Anybody can tell you that a ton of great games came out in 2017, I mean, you probably know it yourself. But what games did I think were the best of the year? So kind of you to ask. Here’s my list of ten titles, in no specific order.
Persona 5 is a masterpiece. I don’t say that a lot (as a matter of fact, I have called a total of three games masterpieces in my time at MonsterVine), but Persona 5 deserves the title as much as any game could. There’s something here for everyone: a social life simulator for those who like to romance anime ladies, incredibly deep Persona customization mechanics for the hardcore RPG fans, and a story that features one of the best ensemble casts in gaming. The different dungeons have fantastic theming, and the soundtrack is a 10/10. I had high expectations for Persona 5, and it easily surpassed them all.
Best Moment: Just hanging out with your friends (Ryuji), learning more about them while at the same time also getting sick new skills for your Persona.
A seemingly animatronic living teddy bear killing eccentric teenagers for the third time? Sold. It’s no secret that I love the Danganronpa series, so I’m very glad my high expectations for the third and possibly final main-series entry were met and surpassed. Full of surprises and characters that are as fascinating as it gets, Danganronpa V3 once again cranks everything up to 11 in the best way possible. Black comedy, brutal deaths, and thrilling trials await you within the halls of the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles, so you’d do well to enrol as soon as possible.
Best Moment: Monokuma actually references Yo-Kai Watch and turns into “Jibakuma”. Asking for anything more would be selfish of me.
I’ve written an awful lot about Cuphead, from a review to an opinion piece about the difficulty that makes it so great. Yet despite all these articles, I could still sing Cuphead’s praises with enthusiasm for quite some time. Tight gameplay, gorgeous visuals, spectacular music, and the perfect amount of difficulty makes for a game that stands out from all other titles like it. If you like your games tough, Cuphead is like a monochromatic dream come true.
Best Moment: Beating the Devil and feeling like a golden god…until you start playing Expert (which is more than worth playing).
I approached Sonic Mania with caution, but I really didn’t need to. Mania is exactly what it needed to be: a fast and furious return to form for the scorned blue hedgehog. Every level is a visual delight that’s packed full of homages to the Sonic of old, and provides a plethora of diverging paths that will keep you playing for some time to come. Sonic Mania did what no one thought could be done: it made people believe in Sonic agai-wait what? Sonic Forces came out, yeah…what about-oh god really? That bad? Geez, okay maybe people don’t quite believe in him again yet, and we were so close…
Best Moment: ALL OF STUDIOPOLIS
Digimon World: Next Order
To quote the classic Western theme song, Digimon are the champions. I love Digimon, both the franchise and the monsters themselves, and Digimon World: Next Order reminded me why (not that I needed the reminder, but hey I’ll take it). Reminiscent of the classic PS1 title Digimon World, Next Order has you raise Digimon by feeding them, training them in battle, letting them sleep, and taking them to bathrooms so that they can poop. After a while, your Digimon die, and are reincarnated as an egg carrying certain stats from its spiritual predecessor. One of my favorite parts of the game is that how well you care for your Digimon determines what they Digivolve into. There are so many Digivolutions for every single Digimon that people have made charts and spreadsheets to keep track of how to get each Digimon; a level of detail that I deeply appreciate.
Best Moment: The first time you Digivolve a Digimon into one of your favorites, and not yet another Numemon.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Dragon Quest VIII scratches an itch that almost no other series can, and that’s the “near-perfect RPG” itch. Carrying on the series tradition of providing classic RPG gameplay with lovable characters, Dragon Quest harkens back to a simpler time when RPGs were charming and plentiful. With designs by Akira Toriyama (creator of Dragon Ball, whose style I will praise until the day I die), the world of Dragon Quest VIII is brimming with charm and character. Every party member brings their own whimsical brand of charm to the game, and I’ve got to say that if you dislike Yangus, I’m not sure we could ever truly get along. It is easily one of the best RPGs on the 3DS and in general, and if you love the genre, you owe it to yourself to play this game.
Best Moment: Any time Yangus speaks, because he is a national treasure.
Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami
These are being combined into one entry because of their similarities, being from the same series. A year ago, all I knew of Yakuza was that it was similar to Shenmue but with more fighting. Now I can say Yakuza is one of my favorite game series, all because of these two games. The fictional city of Kamurocho is lively and oozing with character, just like the protagonists of the two titles. Kiryu and Majima are drastically different characters that
Best Moment: Nailing that perfect 100% score singing Bakamitai at the karaoke bar.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I’ve said it before, but I’m in a bit of a middle ground when it comes to Zelda. I’ve beaten most of the series and I love the 2D titles and Wind Waker, but I don’t really feel the need to play Zelda games. I typically consider most of the titles to be “fine”, so Breath of the Wild was a welcome surprise for me. The amount of collectibles and secrets scattered across the impressively open world kept me playing after the main story was done, and the colorful world of Hyrule was wonderfully easy on the eyes. I’m often a cynic when it comes to Nintendo, but I’m happy to say Breath of the Wild was a big win for them in my books.
Best Moment: Maxing out my stamina, scaling mountains and reaching new areas early.
Injustice 2, like the previous entry in the series, is one of the few fighting games where the story mode is both the focus, and enjoyable. Superman becoming a totalitarian ruler is an interesting concept, as is the idea of Earth fighting off a galactic threat like Braniac without the Kryptonian Boy Scout in their corner. The gameplay is tight and satisfying (weighty combat is a Neatherrealm specialty), the characters all play differently, and the roster, even before DLC, is a gift to any DC fan. A few of my favorite DC characters were added into the fray as well (Captain Cold, Doctor Fate, and Swamp Thing specifically), making it almost a dream come true. (I’ll never get Constantine, but at least I got the Ninja Turtles). Overall, Injustice 2 is a lot of fun, and I still enjoy getting in an online match or two from time to time.
Best Moment: Strong story moments, and quotes like “Dick (Grayson) was my son too.”
Uncharted: Lost Legacy
Lost Legacy was the last game I played this year, as Will once again proved he’s one of the nicest people on the planet by surprising me with the game as a Christmas present at PSX. Uncharted is one of the few game series I consider to be among my absolute favorites. Lost Legacy is a more than worthy continuation of the franchise, as it is filled to the brim with both the explosive action and charming characters that the series is known for. Chloe and Nadine are incredibly enjoyable to adventure with, as the way they play off each other is purely top-notch. If you have a craving for some Uncharted, Lost Legacy is the way to go.
Best Moment: Swinging around caves and cliffs while making fun of my boy Nathan Drake.
And those were my favorite games of the year. What were yours? Leave them in the comments, or berate me for my choices!