The best video games of 2017

From shooting Nazis to exploring Egypt, 2017 has been an excellent year for games

Jack Shepherd
Thursday 21 December 2017 16:11
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While 2017 has generally been an awful year, the sheer number of excellent games has been quite astonishing. PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch have benefited the most from wonderful exclusives, while cross-platform AAAs have been significantly better than last year.

After playing through countless hours of video games, The Independent's staff has managed to create an end-of-year list featuring games from across all genres. Of course, there could only be one number one, and a worthy (unsurprising) winner has come out top.

Without further ado, here are our 15 best games of 2017.

15. Sniper Elite 4

From our review: “The Sniper Elite series might have started off as a one-trick pony (albeit it a pretty good one), but the studio has changed just enough with each iteration to keep the game fresh. Sniper Elite 4 introduces more new ideas than ever before, making it the most in-depth and rewarding game so far.”

14. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

From our review: "While the concept of Rabbids may seem childish, don’t be fooled. Forming strategies on the battlefield becomes a must, particularly as each differing enemies play style requires different tactics. Switching characters to utilise skills, spending time planning each battle, and making sure each character works together becomes key… For a long train journey, I couldn’t imagine many games would be better."

13. Yakuza 0

From our review: “The Yakuza series might be immensely popular in its native Japan, but outside a cult fanbase, it’s never really found its feet in the west. Yakuza 0 could well be the game that changes that, thanks to an intriguing story line and a totally bonkers world that surprises you at every turn.”

12. Destiny 2

Destiny 2 villain Ghaul

From our review: “The massively anticipated sequel to the original, Destiny 2 makes good on its promise of improving pretty much everything that was iffy about the first game… A better story, bigger and more impressive set-pieces, and an all-round better progression system make Destiny 2 one of the most content-rich multiplayer shooters out there – it’ll likely keep you entertained for hours.”

11. What Remains of Edith Finch

A two-hour mystery adventure that tells an intriguing story about the titular character (best left unspoilt). With a beautiful aesthetic, Edith Finch takes players on an emotional roller-coaster, featuring multiple distinct vignettes. While difficulty certainly isn’t a factor, players are drawn into Finch’s world, leaving you wanting to replay and replay again.

10. Metroid: Samus Returns

From our review: “It’s been thirteen years since the last sidescrolling game, the excellent Zero Mission (itself a remake of the original NES Metroid), and with so many misfires since, many had given up on ever seeing a traditional Metroid game again. And yet here it is. The balance of old and new feels spot on, and it should please existing fans as well as introducing new ones.”

9. Resident Evil 7

From our review: “Terrifying from the off, Resident Evil 7 is a gruesome and macabre first-person horror experience. Making full use of PSVR, too, it’s a game that toys with your fears as it leads you through its incredibly detailed and unsettling, unpleasant locations… A return to form for the series after a couple of lacklustre, more action-rooted efforts in the last few years.”

8. Nier: Automata

From our review: It’s unfortunate that Nier has landed so close to Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon: Zero Dawn. While these games ooze polish, Nier has got them beat on sheer originality, charm and sheer surprise. With those two games, you more or less know what to expect. but Nier takes your expectations, blindfolds them, spins them around several times and then chucks them into the sea for good measure. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the game, it prises your fingers off and chucks more madness your way.”

7. Assassin’s Creed Origins

From our review: “For many years, Assassin’s Creed was at the pinnacle of triple-A gaming, astounding critics and winning multiple awards. The series’ downfall began following the release of Black Flag… After a year off the series has returned and Origins marks a return to form, all thanks to a beautiful setting, engaging story, and massive world.

6. Nioh

From our review: “Nioh takes cues from the cult classic Dark Souls and its sequels to deliver a punishing romp through ancient Japan. It’s full of mystery and magic, and comes armed with a best-in-class combat system that hands a lot of customisable control to the player. Whichever style you choose to play, Nioh will push your patience to its limits, but the euphoria of coming out on top once you’ve bested the latest boss is without parallel. Just prepare to die, a lot.”

5. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

From our review: “Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is a game that many expected to be decent, based on the excellent first game. This time around it’s had a bit more polish, and a whole load more narrative thrown in, which oddly, for a series that has traditionally been primarily about wall to wall action, shouldn’t really work, but absolutely does. The characters will stick with you long after you’ve emptied your last magazine, and it’s this that elevates a good shooter to a brilliant one. A must-have for those who want a pure, single-player experience.”

4. Horizon Zero Dawn

From our review: “Horizon: Zero Dawn is clearly a labour of love from Guerilla, and the whole experience feels slick and well polished. Through a combination of gorgeous graphics and artstyle, compelling gameplay and original premise, it easily joins the elite of must-own PS4 games.”

3. Persona 5

From our review: “Persona 5 is a work of art and one of the best JRPGs I’ve played in a long time. The combat is stupendous, the characters are fantastic and the plot is second-to-none. Whether you’re infiltrating the place of a pervert, grinding levels or raising your stats the satisfaction of achieving your goals never wavers. It’s a world-class addition to the franchise and it’s set the bar for JRPGs everywhere.”

2. Super Mario Odyssey

From our review: “Although Odyssey borrows from past Mario instalments, there’s still something wholly original about the game. Almost everything feels fresh and exciting, helped particularly by the Cappy mechanic which somehow never gets boring, mainly thanks to the number of enemies you can become… I haven’t had this much fun with a game for quite some time. Considering how long the Mario franchise has been pumping out games, that’s nothing short of genius.”

1. Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of Wild being game of the year was pretty much a given. Anyone lucky enough to own a Switch/Wii U has likely sunk hundreds of hours into Link’s latest adventure, exploring the stunning pastures of Hyrule and attempting to defeat the terrifying Calamity Ganon. For the 19th main-series Zelda game, Breath of Wild feels fresh and exciting, the sum of all parts before. Nothing has come close to having this much content — then consider you can play the game anywhere on Switch! Chances are, we’ll be talking about this game’s greatness for years to come.

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