Overall, 2017 has been an incredible year for video games. Sony continued to maintain its dominance over their console side of the industry, while both Microsoft and Nintendo launched new systems in an effort to displace the PlayStation 4.
Microsoft launched the Xbox One X, which is the most powerful system on the market, while Nintendo released the Switch, which is a potent console/handheld hybrid.
It was only a few years ago that journalists were reporting on the death of the console industry, as mobile gaming was dominating the marketplace. This prediction has since been disproven, as the people who buy games on mobile phones are not the same audience as true gamers who are passionate about the industry and are willing to invest their time and money into their favorite series. Thus 2017 was a gift to those of us who kept the faith.
This year saw the release of some of the greatest video games of all time... along with a few of the worst. We are here today to applaud the newest entries in the video game hall of fame and condemn the terrible titles that besmirched the industry as a whole.
From the glorified tech demo that ruined the Switch's launch lineup to the game that became the best reason to own a PlayStation in 2017, here are The 8 Best (And 8 Worst) Video Games Of 2017!
16 Worst: 1-2-Switch
Fans were excited to hear about the Nintendo Switch's capabilities during the initial presentation that was meant to reveal the details of the system for the first time. Many people were disappointed by the more gimmicky aspects of the system, such as the HD Rumble and the IR Camera.
One of the launch titles for the Nintendo Switch was a game that existed to show off these gimmicks. Overall, 1-2-Switch is a glorified tech demo that you will play for a few hours at most with your friends in order to show off what the Switch can do.
If 1-2-Switch had been a free pack-in game with the system, then there wouldn't be a problem, but Nintendo released it for a full price. In the gist, 1-2-Switch doesn't have anywhere near enough content to justify its price tag and the cost of the game is just an example of greed on Nintendo's part.
15 Best: ARMS
The Nintendo Switch had a killer lineup throughout its first year, but not all of the games were particularly original. Splatoon 2 is a glorified expansion pack, Pokkén Tournament DX is an updated port of a Wii U game, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is just an overly complex version of the first game in the series.
ARMS is easily the most unique game in the Switch's lineup. It is a highly tactical fighting game that rewards patience and timing over hammering the buttons.
ARMS has a diverse and colorful cast of characters who all have their own unique gimmicks in battle, with numerous different kinds of weapons available to the players.
While the game might not have much content in its single-player mode, it has one of the most robust and engaging online competitive scenes on the Nintendo Switch.
14 Worst: Sonic Forces
The most embarrassing thing about Sonic Forces is how poor it looks compared to another title that was released in the same year. Sonic Mania was a love letter to the fans of the 16-bit Sonic titles, with a game that was jammed full of content. Sonic Forces, by comparison, represents everything about the Sonic franchise that turned many fans away.
Sonic Forces is a visually impressive game, but these are meaningless in the face of poor controls that will see you plummeting into many of the bottomless pits that dot each stage.
The emphasis on speed actually holds the game back due to the poor level design actively slowing down your progress until you become intimately familiar with the placement of every object within it.
The use of multiple characters (one of which you create yourself) does little to increase the variety in this dull excuse for a platform game.
13 Best: Nioh
From Software left a void in the video game industry when they announced that they were taking an extended break from making more Dark Souls games. Luckily for fans of incredibly difficult action games, Team Ninja was willing to take up the sword and give us an exciting new experience in the form of Nioh.
Nioh is an action game set in a fantasy version of Japan. The gameplay is lightning fast, as you are required to learn how to switch between stances and master the various weapons on offer in the game.
The reason you need to do this is that the monsters will eviscerate you in seconds if you don't. Nioh is not for the faint-hearted, as you must be ready to be as vicious as the monsters you do battle with.
This is to say nothing of the boss monsters, who will slaughter you repeatedly until you finally learn their patterns and take them down.
12 Worst: Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon
It seemed as if Pokémon Black 2 & White 2 were going to be the last of the "third versions" that existed within every generation of Pokémon games. We never saw a release for expected third versions of the early Pokémon games on the 3DS, such as Pokémon Z, Pokémon Delta Emerald, or Pokémon Stars.
Fans were initially excited to learn about the release of Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon. This enthusiasm waned as Nintendo were conspicuously silent about the new content in the game...
Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are little more than cash grabs by Nintendo. The biggest issue with the game is how little new content it has compared to Sun & Moon.
This wouldn't normally be an issue, except that Nintendo was promoting the game as something widely different from the previous Alola titles. Instead, we just got a rehash of Sun & Moon.
11 Best: Super Mario Odyssey
It seemed as if Nintendo had no big games in development except for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This is because Breath of the Wild was the only game they were showing at trade shows for a while.
The initial presentation for the Nintendo Switch finally gave Nintendo a chance to unveil another huge upcoming title: Super Mario Odyssey. It was billed as a return to form for the 3D Mario titles, with the multiplayer focus of 3D World being abandoned for something that was more in line with Mario 64.
Super Mario Odyssey was everything that was promised and more. It is hands down the best platforming game of the decade, with diverse worlds that are filled with challenging missions.
The ability to possess your enemies adds several layers to the gameplay, as Mario can conquer levels while the form of a tiny toad or a giant dinosaur.
10 Worst: Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite
How is it that Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite looks so much worse than Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which was a game released in 2011?
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite left a poor first impression, due to its awful graphics and the fact that Capcom was announcing DLC characters before they had finished announcing the free ones. The finished product did little to redeem the game in the eyes of fans, as the combat system was dumbed down in an effort to be more accessible to new players.
By far the most conspicuous absences of Infinite's roster is the lack of any characters related to the X-Men, which was believed to be related to issues regarding Disney and Fox. The recent acquisition of Fox by Disney means that we might finally be seeing mutants added to Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite.
9 Best: Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War
The odd thing about Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is that it uses the Lord of the Rings license to attract fans of the series and then proceeds to throw out the canon in order to make as exciting a game as possible. If you are able to look past the changes to the story, then you are in for one of the best games of the year.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War combines action and stealth in the same way as its predecessor, yet vastly increases the scale of what you can do. Talion and Celebrimbor have created a new One Ring to challenge Sauron's dominion over Mordor.
This means that you will be creating your own army of Orcs in order to challenge the Dark Lord in his own domain. If you enjoy tense action gameplay within a familiar high-fantasy setting, then Shadow of War is the game for you.
8 Worst: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
When Nintendo announced their plans to begin developing games for mobile phones, the fans weren't worried, as Nintendo's reputation meant that they were expected to produce high-quality games that didn't rely on the sleazy gambling practices of other companies, such as Square Enix.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is certainly a high-quality game, but it is involved with the kinds of dodgy business practices that would make Tom Nook proud.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a free-to-play game that is designed to test the player's patience, in order to finally make them relent and pay real money for digital items.
These include items that attract the more popular Animal Crossing characters. In the end, all you are getting for your money is a watered-down Animal Crossing experience that is relying on the convenience of being on a smartphone in order to hide its lack of content.
7 Best: Metroid: Samus Returns
The revival of Samus Aran came in 2017, as a new Metroid Prime game was announced for the Nintendo Switch. We also saw an updated remake of the second Metroid game on the Nintendo 3DS. Metroid: Samus Returns had the return of the 2D side-scrolling Metroid games, in what is one of the best games on the system.
Metroid: Samus Returns is a total revamp of Metroid II: Return of Samus. It is your job to hunt down the remaining Metroids on planet SR388.
Samus has been given numerous new weapons in her arsenal, which she will need in order to battle all of the creatures and bosses that have been added to the game. Samus Returns is one of the most challenging and exciting games on the Nintendo 3DS.
6 Worst: WWE 2K18
We should clarify straight away that this does not apply to all versions of WWE 2K18. It's just the Nintendo Switch version of the game that made the list.
One of the biggest issues with the Wii U was the lack of third-party support. Nintendo has worked hard to rectify this problem with the Nintendo Switch, which has resulted in a lot of big sports franchises returning to the system, one of which includes the official WWE games.
We can only hope that WWE 2K18 on the Switch doesn't represent the future of the system, as the game is basically unplayable. The framerate drops to a crawl when more than two wrestlers appear on screen, which severely limits the kinds of modes you would expect in a WWE game.
It's a disgrace that Nintendo would allow such a game to be released on one of their systems.
5 Best: Cuphead
This current generation of games has involved a war over exclusivity. Microsoft has suffered in this regard, as the Xbox One has lacked the killer apps of the Nintendo and Sony systems. This is their own fault, though, as most of their games end up receiving a PC port which makes the Xbox version redundant.
Microsoft has started to turn the tide with one of the best titles of the year. Cuphead is a brutally difficult run and gun game that uses an aesthetic based on the cartoons of the '30s.
There is no denying that Cuphead is the best looking game of the year, as the incredible level of detail in the animation of every character and background can put any 3D title to shame.
Cuphead is a retro game in every sense of the word, which includes its challenging gameplay that will put all of your gaming skills to the test.
4 Worst: The Life Of Black Tiger
Steam's total lack of content control has allowed a deluge of garbage games to flood and devalue the service. The online storefronts used by Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony seem far more selective by comparison, even though they have their fair share of shovelware.
Life of Black Tiger is a terrible free-to-play title that started out as a mobile game. It's an awful simulation game where you play as a black tiger that has to run around barren maps and fight animals while using the worst controls imaginable.
What makes Life of Black Tiger even more offensive is the fact that it is available to purchase (for real money) in the PlayStation Store. Sony actually promoted this game, with the expectation that some poor masochist might actually buy it.
3 Best: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild represents an exciting new direction for the series that finally gave the player a chance to explore Hyrule in ways that they had never done before.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is set in a version of Hyrule were Ganon has already won. The land is barren, with monsters stalking every corner of the world.
As Link, you are given the freedom to explore Hyrule without limitations: you can climb every mountain and swim in every sea. It is up to you to free the land of Hyrule of its enslavement by seeking out the lost lore and treasures that have been hidden away, which results in some of the best puzzles and combat encounters in the series.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is simply the finest game that Nintendo has made in years.
2 Worst: Star Wars Battlefront II
Loot boxes have always been a pox on the video game industry. They are an attempt by game developers to squeeze as much money as possible from the consumers.
EA finally ruined loot boxes by gutting a highly anticipated Star Wars game and allowing players to win by spending more money than their opponents through microtransactions.
Buying loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II gives you bonuses and advantages over other players that can allow you to win matches with little effort. This level of greed and incompetence created a controversy that forced Disney to intervene.
The video game industry had its name smeared in the press thanks to dodgy business practices that introduced gambling to children.
We have no problem calling Star Wars Battlefront II the worst game of the year, due to the damage it has done to both the video game industry and the Star Wars name.
1 Best: Persona 5
The Persona series gained a cult following in America when the third game was released on the PlayStation 2. As time went on, the Persona games (and the Shin Megami Tensei series that they are a spinoff of) gained a larger audience, to the point where they became some of the most anticipated games on Nintendo and Sony systems.
Persona 5 is the story of the Phantom Thieves: a group of outcast teenagers who gain the ability to enter the consciousness of wicked people and strike at their very beliefs. The game is a JRPG that uses creatures and gods from mythology to populate its world.
The strength of your characters is powered by how well they are doing in real life, as you must live the life of a regular teenager and strengthen your bonds with the people around you so that your powers become even stronger in the battle.
You will spend around eighty hours with the Phantom Thieves and won't want to leave them when the credits roll. Persona 5 is a game of astounding beauty and depth.
Persona 5 is the best reason to own a PlayStation in 2017. You owe it to yourself to experience this masterpiece of a video game.
What is your favorite (and least favorite) game of 2017? Sound off in the comment section!
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