Sections

USgamer's Favorite Games of 2017 (...So Far)

Holy cow, June's already over? This year is flying by.

Feature by Caty McCarthy, .

I thought I was hallucinating when I saw that June was creeping to a close. We're officially half-way done with 2017, and it's been a pretty shitty year in the world.

But not in games. In the world of video games, there have been dozens upon dozens of solid games already released. On my personal list, I wonder if any of the year's upcoming games will have the weight to usher themselves into my top 10, because that's just how strong this year of games has already been.

We at USgamer have come together to write about some of our favorite games of the year so far. Maybe not definitive bests, per say, but the games that stick out on our mind when we think "2017 has been a good year for games." From the biggest games of the year to some notable indies, these are our favorite games of 2017, as of six months into the year.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

PC, PlayStation 4 - Our Review

"Mike, this is an expansion," you say. It is. It's an expansion with 40+ hours of story and gameplay. It's an expansion which in some place tells a better story than some mainline Final Fantasy games. Full of great characters, of heroes and villains, of amazing moments and huge plot turns. Square Enix has some of its best people working on FFXIV and it shows.

Is it hard to get into? Very much so. You can't just jump in on the latest stuff like you can in some massively multiplayer games. Square Enix prizes the story highly in Final Fantasy XIV, meaning you have to start at the beginning. That's every story quest since the game launched back in 2013 in its A Realm Reborn format. But if you commit, if you walk up that very steep hill, the view at the end is simply amazing. Stormblood is worth the price of admission, in dollars and time. —Mike

Dead Cells

PC - Our Impressions

Dead Cells is still in Early Access on Steam, but it's shaping up to be something amazing. That's not because it does anything wildly innovative. A procedurally-generated roguelike Metroidvania is something that's frankly a dime a dozen in indie circles these days. If I described the game in bullet point, you'd simply go, "Oh, another one."

Where Dead Cells excels is in the details, in the gameplay. It's one of the tightest playing side-scrollers I've played in a very long while. Movement and combat feel great, and with such precision in the play, when you fail, you know it's on your shoulders. Dead Cells moves at a brisk pace and once you pick up some weapons you dig and find your flow, the game just opens up to you immensely. I can't wait to see how the game improves as it heads towards a full launch. —Mike

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Switch, Wii U - Our Review

Unf. What a beauty. Nintendo explicitly set out to make Breath of the Wild a game where you can go anywhere and do anything, and it delivers. There aren't many games out there that offer a world as open, interactive, and gorgeous as this one. Think Skyrim, but with fewer Dragonborn flying inexplicably into the sky after getting clubbed by a giant.

Hardcore Zelda fans rightfully point out that Breath of the Wild prioritizes overworld exploration over traditional dungeon puzzle-solving. That's true, and if dungeons are your main joy in Zelda games, I expect Breath of the Wild might not even rank amongst your very favorites. Me, though? Just give me some horses to ride, some mountains to climb, and some Moblins to mess up. I'm good. —Nadia

Nier: Automata

PlayStation 4, PC - Our Review

Every time I recommend Nier: Automata to a friend who isn't as closely tuned into game news, I always get a questioning gaze. Like a confused puppy turning their head to a 45 degree angle, as if to say, "That game? With the android in an impossibly short dress?" in a sarcastic tone. "Yes," I'd say. "That game." Nier: Automata, at a glance and unknowing of director Yoko Taro's history, might seem like just another PlatinumGames action game. But its power blossoms beyond that.

It's astoundingly rare for games to directly twist how we engage with them, whether on a tangible level in terms of how we play them, or on an emotional one. Nier: Automata is the rare game that does both. It arrests your focus at the start with how it bounces between playstyles, where in the blink of an eye you're in a top-down shooter and a second later throwing swords at machines on foot. And later, it grabs hold of your emotions, right down to its final quiet decision. Games like Nier: Automata don't come along often. —Caty

Night in the Woods

PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, Linux - Our Impressions

Night in the Woods is a game you can knock out in a weekend, but don't let that stop you from experiencing this beautiful and heartfelt adventure. Night in the Woods is a game about turning away from your future to double-back and face your demons. It also touches on deep friendships, the simmering resentment between generations, the decline of the American Dream, and bashing florescent lights with baseball bats.

Night in the Woods is a short game, but I enjoyed every minute I spent with it. I also added "Food Donkey," "Ham Panther," "Donut Wolf," and "Snack Falcon" to my vernacular. A win all around. —Nadia

Nioh

PlayStation 4 - Our Review

Nioh exemplifies the very best traits of Dark Souls, taking a punishing combat system in a dark, dreary world and putting a unique spin on both. A different monster lurks around every corner in the world of Nioh, each presenting a different combat scenario to the next, with some being hulking demonic creatures and others coming in the form of rapid samurai warriors. Every mission and location is varied in their structure, as some maps have wide open spaces, while others are made up of interweaving corridors, with treasure items hiding well off the beaten path. Nioh features a punishing, frenetic combat system that challenges the player to master dodging and other skillful moves, all while providing the player with hours of varied locations and exciting enemies. —Hirun

Persona 5

PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 - Our Review

Like a lot of players, my first experience with the Persona series was with Persona 3 on the PlayStation 2. It was around there that Atlus’ teen drama RPG first flirted with mainstream popularity, before exploding onto the gaming zeitgeist with Persona 4 (and its many, many spinoffs). Persona 5 somehow manages to surpass all previous expectations, offering the most robust version of all of Persona’s various social mechanics.

Sure, the dungeon-crawling is better the fifth time around, but the social links are Persona’s bread-and-butter. Persona 5 lets you explore a huge, metropolitan city for the first time, discovering new and interesting places for you to invite your buds or potential love interests. At five entries, the seams of Persona 5’s writing begins to show (it might be too anime for its own good), but in regards to themes, gameplay, and visual design, Persona 5 is the best version of the Persona franchise to date and one of the year’s most compelling 100-hour RPGs. —Matt

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

PC - Our Impressions

A round of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, the wildly popular Battle Royale game, is like a three-act play. There's a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning is a frenzy: it could be a bloodbath, or it could be quiet preparation. If you're in a squad, you joke around, pass along items to share. This is the base of a match. The middle is when the tension truly sets in. You're well-stocked, you're ready to kill—but honestly, you'd rather not. The goal in Battlegrounds is to survive, not accumulate headshots. The middle is where the tension seeps into everything else, because you never know when the end is right around the corner. Whether returning fire in the top 10 as the circle encloses or a shotgun blast to the torso as you open a door, the end is what you fear the most. And that real, tangible fear is what makes Battlegrounds resonate. —Caty

Resident Evil 7

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC - Our Review

Yes, Resident Evil 7 going first-person is a bit shameless after P.T., but Resident Evil 7 was purely a Capcom joint. I’d even go as far as to say that Resident Evil 7 felt like the most traditional Resident Evil game in long time. The Baker House is an amazing setting for a horror game, trading in the sprawl of the Spencer Mansion for a claustrophobic nightmare house.

Although some reviewers had issues with the game’s sudden tonal shift in the latter half of the game, I found Resident Evil 7’s more modern, “action-y” end-game portions to be a welcome catharsis for the raw-nerve tension the game builds throughout its first half. Even if the next Resident Evil game isn’t in first-person, I hope Capcom keeps the spirit of experimentation that made Resident Evil 7 feel so alive for the first time in years. —Matt

Tokyo 42

PC, Xbox One - Our Review

I'm a sucker for cyberpunk bullshit. And in most cases, cyberpunk is so dreary. There's dark alleys and rain and grime; while nearly all cyberpunk cities don't look the same, they share the same vibe. The isometric open world game Tokyo 42 does not. It offers a cyberpunk city that shines bright with primary colors and pastel hues; its architecture is modern, pristine, with hard edges. Tokyo 42, right down to its anti-capitalist tale, is still cyberpunk though. It's just not afraid to have fun with it. It namedrops all the stylish cyberpunk skewing narratives in the book—from Akira to Blade Runner. It's a game that took me twice as long to complete as I expected it to. That wasn't solely because of its challenging campaign, but rather, the world surrounding it. The world of Tokyo 42 is so damn easy to get lost in. —Caty

What Remains of Edith Finch

PlayStation 4, PC - Our Review

The term "walking simulator" has always drawn ire. I dislike it because it relegates games with minimal interaction, typically about telling a story, to just the singular movement of motioning forward. Others use it to justify not giving the games of its ilk a chance. But even for the naysayers, What Remains of Edith Finch is essential playing, just as Gone Home once was. What Remains of Edith Finch pins you as the young Edith Finch, returning back to her decrepit childhood home to learn about the family she never knew. You see, the Finch family suffers from a curse (or just really terrible luck), something that's caused everyone in Edith's family to perish in one way or another.

The quirk in Edith Finch isn't that you're exploring the tomb-like home to learn about her family, it's that you directly enter the memories of her family all along the way. In one you're the little cousin she never knew. In another, you're a dad hunting with his daughter. The memories in Edith Finch are so varied, exciting, but they're always sobering. Because no matter what, you know it'll end in death. —Caty

Yakuza 0

PlayStation 4, PC - Our Impressions

Yakuza 0 is kind of a perfect storm: It's a standalone prequel, making it an ideal entry point for new fans; it's set in the 80s, so it's a great nostalgia piece, and it's hilarious. Its knack for putting hardened Yakuza thugs into ridiculous situations often makes for comedy gold. That last aspect has made Yakuza 0 a social media darling.

With that, Yakuza has finally broken out of its tiny niche and into something resembling the mainstream, even if it's mostly still a cult hit. If you haven't played it, then now is the time to experience this delightful series for yourself. After all, punching thugs in the back alleys of Shinjuku never gets old. —Kat

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 12

Comments on this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

  • Avatar for ajhopwood #1 ajhopwood A year ago
    Great list, including one game I hadn't heard about yet (Tokyo 42).

    I've personally been enjoying Zelda: Breath of the Wild since it's release in March as I slowly explore the vast world (and I do mean vast). Case in point, I've played the game 35 hours and I still haven't seen any of the northern region of the map. With the new DLC on the way, it looks like my time with Hyrule won't be finishing up anytime soon (and I'm a-okay with that).
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #2 chaoticBeat A year ago
    So happy to see Nioh on this list! It's definitely an underdog this year next to Zelda and Persona but I have greatly enjoyed my time with it and will absolutely dive back in for the next 2 expansions. It's goofy, tough and fun at the same time!

    It's also been a great year for indies too with games like Nex Machina, Cryptark, TumbleSeed and the Crimson Court expansion for Darkest Dungeon.Edited June 2017 by chaoticBeat
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #3 LBD_Nytetrayn A year ago
    Yakuza 0 is probably my game of the first half so far. Maybe of the year. It cannot be said enough that if you haven't played it because you think it's GTA Japan, you have the entirely wrong idea and should look into playing it immediately.

    Oh, and Zelda is pretty good in my books, too.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for catymcc #4 catymcc A year ago
    @chaoticBeat Oh dang, this reminded me that I need to check out Nex Machina still! D:
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SingingBrakeman #5 SingingBrakeman A year ago
    This is an exciting list, not least because I think I can play most of the games between my Switch and my PC. Thank goodness for multiplatform releases, eh? In any case, I'm one of those folks who wrote off Nier: Automata due to its promotional art (judging a book by its cover, as it were) - glad to hear about how wrong I was. Edith Finch is pretty much tied neck-and-neck with Nier for my attention once I can pick both up in some sale near the year's end. Of course, Tokyo 42 looks incredible too. We really are spoiled these days, aren't we?Edited June 2017 by SingingBrakeman
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #6 chaoticBeat A year ago
    @catymcc I highly recommend it! Super fun and intense Smash T.V. style gameplay with that beautiful voxel art style they developed for Resogun. It is just really, really good. I realized that Eugene Jarvis was one of the original creators of Smash T.V. and Housemarque got him on board as a creative consultant.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #7 NiceGuyNeon A year ago
    Breath of the Wild is the greatest 3D game I have ever played.

    It is 2017. My first 3D game was Super Mario 64. I have played through Dark Souls and Ocarina of Time numerous times. Persona 4: Golden is my favorite RPG. I have played so many 3D games in my life.

    Breath of the Wild is the greatest 3D game I have ever played.

    In approximately 2 weeks I put in over 100 hours into it. I work full time. I go to the gym 3-6 times a week. I have a personal trainer I see at least once a week. I still put in 50 hours into Breath of the Wild each week for two weeks.

    Breath of the Wild is the greatest 3D game I have ever played.

    It is June 30, 2017. I have not started the expansion for Breath of the Wild yet and can't until after the 4th of July, but I have consistently played Breath of the Wild for the 3 (EDIT- actually, 4) months it has been out and have not become bored at any time because just inhabiting the world of Hyrule is so much fun.

    Breath of the Wild is the greatest 3D game I have ever played.Edited July 2017 by NiceGuyNeon
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Sturat #8 Sturat A year ago
    Wonderboy the Dragon's Trap, Mighty Gunvolt Burst, and Blaster Master Zero were probably my favorites so far. I played a couple open world games that had some great moments, but these shorter games were much more consistently fun.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for VotesForCows #9 VotesForCows A year ago
    I don't think I'll ever forget Nier Automata. It's just unparalleled.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for MarioIV #10 MarioIV A year ago
    Breath of the Wild and Arms for me.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for AndreasStalin #11 AndreasStalin A year ago
    This has been a fantastic first half of the year! I can't rmbr last time we had games like these all release in such a short span of time. It's good to be a gamer nowadays. Great picks too!
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for kidgorilla #12 kidgorilla A year ago
    I'm sorry, but this conversation starts and stops with Nier
    Sign in to Reply

Comments

Close