1. Persona 5
The follow-up to a game I could never stop thinking about and never wanted to end. Nothing will replace the place in my heart for Persona 4, but from what I can tell, I'll need to carve out a spot next to it come April 4th.
Every aspect seems improved in some meaningful way; characters face more complex personal issues, combat has additional depth without sacrificing any of the elegance, dungeons have polished designs, and the soundtrack is much more mature and nuanced compared to the Hip Hop and J-Pop of the prior two entries.
Early reports are pretty ecstatic over the Japanese release, and while I don't think it'll necessarily be the "best" game of the year, it will unquestionably be the most substantial gaming experience of 2017 for me.
2. Freedom Planet 2
The original Freedom Planet was a criminally underrated, overlooked gem from 2014. FP2 looks to be the older, wiser, more practiced version of the bombastic original, and if Galaxy Trail can successfully bottle up the energy of FP1 into a tighter package, this is a GOTY contender.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It's simple formula looks primed to fix everything that's ever been wrong with the 3D Zelda series. I'm not the biggest fan of open-world games - I find the majority of their play-spaces to be devoid of personality and artistry - but if anyone can buck the trend, it's Nintendo. Like Jeff, I believe this is potentially the game-to-beat this year.
4. Super Mario Odyssey
The Super Mario Galaxy series is just about perfect in my book, so as far as I'm concerned, the studio that produced them can do no wrong until proven otherwise. Odyssey seems positively absurd and ambitious in the same ways, so there's a good chance I'll be absolutely blown away. Again.
5. Mass Effect: Andromeda
Naughty Dog might wear the crown when it comes to storytelling in video games, but BioWare is still the best when it comes to characters. Andromeda has a real shot at marrying their brilliant dialog with combat that's beyond serviceable, and that's precisely what I'm looking for in an action game at this point.
6. Red Dead Redemption 2
I wasn't in love with the original RDR, but I definitely dig the setting and potential gameplay that can be found in the digital western frontier. After the seminal Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar have my full attention. I just hope the online portion doesn't overshadow the campaign.
7. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
I am well past interested in any of Uncharted's gameplay offerings, but Uncharted 4 told a story engrossing enough to rekindle my interest in the series. Losing Neil Druckmann as the lead writer is off-putting, but I trust Naughty Dog when it comes to storytelling to the ends of the Earth. Hopefully with the retirement of Nathan Drake, ND takes the opportunity to rethink the gameplay formula around Chloe.
Windjammers is a riot, but a pain in the ass to setup on MAME. Moving it over to PS4 and adding online play is my every prayer answered.
9. Destiny 2
Destiny was more potential wasted than most games have collectively. With Destiny 2, I expect a veteran team at Bungie to learn from their mistakes and create the game everyone thought the original would be. Moreover, a PC port would make me doubly interested.
10. South Park: The Fractured But Whole
The Stick of Truth was a terrific game that didn't stick with me, mostly because I don't have an attachment to the world and characters of the TV show. That said, my favorite episodes involve the kids playing make-believe, so TFBW has an opportunity to be a great episode of South Park, made playable.