Mike's 10 Favorite Games of 2017: True Divinity Is Right Over The Horizon

2017 was a strong year, but something had to win the battle royale.

Opinion by Mike Williams, .

Every year, outlets like USgamer put together a huge Game of the Year list and every year readers are shocked at some of our choices.

I'll let you in on a secret, we don't agree among ourselves. These site-wite GOTY lists are the result of discussion, cajoling, and pure fighting at times. Even within our small team here at USgamer, we don't agree because we don't play the same games. Sure, there's overlap here and there, but we're different people.

That's why we're doing these individual lists. There are games that won't be on our full Top 20 that might get a chance to shine on these lists. More importantly, it helps you get to know us as people: what we play, what we avoid, what works for us, and what doesn't. Our guides guru Tom kicked off these individual lists with the bold choice to have a single Game of the Year: FIFA 18. Nadia followed that with her RPG-heavy list. And now, you have my list.

I'll let you in on another secret: my list is the correct one.

The ground is lava.
  1. Divinity: Original Sin 2
  2. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
  3. Super Mario Odyssey
  4. Yakuza 0
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  6. Assassin's Creed: Origins
  7. Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
  8. Horizon Zero Dawn
  9. Persona 5
  10. Resident Evil 7

My top pick is probably where I'll diverge heavily from the rest of the crew. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a top-flight role-playing game from developer Larian Studios. Divinity: Original Sin 2 has a great single-player experience with amazing writing and intriguing combat that forces the player to work out spell and skill interactions in order to succeed. (Are some of those combos broken? Sure, but that's half the fun!) More importantly, no RPG in a long-time has really hit the feeling of an actual "role-playing game" in the style of old pen-and-paper RPGs. Larian puts all the tools at your fingertips to have a robust experience: single-player, cooperative multiplayer, PVP arenas, and a game master mode. Nothing else came close for me this year.

Then there's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, the game that just rose to power over the course of 2017. Sure, it's a game where you can spend minutes doing nothing, but no other title gives that sort of drawn-out tension that PUBG does. Out of all the games I have on my list, it's probably the most "pure" experience.

After that is a game that surprised me. I spent most of the year being skeptical of Super Mario Odyssey. I didn't enjoy the game at E3. I wasn't a huge fan of Super Mario 3D World, preferring instead the faster play and tighter design of Super Mario Galaxy. I picked up Odyssey for a USgamer Lunch Hour stream and ended up falling in love with it. The best part is Odyssey offers up a host of platforming manuevers and wonderful levels, charging you to figure out the best way forward. Watching Odyssey masters break the levels and challenges with intriguing platforming choices is satisfying. (Similar in style to Divinity above.)

This year marked my entry into the Yakuza franchise with my review of Yakuza Kiwami. I still say new players should begin with Kiwami, but Yakuza 0 is the better game. You can spend hours in the game just beating up thugs, wandering around, and enjoying all of the mini-games and secret Yakuza Studio has hidden in Kamurocho and Sotenbori.

Then there's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game I spoke at length about in our review. This is one that fell a few spots for me as the year went on, but ultimately still had the staying power to find a spot in my Top 10. Assassin's Creed Origins is right behind it. Nobody else offers such a deep and detailed recreation of a specific era. Origins is the best yet, with a wide and beautiful ancient Egypt to explore. Ubisoft took a year off, tweaked the combat a bit and shifted the series towards an action-RPG. The result was a game so good that I played it all the way through for a review event, and then did it again on my retail copy.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood proved an excellent expansion for an MMO that just keeps getting better and better. The barrier to entry is high, but the storytelling Square Enix is doing here is up there with the publisher's best at times. Horizon Zero Dawn was a game I didn't expect to play. Caty reviewed it earlier in the year and found a game that didn't resonate with her, so I took the DLC release, The Frozen Wilds. As preparation for that I played the original game and found a gorgeous open-world game that actually got me to appreciate Monster Hunter after many years of it not hitting me.

Persona 5 sneaks its way onto my list near the bottom. It's an amazing JRPG, oozing with style like only Atlus' team can deliver and I enjoyed my time with it. Finally, Resident Evil 7 was the single virtual reality game that I played this year that totally delivered on what I want from the experience. I honestly think the game is what survival horror needed, even if the Resident Evil 4 style of game is likely more popular.

There were a few games that missed my list from a lack of play time, like Nier: Automata, Danganronpa V3, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. There are games that nearly squeaked by, like Battle Chef Brigade, Mario + Rabbids, Tokyo 42, and The Evil Within 2. And there are titles I still want to play like Night in the Woods, Nioh, Doki Doki Literature Club, and What Remains of Edith Finch. But the stuff above? Those are my ringers.

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 8

  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #1 NiceGuyNeon 4 months ago
    Mike "my list is correct" Williams would never have BotW at 5. THIS IS SABOTAGE AND I DEMAND TO KNOW WHO WROTE THIS LIST MASQUERADING AS MIKE!!!

    Original Sin 2 is one I really should play and I will. It looks wonderful, and PC Gamer made it their GOTY too. I just don't have the time commitment for consistent play with RPGs with school at the moment so I've been focusing on action games (or simpler RPGs like Diablo) because even if I play them once a week or so it's easy to get into them and pick up right where I left off.
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  • Avatar for docexe #2 docexe 4 months ago
    Personally, I appreciate how everyone in the team has differing tastes. My personal tastes in videogames (and really, most media to be honest) are pretty varied, and as I have said before, I treat these kind of lists more as personal recommendations, so I welcome the different perspectives.
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  • Avatar for moochan #3 moochan 4 months ago
    Like with Nadia feel Caty is going to murder you all (this time in real life not just PUBG) for not playing Nier for GOTY. And I enjoy all of your guys different tastes. Keep everything weird and fun for all. Hope you guys aren't burning out too much with GOTY happening.
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  • Avatar for Damn_Skippy #4 Damn_Skippy 4 months ago
    I'm still stunned that so many people ignored the Yakuza series for the past decade. Better late than never I guess...
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  • Avatar for mganai #5 mganai 4 months ago
    D: OS2 may end up as the most underappreciated game to achieve critical game in years (its metacritic score is 93). Sadly my computer's too old to play the thing.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #6 MHWilliams 4 months ago
    @Damn_Skippy Always thought it was Japanese GTA!
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  • Avatar for AstroDemon #7 AstroDemon 4 months ago
    Man, I need to finish Divinity OS2. It's one of my top games even having not finished it, but I wonder if it would be #1 for me as well. Great list, Mike!
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  • Avatar for Feanor #8 Feanor 4 months ago
    The Evil Within 2 is the closest we’ve ever got to a RE4-2. It’s really worth playing, and better than RE7 in my mind. Both games are in my top 10.
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