Stephanie White’s Top 5 Games of 2017

This last year was a surprising year in gaming, not only because of the new consoles that came out, but because the new games that came out along with them were more than just the same storyline repurposed for a new system.

Right out of the gates Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft shocked many older fans because the games they have been following for many years were finally came out and they were not disappointed. Another reason people enjoyed the 2017 line up was because the writers and designers were taking risks and it showed they were enjoying the games they were creating.

That is why it was difficult for me to pick only five games, but after some thought, I present my top 5 games of 2017.

5. Cuphead

Now I know I was not following this game as long as many of my friends or the fans the developer gained after its initial showing had, so I did not freak out when this game was finally released. But there is a reason why this Microsoft exclusive took forever: the artwork.

The game’s artwork is based on the classic 1930’s cartoon style not only in looks but in how it was created as well. The artist hand drew the entire game, which is why it took so long, but it was worth the wait because it is gorgeous. This practically sold me on the game alone.

What pushed this game up to top five was what the game creators were able to perfect where many games have fallen short in one way or another: balance. Cuphead was able to balance difficulty, playability, and addictiveness. This game is known for being very difficult, but so addicting that people did not rage quit but raged and wanted more. Many games have tried, but this game did it so perfectly, I just couldn’t stop no matter how long it took for only one boss.

These two reasons flow well with each other that give this game a spot on the top.

4. Super Mario Odyssey

Big Chain Chomp Capture Mario OdysseySuper Mario Odyssey is the game that finally won me over to buying the Nintendo Switch. I was hesitant to buy the Switch, even though I loved the product when I saw it announced, because I didn’t think it would be for me, but once I played Odyssey I fell in love.

Mario games in the past six years were repetitive, being basically the same game with just a few new mushrooms, but the maps were also too similar and I was done with trying to save Peach. She could stay with Bowser for all I cared. Nintendo started to change up the algorithm a bit with the Wii U game, Super Mario 3D World, which I loved and still play to this day.

Odyssey, however, completely opened the world of Mario and created a new story and a newer way of playing the game. Using your hat, who is now a character, to turn into almost any object or person in the game gave it new challenges. You can easily get lost in it for many hours and the way Nintendo is actually finally letting Mario traditions go showed me why this game deserved to be in the top five.

3. Life is Strange: Before the Storm

The moment this was announced my heart skipped a beat, remembering the emotions I went through in LiS, and now that we’ll get to know Chloe before she was the Chloe we know and love.

This prequel was only three episodes, compared to its five part main title, and the episodes came quickly within the three months since its release, but the storyline was not at all disappointing. I did not get as emotional as I did with LiS, but getting to know what Chloe went through and finally getting to know Rachael as well felt bitter sweet, because I knew how it was all going to end.

The main thing I would say I wish happened was bringing back Ashly Burch as the voice actress of Chloe, since she was the actress of the character in the original one, but because of a stand she was taking, I understood why she was not in this game. She did, however, still work with the writers and the company to make sure Chloe still was Chloe to the audience.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zelda Breath of the Wild Trial of the Sword Sword PointThis game, with its beautiful open world and possibilities, really stepped it up for the Zelda franchise. Honestly I would just spend a whole article raving about this game but I will instead sum up my feelings.

Breath of the Wild is not only gorgeous, on both Wii U and Switch, but the play style is smooth and easy to play along with, it just felt so nice to run around. The storyline was well written, made you fell and fall in love with the characters all over again, although I am unsure why Zelda had a British accent but I still enjoyed it. The freedom of choice in this game is endless and you can play it literally any way you want.

Outside of cosmetics, I will say the main reason why this game is at the second spot is because Nintendo really brought Zelda back to its roots with this game. When the first Zelda game came out, there were no real instructions on what to do, you were just some kid wandering around having and adventure in a forest.

The fact that they found a way to start back in their roots while still moving towards the future, and having such a beautiful game where simply wandering around can get you entranced, was so lovely and well done I had to give it a top spot.

1. Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn The Frozen Wilds Excited Featured ImageAnd last but certainly not least, the number one spot that won it all, was Horizon Zero Dawn. I have not had a new game that made me want to rush home after work in a long time like this one did. The storyline and beauty alone could draw people into it, but the main protagonist Aloy is what made you want more.

Not only does Ashly Burch, voice of original Chloe from LiS, voice this amazing woman but the fact that you have the choice of what kind of person Aloy could become was not a design choice many open world games would employ and it worked really well into the storyline without a hitch.

Also, a big thing was the game’s post-apocalyptic setting, but it was not another Fallout kind of world. It was more of mother nature taking back its proper place with a mix of machines. The positive feel of the world really changed the possibilities of post-apocalyptic worlds now, no matter how much I enjoy Fallout, can be more than just a depressing feel.

Aloy as a character herself was created to fit the world perfectly and was more than a woman, but a loving but awesome woman you both wanna be friends with and not mess with. Many companies in past games have made a woman character not with enough balance that she felt more one sided to me, but with the freedom of choosing how Aloy handles situations throughout the game, I feel like there was more balance as a female character, compared to other leading female characters in the past.

There are not many games I keep playing constantly, no matter how many times I have beaten it or how long my backlog of games may be, but Horizon has definitely joined that small grouping, right next to the Borderlands and BioShock series.

So there it is, 2017 gaming in a list and I am happy with it. This last year was a positive outlook into what we are moving towards and from what we saw this year, I am very excited into what 2018 will bring, but I will still be waiting patiently for Borderlands 3.

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