I think that 2017 is going to be one of those years that will be remembered for just having a plethora of fantastic game releases for a long time to come. Spoken in the same conversations as years like 1998 and 2007. The early part of this year in particular was just chock-a-block full of really great games. I don't play quite as much games as I used to, and have in the past struggled to even come up with 10 games to put on these lists, but this year I managed it with games to spare! There were so many great games I didn't play because I was too busy playing other, also great games! So, here is the Top 10 2017 Games That Were Definitely Pretty Decent.

Tekken 7

AKUMA IS IN IT

I have a long, but sporadic history with Tekken. Back when I was but a wee sprog, Tekken 2 was one of the games I played a lot of during the PS1 era. I have fond memories of Tekken 3 releasing, and my dad spending days phoning up the local video-rental shop to see if their one copy of it was available to borrow. Eventually, it was, and it was great. Of course, I wasn't particularly good at them, nor really understood any fighting game fundamentals (and wouldn't until a few years ago when I started getting really into Street Fighter IV), but mashing my way to victory against easy-level CPU was a good, fun way to spend many hours of my pre-teen years. I also spent a lot of time doing the same with the PS2 and PSP versions of Tekken 5. Fast-forward to this year, and Tekken 7 is finally here. It's... a little sparse in the single-player content. I can't play Tekken as well as I can SF, so I actually found myself a little wanting for solo stuff. There is a fancy single-player story which is... very silly, but still pretty fun. Simply put though, it's still Tekken. It looks and plays like Tekken, which is all you can really ask for.

Also, Akuma is in it.

Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy

This is what PS1 games looked like, right?

Crash Bandicoot 3 is one of my favourite video games of all time. This game could've been a remake of just that, and it still would've made this list. The fact the first two games are also in here is just icing on the cake. The remade visuals are pretty much perfect, invoking that "this looks exactly how I remember it as a kid!" feeling.

The only real knock I can give it is that the platforming physics for all three games are based on the third. This generally isn't a huge problem, but, for the first game in particular, which demanded a lot more precise platforming challenges from its players, makes it a little bit of a tougher game than the PS1 originals. A lot of fun hours packed in this package, and it launched at sub-£30! Best Value™!

NieR:Automata

This game gets me.

As always, I never rank these end-of-year lists that I write. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't have some semblance of an order in my head. So, let it be said that Nier: Automata is not only my game of the year, but my game of the generation thus far. Sure, the game isn't perfect. The game's combat definitely has a lot of depth available to it, if the player wants it, but the game never really invites the player to delve deeper, especially on the normal difficulty. The game's world, while, in my opinion, is pretty great, could definitely do with some fleshing out and polishing (there are a few invisible walls strewn about in places you'd think there shouldn't be). The game's plot, while enjoyable and certainly goes some places, isn't totally outstanding. The side-quests, some of which have some truly incredible writing and worldbuilding, are usually little more than fetch-quests. The pacing of the second "playthrough" could've done with some work to trim it back a bit. The game absolutely has faults. But then you have Ending E. Quite simply, the most profoundly emotional sequence I have ever experienced in my over two decades of playing video games. It's such an amazing, incredible thing, which I absolutely won't spoil, that, above all else, works because it is a video game. Transplanting that moment into any other medium (including simply watching a let's play) without losing any of its impact, is impossible. And that should be celebrated. Nier: Automata takes such advantage of it's existence as a video game for storytelling purposes, that I can only hope that other developers take inspiration from it to create truly unique story experiences that are unique because they are video games. Nier is filled with so much heart that, for all of it's faults, I can't help but utterly adore it. This game is so, so much more than the sum of its parts.

Also, the soundtrack is fucking sublime. One of the few I've felt compelled to physically buy a copy of. Keiichi Okabe is one of the best composers currently in video games.

Persona 5

Look at this dope-ass battle menu!

Persona 5 might be the most stylish video game I've ever played. The fact people were going completely fucking apeshit over footage of menus during early trailers should say it all. This game looks and moves like no other, especially among games in its genre. Turn-based combat is almost always a slow and deliberate affair, but Persona 5 makes it fast and punchy, not just through the unparalleled UI design, but also seemingly obvious decisions like mapping all the top-level battle options (attack, magic, items, party, etc) to a single-button press. While the overall visual aesthetic of P5 feels like an evolution of the previous couple of games, it's such a massive improvement that it's almost as if they skipped a game or two in that progression. It's incredible. Shoji Meguro's always impeccable soundtrack (this time focusing on jazz, compared to P3 and 4's hip-hop and J-Pop, respectively) slots in perfectly, with a whole host of superb standout tracks. The story while, maybe not ending in a way I was particularly liked, was still overall great, with a framing device that I personally thought was amazingly cool. I spent damn near one hundred hours playing Persona 5 to completion, and I had to try real hard to not immediately becoming totally invested in a new game plus playthrough. It is a damn good game, one of the masters of its genre. I can't wait to have my mind completely blown by what Persona 6 might end up looking like.

Also Haru is best girl, for those of you wondering.

Hollow Knight

original content pls dont steal

The debut game from Team Cherry, a new Australian developer who have made pretty much the best metroidvania game in recent memory. A really nice, hand-drawn art-style, set in a deep, dank, dark underground fallen civilisation populated by bugs, both humanoid and less so. From a storytelling and lore perspective, Hollow Knight takes a lot of cues from Dark Souls: hard exposition is scarce; a good deal of the storytelling is done through environment; friendly NPCs are sparse, and they mostly talk in riddles. The whole game is dripping in atmosphere. The gameplay itself is also great. A combat system that, while fairly simple, is tough but not punishingly so, and new movement abilities are decently paced so that, by the time you're nearing the end of the game, you rarely feel like you're not in complete control of your character. The world map is huge, though I will admit, making your way through it can be tedious at times (since backtracking is a staple of this genre). There are also a couple of issues I have with the mapping system, but these are two niggles in what is otherwise, a very exceptionally well made and enjoyable game.

Also, the devs are supporting it greatly, with (so far) two decently-sized content expansions released for the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

BotW has some real pretty vistas.

So, this will be the part where I say for the first time on this blog that I bought a Nintendo Switch. For all intents and purposes, it is my first Nintendo home console. Of course, I own a SNES, an N64 and a Gamecube, but those I all acquired during a retro collecting phase; I never had them when they were the current hotness. Nintendo handhelds, however, I've grown up with all the way since the original Game Boy, so naturally I'd eventually end up with a Switch, Nintendo's latest handheld/home console hybrid. I have been mostly using it as a console however, hooked up to my TV.

I bought it for this game.

Breath of the Wild is a triumph. It is the greatest open-world game ever made, and I sincerely believe that. Previous entries in the Zelda franchise (namely, the very first game and Ocarina of Time) pretty much created their respective genres. BotW however, looks to an already well-established one, and polishes it to near-perfection. This game is a true open-world experience. You are only given one concrete goal: Defeat Ganon, something which the game leaves completely up to you in how you approach. The entire world itself is expertly crafted in such a way, that, no matter what where you look you will see something interesting to do or a cool place to go. There is always some reward for anything you do, even if that reward is simply a breathtaking view after climbing to the top of a mountain. As someone who loves exploring for the sake of exploring in games, BotW feels like it was made for me. There are climbable towers: however, upon scaling them the game doesn't just jizz a bunch of waypoint icons onto your map like every other open-world game with towers: it simply fills out the topography of the local area. You then have to use your newly-acquired vantage point to visually check out interesting waypoints yourself. Such a novel concept!

I honestly could speak a lot more about BotW: the game's writing is full of charm and a really goofy sense of humour; the combat is fun and challenging, with an unbelievable amount of options at your disposal; the way the game utilises its amazingly understated soundtrack is nothing short of masterful. However, I've already waffled on for much longer than I usually do about a game in these end-of lists. All I will say is that Breath of the Wild was easily worth the £300+ I had to pay in order to play it.

Destiny 2

Have you played Destiny? 2 will feel pretty familiar.

Honestly, there's been so much negative press and drama surrounding microtransations and base-content eventually getting locked behind DLC and shaders being consumable and other such silliness (not that any of those complaints aren't valid, because they are) that, to a lot of people, Destiny 2 being on a top 10 list is quite possibly sacrilege. But as somebody who, on-and-off, put a whole lot of hours into the original Destiny and mostly enjoyed it, and who also played solo and never even did a raid, the sequel is a much better game from that perspective. When you stop caring about the end-game and maxing out your light level and efficiently farming with all three of your characters (and again, caring about that is absolutely fine), Destiny 2 is a very, very enjoyable game that you play for 10-50 hours and then... just put down. Like most any other game. In a time where a lot of "games as services" are vying for your gaming attention all the time, Destiny is, in my opinion, ideally a game you play for a relatively short amount of time, and then maybe come back to later, if the new content intrigues you. As a fairly casual Destiny player, having a story campaign that... well, exists, as well as being more generous with legendary and exotic loot (because again, I'm not the hardcore player who's going to grind to collect all of it) is a marked improvement over the first game. Destiny 2 is an enjoyable shooter and for me, someone who as the years go by is becoming generally less interested in shooters, is all it needed to be.

Doki Doki Literature Club

DDLC is... well, it's a visual novel. I don't want to say anything else about it because, if you aren't aware of what DDLC is, I'd absolutely hate to ruin that for anybody. I'm not even going to attach a screenshot to this entry.

All else I will say is that it absolutely is one of the most memorable and affecting experiences I've had this year.

It's only a few hours long. It's also free. Heed the warnings the game throws at you, but otherwise go in blind.

Just Monika.

Undertale

Biting social commentary.

Usually, there's always at least one game on my list that is technically cheating, due to being a re-release of a previously released game. This year it's Undertale. I never got to talk about it in 2015's list because I hadn't played it back then. It released on PS4 this year though, which means I can talk about it!

Undertale is another game that is best experienced with as little prior knowledge as possible. It takes your expectations from playing an Earthbound-looking JRPG and subverts them in lots of really interesting, funny and surprising ways. It's one of the most consistently funny and charming games I've ever played, while also not holding back on some emotional punches. The gameplay is a neat mix of JRPG combat and bullet-hell games. The soundtrack is also god-tier, with Toby Fox putting on an absolute masterclass on how to use leitmotifs.

The fanbase is, to put it generously, a little over-bearing. But things that gain such fervent fans usually do so for a reason, and Undertale absolutely earned it.

Super Mario Odyssey

These guys kinda suck tho

With the Nintendo Switch being my first real Nintendo home-console, it would stand to reason that would mean Super Mario Odyssey is the first 3D Mario game I've ever really played. And you'd be right (I've played 2D ones, don't worry). And boy, what an impression to make. I initially was a little weary of the amount of acceleration Mario has on his movement speed, but eventually became comfortable with it: the controls are on-point. I have little prior experience to base this on, but this is probably the best Mario has ever felt to control, a character who I'm lead to believe has usually controlled very well. Visually, the game is a marvel both technically and stylistically. The large amount of different worlds, all with very different looks come together into a veritable smorgasbord of great art-design. The music is fucking dope. Everything about Odyssey is just an absolute joy to behold and feels like the embodiment of Nintendo's philosophy: that games should be fun and enjoyable for everyone.

As far as honourable mentions go: Horizon: Zero Dawn is a pretty good open-world game that made the mistake of releasing at the same time as Zelda. I'm super interested in seeing where the story goes, and the world Guerilla have built is really intriguing, but I hadn't played enough to feel comfortable including it on this list. Chaos;Child is the latest visual novel from the folks that what did Steins;Gate, but being a long, solely story-focused VN, the fact I haven't finished it means it wasn't going to be on this list. SteamWorld Dig 2 is a really good game in the "do a thing to collect resources then sell those resources to buy upgrades that let you do the thing better" genre. I look forward to finishing it. Golf Story is a really silly, fun 2D golf/RPG-hybrid thing. It's mostly story-based with a bunch of quests and stuff, and you can tee up wherever the hell you like, it's great. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the third big Switch game I bought this year is... well, it's Mario Kart, it's great! But the single-player offerings are pretty sparse (and, outside of the 200cc mode, almost completely devoid of any challenge) and while online-multiplayer is fine, it's not going to hold my interest for long periods of time. Quake Champions seems like a pretty good Quake game, but I'm capital-G Garbage at arena shooters, and it still had some (mostly netcode related) issues when I last played. There's probably other games I'm forgetting, so that'll be your lot.

And that's it for 2017! Pretty fantastic year for games, as I said at the top, lets see what next year brings!

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