2017 has been a tremendous year for video games. Right from the get-go with the PS4’s slew of major releases, through to the Nintendo Switch’s launch and then another wave of excellent releases in the Fall, this year has been jam-packed with greatness. As such, it’s been difficult to narrow down our best games of 2017.
The GameRevolution staff put our heads together and agonized over this list, and throughout this week we’ve been running through our favorite games released on each platform. But this the big one — our Game of the Year 2017. So what topped our list in such an incredible year for video games? Read on to find out.
10. Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil had been languishing in the doldrums for years, before Capcom decided to return to what made the series famous — its survival horror — albeit with a new, first-person twist in the form of Resident Evil 7.
Resident 7 was everything fans wanted out of a sequel and more, providing a creepy and inexplicably huge house to explore complete with puzzle-solving and intense combat. Gone were the zombies, this time replaced by the altogether more terrifying Baker family, while Capcom stripped back the unnecessarily convoluted Resi plot in order to provide a much more compelling story revolving around the disappearance of new protagonist Ethan Winters’ wife, Mia.
A breath of fresh air for horror game fans, Resident Evil 7 borrowed from the likes of Amnesia and Outlast while still retaining its own identity, finally setting the Resident Evil series back on track. Oh, and it’s also a must-have for PlayStation VR owners, with the entire game fully playable (and absolutely horrifying) in virtual reality.
9. Destiny 2
Post-launch controversies aside, Destiny 2 was a great follow-up to Bungie’s persistent world, sci-fi shooter, rectifying many of the mistakes the developer had made with the first game while tightening up its fundamentals.
Unfortunately, Destiny 2 has become more known for the things it didn’t do rather than the stuff it did do, and while Bungie have certainly made more than a few missteps with the FPS since its launch, it’s still an addictive blend of co-operative and competitive multiplayer action for those willing to accept that there isn’t 100+ hours of content tucked away in its endgame. Destiny 2 is at its best when it’s setting a Fireteam up against a seemingly insurmountable challenge in the name of obtaining sweet Exotic loot, and for those who loved the first game despite its flaws, Destiny 2 provides a far more polished and exciting experience.
8. Yakuza 0
Yakuza 0 made its way to the West after two long years, with this prequel to Sega’s off-the-wall action series allowing a brand new audience to drop into dual protagonists Kiryu and Majima’s story of crime, revenge and karaoke (so much karaoke) and finally learn what all the fuss is about.
Yakuza 0’s sprawling Tokyo setting provides a wealth of things to do aside from the main story’s various twists and turns, with the game encouraging you to lose hours in just exploring what there is to do in its neon lit city. Fancy a round of baseball? You’ll spend an hour there trying (and failing) to beat the high score. Trip to the arcades? Enjoy playing OutRun until 2am. Yakuza 0 separates itself from the pack by way of providing an open-world that’s packed with activities, wrapped around a story that is in equal measures absorbing and bizarrely hilarious.
7. NieR: Automata
Major game developers are often unwilling to take risks with their games out of fear that these decisions will fail to find a widespread audience, though that’s never been the case for Platinum Games. They once again proved this to be true with NieR: Automata, an action RPG that throws so many ideas at the wall and watches on as the vast majority of them stick.
NieR: Automata‘s tale of the android 2B’s journey to Earth to reclaim it for humanity leaves players constantly second-guessing their handle on the story, with it switching perspectives and adding new twists to emphasize the pointlessness and hopelessness of the “machine war” that caused humans to lose Earth in the first place. Couple this with varied action that sees playing hack ‘n’ slashing the one minute then 2D platforming the next, and NieR: Automata was one of the most interesting and unique releases of the year.
6. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was the biggest sleeper hit of the year, with the last-man standing Battle Royale game drawing in a huge online audience and becoming a global phenomenon in the process.
PUBG didn’t invent the Battle Royale genre, but it has certainly defined it. Despite its simple concept — stay in the safety circle, shoot anyone you see (unless they’re on your team) — PUBG is deceptively complex, requiring players to be precise, composed and patient if they wish to succeed in its fight to the death. For the casual player, traversing its open terrain or crouching in a house hoping no one sees you can be nail-bitingly intense, while skilled competitors will revel in the ability to effectively become a Rambo-esque one-man army.
Few games had as much of an impact upon 2017 as PUBG, and while there were better games released, this will likely go down as the year in which gamers were obsessed with watching Twitch streamers crouching behind windows for 15 minutes trying to aim up that perfect sniper shot.
5. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
What a year the Nintendo Switch had. While the company’s own games were the stars of the console’s terrific launch year, there were also a handful of excellent first- and third-party releases, too. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was the best of the bunch, with the massive JRPG providing a sprawling world to explore that provides hours upon hours of things to do and places to see.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 blends modern game design with old-school JRPG mechanics, offering something for both veteran fans of the genre and newcomers in its challenging combat and varied boss battles. After wrapping up this titanic game you’ll feel like been on a true globe-trotting adventure, and it’s a testament to the strength of 2017’s releases that its not this year’s best RPG.
4. Divinity: Original Sin 2
For Dungeons & Dragons fans, it’s always been surprising that a video game hasn’t managed to accurately adapt the tabletop classic. All the pieces are there to create a classic — the freedom in player choice, the action, the sense of adventure — but developers have never really hit the nail on the head when it comes to creating a proper D&D RPG. Divinity: Original Sin 2 rights this criminal wrong.
The original Divinity was excellent, though Larian Studios upped the ante considerably for its sequel. With a thrilling narrative that encourages players to go out and create their own stories within it, you can utterly lose yourself exploring Original Sin 2’s various intricacies, with it rewarding those who venture off the beaten path with a seemingly endless treasure trove of surprises. Couple this with a dedicated D&D mode in which one player can assume the role of Dungeon Master, creating their own campaigns from scratch or downloading one of the game’s various community creations, and this is a cRPG with a staggering amount of replayability.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is arguably the best Zelda game ever made. Though ultimately simple in design — you traverse an open-world, solve puzzles in near identical shrines, and then go take on Calamity Ganon — it’s the minutiae of Breath of the Wild that makes it a classic.
You can, theoretically, beat the game within a couple of hours if you play around with its mechanics enough; the only thing preventing you from doing so is your own skill level and understanding of the game. Unlike most other games, which force you through a story that will see you face certain challenges at certain times, Breath of the Wild presents everything to the player immediately, and then leaves it up to you to decide how you’re going to approach it. It’s incredibly intelligent, and videos that emerged within just a few days of its release showcased the various weird and wonderful things players were doing with it.
The Switch has been a shot in the arm for Nintendo, with the first year of the console’s launch seeing them reaching a creative peak. Breath of the Wild is the apex of this creativity, and while it may often not be a very enjoyable game (the reason for its third place position in this list), it never stops being impressive. We’ll be talking about this game for years to come.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
Like Breath of the Wild was perhaps the best Zelda game ever made, there is an incredibly strong argument for Super Mario Odyssey being the best Mario game ever made, too.
Super Mario Odyssey is a joyous ode to Nintendo’s past, while also marching the series into the future. This game is a masterpiece, providing an endless streak of creative ways in which to manoeuvre through its levels, whether it be taking control of an enemy using Mario’s Cappy ability or combining the titular hero’s wall jumps, dives and running leaps to reach previously inaccessible platforms. Nintendo constantly rewards the player for indulging their curiosity, and even now new secrets about the game are still being unearthed.
Super Mario Odyssey delivers everything you could want from a 3D Mario game, from the intimidating number of Power Moons players are tasked with collecting in a variety of unique ways, to the charming throwbacks to older entries in the series and the tremendous amount of fan service packed away in its story. In any other year, this would have been sprinted beyond its competition… but 2017 wasn’t any other year.
GameRevolution’s Game of the Year 2017: Persona 5
Yes, in a year that looked set to be dominated by Nintendo, Atlus’s PS4 exclusive Persona 5 bested its competition by an inch. The best Persona game to date, there is so much to do in Persona 5 that it verges on breathtaking, with players effectively able to balance school life, extra-curricular activities, socializing and then venturing through its Bizarro World dungeons to do battle with its excellent turn-based combat system.
Persona 5 is in contention for the best JRPG to date, with it providing players with the opportunity to fully immerse themselves within its world, and despite it potentially running over the 100 hour mark you still routinely feel like you can’t pack enough action into one of its days, with there being so much to explore within its world that you’ll want to make the most of the time you’ve spent within it.
Persona 5 is a game which you could talk about exhaustively, and still fail to cover everything it does so well. The memorable cast of characters, the effortless presentation, that toe-tapping jazz soundtrack, the Thieves Guild connecting you to other players online — there are so many ideas at play here, and the vast majority of them work tremendously well. In a year of ingenuity, Persona 5 still stood out from the pack, making it our Game of the Year 2017.