Bender's Top 10 Games of 2017
When I think of 2017 in gaming, all I can say is, “Wow! What an incredible year!” We saw the launch of a new Nintendo console that has taken the world by storm, a more powerful Xbox, and dozens of awesome titles across all platforms. It was impossible to narrow it down to just five games this year, so I’ve put together this list of my personal top ten games of 2017.
10) South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Developer(s): Ubisoft San Francisco/South Park Digital Studios LLC
Following up 2014’s The Stick of Truth was no easy task for the team at Ubisoft, but somehow they pulled it off. South Park: The Fractured But Whole offers the same rude humor and fun gameplay as its predecessor, while expanding upon the combat system established in that title in a way that is fun and satisfying. Even though many of the game areas were largely the same, it was still a blast to play superheroes with Cartman and friends.
9) Marvel Heroes Omega (R.I.P.)
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Developer: Gazillion Entertainment
Speaking of superheroes, the next game on my list is the tragically discontinued Marvel Heroes Omega from the now-shuttered developer Gazillion Entertainment. After only 5 months on consoles, the servers were sadly shut down and the game is no longer playable. However, I very much enjoyed my time with this title during that 5-month span. Marvel Heroes Omega featured over 40 playable heroes (including a few villains), each with his or her own power set, iconic costumes, and personality. It was a blast to try out the unique abilities for each character as I tackled legendary baddies like Magneto, Mister Sinister, and Doctor Doom. Goodbye, Marvel Heroes Omega. You will be missed.
8) Metroid: Samus Returns
Platform: 3DS | Developer(s): Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development/MercurySteam
Like most fans, I was beginning to think that Nintendo had forgotten about our favorite bounty hunter, but they finally gave Samus Aran the love she deserves by creating the best Metroid game we’ve seen in 10 years. Samus Returns is more than just a remake of Metroid II. It takes the core concept of that game and expands upon it immensely, adding a much larger map, an extremely satisfying counter ability, and some very challenging and well-designed boss battles.
7) Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Platform: PS4 | Developer: Naughty Dog
In my opinion, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy has not received the praise that it deserved this year. After all, this is a full-fledged Uncharted game developed by Naughty Dog, not just some throwaway DLC. The Lost Legacy features all the action and cinematic excitement — and lots of climbing — that we’ve come to expect from the franchise, as well as some unexpected moments along the way. Claudia Black and Laura Bailey do a fantastic job as Chloe and Nadine, and I enjoyed getting to know more about them as characters.
6) What Remains of Edith Finch
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Developer: Giant Sparrow
The team at Giant Sparrow have certainly established themselves as excellent storytellers and purveyors of unique and emotional experiences. Exploring the Finch house and learning about the fate of each member of the family were the most impactful few hours I spent all year. Each story played out completely different, all culminating in an extremely touching finale. You owe it to yourself to play this game if you haven’t already.
5) Mages of Mystralia
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Developer: Borealys Games
Montreal-based developer Borealys Games nabs the number five spot on my list with Mages of Mystralia. This title was special for me, as it takes the familiar Legend of Zelda formula and adds a unique twist in the form of a spell-creation system. As the novice mage Zia, you fight against evil using magic spells that can be altered with special runes. The game also features an interesting story and a colorful, appealing art style. I could go on, but if you’d like to read more about it, you can check out my review.
4) Destiny 2
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Developer: Bungie
As the follow-up to my most-played game of the past 3 years, Destiny 2 had some big shoes to fill. In my opinion, it more than adequately filled those shoes, providing much more day-one content than its predecessor as well as a more epic and interesting story campaign. It may have its flaws, but Destiny 2 keeps me coming back with the kind of fun and exciting gameplay that Bungie is famous for.
3) Super Mario Odyssey
Platform: Switch | Developer: Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
If you weren’t already convinced that Nintendo is back in a big way in 2017, then Super Mario Odyssey should change your mind. This game is a fantastic love letter to Mario’s storied past, and it’s an absolute blast to play. In true Mario fashion, it’s an adventure that is accessible to players of all ages on the surface level, but also features some intense challenge for players who want to dig a little deeper. Wahoo!
2) Horizon: Zero Dawn
Platform: PS4 | Developer: Guerilla Games
From day one I had high hopes for this new IP from Guerrilla Games, and boy did it deliver! Not only is Horizon: Zero Dawn one of the most graphically impressive titles I’ve ever seen, but every aspect of the gameplay is top-notch as well. I was completely entranced throughout Aloy’s story, helping her to take on more and more fearsome machines as she endeavored to save her tribe and learn the fate of the Old Ones.
1) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Platforms: Switch, Wii U | Developer: Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
Breath of the Wild is a game unlike any other I’ve played. Yes, there are other open world games that do certain things better, but none of them evoke the same sense of childlike awe and discovery that I felt while exploring Hyrule. Many of the puzzles and challenges in the game can be solved in a variety of different ways. I even loved discussing the game with my friends and learning how they solved certain puzzles and what cool things they had discovered in their own adventures. (In case you missed it, be sure to check out our 8-Episode spoilercast entitled “Playing By The Hyrules,” which can be found in the Short Pause Gaming Podcast feed on your podcast service of choice).
As we put a bow on 2017, I’m looking forward to even more great gaming experiences in the coming year. But I’ve gotta say, this year will be hard to top! What are your favorites from 2017? Sound off in the comments below, and have a great New Year from all of us at Short Pause!