Virtual reality has often been used to insert players into situations that would otherwise be impossible. Moss, one of the newest PlayStation VR titles, goes about this in a slightly different way. Instead of making the player the focus, each stage of the game is a sort of interactive diorama. Controlling the adorable mouse protagonist Quill, players can make their way environmental puzzles by inspecting every nook and cranny of the tiny world set in front of them. It creates an experience that feel unique to VR and facilitates a new sort of immersion that is the breath of fresh air that VR needs right now.
Crashing down on us in 2014, The Fall was a fascinating adventure game with some admittedly clunky combat. The story mainly consisted of a combat suit with artificial intelligence, named A.R.I.D. searching for medical attention for the passed out human inside of it. In a major twist, stop reading here and go play The Fall if you haven’t already, the suit turned out to be empty the whole time and her whole purpose has been made null. As you might expect, I was eager to see where the story went from there and The Fall Part 2: Unbound does certainly go in some interesting directions.
The hype was real for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but no one could have seen just how innovative and reinvigorating the game would end up. Nintendo had been playing it safe for too long with the Zelda series and vowed to go back to its roots for Breath of the Wild. The success they found with this new formula will likely go on to influence the series going forward and likely the design of open world games in general. Many open world games rely on pointing the player in the direction they want them to go, for fear of them getting bored. Nintendo expertly solved the issue that other developers didn’t even see here, by ridding the world of developer-laid icons and allowing the player to choose their own journey. Standing at the top of a tower, you might see something that looks interesting and decide to investigate. Nearly every time, you will be rewarded for your curiosity with something, even if it’s something small. This is what separates Breath of the Wild from other open world games. It allows players to create their own stories and explore the world at their own pace, while packing every nook and cranny with fun things to find. Hours melted away while I was playing Breath of the Wild as I got lost in the gorgeous world. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best games ever made and easily deserves the spot as the best game of 2017.
Picking the order of the top three games of 2017 was a nightmare. Each of these games are amazing in their own right and ranking them was near impossible. That being said, I have decided on an order and I am sticking to it! Super Mario Odyssey is a joy to play in nearly every way. The bright and colorful environments are packed with fun stuff to do and interact with, nearly all of which will earn you some power moons. I never had a play session with Super Mario Odyssey where I felt that no progress had been made and I always spent the entire time smiling ear to ear. It has been a long while since we’ve gotten a Mario game as open as this one and this could arguably be the best one that follows that formula. The main game doesn’t overstay its welcome, allowing you to blast through each world and get a short introduction before moving on, but doesn’t discourage sticking around and playing in each kingdom for a little longer. There are some very fun surprises after the credits roll and the game is a great one to come back to every now and then for some relaxed fun. Super Mario Odyssey just barely came in as the 3rd best game of 2017.
Naughty Dog always starts off developing DLC with the best of intentions. Building upon the themes and lore of their most recent game by exploring relationships either hinted at or nonexistent in the main game, the DLC grows in size and scope. Inevitably, every story-based DLC that Naughty Dog produces breaks off and becomes a bite-sized bit of brilliance. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy continues this tradition in great form by taking some of the best things from Uncharted 4 and expanding on them in some smart ways. The relationship built between Chloe and Nadine during the short adventure is a lot of fun to watch and the banter is brilliantly performed. The open design implemented in the middle section of the game improves on what was in the main game by giving you reasons to explore the beautiful environments. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy gives plenty of reasons to be an excellent 7th best game of 2017.
Atmospheric exploration puzzle games have long been perfected by the likes of Team Ico with titles like Ico and The Last Guardian providing stellar examples of how the genre is done right. Showing clear inspiration from the aforementioned games, Tequila Works has crafted a beautiful game in RiME, transporting the player to a seaside temple with a bevy of secrets to unfold. Technical glitches occasionally mar the Nintendo Switch version of Rime, but the overall experience is a gorgeous and satisfying puzzle adventure.
Agonizing over the perfect plan, meticulously prepping all the necessary components and then having it all come apart due to an unseen circumstance. Escaping prison seems like it would be an endeavor that which I would fail miserably to execute with the perfection it requires. If nothing else, The Escapists 2 has only proven this fact as I have spent plenty of time in solitary confinement for my failed schemes. Thankfully, unlike real life, the consequences of these failed jailbreaks are minimal and with enough practice, I was eventually able to spring myself from the joint. It’s this concept that makes The Escapists 2 the perfect action puzzle game for anyone with a lot of patience looking for a real challenge.