GOTY 2017: Earl's Picks

I actually made a concerted effort this year to play as many games as possible that were actually released this calendar year. I always find these lists challenging, as when I look back at the previous 12 months, I find myself biting my nails with the regret of the games I didn't play, as much as I want to share those I did.

Perhaps an article for another day, but I tallied up all the games I played this year and found that I had played nearly as many games from 2003 as from 2017, such is my eternal backlog. This gave me an idea: Before I get into my 2017 list for realises, here are...

The Top 10 Games I Wish I Had Played This Year

10 - Tiny Metal
9 - Xenoblade Chronicles 2
8 - Nioh
7 - Persona 5
6 - Fire Emblem Warriors
5 - Cuphead
4 - Yakuza 0
3 - Danganronpa V3
2 - NieR: Automata
WINNER - Super Mario Odyssey

My goodness, that was therapeutic. I'll let you know what I think of these games in 2031.

Honourable Mention: Sociable Soccer

I've shared my first impressions here on the site already and I don't feel the game is in a finished enough state for me to fully pass judgement on it yet. As a result, it continues to be one of my most anticipated games. Jon Hare is without question one of my heroes and I can't wait to see the finished product he puts out. The recent mention of a Switch version is particularly of interest.

Honourable Mention: Gran Turismo Sport

I shared some thoughts on this incredible game shortly after release and I would have no problem with it sitting high up on my list. However, I don't feel I've spent enough time with it to be able to accurately say how high. My bad. With the game's career mode only added in the middle of December, I have plenty of reason to go back and I imagine this will be a game I spend some quality time with early in 2018.

10 - LawBreakers

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Another game I've written about earlier in the year. I feel like LawBreakers is truly one of 2017's greatest tragedies. We had a full crew on PlayStation 4 playing regularly, improving together, enjoying the game. However, over time, the online community shrunk to the point that the only people to play against were each other. Efforts to bring players back or merge international servers never truly recovered the player numbers. It will be interesting to see any announcements about the game in 2018. A free-to-play revival seems the most likely course of action.

9 - Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

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Wolfenstein II didn't play as I had hoped - the controls are a little sluggish and enemy encounters are often too hectic to be enjoyable. However, I had a lot of fun filling the shoes (and wheelchair) of B.J. Blazkowic for a few hours. The characters and story are just the right levels of crazy - that being of the batshit variety. I felt that some of the most fun in the game was had in areas that were not actually interactive, but Machine Games did serve up a solid shooter by the time the game concluded. I don't really have the hunger for another of these, but I'll take more DOOM, please.

8 - Pinball FX3

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As well as drinking lemonade, I'm also a secret pinball enthusiast. It's a topic I don't get to speak about very often because, well, it's not very interesting to normal people. There are lots of excellent virtual pinball simulators I could recommend, but one of the things I enjoy about Zen's Pinball FX series is that they design unique creations that don't exist in table form. They are also themed around some of the hottest IPs today. This third iteration allowed you to pull through tables you bought in previous versions and is free to start. Go try it.

7 - Star Trek: Bridge Crew

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This was the reason I bought a PSVR and I would say it was worth every penny - if they hadn't just patched the game so it was playable without VR. Bridge Crew was also the only VR game that didn't make me want to throw up. It was really tough to find a reliable group of four players who were willing to do missions together, but when I did, it was one of the most incredible co-op gaming experiences I have ever had. Think Spaceteam with more "serious sci-fi".

6 - Injustice 2

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I prefer DC over Marvel. That would have been a proud admission to make in the late 80s when Frank Miller's vision of Batman was flying off the shelves, but today, Marvel clearly have their act together. That isn't the case in gaming, however, with DC's licenses having been used sparingly and to great effect. The Wolf Among Us and the Arkham series are standout examples. I loved Injustice: Gods Among Us and the sequel massively overdelivered. A fantastic game for those who just want to play the storyline, but a multiplayer game with incredible depth for those that want to dig deeper.

5 - Splatoon 2

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In 2015, the first Splatoon was 3rd on my Game of the Year list and I pondered what it would be like if the game was released on a more popular system. Well now I know. The best pick-up-and-play online shooter ever. Bar none. It feels like there is a constant buzz around the game, with community events and map rotations announced in-game with huge fanfare and excitement. My only criticism is the game felt like more of the same rather than an evolution of the first game, but I could use the exact same sentence in the form of praise too. On my "must play more" list for 2018.

4 - Resident Evil 7

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I confess I was extremely sceptical of the new approach to the Resident Evil franchise. Although the series has been gradually dipping in quality since the forth game, I still feel attached to the third person perspective. Having the Revelations spin-off for the hardcore fans has been a clever move, allowing more risks and creativity in the mainline series. It really paid off here. Although the game has changed in gameplay style, 7 brings the game back to its survival horror roots. Jack Baker reminds me of Nemesis - an unstoppable T100-styled machine who will relentlessly chase you to the bitter end. Games don't often creep me out, but for the first time in many years, Resident Evil gave me the chills.

3 - Everybody's Golf 12

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Damn, I've played TWELVE of these games? TWELVE! Yet, I keep coming back for more. You can read my full review of the game here. If you can't be bothered to go look, here's the short version:  this is the best golf game ever made.

2 - Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Gosh, I wrote a lot this year. Here's an article I wrote about this game. This has been a fun game to have had around for the majority of the year, with more friends picking it up as time has gone on. Everyone has their own story to tell, their own path, their own experience. I've almost had as much fun discussing the game with others as I did playing it. A true masterpiece and understandable how it is not only topping GOTY lists, but all-time best lists.

1 - Fire Pro Wrestling World

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If I was to order my list by how much I think I will be playing the games beyond 2017, this was a very easy choice. I've been playing Fire Pro Wrestling Returns with regularity on my PS2 for ten years. To say that I was excited about this game being released is an under statement. Now the game is finally in my hands, the next thing I'm looking forward to is a PS4 release, so I can play it all over again on my TV. The ultimate pro wrestling game is here and it is extremely hard to imagine how it will ever be topped, especially now that it has been announced that the game will receive constant improvement and content. A masterpiece.