The Outerhaven’s Favorite Games Of 2017

With the year of 2017 coming to a close, we wanted to look back at all the fantastic games that were released. With this year, we’ve seen so many games released that pushed the boundaries of our imagination. Here are a few of The Outerhaven’s favorite titles from the year of 2017.

Be sure to let us know in the comments if any of our favorites are yours as well.

 

NieR: Automata
Submitted by Keith Mitchell

The love child of Yoko Taro and Platinum Games, NieR: Automata is easily my favorite game of 2017. Combining multiple gameplay elements such as a SHUMP, platforming, JRPG and a hack and slash. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. A compelling story with multiple routes, endings, and characters that you simply can’t take your mind off. One of the best-looking games to be released in 2017, along with a soundtrack that won the “The Game Award for Best Score/Soundtrack” at the 2017 Game Awards show. Not to mention the underlying tones that people are still creating videos and articles to under it all completely. And 2B isn’t that bad on the eyes either.

Created with a limited budget and just a hope, NieR: Automata has rocketed to the top of the charts on both the PS4 and PC – which is well desired. I enjoyed it so much that I picked it up ahead of the North American release and played the hell out of it. When it was finally available for the PC, I double-dipped on that and picked it up on there as well. Hopefully, this isn’t last that we’ve seen of NieR.

Our Review of NieR: Automata

 

Horizon Zero Dawn
Submitted by Veronica Ciotti

It was a fantastic year for PS4 games, probably its best yet. But one that came out early in the year has stuck with me – Horizon Zero Dawn was an incredible and refreshingly original RPG. Sure, all the collecting, crafting, and upgrading is there like you’d expect from a modern RPG, but Horizon exists in such a unique world that it’s hard not to call it special. Taking place in a future overrun by the Machines, Horizon faces players with lots of questions about the origins of these mechanized creatures and the game’s protagonist, Aloy. At the same time, it seamlessly incorporates tribes and bow and arrows into its sci-fi plot. Following the Killzone series with a full-fledged, original RPG, Guerrilla Games has proven themselves to be an invaluable first-party studio for Sony. After the game’s success, I can’t wait for Horizon Zero Dawn‘s inevitable sequel. 

Our review of Horizon Zero Dawn

 

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PC)
Submitted by Karl Smart

I can hear the outcry already: “You can’t put that as your favorite game of the year, it’s not even out of Early Access”. Well HA! It is out of Early Access as of December 20, 2017. But to be honest, that doesn’t matter to me. While we haven’t reviewed Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG for short) yet as the game has only just gone retail release, it has been THE game I end up going back to on a daily basis.

From playing almost daily with Keith here on The Outerhaven, sometimes at night with some Asian friends, to playing custom matches every Monday and Friday night with the PUBG-OCE community; PUBG has easily been the game that I have come back to play at all times. Sure the game is still a glitch-filled mess and the cheaters are still all over the place, but the game itself somehow continues to be fun every time I sign up for a match. I keep hunting for Chicken Dinner every day and have a lot of fun doing it.

 

Persona 5 
Submitted by  Jon Jinks

To say that there were high expectations for Persona 5 undersells it a bit. Good thing it ended up being released in 2017 when there were absolutely no other really amazing and long games released, right? Well, at least it came out early in 2017. This gave Persona 5 time to breathe while I put in 100+ hours over the course of a few months. There’s something about being a rebellious teenager stealing the hearts of scumbag adults with your group of Phantom Thieves that felt a bit on point this year.

Persona 5 is a JRPG  that just oozes with style, from the music to the menus (did you know people cosplay as the menus from this game?!). The handcrafted dungeons show far more care and are more interesting than the randomly generated dungeons of its predecessors. Some of the best content in the game comes from living an honest student life, forging your social links with characters in the town. I found a lot of the non-team member social link stories to be some of the most interesting honestly. Once I finish cramming 2017 games and game of the year debates are all over, I think I’ll check back in on Persona 5 and get that platinum trophy. Any excuse to play is a good one really, so check it out.

Our review of Persona 5

 

Super Mario Odyssey
Submitted by  Josh Piedra

There was a lot of hype surrounding the latest entry into the Mario franchise. When I picked up the game, I was instantly taken back to Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64. The control scheme largely reminded of the franchise’s entry into the 3D world of games, plus you had the added bonus of a hat which opened up all new puzzles for the player. It captivated me in the same way that Super Mario 64 did and I had a really fun time with the game. Nintendo RARELY screws up a Mario game (I’m looking at you Mario is Missing). This time was no different as they hit the nail on the proverbial head.

Lush landscapes, amazing soundtrack, some awesome moments where you transition into old school 8-bit Super Mario Bros., everything that the game did draw you into it. Every kingdom was unique and had its own vibe and atmosphere about it and in a day where you play through a game and rarely remember much of what happened or what places and landscapes look like, Super Mario Odyssey stands out so much, you can’t help but remember your journey through the game!

 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Submitted by Aaron Sanders

When series producer Eiji Aonuma discussed the approach they were taking with the newest Legend of Zelda game in the January 2013 Nintendo Direct, he stated that their mission was to, “Rethink the conventions of Zelda.” The need to solve dungeons in a certain order, for example, had become a tradition in Zelda games that led to a fairly linear experience. During Nintendo’s Digital Event in 2014, Aonuma talked about how hardware limitations of the new generations of consoles had limited the scope of the worlds they could build and directly contrasted this to the open exploration afforded to players in the original The Legend of Zelda on the NES. He then introduced a forty-five-second clip of Link riding a horse through a field and confronting a guardian. It was absolutely incredible, and left me excited but not knowing what to really expect when the game finally shipped.

What Nintendo delivered was a large, open world in which the player was free to explore and do things in pretty much any order they chose. By breaking the mold forged over the last twenty years of Zelda games, Nintendo created a game that felt more ‘Zelda’ than ever. For me, it really recaptured a lot of the wonder of the very first NES game, just as Aonuma had set out to do. This was done so well that it came as no surprise when they revealed that the prototype of the world they’d built for the game was a 2D rendering in the style of the original 8-bit game. There just aren’t enough good things I can say about Breath of the Wild. It’s absolutely beautiful, with brightly-colored, stylized visuals that are downright breathtaking at times. It’s so much fun to simply explore and find new things at almost every step you take across Hyrule. The decision to allow Link to climb nearly any surface and give him a paraglider to sail across long distances also really opened up the player’s ability to not only get around but also deal with enemies. I will admit that I missed the traditional larger dungeons, which were replaced by bite-sized shrines that usually featured one or two puzzles; they’re still fun, and there are 120 of them in the world to find and complete. That is unless you just want to run straight to the end boss right from the start of the game, which you can totally do.

Our review of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

 

NBA Live 18: The One
Submitted by Clinton Bowman-Christie

If there is one thing that I’m known for among my fellow writers, it is my undying love of the sports game genre. Whether it’s MLB the Show, FIFA, Fight Night, UFC, Madden or NBA Live or NBA/WWE 2K, you will always find me enthused about playing a sports game. That was until 2K Sports decided to get just a little bit greedy and go full idiot mode on the microtransactions. This led me to purchase NBA Live 18 this past October, and I haven’t looked back. Truth be told, I don’t think I’ll stop supporting this game, as long as everything remains engaging. Honestly speaking, NBA Live 18 does a couple things great that makes up for the entire package, not that the entire package is remotely bad. There’s no pressure to buy currency (you can’t unless you’re playing Ultimate Team.) Yes, there are loot boxes in ‘The One,’ however, these loot boxes are capped at 10 and give you every item in that particular box, some with bonus chances.

Speaking of ‘The One,’ NBA Live 18’s career mode is less daunting and more encouraging than what NBA 2K has to offer. I even enjoy the inclusion of ESPN First Take hosts Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith in the introduction stages. More importantly, you can choose your path to fame, whether that be NBA superstardom in The League or taking your talents to The Streets, playing in famous parks such as Harlem’s Holcombe Rucker Playground, Philly’s Cherashore Playground or in the Pro-Am Circuits, such as The Drew or The Goodman League. I like that EA Sports has provided a choice in the matter, and that’s what I believe gaming is all about. Also, NBA Live 18 introduced me to one of my new favorite songs, Get Up by Nick Grant. The song is dope Y’all. Don’t fight the vibe when it hits ya, and NBA Live does that in spades.

Also, quick PSA: Pick up NBA Live 18 for under $10 if you subscribe to PSPlus or Xbox Live Gold

PlayStation Network (until January 2 at 11am EST)
Microsoft Store (until January 5, $12 for non-Gold subscribers)

Just do it.

 

Doki Doki Literature Club
Submitted by Andrew Agress

When I first heard about Doki Doki Literature Club, I was skeptical. A visual novel dating sim about joining a book club? No thanks, I’ll pass. Even after a friend told me it’s actually a quite creepy game in disguise, I was still unsure. But one night I was bored and decided to give it a try. I was not prepared. Players take on the role of a shy student at a high school joining a book club after his childhood friend pressures him to. He’s there to support his friend and stays on once he finds that the club is filled with cute girls. But he, and by extension, the player, get much more than they bargained for.

As many fans say, the best way to experience it is to go in completely blind. The game does tell you in the beginning that it’s disturbing, but it’s so much more. Aside from being one of the scariest games I’ve ever played, it also had a ton of heart and a lot to think about. Many horror games substitute scares for story, but Doki Doki takes the high road and makes sure that the horror always serves the plot and not the other way around. It’s the rare game that gives me so much to think about after completing it, and I can already tell its events and themes will stay with me for a while. There are countless debates about the meanings and messages behind the game, ranging from the overarching story to the smallest of pictures and sounds cues. It’s not for everyone and definitely not for the faint of heart. However, if players are willing to brave the thrills, they’re in for quite the rewarding experience. And did I mention it’s completely free?

 

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia
Submitted by Todd Black

It’s not uncommon for games to solely be released in a certain region. In Japan, many RPGs and other genres are never localized for one reason or another. This is very true for the Fire Emblem franchise, as the series was born in Japan, and didn’t get localized until many games after its birth. Though the original Shadow Dragon was made for the US eventually, we never got anything else until Shadows of Valentia came along. From the moment you start the game you can tell this is going to be a very special experience.

Every character has voice acting, so you’re no longer reading walls of text. The cutscenes look straight out of an animated film or TV series, and its great. The combat is both pure Fire Emblem, but also, has new twists like dungeon crawling. But what really sets this game apart was that this was a remake/update of a “side story”. It was never made to be a full-on epic. But Nintendo and Intelligent Systems decided to go all out for this game, and it became one of the crown jewels of not just the 3DS, but of the entire Fire Emblem franchise in my opinion.

 

Fire Emblem Warriors
Submitted by William Kok

While it is another Musou/Dynasty Warriors game of Koei Tecmo, you can’t help but this game is mindless fun. Sometimes you just want to play a game that requires small efforts to make you feel like a badass. Continuing off from Hyrule Warriors, Koei Tecmo wanted to make a Warriors game that is based in the Fire Emblem series. I’m not the biggest of fans, but even I was excited. The team manages to provide fans and newcomers another Warriors game that anyone can pick up. While I wish there are more characters like Ike, hopefully, he will be put in the sequel. I just like that all characters have a unique play style and how they affect the battlefield. With simple combat and dazzling specials, you can’t help but just enjoy the fun it provides. It’s a fan service game for the fans and “fan service” pleasing in the other sense. I’m looking at you Camilla and soon to be Tharja!

The Music, the callbacks to the previous entries of the series, and the S-Rank Dialogue that can be only be dreamed up by fans in fan fiction, Fire Emblem Warriors is a game that you can enjoy, fan or not. And who knows? Perhaps if they make another Nintendo based Warriors games, perhaps we can get something of the biggest crossover in Nintendo that rivals that of Smash Bros. Plus, who can argue the cool factor of a sword or Katana?

Our review of Fire Emblem Warriors

 

Thanks for checking out our favorite games of 2017. We’ll see you in 2018!

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. You can find him on Twitter as @Shadowhaxor or you can email her at keith.mitchell@theouterhaven.net.