2017 has been a fantastic year to be a gamer. The year began with hit after his of high quality games, and before long we were worried we wouldn’t be able to keep up with all of it, but as the year progressed we started to get some porkers that in a way made this list a bit easier. Had games like Mass Effect, FIFA and Star Wars: Battlefront 2 lived up to their respective hype we’d likely have a much different list, and a tougher time choosing the entries for said list.
Excluding the porkers we still had a tough time choosing our game of the year nominees for 2017. This year featured so many great titles from so many amazing publishers/ developers that it was quite a task for us to narrow down our lists to just one each, so we’ve taken the liberty of picking a bit more of the best of the best from 2017 for you. Each editor has chosen their individual top 5 games, and at the end we have the overall game of the year winner.
*Please note every nominee can and should be considered a Game of The Year for 2017, as these were the games that made our gaming year worth it.
Here are the top 5 choices from The Buttonsmashers Editors Including (Optional honorable mentions)
- Persona 5: The game that I expected to be game of the year for 2017 even before it was released, and it delivered. Persona 5 is everything fans of JRPGs love in almost every way. It’s only flaw being it’s silent protagonist, but that doesn’t even hold the game back. The game is a complete treat to the visual senses with beautiful stylistic animations in every bit of it. Storytelling at its best.
- Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles: it’s strange knowing what’s gonna be in your game of the year submissions months in advance, and it’s even worse when you have a lot great games to choose from and this is one of the best I’ve played this year. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as much as I did, but somehow before I knew it I was off wondering in a beautiful land without a care in the world. Things like patches, and getting that new hat was all I cared about for 40 plus hours. REVIEW
- Nex Machina: The best indie classic out of 2017 period. The game basks in the glory of past bullet hell shooters while at the same time reinvigorating the genre. The simplest way to put it is that it’s just mindless fun in its purest form. REVIEW
- Nioh: A game I didn’t expect to love as much as I do. It’s tough, while at the same time remaining fair and rewarding. This is a game that lets the gameplay do all the talking with a sprinkle of plot to give it some meaning. REVIEW
- Tokyo Xanadu: This one was tough choice to place above Ys VIII, because I do think that Ys VIII has better gameplay, but that’s not to say it bad. No, it’s a spectacular JRPG with solid character development, an engaging battle system and enough nuances to keep even veteran JRPG Fans satisfied. So why mention Ys VIII? Well it’s got Tokyo Xanadu slightly beat in the gameplay department, but it suffers from silent protagonistitis (check our Ys VIII Review for context) while Tokyo Xanadu thrives with a compelling, likable, “VOCAL” protagonist. REVIEW
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Zelda formula got a breath of new life this year with this massively open-world adventure. With an intriguing story, breathtaking locations, and so much to see and do, this will surely set a shining example of what an open-world adventure/RPG should be. Oh, and did I mention you can even play it on the go?
- MARIO KART 8 DELUXE: All of the content from the original Wii U version (including DLC) is here in this remastered edition for the Nintendo Switch. The game has a huge variety of characters and tracks as well as tons of vehicle customizations to unlock. Solo, online, or locally with friends, MK8 Deluxe offers a fantastic experience for veterans and newbies alike.
- QUERN: UNDYING THOUGHTS: I loved the classic Myst series of puzzling adventures that took us to mysterious and beautiful worlds, and QUERN aims to bring back that sense of mystery and adventure in a new era. Rather than thinking of it as a clone, it’s best to think of QUERN more like a love-letter to Myst as this one offers a bunch of new gameplay mechanics and an original story that makes it a strong game in its own right. The puzzles are definitely rather complex, but the game’s sense of intrigue will keep you driven to solve them and see what’s awaiting you in this strange, alien, and beautiful world.
- SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY: Nintendo really set the standard for what open-world games should be this year, and this time it’s Mario that’s leading the charge. SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY takes a bunch of features from the likes of Super Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, and Super Mario 3D World and combines it all, releases all the stops, and sends you on a massive adventure to collect a whopping 999 Power Moons spread all around the expansive Mushroom World. Whether you want to just casually enjoy the game or compulsively seek out every possible Moon and unlockable costume, this is one of the absolute best Mario games that I have ever played (and one of the best games, in my opinion, in any genre).
- DEAD CELLS: This game takes the Metroidvania and roguelike genres, mixes them together, ramps up the action, and leaves you with an insanely awesome 2D “Roguevania” experience. The gameplay is tough, yet fair, there’s a huge amount of stuff to explore, a plethora of weapons and upgrades to get, skills you can unlock, and even permanent weapon upgrades to alleviate the full effect death would have on you. Despite the fact that the game is in Early Access on Steam, there’s so much fun to be had that I’d highly recommend giving it a try. It’s easily one of the best Metroidvania style games released in quite a while!
RIME: A fantastic and thought-provoking journey through a mysterious island void of any narrative, this game is all about the experience. The visuals are nice, the platforming is enjoyable, and the soundtrack is fantastic. Right now, I’d recommend picking it up on any platform but the Nintendo Switch, though, as that version has some major performance issues that need to be addressed.
SPLATOON 2: The sequel to the hit Wii U third-person shooter, SPLATOON 2 is indeed a worthy, fun successor that is a blast to play on the Switch. Even if you’ve never played SPLATOON before, the game is easy to get into and has a lot of fun gameplay options to enjoy, including wireless and online multiplayer. The only downside, though, is that there aren’t any split screen multiplayer options at present.
XING: THE LAND BEYOND: This is another amazing puzzling adventure game, this time focused on a world that exists somewhere between life and death. You get to explore a variety of lush locations while learning about those that came before, gaining wisdom about life in general, and solving a variety of puzzles. All this while learning to master time, the elements, and putting your own wits to the test.
WONDER BOY: THE DRAGON’S TRAP: This one is a fantastic remake of a Sega Master System classic, redone with beautiful modern visuals and a great soundtrack. For those wanting a trip down memory lane, the developers also put in an option to enjoy the game with the original 8-bit graphics and/or original music.
MIGHTY GUNVOLT BURST: This pixelated 8/16-bit hybrid platformer is essentially what Mighty No. 9 should have been all along. The game ramps up the action with some intense levels and boss fights while adding in a ton of goodies to collect along the way to not only add to a collection but to customize your character however you want!
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- Divinity: Original Sin 2: It’s an awesome cRPG to be played alone or with friends just to see how all the complex systems work together.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: An immense open world with mysteries, and puzzles worth exploring over the horizon.
- Horizon: Zero Dawn: A lush, future, post apocalyptic open world to get lost in with very challenging beasts that can be extremely exhilarating to hunt.
- Prey: A razor sharp sci-fi experience from the creators of Dishonored, Arkane Studios, that can make you feel vulnerable, and paranoid in any space, not knowing whether a coffee cup is just a regular cup or a shadowy mimic ready to attack.
- NieR: Automata: A sweet hack and slash that just doesn’t bring the action, it also brings a rather compelling story with some amazing music to boot.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
Gravity Rush 2
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Nintendo did the near impossible and reinvented this beloved franchise. Not set in a linear path, Zelda fans and newcomers to the series have an amazing world to explore.
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Unfortunately released within weeks of Zelda, this post apocalyptic open world gives me the robot dinosaur hunting game I didn’t even know I wanted
- Super Mario Odyssey: The mustached marvel is back, this time with nipples! Not content to be known as just a plumber, Mario explores the world with his new friend Cappy, possessing enemies to gain their powers, unlocking fun costumes, and solving puzzles to get those illusive moons. The most fun 3D Mario game since Galaxy.
- Resident Evil 7: Moving away from tank controls and corporate sponsored zombies, Capcom reanimated the series by moving the action to first person and setting the game in a claustrophobic farmhouse. The in your face horror is absolutely terrifying in VR, and brings fresh blood to the survival horror genre.
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice: This beautiful yet dark game places the player inside the head of a psychotic woman hell bent on redeeming her dead lover’s soul. Journeying through a Celtic nightmarish landscape, she battles monsters in and out of her head. The sound design in this game is simply amazing, as is the motion capture acting. A shorter experience, but paced very well, with a puzzle mechanic I haven’t seen in any other game.
Aaero: One of the best rhythm action games I’ve played. Controlling a spaceship flying through futuristic landscapes, you fill out dubstep tracks by flying in the right direction/sequence.
Hand of Fate 2: The closest thing to a single player dungeons and dragons game, you play this RPG by flipping over cards that reveacard drops, al encounters, and then choose your course of action. You equip weapons and armor earned by card drops, and battle in real time with Arkham style combat. REVIEW
Hob: Hob is the delightful answer to the question, What if an indie company made a Zelda game set in a crumbling future? As you explore the richly colored world, you unlock ancient devices that spring to life and shift the environment around you. Hob manages to convey the mystery of a world that fell to ruin with exploration and brilliant non verbal storytelling
Golf Story: This delightful 16 bit era RPG replaces monster combat with golf rounds and armor with clubs, and the result is shockingly charming and fun, even for a non-sports game player as myself.
VA11 Hall-A: what if there was a hole in the wall bar that all the typical anime characters you could think of went to relax? What if you played as the bartender and listened to their stories as you swiped on the Vita screen to make their drinks? That’s right, you’d have a pretty awesome game.
- XCOM2 War of the Chosen: Although War of the Children is an expansion, and not a game, it’s so game changing that it qualifies for me!
Taking the already great base game, adding a hybrid nemesis system where the Chosen level up as you play through the game. The changes to the missions mean there’s less of the dull boring ones, and a lot more interactive ones. Where both the new factions (on both sides) add for some interesting and dynamic play. What’s more the game looks pretty damn fine, and has had some backend upgrades making the game run a lot smother! All told one of my most played and most loved games!
- Middle Earth Shadow of War: I don’t care what the haters say, I’ve now finished this game completely, including the true ending, and I didn’t spend a dime! Nor did I feel like I was grinding for grinding sake. The changes to the game, namely the open world and expanded nemesis system once again make for a great game.
However, it does still need some work as the systems are still not working fluidly. If you’re just after some mindless orc slaying and decent LotR fanfic, this is for you!
- Assassins Creed Origins: For me the best game in this franchise was Black Flag, this one is catching up to it! The dev’s clearly took inspiration from the likes of Tomb Raider and Witcher 3, to the point this game could really be called Witcher Creed, and it worked out for them.
The story is pretty much same old same old, but the world, environment and music make exploring and just doing random things a pure joy.
- Destiny 2: I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but if I was asked which one game is my GOTY, it would be this one.
It’s been a lot of mindless fun just running around shooting crap. Sure, there’s a lot of controversy surround this game. Some of which is BS others not so much. But when all is said and done. I’ve had a huge amount of fun playing this game, and I’m eagerly awaiting the first DLC to drop. That said it’s not quite as good as Destiny 1 ended up. There’s a lot of QoL stuff that needs to be added! REVIEW
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands: I don’t care what anyone says, this is one of the best games I’ve EVER played. I couldn’t care an iota about the story, for me what was fun was just running around with a sniper rifle and killing crap. Finding caches of weapons, stealing planes (and then promptly crashing them!), It’s all been a blast!
- What Remains of Edith Finch: One of the best storytelling games I’ve ever played; great looking game, very good voice acting and a lot of joy and fantasy have been put into the different stories about the Finch family; amazing game.
- The legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Nintendo knows their stuff; epic adventures in the Zelda universe.
- Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice: Awesome looking game, exciting and frightening at the same time, since then main character Senua is having mental issues, trying to bring her beloved back to life.
- Resident Evil 7: What to say…My throat was sore after every livestream session playing the game(screaming). The series took a new turn, when they decided to let the player experience the horror in first person mode; brilliant.
- Little Nightmares: Charming, beautiful and scary at the same time, as you’re playing with the innocent(?) character called Six. Amazing level and character design; thumbs up!
Outlast 2: Could easily have been on my top 5 list, but I choosed Res Evil 7, when it comes to horror games, although Outlast 2 delivered a very scary gaming experience, filled with blood and gore.
Lone Echo (VR): After a year of multiple VR titles under my belt(!), I have to mention Lone Echo, that in my book delivered one of the best VR experiences during 2017. You play as a robot from the 22nd century in a first-person narrative-driven adventure.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Wow…how good can a game be? Fun with friends or alone, doesn’t matter.
Nioh: I haven’t played yet, but I know it’s good, it just has to get a honorable mention. REVIEW
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
- NBA 2k18
- Mr.Shifty REVIEW
Super Mario Odyssey
The Town of Light
Second Runner-ups: Nioh, Mr Shifty, Resident Evil 7, Horizon Zero Dawn, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands (2 Nominees)
Runner-ups: Super Mario Odyssey, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Hob (3 nominees)
GAME OF THE YEAR: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (5 nominees)
The Legend of Zelda series has been a staple of gaming much long than most, yet it’s still managed to remain relevant in this age of tripe-A, multi-platform, 4k games. Nintendo have had the formula for adventure mixed with a healthy amount of fun, and they’ve implemented in this beautiful gem of a game. It’s even more impressive when you factor in that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a launch game for the Nintendo Switch. Usually launch games tend to be bare bone experiences that hold the players attention long enough till something truly good is released. Nintendo broke that mold with Breath of the Wild, and they continued to do so with titles like Super Mario Odyssey, and lets face it, possibly Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (We’ve yet to cover this one).
This is our Game Of The Year for 2017, let us know what yours are in the comment section.