Keen Gamer Staff’s Top 10 Games of 2017

Several staff came together to give their respective top 10 games of 2017, because everyone has different experiences with games in a year.

Keen Gamer Staff's Top 10 Games of 2017

Introduction

What a year 2017 has been! For the past 12 months, gamers have been gifted with a plethora of amazing content on all platforms. Not everyone played every game, though, so asking a group of fine folks like ourselves to vote on the 10 best is a monumental tasks. Everyone has a unique gaming experience every year, and 2017 is no different.

So rather than have the staff vote on the top 10 best, we instead decided to have a few writers come together to give their personal top 10 best games of 2017! We hope you enjoy these lists as much as we enjoyed playing the games in them.

Joseph Stanichar

#9: ARMS

While ARMS isn't the most complex fighter out there, it's a pure adrenaline rush up to the point where you figure it out. Still, people online have figured it out as well, and many of them are forces to be reckoned with, if you dare compete with them.

#8: Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together!

This fun little game has you and a friend cut each other into shapes to solve a myriad of clever puzzles. The game is full of charm, and you and your friend will have a laugh seeing the wacky ways you solve these deceptively cute challenges.

#7: Splatoon 2

The game that got me to enjoy an online shooter has done it again with the faithful sequel, Splatoon 2! While not changing too much from the original, Splatoon 2 builds off of it with the same basic premise of covering your turf with ink, along with an incredibly tense horde mode, an equally whimsical single-player campaign, and weekly additions of weapons, stages, and modes that will continue into summer of next year.

#6: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Yes, it's a weird crossover, but it somehow works! Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle will give you a legitimate tactical challenge, forcing you to really think about every move and how to position characters, all while listening to Grant Kirtkhope's excellent score.

#5: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Keen Gamer Staff's Top 10 Games of 2017 - With all the Wii U DLC and new content, Deluxe could almost be considered Mario Kart 9.               
While Mario Kart 8 Deluxe doesn't differ too much from the original Mario Kart 8 on Wii U, the ability to take my favorite multiplayer game ever on the go with me, and have two controllers, was a revelation for me. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the same great game that graced the Wii U, but with a new-and-improved battle mode, and the ability to take it anywhere.

#4: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentina

I fear this game will be overshadowed by everything else that came out this year, which is a shame! Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, while a remake of the second Fire Emblem game on the NES, feels fresh and exciting, and for that reason, it's my favorite game in the series.

#3: Horizon: Zero Dawn

If Breath of the Wild is the dawn of the new open-world game, Horizon: Zero Dawn is the perfection of the traditional open-world game. Not only is it drop-dead gorgeous, but it boasts a believable cast in an engrossing story, and a combat system that will keep you on your toes.

#2: Super Mario Odyssey

In any other year, this game would have easily taken the cake for game of the year. With discoveries to be made at every turn, a colorful world with a ton of personality, and a plethora of delightful platforming challenges thrown in, Super Mario Odyssey returns to the sandbox platformer in style!

#1: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda is my favorite series of all time, and Breath of the Wild now sits comfortably at the top of that series, not just as my favorite Zelda game, but as my favorite game of all time, PERIOD. This is not because Breath of the Wild is a perfect game. The dungeons are woefully short, and the story in particular leaves a lot to be desired. But what Breath of the Wild does get right, perhaps more than any other video game before, is giving the player freedom. Not only can the player go anywhere from the start (including the final boss!), but they get to decide how to get there. You could take the beaten path, but there's a tough enemy over there. So instead, just climb the mountain next to you.

Keen Gamer Staff's Top 10 Games of 2017 - After climbing up nearly any surface in Hyrule, it makes it harder to go back to open-world games without it.                 
And the world is just begging to be explored. You're not supposed to try and collect the 900 korok seeds scattered about Hyrule (I did because I'm insane), but they ensure that virtually any action you do will be rewarded with at least one of these. But the real prizes are the shrines. Yes, they give you spirit orbs to be exchanged for hearts and stamina, but the real rewards are the shrines themselves. While we can complain about the short dungeons, the truth is that we're spoiled with 120 mini-dungeons, many of which take up to half an hour to beat! These will force you to utilize the runes, which replace traditional Zelda items as your toolset to solve any problem thrown at you, and you get them all in the first hour or so of the game. You might think this would get old, but it doesn't. The runes are so versatile, and the puzzles are constantly making you think of new ways to use them, without forcing you to think of one "intended" solution from the developers. The ambient soundtrack beautifully captures the loneliness of Hyrule, and the anime-inspired art style instantly endears you to every character (or animal) you run across. The DLC packs are well worth the price of admission as well, challenging players to use all that they've learned to overcome some of the biggest obstacles, while rewarding them handsomely for doing so. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a turning point for both The Legend of Zelda and open-world games, and I can't wait to see the full impact this game has on its successors for years to come.

Hrvoje Smoljic

#10: Persona 5

Can't say much about Persona 5. If you own a PS4, go buy this game – invest some time in it and once it opens up, you will know the meaning of the word "obsession".

#9: NieR: Automata

2017 was a great year for games and it's only because of that that NieR: Automata is not so high on this list. If you go past the titular super model androids – you will find a beautiful, deep and meaningful story coupled with the tight, trademark action of Platinum Games.

#8: Mass Effect: Andromeda

ME: Andromeda would be much higher on this list if it didn't resort to threading the similar plot points of the original trilogy. The amazing combat with a great sense of exploration really made me feel like captain Kirk sometimes.

#7: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands

Almost a year later and Wildlands and its expansive open world are still my go-to for military multiplayer mayhem. It's only a plus that its one of the most visually stunning games out there.

#6: Super Mario Odyssey

A game that speaks to the kid in all of us. Super Mario Odyssey remains the staple platformer with gameplay mechanics polished to the absolute max, making it stupidly fun every step of the way.

#5: Horizon Zero Dawn

Keen Gamer Staff's Top 10 Games of 2017 - Robot dinosaurs. What more do you need?

               
Horizon Zero Dawn is an amazing and beautiful game. The combination of insanely pretty visuals and fun gameplay wrapped in a mysterious and great story will make you exhaust this game of all its content and absolutely beg for more.

#4: Assassin's Creed: Origins

An evolution of Assassin's Creed that we've all been waiting for. A fun and beautiful game with a world begging to be explored. I haven't enjoyed an Assassin's Creed game this much since Black Flag.

#3: Divinity: Original Sin II

In my review, I gave this game a 10/10 and rightfully so. Original Sin II is not just the best RPG of the year, but perhaps the decade. Insanely layered, deep, and above all else – fun.

#2: Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Bigger, better, more badass. This sequel is a power fantasy first and foremost and Lord of the Rings coat of paint and the insanely fun Nemesis system are just the icing on the cake.

#1: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild sparked a multitude of emotions for me – it brought me back to the beginning of my gaming days with an unparalleled sense of child-like wonderment and the exploration of the unknown. When you are genuinely sad that you exhausted all the gameplay possibilities and that your time with the game is over after 120 hours, that's really saying something.

Keen Gamer Staff's Top 10 Games of 2017 - As more DLC releases, Breath of the Wild continues to be relevant.                                 
A game like that is the rarest of gems and should be treated as such. Hence the predictable first spot on my Top 10.

Sean Rehbein

#10: Batman: The Enemy Within

While not finished, nor will be before 2017, season 2 of Telltale's Batman adventure game is shaping up better than the first. With a stronger focus on Bruce over the bat, and creative licenses taken with established characters, The Enemy Within is proving to be an engaging and fresh experience of Bat fans new and old.

#9: Tales of Berseria

True to form, the Berseria entry in the Tales series brings all the hallmarks of the RPG franchise, plus some additives. A substantial plot told through enjoyable characters blends with fast combo-combat nicely.

#8: Pyre

Super Giant brings it usual bag of gorgeous art, enchanting music, and enthralling storytelling to a fantasy sports genre. Though not as good as Bastion or Transistor, Pyre's uniqueness and quality help it stand taller than most other games.

#7: The Evil Within 2

A huge improvement over the rough first title, The Evil Within 2 makes full use of a setting it only scratyched the surface of in the first. Surreal and horrifying, The Evil Within 2 conjures up tones of Silent Hill, Jacob's Ladder, and Resident Evil 4 through it's ever-changing world and charismatic villains.

#6: Cuphead

Easily the most memorable new IP this year, Cuphead is a shining example of what can be accomplished through hard work and passion. By doing what other games haven't (1930's hand drawn art) and are too afraid to do (be punishingly difficult), Cuphead cements itself as a crowd favorite.

#5: Persona 5

Keen Gamer Staff's Top 10 Games of 2017 - If nothing else, Persona 5 wins Best UI of the year.                               
By far the coolest game of 2017, Persona 5's monochromatic color scheme, comic book aesthetic, and jazz-rock soundtrack make for perfect mood setters in a game about mind-heisters. Management of both time and skills drive Persona 5's relationships and combat.

#4: Divinity: Original Sin II

Though some of its complexities make it not suitable for everyone, those for whose boxes it does check, Original Sin II is a homerun. Strategic combat that actually requires strategy, and choices-that-matter that actually matter, Original Sin II makes good on the promise many other games fail to deliver.

#3: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Though saddled with the unenviable task of keeping the newborn Switch afloat while the rest of the library got ready, Breath of the Wild proved to be more than up to the task. Going back to its open world roots, Breath of the Wild were the words on everyone's lips for months.

#2: Super Mario Odyssey

Pure joy, that's the best way to describe this newest 3d Mario game. Loving tributes to the past decorate this new world for Mario to explore, either on his own feet or in someone else's shoes.

#1: NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata's themes of humanity, divinity, and the deterministic qualities of the human spirit, even when not in a human, make NieR: Automata something truly special to behold. Alongside its absolutely spellbinding score and combat from the masters of the character-action genre, Platinum, Yoko Taro's strange and beautiful writing leave us with a product that is nothing less than a work of art.

Keen Gamer Staff's Top 10 Games of 2017 - A man as nice as Yoko Taro deserves to have his game get more recognition.               
It is rare that a game can get an emotional reaction out of me, or rather it's rare that a game can make me cry. It wasn't even during the main game, but rather during the credits (those who have played through that story ending know what I'm talking about). An enigma of a game, it challenged its players with deep and complex characters, even if they were dressed in short skirts and high-stockings. It asked those to look past those surface level characteristics and engage in the androids' personalities. Its unique means of handling multiple story paths and endings meant that some players hung up the controller after finishing ending A, but I implore if you, if you did this, to go back and at least make it through ending E.

Conclusion

As we round out the year, we look back at gaming for 2017. Though it was marred by some controversies later in the year, and some lagging in the middle, 2017's catalog of releases puts it up there with 1998 in terms of timeless quality. There is no way it can be argued that 2017 wasn't the best year for gaming in recent memory.

Of course, we want to hear from you, as well. What were you favorite games of 2017? Let us know in the comment section below!

The views expressed in this article are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of the rest of the Keen Gamer staff.

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