Let’s be honest, 2017 has been a pretty difficult year for the world. Whether its witnessing global tensions bubble over to breaking point, or seeing another highly anticipated DC movie fall flat on its face, it looks like our planet is in an increasing state of uncertainty. Thank god for video games then.
Despite the rest of our planet’s troubles, the last twelve months have given us some absolutely incredible gaming experiences. With 2017 being one of the medium’s strongest years in recent memory, whittling the best down to just ten was the source of many a heated debate here at the FANDOM offices. Somehow though, we managed to reach that lofty 1-0 without engaging in too many fist fights. Without further ado, here are the ten games we played this year that we think will be remembered for years to come.
10. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
A few years ago, the only things more certain than the release of a new Assassin’s Creed game were death and taxes. Unfortunately for Ubisoft, the middling response to the series’ last two entries (Unity and Syndicate) made the publisher hastily rethink its annual approach to those pesky assassins. Now, after a two year break, Assassin’s Creed is finally back.
Thankfully though, it looks like the series’ sabbatical paid off, because Assassin’s Creed: Origins is a bold step for the franchise in almost every direction. This time, the long-standing one buttoncombat system has been completely overhauled. Stealth and open world environments mean that engaging the enemy requires far more thought, which is made all the easier by the fantastic addition of Senu, the pet eagle.
Unsurprisingly though, its the setting that will keep you completely enthralled. Despite still feeling like an AC game, offers a vastly different landscape and tone from previous instalments.Top it off with the memorable yet vulnerable duo of Aya and Bayek, and this sequel managed to go back in time while taking several steps forward.
Origins might not look or play like any Assassin’s Creed that came before it, but thanks to its bold mix of the old and new, this will probably cement its place a the new favourite game in the franchise for many.
9. Resident Evil VII
After a few years where the franchise arguably lost its way, the king of survival horror has returned with a vengeance. Doing away with the action-heavy feel of its predecessors, Resident Evil VII takes inspiration from the likes of Outlast and goes back to the blood-curdling horror fans have been pining for.
Thanks to its brilliant VCR flashbacks and nail-biting atmosphere, you never know what you’ll find, or where you’ll find it, as you creep through the Baker mansion. With a mix of tense ammo-watching action and sections that simply see you fleeing in terror, Capcom’s latest is a spine-chilling blend of action and horror. The ending may not be to everyone’s tastes, but make no mistake — this is a modern horror classic.
For an even more pant-soiling experience, play this first-person game in virtual reality — a move that’s guaranteed to heighten every jump scare.. and haunt your every waking dream. No matter how you choose to play it though, this is a finely crafted horror experience that you don’t want to miss.
8. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Of all the franchises you’d expect to take players on an emotional journey, the arcadey Nazi-blaster Wolfenstein definitely wasn’t a likely candidate. Yet, despite the series’ simplistic roots, developer Machine Games has admirably managed to weave a compelling narrative into this balls-to-the-wall shooter.
Bethesda’s latest takes the brilliant gameplay of the last Wolfenstein game and cranks the tension up to almost insufferable levels. Playing as all American hero BJ Blaskowtiz, its up to you and a rag-tag bunch of misfits to take back the USA from the evil clutches of the Nazi army. Given the alarming rise of Neo-Nazism in the real world, there’s something surprisingly cathartic about being given the chance to put an end to racism on a digital front.
Still, whether you’re looking for a bit of political catharsis or simply just to blast lots of dudes, Wolfenstein II has you covered. When it comes to captivating single player shooters Bethesda’s latest boldly cements itself as one of the finest of the generation.
7. Persona 5
Picture the worst person you know – now imagine that you had the power to truly change them. In a nutshell, that’s the fantasy which Persona 5 sells. After getting into a spot of trouble back home, players take control of misunderstood high school kid who finds themselves suddenly alone in Tokyo. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, he also quickly learns that he has the power totravel to the shadow world. With real world Tokyo falling victim to the whims of some evil people, our protagonist and his rag-tag crew of high schoolers set out to free the baddies from evil by defeating their shady Personas in the shadow world.
With all your activities governed by a strict in-game calendar, players have to choose how best to manage their time and balance their real world and shadow world activities. That may not sound particularly exciting on paper, but, thanks to the astounding amount of different ways you can choose to spend your time, the whole experience becomes wonderfully varied and addictive. Ramen in Shibuya, anyone?
It helps that this is also one of the most stylish experiences in gaming. Thanks to brilliantly over the top menus, richly-detailed character models and even fully drawn anime cutscenes, Persona 5 remains consistently eye-catching throughout its 100-hour playtime. Boasting highly memorable characters and a soundtrack that will spend days bopping around the inside of your head – Persona 5 is a wonderfully unique RPG that simply has to be experienced to be believed.
6. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
It’s rare that a game comes out of nowhere and completely shakes up the industry, but that’s exactly what this ambitious battle-royale style shooter did. Starting life as a mod for the painstakingly realistic shooter ARMA 2, this 100 player survival deathmatch quickly captured the imagination of millions of gamers.
Since its fairly modest launch at the start of the year, this little known Early Access shooter has quickly gone on to become the biggest indie hit since Minecraft. Now, after racking up over 20 million sales and boasting over 2 million concurrent players, PUBG has finally airdropped its way onto an Xbox near you. While the Xbox port is currently incredibly rough around the edges, even a poor framerate can’t stop this from being one of the most enjoyable multiplayer experiences of recent memories.
Thanks to the game’s randomly spawned drops and the ever-changing nature of online games, PUBG’s loot-based mayhem creates a never-ending supply of brilliantly memorable gaming stories. This Christmas, squad up with three friends, loot yourself some cool gear, and create some gaming memories that you won’t soon forget.
5. Life Is Strange: Before The Storm
Against all odds, Deck Nine’s Life Is Strange prequel has somehow managed to live up to the lofty heights of the original. Putting aside the supernatural and instead focusing on a far more relatable tale, this gripping prequel shows once again that interactive entertainment has the power to take on TV at its own game.
Just like a binge-worthy TV series, Before The Storm’s finale leaves you with the feeling that your time’s been well invested. Thanks to characters and conversations you won’t soon forget, a brilliantly emotive soundtrack and some truly heart-wrenching decisions to be made, Deck Nine have continued to raise expectations for storytelling in video games.
It may lack the mechanical variety and elegant sophistication of say, What Remains Of Edith Finch, but despite that, Before The Storm still manages to be one of the finest gaming experiences in undoubtedly one of the medium’s best years.
4. Super Mario Odyssey
Of all the games to feel fresh and essential in 2017, who would have guessed it would be this one? While mainline Mario games have always set the standard for the platforming genre, the Wii U’s fun but forgettable Super Mario 3D World suggested that Nintendo may have been running out of new ideas for its mustachioed mascot.
Thankfully though, this joyous adventure somehow proves that’s very much not the case. For Mario’s first Switch outing, Nintendo has returned to the sandbox-style environments that made 64 such a beloved classic.
To put it bluntly, the resulting game is so grin-inducingly enjoyable that it stands toe to toe with Nintendo’s very best. With refreshingly varied kingdom designs that offer a playful mix of the old and the new, Super Mario Odyssey is a game where you never really know what to expect next. We could tell you more about the individual moments that make this game such a magical experience, but honestly, to reveal too many of its secrets would simply spoil the fun.
If you’re tired of empty-feeling open worlds and soulless grinds, do yourself a favor and pick up one of the most inventive and enjoyable video games in recent memory.
3. What Remains Of Edith Finch
Ever since the first Metal Gear Solid, game developers have strived to create interactive experiences that match the scope of big budget movies. Refreshingly then, UK based developer Giant Sparrow has instead looked to a far older medium for inspiration — the novel.
It’s a risk that’s paid off, as What Remains Of Edith Finch is the closest gaming’s come to capturing the essence of a good book. Put in the shoes of Edith Finch JR, players find themselves exploring their grandma’s family home as they seek to uncover the dark mysteries that surround the Finch family’s past.
As you journey through the creaky old mansion, the story chops and changes, putting you in the shoes of different Finch family members as you uncover their diary entries. What could have been messy instead feels like a perfectly orchestrated collection of interweaving stories.
While this may sound similar to games like Gone Home, what separates this from its peers is the surprising gameplay variety on offer here. Whenever you discover a new diary, the gameplay (and accompanying aesthetic) changes radically from the last entry, resulting in some beautifully designed and incredibly varied gameplay experiences. If there was ever a release that proved video games’ chops as a storytelling medium, it’s What Remains of Edith Finch.
2. Nier Automata
If you’re looking to play something a bit different this year, then look no further. Serving as a stand-alone sequel to 2010’s cult classic, Nier, this unique action RPG is refreshingly bizarre. When it isn’t suddenly switching genre from fast-paced hack and slash to 2D-style shooter, Nier Automata is instead tugging at your conscience, teaching you philosophy and making you constantly question your in-game actions.
A collaboration between Square Enix and Bayonetta developers Platinum Games, this open-world action RPG feels (unsurprisingly) brilliant to play. Tasked with reclaiming a post-apocalyptic Earth from a menacing army of machines, this intriguing adventure may not be the best looking RPG around (on the standard PS4, anyway), but it more than makes up for it with its wonderfully insane story.
Playing as combat android 2B, your journey sees you upgrading your abilities by adding chips to your motherboard – wholeheartedly embracing the protagonist’s robotic nature throughout to deliver some very meta moments.
To say any more would simply spoil it, but thanks to its unsettling and surprisingly poignant narrative, this is comfortably one of the best stories to come out of Japan in a long while. With it taking multiple playthroughs to truly see how Automata’s branching story plays out, there’s a lot of game to love here. Avoid this wonderfully weird adventure at your own risk.
1. The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
After years of waiting, this March finally saw the release of Link’s first original HD adventure. As the first console Zelda title since the Wii’s ambitious — but ultimately disappointing — Skyward Sword, fans were desperate to see what kind of Hyrulian adventure Nintendo could create with beefier hardware. As it turns out, Nintendo was more than ready for the HD era.
Not only did Nintendo gleefully defy series conventions in bold new ways, but the Zelda team also injected an increasingly stagnant genre with new life. Doing away with the big and soulless empty worlds that define so many of its open world peers, Breath Of The Wild’s impossibly sprawling map is littered with enough secrets and personality to ensure that each and every corner of this new Hyrule is worth seeing.
For the first time in years, this was a game that made us remember the joy of discovery. With an intricate web of physics and systems coming together in beautiful ways, this bold adventure surprises and delights at every turn. Nintendo has not only made one of the best entries in one of the most acclaimed series of all time, but more importantly, set an incredibly lofty bar for open-world video games.
Breath Of The Wild is everything a video game should be, inventive, joyous and more than a bit magical. You owe it to yourself to pick up this masterpiece.