The Best Overall Games of 2017

We wrap up our best games of 2017 with a look at the best of the best!

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 01/09/2018 07:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

For Nintendo, 2017 was quite the banner year. With new entries in the Zelda, Mario, Metroid and Pokémon franchises, Switch and 3DS gave Nintendo one of its most impressive showings since the debut of the Wii. Over the last week, we’ve counted down the best games available on Switch, 3DS and both of their respective eShops. Now, here are the overall Best Games of 2017!


BEST OVERALL GAME

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

At this point, what’s left to be said about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? The latest Zelda game redefined the series in a way that hasn’t been seen since Ocarina of Time pulled the series into the third dimension. Breath of the Wild is not the first game to offer fans a massive open-world to explore; the game clearly takes influence from modern-day epics like Skyrim. However, the world of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild never stops feeling like a natural evolution of the version first seen in the NES Legend of Zelda, albeit in a much bigger form.

Breath of the Wild is also not the first Zelda game to launch alongside a Nintendo system. That particular honor belongs to Twilight Princess, a game that no doubt helped spur Wii sales in much the same way the latest Zelda helped move Switch units. After the disastrous sales of Wii U, Nintendo certainly needed Link’s help to start things off on the right foot once again.

Breath of the Wild was far from a guaranteed success, however. It would have been a much safer move on Nintendo’s part to release a game on Switch that didn’t veer so wildly from the formula established by Ocarina of Time and followed by nearly every 3D Zelda game since, including Twilight Princess. Breath of the Wild, however, set an interesting tone for the Nintendo Switch: this was the company at their boldest.


BEST GAME RUNNERS-UP

Super Mario Odyssey

In a year where Nintendo released two major reinventions of classic franchises, it was difficult to pick a favorite between Zelda and Super Mario Odyssey. While Breath of the Wild took home the win for our awards this year, it really does come down to personal preference: the newest adventure for Nintendo’s mustachioed plumber is every bit as charming as Link’s latest.

Like Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey was also not afraid to drastically alter the classic Mario format. The presence of Cappy, Mario’s brand-new, sentient hat, added a unique new wrinkle, allowing Mario to control opponents. While many developers struggle to get the controls for one playable character right in a 3D platformer, Nintendo managed to make each “possession” feel unique from one another; Goombas feel different from Hammer Brothers which in turn feel drastically different from Cheep Cheeps.

Since Link’s debut, Mario and the hero of Hyrule have both shared the spotlight as Nintendo’s premier franchises. This year’s top two titles are so close in quality that they had our staff torn on choosing a preference. No matter which you prefer, it’s still a testament to the quality of Switch that two of the biggest games of the year are only available on this system.

Metroid: Samus Returns

In the dying days of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, Nintendo treated fans to three massive games: Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Not since the days of GameCube have Nintendo fans been so fortunate to see massive titles in each of these franchises released so closely together, but in 2017, the three best games of the year belong to Link, Mario and Samus Aran.

At the start of 2017, new entries in the Zelda and Mario franchises were all but guaranteed. The return of bounty hunter Samus Aran, however, came as a complete shock. Nintendo stunned fans at E3 with the announcement that the Metroid franchise would make its triumphant return in the form of not one but two new titles, the first of which, Metroid: Samus Returns, released just a couple months after its announcement. Expectations were understandably high, and thankfully the title delivered.

Unlike Mario and Link’s latest games, Samus’ latest felt a bit more familiar. Samus Returns, a remake of the Game Boy title Metroid II: The Return of Samus, had all the familiar trappings fans had come to associate with a classic Metroid title. After the release of Metroid Prime: Federation Force, fans needed something more familiar. Perhaps Metroid Prime 4 on Switch will take more risks, just as Odyssey and Breath of the Wild did. For now, however, fans are just happy to have their favorite bounty hunter back.


HONORABLE MENTIONS

SteamWorld Dig 2

Sequels are hard. There is an expectation to live up to the standards that the original game set, while also blazing a new, unique path. For developer Image & Form, a relatively young team coming off 2013’s critically-acclaimed SteamWorld Dig and 2016’s SteamWorld Heist, expectations were certainly higher than the average indie developer is used to. Fortunately, with its atmospheric music and Metroidvania-inspired gameplay, Image & Form’s SteamWorld Dig 2 proved to be one of the year’s best titles, as well as Nintendojo’s Best Switch eShop game of 2017. The SteamWorld franchise may not have the same name power as Zelda, Mario or Metroid, but in a year that boasted terrific titles featuring gaming’s biggest icons, SteamWorld Dig 2‘s presence on this list is all the more impressive.

Sonic Mania

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In a year filled with new outings for Nintendo’s biggest icons, it’s certainly notable that Sega’s former mascot Sonic also appeared in one of the year’s best. Like Samus Returns, Sonic Mania was exactly the type of mash-up of old and new that fans needed. Drawing inspiration from Sonic’s halcyon days, Sonic Mania remixed classic stages and even managed to include elements from Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. The result was one of the best Sonic games since Sonic CD.


That’s it for our Best of 2017 features! Hopefully 2018 will deliver just as many strong entries as 2017 did! Let us know what your favorite games of 2017 were in the comments below!

One Response to “The Best Overall Games of 2017”

  • 694 points
    OG75 says...

    My 2017 was spent playing Zelda, Mario, and Metroid.

    My 1987 was spent playing Zelda, Mario, and Metroid.

    Can’t wait to see what 2047 brings.

    Thumb up 1

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