My Top 5 Games of 2017

2017 was the year of the loot box.  Random chance to get something good in exchange for hard cash started cropping up every other game.  It’s not gambling though because the people making money from them say so.  The thing is though, 2017 was actually an incredible year for games.  You could exchange hard cash for pretty much any box in a game store this year and the chance of getting something good was pretty damn high.  That was a very laboured way of saying “Loot boxes suck” and “Amazing games came out”.

Overwatch
2017 in a single image.  Although this image isn’t actually from 2017…

I played surprisingly few of the big name games this year, so the bulk of the favourite games this year were lower tier releases.  Even then, narrowing it down to just five was very difficult.  At any rate, here are the best gaming experiences I had this year.  I’ve included all the games I’ve played down the bottom, just in case you think I missed something…

Get Even

Get Even

A story driven FPS/walking simulator with a bizarre, horror themed story.  You play Cole Black (he’s a manly man!) on a mission for find out where the hell he is and what happened to the girl with a bomb strapped to her that he was trying to rescue.  Within an hour, you find yourself in an abandoned asylum with a machine that allows you to enter your memories and begin to unravel just what the hell is going on.

Get Even
Most of the game isn’t terribly pretty, but it does have its moments.

Yes, the FPS sections are flawed, and the stealth doesn’t work quite as well as I might hope, but there really isn’t another game that plays like this.  There are events that play out differently depending on your choices without make these choices explicit, the game plays with interconnected memories in interesting ways, and the sound and music is fantastic.  It’s not perfect, but it’s well priced and I doubt you’ll have played anything quite like it before.

Stories Untold

Stories Untold

Damn I loved this one.  Four seemingly unconnected stories told in very different ways, culminating in a final revelation.  I won’t say more from a story standpoint as it really should be experienced with as little prior knowledge as possible on that front.  I will say that it’s a very well put together package.  It starts out as a text adventure that seems to have more power over you than you over it.  A bizarre point and click adventure and puzzle game involving microfilms follow before culminating in a walking simulator of sorts.

Stories Untold Episode 2
Part of the second episode. I will say nothing more about this.

I know, I’m not really selling it at all.  But it’s a great couple of hours for a low price and it’s very unlikely that you’ll have played anything quite like it before.  I have a soft spot for games that mess with your expectations, and this one certainly does that.  Plus, the intro music will stick in your mind for weeks after.

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey logo

Look, I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon, but this is just a fantastic game.  I’ve never really been a big fan of the 3D Mario games, finding the controls a pain and the hunt for whatever the magic item is this time.  But this was a wonderful experience.  The environments are interesting and creative, it’s utterly beautiful, and the capture mechanic!  Taking over the body of you enemies (as horrifying that may be for a Mario game) was a masterstroke in creative platforming and puzzles.  The caterpillar creatures in the Lost Kingdon are adorable and fun the play as.

Mario Odyssey
Kidnapping Goomba towers is my new favourite thing.

At the time of writing, I haven’t finished the main story, but as I understand it, there’s a lot more high quality content after completing it, which is saying something when the content already there is quite so good.  I can see me spending a lot of time playing this.  I bought a Switch especially for this game, and I don’t for a moment regret that.

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

XCOM 2 Logo

Yes it’s an expansion rather than a new game BUT I DON’T CARE DAMMIT!  I’ve kept it a closely guarded secret, but I’ll tell you anyway.  I really like XCOM.  I’m sure those War Log posts didn’t make it obvious.  Anyway, War of the Chosen is what an expansion should be.  It changes the game in so many ways, adding new ways to play and increasing your power, but also putting dangerous new enemies in your path.  The titular chosen can be a significant thorn in your side if you don’t deal with them, but dealing with them means you have to put off dealing with the greater alien threat.  Deciding what to do when is even more important than ever.

XCOM 2
The new factions give you some very powerful new abilities to play with.

To keep you in the game, you have access to new factions that grant you very powerful soldiers.  The sniper rifle wielding Reapers can detonate explosives at will, whilst the Skirmishers draw enemies in to finish them at close range.  Templars use psychic powers to control the battlefield by putting up new points of cover and making enemies more vulnerable.  The number of new options in this is fantastic, and when coupled with an already impressive base game you have yourself one hell of a package.

Nier: Automata

Nier Automata

I’m not going to pretend this is anything other than a stunning creative success.  Platinum’s trademark fast paced combat combined with the most bonkers yet simultaneously devastating story in a genuinely interesting world is one of the best things I have played this year.  For a couple of weeks all I wanted was to get home from work and play more.

Nier
This boss appears simply as a machine gone insane, but your second playthrough reveals something much darker about her as well as the game’s world as a whole.

I, like many others, had not played the original Nier.  Whilst the story here does tie into the previous game (and a number of others in fact) it isn’t needed in the slightest to enjoy this.  The cast of characters, the world itself, the brilliant combat that changes styles constantly.  And the music!  The music is incredible!  Being told I had to play through the game three times to see the real ending put me off this one for a while, but each playthrough is so utterly different that it makes each one feel like an almost new experience.  If you haven’t played it, play it.

SUPER SPECIAL BONUS MENTION!

Doki Doki Literature Club

Doki Doki

Oooooh if there’s one game this year that I would class as the most memorable, it would be this.  A few paragraphs back I mentioned that I have a soft spot for games that mess with your expectations, and this manages that and then some.  It’s a free visual novel in which you join the school’s literature club and find it run by a number of attractive girls!  This is a visual novel, so obviously you set about trying to impress them with your poetry.  I will say no more than this: I knew it was going to subvert my expectations (thanks to the Steam reviews), but the way it went about it thoroughly surprised me.

Doki Doki
For a free game, this is incredibly well put together.  Hell, for a full priced game this is incredibly well put together.

If you do play it (and you really should), it takes about 3 hours before things start to really happen, so do play through the early stages, even if you find them tiresome (I did).  And carry on playing even after it ends.  There’s a lot of great stuff here and I can’t talk about it without spoiling it!

Below is the list of games that I played this year.  It was stunningly hard to pick out 5 from a list of such stupendous games.  I didn’t want to overlook The Sexy Brutale thanks to its inventive puzzles and memorable music.  Late Shift was a genuinely enjoyable FMV experience.  Everspace combined rogue-lites with a space sim to create something quite unique.  The Evil Within 2 surprised me by not being nearly as bad as the first one and turning out to be a genuinely fun experience.  And that soundtrack!  2017 should go down as another one of those years that should be brought up when anyone asks what the best year in gaming was.

How about you?  What would you suggest for a list like this?  Have I got it utterly wrong?  Obviously I haven’t, but you’re welcome to argue.  Let me know!

The Sexy Brutale

Yooka-Laylee

Nioh

Resident Evil 7

Halo Wars 2

The Surge

Injustice 2

Everspace

Late Shift

Get Even

Little Nightmares

Slime Rancher

Sonic Mania

Stories Untold

Marvel vs Capcom Infinite

Nier: Automata

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Conarium

>Observer_

XCOM 2 WOTC

Doki Doki Literature Club

Ruiner

The Evil Within 2

Super Mario Odyssey


44 thoughts on “My Top 5 Games of 2017

  1. Xcom 2 is excellent. You make me want to try Nier and Stories Untold. My list would likely include COD:WW2. Just because fans forced Activision to listen. Good gaming.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. First off, WOO NIER! And then WOO STORIES UNTOLD! Get Even is on my wishlist and I’m making it a point to finally play Doki Doki Literature Club before I leave for vacation on the 18th. Great list, although I’ve never played any of the XCOM stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, Nier is the one that you made me rethink and pushed Doki Doki Literature Club to a special mention (justified because it’s free!). XCOM is an interesting one right now, because Mario + Rabbids has pushed that style of gameplay a little more into the limelight. I love the perma death, I love the stories that come out of every battle, and I love the challenge of it. Thanks for reading it!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I really liked the gameplay of Mario + Rabbids, but I just need more story in these 20-hour games. The world design was cool, but the lack of story just made the flow feel like battle after battle — especially since exploration was wholly unrewarding because yay concept art. I’m sure I’d love XCOM if I gave it a shot. I have Enemy Unknown in my backlog, so maybe next year.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. One of the reasons I love year-end lists is because they tip me off to things that may be off my radar as a few of these were. I’ve only played Mario and Nier of these unfortunately! Stories Untold and Get Even have both piqued my interest now though.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Get Even was such a cool experience. Released with no marketing, but I just happened to spot it on the new releases list. It’s clunky, but as a narative it more than makes up for it. Plus it’s damn well priced. Let me know if you manage to give it a go, I’d love to hear what you think.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, it looks like my top 10 of 2017 list is going to be very different to yours.
    Well, in my best of year X games list, I talk about the games I have played in 2017 even when they released before 2017. The big rule is that I have to have start playing the game in 2017. Like, if I replay a game or beat a game I started the year before, I can’t count it on my list. I do that since I play a lot of retro games … eheheh.

    While I’m not going to spoil too much, here are two games that are on my list. A hat in time & Breath of the Wild. Yup.

    Oh, self promoting in a comment, forgive me.

    Most of the games talked about here, I haven’t played yet. But, just seeing the praise they get makes me want to play them. Neir and the new Mario game are the two games I want to play the most.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think there are a number of bloggers who do exactly that. It’s hard to keep up with all the new releases in a year so looking at ones you’ve missed previously is a great way of doing these sort of lists. A Hat In Time is one I’d really like to try.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Nice seeing Nier: Automata at the top, its also my #1 pick this year. If you liked Automata you should check out the original. I played both this year and I actually liked the original a little better. Also thanks for reminding me about Doki Doki Literature club, seems like another I can squeeze in before the end of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If there’s one thing I’d have liked in that game, it would be some sort of post game content. I’d be interesting in exploring the house in first person (a la Episode 3), or finding out more about the imagined world in Episode 2. Hell, a cheesy episode of the fictional show would have been awesome. It was a great game, I just want more.

      Like

  6. Some really awesome picks that I should try!! My boyfriend looves anything Xcom and we’ve both been meaning to try Neir. I heard really great things about the one with the literature club too but the whole ‘attractive girls’ thing you see on the Steam page always made me hesitant to try it out. But like you said, the comments are definitely motivating me to give it a try – I’m always down for a visual novel :p

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice list.

    I liked the story in Nier, I just wish I actually liked playing the game more. Halfway through the second playthrough I was burned out on it. Odyssey on the other hand, I want so much more of. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Currently watching a Let’s Play of Doki doki literature club and I was sort of getting bored of it, I hadn’t thought it would be so long (I assumed it would just be a funny playthrough of a dating sim) but then I heard there’s a big twist so I’m impatiently willing the episodes to come out faster so that I can see what happens…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Would that be the Game Grumps playthrough? I saw they did one (and seem to recall you like them!) but I don’t think this sort of game would lend itself well to that sort of format. I played through the whole thing (including actually “ending the game” if you can call it that) in about 4 hours. They normally do 10-15 minute episodes so about 20 episodes should be the whole thing depending on how silly they are with the poetry bit!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is indeed! Well remembered! (or maybe I talk about them too much!) It started off as being really funny, and it still is in parts but I’m getting a little bored with it now as nothing has really happened plot wise yet. They mentioned they are too but that they’ve been told to keep playing by someone else that’s played it because of the ending so I think that they’ll stick with it. They’re on part 11 now so it’s getting there…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll stick with it then =) It’s a funny one to watch anyway. Literally no idea how this is going to turn weird, the literature club is actually a cult? Secret ninjas? None of them are real/they’re all ghosts? Hmmmmm… (no spoilers though! I just like guessing!)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Woo boy! I am behind with the times. I haven’t heard of really any of these games with the exception of Odyssey. Nier Automata looks awesome but it looks like 2017 solidifies putting the PS4 in the “must have” category if you want to play 90% of todays’ hottest games.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s an awesome Game Theorists video that essentially points to this entire game being a big reference to their next game. Absolutely wild, I highly recommend it!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent choices! I’ve heard a lot about Doki Doki and am pretty curious. And of course, I want to play Nier Automata someday. Super Mario Odyssey is a classic and ended up on top of my list. And I know this wasn’t on your top 5, but I’m glad someone else has played The Sexy Brutale. My goodness, I loved both the time travel murder mystery gameplay and complex plot and how they weaved in together. Such an amazing game that went overlooked this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If there’s one bandwagon worth jumping on, it’s the Super Mario bandwagon. There’s a series that deserves all the praise it gets (unlike Zelda, I never feel critics jump the gun with their praise *cough! Skyward Sword! Cough!*). Can’t think of another series that just understands gaming so well (Dark Souls/BloodBorne probably comes closest though). I think the 3D Mario series is probably my all-around favorite. At the very least, it’s probably the series I’d score consistently the highest (unless you go into the deeper math behind it, in which case SoulsBorne might be the highest…I can’t do the maths!). And Odyssey may just be the best 3D game I’ve ever played.

    I hate to say this, but I really need to try Nier again. I played it for a while but it never really clicked for me. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t feel as polished as Bayonetta (I didn’t play the original Nier, so Bayonetta is the closest comparison I can make).

    I still need to make my list of top games of the year. I usually do a top 5, but 2017 was so great I may need to up it to a top 10. Just need to put a few more hours into a few games (sometimes I hate how long games are these days).

    Nice write-up! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I look forward to reading yours once you post it.

      Nier was a funny one. I didn’t like it to start with, but the more I played the more I enjoyed it. By the time I was done with my 2nd playthrough, I couldn’t wait to start my 3rd. Each individual part of the combat feels loose compared to games as sharp and Bayonetta or the early DMC games, but it all comes together so well.

      It’s been a long time since I’ve really enjoyed a Mario game, but as soon as I reached Cascade Kingdom, I never stopped grinning.

      Liked by 1 person

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