposed to making it mostly about Nathan Drake. I'm not entirely sure how much more you could squeeze out of this property but I wouldn't mind a few more games structured similarly to this latest entry.

  • For something with a run time of around 2 hours there is a shocking amount of fanciful whimsy and soul-crushing tragedy crammed into this short but sweet narrative experience. I wouldn't say I shed tears but I was definitely choked up by the end. Giant Sparrow manages to craft an enviroment that simultaneously feels both real and surreal to explore. It does a remarkable job of telling this lovely story about staying strong and hopeful in the face of bad luck and superstition which I genuinely believe is worth calling out during these depressing times in which we live.

  • I almost feel obligated to include this game for its breathtaking visuals alone. The world design in general ended up being one of the best things about Horizon by leaning extra hard into the idea of a techno-post-apocalypse. If it was a bit more compelling to play beyond being a Far Cry 3 clone I'd have more to say about it but all in all it was a decent action game set in a fascinating and fantastical vision of the future.