Caty's 10 Favorite Games of 2017: Nierly Perfect

Phantom Thieves weren't the only things that stole my heart this year.

Opinion by Caty McCarthy, .

What a year y'all. There were literally too many games this year. And yet, I spent most of it playing a dress-up game on my phone.

Nonetheless, it was a great year for games. If there was any thread tying my favorites together, it's that they were all twisting the genres and typical conventions the gaming overlords once wrote as the law of the land in some fresh way. Also, a lot of them were about resistance of some sort, which is fitting for the hell year that is 2017. My coworker Mike may have said that his list was the most definitive, but no friends, my list is the most definitive. (Just kidding, we're all individuals with different tastes in games, that's what makes GOTY deliberations so fun!)

Nier: Automata only gets better with time.
  1. Nier: Automata
  2. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
  3. Detention
  4. Persona 5
  5. Gravity Rush 2
  6. What Remains of Edith Finch
  7. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
  8. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  9. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
  10. Tokyo 42

My favorite game of the year is not surprising. It's Nier: Automata, Yoko Taro's magnum opus. Nier: Automata is a fantastic video game in many ways, particularly in how its interactivity—essentially in how it gamifies itself—is married with its storytelling, which makes for some profound moments. It's not often that I walk away from a video game feeling like it's one of the best game experiences I've ever had, but that's exactly how I felt with Nier: Automata.

Elsewhere on my list are other unsurprising choices: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds stole my attention away most of this year, making for the perfect game to play with friends, talk to friends about, and watch on Twitch. Out of all the games I played this year, I talked and played and loved PUBG the most. Persona 5, What Remains of Edith Finch, Wolfenstein 2, Danganronpa V3, and Breath of the Wild were all great games too that I loved for all wildly different reasons.

Some of the games that ended up on my top 10 were games I personally loved that unfortunately got overshadowed by a lot of bigger, more polished games. Detention, a small Taiwanese survival-horror game, resonated with me deeply since I played it at the start of the year. (I wrote about it extensively in our "Games You Probably Missed" list.) Gravity Rush 2 was another one of them. It has maybe one of my favorite open worlds ever in a game, and flying around it is a delight. Even if the main missions' design is rough at times and works against the game's strengths, overall the game stood out as one of my absolute favorite experiences of the year.

Jirga Para Lhao is a beautiful and unique city.

Tokyo 42 also ended up taking up the very competitive number 10 spot (championing against Echo, which I also love but haven't finished yet, as well as Yakuza 0, Splatoon 2, and Night in the Woods). I opted for it after I returned to it recently, remembering how much I loved its gameplay loop of figuring out how to tackle a base of enemies, turning the camera round and round Fez-style, before taking on the challenge with finesse, Hotline Miami-style. Tokyo 42 is the sort of game that just clicked with me visually, musically, and mechanically, even if it stretches a tad too long, story-wise.

I'd also like to give a shoutout to two other games that didn't release this year, but if they had, would definitely be on my top 10. Those two games are The Last Guardian, which I didn't play until the start of 2017 and deeply moved me, and The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone. Hearts of Stone was a nice, concise 10-or-so hour campaign that built on The Witcher 3's strengths. It had quests that were funny, sad, a little bit scary, and it still surprised me in even more ways. It's also fairly short, which is a breath of fresh air after the hundreds of hours I spent in the base game. I also finally finished the main campaign of The Witcher 3 after years of slowly poking at it, and man, what a great game. And what a great year, honestly.

Elsewhere on the site you can find the best PS4 Games of 2017, best Xbox One games of 2017, the best Switch games of 2017, and the best PC games of 2017.

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Comments 6

  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #1 Monkey-Tamer 4 months ago
    I'm giving the first Danganronpa a go based upon your article and the current Steam sale. I'm too cheap to buy Nier given the amount of entertainment I already have or can get cheaper. Maybe next year.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #2 NiceGuyNeon 4 months ago
    OK, not gonna lie, the way everyone hyped your list up as some wildcard seems extremely misleading now, it's totally a safe list lol

    I'm really happy to see you and some other folks gave What Remains of Edith Finch a spot on your lists. I really enjoyed that game much more than I thought I would and in the walking simulator space or whatever that type of game is called I think it might just be my favorite.

    I was definitely one of the "Gone Home is not that good" guys and I'm so happy to see the genre evolve into something meaningful with games like What Remains of Edith Finch and Firewatch, which is not as good as Finch, but was still a very positive step in the right direction. All the awkward baby steps from Gone Home, including Stanley Parable, Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and other games that just could not pull it off was finally done brilliantly in What Remains of Edith Finch.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #3 Flipsider99 4 months ago
    Oh I see what you mean now Caty, yeah! Guess I spoke too soon, it's great to see someone at USGamer give Gravity Rush 2 some recognition, because it really deserves it! One of the great hidden gems of 2017, and definitely the best art design of any game this year. (And that's saying a lot because NieR, Persona, and Zelda all looked fantastic as well.)

    Also really nice to see Danganronpa V3 earn a spot on someone's list as well! It's a fantastic series and continues to be great. Some people may like Edith Finch, but for me the current best narrative in games are the Danganronpa games.
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  • Avatar for catymcc #4 catymcc 4 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon I didn't know it was hyped as such! Hahah. Maybe because I featured a few games that weren't on others' lists? I also think I was pretty alone in just thinking Mario was fine and fun for a weekend but it didn't resonate with me on any other level like it did for a lot of people, so maybe that omission made the whole list more of a wildcard lol.
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  • Avatar for kazriko #5 kazriko 3 months ago
    I haven't finished DRv3 yet, but it might end up on my list too when I do. Edith Finch matches my list, as well as the same 3 games that were on Kat's list that matched mine. Night in the woods was also just outside of my top 10, it's quite a good game.
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