So many amazing games came out this past year and some were lucky enough to make my list of the best games of 2017. Some were big-budget action games that made millions of dollars, while others were smaller indie titles that delighted those that were able to play them… this all sounds very familiar… weird.
Unfortunately, there were a few games I was unable to play this year due to one reason or another, that I feel confident would have made the list. So before we get to the main list of games, here’s another list of games that didn’t make this list but made another list… yep.
Now THE LIST:
Everybody’s Golf (9.25)
Growing up loving games like EA’s Tiger Woods Golf and Mario Golf, I’ve been begging for a great golf game make its way to the PS4 for years now and finally, with Everybody’s Golf, that wish has finally come true. Everybody’s Golf delivers a fun game with a unique story mode that I wasn’t expecting and several multiplayer modes that keep players coming back for more. Similar to another game on my list, I’m unbeatable in this game and the other secret Thoughters have stopped playing out frustration. The best part is that the character creator is so good that my friends are getting the butts kicked my a character that actually looks like me. Just makes the domination that much sweeter. If there’s anyone out there that dares step to the tees, let me know. I’m always happy to beat down a fellow golfer.
Horizon Zero Dawn (9.5)
Easily one of the best games of the year, Horizon Zero Dawn makes a classic open-world style game and freshens it up with not only fun gameplay but memorable characters and enemies. There have been so many games this generation that feature forgettable characters that have me jamming the “skip scene” button, but with Horizon, every character, no matter how important they were to the overall story, was fascinating. Before the DLC was officially revealed, I actually wondered if it would be about one of the side characters since they were so fully developed. And speaking of characters, it would be a shame not to mention Aloy. Perfectly acted by Ashly Burch, Aloy is a character that has already gone down as one of PlayStation’s most memorable characters ever. With a charisma that draws players in immediately, Aloy is strong, determined, and actually has a really interesting backstory. And as I mentioned at the very beginning, the enemies in this world are just fantastic. Whether it was the awe they inspired with their design or the fear that covered my entire body, every enemy type was simply flawless. Horizon isn’t my Game of The Year, but if my Game of The Year is 1A, Horizon is 1B. I loved every second spent with this game and cannot wait for the sequel.
Injustice 2 (9.25)
I have loved fighting games since I was a little boy. That being said, I have never been very good at fighting games, and because of that, any fighting game with a decent single player mode has always caught my attention. That’s why Injustice 2 makes my list this year. Not only does the game feature a really well-told story mode, but each individual character has their own classic arcade mode that ends with a unique story. For someone like myself, it really is the perfect fighting game. One last reason this game makes my list, I love unlockables and Injustice 2 has a lot of loot. There are so many modes in the game that allow players the chance to unlock better equipment or outfits for their favorite fighters. I guess the simplest way to put it would be, imagine if Destiny was a fighting game. That’s Injustice 2.
Life is Strange Before The Storm (9)
Every step of the way, fans, like myself, have been worried about the follow up to Life is Strange. First off, it’s a prequel, a storytelling technique that often leaves fans asking, “what was the point of that.” Next up, a different studio was in charge of telling the next chapter of this already beloved story. Once again, the last thing anyone wants to hear when discussing future installments of a property they love, is that the follow up is being made by someone other than the people responsible for the original property. Finally, with the voice actors guild strike occurring while this game was in development, it meant that actress Ashly Burch, have I mentioned how talented she is yet, would not be able to reprise her role as Chloe, the main character of Life is Strange Before The Storm. Despite everything that was working against it, Before the Storm has managed to prove to fans why it exists, delivering fantastic storytelling moments and introducing us to great characters that we never knew we needed. Not only does it prove itself as a worthy follow up, but it stands shoulder to shoulder with the original Life is Strange. Ironically, just like Life is Strange was for me back in 2015, Before the Storm may not be the best game of the year, but it is certainly my personal favorite and one that I will always remember fondly. With more Life is Strange on the way, I couldn’t be more excited to see what’s on the way.
NieR: Automata (9.25)
All year, all I heard from the internet was how amazing NeiR: Automata was. So when I finally got the chance to play it, I went in with really high expectations. Well, spoilers. It’s on the list. It’s a really good game. Between its unique story, characters, and gameplay, NeiR really is a game that shouldn’t be missed. I think what seems to have stuck with me the most is the simple fact that, even though I’ve beaten the game, I’m actually not finished with it. Yep, you heard me right. Typically, after players finish a game, there might be a new game plus. A mode that allows players to replay the game from the beginning but players are just as strong as they were when they finished the game the first time. NeiR does that, but since its NeiR, there’s more than just keeping the same level and weapons from the end of the game. NeiR’s new game plus is actually a new game. Admittedly, I’m only halfway through it and perhaps when I finally get to the end, I’ll be rethinking my list. Either way though, NeiR Automata is an incredibly original game that deserves all the praise it has gotten.
No Man’s Sky: Atlas Rises update (8.75)
I know what you’re thinking and yes, No Man’s Sky belongs on this list. For those that either never played it when it first released or quickly stepped away after playing it for a few hours, I can assure you that the Atlas Rises update from this past year has made No Man’s Sky one of the best PlayStation games available. I actually wrote a piece on the update when it first came out, so if you’re interested please check it out. Ultimately though, what developer HelloGames has done with No Man’s Sky should be praised. They took an, in my opinion, unfair beating from the internet but never stopped working. While all of the insults and death threats were thrown at them, they kept their heads down, stayed quiet, and continued releasing updates to their game. Now featuring ground vehicles, quests, the ability to travel between specific planets in seconds, base building, light multiplayer and the list goes on and one, No Man’s Sky is no longer the game it once was at release, and with another big update expected at the beginning of 2018, players will soon have yet another reason to be proud to call this one of their favorite games.
Persona 5 (9.5)
I, like the other millions of people around that played Persona 5, have not yet beaten the game. Last time I checked, the game says I had played for 96 hours. I’m not quite sure how the game’s time clock works so let’s just take off 10 hours, just to be safe. So I’ve roughly played about 85 hours of Persona 5. 85 hours? I must be close to the end, right? I must have played enough of this game to really determine if it’s my Game of The Year or not, right? NO! I still have a party member left to get. The game is still introducing me to new gameplay mechanics. Don’t get me wrong, I love Persona 5. I love the characters, I love the battle system, I love the music, I love the art style, and I especially love the relationships that the game allows you to build with your party members and other characters that are scattered throughout the world. Similar to NieR, maybe when I finally finish the game, I’ll look back and consider this my actual game of the year for 2017, but if it ends up taking me 150 hours to complete the game… well, I just don’t know that I want to do anything for that. Still though, if you love RPGs and have been looking for the next great one, Persona 5 is the game for you. Everything it does, even if it takes it’s time to do it, is perfect.
Rocket League (9)
Ever since Rocket League made its debut on PlayStation 4 way back in 2015, I’ve been hooked. Yes, I said 2015 and yes, this is a 2017 list, but much like No Man’s Sky, developer Psyonix has continued updating their game with free content that includes new modes like hoops. A mode that takes the game famous for having cars playing soccer, and now has them playing basketball. On top of that, the game has new cars, new arenas, and countless customizable items for players to individualize their personal cars. As time passes, the skill level of players has gone up but with non-ranked modes like Hoops, there’s still a lot in this game for everyone to enjoy. Also, just like Everybody’s Golf, I’m basically the greatest RL player in the world. If you’re interested in finding out how good you are, let me know.
The Sexy Brutale (8.75)
Every year there seems to be at least one smaller title that catches me by surprise. This year that award goes to The Sexy Brutale. This doesn’t mean that titles like Night in The Woods or Pyre wouldn’t have made my list, as I said, I just couldn’t find the time to play them. Fortunately for The Sexy Brutale, me and Secret Thoughter M decided to make this game one of our annual platinum trophy challenges and suddenly by adding that small challenge, a single player title like The Sexy Brutale became a fantastic multiplayer game. Before we knew it, we found ourselves forgetting about the challenge and helping one another with the different puzzles and secrets the game had. It’s ironic we did this type of trophy challenge with this game because several years ago we did something similar with the game Braid. Braid, if you don’t know, is a puzzle platformer that has a lot to do with time manipulation and it is very much a single-player title, and the reason I found it ironic is that The Sexy Brutale reminded me so much of Braid and if you’re not aware, Braid is considered one of the best and most important indie titles of the last decade. Giving Sexy Brutale that comparison isn’t done lightly. I won’t go any further with explaining what The Sexy Brutale is because I’d hate to give away any surprises that the game might deliver if you go in blind like I did.
The Game of The Year for 2017…
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
I have loved horror movies ever since I was a little boy but for some strange reason, I haven’t played that many horror games. That all changed though when I played Resident Evil 7: Biohazard at the beginning of the year. RE7 takes inspiration from some of my personal favorite horror movies such as REC, VHS and most notably, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Resident Evil 7 changes things up from the classic third-person perspective and now puts players in first-person. This simple change takes what was already an infamously scary franchise and turns it up to 11. Playing this game with headphones on made every single scare even that much scarier. There were so many moments during RE7 that I didn’t want to go around the next corner in fear of what might be waiting for me. And while the game does slip into that classic Resident Evil weirdness, I loved that, for the most part, the game’s story is very simple. The love of your life, who’s been missing for several years, suddenly contacts and informs you where she is and that she’s in danger. Like I said, very basic plot and the game is all the better for it. Similar to so many of the more story focused games on my list, I’d hate to give away too much because I think one of the beauties of this game is not knowing what’s waiting for you. I’d love to describe each family member and why I think they’re so memorable, but if you haven’t played Resident Evil 7 yet, it would be a real shame to have that spoiled. And while I’m not including any DLC in why a game made my list, much like Horizon Zero Dawn, adding DLC to a game like Resident Evil 7 wasn’t met with a groan. In fact, the thought of being able to jump back into this awful world was so exciting. While the first two pieces of DLC were fun, the DLC packs that were just released seem to be tied much more to the main story and having those few lingering questions finally answered is very exciting. Oh! I forgot to mention that this game can be played completely in VR. If you’re interested in seeing how strong your heart is, give it a try. Seriously, folks, this game is terrifying and will stick with you for years to come and that’s why it’s my game of the year.