An Essay On The Insane Amount Of Fantastic Videogames That Were Released In 2017
How fondly do you remember the videogames released in 2017?
The first three AG@G pieces that I have written so far have been on the negative side. I have been slagging off developers left and right and verbally abusing major distributors. Besides that, I’ve generally just having a pop at the gaming consumer. So, today I decided to write something more positive and celebrate why I love this past time so much.
2017 was generally a far simpler time and it was also one hell of a year for videogames. Some say it is the best year ever for games. Others say it is at least the best year since the late 90’s. Whether you agree with that or not, it is impossible to deny that 2017 was a fantastic year for gaming.
At the time of writing, it is now four years later. I still have not played everything that came out in 2017, but what I have played has been great. Below, in no particular order, I will list the best games from that year that I have played and why I loved them. This will hopefully give you an idea of just how great 2017 was for videogames.
The Walking Dead: Season 3 – A New Frontier
Upon its release, I remember there being a fair amount of pressure on Telltale’s third dive into TWD universe. It was around this time that critics started to wonder if the Telltale formula was beginning to get stale and lose some of its spark.
While Season 3 never quite reached the intensity and emotional highs of the first season, it did offer a fairly fresh take on a world that we knew like the back of our collective hand at that point. Telltale achieved this by letting you follow someone other than Clementine for the first time in the series. Don’t worry though; Clementine is still very much a significant presence in the story. Sadly, technical difficulties still plague the experience to this day. However, a well written story and well acted voiceovers carry this game to be almost as good as the first outing in the series.
I’m still surprised this game actually made it to release and turned out as good as it did. Developed by Arkane, (the same studio behind the Dishonored games,) and published by Bethesda, this game finally made it onto store shelves after around a decade spent in development hell. Whilst it may not have been worth that 10 year wait, there is still a decent game here.
Prior to the game’s release, the trailers made Prey out to be a horror game along the lines of Dead Space. In reality it is much closer to Bioshock or System Shock 2. If you like Ken Levine’s games, there is clear inspiration present here.
The game was created using the same engine and art style to Dishonored. This means that while it wasn’t the best looking game to come out in 2017, the art style is still kind of cool in 2021. Although, the monster design could probably have done with some more variety. That said, this is still a fun, sci-fi adventure and definitely worth playing through.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Although this game was originally slated for release in late 2016, it eventually dropped in February 2017. Think the mechanics of the rebooted Tomb Raider series, mixed with Assassin’s Creed and you have Horizon Zero Dawn. The game includes an awesome open world to explore and a host of interesting characters. That’s not even to mention a whole bunch of badass robot dinosaurs to hunt.
With beautiful visuals and solid mechanics, the environment is a joy to traverse. The game feels alive, which is something of a rarity in post-apocalyptic open world games. This also helped to set Horizon apart from other more dreary games in the genre. Some of the dialogue still leaves a bit to be desired. However if you can get by that, this is an awesome world well worth exploring.
Resident Evil 7
Everyone had an opinion on Resident Evil after RE6 was released. The series had something to prove if it was going to stick around. It did so by going the route of the soft reboot. There are no major corporation facilities or armies of undead coming after you in Biohazard.
Instead, you spend the entirety of the game in and around an old, creepy house in the middle of a bayou in the Deep South. You only face a few relentless enemies in the form of the psychotic, cannibalistic Baker family. With not much of a clue what’s going on, you wander into hell on earth, unarmed and terrified. Then things only go from bad to worse. The game has a gross kind of beauty to it and an unrelenting intensity throughout. If you are a fan of old school horror and love scaring the living daylights out of yourself, then do yourself a favour and pick this up.
Sniper Elite 4
At this point, the Sniper Elite games are akin to the FIFA franchise. What I mean is, with every new release you know roughly what you are getting. Each time the graphics and mechanics are slightly improved, but the principles of the last game remain. None of this is a bad thing though; its more like stepping into an old pair of blood-stained slippers. Also, the feeling of blowing a Nazi’s testicles clean off feels oddly sentimental at this point.
You can check out my thoughts regarding Sniper Elite 4 in much more depth here in our full review of the game. Overall though, the fourth entry in the series is by far the best. This is a game that I have also went back to multiple times since 2017, even earning the platinum trophy. Yet, I still find it impossible to get bored sniping Nazi soldiers in the gorgeous Italian countryside.
I cannot wait to try out Sniper Elite VR and I hope that we don’t have to wait too much longer before Sniper Elite 5 is announced.
The Injustice games are phenomenal. This sounds like an obvious statement now, but in 2017, it wasn’t such a certainty. Although Netherealm did have a pretty stellar pedigree behind them, even back then, Mortal Kombat-style combat mixed with DC superhero comics should never have worked. Yet somehow it did.
The mechanics were solid. As were the flashy finishing moves and exciting scene transitions. All of this added depth to an otherwise fairly straightforward fighting game. The story was also surprisingly engaging and did well to include a vast amount of iconic characters from the DC universe. The sequel brought with it an even more polished feel. It also offered new characters to play as, along with a new story and some truly stunning visuals, that still hold up in 2021.
Again, if you would like to hear my more in-depth thoughts on Injustice 2, you can check out our full review of the game here.
Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy
I’m going to be honest with you guys. Crash would have probably made it onto this list based on pure nostalgia alone. I realise that it is totally hypocritical to say given what I’ve previously written about Zelda: BOTW, (hey, I guess I’m biased.) But then, the unthinkable happened; this actually turned out to be a remaster with merit to it outside of pure nostalgia.
Vicarious Visions, (the team behind this remaster,) lovingly rebuilt what Naughty Dog created two decades prior. The graphics were given a modern overhaul and I don’t just mean the textures. Animations were improved and the audio was completely redone. Then, everything was totally re-rendered for modern platforms. All of this, paired with my love for the iconic marsupial, makes this an essential play from 2017.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands
This game made little to no splash when it was released. This was likely due to being released in such a dense period. However, it has attracted somewhat of a cult following in hindsight. Then again, maybe that is just because Breakpoint was so utterly terrible.
This may some as somewhat of a surprise to those who have read any of my other articles, but Ghost Recon: Wildlands was actually almost my GOTY for 2017. The simple reason for this being; games are about having fun and Ghost Recon: Wildlands was by far the most fun that I had with a game released in 2017.
An open world full of bad guys to kill, an armoury of various weapons to kill them with and tons of different vehicles and methods of attack. This game also utilised the tried and tested Ubisoft formula of going through and clearing out each section of a map and completing a tick list of kills and liberated areas as you go.
There is an extremely high level of satisfaction felt when tagging enemies and taking them out one by one and then when you inevitably get spotted, you get to feel like Rambo mowing down waves of enemies and causing vast amounts of chaos. These moments often lead to awesome accidental set pieces involving multiple enemies, vehicles and explosions. The dialogue and the story in the game are total garbage, but that is not why anyone is here. Treat this game like you would one of the Fast & Furious movies and you will have a blast.
Now for my actual Game Of The Year from 2017.
I remember when this game was announced and truthfully, I wasn’t sold on it at all. Other than the fact that it was being developed by Platinum Games, not much else about Nier: Automata appealed to me at first glance.
The story and the dialogue seemed VERY Japanese, it was the sequel to a ps3 game that I didn’t care about, it was coming out at the same time as a lot of other games I was more hyped for and none of the trailers I watched for the game prior to its release convinced me that this was going to be my thing.
It was only after reading all of the stellar reviews and immense praise that the game received upon its release that I decided, ‘I have to check this out, if only to see what all of the fuss is about.’
I went on to discover a game unlike anything that I had ever experienced before in gaming and honestly am unlikely to ever experience again. I fell in love with this game and its world, its characters, its art design and its score. Again, if you would like to hear my more in-depth thoughts on this game, you can find our full review for it here.
Finally, although Nioh, For Honor, Night In The Woods, Players Unknown Battlegrounds and Zelda: BOTW aren’t for me personally, I can see the merit of these games and along with the games I have listed above, they made up what was a truly phenomenal year in gaming.
So there you have it. Regardless of whether 2017 was the greatest year in videogames ever or not, there were some modern classics released throughout that year that still hold up four years later.
If you are enjoying Dan’s AG@G series, you can check out the previous entry on Full Blown Sequels VS Stand-Alone DLC Expansions right here.
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