2017 has been a very interesting year for gaming on multiple fronts. We’ve seen revolutionary graphics, amazing franchises making gracious comebacks, and….microtransactions. Ahhh, microtransactions. That’s all I’m going to say on that.
On a more positive note though, some amazing titles were released within this calendar year, and it’s only right that since the year’s coming to a close, we make a list to honor those games! I got together with the gamers on the GOC team to figure out and write about which games we though ranked where on the list, and we came up with something pretty solid if I do say so myself. So without further delay, here’s GOC’s list of the top 10 games of 2017.
10. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Just over a year after closing Nathan Drake’s story in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Naughty Dog launched another adventure in their decade-long franchise. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, though, is a tale sans the usual suspects as fan favorite Chloe Frazer takes lead, alongside series newcomer, Nadine Ross. The journey the duo embarks on isn’t anything special, admittedly, and their chemistry, despite them eventually building rapport, doesn’t quite compete with that of Chloe and Drake, or Drake with anyone else.
Success does lie, however, in Chloe’s being positioned as the new face of Uncharted, albeit briefly. In addition, she strikes the perfect balance between acting as a stand-in for Drake and having her personality, which is slightly more hardened than his, provide a different lens through which players experience the series. All of the above is coupled with familiar gameplay and a few surprising action sequences and character moments. Thus, The Lost Legacy has been regarded as little more than an extension of Uncharted 4. But that Naughty Dog was able to turn around such a quality project in a year’s time makes it worthy of commendation and a spot on this list.
9. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus launched in a critical zeitgeist, one compounded heavily by America’s divisive political climate. Publisher Bethesda Softworks shrewdly took note of this, marketing the sequel as a complimentary piece of art to the ongoing discourse that surrounds modern-day Nazism and racial tensions. As anticipated, based on the impeccable writing in 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, Bethesda’s controversial marketing campaign wasn’t merely for show. Developer Machine Games carefully presents an affecting alternate depiction of America, following the Allied forces’ defeat to the Axis powers in the Second World War. The images on display can be rather evocative, ranging from swastika flags flying in Roswell, New Mexico to KKK members happily conversing with SS officers.
Encapsulated in this horror-inducing vision of 1960s Americana are also stories of love, compelling twists and turns, and engrossing gameplay, the latter of which is highlighted by improvements to the previous game’s upgrade and stealth systems. Of course, emphasis centers on series star BJ Blazkowicz, who undergoes character development that can be described as surprisingly human for a figure that for two decades has been a paragon of action heroes. It’s a shame, then, that several of his co-stars weren’t afforded the same attention with regards to characterization and their roles within the overarching narrative. Still, characters such as Grace Walker and the powerful message that’s relayed at the end of the game, depending on which timeline players choose to follow, sets Wolfenstein in a league of first-person shooters occupied by the likes of BioShock and Deus Ex
8. Injustice 2
There’s no denying that Injustice 2 came out at a good time. It was a great year for DC with the release of Wonder Woman, Justice League and exciting comic events like Doomsday Clock and Dark Nights: Metal, this next Injustice game must have been a no-brainer for Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios. With favorite DC Comics characters to choose from such as, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Catwoman, Cyborg and more, Injustice 2 offers a wide variety of players to fight with, as well as immersive arenas and a great story mode. One thing’s for sure, a gamer doesn’t have to get bored with the Nether Realm game because it also has various Multiverse events throughout the day that can help unlock important gear for all the playable characters. Another huge grab for gamers were the various DLC characters that have slowly been revealed in three fighter packs as the year went on. DLC characters included: Starfire, The Atom, Hellboy, Raiden and most recently revealed but not yet released, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! That being said, as much as I loved the first game in the Injustice series (Injustice: Gods Among Us), there is no denying that in terms of graphics, story mode and ease of gameplay, Injustice 2 is a major upgrade! It’s definitely a must for anyone who is a fan of fighter games, comic books, or both.
7. Assassin’s Creed Origins
To be completely honest with you guys, I didn’t even get a chance to play AC Origins. I kind of lost interest in this series a fell installments ago. However, I can appreciate the waves that the franchise is still making to this day, and Origins kind of reinvents the series by getting rid of the things we’re used to, and taking us back to the “roots” of things. Bayek is our newest protagonist, and we’re lead through his tough and very expansive story. This game being set in ancient Egypt was one big change. Another was the combat and stealth style. It’s always amazing to see what direction Ubisoft takes these titles in, and 10 years later we’re still being impressed.
-Okon Essien (yours truly)
6. Persona 5
In a year filled with scandal, the story of Persona 5 felt right at home as we followed a group of high schoolers taking justice into their own hands by “stealing the hearts” of corrupted adults. After numerous Delays, the long-awaited Atlus title was finally released on PS3 and PS4. This is far from a complaint, actually, a compliment as the extra time and care that was taken in the development is evident with every second. Throughout the entirety of my time with Persona 5, it upheld a style unrivaled by any other title released this year. From minor details like the stylish splash of footsteps when exploring brilliant palaces to the transitions when navigating the menu, every aspect works together adding to the game’s charm. Blended together with the best cast the Persona series has seen, every interaction is a pure delight.
5. Nier: Automota
The first time I “beat” Nier: Automata I found myself audibly saying to no one but the ghosts in the room, “this can’t be the end.” During my first playthrough, I was introduced to engaging gameplay comprised of a harmonious mixture of third-person RPG, twin-stick shooter, and 2.5D platformer. When I reached the conclusion for ending A, while I was satisfied to see such a positive outcome for our protagonist 2B and 9S, this pang of emptiness gnawed at me begging for more. After allowing this feeling to sit with me for a few days I booted up the game again ready to replay the story in pursuit of ending B. To my surprise, while the game did start from the beginning again, I wasn’t “replaying,” this was a whole new experience. A brand new perspective.
Taking place years after humanity has fled to the moon, following the Earth being overrun by machines. Human-built androids are sent back to reclaim the planet. Placing us in the shoes of androids 2B and 9S, developer Yoko Taro tells one of the most horrifyingly human stories in gaming this year. With the first playthrough serving almost as an extended tutorial, the path to ending B reveals to players the complications of the new machine society. Their mission now accomplished, we witness machines search for purpose and belonging by replicating their vision of the humanity that once was.
Glory to Mankind.
In an age where big production, graphics, and online gameplay reigns in the video game world. Cuphead was a breath of fresh air in 2017, brought to us by the indie developers over at Studio MDHR. I cannot stress it enough Cuphead more than anything is an absolute triumph of design. The maps and levels were painstakingly drawn frame to frame and the effort shows. The 1930’s cartoon aesthetic is absolutely beautiful and runs seamlessly across the at time overly busy screen. Cuphead does not run from who it is. At its core, it is an incredibly difficult at times side-scrolling shooter but it is very faithful to its own identity and that is what makes Cuphead shine as one of the best games of 2017.
3. Horizon Zero Dawn
Developing new IP is arduous, particularly when a studio is known for one franchise and/or genre. Guerrilla Games, then, deserves endless praise for not only succeeding in this regard but also for the incredible risks taken, considering the premise and scope of Horizon Zero Dawn. A post-post-apocalyptic title, Horizon introduces a new PlayStation icon in Aloy. Evidently taking notes from Naughty Dog, Guerrilla, thanks to the voice work of Ashly Burch, gives Aloy a dynamic personality that rivals Nathan Drake’s.
What is especially owed commendation is the rich game world, expansive lore, unique gameplay, and story, the likes of which have seemingly never been explored in science fiction. Nothing this year felt quite as good as battling Snapmaws, Thunderjaws, Scrappers, and countless other innovative machines. And few games have offered such a diverse cast of characters. All of this considered, Horizon should probably be higher on the list; it’s certainly a personal Game of the Year for many. Despite the risks, despite the meteoric success of this new and already beloved IP, it’s hard to own mindshare in a year when Nintendo’s back on top with renewed visions for Zelda and Mario.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
As silly as it sounds, Super Mario Odyssey is just a purely enjoyable game to play. Its environment is beautiful, the music direction matches perfectly with its worlds, and every jump, spin, and capture is satisfying in its movements. Even Super Mario Odyssey’s two-player mode is a delight, giving a partner the opportunity to control Cappy and add chaos to the bubbly pattern of running around and collecting Power Moons.
Super Mario Odyssey, above anything else, is a game that rewards you for exploring. In a game that’s expansive and colorfully creative, the mechanics dare players to look around and jump off of everything. Every nook and cranny, every perilous jump, every strangely-impossible route contains coins or moons as a wink to players who want to test out the limit of the developers’ imagination. Just running around on a map, I accidentally fell off and prepared myself to go plunging into a death screen, just to find that I’d tripped and fallen into a completely different world.
The game’s capture mechanic only strengthens this, pushing every opportunity possessing something as a way to get some new perspective on Mario. It’s the first time in a long, long time that the Mario series has done any extensive worldbuilding, which is charming for fans of the series, and fascinating for the rare newcomer. Super Mario Odyssey deserves its position in the top ten for this year because of its deep understanding of what people have come to love Mario for, and for its deep understanding of how games should be fun.
– Amber Brown
Time to squeeze in some honorable mentions before number One!!
Lego Marvel Superheroes 2
Doki Doki Literature Club
Night In The Woods
1.Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild
It’s almost impossible to find a 3D game that’s been made in the last 20 years that hasn’t been touched, somehow, by The Legend of Zelda’s influence. Even though Nintendo has added and taken away some elements, thrown in some sidekicks, and plunged Link in and out of different settings and times, the beloved formula for Zelda games has always remained relatively the same, until the release of Breath of the Wild.
In Breath of the Wild, a confused, tired Link wakes up dazed to find that he not only is he the Hero of Time, but he’s failed, and Hyrule has been lying in destruction since his disappearance. Everything expected of Zelda games is gone – no hearts, no dungeons, and the princess has sacrificed herself to fight Ganon for almost 100 years. Breath of the Wild took decades of Zelda tradition and, without taking away what was truly lovable about the series, broke apart conventions and expectations that have been associated with action-adventure games for years.
It also managed to take widely used game mechanics and do them right. Though Breath of the Wild is open world, it’s also dense, and rarely ever feels as though you’re wandering around through nothing. It demands that you strategize everything, using both a rapidly ramping difficulty system and a weapons system that requires you to plan out how, when, and why you fight.
Breath of the Wild’s message, gameplay, and environment are all breathtakingly poignant and manages to find a way to communicate a deep, powerful sense of guilt and sorrow mixed with hope and love, and that’s why it made #1 on our list.
– Amber Brown
And that’s our list! What do you guys think? Did we forget any of your favorites? let us know your top 10 game list of 2017 in the comment section below, and make sure to follow us on twitter to keep up with the upcoming games we’re keeping up with. Thanks to the GOC members that helped make this list. See you guys in 2018.