Kat's 10 Favorite Games of 2017: Japan Reigns

Japan owns a huge chunk of Kat's favorite games of 2017.

Opinion by Kat Bailey, .

I had a much easier time than usual picking my 10 favorite games of 2017. It certainly helps that most of my favorite genres and creators were represented this year.

Japan wound up owning my Top 10 list this year. Out of my favorites, only PUBG, Divinity Original Sin 2, and Metroid: Samus Returns come from western developers. Suffice it to say it's been a good year for Japanese gaming.

  1. NieR Automata
  2. The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  3. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
  4. Super Mario Odyssey
  5. Persona 5
  6. Metroid: Samus Returns
  7. Divinity Original Sin 2
  8. Puyo Puyo Tetris
  9. Sonic Mania
  10. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
I'll admit, I was wrong about both Breath of the Wild and the Switch. And I'm glad.

You may notice that I've omitted my customary sports game pick this year. That's because I'm taking a bit of a break from the grind of NHL, FIFA, Madden, and the like. Also, most of those games are flawed in some way, which makes it hard for me to put them over... say... Metroid: Samus Returns. Sorry, Tom.

If you had asked me what my favorite game would be going into 2017, I would have put good money on Persona 5. Instead, PUBG, Breath of the Wild, and NieR: Automata were the real revelations of 2017 for me.

NieR: Automata was an example of what can happen when you pair the quirky brilliance of Yoko Taro with a studio like Platinum. Like the rest of his oeuvre, it's stirring and bleak in equal measure, with its themes being hammered home by multiple (increasingly weird) endings. In my heart, I think Breath of the Wild is the better game, but NieR Automata is the one I admire the most.

The rest are all notable in some way: PUBG is a watershed release for shooters. Super Mario Odyssey is a brilliant tribute to all things Mario. Metroid: Samus Returns is the remake Metroid 2 deserves. And Puyo Puyo Tetris... well, if you're looking for something to play with the family over Christmas, try four-player swap mode. It's insane.

It will truthfully be tough for 2018 to top 2017. So many of my most anticipated games were released this year. But I look forward to seeing what my favorite developers have up their sleeves as we roll into another new year.

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.

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 21

  • Avatar for mattcom26 #1 mattcom26 4 months ago
    I just picked up Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and am really enjoying aside from the crashing.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #2 Kat.Bailey 4 months ago
    @mattcom26 Hasn't crashed for me, interestingly.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #3 Flipsider99 4 months ago
    Good list! Mine would be even more Japan heavy since the only western game I would have included would be Cuphead.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #4 SIGGYZtar 4 months ago
    That's a surprise! Puyo Puyo Tetris! It is indeed a very manic game.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #5 NiceGuyNeon 4 months ago
    Ugh... the amount of fantastic RPGs released this year that I do not have the time to play. Kat, help me....

    It's been a fantastic year. Moreso than usual. The good thing about 2018 and beyond though is going to be how devs improve on the ridiculous quality and creativity shown by so many games. It's possible for everyone to have a completely different top 10 and for all of them to be ten of the finest games this year. Most times there's always some overlap. It's been a ridiculous year.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #6 cldmstrsn 4 months ago
    Loving XC 2! I cant put it down.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #7 cldmstrsn 4 months ago
    @mattcom26 No problems for me. Is it crashing in docked mode or portable or both?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Tetragrammaton #8 Tetragrammaton 4 months ago
    @cldmstrsn There's a known memory leak issue. If you frequently close the software or restart the console you won't see any problems, but if you only ever put the game in sleep mode you might see problems. Some people have wildly inflated playtimes for the same reason.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for StJudasOfSleep #9 StJudasOfSleep 4 months ago
    Nice list! Positively surprised about your number 1 pick, I guess Caty's proselytizing campaign to get you all to play it worked.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Retro-Plissken #10 Retro-Plissken 4 months ago
    Nier Automata was the best game to come out in 2017 and that's really something. I hope the team gets together again soon.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for discohospital #11 discohospital 4 months ago
    Hats off for the NieR pick! Ironically, although it's maybe the only year in recent memory I could make a list longer than three titles which all feel truly exceptional (not entirely intended as a slight - partly I'm just slow with games and slow to get to new ones unless some positively overwhelming force drives me forward), it's also one in which my favorite required no second-guessing whatsoever.

    NieR:Automata is the game that made me finally shut up about Xenogears. I haven't seen this brought up, but I kind of feel like it picked up on a thread that was left dangling at Squaresoft post-Final Fantasy VII and Xenogears. It could be my ignorance showing, but there's something in it that suggests a particular thing that was in the air around '97-'98 but which didn't end up going where I thought it might at the time. I've played the first NieR, but I'd place that rather differently in terms of its tone and approach to its story and themes, despite the obvious similarities and connections.Edited December 2017 by discohospital
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for mattcom26 #12 mattcom26 4 months ago
  • Avatar for RushDawg #13 RushDawg 4 months ago
    "Out of my favorites, only PUBG, Divinity Original Sin 2, and Metroid: Samus Returns come from western developers"

    Sonic Mania came from Western developersEdited December 2017 by RushDawg
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #14 cldmstrsn 4 months ago
    @Tetragrammaton Oh weird and good to know. I'm one of those peeps who closes out the application AND turns it all the way off so it makes sense why I havent encountered this issue. Thank you
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #15 Kat.Bailey 4 months ago
    @RushDawg In part. It was overseen by the Japanese side. I would characterize it as a collaborative effort.Edited December 2017 by Kat.Bailey
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Neifirst #16 Neifirst 4 months ago
    Nice to see Xenoblade Chronicles 2 sneak in there. Have you started playing with the music on yet? I wander around Mor Ardain just to soak in the atmosphere! I remember you tweeting about playing while watching tv or listening to podcasts or something...
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for RushDawg #17 RushDawg 4 months ago
  • Avatar for kazriko #18 kazriko 4 months ago
    I have 3 games from your list on mine, in reverse order. Persona 5, Zelda BOTW, and Nier Automata are all in my top 5. Of the rest of your list, the only one I've started playing was Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but that will probably count for my 2018 list.

    I also had Opus Magnum, What Remains of Edith Finch, and Night in the Woods on my list. The rest of my list were games released before 2017, that I played this year.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for kazriko #19 kazriko 4 months ago
    (Also, the only Mario game I played this year was Super Mario Galaxy, which landed at #39th on my list out of 94 games.)
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Pandalulz #20 Pandalulz 4 months ago
    My buddy imported the Japanese version of Puyo Puyo Tetris last year, and well, we came to play D&D, but it never actually happened. With a group of people, it is so fun and addicting.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for MARl0 #21 MARl0 3 months ago
    @mattcom26 A shame that you're experiencing crashes in Xenoblade 2. I'm over 70 hours into it, and haven't experienced a single crash.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for rimyt #22 rimyt A month ago
    Deleted last month by rimyt
    Sign in to Reply