2017’s Not Over and Already

Too Many Games Are Great

By Matthew Arcilla

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The eighth generation of videogames, marked by the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, hasn’t been the most exciting one. Cross generation releases like Destiny, Watch_Dogs and Titanfall have done little to demonstrate the horsepower of modern hardware. Remasters of games like The Last of Us, Diablo III and Tomb Raider merely put a fresh coat of paint on known quantities.

But a disappointing autumn filled with some wobbly releases, unreliable PC ports and underwhelming stalwarts has left gamers crying out for great games. 2017 has answered the call by unleashing loads of new games that are filled with original ideas, excellent gameplay and a kind of variety we didn’t know we were looking for. Here are just eight of the many that are great.

8. Gravity Rush 2

Released January 20, 2017 for PlayStation 4

This January release could arguably be declared the first great game of 2017. The sequel to 2011’s critically acclaimed but under-promoted and overlooked Gravity Rush continues the adventures of Kat, a superheroine who saves the day in all manner of ways. It’s a distinctly Japanese take on the wealth gap created by unchecked industrialization and capitalism, but it’s also a blast to play, with exhilarating gravity powers that are a thrill to master.

 

7. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Released January 24, 2017 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Drawing inspiration from new wave horror games like Outlast and Soma, this installment of the long running survival horror franchise returns to its roots. Where Resident Evil 6 focused on large action set pieces as bioterrorism grips the world, Resident Evil 7 focuses on immersive and terrifying exploration in a house full of crazies. The entire game can also be played in VR if you don’t mind ruining your underwear.

 

6. Nioh

Released February 7, 2017 for PlayStation 4

This hack and slash action role-playing game from the team that created Hyrule Warriors and Ninja Gaiden 3 casts you as a sword-wielding gaijin skilled in the art of the samurai, out to slay monsters. Think of it as The Witcher meets Onimusha meets Dark Souls. Originally in development based on a script by legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, Nioh ultimately transformed into a tactical monster hunter simulator filled with tactical depth and excitement.

 

5. Sniper Elite 4

Released February 14, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

This unrepentant celebration of glory kills and gore porn is exactly the game your mother was worried about. A combination of stealth and murder unlike any other, Sniper Elite 4 rewards players for their creativity and brutality. Take advantage of ambient noise and holding your breath to still your scope are key, and the reward is the satisfaction of a kill well done, complete with the series’ trademark kill cams that show every organ you puncture and every bone you explode.

4. For Honor

Released February 14, 2017 for Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4

Publisher-developer Ubisoft is notorious for its open world action adventure formula, so any game from them featuring bold and fresh new ideas is worth a look. For Honor handwaves historical accuracy away for an exciting premise in which history’s most distinguished warriors – Knights, Vikings and Samurai – battle one another. It’s got the visceral tension of Bushido Blade and the tactical intuitiveness of Street Fighter.

 

3. Horizon: Zero Dawn

Released February 28, 2017 for PlayStation 4

This post-civilization apocalypse casts you as Aloy, a ranger hunter seeking for truth while slaying giant robots. Guerrilla Games might have a sterling rep for the first person shooter series Killzone, but to make their first open world game, they recruited and consulted dozens of outside experts in the industry. The result? A confident execution of all things that make games like Arkham Knight, Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed great.

 

2. Persona 5

Released April 4, 2017 for PlayStation 4

Forget your Final Fantasies and Dragon Quests, it’s Persona that’s the taste of the new generation when it comes to JRPGs. Part social simulator, part dungeon crawler, Persona 5 casts you as a high school student with real world responsibilities and friendships to maintain. But at night, you delve into an otherworldly metaverse that’s plagued with terror and anxiety. Featuring the compulsive gameplay that defines the genre, Persona 5 has style, substance and an undeniably infectious energy.

 

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Released March 3, 2017 for Nintendo Switch and Wii U

Nintendo is famous for treating a marquee property like Zelda with great care, such that Zelda games are like a gift to fans. No less can be said of The Breath of the Wild, which puts players in a massive continent filled with melancholy and grandeur. The Breath of the Wild continues the open world traditions of past Zelda games while borrowing heavily from the refinements of Dark Souls and Skyrim. The result: A stronger Zelda game than there has ever been, and a master class in design.

 

What’s your favorite so far? Tell us below!

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