As we come into 2018, it’s the perfect time to look back on the gaming landscape from the past year. There were some lofty highs, some shattering lows and a lot of creamy middles, but overall 2017 was a good year for gaming: the Nintendo NX became the Switch, VR took-off in a great way, indie games received a new lease on life, and the SNES Classic was a darling unit (if you could get your hands on one). Before we get into our top games for the year, we have some honourable mentions.
Looking across different ‘Game of the Year’ lists after writing our top five, we noticed some games that were fairly common (if not consistent) entries in lists that didn’t make ours. For the most part, it’s really simple, but they are absent here because we didn’t get a chance to play them. Persona 5 has really taken the world by storm, exceeding its likely place as an unspoken classic to become truly great. Some lists have this taking the top spot, but it’s seldom out of the top five. Nier: Automata is a game I hadn’t really heard anything about, but reviews and word-of-mouth have reserved its spot at the top of my ‘to play’ pile. I’ve never been the biggest fan of horror games, but what the people at Capcom did with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, must be commended. Changing the formula of the previous games to make something new but still making it like the much-loved original? Fantastic. Sadly I didn’t get a real chance to play it fully, as I only picked it up in the January sales. The last honourable mention isn’t one I’ve seen on a lot of lists, and there may be a good reason – Yakuza Kiwami is a remake of the first Yakuza game, and follows up a bit more on the previous year’s surprise hit Yakuza 0. The only reason it didn’t make our list is because while it only came out in the West in August of 2017, it was initially released in Japan in January of 2016, so it was a hard case to make.
5. Dream Daddy
Probably the most ‘controversial’ entry on this list, in that I don’t know if this will be on any other list. Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is just that, a dating sim where you woo other fathers and daddies. Produced by Game Grumps, this is a must-buy on Steam if you want a fun, relaxing queer time.
4. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Another surprising hit, Wolfenstein II was one of the break-out shooters this year. Known mainly for its ‘controversial’ political elements, it was great to sit back and play a wonderful, classic FPS.
3. Sonic Mania
Speaking of classic gameplay, Sonic Mania was the game we all wanted from the likes of Sonic 4 and Generations. A game made from passion, and love, and it really shows.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The complete antithesis to Sonic Mania, Breath of the Wild was an awe-inspiring experience. Completely different than any other Zelda game, really, it showed that Nintendo can really do anything. Breathtaking.
1. Super Mario Odyssey
This may be controversial, as most pundits have Zelda ahead of Mario this year, but Super Mario Odyssey is simply the most fun I’ve had with a game in years. If you could take the concept of ‘pure joy’ and distill it down into a game cartridge, what you’d get is Super Mario Odyssey.