Tony’s Top Games of 2017
This year was choc full of amazing and wonderful games. I’ve compiled my top ten games of 2017, through a simple process: what stood out, and what made me feel the most. Without further ado, the list.
10. AbsolverDevolver Digital’s online action brawler–for lack of a better classification–was quite a different game, amidst a year chock full of open-world wonders. It focused on true martial arts movesets, which the player collected and organized into their own combat deck. Gaining levels played a part in increasing stats and–depending on which school of combat you specialized–you would socket points into specific traits. It was entirely action-focused; even the narrative took a backseat. The result however, was a super fun outing. See my full review here.
9. The SurgeSimply put, The Surge is Deck 13’s response to the ever-reigning Dark Souls franchise. Set in a bleak future where the Creo corporation catastrophically failed to combat and convert atmospheric carbon, you take up the role of ill-fated new employee, Warren. Warren took the new job in hopes of utilizing Creo’s exosuit technology to overcome his paraplegia. Little to his knowledge, his first day would turn into a post-apocalyptic, save the world scenario. To date, it’s the only Souls-esque game I’ve completed and loved. See my full review here.
P.S. The recently-released DLC A Walk in the Park continues the tradition of its base game, with more armor and weapons and all the decapitating goodness.
8. Middle Earth: Shadow of WarThe sequel to the extremely well-received Shadow of Mordor brings everything cherished from its predecessor and makes it even better. New gameplay sequences like sieges, wraith abilities, and animation sets expand on the original formula, adding welcome changes without detracting from the solid elements that made the game what it was. See our full review here.
7. South Park: The Fractured But WholeAh, South Park. An amalgam of over-the-top yet simultaneously humble and meaningful narrative, overly offensive yet moral comedy…The Fractured But Whole, as with Shadow of War, expands on the solid mechanics of its predecessor and digs in deep with fan service. If you love the television series, you will absolutely have a blast (pun intended, and if you have played the game, you know what I mean) playing this wacky game. See our impressions here, and our quick play here.
6. Nier: Automata
Nier: Automata was a surprise hit for me. I knew I was going to enjoy it, and I knew it was going to be good. I didn’t know, however, I would come to LOVE it. I did not know how much I would feel from its narrative (offering 26 different endings, some silly, and some quite serious). Not only is this game a superbly responsive action title, it is a gripping sad story of revelations, told from three well-built characters. 2B is one of my favorites this year and that is a tall order, especially given the competition in a later entry.
5. Assassin’s Creed: OriginsBy now, Ubisoft has garnered quite the negative reputation. Between its yearly releases of Assassin’s Creed, it’s less-than-substantial end-game with The Division, and a slew of other gripes emanating from the community, it’s tough to trust the developer. Assassin’s Creed: Origins is the company’s answer to all of these woes. Set in Ancient Egypt, Origins follows the tumultuous life of Bayek, a Medjay, in the very genesis of the Creed we know and love. Egypt is the most perfect setting for an Assassin’s game and Bayek is the hero we have needed since Ezio. See my full review here.
4. Uncharted: The Lost LegacyThe stand-alone DLC/basically full game to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy expands on beloved Chloe Frazier, Nate’s one-time lover and partner-in-plunder. It’s fitting, as Lost Legacy finds itself in the Indian Western Ghats. A beautiful land, larger and denser than Uncharted 4’s Madagascar, players follow Chloe as she partners with ex-Shoreline honcho, Nadine Ross. The interplay and exposition between these characters is memorable and really made me love Chloe. I can’t wait to see what’s next. See my review here.
3. RiMERiME was an especially emotional game for me. I finished the heartwrenching narrative just a day prior to my eight-month old puppy passing away from an emergent surgical procedure, and it will always bring back memories. Even writing this is difficult. However, the game, similar in narrative style to Journey and Abzu, being without dialogue, told this sad story through symbols. I won’t spoil it here, but I did in my review, because the epiphany from the end is the reason it is on this list.
2. Hellblade: Senua’s SacrificeFrom the developers of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Heavenly Sword, and the remake of Devil May Cry–Ninja Theory–comes a WILDLY important narrative experience about mental health. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice follows a Celtic warrior through her journey to send the soul of her murdered husband to Valhalla. The game digs deep into Norse mythos and through Senua’s nearly debilitating schizophrenia, players traverse and combat the dangerous evils lands of Surtr, the ruler of Muspellheim, and Valravn–a Danish mythos connected to Odin’s two ravens, Hugin and Munin. These trials not only represent Senua’s battle against her own mind, but also a spiritual journey that revealed even the minds of ourselves. It burgeoned a much-needed discussion regarding mental health, which is one of many reasons why it makes my list. See my review here.
1. Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn is my Game of the Year. While it did not innovate on current mechanics, it provided a set of extremely deep characters, one hell of a new PlayStation mascot in Aloy, and an amazing new vision on post-apocalypse whose narrative gave me chills. Guerrilla Games–most known for the Killzone franchise completely switched gears and it certainly paid off. Aloy’s never-ending thirst for knowledge and truth juxtaposed the world in which she grew and the revelations she uncovered about the events leading to the world’s demise will stick with me for a very long time. You can read my review here and my plot analysis here.