Unfortunately I wasn’t around to contribute to the brilliant list of games pulled together by my co-authors, but by Jove what a great year it has been for video games. It was a year that, for me at least, was marked by very few (if any) major disappointments, and more than its fair share of nice surprises. But it was the beginning of the Nintendo Switch era that more than anything else made my year in video games – even if The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild hasn’t managed to tickle my fancy in the quite the way I thought it would.
But that’s enough of an introduction, so without further delay, here are my five favourite games of 2017!
Persona 5 is the game I think I needed in 2017. In a year where I have felt completely helpless to fix world that seems at first glance to be spiralling out of control, Persona 5 demonstrated that even every day people can make the world a better place. The underlying themes of Persona 5 aren’t uncommon for video games – heroes are usually built from their want to fight evil – but the contemporary and very real world context they were written into hit me in the gut. Hard. I haven’t finished Persona 5 yet, but I will get there, and I have no doubt it will continue to hit me in the ‘feels’ area of the brain. Oh, and it also happens to be a rather fun JRPG.
Skyrim (Nintendo Switch)
Is this cheating? Maybe a bit, but for a game that I personally own for almost every system known to man, the Switch port is the first time I’ve been well and truly hooked on Bethesda’s world-beating RPG. Perhaps I can put it down to my penchant for handheld gaming, or my increasing need to feel engaged in a world other than Earth in 2017. Either way, Skyrim managed to grab me this year, and I don’t see it letting go any time soon. Gamers of 2011 you were right – this game is pretty great!
I think there is a very simple reason Prey really resonated with me: it is pretty much everything I wanted Bioshock to be a decade ago. Talos 1 was a joy to explore between all the skulking around and running away from the horrors that have beset it, with its shiny art-deco aesthetic and thoroughly lived-in feel providing an immersive sandbox to spend time in. The fact that the narrative is so well worked into the game, providing an immense pay-off in the dying moments, is really just icing on the moon cake.
From the makers of my favourite tennis game Everybody’s Tennis, comes the latest instalment of their long-running golf franchise. And playing Clap Hanz’s latest game in the series it’s clear to see why it’s lasted so long. Easily the most accessible golf game, Everybody’s Golf packs on both content and depth, to rival even the biggest competitors in the sports game arena. And while gameplay wise It doesn’t do anything remarkably different from golf games past, it does just enough to put the golf head and shoulders above all that have come before it.
Super Mario Odyssey
Pure fun. That’s really all that can be said about Super Mario Odyssey. Nintendo knows how to treat its mascot, and Super Mario Odyssey, while not quite surpassing Super Mario Galaxy, is certainly the best in the series since the utterly brilliant Wii games. If there is one game that can bring out the child in even the most disillusioned human, it’s this one.