I apologize for this article being so late, but the scheduling feature of WordPress does not work very well. I set it to publish close to a year ago now, but it just didn’t. Sorry to my two loyal fans, but you have the article now!
2017 was a wonderful year for gaming. I haven’t seen a year this good in my life. Not only did we get good games, but we got a new console from Nintendo, more VR opportunities, and more games to look forward to in 2018. However, the best thing about this year were the games. So many good games have came out this year, and I’m sure my list would be different had I time to play more. However, the ones I did play, left me astonished, and left me wanting more. I apologize to my readers for being rather late on this article, but I’m sure you can forgive me. This is my top ten games of 2017
#5 Yakuza Kiwami
Yakuza Kiwami was an unexpected game for me. I had an interest in the series from watching videos of Yakuza 0 (another Yakuza game that came out this year that I sadly did not have time to play), but I wasn’t expecting to love this game so much. A trend you’ll notice with most games on this list will be that they all grab me. Each and every one of these games commanded my attention and pulled me in, in their own special way. What made Yakuza Kiwami so fun to me is not something that would be new to series veterans. However, as a newcomer to the series, I found it to be captivating. The combat in this game is superb. For those unfamiliar, in the Yakuza series you roam around a small, fictional, district of Tokyo called Kamurocho, which is based of real places in Japan. Something feels so nice about roaming the streets, getting seen by thugs trying to rob you or shake you down, and subsequently beating them senseless. The game boasts an interesting plot as well. Combining the absurdity, and deadly seriousness of Japanese Yakuza films, the game manages to make you laugh, freak out, and feel for the characters. I can see how the game is… not for everyone, though. It could be hard for a person not as familiar with Japanese culture to really get into the world and story of the game. However, a good amount of games are niche titles, so that doesn’t stop me from putting Yakuza Kiwami on my list.
#4 Sonic Mania
I have never played a 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game before. I have no relationship with those classic Sonic games. I had no idea I could feel nostalgic for a game I’ve never played, but somehow, Sonic Mania does it. Sonic the Hedgehog has had a rough career. After quite a few flops in recent years, a lot of people feel, myself included, that SEGA doesn’t really know what they’re doing with their most popular series. Sonic Mania proves that to me. Mania was developed by an independent team led by Sonic fan and ROM hacker, Christian Whitehead. This a Sonic game, by the fans, for the fans. However, it is also a wonderful game for newcomers like me. This game finally helped me see why the classic Sonic games are so highly regarded by critics and fans alike. The adrenaline, energy, and general fun this game oozes just leaves you wanting to play more. There’s something so fun about building up speed, and running through a loop, as simple as it sounds. This game is pure joy, and its something a lot of people have nostalgia for. Even when it got rather hard for me, I was still having blast sliding down pipes, and running around aquatic ruins as the fastest thing alive.
#3 Super Mario Odyssey
There hasn’t been a traditional 3D Mario game since Super Mario Galaxy way back in 2010. While games like Super Mario 3D World and the New Super Mario Bros series filled in the blanks, nothing quite scratched that itch quite like Super Mario Odyssey. This game brought back everything that was loved from classic 3D Mario games. The jumping and platforming feels more fresh than it ever has. Having the ability to capture enemies and objects with your hat is a welcome replacement of powerups and abilities from past games, and it allows the team to get creative with how they use enemies and design levels around them. The game does not disappoint, even if it was a little short. I also like the move towards smaller accomplishments within a larger world. It really reminds me of Banjo Kazooie or other RareWare platformers. I truly think Mario Odyssey is up there with the big boys of the Mario series. Nintendo really dug deep and found what is interesting at the core of a 3D Mario experience, and they came out with a masterpiece.
#2 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Speaking of Nintendo’s masterpieces, they absolutely blew it out of the park with Breath of the Wild this year. This game won people over, with many accolades from the gaming press, game of the year lists like mine, and public opinion in general. It seems like Nintendo is back in business after struggling with the last generation of consoles, and Breath of the Wild is a wonderful example of their return. This game draws you in immediately, allowing you to roam and explore a beautiful, varied landscape. This game makes you want to play it, almost more than any game on the list. It’s beautiful locals, wonderful world, and amusing combat system all come together to form a rather simple, yet deep experience. Being able to take it on the go definitely increased the appeal of the game. Being able to complete a few shrines or side quests wherever you are feels so great, and as nervous as I was about the gimmick of the Switch, it has really shown its true colors. Breath of the Wild is also so high on this list due to the fact that it’s the game that’s introduced us to the Switch. It’s the first taste of what this new Nintendo has to offer, and I’m so excited to see what else they have cooked up. The game definitely has its problems, and I will not say that it is a perfect game by any means. A lot of the side quests are too minute. I don’t feel like I’m learning new things about the world or the characters, for the most part. I feel like I’m doing their errands. This isn’t a huge problem, as the game is fun enough to roam around in, and the DLC added some interesting sidequests that gave some interesting plot and felt like more than just fetch quests. Overall, the goods definitely outweighed the bads with Breath of the Wild. ‘
However, it’s did not make number one on my list. The greatest game of the year was Breath of the Wild according to a lot of people, and I completely recognize the affect that it has on the gaming industry and on Nintendo. Talking about legacy, Breath of the Wild‘s will definitely outshine my Game of the Year. This is my list however, and there’s one game that just grabbed ,e, pulled me in, and kept me interested more than any other game this year…
But First, Some Honorable Mentions
One of my favorite games this year was Nier: Automata. However, I only really started playing it within the last month, and still have not played even halfway through it. I couldn’t put it on my list without playing at least half of the game, as much as I love it. The combat always feels fresh, the chip system is super clever and really fascinating, and the game is generally good. Expect a review article on this site whenever I finish it. There are also so many games from this year that I have not played yet. Cuphead, Night in the Woods, Horizon Zero Dawn, and What Remains of Edith Finch to name a few. I also played a few games this year that, while not new for 2017, were new for me. One of my favorite games I played this year was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I thought to mention this game because it was just so fun and while its almost 4 years old now, the game still holds up, and its super fun. Anyway, with those other games aside, let’s get down to my Game of the Year…
Game of the Year
This game deserves every ounce of praise it gets. No game before has pulled me in quite like Persona 5. The newest game in the long running Persona series is nothing short of a masterpiece. Everything about this game oozes personality, from its character designs, to its music, to its general atmosphere. The game takes place in Japan, and you are a Phantom Thief. You can go into a separate world called the Metaverse, where people’s awful deeds and morals are personified in places called palaces. As the leader of the Phantom Thieves, you must infiltrate these palaces, steal the “treasure” located inside, and get the person to have a change of heart. What makes this game so good, is not just the story, or the combat, but the whole package. Nothing in this game feels out of place; everything blends so well. The art direction, the music, the characters, all feel real and cartoonishly absurd at the same time. As you act as the leader of the Phantom Thieves you must also go to school, take exams, hang out with your friends, and be a normal teenager in Tokyo. You have a deadline to beat each palace, so you must balance play and work, as well as taking time to prepare in the real world for your adventures in the palaces. This is the main gameplay cycle of Persona 5 and it pulls it off so well. As you build relationships with your friends and allies, you gain abilities to use in the Metaverse, and you learn a lot more about them. I’ve never felt as connected to characters in a video game as I have to the characters in Persona. This game only really beats out Breath of the Wild for my game of the year due to the fact that its world pulled me in so much more. I was always wanting to go back to Persona, back to the Metaverse, and back to those palaces. I loved roaming Tokyo, hanging out with friends after school, and then going into an alternate universe to change the heart of a corrupt politician with those same friends. This game presented a world for me to escape to, a world that was very different from our own, but still felt very similar. This game wins the Game of the Year spot simply because it captivated me. I had the most fun with it out of any other game this year. Persona 5 was a fascinating game, even if it was a little too long. Persona 5 made me love it. Persona 5 deserves to be my game of the year.