That’s a wrap on 2017. Another year with a whole bunch of fantastic games. And another year my already big backlog gets a little bigger.
Most of the games I played came out in 2017, but I included a couple of older games that I still play regularly. If your favorite game didn’t make my list, chances are I didn’t play it. You can blame PUBG for that. Let’s dive in.
I haven’t had a game grab me like PUBG in a long time. I’ve already logged 500+ hours and still fire it up almost daily. It never gets old. I lover shooters, but PUBG takes it to a whole new level.
Every match is its own story. Whether it’s taking on a whole squad of four by yourself, or laughing about flipping over a motorcycle that takes out you and your friends. PUBG is built for these moments. That one life per match builds tension, but it also makes many of the games memorable. A feeling I don’t often get after wrapping up a Call of Duty or Battlefield match.
And watching ‘Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner’ splash onto the screen never gets old. Here’s to more chicken dinners in 2018.
They Are Billions
I bought this late one night last month after looking for a game to burn my $20 Steam credit on. I saw it on the ‘top sellers’ list with good reviews and pulled the trigger after watching the trailer.
Do you love turtling up in RTS games? Building walls and turrets and watching enemies smash into them like a brick wall? Me too. They Are Billions is the RTS designed for us.
You start off with a Command Center and a small squad of troops. Surrounded by thousands of infected. Every dozen days or so a horde of infected push towards your base. All culminating with one giant horde of zombies at the end coming from all directions.
It might sound easy, but it’s not. A single infected hitting a house is enough to wipe out your city. Just when you think your defenses are enough, a huge horde rips through them like a knife through butter. There are never too many walls, turrets, or soldiers. Trust me.
They Are Billions is an early access game, but there are four maps already out. A campaign is also in the works.
Rocket-boosted car soccer. It doesn’t sound like a recipe for a perfect game, but damn if Psyonix doesn’t deliver.
The rules and gameplay are simple but incredibly challenging to master. I still shake my head watching folks twisting and twirling in the air as they slam an oversized soccer ball into the goal.
Rocket League is pure fun. Built around five-minute matches of it. I love PUBG, but playing for 25 minutes only to get shot in the back can be annoying. Rocket League keeps it fast and fun. Now, if I could just hit Champion rank.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
I knew one thing for certain before firing up Horizon: Zero Dawn for the first time. Guerrilla Games’ newest title would be a looker. And they didn’t disappoint. But under the impressive presentation was a fantastic open-world game.
Horizon: Zero Dawn paints an Earth where civilization has collapsed. In its place are tribes of people trying to make it in a world dominated by mysterious machines. It’s a great concept on paper and is even better when you see what Guerrilla Games delivers.
For a developer best known for the sci-fi shooters, Guerrilla Games shows they can stand with the best open-world developers out there. The recent expansion The Frozen Wilds keeps the adventure going, and I can’t wait to see where Guerrilla Games goes from here.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Larian Studios delivers one of my favorite RPGs in recent years. Hell, maybe ever. Divinity: Original Sin 2’s turn-based combat might not be for everyone, but fans of RPGs will find a lot to love here.
Choices matter. You’re not just picking the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ dialogue options. Your choices change how characters respond to you, or even if they stick around. And the ramifications last until the final moments.
Toss in four-player multiplayer and a Game Master mode (where you set up your own adventures), and Divinity: Original Sin 2 will last quite some time for even the most hardcore RPG players.
Call of Duty: WW2
Activision and Sledgehammer Games promised to deliver what the fans wanted. The traditional, boots-on-the-ground gameplay that propelled the franchise to its modern-day success.
Activision and Sledgehammer Games delivered. The days of boost jumping and wall-running are no more.
I wasn’t sure if boots-on-the-ground gameplay was the answer to my Call of Duty fatigue. But after the first hour of multiplayer, I knew Call of Duty was back. The simpler gameplay just feels better. I’m not scouring the skies for jetpack enemies or worrying about some route only possible with wall running.
Call of Duty: WW2 is the classic Call of Duty gameplay we’ve been missing for the past few years. And with these sales numbers, I think Activision will be happy to keep the Call of Duty’s boots on the ground for the foreseeable future.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
The two year hiatus since the last Assassin’s Creed was just what the franchise needed. Origins heads to ancient Egypt and the beginning of the Assassins. We play as Bayek, a Medjay in ancient Egypt. After being taken captive by a mysterious group, Bayek accidentally kills his son in a struggle against one of his captors. This sparks a quest for vengeance that spans an absurdly large game map.
I still can’t believe how big Assassin’s Creed: Origins is. Every village and oasis filled brimming with detail and begging to be explored. And it looks glorious on Xbox One X with a 4K TV.
A revamped combat system takes the franchise away from the counter-based combat of previous titles and pushes going on the offensive more.
Ubisoft knocked it out of the park here and brought the franchise back to its former heights.
Looks good? Check. Plays good? Check. Sounds good? Check. Destiny 2 isn’t perfect. Far from it, actually. But shooting aliens never felt so good. The story is a fun sci-fi romp. And the game offers at least a few dozen hours of fun with friends.
Bungie is still struggling on delivering the full vision of the Destiny franchise. The journey to end-game is a blast, but the destination leaves a bit to be desired. Still, Destiny 2 gave me 30+ hours of gameplay that I enjoyed the hell out of.
Star Wars Battlefront 2
Yep, the loot box system was a mess. And the progression system isn’t much better. But under these two glaring problems is a stunning, fun Star Wars game.
We know DICE are technical wizards and they show it off here again. All DICE had to do is make a Star Wars game that looks and sounds like Star Wars. And man do they deliver. Battlefront 2 looks insane on my Xbox One X.
Cutting through scores of Clone Troopers on Naboo as Darth Maul looks incredible.
Dropping a Sonic Mine from Boba Fett’s Slave One in Starfighter Assault sounds even better.
The single player isn’t too bad either. It won’t be remembered as your favorite Star Wars story, and the gameplay can be a bit shallow – but it’s a fun distraction over a weekend.
Rainbow Six: Siege
I’m always happy to see tactical shooters get the spotlight. And Rainbow Six: Siege deserves every piece of it. Two years ago, I played the beta and didn’t care that much for it. The game was fun, but I just didn’t see myself playing it for long. One of my buddies convinced me to pick it up shortly after its launch. Two years later and we still play it regularly.
Rainbow Six: Siege is entering its third year and shows no signs of slowing down. Ubisoft continues to churn out new operators and maps.
There have been quite a few surprises in the gaming industry the past few years and one of them has to be Siege’s surging popularity.
It’s one of the top games on all of its platforms. PC, Xbox One, PS4, it doesn’t matter. Every platform has found a huge audience who can’t get enough of its thrilling tactical gameplay.
Ripped straight from a 1930s cartoon, Cuphead is gorgeous, fun, and brutal. StudioMDHR crafted a run and gun action game (with a heavy emphasis on boss battles) that’ll have you gripping your controller until it feels like it’s going to break. You’ll want to toss it across the room at times too. I know I did.
Cuphead perfectly delivers that old-school look with an old-school difficulty. There’s no hand-holding here. When you die, a little graph shows how close you made it to the end. Dying for the 20th time was already enough to tick me off. Seeing how close I was to beating a boss? That’s almost enough to send me over the edge.
Every boss and level was hand drawn just like it was done in the old days. Original jazz recordings beautifully compliment the stunning visuals onscreen.
That’s my list of the best games in 2017. I already know I missed out on a ton of great games. Maybe this year. What were your best games in 2017?