Wow. This year brought a lot of games to the table. Some of them may have been bad, but it really has been a very long time since we've seen this many amazing games come out in one singular year. These games were so good, I've been struggling for the past month to figure out which games are the best. Day in and day out, my thoughts have been closed in on this topic alone. I've been thinking so much about the game of the year that it's been driving me crazy. What do I put on my list? What do I have to cut out? Am I going to forget about a game that I loved simply because there were too many of them? There were so many things running through my mind. Ultimately, it didn't phase me because I knew that regardless of what I did, the games I would mention are going to be some of the greatest not only of this year, but quite possibly of all-time.
Alright, that's enough of my rambling. Whether I'm ready or not, the year is coming to an end, and my final decision must be made. What are the top 5 games of 2017? Before we take a look at that, let's take a look at some games that didn't quite make the cut but deserved mention regardless.
Favorite Game Released Before 2017, Played in 2017: Final Fantasy XIV Online
Alright, this might be considered cheating, but when I look back on 2017, I know I'll be thinking of Final Fantasy XIV. It came out at the end of 2013, and I started playing it the next year. When I started playing it, however, I didn't really start playing it. I just checked it out and moved on, only to pop in to say hi to a select few people that I knew played the game regularly. I never really got too far, so I neglected the game for quite a while. It wasn't until this year's release of the expansion Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood that I came back, and boy was it worth it.
Now, I know the aforementioned expansion was technically released this year, but the previously released content and the game as a whole are in my opinion the best portion of the game. The original game that I tried in 2014 was very bare bones, but by the time I got to the Heavensward expansion I had realized that the story I experienced, the people I've met, and the battles I've overcome may be one of the greatest things I've ever done as a gamer, and that really says something.
2017 Honorable Mentions
Cuphead, Splatoon 2, Tekken 7, Sonic Mania
Top 5 Games of 2017
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild is, well, wild. It's almost unbelievable that I could only put this game at the number five spot on the list. This game has been praised as the single best game to come out since The Ocarina of Time, so it's almost unnecessary to delve into the depths of what makes Hyrule such an extraordinary place, but I will anyway. It's deserving of the praise and respect.
Nintendo took the tried and true Zelda formula that has worked for decades, threw it out the window and said, "We can do better." While I still absolutely love and adore what the older Zelda games had to offer, it is very refreshing to see something new and innovative from a franchise that has more or less always been the same thing. It's an open-world adventure where you can go anywhere and do anything. It's not only a great game, but it shows that Nintendo is starting to better understand what their fans want out of a game in the modern day and age. This game is a system seller for a reason, and I have no qualms mentioning it in my Top 5 Games of the Year list.
4. NieR: Automata
This game is mind-blowing. Upon playing it for the first time, the game struck me in awe like a freight truck. A gorgeous, philosophical freight truck. It's beautiful, it's meaningful, and it's fun. It has every element that a gamer could ask for. It's an RPG, a hack-and-slash, shoot-em-up, an open-world adventure, and it's basically a giant philosophy book that's condensed into an easy to understand and fun to play digital package.
Platinum Games really outdid themselves with this one. It feels so different from the rest of their games, but it works better than all of them in every single way. It's fluid, yet challenging. It's complex, yet simple. It's dark, yet bright. NieR: Automata is simply one of the most important games for the industry, and it really shows in every area. The story explores topics that genuinely concern and relate to modern society and will open the eyes of anyone who picks up this gem.
3. Super Mario Odyssey
Oh. My. Goodness. Back in January, everybody and their mother was hyped for Super Mario Odyssey upon its announcement. If The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild didn't sell you on the Switch, this game sure did. It's the revival of 3D Mario, and it really wanted to make an impression. The platforming is tight, fluid, and very rewarding. Even if it's seemingly littered with moons everywhere, it feels quite pleasing to get each and every one by the end of the game, and it keeps bringing you back for more. It's very easy to just pick up and play, and contrary to most collectibles in gaming, it respects your time.
Truthfully, I was afraid that it didn't live up to the hype at, but it quickly grew on me. Once I got over whatever issue I personally had on release, I realized that this game is a masterpiece. it's polished, feels just right in difficulty and mechanics, has some of the catchiest music in a Mario game yet, and is overall impressive in scope. It is unlike any other game in the series, and it works quite well.
2. A Hat in Time
I had a tough time when deciding on which game I liked more: Mario, or A Hat in TIme? While both are excellent titles, A Hat in Time almost seems to remind me of an old childhood friend that wanted to come back to play after so many years away. It's a collectathon platformer that made me tear up the moment I got to the start screen. It meant the revival of a forgotten genre to me, and even though we had other games of the same come out beforehand, none did it justice quite like A Hat in Time.
Playing as the Hat Kid was a time-traveling experience, and to be honest, made me feel like I was a kid again. While the game may not have the same polish that Super Mario Odyssey has, it plays even more fluidly and feels right at home to any platforming veterans. The level design is phenomenal, the wit is charming, and the design is absolutely fantastic. Everything from the opening theme to the small details in each level has so much thought and love poured into them that it's like taking a bite into grandma's cookies. It really means that much, and it shows.
1. Persona 5
After nine long years, Persona 5 has finally arrived. Just by looking at this game, you can tell that the development team was striving to make something better than they had ever made before, all the while keeping the charm that makes their beloved franchise so special in the first place. Everything, and I mean everything about this game is special. The characters, the story about corruption in our society, the score, the atmosphere, even the supernatural. It all feels so real. The game buries itself heavily into the lives of everyone on this planet, and it really tries to teach something. It's remarkable.
Of course, Persona 5 is a game, too. I was stunned to find that the battle system has never been this good in any RPG, ever. Every area is full of enemies that feel like they're really there instead of being randomly generated, unimportant obstructions of your goals. The graphics alone show each character and shadow with so much detail and craftsmanship that can hardly be surpassed in the more cartoony and animated style of the game. Absolutely everything about this game is breath-taking, and I implore everyone to at least give it a try.
Persona 5 is without a doubt my game of the year.
Most of my time is dedicated to tearing apart games and movies, then telling you what I think about it. I've been a gamer since birth, practically born with a controller in my hand. I've always spoke my mind, so critique was a natural fit. Twitter: @Jsrf38