Before I get to this list there’s a few things you should be aware of. I only consider games I have played this year (full list) because there’s not much point in trying to rank games I haven’t actually played. Secondly, I never consider games which come out in the last two months of year for the current year’s list. The reason for this is games need to breathe a bit after they launch and for the dust to settle so I can get an accurate feel for how they fit in the scheme of the year; so I wait. Lastly, 2017 was a packed year in terms of wonderful games. I didn’t get to everything I wanted this year, but even so narrowing down to ten games was impossible. As such I have decided to do two honorable mentions this year.
Ok, with all the housekeeping out-of-the-way on to the list!
Honorable Mention: Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana
Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana is a fun and engaging JRPG which not only offers interesting characters and story but also fun and engrossing gameplay. Being able to customize the combat abilities of the party characters and the ability to switch between them during combat kept combat feeling fun and entertaining throughout the game. There’s a ton of areas to explore. Even though some areas are visited multiple times, backtracking still felt fun because I would be going back to get to someplace I couldn’t reach before. Really the only part of the game which had issues had to do with some flawed localization/translation which they are working on fixing. However even with some weird dialogue which doesn’t quite make sense all the time, this game is definitely fun and interesting.
Honorable Mention: Destiny 2
Destiny 2’s rep has gotten a bit marred after the launch of their first “expansion” but the base game is a very well done evolution of Destiny. With interesting story and excellent combat mechanics which feel natural on PC this is a great game for anyone who is a fan of shooters.
10: Little Nightmares
Little Nightmares is a compelling and enthralling platformer. You play as a small child named Six who awakens on a cruise ship of horror. This game is much less about jump scares and overt horror (though those do exist) than it is about the slow ratcheting up of terror as you discover more and more about the inhabitants of this ship. Little Nightmares filled with interesting puzzles and has some of the best sound design I have ever seen in a game. The only drawback is it’s mostly linear and if you are diligent in exploring the first time through there isn’t much reason to replay.
9: Snake Pass
Snake Pass is a unique platformer where you don’t really jump so much as climb things as an adorable snake named Noodle and he occasionally receives help from his friend Doodle the hummingbird. The controls for Noodle work really well but do take some getting used to. Indeed thinking about how snakes move in the world does actually help in this game. Snake Pass is incredibly fun and cute but also frustrating in the best possible ways.
8: Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth
Etrian Odyssey V is the perfect game for RPG fans who are looking for a bit less hand holding in their RPGs. Not only do you have to create the characters you go adventuring with but you have to create your own maps of the areas you explore. There is a fairly long tutorial so players aren’t just dumped out into the world with no direction. However, it really only covers the basics and you have to discover most of the tips and tricks for yourself.
7: Final Fantasy XV & DLC
Final Fantasy XV is a game which has almost endless layers to it. The story and all of the main characters are deeply thought out and very well realized in game even if you didn’t watch any of the short anime series or Kingsglaive. The combat is the first real action combat which has been in a Final Fantasy game and is both fun and exciting. Add in all of the DLC (both paid and free) over the last year which has expanded on this story this truly is a game for Final Fantasy fans and newcomers.
6: Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
Picking up where the last Living Story season left off Guild Wars 2’s second expansion Path of Fire continues the tradition of added new and interesting things, in their own unique way. While this expansion did add mounts into the game they are unlike mounts which have been in any other MMO and offer a unique experience. Additionally, new players only need to purchase the latest expansion to jump right into the new content. With a returned focus on the joy of exploring in Path of Fire there’s never been a better time to jump in and enjoy the game.
5: Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
Final Fantasy XIV’s newest expansion Stormblood not only added in two new classes, Red Mage and Samurai, but also brought with it a ton of quality of life changes which have really improved the overall gameplay experience. There was also a massive combat overhaul which has made the experience of playing much better. Additionally PvP was split off into its own mode. This allows players to have PvP specific set-ups. As someone who had lapsed with my sub Stormblood definitely convinced me to return and I don’t regret a second of it.
4: What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch wasn’t even on my radar at the beginning of this year and it delivered an experience I rarely have in video games these days. The narrative voyage presented in this game is frankly unparalleled. Months later I’m still thinking about this game and the various stories told within it. This close examination of death and the stories people not only tell other people but also tell about themselves is one which will resonate with most people. It is often difficult to go through parts because the subject matter is so deep; but it is well worth the experience.
Hob is just an all around excellent game. The exploration, the way the world comes alive and changes as you progress through the game, and well the narrative is expressed without dialogue… It’s unfortunate this is the last game we’ll be seeing from Runic but at least they left on a very high note.
If you had walked up to me and told me one of my favorite games this year was going to be a RPG mixed with a Sports game I would have thought you were crazy, but Pyre is exactly that. On the sports aspect all of the characters are so well-balanced that what a person finds the most useful often has a lot more to do with the way they tend to play than pure strengths of the individual characters. Additionally as you progress through the story there are choices which have to be made which will alter the outcome of the game. Lastly, the depth and intrigue of all of these characters can’t be overstated. They all are complex and I enjoyed getting to know all of them. In my book Pyre supersedes both Bastion and Transistor.
1: Assassin’s Creed Origins
Assassin’s Creed Origins has breathed new life in a franchise had been growing a bit stale. This time around we got to see how the order started and were treated to a whole new combat system which was far more active than before. The story is compelling with very interesting characters and the entire game is just a beauty to behold. This is clearly the path the series needs to continue into the future and I applaud Ubisoft for taking the risk of changing the core of the game up. I can’t remember the last time I was so excited about an Assassin’s Creed game.