No matter what kinds or genres of video games you’re into, 2017 was a year filled to the brim with both pleasure and pain. There wasn’t a month when some exciting new game wasn’t being released or some company wasn’t doing something to throw fans around the world into a panic. From start to finish, the year that’s now come to an end provided us with a long list of incredible games to play (and obsess over), but in the end, we could only pick twenty-five of them to fill the slots of our “Best of 2017” rankings. So, after much deliberation, here are EGM‘s Top 25 games of the year, today looking at numbers 5 through 1.
|#5||Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
|Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus|
|Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus did the impossible and turned the sequel to a well-made, critically acclaimed shooter into a true phenomenon. Sure, Wolfenstein II may owe some of its cathartic success to launching in a current political climate where Nazis actually are invading the U.S., but let’s not undermine the efforts of the developers to create an explosive narrative with more heart and wit than almost anything else we’ve played this year. Wolfenstein II starts at a full throttle and never slows down, thanks to expertly written and directed cut-scenes. Fortunately, the gameplay itself lives up to the high standards of its narrative successes, giving players more options than ever in how they blow up and mow down an unspeakable evil. All of this made Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus one of the most memorable games of the year.|
Developer: Nintendo EPD
|Super Mario Odyssey|
|No game in 2017 was quite as joyful as Super Mario Odyssey. The bright colors of its many memorable kingdoms, the near-perfect feel of the gameplay, and a structure that’s stuffed with things to do but never overwhelming make for the perfect playable pick-me-up. Feeling down? Pull out your Switch, and you’ll have a smile on your face in no time. There’s so much of Nintendo’s trademark attention to detail here, so many little surprises to discover. This is a game that oozes hospitality. It welcomes you. And we haven’t even mentioned the imaginative new capture mechanic, maybe the most radical tweak to the 3D Mario formula ever. Does it make much sense that Mario can throw a hat a people and then possess their body like some sort of fat Italian poltergeist? No. Do we really care? Also no. On both ambition and execution, Odyssey slays it. It’s hard to imagine a better possible debut for Mario on the Switch.|
|#3||Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Guerrilla Games
|Horizon Zero Dawn|
|Many PlayStation 4 owners were worried about what they’d end up with when Guerrilla Games announced that it was moving away from first-person shooter series Killzone to work on a third-person open-world action game. However, they needn’t have been, because the developer managed to deliver one of the best games of the year. Horizon Zero Dawn pretty much has it all: a strong protagonist in the no-nonsense hunter Aloy, fast-paced, engaging combat, and a beautiful, lived-in world to explore. Not to mention the variety of stunning, yet dangerous mechanized creatures that roam the landscape. The first time you encounter and take down a Sawtooth, you’ll know what makes this game special. The only small complaint is the story’s slow start. Luckily, it picks up in the second half to deliver a satisfying narrative that will keep you hooked all the way through to the final scene.|
|#2||Publisher: Studio MDHR
Developer: Studio MDHR
Platforms: Xbox One
|It’s not often that an independent studio’s first game, let alone a 2D action-shooter platformer, gets as much praise and recognition as Cuphead. However, in the case of Studio MDHR’s debut property becoming an out of nowhere juggernaut, it deserves all of the accolades it’s received, thanks to its quaint but challenging approach to gameplay. Cuphead can be a solo or co-op experience, in which players guide the titular hero through a world of intense and creative boss fights that require many failed attempts to get right. Not since Dark Souls have players been asking each other, “How many deaths did you get?” While that could sound frustrating, the tight controls, helpful upgrades, and gorgeous 1930s art style makes replaying encounters feel like the right choice. Even after mastering a particularly tricky boss there’s always the chance to get better. Thanks for the obsessiveness, Cuphead! Really, thank you.|
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Platforms: Switch, Wii U
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild|
|We’ve mentioned over two dozen amazing games that debuted in 2017, but one in particular stands above the rest: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo’s long-awaited entry in the Zelda series finally fulfills the promise of open-world games in a way that no open-world game has before. If something is visible on the map, it’s possible to get there, whether that means you scale straight up every cliff and fight every pack of monsters in your way, plan a sensible and scenic route through outposts and stables on horseback, or use Magnesis to make a magnet-powered levitating makeshift car to fling yourself into the air. There are truly no invisible walls or barriers preventing you from moving in whatever direction or taking whatever course of action you please.
In addition to the game’s sense of total freedom, Breath of the Wild also encourages players to think outside of the box. Instead of a pre-set puzzle with one set path, solutions are often only as limited as your imagination. The game presents a gap, and whether you choose to cross it by building a campfire to create an updraft to parasail across, chopping down a tree to make a bridge, or tying a balloon to a raft in order to float through the air is up to you. Even the game’s hidden shrines, each a bite-sized mini dungeon in its own right, encourage players to push their ingenuity to the limit.
Though the world of Hyrule has been devastated by Ganon’s presence, it’s one that’s still purely enjoyable to live in. Collecting clothes, building up a town out of nothing, hunting deer up on a snowy mountain, taming horses, and sneaking into an enemy bokoblin camp to blow up all of its inhabitants with their own explosive barrels may not get you any closer to defeating Ganon, but it’s still tons of fun. And if fighting is more your style than exploration, the game offers plenty of challenge, especially with the harder difficulty modes and the option to, if you are so inclined, run directly to Ganon with nothing but a stick and your underwear.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has finally achieved what so many open-world games set out to do and never quite reach. It manages to make the journey, and not just the destination, most of the fun.
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2017 from now through December 31st. 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.