2017 -- GOTY

My latest picks for favorite games of the year, this time for 2017. My criteria is primarily which games I remember enjoying the best, of the ones I played during the year.

2017’s honorable mentions are Tokyo Dark and We Were Here.

Some of my favorite games from previous years include:

  • World of Warcraft: Legion
  • Cook, Serve Delicious!
  • Crypt of the NecroDancer
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Orcs Must Die! Unchained

List items

  • Well-rounded and a lot of fun. Horizon has a cool story to follow with a lot of detail in its unique setting, from the various cultures to the NPC designs. I also enjoyed using a combination of a bow, traps and a little stealth to "hunt". Horizon has a lot of content, but I thought it was about the right amount for an open-world game.

  • One of my best surprises this year. Pyre has an excellent, positive story, which is masterfully built step-by-step with a varied and colorful cast of characters. Supergiant also infused Pyre with their trademark style and high-quality audiovisuals. If Pyre had a little more gameplay depth, it might be a contender for my top game this year.

  • A great game, but with enough sour moments to weigh down the overall experience. It's beautiful, with creative gameplay and a quiet, open Hyrule. It's also really long, with fiddly controls and a too-often frustrating lack of direction.

  • Collectibles everywhere, with classically fun exploration and free-roaming. New themes but with a lot of awesome throwbacks. Mario Odyssey has a lot of great ideas and mechanics although, overall, it tries too much.

  • A thorough execution of the classic "Metroidvania" genre. Hollow Knight has solid action and exploration. Its explorable world is incredibly large which, in my opinion, emphasizes the exploration elements of the genre (such as back-tracking) a little too much.

  • Another modern Fire Emblem, which is still solid if a little familiar by now. The storytelling in Echoes is, surprisingly, one of the best in the franchise. The Gaiden-inspired gameplay is also somewhat unique, although the dated mission designs hurt the strategy layer overall.

  • I'm not sure how close it lands to Planescape: Torment (probably to some degree), but I enjoyed the setting, much of the writing and the novel gameplay model.

  • A good time, although its vision didn't always align with its execution. For some of its cool, unique mechanics like the GLOO gun, psychoscope and low-gravity areas, it had bland or outright frustrating design like hacking, combat talents and overall pacing.

  • A fresh mix of genres. Everspace doesn't nail everything perfectly (the permanent upgrades are particularly grindy), but it's new and fun with especially great graphics.

  • A fun beat-em-up to play co-op (online). It's goofy and sometimes annoyingly flawed... sort of like the original River City Ransom.