Best of Video Games 2017 (my top ten list)

Hey folks. 2017 kinda sucked huh? Games were pretty good though. I'm known for the Best Of stuff, so why not include favorite "moments" along with each entry? That's a fun gimmick, right?

Warning: Spoilers.

10. Resident Evil 7

RE4 was one of my favorite games ever, but it really derailed the entire series from it's roots and desperately needed a game like this to go Resident Evil properly back into the Survivor Horror genre. I really loved that the game subverted my expectations in many different ways, mainly being that I went in expecting a P.T./Amnesia/Outlast clone but what I got was a game that was true to the history of Resident Evil (also was a good reminder that a game can still be scary even if you have weapons to fight back with).

Favorite Moment: There's a lot to choose from, but the Garage fight with Daddy might be the most insane thing I've seen this year. The visual of Daddy clanging back and forth in this claustrophobic garage trying to run you over is something I'll never forget. Also, kudos to the developers for making that boss fight with several different paths to beating it.

9. Statik

Statik is a simple concept with incredible execution. Each puzzle is unique and fun to explore, and the visual feedback that the cubes give you for trying out new things to figure out the puzzle is satisfying. Also, kudos to the developer for actually working with the limitations of PSVR and developing a game that plays into the strengths of PSVR and hides its weaknesses. Everyone should give this game a shot if you've picked up PSVR.

Favorite Moment: Not exactly a moment everyone has, and it's more of just a dumb joke in my head... but Statik lets you interact with the game by assigning the L3 and R3 buttons to smiley/frowny faces on the LCD screen that's on every panel. Occasionally the game will ask you if you're enjoying the puzzle by giving a smiley face or a frowny face. At the end of every puzzle, the doctor injects you with sleeping gas and you pass out. Every time this happened, I vocalized my displeasure of this by hammering on the frowny face button and showing the LCD screen to the doctor in game. I found it hilarious every time because I'm an idiot, but it's just a good example of what levels of interaction VR can add to video games.

8. Cuphead

Boy, this game looks good. But what really shocked me was how much I enjoyed playing it. In the video Giant Bomb made with the makers of the game, they explained how the game really focused on nailing the mechanics first before they chose the art style, and you can really tell. Not only does it emulate great games of old really well (Gunstar Heroes), it also adds in a fairly satisfying parry system and upgradeable weapons to keep the gameplay fresh from beginning to end. Also, this game looks really good.

Favorite Moment: Djimmi The Great is probably my favorite boss fight in the game. The background is unique from the rest of the art style because it was a physical model that was shot frame by frame, which delights the film nerd in me. Djimmi animates great and is a fun character design, the highlight being him in a sarcophagus with an ENTIRE UNIVERSE inside of it throwing ghosts at you.

7. Tekken 7

Probably the most fun I've had with a fighting game since Street Fighter IV, Tekken 7 feels like a true return to form for the series. The new additions they made to the gameplay are incredibly smart and changes the dynamic of late-game Tekken matches for the better. The amount of customization is plentiful and goofy, and rewarded you for the grind of unlocking everything you want. Also, you can dress King up as Kazuchika Okada and do the Rainmaker in the game.

Favorite Moment: Kazuya throws Heihachi into a volcano. It's like poetry, it rhymes.

6. Polybius

This might be the fucking most audacious game I've ever played. First of all, Jeff Minter named a game Polybius, which is a ballsy thing to do in it's on right (more info on the story of Polybius here). Minter somehow is able to make a game that lives up to its name... Polybius is hypnotic in its sheer sense of speed mixed in with abstract power ups along the way. You don't exactly know what the hell is going on most of the time, but the visual and sound design does just enough to hint you the mechanics that are being introduced in each individual level. Going back to the audaciousness, there's straight up sounds and sprites from old Atari-era games that are just straight up stolen and used throughout in this game (which is an aesthetic that I super appreciate). This game in VR is a trip, and I highly recommend anybody who's willing to experience it to check it out.

Favorite Moment: The "Thank You" sound effects from level 10. Every time you shoot one of the bouncy enemies, you hear a "Thank You" in a different pitch. It's hilarious and I think about it a lot.

5. Persona 5

P5 brings a lot of smart changes from the previous game of the series to really improve the quality of life of playing through a 120 hour JRPG game. This game oozes styyyle and has an incredible soundtrack with many songs that stuck with me throughout the year. The story has its hits and misses, but ends with an amazing last chapter that's incredibly relevant to America in 2017. This whole game from top to bottom is flawless and in any other year would've been my favorite, but 2017 is a hell of a year and I'm just not that into JRPGs, so unfortunately it's at number 5 this year.


4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Finally, someone put a Breath of fresh air into open world games.

*cough cough*

With many years where the "Ubisoft formula" has become incredibly stale, I feel like I was done with open world games. None of them did anything for me, but this Zelda game has so many great ideas in it that really makes the simple act of exploring a huge land exhilarating. It's also an incredibly well designed game, even though theoretically you have the option to go anywhere, I'm guessing that 90% of the people that played it made kind of a counter clockwise journey around the map from the starting area. That shit isn't an accident. Also it's incredibly impressive just how many systems are in the game and how natural it is to come up with your own solution to any type of scenario.

Favorite Moment: Eventide Island plays off of the last sentence I wrote and strips all of your equipment off of you and forces you to play through an incredibly well designed challenge scenario from the ground up. It never feels like a grind and it pushed you to be a little creative in how you handle different enemies.

3. Destiny 2

I liked the Raid.

Favorite Moment: The ping from shooting the cup out of Calus' hand.

2. Yakuza 0

I fall into the same category of being on the bubble of always buying any of the Yakuza games. "They look so cool" I said, "They look right up my alley" I said. Years after years... excuses after excuses.

Yakuza 0's hype was more of the same... funny gifs on twitter... a chicken that becomes a real estate agent. Funny goofs that were dumb and made me finally want to check out what everyone is raving about.

What followed was my shocking surprise that Yakuza 0 told an amazingly dramatic story that was filled with extremely likable characters. There was twists and turns throughout the way that was expertly executed and kept me hooked. There was incredibly well choreographed fight scenes. The main characters and villains were badass, and the relationship between Tachibana and his sister led to a tragic conclusion that really hit me super hard.

The "Beat-em-up" genre is filled with games that have no right in being 5+ hours long, but the way Yakuza 0 was designed made me want to do a complete playthrough even though I had put over 50 hours into it. Each of the fighting styles are unique and rewarding once you have mastered them, and the game does an excellent job in peppering in different engaging minigames to help break up the gameplay loop of "go here, fight dudes".

I fucking can't wait to play more Yakuza now, which shows how much of a slam dunk this game was.

Favorite Moment: The introduction of Majima is just one of those cutscenes where you want to show every one of your friends that don't play video games to show them what they're missing out on. It's badass, over the top, and hilarious.

1. Super Mario Odyssey

The jump + hat throw + dive onto the hat bounce + additional hat throw + additional dive sounds so incredibly complicated, but after a bit of practice you was able to do it. Mario encourages you to utilize it's masterful controls and explore the levels in unconditional ways. I'm not using that sentence hypothetically, it actively encourages you to do that by hiding stacks of coins in extremely random areas as a way to tip its hat to anybody who dares to be unconventional. There's a sense of love to its players in every minute of playing through Mario that I don't think I've ever gotten in any other video game ever. It's really weird to explain it.

Each of the levels are great, the boss fights are pretty fun, the difficulty is there for those who look for it, Bowser's hair is incredible, the game does a good job of balancing nastalgia with newer elements, the hat throw gimmick is great and the developers do a good job in making specific mini-levels for a lot of the creatures you possess along the way, I got chills when I got to the moon in a way many games don't give me anymore...

I love this game.

Favorite Moment: POKIO MVP

I love this dumb bird. He has a very good, effective attack. The way he's used to climb walls is incredibly fun. The way he sticks his beak into random holes and somehow gets a moon out of it is hilarious to me. The boss fight where you have to Shadow of the Colossus your way up a mech bunny is great. The spin jump mechanic that the game doesn't tell you is a fun discovery and makes a great sound. The side-level where you have to hit bombs at a certain angle is fun, but the secret moon on that level where you have to hit a bomb around the outside half pipe around the level is the best side-level in the game. NINTENDO GIVE ME A POKIO GAME PLEASE.

And to finish this off, just wanna say a quick thank you for the Giant Bomb community for continuing to support me and the website. You guys haven't turned your back on me and called me out on being the hack fraud that I am, so I sincerely appreciate it. Have a great weekend and hopefully 2018 will be a bit better for all of us.