I’ve said this more times than I can remember this year, but 2017 really has been a stellar year. Every single month gave us something special to play, from massive studios and tiny indie developers alike. I honestly cannot recall another year that gave us anywhere near the quality of 2017. It was even bookended by two console releases, but nobody can deny the impact that Nintendo’s Switch has had in its debut year.
Which leads me to the first game on my personal game of the year list…
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Wow. I only picked up my Switch in November, so I haven’t even got anywhere near the end of Breath of the Wild, but it still deserved a place in my top five. Its open world is breathtaking, especially in how actually open it is. Most of my time has been spent simply exploring Hyrule at my own pace, through running, climbing and swimming; I can’t get enough of it. The last time I felt this way about an open world, I was just emerging from the sewers in Cyrodiil.
Oh yeah, one more thing: fuck Lynels.
If you can forgive my confused ramblings during the “best sports/racing game” portion of our Game of the Year podcast, I’m sure you will have heard how passionate I was about GT Sport. Hell, if you follow me on Twitter you will have probably seen my many videos and screens showing the highs and lows of Polyphony Digital’s remarkable return to form.
I’m not one for online gaming, especially with the silliness of the infamous first corner crashing in racers, but the Sportsmanship Rating system really has created a space that tailors to each individual’s racing style. I like to race as clean as possible, which has led me to racing against like minded players (with the odd exception, of course) and has resulted in the most realistic recreation of motorsport that I’ve ever experienced. I’ve put more hours into GT Sport online in two months, than almost all other games combined throughout the year. That should say it all, really.
3. Injustice 2
Yes, I’m a bit of a DC fan. I will never deny it. Nor will I deny how big a Harley Quinn fan I am. Setting that aside however, it’s easy to see that Injustice 2 is the best fighter of 2017 by quite some margin. It’s both accessible and deep, allowing almost anyone to jump in and enjoy a scrap.
That’s a good thing, since its story is one of DC’s finest to date. The first game turned the DC universe upside down, making Superman the villain and tearing the Justice League apart, even turning Wonder Woman into a baddie. Harley Quinn, Deathstroke and other staple DC villains and antiheroes became full-on heroes. With Brainiac (yes, I’m aware how silly his name is) threatening the world that Superman has fought to protect (through dictatorship, but every villain is the hero of his own story, yadda yadda yadda), will the Justice League reunite? I mean, what a story it is. My inner “big DC kid” squealed with joy throughout my many playthroughs of the story.
And that’s not even taking into account the fantastic Multiverse, through which I earned the cinematic Wonder Woman gear that my Diana will probably wear forever.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
Pure joy. That’s exactly what Super Mario Odyssey is made of. Seriously, there are so many moments that will have you grinning like an idiot, not just the ones mentioned in our podcast. The platforming is spot-on, the level design is genius and everything in between is gold.
People talk about the old “Nintendo magic” and in this case it’s absolutely true. We often debate which is the best, Mario 3 or Super Mario World; but it’s entirely possible that Odyssey has surpassed both of those. It’s astoundingly good.
And that ending, man. That ending.
1. Resident Evil 7
Well, it had to be really, didn’t it? Given that I’ve spent the last year or more writing about various Resident Evil games, including several reviews and previews involving RE7, its DLC and its evolving First Hour demo; I think it’s clear to everyone how much the series means to me. But even my high hopes for Resident Evil 7 were blown out of the water, leading me to give it my first 10/10 review.
The main game itself is filled with terrifying moments as you’re chased down by Jack Baker, or stalked by Marguerite and her bugs; there are so many nods to the old games, while bringing in a sense of newness to the series. The DLC was decent enough throughout the Banned Footage episodes, but where its post-game content really shines is in the final two episodes: Not a Hero and End of Zoe. Both answered questions left by the main story, but still left things open for another sequel.
Resident Evil 7 brought the series back to its roots, and in the process became one of the finest horror games in many years. There really could be no other choice for my Game of the Year.