2017 was another pretty impressive year in the world of video games. We’ve seen some awesome high points, and some pretty epic downturns. We’re here today to focus on the high points, though.
As we here at PCU have often done, several of us gamers got together to discuss our top video game picks for the year, and there was A LOT to choose from in 2017. From games with enormous scale, like Horizon Zero Dawn and Assassins Creed Origins, to more cerebral games like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, to one of the year’s sleeper hits in Persona 5, this year had gamers bouncing between games and enjoying every second. So, without further ado, let’s discuss, shall we?
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Probably one of the most intense games of this year. Hellblade combined stunning (and disturbing) graphics with difficult gameplay and a deep look into the experience of mental illness. Ninja Theory did their research, portraying psychosis in an accurate yet respectful light. The auditory hallucinations enhanced the game, alternately helping or confusing the player, as you’re never quite sure if the story is real or if it’s all in Senua’s head. Between its advocacy for mental health awareness, to its compelling story and gameplay, I’m choosing Hellblade as my favorite game of 2017.
Assassins Creed Origins
I really had a tough time deciding which game I wanted to put at the top of my list this year. Ultimately, it came down to three games for my top spot, and with Brook choosing Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice as his top pick, my decision was made a bit easier. I was stuck between Horizon Zero Dawn and Assassins Creed Origins for a good while, but ultimately decided to go with the latter. While both games are massive in scale, I just found more to hold my attention (gameplay-wise) with AC. I’ve also got to say that I think this chapter in the epic saga that is Assassins Creed has got to be one of the best. The graphics are punched up (seriously, this game is gorgeous), the story is deep (and very dark at times), and the gameplay is fantastic. The addition of the Trials of the Gods has kept me coming back to the game over & over, and I cannot wait for the DLC to come out in 2018. I’ve even started a new game of Assassins Creed Origins on the new Nightmare mode, because I am apparently a glutton for punishment. Still, this is one stellar game for 2017.
2017 has been an embarrassment of riches as a gamer, therefore it’s proven difficult to choose my game of the year. Standards are a tricky thing, you can rate so many different things that prove to be the ideal, for me that game was Persona 5. As much as modern games get more applause for going the open-world route and attempting to throw off the musk of being perceived as linear, but there’s something to be said for focusing your craft in a specific form. Persona 5 opts for a very simple philosophy: use your time wisely and with style. It’s a game that turns time management into an art form: splitting your time between your school life and your Phantom Thief life, and given how time is at a premium in our hyper-paced society it’s an underappreciated quality. On top of that: it has a seamless marriage between the game design and the art style, allowing you to experience a game that isn’t hampered by mounds of menus, and one with one of the best soundtracks you’ll hear in any game (and jazz at that). With that and a thoughtful story and game underpinning it, you’re in for a treat.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands
I’m a sucker for a good Tom Clancy game, and the newest installment in the Ghost Recon franchise has so much going for it that I had to name it my favorite game of 2017. Doing away with the high-tech, futuristic warfare portrayed in previous games like Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier, Wildlands brings the series back to the modern day and throws you into a sandbox where you truly have the freedom to play your way. The entire map is open from the get-go, all of the missions can be tackled in any order you choose, and you can approach any objective the way you or your party feel, whether that’s going in guns blazing, sneaking into an enemy encampment, or parachuting in from miles above. The massive drug cartel that you’re fighting throughout the game legitimately feels evil, and a lot of the time you don’t even care about the mission at hand; you just want to make those guys hurt.
With a wide variety of environments, weapons, customization options, enemies, missions, and vehicles, it’s hard for shooter fans to not love Wildlands.
Final Fantasy XV
My top game of the year is Final Fantasy XV; more than thirteen years in the making. I’ve been a Square Enix fan since I was 10, but I (like many fans) started to fall off the wagon after all the game delays. I’m glad I didn’t turn my back though, because this game was fantastic. The well-written story, dynamic characters, and fluid gameplay showed that every pixel of this game was worth the wait.
Taking over from Tetsuya Nomura, Hajime Tabata decided to change things up by opening the production process to fans and listening to what fans wanted. What game developer does that nowadays? Tabata didn’t stop there. He added intriguing new DLCs and fun events (i.e. the Moogle and Assassin festivals). Some of them were even free, which is incredible in light of the EA controversy. Final Fantasy XV is not only a great step for RPGs, but a brilliant step for SquareEnix as they enter the new year.
Call of Duty:WWII
Yes, I know there are a few eye rolls out there; but for me, this is the first Call of Duty game I have bought since BLOPS I. This is a game that went back to its roots and had a compelling single player campaign as well as a fun multiplayer. Seeing as CoD tried to steal a page from EA’s Battlefield series, War in the multiplayer portion has become my go-to mode. When that gets stale, Gridiron is my other way to blow off steam. There are still a few things to improve upon in this series, but I am glad that Activision/Sledgehammer decided to go back to the franchise’s roots and do an updated version of CoD for current consoles.
If you stopped playing because Call of Duty went too far over the top, check this one out. It’s the one game that brought the series back to Earth again.
There you have it, dear readers! Our favorite video games of 2017. Please remember that this is by no means a complete list of the best stuff, just our own thoughts on what we liked best this year. Feel free to chime in and let us know in the comments below what you thought were the best titles of 2017 and why!