2017 was a fantastic year for video games. Not only did a bunch of new good stuff come out, but we saw what seems to be a really successful launch of the Nintendo Switch. For myself personally, this year marked my first full year with The Free Cheese. It’s been a really fun journey with the site and everyone who contributes to it and I look forward to how that journey continues.
My theme for this list is fun. Sometimes we get wrapped up in judging things for how technically sound a game is. However, there are games that I enjoyed so much despite their flaws. I ignore these flaws and rank my games based on the level of enjoyment I had with them this year.
12. Stories Untold
Stories Untold was a breath of fresh air in the adventure point and click genre. I had quite the fun afternoon with this game and had a weirdly cool experience playing episode three in my freezing house. The Twilight Zone feel I got from this game scratched the right itch I had for a horror game just after Halloween had finished up. I look forward to seeing more point and click experiences like this in the future.
11. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I don’t know what to say about this game. I can see the reasons why it keeps winning game of the year at different outlets. However, this game never grabbed me like others did on this list. Zelda turned out to be a lot of fun when I decided to play the game in a different way then the game assumes you will. However, I think that’s the reason I ended up finding enjoyment. The game let me play the way I wanted to without saying no and I respect that a lot.
10. Super Mario Odyssey
Mario came back in a big way this year. Odyssey is a great game that every Switch owner should experience. While new hat mechanic made the game feel fresh, it still felt very familiar in a good way. I don’t know if it replaces Super Mario Galaxy as my favorite Mario game, but it sure gives it a run for its money.
9. Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Shadow of War may have the worst last act ever in video game history. However, I had a lot of fun actually playing as Talion and killing orcs. The new fortress raid system combined with the improvements to the Nemesis System made for a nice upgrade from the first game. For as much as I had to raid or defend fortresses, the experience of running on the front line with an orc army behind you is a pretty epic moment.
8. Nier: Automata
This game is a lot more than trying to look up 2B’s skirt. Nier is a fun action-RPG with one hell of a story. Despite some slow times when the combat starts to feel repetitive, the story all but makes you keep going. When you are playing this game, you will encounter moments where you ask yourself, “What the hell!?.” Those moments weirdly end up coming together for one of the most cohesive stories told in one of the most unconventional ways.
7. DOTA 2
I realize DOTA 2 didn’t come out this year, but I played it for the first time this year and was captivated by it and is a living a breathing game unlike Bloodborne. I was always intrigued by a MOBA but never had the machine to play it until this year. I fell into a weird hole with that game especially for that first month and during TI7. I respect and like the gameplay and the flow of how a match works. I have learned a lot over the last few months, but I know I have a lot more to learn that I look forward to over the next few years.
6. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Crash has finally returned and the original trilogy still holds up today. I didn’t end up completing all the games in the remaster, but my time with Warped was more than enough to realize how much I miss a really good Crash game. The new art is appropriate and doesn’t look bad at all. I hope Vicarious Visions can get a green light to make a new Crash game because I really want one now.
5. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
I’ve never been so happy I got a game to run on my Mac more than Battlegrounds. This game is so much fun. Dropping into an island with nothing trying to be the last man standing has a truly unique hook that makes you want to jump into the next game right after dying. I didn’t play much of the game but what I have played has been really enjoyable and I’m still awaiting my first chicken dinner.
The way this game looks is absolutely incredible. On top of that this game is really fun to play. Cuphead is this incredible arcade feeling game that has a great challenge that never feels cheap. It has the Bloodborne appeal of when you make a mistake, you instantly regret it and die. I’ve come to find out how much I like a game like that and Cuphead helped me figure that out this year.
3. MLB The Show 17
Every year San Diego Studio makes a great authentic MLB experience. This year’s game had me playing it for an extended period of time logging well over 100 hours. The majority of the time was spent online with the Diamond Dynasty mode. The mode isn’t new and neither are a bunch of the systems, but I feel like they fixed the online infrastructure and made online play a lot more enjoyable.
2. Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
This may have been my 2nd most anticipated game this year behind number one on my list. Wolfenstein: The New Order got me into the Wolfenstein scene with it’s storytelling and mechanically sound gameplay. The New Colossus furthers both of those things. I adored this game a lot and I love that Machine Games went there with various different aspects of its story.
1. Horizon: Zero Dawn
My decision for my personal favorite game this year wasn’t easy. It came down to what game between Wolfenstein and Horizon I was anticipating more and it was Horizon for so many reasons. Horizon told one of the best open world stories I have ever experienced. Despite Guerrilla Games being known as a FPS studio, they made 3rd person bow and arrow combat very fun. The level of complexity they gave Aloy and the Machines in combat is perfect and made my 40 hours with the game incredible.