With 2017 on the way out our contributors have been looking back at the best the year’s had to offer in terms of video games. There’s no shortage of great games to choose from this year, but we felt these picks were the cream of the crop.
Last week, our contributors broke down their individual top lists for the year in movies, but today, we’ve turned to our gaming crew to highlight the best games of the year. Once again, it’s a difficult list to narrow down, but we forced ourselves to stick to only five choices:
There was definitely no shortage of great games this year, and even a new console (the Switch), to choose from this year. While most of the “big” games were able to meet expectations, some fell short (looking at you Mass Effect: Andromeda), while others exceeded all the hype. Obviously, I can only make this list out of the games I’ve played. With a newborn this year, my game time was significantly less, so there may be some obvious omissions on here:
Super Mario Odyssey - It’s been awhile since a game managed to suck me in so completely. Odyssey works on so many levels. The exploration format is a refreshing change of pace, while still incorporating the best platforming action around. Replay value is through the roof, and it’s tough to put down once you start.
Horizon Zero Dawn - Horizon genuinely delivers on the AAA experience it promised from the initial reveal trailer. On top of being gorgeous, it features an engaging story with a great lead character, super fun gameplay, and an open world that really rewards exploration.
Metroid: Samus Returns - I’m the first to admit Metroid isn’t one of my favorite franchises, but the Metroid II remake on the 3DS was a delight. The new mechanics, swanky graphics, and overall gameplay made for an experience that even non-fans can’t help but enjoy.
Destiny 2 - Shooters have rarely been my game of choice, but there’s something about Destiny and it’s blend of action/MMORPG elements that keeps sucking me back in. Destiny 2 was a step up in just about every way from the first, and no matter what else has come out, I keep coming back to it.
Mario + Rabbids - I honestly wasn't looking forward to this game when we first heard tale of it before. I don't have much love for the Rabbids games and seeing them mashed with the Mushroom Kingdom didn't appeal to me. Once I got my hands on it, however, I couldn't stop playing. I love strategy games, and it's streamlined version of XCOM-esque mechanics made for some highly addictive gameplay.
I know, I know…Where’s Legend of Zelda? Truth is, it’s a really solid game and an achievement in a multitude of ways. Despite being an incredible piece of work, I just couldn’t get sucked into it. It’s not the game’s fault, but more my personal preferences. Frankly speaking, the last Zelda game I enjoyed that was on a main Nintendo console (handheld ones are still amazing) was A Link to the Past.
Regardless there were plenty of other awesome games I filled my time with, and I know my fellow contributors will have Zelda on their lists.
Snake Pass - Snake Pass was a game that thoroughly snake charmed me when I first played it in the beginning of 2017. It has that classic Rare feeling in every aspect from its graphics to its music, which is fittingly composed by David Wise. You control a snake named Noodle and you traverse each level in serpentine fashion, by which I mean, you control Noodle by rocking the analogue stick back and forth to slither and grasp the trigger buttons to tightly coil Noodle around things. I’m a sucker for games that use controls in interesting ways and mastering Noodle’s movements was immensely satisfying.
Everything - Everything is a game that easily escapes description, but its openness is what drew me to it in the first place. In Everything, you begin as an animal and become both vastly bigger and smaller while talking to anything from an okapi, a strand of hair, or even entire galaxies. To take one from Alan Watts, a sort of narrator to the experience that is Everything, Everything is “an exercise of perception.” It’s not a game that can be easily explained, but I suggest picking up Everything if you want a truly exploratory experience.
Cuphead - Cuphead was the first game I’ve ever given a perfect score and, if you’ve played it, it’s pretty obvious why. The hand drawn, 1930s cartoon stylings are perfectly done, and goes expertly with Cuphead’s bombastic soundtrack. It’s clear that Cuphead is a work of passion and that sort of tangible passion is something I wish I could feel from every game. Regardless, Cuphead is a unique gaming experience as well as a must play of 2017.
Super Mario Odyssey - I tend to overlook triple A titles for reasons ranging from simply being unable to afford them to not wanting to deal with some of the money-grabbing practices that sadly seem to be becoming a standard in the industry. Mario Odyssey, however, stands to prove that not all games in the triple A tier are devoid of artistic integrity and passion. Nintendo made a fantastic Mario game that surprised me at nearly every turn and even managed to tickle at a bit of nostalgia for games like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. Odyssey easily managed to make me feel that sense of wonder and exploration I used to feel in games as a child, and that’s worth quite a bit in my book.
2017 was a pretty good year for gaming. We had a brand new system in the Nintendo Switch get released. In addition to that, we had a ton of fantastic titles that wowed and amazed us, while we played. Picking just a few of our favorite titles is always a lofty task, and this year is no different. There were so many memorable titles, but here are the 5 that will stick with me.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Nintendo released a lot of great games to accompany the Switch, this year. However, Breath of the Wild is far and away the crown jewel of that collection. Everything from the enthralling story to the intensely fun gameplay to the emotion-inducing music to the breathtaking environment is the reason why this game earned Cinelinx’s first-ever perfect score for a video game.
Super Mario Odyssey - If Breath of the Wild is the crown jewel, Super Mario Odyssey is the Hope Diamond. Both are fantastic in their own right. Odyssey brought Mario into the 21st Century with a refreshing story, along with inspired levels and gameplay. It managed to fuse the old with the new, flawlessly, to give us a gameplay experience unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Destiny 2 - Bungie. Bungie. Bungie. You proved many thing this year, but the biggest thing you proved is that you can take fan feedback. Destiny didn’t have a memorable story, but awesome co-op gameplay. Bungie went back to the drawing board and produced a story for Destiny 2 that excited and stunned guardians, old and new. Then, Bungie pushed the envelope even further by creating weekly goals and events that would keep gamers interested in Destiny 2 long after its release. All the love and care Bungie put into Destiny 2 is the reason why it’s THE First Person Shooter of the Year!
South Park: The Fractured But Whole - Humor is hard, but Ubisoft and the South Park team managed to put together a hilarious, yet jarring, sequel with The Fractured But Whole. It may not have been as provocative as The Stick of Truth, but the combat mechanics and superhero gameplay more than made up for that. If Matt Smith and Trey Parker never make another South Park again, they can rest easy knowing that they made a worthy sequel.
RiME - A lot of people, including myself, will remember the AAA titles that were released by the big name studios, but you have to remember all the Indie titles that moved you for a couple of hours. For me, Tequila Works’ RiME was that title. The small Spanish studio developed a beautifully artistic game with a deep powerful message that will reduce even the strongest of souls to shed a tear. There were a ton of meaningful titles in 2017 but RiME will be the most memorable of the Indie titles, for me.
Assassins Creed: Origins – If you know me, you know I love Assassins Creed. Even with all the issues that Unity had I still enjoyed that game. Although the basic game is just about the same AC you’ve played, there are few changes that I really like. One is that your character and the NPCs are based on levels. Two, the entire combat system is completely different, you can’t wade into a bunch of goons and expect to survive like you would in the older games. While not the best in the series the setting and few changes are enough to refresh the game play a bit to make it a pretty good gaming experience.
Horizon Zero Dawn – From the moment, I saw the announcement trailer for this game during E3 2015 I had to have it. Horizon was my game of the year, 2 years before it was even available for purchase. Next to games like Assassins Creed or Uncharted, HZD is one of the best games I have ever played. With a damn near perfect story and top notch voice acting from Ashly Burch, if you haven’t played this game you are doing yourself a disservice.
Call of Duty: WWII – I had honestly reached a point where the modern warfare series was just not doing it for me anymore. I’m guessing since EA got so much praise for taking Battlefield back to WWI, they decided to take COD back to its roots and set the game in WWII. Usually, I only play the campaign missions, but since I’ve been following Esports, I’m kinda getting into the online multiplayer stuff … even though I suck at it.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole – If you’ve ever watched an episode of South Park and laughed your ass off, you’ll like this game. I’ve spent more time laughing than actually playing this game. Bonus: there’s a chance you can get a free digital download of the first game The Stick of Truth when you buy a (physical) copy of Fractured but Whole.
Super Mario Odyssey
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Wolfenstein II: The New Collossus
Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Super Mario Odyssey
Divinity: Original Sin 2
The variety of games our writers have chosen goes to show just how impressive the year has been for gaming. With a bunch of amazing looking titles coming up next year, we're hoping the trend of stellar games continues. Which were your favorite video games of the past year?