2017 has been a wonderful year for video games.
2017 is almost over and my god, what a year it has been for video games. From January up to now, many awesome games have been released. Games with well written narratives, fantastic gameplay, rich and vast worlds and of course games that are a huge amount of fun.
There are of course great games that I haven’t played such as Persona 5, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (I don’t have a Switch yet), so there will be games that you have played that won’t be on my list.
As it’s the end of the year, many people come up with their Game of the Year lists. So I thought I’d jump on the list train and give you my Top 10 Games of 2017.
10. Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is a story focused entry in the Samurai Warriors series that focuses on the legendary Sanada Clan. I thought that this might be good however, I was surprised to find out that it was much better than I thought it would be.
The story shows the rise and fall of the Sanada Clan. The tale is one of family, friendship and war, it gripped me from start to finish. If you are knowledgeable in the Sengoku Period of Japanese History or the Sanada Clan itself, then you’ll know how turbulent the story is and how it ends. It features the most prominent members of the Sanada Clan, Masayuki, Yukimura and Noboyuki Sanada and all are playable.
Spirit of Sanada has a number of new additions, all of which I like. It has a small hub-world that is filled with stuff to do in and shops to buy things from. It has exploration areas which are open areas the size of a battlefield and you are free to explore them, to collect resources and complete missions. There’s also a day/ night cycle during battles which is something I always wanted for the Warriors franchise, so it was a wonderful surprise when I saw it implemented in Spirit of Sanada.
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada was a game that at first I thought, “it might be just another Samurai Warriors game”, which I don’t mind but with a heavier focus on story. As I played Spirit of Sanada I went from liking it, to loving it. Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada surpassed every expectation I had and for that I have to applaud it.
9. The Evil Within 2
I liked the first Evil Within game, sure it had problems but it had charm. The Evil Within 2 fixes the problems the first game had, brought in some new things that worked and kept that charm it had before.
The Evil Within 2 is quite different from its predecessor, as this one opts for a semi-open world called Union rather than a linear path. The open world elements give the game a Silent Hill vibe which is most welcome. There’s an air of uneasiness when walking around Union, ghastly looking monsters roam the streets and ammo is in low supply so stealth kills are advised.
One gripe that most people had with the first game, was that the story made no sense. The Evil Within 2 fixes that and we are given a story that is pretty damn good for a survival horror and still has those weird moments. The story this time around is more straight forward and it is much stronger for it. Sebastian finds out that his daughter is still alive and in order to rescue her, he has to go back in the STEM machine and go through hell once again. Sebastian grows as a character and you actually feel for the man as the story progresses.
The Evil Within 2 isn’t perfect but it improves upon its predecessor in nearly every single aspect. If you enjoyed the first one but were on the fence about this one then don’t be. The Evil Within 2 is a fun survival horror game that you don’t want to miss out on.
When I first played this game back at EGX 2016, I cried tears of joy and happiness. It felt like I had gone back in time and revisited my childhood, I was incredibly happy. So when the full game released this year, it felt like going back in time. Running around getting collectibles, it felt as if I was playing Banjo-Kazooie. It was nostalgic, I felt at home.
Yooka-Laylee is the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie made by Playtonic, a development studio that has many people from Rare, the developer of Banjo-Kazooie. They wanted to make a game that is similar to Banjo-Kazooie because they knew people wanted it and that is what the developers themselves wanted to do.
The characters Yooka and Laylee make an unlikely but lovable tag team. Yooka is a cool chameleon and Laylee is a sassy fruit bat. The dialogue that goes on between these two and the numerous NPC’s that you meet in the game is wonderful. There are puns galore, innuendos, sarcasm, jokes that only adults will get and jokes that aren’t even funny yet somehow, they still make you laugh. The writing in Yooka-Laylee, just like Banjo-Kazooie is clever and witty. It is top-notch stuff.
Banjo-Kazooie made me a collectible freak and I became a collectible freak once again in Yooka-Laylee. I went around the worlds collecting Quills and Pagies like a madman. My radar was on, sonar too. I set out to find every last collectible in the game and that I did. Pagies here, Pagies there, “Pagies in Cagies”, I got them all. Collecting them all was an incredibly fun journey.
Playtonic set out to make a game that is a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie and to make people who played it to feel nostalgic. Playtonic knocked it out of the park with Yooka-Laylee, I was laughing, smiling and having fun from start to finish. The nostalgia in Yooka-Laylee was strong and it made me like a kid again.
7. Resident Evil 7
After having an identity crisis thanks to Resident Evil 6, people’s expectations were kept low about Resident Evil 7. When Resident Evil 7 was announced and was revealed to be first-person, fans were divided and some asked the question “has the Resident Evil series truly lost it’s identity?” Well I can happily say that no, the series hasn’t lost it’s identity, in fact it has regained it but this time from a different perspective.
The first-person perspective is a big change to the formula, it was a gamble Capcom was willing to make and it paid off greatly. You are close to the action, closer to the horror thanks to the first-person view. The controls are tight and shooting is great. The game is even better in VR as I felt as if I was actually there, running away from the monsters and the Baker family.
The Baker family are the stars of the show. These are the game’s antagonists and they are brilliant, all have of them have a personality and they make you feel uneasy. The boss fights are great, they are fun and they do a brilliant job at keeping you on edge, especially the Marguerite Baker fight (my favourite fight in the game). They are great bad guys and have an interesting backstory. Even though this family is weird and creepy as hell, I love them.
If you’re a fan of the series and have yet to play Resident Evil 7 because it is first-person then please, I implore that you give it a go. Resident Evil 7 is a survival horror through and through and is arguably the best game that has come out in the genre for years. Welcome back Resident Evil, welcome home.
6. Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy
Crash is back and he’s back with a bang. His first three adventures, all remastered for PS4 and my god was the N.Sane Trilogy done with love and care. Nostalgia ran wild as finally, after many years, I was playing Crash Bandicoot once again.
The N.Sane Trilogy contains Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped all done up in a nice and shiny collection for PS4. All three adventures play like they did before, with a few improvements to the controls of course. If you played these games on PS1 like myself, then you’ll know some maybe all of the secrets in the games.
Jumping on boxes, doing my best to smash every single one of them because I had to. People who play Crash know that they have to smash every box they can, it becomes second nature. After a while you’ll start smashing boxes in real life (don’t actually do that).
Of course how can I forget the villains, whom are looking pretty nice. Papu Papu, Pinstripe Potoroo, Ripper Roo, N-Gin, Tiny Tiger and of course Doctor Neo Cortex (I know I missed a few there, I listed my favourites). All look nice on PS4 and they are all there, ready for you to defeat. Of course Cortex will do his best to take over the world but we all know how that ends up.
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is a good example remaster done brilliantly. Now that Crash is back and is introduced to a new audience, I hope to see more of Crash in the future. More Bandicoot adventures look likely as well, as sales for the N.Sane Trilogy have been strong. Take your time with the next Crash Bandicoot game Vicarious Visions and give us an adventure to remember.
5. Horizon: Zero Dawn
Guerrilla Games developer of the awesome Killzone series, set out to do something new, something they hadn’t tried before. Of course trying something new is a big gamble, it could do tremendously well or it could fail dramatically. I can safely say that Guerrilla’s latest game, Horizon: Zero Dawn is an outstanding game and is anything but a failure. It surprised me on how good it was.
I would like to shake the hand of the person who came up with the idea, of a post-apocalyptic world filled with robot dinosaurs and animals. You have one creative mind and are a goddamn genius.
In Horizon you play as Aloy, a character who is strong-willed and strong-minded. She is on a quest to find out who she is, who her mother was and figure out why there has been an increase in corrupted robot animals. Aloy is an interesting character and you find out more about her as you go through the story but the best thing here, is that you learn about Aloy, at the same time she learns about herself. The story takes you on an epic journey and it has some jaw dropping moments.
Just as jaw dropping as the story, are the graphics. They are absoulutely fantastic and they are nearly as good as Uncharted 4’s but given that Horizon is an open world, it’s technical achievement. You can take some stunning pictures with the game’s camera mode. The game is very photogenic.
Guerrilla Games you have a great new IP here, Horizon: Zero Dawn is a fantastic game and you have the foundation for a phenomenal series.
4. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Ladies and gentlemen. After a couple of years of being the series being lost and my love for it slowly fading away, I am absolutely delighted to say that Assassin’s Creed is finally back with Assassin’s Creed: Origins.
Origins is set in Ancient Egypt, a setting that isn’t explored a great deal in video games. Ubisoft Montreal have nailed the Ancient Egypt setting and it felt like I was transported to that era of time. Assassin’s Creed’s rendition of Ancient Egypt is vast, rich and incredibly detailed, it is easily the best historical setting the series has had since Black Flag.
The game’s protagonist Bayek is a mixture of the stoic seriousness that we saw from Altair and the endearing personality of Ezio, it’s the best of both worlds. Bayek is driven by a goal, by revenge and yes, revenge tales are common but the journey that Bayek goes on to achieve his goal is an engaging one. Bayek is easily the best protagonist the series has had since Black Flag and I wouldn’t mind another game with him.
The gameplay is different this time around, the combat has been drastically changed from what it was in previous instalments and it has a lot more RPG elements. Assassin’s Creed: Origins is effectively an RPG and it feels wonderful, it’s a big change from previous entries and I for one welcome it with open arms.
I’m so happy that Assassin’s Creed is back. Origins brought back the love I had for the series and I love the changes they have made like the RPG mechanics. Assassin’s Creed: Origins is one of the best games I’ve played this year and I am very pleased to say this, thank you Ubisoft, for restoring the love I have for this incredible series. I can’t wait to see where franchise goes next.
3. Tekken 7
Over 20 years of story building up to the day that every Tekken fan knew would come, when Kazuya and Heihachi finally settle things once and for all. Tekken 7 brings a number of new things to the table, including a cinematic story mode and it all delivers a knockout punch.
The 20 year-long story between Heihachi Mishima and Kazuya Mishima comes to an end in Tekken 7 and does so in epic fashion, thanks a fantastic cinematic story mode. In the story mode you’ll go back in time and play out events that happened in the past like, Kid Kazuya vs Heihachi or Kazuya and Heihachi fighting off the armada of JACK robots at Honmaru. I was beaming with joy when I was fighting the army of JACK robots at Honmaru, it is one of my favourite parts of the Mishima story line. The story mode is short and sweet but I am happy with how it panned it out. If this is the direction Namco are taking when it comes to story modes in fighting games, I can’t wait for the future.
Two new gameplay elements have been added to Tekken 7, Rage Drives and Rage Arts. These mechanics can only be used when in Rage and if used properly, they can dramatically change the tide of the fight. Rage Drive can be used to inflict a chunk of damage on someone or they can be used in between moves, so you can extend a combo or give it a powerful final hit. Rage Drives are effectively super moves. When activated they can deal a serious amount of damage, they can bring you back into the game or get you the victory. I love the Rage Arts as it adds a level of tension and when playing online, it’s a “will they or won’t they use it” situation, it keeps you guessing. The Rage Arts don’t break the game, as they can be blocked or sidestepped.
Tekken 7 introduced several new characters, all of them play pretty good and are welcome additions to Tekken’s stacked roster. One of the new fighters called Claudio has some really cool moves and can cover some distance with one particular move (Tekken 7 players will know which move I’m on about). The one that surprised me the most though is Gigas, I thought he would end up being another Marduk (I could never play as Marduk). However Gigas has some insane strength and despite his size, he can move pretty damn quick. Gigas quickly became a character that I wanted to learn, the same goes for Claudio and Shaheen.
Tekken 7 delivered on so much, it has the best gameplay the series has ever seen. The new characters are awesome and are a much welcome addition to Tekken’s stacked roster of fighters. The story mode gave us an epic and fitting end to the feud between Heihachi and Kazuya and it made a big impact on me, as I’ve been playing the series since Tekken 2 and I’ve always enjoyed the overarching story. The King of Iron Fist Tournament is back and its seventh instalment is absolutely brilliant.
2. NieR: Automata
I thought I would like NieR: Automata but I didn’t think that I would end up loving it. It’s a game that surprised me completely, from its story to the music and to its characters. I went into NieR: Automata thinking, “this will be a fun hack and slash RPG” and came out saying “my god, what an experience”.
The combat is fast, fluid and smooth but this is expected given that Platinum Games. The melee combat is very satisfying to dish out on the enemies but there is also ranged combat in the form your pod that floats around with you. Whenever Platinum Games develop a game, the gameplay is usually the best thing in it but it’s different with NieR: Automata. The best thing about NieR: Automata is its story.
The story for NieR: Automata is told in an unconventional way as the story isn’t told in a single playthrough. In order to get NieR’s full story, you have to do at least three runs of the game. So when you the credits roll the first time, you have to load up that save file and a whole new playthrough with a new character is open for you. This kind of storytelling has been done before but it is very risky, as it could catastrophically backfire. Luckily the story being told across multiple playthroughs works very well for NieR: Automata, as it adds to the game’s charm and uniqueness. There’s also a part in third run through of the story, that made me blubber like a goddamn baby.
You might think the main characters 2B, 9S and A2 are emotionless and soulless but bear with it and you’ll be rewarded greatly. The characters and their emotions are developed greatly as you progress.
The world is different and somewhat unique. The world of NieR: Automata is ruined, civilisation is gone and save for a few animals, robots rule the world now. It’s abandoned and desolate yet it is intriguing. There’s a city that has been left to ruin, a carnival ran by robots and a friendly robot village.
The music is good, very good and again surprising. There’s a score that plays whilst you roam the land that sounds epic. The friendly robot village has awesome music and it gave me a Dark Cloud vibe. Then there is the game’s main song, Weight of the World. A truly powerful piece that fits extremely with NieR’s story.
NieR: Automata was the biggest gaming surprise of the year. I knew it would be good but it amazed on how good it was. The fast combat, the wonderful music, the intriguing characters, the weird yet mesmerising story, it all surprised me. Thank you Yoko Taro and Platinum Games, NieR: Automata was one of a hell of a ride and I can’t wait for a sequel.
1. Yakuza 0 (Zero)
Friends and family would have almost certainly guessed that Yakuza 0 would be my favourite game of the year. I was extremely hyped for Yakuza 0 and it did not disappoint, in fact it surpassed every expectation I had of it by a country mile.
My favourite Yakuza game is Yakuza 3, the one I started with, the one that started my love for this series. I’ve played all the Yakuza games that have come out over to the west and none of them for me, had beaten or levelled with the third instalment. That was until Yakuza 0. The story engrossed from beginning to end. It’s full of emotion, honour, violence and humour. The story even brought a very manly tear to my eye. I won’t say what goes on in the story, as I don’t want to ruin a truly awesome experience for those who haven’t played it.
Yakuza 0 is a prequel set in 1980’s Japan, a truly unique setting when it comes to video games. Series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu is playable again this time around, albeit younger but still just as badass. However Zero allows us to play as fan favourite Goro Majima as well. Both characters are developed well throughout the course of the game and it gives them more depth than they already had. Fans of the series will appreciate the extra details and backstory we are given about Kiryu and Majima.
The combat in Zero is the best in the series. Both Kiryu and Majima have four fight styles and each one of them plays differently. Kiryu fights like normally, whereas Majima fights like a madman (the Breaker and Mad Dog fight styles in particular). Beating up thugs never gets old thanks to the different fight styles and the amount of choice when it comes to fighting. Do you want to smack someone over the head with a bike? You can do it Yakuza 0. Do you want to beat someone up with a traffic cone? You can do it in Yakuza 0. You can fight with your fists, with style or you can go crazy and use a plethora of weapons such as a bin or a kettle.
The Yakuza series is known for weird and wonderful substories and Zero has plenty of them. The substories range from, being a director for a video to helping a dominatrix who isn’t good at her job, to become more dominant. The series is also known for its many activities such as bowling and karaoke (I love the Karaoke) and Yakuza 0 introduced a few new activities, my favourite being the “Pocket Car Racing”. I found the Pocket Car mini-game to be incredibly addictive, modding my little car bit by bit just to win the next race. The game is packed with content that is fun and entertaining.
I could go on and on about how good Yakuza 0 is, but my review for it that I did a while back can do that for me. Yakuza 0 is a game that I am still playing today, I’ve spent 90+ hours on it and I’m still having fun. Yakuza 0 is the best game I’ve played in 2017 and it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played.
There were so many great games released this year and coming up with my top 10 was hard. There are many games aside from those listed above that I have enjoyed this year. So here are more games that were released in 2017 that I enjoyed –
Cuphead, Sniper Elite 4, Yakuza Kiwami, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, Sonic Mania, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, Injustice 2, Steamworld Dig 2, Dragon Quest Heroes 2, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, L.A. Noire Remastered, Digimon World Next Order, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk.
What do you think of my Top 10 Games of the Year? What are favourite games of 2017? Let me know in the comments below. If you have written a piece about your favourite games of 2017, then link it in the comments below as I’d love to read what video games made other people happy.
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