So, I’ve spent the last two months trying desperately to finish up all the fantastic games that came out in 2017 and I’m finally done!
…Or at least as done as I can feasibly be. Turns out 2017 had a lot of fantastic games and I don’t have endless amounts of money or time anymore. Damn adulting. So, this year, since I just couldn’t reconcile leaving some amazing games off of my top 10 list, I’ve got two lists. Head here if you want to see my Top 10 games that I did play. Otherwise, buckle up for the top 10 games I wish I had been able to play.
10. Pyre – PC, Mac, Linux, PS4
Like many others, I was a big fan of Supergiant Games’ first two additions to the gaming universe, Bastion and Transistor. So even though the concept sounded bizarre on paper, I was on board with their visual novel/sports game, Pyre. Turns out, not only does it live up to those top-notch predecessors, many are calling it their best game to date. That’s a hell of a statement to make and I’m not sure it could beat out Bastion in my mind but I certainly want to give Pyre the chance.
9. Dream Daddy – PC, Mac, Linux
Okay, this one’s weird, I know. When Dream Daddy first released last summer, I had zero desire to play it. A dating sim about gay Dads making dad jokes was about as far out of my wheelhouse as it’s possible to get. Being made by the Game Grumps didn’t add much for me. Love their YouTube content but that doesn’t exactly translate to game development skill.
And yet, this game dominated the conversation for months. People who have never enjoyed a visual novel before wound up enjoying this unlikely dating sim. People from all different backgrounds, orientations, etc. found something to enjoy here and I have to admit, it has piqued my curiosity.
8. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – PC, Xbox One, PS4 (coming to Switch)
While it wasn’t the sales tour de force they maybe expected, Bethesda’s half-reboot, half-sequel to 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein was a strong return to form for the Wolfenstein series. Taking an oddly serious tone to the over-the-top franchise, Wolfenstein: The New Order was surprisingly well done and it made Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus a front-runner on my games to play list. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always play nice and after several huge financial setbacks back to back, the game fell by the wayside in 2017. Now though, after a generous Humble Bundle sale, I’ve got Wolfenstein 2 queued up as I write this and I’m excited to see what happens when they let loose and abandon seriousness for crazy, Nazi-killing action!
7. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Rush – Switch
Maybe it was my love for Rayman. Maybe it was just because I was a high school boy when they came out. Maybe they just don’t work for me. Whatever the case may be, since their inception in Rayman: Raving Rabbids, I have held an irrationally large hatred for the Rabbids. When E3 2017 showed that they were going to mash up the Rabbids with Mario and Shigeru Miyamoto came on stage with a gun, I thought I was having a horrible nightmare. Despite how horrible that sounds on paper, Mario + Rabbids came out on the Switch to massive acclaim. Sure, it’s a bit weird but it’s take on the XCOM formula of tactical combat has actually gotten the XCOM creative director to take notice. It has received a shocking amount of love over the last few months and it has been enough for me to consider putting my Rabbid-bigotry aside to give this game a real shot.
6. Horizon: Zero Dawn – PS4
Horizon: Zero Dawn was a complete about-face by Guerrilla Games, the developer famous for the Killzone franchise. Instead of dark, dusty, drab and other D-adjectives, Horizon: Zero Dawn features a bright, colorful and gorgeous open world to explore. On top of that, the strategic, fast-paced combat looks like a blast and even the story is supposed to be quite strong. Horizon: Zero Dawn may have been a day one buy for me except… I still don’t have a PS4… When that obstacle is overcome, or if the game is ever miraculously ported to PC, Horizon will be one of my first games to track down.
5. Total War: Warhammer 2 – PC
The Total War franchise has always been hit and miss with me. Medieval: Total War was one of my earliest 4X games and I love it to this day. While they offer up a unique flavor to the usually very same-y genre, the series has been rife with technical problems that can often overwhelm the good aspects of the game. The Total War: Warhammer sub-series hasn’t been much different and yet, something about getting to play Total War in a fantasy world has been enough of a hook to keep bringing me back to the first in the series. After racking up nearly 50 hours in the first, Warhammer 2 is looking pretty enticing.
4. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – PS4, PC
Ninja Theory is such a fascinating beast. They’ve existed in this strange middle-ground between AAA and indie for several years now, working on licensed projects until they could finally release their own work of love, Hellblade. Little was known about this game leading up to its release but it generated a huge following when people finally got their hands on it. The story of Senua overcoming her mental illness as she struggles to bring her dead husband back to life is fantastical, for sure, but it has also been intensely personal and relatable for many. That’s enough for me to want to give this game a try for myself.
3. Torment: Tides of Numenera – PC, Xbox One, PS4
One of the earliest Kickstarter success stories, Torment: Tides of Numenera thought to finally build a follow-up to one of the greatest RPGs ever made, Planescape: Torment. This time, they would change the setting to Numenera, a new RPG setting and rulebook built in collaboration with this game, and would tell the story of a man abandoned after being literally inhabited by his God for his entire existence. By all accounts, Torment is a game built around role-playing where every encounter can be completed many different ways. It’s not a game built around combat and while that turned some away, I’m always excited to see an RPG try something new and daring.
2. Super Mario Odyssey – Switch
The Super Mario Galaxy games were fantastic but for some reason, I don’t really consider them a follow-up to the classic Super Mario 64. Something about the linearity of those worlds never quite felt the same as exploring the open environments from 64. Super Mario Sunshine filled that hole but… you know… it was Super Mario Sunshine. In that sense, Super Mario Odyssey is finally the follow-up I’ve been hoping for. Wide-open expanses and the freedom to hunt down Moons is exactly what I’ve wanted from a Mario game for over two decades. I can’t wait to finally get my hands on the Switch to give this game a try.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Switch, Wii U
…but before I play Mario, I’ve got to start with what has been heralded as one of the greatest launch games of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If you go waaaaaaaaay back on this site to my initial Switch impressions, I predicted that while Zelda would be good, there was no way it would be good enough to carry the Switch entirely by itself. I was completely wrong. We now live in a world where the Switch is the fastest growing console and it was almost exclusively thanks to Breath of the Wild, a game willing to break with Nintendo tradition in so many ways and take influence from the successes and failures of the greatest open world RPGs out there. The Witcher 3 influences are everywhere but so are lessons learned from games like Minecraft or Terraria. Everything coalesces to make a game that refuses to hold your hand but offers you a world of exploration, creation and danger. Breath of the Wild has won numerous Game of the Year awards and from everything I’ve seen, it is deserved.
Those are the top 10 games that I wish I had played in 2017. Didn’t see your favorite game of the year on the list? Check out my Top 10 Games of 2017 and see if maybe I did manage to give your game a try. Otherwise, leave a comment and let me know what games I need on my list for 2018.