Matt's 10 Favorite Games of 2017: I Just Really Like Sad Robots, Okay?

Matt's 10 Favorite Games of 2017: I Just Really Like Sad Robots, Okay?

A good year for humanist games.

Like my coworkers before me, I too arranged 10 games that came out in 2017 in order of personal enjoyment. It's not a Top 10 list for everyone, but it's mine and I had a particularly hard time determining what my favorite game of 2017 was.

Just kidding, my favorite game this year was Nier: Automata.

  1. Nier: Automata
  2. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
  3. Super Mario Odyssey
  4. What Remains of Edith Finch
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  6. Resident Evil 7
  7. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
  8. Persona 5
  9. Night in the Woods
  10. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

It's kind of hard to believe that Nier: Automata came out as early as February this year considering I haven't stopped thinking about it since its release. No other game in 2017 had a hold on me the way Nier: Automata did. I adored everything about the game since finishing it in a marathon playthrough. While I've long been fascinated by Yoko Taro's work, the fact that Nier: Automata is probably the most enjoyable game of his to actually play makes it a game I look forward to revisiting in the coming months and years. I've written about the timeliness and timelessness of Nier: Automata before elsewhere, but I think over time the game will prove itself a defining game of a generation, like BioShock and Portal before it.

My runner-up this year is Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, which I was surprised to see beat out Super Mario Odyssey when I actually sat down to write this list. Beyond just its resonance in today's political climate, I actually found myself appreciating all the things Wolfenstein 2 did outside of Nazi killing. The fact that Wolfenstein broke down and rebuilt the macho man game protagonist archetype, that the story was as much weird fiction as it was alternate-history (regular history) dystopia, and just a willingness to explore the human side of its story when it could have easily been a standard action game. I was a big fan of Wolfenstein: The New Order, and I loved that MachineGames went bolder and braver with the sequel.

I don't have a lot of words for Super Mario Odyssey other than it's such an effortlessly wonderful game. I feel like for that reason alone Odyssey will find itself runner-up to Nintendo's other big game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which I've placed two spots behind Odyssey). While Odyssey might not reinvent the wheel like Breath of the Wild, it also sticks its landing where Breath of the Wild sometimes trips over its own ambition. Make no mistake, I don't think Odyssey is a better game than Breath of the Wild because it plays it safer. Far from it, Odyssey just does what it does so well that it only feels safer when in reality I think Odyssey just showed that it can match execution with ambition.

To backtrack a little, I placed What Remains of Edith Finch higher than I originally intended, but only because I realized just how much an impact the game had on me in its short play time than much longer games on this list. Like Nier and Wolfenstein, Edith Finch was a very humanist story that I found myself desperately needing this year.

Resident Evil 7 was probably my biggest surprise since I was initially skeptical of its change to first-person perspective. Not because I didn't think Capcom could do it, but because it came so soon after P.T. that I initially felt it was a cynical me-too effort. Luckily I was proven wrong.

Likewise, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice could have ended up misguided with its take on mental health. Luckily, anchored by a superb lead actress in Melina Juergens, Ninja Theory made an overall excellent game despite a few missteps. More importantly I hope this "Double-A" style of game design expands outward as we'll need more stories like Hellblade in the future.

Persona 5, Night in the Woods, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy round out my list for much of the same reasons as other games this year. Persona 5 was a visual marvel though I find myself wanting something new and less anime-y from Atlus with its Persona series. Night in the Woods was a game that hit a little too close to home, and I wonder if I resent it a little for that. Lastly, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy made me realize that I just want shorter, more impactful Uncharted games in the future.

Keep an eye out as the rest of the USgamer staff reveal their Top 10 Games of 2017, as well as our sitewide Game of the Year countdown next week.

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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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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