2017 was an oddity when compared to the rest of my gaming career. I played more games than any year prior, but also spent less time with those games on average. I fully immersed myself in PC gaming, Esports and rekindled my love with Nintendo. I suffered open-world gaming fatigue and found some of the highest praised games released this year to be nothing special.
Call me a hipster or a gaming anarchist but you won’t see Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn or Super Mario Odyssey on this “best of” list. What you will find is a couple remasters, an early access title and flawed but incredible sequels. Here is my list of the top 10 games released in 2017:
- Call of Duty: WWII (multiplayer)
If you’re buying Call of Duty WWII looking for a nuanced campaign mode or innovation in zombies co-op you certainly won’t find it here.
What you will find though is the reason this game sneaks onto this list and that is a stellar multiplayer mode. I feel like it is 2010 again because I am playing Call of Duty at least every other day.
It isn’t perfect, with only 9 core multiplayer maps and a microtransaction system that is barely stomach-able, Call of Duty: WWII wears its atrocities on its sleeve. But that sleeve is made of the best material we’ve seen from the franchise in half a decade and I’m happy dealing with the ugly Christmas sweater that is the complete game here as long as I keep hearing that sweet PING! Of an M1 Garand after every kill.
- Telltale’s The Walking Dead: A New Frontier
Season 2 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead was tragically mediocre. Clementine is one of gaming’s best characters but just couldn’t carry the weight of a main role. Season 3 reintroduces her as a supporting character alongside a brand new cast and the result is a riveting story that rivals the intensity and intrigue of the original Season.
Without spoiling too much, the story continues the unexpected nature of the Walking Dead comics while being the best Telltale game since the Wolf Among Us. The best part is that you aren’t required to have played the two previous seasons in order to understand and enjoy this sequel. So chomp down on some zombie goodness as soon as inhumanly possible.
- Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Uncharted 4 marked the end of Nathan Drake’s adventures. But The Lost Legacy proves that the franchise has plenty of supporting characters and fresh ideas to help carry future entries. Chloe and Nadine are an unexpectedly cohesive pairing that carry the story past its stereotypical antagonist. India is a beautiful location to explore and the game’s puzzles are challenging but accessible.
Not only is Uncharted: The Lost Legacy a great game in its own right, but stands as a proof of concept for the continuation of the franchise.
- South Park: The Fractured But Whole
If playing through a 15-hour episode of South Park sounds enticing, than this RPG from Obsidian entertainment is perfect for you.
I lost track of the amount of fart jokes and laughs I had during my playthrough. Comedy is especially hard to convey in a video game, where most laughs usually originate from weird glitches and bugs that make characters faces disappear.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole achieves putting a “shit-eating grin” on my face through nostalgic character interactions and jokes related to current world events. It’s topical, hilarious and a damn good RPG too.
- Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds
Some may argue that until Dec. 20 Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds wasn’t a game. The nearly 20 hours I put into the game throughout August of this year alone argues otherwise.
Not all Battle Royale games are created the same and the simplistic yet realistic nature of this genre entry grabbed me like few multiplayer games have. Fun alone but downright addictive with friends, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds rises above some recurring technical problems and a less than gorgeous engine to create one of gaming’s biggest phenomenons that shouldn’t be missed.
The follow-up to 2012’s Gone Home, Tacoma represents another evolution in environmental storytelling from the Fullbright company.
The narrative of a near future space crew’s final frantic journey aboard a space craft with a depleting oxygen supply throws the player for loops and somehow allows for a greater discussion on the role of corporations and capitalism on our lives. The cast features some of the most diverse voice acting I’ve heard this year and carries the weight of the story marvelously.
- Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
The first 3 Crash Bandicoot games represent the beginning of my gaming career. The Fur-K upgrade has greatly improved the visuals while at the same time reminding new players and longtime fans that the franchise was never a cakewalk to play.
Although some design decisions remain just as mystifyingly stupid as they did in the 1990s, you can’t help but laugh at the fact that some levels are so ridiculously difficult. Crash is back baby, and I hope he is here to stay. Now if I could just get a Crash Team Racing remake…
- MarioKart 8: Deluxe
We’ve seen MarioKart games on handheld consoles before; we’ve even seen MarioKart 8 before, but nothing has felt like MarioKart 8 Deluxe on the Switch.
More than just a graphical upgrade, MK8 includes all previously released tracks, characters and karts, along with a few new faces, an extra item slot that really shakes up the sparring during races and an entirely revamped battle mode. MarioKart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of the best MarioKart game ever made and the reason I bought a Nintendo Switch.
- Splatoon 2
I may have purchased a Switch to play MarioKart, but Splatoon 2 has kept me coming back to the console like I never anticipated.
I played Splatoon 2 so much in its first two weeks of release that I had to buy a pro controller because I was about to give myself arthritis from playing in handheld mode. I spent a ridiculous amount of hours grinding for enough points to get my squid-kid the freshest pair off off-brand Yeezys I could find in the shops, all the while inking my way through the best multiplayer shooter of 2017.
Now if only the game supported some normal voice-chat.
- Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
When I bought Wolfenstein II, I expected stellar gameplay supported by a barely-there story, essentially a mindlessly violent shooter gallery. What I found instead was the best first-person shooter I’ve had the fortune to play in years. The gunplay somehow falls second to a story with characters so riveting and life-like that I half expected them to jump out of the screen and physically drag me into their resistance against the Nazis.
This is a single-player experience made for those seasoned FPS veterans that study every corner of A level in order to escape it on the highest difficulty. B.J. Blazkowicz and Grace Walker offer incredible perspectives into a Nazi controlled America, and whether we anticipated it or not, the story and its message resonates with the events of the present day.
F**k Nazis, and cheers to my 2017 Game of the Year: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
Honorable mentions: ARMS, Destiny 2, Resident Evil 7