So it’s game of the year time again, and despite all they have said about what a great year this is for games, the gaming press has a pretty much consensus choice for 2017’s best game: Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s won from IGN, Gamespot, Kotaku, etc, etc; nothing else is remotely close. Games like Mario, Horizon, PUBG, and such don’t have many GOTY awards yet, though I’m sure they will get them from somewhere. (Giant Bomb hasn’t announced their winner yet, but for some time now PUBG has been the one they’re most likely to have picked. I guess we’ll see though…)
As for me though, while BotW is a pretty good game, it’s certainly not one of my favorites. Sure it’s good, and you can do some pretty interesting things as you explore around the world, but the open-world nature of the game loses me. I’ve never liked open world games much, pretty much ever, and while even I did find wandering around looking for stuff fun for a little while, the game didn’t keep me coming back and I haven’t played it in months now.
Despite that though, this year, for the first time in a long time, I actually played a lot of modern games. Oh, I still love and played a lot of older games, but I got a new PC, a Wii U, and an Xbox One (S) this year, and played lots of games on them, and on my (New) 3DS as well. Indeed, when I looked at the list of games I have that released in 2017, the 3DS dominates the list as far as quality goes. It’s not quite as great as the original DS, but still the 3DS is amazing and one of the best handhelds ever.
That said, I’ve got three lists this year, one for my favorite games I played that released in 2017, second one for my favorite games that I bought in 2017 but are older, and last a short list of the games I think I played the most this year, old or new, games I bought this year or that I already had.
Before I begin, there is one game that definitely would be on my list if I had it and the system it’s for, Super Mario Odyssey. The game looks exceptional and if I had a Switch it w*ould almost certainly be my #2 game this year. There are two other near-definite top 10 titles for 2017 that also are not here because I don’t have them and haven’t played them, Sonic Mania and another Switch game, Splatoon 2. I got the first Splatoon this year and really loved it, so the sequel is a game I am sure I would love. And as for Sonic Mania, as a fan of the Genesis Sonic games, it looks awesome, I just haven’t gotten it yet. With that said though, the list below only includes games I have actually played.
My Favorite Games of 2017 That Released In 2017
1. Starcraft Remastered (PC) The original Starcraft is my favorite game ever made, and this higher-resolution remaster is the same game, just with better graphics. What this reminded me is that yes, Starcraft is still the best. The gameplay is exactly the same as before, the updated graphics look fantastic, and the new auto-matchmaking is a great addition! If HD remasters count for Game of the Year, this is my pick for sure.
2. Yooka-Laylee (PC) Yooka-Laylee gets a lot of criticism, but I love this game. Playtonic did a fantastic game of making a new game in the style of Rare’s classics! The games’ relatively low budget does show in some ways, including the games’ length, the bad Rextro minigames, and such, but for the most part this is an incredible game. The levels are fantastically designed, the graphics are great, the soundtrack is exceptional, and more. This is a true classic, and it’s one of the best 3d platformers in a long time. It also has the misfortune of releasing in the same year as Mario Odyssey, but still, it’s fantastic!
3. Ever Oasis (3DS) This is a very seriously under-rated action-RPG, and I like it a lot. This game is from the creator of the Mana series, and I like that series and it has some clear similarities to this title. Ever Oasis has some issues, but it’s really good and I recommend it.
4. Etrian Odyssey V (3DS) Etrian Odyssey V is a classic-styled dungeon crawler, much like the three DS EO games, but with some interesting new elements in the character skill trees and such. This is not an innovative game, and I miss some of the stuff EOIV added but this game does not have, but still it’s a fantastic and very addictive game that well deserves being on the top five of this list.
5. Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS) Metroid: Samus Returns is the first new sidescrolling Metroid game in almost 15 years, and it’s great! Considering the pedigree of this series, that alone should be enough to make a top 10 list, and indeed it is. This game improves on the original Metroid 2 and adds some great new features as well. I don’t love the melee attack, but otherwise this game is very good. Oh, and it looks and sounds great, also.
6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U) Zelda is one of my favorite game franchises, but I am not an open-world game fan, which is why this game is this far down on my list despite its obvious quality. I like some things about this game a lot, but it doesn’t grab me like I would like a Zelda game to. Still, this IS a great game, and I definitely like it. Finding and solving shrines is pretty fun.
7. Chicken Wiggle (3DS) This is an indie 2d platformer which most people ignored, but actually is a lot of fun. This is a somewhat slow-paced puzzle-heavy platformer, and traversing the levels with your chicken-and-worm character pair is a lot of fun. The campaign is pretty good, and the game has a full level editor and online level sharing too! Given the games’ lack of success there are not as many levels available online as there should be, but there are well over a thousand, at least, some good, so there are lots of levels to play for this game.
8. For Honor (Xbox One) The Middle Ages have always been my favorite historical period, and this is a pretty fun hack and slash third-person action game in a medieval setting. It’s not the best game ever, but it’s very fun stuff. It looks really good, and the gameplay has some variety and interesting combat as well.
9. Snake Pass (PC) I love 3d platformers, and this unique one is pretty cool. Figuring out the snake movement controls takes effort, but it’s worth it. The game looks nice and making your way through the environments is fun.
10. Parascientific Escape: Crossing at the Farthest Horizon (3DS) This is the third game in this visual novel / graphic adventure / escape-room series, and it’s about as fun as the previous ones. These are simple and short little games, but I find them interesting and fun. The story is quite anime, but I’m okay with that and the characters and puzzles are decently good.
Honorable Mention: Cuphead (PC/Xbox One) Cuphead has a fantastic and awesome 1930s cartoon-inspired visual style, and probably largely because of that it is getting a lot of acclaim. And I do like this game, but I don’t think the gameplay quite matches up to the visual extravaganza. This is a pretty good game. It is hard but in a well-balanced way, and it is rewarding when you beat a boss. However, the sidescrolling levels are not great, the bosses are not all equally amazing, and such. I could see moving this game up the list, as I do like it, but even so I am going to put it here in 11th.
Again though, while I like all ten of these games, those bottom three would not make the list if I had played Mario Odyssey, Sonic Mania, and Splatoon 2. Those three would definitely bump those three down into an Honorable Mentions category.
Second, while it’s not a ranked list, here are all of the older games that I bought in 2017 and I liked enough to mention. These are all games I think of as being probably at least worth an A- grade, though I have finished few so I wouldn’t formally score them of course.
Note: these are not in order at all. Additionally, I do not count games which I bought for one system but previously owned for another platform unless the two games are actually different.
Color Zen (3DS)
Shantae (3DS VC – GBC)
R-Type Dimensions (PS3)
Dark Lord (Famicom)* [Game is only good with translation patch though since I don’t read Japanese]
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Splatoon (Wii U)
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
Kid Icarus Uprising (3DS)
Garou: Mark of the Wolves (360 – Neo-Geo rerelease)
Picross 3D Round 2 (3DS)
Dishonored 2 (PC)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (Wii U)
Meteos: Disney Magic (DS)
Puzzle Quest 2 (DS)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)
Overwatch (PC and Xbox One)
Gravitar (Atari 2600)
Professor Layton and the Last Spectre (DS)
Rare Replay (Xbox One)
TrackMania Turbo (Xbox One)
If I was also listing games I got for a system but previously owned for another, I’d mention Ikaruga, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition for the 360, Dead or Alive 5 Last Round and Diablo III for Xbox One, and Geometry Wars 3 for PC and Xbox One, certainly.
Of all these games, the ones I think are the best overall, ranking-wise, are Mario Maker, Mario 3D World, and Splatoon, probably in that order. The Wii U is a really great console and its best games are among the best ever made. Rare Replay, Picross 3D Round 2, Overwatch, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, and Garou: Mark of the Wolves are also very, very high quality games I like a lot.
MY MOST PLAYED GAMES THIS YEAR
It is hard to say how much I played any one particular game, because most games do not have ingame clocks saying how much you played them, but here is my attempt at guessing which games I played the most this year. There isn’t one game I know I definitely played a lot more than any other this year, so this list is not prioritized.
Most Played (Guesstimate, Not in Order)
Splatoon (Wii U)
Picross 3D Round 2 (3DS)
Starcraft Remastered (PC)
Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)
Super Mario Maker (3DS and Wii U versions)
Color Cross (DS)
Beyond that I’m not sure; I’m sure there are dozens of games I put enough hours into to make this list… so I won’t guess. But those seven are definitely games I played a lot of this year.
… Oh, and I played a fair amount of Minesweeper (PC) too. It’s still great…