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In my personal awards last year, I noted: “2017 will see the release of said Switch, and the new competition will likely make the other companies step up their game. So, here’s to the best games of 2016. You were great, but I can’t help daydreaming about next year.” Well, not even in my wildest dreams did I envision a year with so many amazing games. It was incredibly hard to choose a Top 10, with numbers four and five flipping with a half dozen other great games like Divinity Original Sin 2, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and NieR: Automata. I could go on (and on, and on) but the best way for me to sum up the year is with Middle-earth: Shadow of War. The series’ first entry, Shadow of Mordor, was my GOTY in 2014. The sequel, though better in literally every way, barely made my Top 10.

#5 Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Assassin’s Creed Origins stands as my most pleasant surprise of 2017. The series has been a roller coaster since its high-point of AC II, and while the previous entry, AC Syndicate, was a fun game, the series a whole seemed to be moving away from much of what made it great. Enter Bayek, the first Assassin, and an ancient Egyptian setting much more robust than I could have dreamed of. Oh, and the game’s transformation from action-adventure to action-RPG pleases me to no end. Not only is the story solid, it’s the best playing Assassin’s Creed since Ezio traversed the rooftops of Italy. With clear goals, but an open enough world to explore reasonably freely (at least once you’re strong enough), there’s never ambiguity in where you should be, even if you choose to be somewhere else. I hope Ubisoft takes a year off between every installment, as the extra time and care seemed to really help.
#4 Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Platforms: PS4, PS3
Persona 5
While I have long enjoyed a good JRPG, the Persona series has never been a favorite. The modern setting and odd catch and fight system used with the various Personae never really thrilled me. Then Persona 5 hit. With this entry the story felt more resonant, the combat more cohesive and the artwork so much more beautiful. I found myself responding to the social aspects of the game, caring about other characters and striving for that perfect romantic connection. And the Palaces (read: dungeons)? Magnificent! No two felt the same and each was completely engrossing. A huge game, weighing in at more than 100 hours, Persona 5 kept me interested throughout, despite many distractions releasing around the same time. In lesser years it certainly could have been my Game of the Year, but this year number four is nearly as good.
#3 Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Platforms: Switch
Super Mario Odyssey
This year saw the introduction of a few great characters like Aloy and Bayek (just to name a couple from my other top picks). But none is more charming than the anthropomorphic hat who accompanies Mario on his latest journey in Super Mario Odyssey. Using Cappy to take control of inanimate objects, enemies, and more unlocked a treasure trove of potential for Nintendo’s hallmark series. There’s never been a better 3D Mario game, and arguably never a better Mario game at all. Packed with collectibles, secrets, and a stunning variety of locations, patient players shouldn’t have a problem getting more than 50 hours out of the game. It also shows what seems to be a new emphasis for Nintendo first-party games, at least first-party adventure games. Details are squeezed into every nook and cranny, and while players aren’t required to explore and find all of them, the game is meant to be savored, keeping you up well past your bedtime looking for one more moon. Simply brilliant.
#2 Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Platforms: PS4
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn was my most anticipated game after E3 2016, and it took a major masterpiece to unseat it from the top of my GOTY list. Guerilla Games created a rich, believable world with the best new protagonist in ages. From the game’s opening notes I cared about Aloy and her plight. Banished from her tribe, Aloy journeys to discover what corrupts the world’s beast-like machines, remnants from the past, fallen civilization, all while searching for the truth about herself. It would have been easy for Horizon to be overshadowed by the spring’s other sprawling adventure (see below), but this game stands on its own, resembling nothing else this year, or any other. It’s becoming increasingly rare for new IPs to catch hold in gaming. Continuing to exploit established darlings is much safer than going out on a limb with something new. Horizon Zero Dawn shows the potential upside of taking that chance.
#1 Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Platforms: Switch
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Imagine a Zelda game with destructible weapons. One where you don’t earn rupees from cutting grass or breaking jars. A Zelda game with only a few large dungeons and a ton of little ones, and where Link can actually cook and craft and even change his outfit to match the weather. Until Breath of the Wild I couldn’t have imagined these things, and now I’m not sure I can imagine a new Zelda game without them. After my first play session I was pretty sure BOTW was going to be my favorite Zelda game. Now, nine months later, I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite game of all time. I know that’s a bold statement, especially coming from someone who started playing way back with Pong, but I don’t remember ever being so fully engrossed in any game, wanting to start the game over the second I beat it, despite knowing there were plenty of other things left for me to do. I’ve played a lot of great games over the last 45 years, and I hope to play a lot more. I even hope a game (or 10) comes along that I like more than BOTW. But until that happens I will be putting this on the same shelf as the original Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Diablo II, Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Games I can pick up and play any time and enjoy like they were brand new.
Where Did That Come From Award
Nintendo Switch
Truth time: I’m a Nintendo fanboy who hasn’t loved a Nintendo system since the Gamecube. The Wii, while it had some great games, was just too gimmicky. The Wii U, while sporting a few nifty concepts barely had any new games at all. Thus, I was pretty pessimistic about the Nintendo Switch, which looked like it could, again, be more gimmick than substance. Those fears were completely unfounded. Not only is the system fun to play—either on the TV, as a tablet, or as a handheld—there were more great games released in its first year than many systems have in their first three (see Xbox One). Hopefully the future will stay on target and give the Switch a good long life.
Looking Back Award
Call of Duty: WWII
Modern Warfare started a bad trend. First Call of Duty became modern, and then futuristic, all but forgetting its roots in World War II. Not that some of the newer games weren’t fun, but there is something about fighting Nazis that just feels great, whether alone or with friends. With a solid campaign, a more intense (and serious) co-op zombies mode, and multiplayer that brings modern sensibilities to a classic setting, Call of Duty: WWII is the installment I’ve been waiting for. World War II is a rich subject, and Call of Duty has frequently represented the time-period well. What else could you ask for?
In Memoriam
Toys to Life Games
We are sad to report the last vestiges of the games to life genre, LEGO Dimensions, has passed away from complications of consumer apathy. It joins previously robust games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity in the great bargain bin of gaming remnants. Seen mourning the passing were a collection of Nintendo amiibos who maintain they are not the same thing since they don’t pop up on the screen when you scan them into your games, and many of them can actually be used in more than one game. We remind anyone thinking about resurrecting these properties that they were expensive and took up a lot of space, making people tire of buying them quickly. With great power comes great responsibility, so for heaven’s sake, think hard before you act.
EGM’s Best of 2017 Coverage
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2017 all week, from Christmas day through December 30th. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2017, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.
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About Marc Camron

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Marc is still reeling from how many great games released in 2017. He is looking forward to a nice holiday break where he can catch try to catch up on a few of the many titles sitting in his backlog taunting him. Find him on Twitter @RkyMtnGmr

EGM’s Best of 2017: Marc Camron’s Editor Awards

Marc gives his thoughts on the year in gaming that was 2017

By Marc Camron | 12/24/2017 09:00 AM PT | Updated 01/2/2018 11:18 AM PT

Features

In my personal awards last year, I noted: “2017 will see the release of said Switch, and the new competition will likely make the other companies step up their game. So, here’s to the best games of 2016. You were great, but I can’t help daydreaming about next year.” Well, not even in my wildest dreams did I envision a year with so many amazing games. It was incredibly hard to choose a Top 10, with numbers four and five flipping with a half dozen other great games like Divinity Original Sin 2, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and NieR: Automata. I could go on (and on, and on) but the best way for me to sum up the year is with Middle-earth: Shadow of War. The series’ first entry, Shadow of Mordor, was my GOTY in 2014. The sequel, though better in literally every way, barely made my Top 10.

#5 Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Assassin’s Creed Origins stands as my most pleasant surprise of 2017. The series has been a roller coaster since its high-point of AC II, and while the previous entry, AC Syndicate, was a fun game, the series a whole seemed to be moving away from much of what made it great. Enter Bayek, the first Assassin, and an ancient Egyptian setting much more robust than I could have dreamed of. Oh, and the game’s transformation from action-adventure to action-RPG pleases me to no end. Not only is the story solid, it’s the best playing Assassin’s Creed since Ezio traversed the rooftops of Italy. With clear goals, but an open enough world to explore reasonably freely (at least once you’re strong enough), there’s never ambiguity in where you should be, even if you choose to be somewhere else. I hope Ubisoft takes a year off between every installment, as the extra time and care seemed to really help.
#4 Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Platforms: PS4, PS3
Persona 5
While I have long enjoyed a good JRPG, the Persona series has never been a favorite. The modern setting and odd catch and fight system used with the various Personae never really thrilled me. Then Persona 5 hit. With this entry the story felt more resonant, the combat more cohesive and the artwork so much more beautiful. I found myself responding to the social aspects of the game, caring about other characters and striving for that perfect romantic connection. And the Palaces (read: dungeons)? Magnificent! No two felt the same and each was completely engrossing. A huge game, weighing in at more than 100 hours, Persona 5 kept me interested throughout, despite many distractions releasing around the same time. In lesser years it certainly could have been my Game of the Year, but this year number four is nearly as good.
#3 Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Platforms: Switch
Super Mario Odyssey
This year saw the introduction of a few great characters like Aloy and Bayek (just to name a couple from my other top picks). But none is more charming than the anthropomorphic hat who accompanies Mario on his latest journey in Super Mario Odyssey. Using Cappy to take control of inanimate objects, enemies, and more unlocked a treasure trove of potential for Nintendo’s hallmark series. There’s never been a better 3D Mario game, and arguably never a better Mario game at all. Packed with collectibles, secrets, and a stunning variety of locations, patient players shouldn’t have a problem getting more than 50 hours out of the game. It also shows what seems to be a new emphasis for Nintendo first-party games, at least first-party adventure games. Details are squeezed into every nook and cranny, and while players aren’t required to explore and find all of them, the game is meant to be savored, keeping you up well past your bedtime looking for one more moon. Simply brilliant.
#2 Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Platforms: PS4
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn was my most anticipated game after E3 2016, and it took a major masterpiece to unseat it from the top of my GOTY list. Guerilla Games created a rich, believable world with the best new protagonist in ages. From the game’s opening notes I cared about Aloy and her plight. Banished from her tribe, Aloy journeys to discover what corrupts the world’s beast-like machines, remnants from the past, fallen civilization, all while searching for the truth about herself. It would have been easy for Horizon to be overshadowed by the spring’s other sprawling adventure (see below), but this game stands on its own, resembling nothing else this year, or any other. It’s becoming increasingly rare for new IPs to catch hold in gaming. Continuing to exploit established darlings is much safer than going out on a limb with something new. Horizon Zero Dawn shows the potential upside of taking that chance.
#1 Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Platforms: Switch
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Imagine a Zelda game with destructible weapons. One where you don’t earn rupees from cutting grass or breaking jars. A Zelda game with only a few large dungeons and a ton of little ones, and where Link can actually cook and craft and even change his outfit to match the weather. Until Breath of the Wild I couldn’t have imagined these things, and now I’m not sure I can imagine a new Zelda game without them. After my first play session I was pretty sure BOTW was going to be my favorite Zelda game. Now, nine months later, I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite game of all time. I know that’s a bold statement, especially coming from someone who started playing way back with Pong, but I don’t remember ever being so fully engrossed in any game, wanting to start the game over the second I beat it, despite knowing there were plenty of other things left for me to do. I’ve played a lot of great games over the last 45 years, and I hope to play a lot more. I even hope a game (or 10) comes along that I like more than BOTW. But until that happens I will be putting this on the same shelf as the original Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Diablo II, Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Games I can pick up and play any time and enjoy like they were brand new.
Where Did That Come From Award
Nintendo Switch
Truth time: I’m a Nintendo fanboy who hasn’t loved a Nintendo system since the Gamecube. The Wii, while it had some great games, was just too gimmicky. The Wii U, while sporting a few nifty concepts barely had any new games at all. Thus, I was pretty pessimistic about the Nintendo Switch, which looked like it could, again, be more gimmick than substance. Those fears were completely unfounded. Not only is the system fun to play—either on the TV, as a tablet, or as a handheld—there were more great games released in its first year than many systems have in their first three (see Xbox One). Hopefully the future will stay on target and give the Switch a good long life.
Looking Back Award
Call of Duty: WWII
Modern Warfare started a bad trend. First Call of Duty became modern, and then futuristic, all but forgetting its roots in World War II. Not that some of the newer games weren’t fun, but there is something about fighting Nazis that just feels great, whether alone or with friends. With a solid campaign, a more intense (and serious) co-op zombies mode, and multiplayer that brings modern sensibilities to a classic setting, Call of Duty: WWII is the installment I’ve been waiting for. World War II is a rich subject, and Call of Duty has frequently represented the time-period well. What else could you ask for?
In Memoriam
Toys to Life Games
We are sad to report the last vestiges of the games to life genre, LEGO Dimensions, has passed away from complications of consumer apathy. It joins previously robust games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity in the great bargain bin of gaming remnants. Seen mourning the passing were a collection of Nintendo amiibos who maintain they are not the same thing since they don’t pop up on the screen when you scan them into your games, and many of them can actually be used in more than one game. We remind anyone thinking about resurrecting these properties that they were expensive and took up a lot of space, making people tire of buying them quickly. With great power comes great responsibility, so for heaven’s sake, think hard before you act.
EGM’s Best of 2017 Coverage
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2017 all week, from Christmas day through December 30th. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2017, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.
0   POINTS
0   POINTS



About Marc Camron

view all posts

Marc is still reeling from how many great games released in 2017. He is looking forward to a nice holiday break where he can catch try to catch up on a few of the many titles sitting in his backlog taunting him. Find him on Twitter @RkyMtnGmr