Look, I play a lot of games. As I put in my 2017 retrospective piece on my Tumblr, I wound up reviewing over 110 games in just 2017. That doesn’t mean I got to play everything I wanted to this year (you can read the 10 games that I wish I had played in this morning’s Now Loading), but I doubt that many got a full taste of what 2017 had to offer gamers as I did. Thus, I wanted to do a slightly deeper dive into my 10 favorite games of the year. This year was so dope that I could’ve easily listed 30 games I highly recommend, but these 10 are all special in one way or another.
Few games this year resonated with me quite like David OReilly’s Everything did. Maybe I was “experiencing a life changing moment in real life (like had a baby or something) and it bled through to romanticize this dumb ass game” as a reader put it, but I doubt it. Everything‘s blend of philosophy, and use of scale is absolutely brilliant. It’s one of the coolest games to be released in years.
9. Night in the Woods
I don’t like everything about Night in the Woods, but boy do I absolutely love certain elements. It absolutely nailed the feeling of being trapped in your surroundings while growing up, and not having the answers to all of life’s questions. I felt a real attachment to the characters, almost as if I became real friends with Bea, Angus, and Gregg, and that’s something I haven’t felt since I played Persona 4.
8. Finding Paradise
Finding Paradise is the only game on my list that isn’t available on a PlayStation console, but I think everyone should play it regardless. The sequel to Bird Story is a highly emotional tale about learning to live with regret, and manages to make quite the impact in just a few short hours.
7. Masquerada: Songs and Shadows
The PC release of Masquerada: Songs and Shadows totally went under my radar last year, and I had no clue what to really expect out of the game when I reviewed the PlayStation 4 port of it. To my surprise, this fantasy role-playing game told a shockingly mature story about a classist society, and ideals that constantly put humanity at war. It’s a great RPG, and one that is beatable within 20 hours.
I’ve reviewed a lot of Chinese indie games, and while some games like Koi had a lot of potential, most of them wound up being underwhelming. Just as I was tiring of handing out review scores of 4s and 5s, ICEY came out and showed that the developing indie scene did have a lot to offer. While it may look like a standard action game on a base level, it winds up being a super interesting metacommentary on both game development and the industry as a whole.
5. Super Rude Bear Resurrection
I’ve always really enjoyed masocore platformers. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a genre that I could share with a lot of friends. Dying repeatedly while trying to make progress in a super difficult platformer just isn’t for everyone. Luckily, Super Rude Bear Resurrection makes the genre accessible due to an amazing gameplay mechanic that has your corpses sticking around from one death to the next. This allows players to turn deadly spikes into platforms made out of dead bodies. It’s genius, and SRBR is a fantastic game that shouldn’t be missed.
4. Persona 5
I met my latest girlfriend through Persona 5. That counts for something.
3. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
I liked but didn’t love Wolfenstein: The New Order, and found the Old Blood expansion to be meandering at best. Thankfully, Wolfenstein II was more of what I did like about The New Order (interesting story beats and characters), and the fast-paced shooting was more fun than ever before. The New Colossus provided so many “holy crap” moments throughout, and it’s a game I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
2. Yakuza 0
While it’s not my favorite Yakuza game (5 still takes the cake for me so far), 0 is definitely my most played of the bunch. I spent over 100 hours running around the streets of Kamurocho as Kiryu and Majima, and managed to do every single side-quest available. I’m far from a completionist when it comes to games, but I felt compelled to see every story through to the end due to the high quality of the writing and localization. Every single part of Yakuza 0 is built with love, from Mr. Libido’s hip gyrations to the real estate mini-game, and I cherished every moment of it.
1. NieR: Automata
This isn’t a surprise if you listened to me gush about the game on the Games We Love Podcast (make sure you listen to it if you haven’t as my guest, Natalie Flores, is fantastic), but I really adored NieR: Automata. It’s not only my favorite game of the year, but it’s my favorite game period. Few pieces of art have managed to strike such a chord with me, and Automata is in a class of its own when it comes to using player interactivity to aid its story.
If you enjoyed my top 10 games of the year list, then please follow me on Twitter at @TylerTreese because Twitter followers is how I measure my self-worth. If you hated it? Well, as always, all hate mail should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (this is 100% a real email that I actually use). Have a happy holidays!