Top Ten Games of 2017 (Opinion - Jesse J)
2017 has been one of the best years in gaming ever. This year was a treasure trove of amazing updates to the gaming industry. We received two new consoles in the form of the Nintendo Switch and the Xbox One X bring us the most versatile and most powerful console's respectively. Whether we want to game in full 4K on Xbox One X or exploring Hyrule on the go with Switch, we were able to do so. Both these consoles broke many records, as well as brought us many amazing groundbreaking games. Other amazing changes like Xbox Game Pass, aka "Netflix for Games", and Geforce Now for high end pc stream gaming on low end Macs and PC's, both arrived bringing us a good peak at the future of subscription based gaming. Plus with the rise of VR has given us another glimpse into the future with more amazing AAA VR releases and announcements. Just to showcase how much 2017 was such a great year, there are some honorable mentions that I suspect many will have on their top ten lists. Some may eventually be added to my list of favorites. There are so many great games this year, that an entire runner up list exists. They were mostly left off because I have either yet to fully experience them to my satisfaction to rank them or haven't played them yet at all; however, they may be on other Game Infinite members' lists at the end of this article.
-Evil Within 2
-Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
-Divinity: Original Sin II
-Player Unknown Battlegrounds There are also two games from 2017 that DESERVE to be on the list, and I wish they were. In fact both of them had the potential to be GOTY material. They failed to make the list for real life business reasons that negatively affected the final product.
-Mass Effect Andromeda
-Star Wars Battlefront II
Mass Effect Andromeda and Star Wars Battlefront II are both games than in another universe deserve to be on this list. Poor business decisions lead the developers to fail to deliver a game worthy of top ten, or for many, worthy of their wallets at all. Wrong studio for the job, rampant microtransactions, game design flaws, and various other real life hindrances lead to two beautiful amazing games with so much potential still failing. Mass Effect could have been an amazing 10/10 GOTY game with a vast open galaxy and scope, but it was hampered by an untested rookie team and an unfinished release. Star Wars Battlefront II could have been the gold standard for Star Wars video games. The graphics are so polished and beautiful; you feel like you're in Star Wars. However, the Lootbox Controversy, paired with extremely limited modes, gameplay limitations, and a lackluster campaign, the games teases you with its potential greatness and then takes it all away once you play. Below is the opinion of Jesse J's - Top 10 Games of 2017.
10. Life Is Strange: Before the Storm 8.0/10 Coming in at number 10 is LIS:BTS. This game defies any rule for its existence. To this day, I don't understand how it made it past the idea board. There are three red flags that one looks out for in sequels that SCREAM that a rushed poorly made cash grab is about to arrive. - Different Dev Team - New Main Character - Major Setting/Theme/Gameplay mechanic is removed or drastically changed from the original
Ironically while all three of these things lead to the demise of Andromeda, they stood as an exception to the rule for Before the Storm. This game removed the amazing Setting/Theme/Gameplay mechanic of Time Travel and Crime Solving and left nothing but a "rebellious teenager simulator". Max is replaced with a Chloe (likable but still less likable character). As well, it was developed by a whole new team. All these red flag were marks of game that should be total trash but surprised us all with being amazing. The game is fun, unique, and a charming return to the small town of Arcadia Bay. A few things hold it back from being higher on the list. One is, being episodic, the game is still unfinished with only 2/3's of its story told at the time of this writing in mid December. Episode 3 is announced but not released yet. It's hard to truly rank its greatness with no current end to its story. Plus, time travel was the best mechanic to the original and not having it somehow integrated feels less than it could have been. While the game remains fun, removing that core mechanic was a mistake. Lastly, playing the original is more than necessary to appreciate this game making it hard for new comers. Despite being held back, this game blows past the expectations and on paper descriptions and results in an entertaining game. *Edit* The final act of the game, Episode 3, launched on December 19th after this writing. We find out who the woman in the park is and how this affects Rachel. This brought a satisfying ending to a game with a direct (albeit) tie-in to the original. *Spoiler Alert* The game gives us a final subtle reminder that Rachel is killed off screen in LIS the original. These three episodes gives us so much weight to that original reveal. In the original LIS, Rachel is just an "old friend" of Chloe who we as the player experiences the pain of that loss indirectly through seeing it affect Chloe. In BTS we learn that Rachel and Chloe had more than just a friendship but a love, that brings a much more painful emotion to her death.
9. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 8.0/10 While normally a rerelease should be disqualified from a 2017 list, the failure of the Wii U and smash success of this updated definitive edition of the game, I feel makes adequate argument for MarioKart 8 Deluxe. While technically only a definitive edition of a Wii U game, MarioKart 8 Deluxe found mass success on the far more popular Nintendo Switch. With a beautiful HD update, more in game content, and the added ability for portability and docked mode, plus the ability to play with friends via the Joy-Cons, MarioKart 8 Deluxe is the go to definitive party game of 2017. (Sorry 1-2-Switch)
8. Monument Valley 2 8.0/10 This game is an amazing return to the 3D paradoxical isometric world of Monument Valley. With more puzzles, unique new gameplay elements, Monument Valley 2 perfectly blends the best of the original with exciting aspects. The game introduces a partner system where the main character is matched with a small child adding an extra dimension having to often solve more complex partner based puzzles. Monument Valley is the only mobile game to make the list and it stands well against its larger console and pc competition. Currently only $1.99 on the App Store, this game is the cheapest one of the list, well worth your time.
7. Nier Automata 8.5/10
Nier Automata was one of the first games I got for my PS4 Pro, and its a refreshing unique story and game. It is unusual in its varying genre bending gameplay mechanics. For the majority of the game it is a 3D Third Person Hack and Slash, however with little notice it will switch to 2D Side scrolling beatem up style or a top town shooter. The variation keeps the gameplay fun and exciting. 2B is a likable character for being an android. They could have made her character too robotic, but she has just enough humanity to make her likable. Nier introduced a cool approach to permadeath that I haven't quite seen before. 2B basically uploads herself into android bodies that upon death, she can re-upload to a new body later. What's unique is that the dead body can still be found later in the world for either looting or re-animation to fight as a zombie-like ally. This permadeath approach is refreshingly unique and fun; however, the complex save system that results from it is a little frustrating. Especially since the game begins with a very long level and insta-kill boss before giving you that first save. New comers or gamers with limited gaming time could be discouraged from this save system. However, the world is beautiful, and enhanced on PS4 Pro, as well as had an excellent sound track, winning an award for its soundtrack at the 2017 Game Awards. I highly recommend this game for action adventure/hack and slash fans with a PS4.
6. Farpoint 8.5/10 Farpoint will remain forever in my mind as one of the definitive and first AAA experiences in VR I've ever had. Honestly, Farpoint is a simple scifi shooter where you fight space spiders. If this game had been a traditional non-VR shooter, perhaps it wouldn't have even come close to this list. The graphics and story are average, and its a simple fun shooter with nothing to stand out; however, what makes it stand out is it is one of the best experiences of 2017 in VR. The only VR game on this list; it is amazing and is a full FPS experience on PSVR. The first time a spider jumped at my face, I nearly fell over. You want to cower in fear as a giant spider boss is attacking you, or when spiders overwhelm you. Paired with the new PSVR Aim Controller brought a sense of emersion for a shooter that I have never felt. While shooters are plentiful, and many are immersive, nothing has made me feel like I was actually in a astronauts suit holding a real gun. (This game is not for the arachnophobic) For PSVR owners this game is a must own, bringing value to the expensive headset. It also begins to show that AAA full experiences can exist in VR.
5. Call of Duty WWII 8.5/10
Some may be upset that any Call of Duty is on a "top ten greatest list" but one just cant ignore this game. Try to put the franchise title aside for a moment. Call of Duty WWII is an amazing cinematic experience that delivered on the promise to return to the "boots on the ground" feel of Call of Duty. It is truly beautiful in 4K in a dark ominous drab way, and is the first 4K game I played on my new Xbox One X. In addition to beautiful graphics and facial animations, the audio is amazing. One of my favorite experiences was hearing the metallic "Ching" from the casings released from the M1 Grand, a gun I can personally attest to sounding incredibly accurate.
There are no more robots or jetpacks (things I didn't mind), but being brought back to WWII was an fun change of pace. The developers, Sledgehammer Games took the time to visit historic sites and really study WWII with the desire for it to be a medium in which people can remember such an important era of History. The campaign was diverse with unique missions, and emotional weight in the end as you slowly investigate abandoned Nazi concentration camps. This game wasn't always "fun". Its gritty and emotional and portrays WWII with some reverence. Multiplayer is a fun an unique experience that feels more weighted and tactical. No more wall running and Jet-pack flanking, makes it feel more real. This game is the highest selling game of 2017, and I think for once, that is more than just because of its brand, but because it is a great game. If you gave up on the series "for being too mainstream" or being too similar, then definitely give this one a chance.
4. Assassin's Creed Origins 9.0/10
Whoever said "good things come to those who wait" was talking about Assassin's Creed Origins. After negative reviews and buggy launches on their previous titles, especially with Assassin's Creed Unity's shaky launch, Ubisoft decided to take 2016 off to spend extra time building their next game. What came out of that extra year was an amazing master piece, and by far the best in the franchise to date. Assassin's Creed is a vast beautiful 4K open world action RPG. We are taken back, farther back in time then ever before to ancient Egypt. We see the first official Assassin in the form of Bayek. Bayek is a likable, memorable, and engaging character the likes of Ezio and Edward Kenway. He has a believable motivational backstory (albeit a little cliche), and feels more human with his emotions and being married, gives him a unique human element to him. Combat in the game has been completely revamped in this prequel and feels far more fast and fluid then in past games. The world is filled with far more to do than ever before, much more like a true RPG. In fact, Assassin's Creed Origins has more content on its world map than any previous game, but it does so without feeling cluttered hap-hazard. Side missions feel abundant, but without the feeling of getting lost with insufficient linear nature. Origins also has the mark of having the greatest gaming moments of 2017 in my opinion. Crawling through ancient tunnels, and climbing to the top of the Pyramid at Giza is one of the most amazing moments this year. The RPG formula was built for Assassins Creed, as crafting, hunting, and customizing equipment is both sophisticated enough to satisfy hardcore RPG fans, but simple and intuitive enough to satisfy casuals, traditional AC fans, or those less familiar with RPG's. One could get lost in the vast world of Egypt, spending hours hunting or just exploring the beautiful deserts. Collecting new outfits, weapons, and mounts feel important and truly rewarding. The only negatives that keeps the game from being higher on this list (besides the greatness of the next three titles) The side missions do have a slight degree of repetition, and the immediate DLC preorder bonuses are very barebones missions not worth the time. Also, one could easily argue that this is a high quality "Egypt simulator" and less a Assassin's Creed game. While it is true you do assassinate a LOT of people in this game, maybe more so than any previous game. However, especially for a game called "origins" it feels disconnected from the actual lore of Assassin's Creed. Bayek isn't even referred to as an "assassin". The modern day component is extremely lacking, with almost no purpose to the game at all. It feels tacked on and an afterthought. The actual moment when the "creed" and "brotherhood" are mentioned, it feels somewhat small for an event that spans a multi- millennial secret society. The game could have almost been a Egyptian RPG without the Assassins' Creed Lore and not have suffered much without it; however, that just means it stands alone as a game without the brand. The game is amazing, but works as a prequel. That all being said, a few negatives aside, this is a must play game. Reward the developers decision to take more time to deliver a better game to gamers. They put quality over annual sales, and they deserve our money for that. This will be one of the best games you will have played this year. This game is also the best game of 2017 available on Xbox One. While not an exclusives, this is by far the greatest game for sole xbox one owners who make miss out on the next three games.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 10/10 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is one for the record books. While I placed it at number 3, it could easily be a three way tie for first this year. Plenty of arguments exist for this game being GOTY. It single handedly carried a new console.
While the Nintendo Switch was an astounding success breaking launch records, it launched with an astonishingly small amount of launch titles. It launched with only around 10 titles, and almost all of them were small, mobile, or indie style games. Skylanders and Just Dance were the largest exceptions. The entire console existed to play the Legend of Zelda. This game has recieved more 10/10 reviews than any other game and is one of the greatest games of all time. As I cross into top three it will be hard to argue order on anything other than just my personal taste and opinion. This was my first zelda game ever, so it doesn’t have the massive nostalgia that some may experience. That being said I immensely enjoyed this game, especially as it is the largest most advanced game I’ve ever played on the go. It trully is a massive open world that feels endless in its size or density. While some open world games feel vast but empty, Hyrule is rich with things to do. This game was also my introduction to Amiibo’s (A new addiction I definitely didn’t need but thoroughly enjoy). The art style and sound track are both immensely beautiful. From the moment you first approach a hill and see the vastness of world, to the first boss you fight, it never stops being fun. Im about 40 hours into the game and I still feel like theres more to see and do. For many, including most gaming news platforms this is their GOTY, and I fully understand why. I wholeheartedly recommend this game and give it a 10/10. In simply my humble opinion, there are two greater games this years, but only slightly if not equal.
2. Horizon Zero Dawn 10/10 Horizon Zero Dawn is one of those games that stands a part from its competition in so many unique ways. In a era of reboots, sequels, and franchises, with the rising cost of developing AAA titles, many developers are afraid of investing the large amounts of time and money in a AAA that is an untested IP. Horizon Zero Dawn is an astounding exception, in that this new IP was not just well received but also extremely successful, even for being a console exclusive on PS4. Aloy is such a likable character, and the world she explores is vast and beautiful. It is amazing to see the remnants of humanity, and the towering machines blend a unique harmony between technology and nature. Many people will disagree that this game should be rated higher than Legend of Zelda. I can completely understand why people would think Legend of Zelda BOTW should win GOTY; however, unlike Zelda I feel that Horizon Zero Dawn accomplishes everything it did plus two things more. It has the large vast open world still filled with details. It tells a compelling narrative, with a likable character. However, it does all of this with the boldness of being a new IP and does this in beautiful 4K resolution on PS4 Pro. Imagine how great Legend of Zelda truly was, but then have it be in photorealistic style and 4K resolution. To accomplish such vast detail and story, and do it in 4K and do it with an untested IP is such bold move by the developers that I think they should be rewarded. If you haven't played Horizon Zero Dawn, you should definitely give it a try.
1. Super Mario Odyssey 10/10
Legend of Zelda has ranked #1 and been awarded GOTY by multiple gaming news sites, as well as was considered number GOTY by many on the Game Infinite team, as well as won GOTY by the Game Awards 2017. Who am I to think otherwise? To be fair, I rated these three with a 10/10, and one could argue they share this title of GOTY. Perhaps I have some bias as Super Mario was one of the first games I remember playing as a child on my Game Boy Color. To see seamless integration of a vast 3D world and modern title with the classic 2D retro Mario game was a nostalgia overload. In fact this game is a nostalgic factory that is eternally fun and always surprising. It was a game I enjoyed immensely and could not wait to explore every world. It feels like every corner of this game has a secret waiting to be explored. The vastly different worlds like the human world, a darksouls-esc dragon world, wintery world, or a water world provided vast diversity to what could have been a boring average journey. Super Mario Odyssey has probably the second greatest moment in 2017 gaming and that was with the T-Rex, being able to become the T-rex and a moment in New Donk City. Speaking of taking over enemies, Odyssey can't be overlooked for its brilliant new approach to combat and puzzle solving. Super Mario Odyssey is less about "defeating enemies" or even solving platforming puzzles in traditional ways, but is actually about using your enemies unique abilities against them or to traverse the map in new unexpected ways. Being able to take over a tank, or fly around as a "jet-ski squid", or fly across the map as a bolt of electricity, Cappy's powers make this game incredibly fun. It was definitely one of the best (if not the best) experiences of 2017, and should definitely be a part of any gamers collection.
Brandon's Top 3
1. Breath of the Wild
2. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
3. Persona 5
Kieth's Top 3
1. Assassin's Creed Origins
2. The Evil Within 2
3. Horizon Zero Dawn
Mike's Top 3
1. Super Mario Odyssey
2. Horizon Zero Dawn
3. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild