Yahtzee's top 5 games from 2017.
It's been quite a year: a year of hot starts and egregious ends, of Nintendo bounce-backs and EA face-plants, of reading political news through the cracks between my fingers. But as always, we can't call it a year until fifteen of the games I've reviewed have been arbitrarily compartmentalized for future reference by weirdos. Greetings, weirdos of the future! You must be feeling like you were born in the wrong era. "If only I'd been around in 2017," you're thinking. "I'd have been practically lionized for my inappropriate behavior around women."
5th Best of 2017
(overlapping tracks of Yahtzee praising a game)
My fifth best surprises even me; I thought a fucking typing tutor would get into my Top Five before a fucking JRPG did, but here we are! Perhaps it's all the ways Persona 5 distracts from it being a JRPG: the style, the soundtrack, the investment in likable characters, the high school girls in vinyl catsuits sticking their bums in the air. Hey, weirdos of the future, have you elected a patron saint yet?
5th Blandest of 2017
(the sound of a raspberry being blown)
Sorry to wound you, Volition, but be fair; you wounded me first. After the peerless Saints Row series, their next game was going to be one to watch, and while they clearly went into Agents of Mayhem full of energy and ideas, all they did to follow through on that was to rotate their wrists for a while going, "Buhpidee-buhpidee-buhpidee-buh."
5th Worst of 2017
(overlapping tracks of Yahtzee trashing a game)
Hey, I get it, games industry: Dark Souls is hot spit on a cheerleader's lower-back tattoo, so obviously, you want to make games like it. And hey, no one had done Dark Souls in a science fiction setting; the opportunity was there! But sci-fi Dark Souls that's annoying and stupid and plays like you're trying to unjam a kitchen drawer was probably too much innovation all at once, wasn't it, The Surge? It's The Surge I'm talking about.
4th Best of 2017
It's Breath of the Wild. Yeah, fanboys, I'm putting it in at 4! What are you going to do about it? You going to cry? "Ooh, mummy, call the police! He only moderately lavished it with praise! Bring me my coat that looks good from the back, 'cause I'm going to do some serious shunning!" Yeah, whatever; it's fine. Organic, looks nice, plays well, even if the protagonist could be out-charisma-ed by his fucking horse.
4th Blandest of 2017
If I were giving out Lifetime Achievement Awards for Blandness, BioWare would definitely be a hot contender: bland, obvious settings where bland characters blandly goldfish-stare their way through bland dialogue and occasionally blandly knob each other in a sequence designed by someone with very bland ideas about sex scenes who couldn't get a job at Cinemax, but I digress. More like Mass Effect Bland-romeda, am I right?
4th Worst of 2017
As we all know, the greatest indictment of a horror game is not being particularly scary, especially if it compensates by instead trying to put me off my fucking dinner. Outlast 2 covered a wide spectrum of bad: bad gameplay, nonsensical plot, and you come away from it just feeling kind of gross, like you spent the afternoon at the old folks' home sitting opposite a very talkative man eating picked beetroot from the jar.
3rd Best of 2017
The Game Awards always does this thing where they pick one prominent indie game and give it a bunch of token noms, then quickly go back to noshing AAA todger. This year, it was Cuphead, so while I'm slightly hesitant to heap further praise on it, it is unique and well-realized and monstrously hard, so the man with the jar of pickled beetroot won't keep bugging you for his turn.
3rd Blandest of 2017
I always feel slightly unqualified to criticize multiplayer-focused shooters, which are, after all, intended to be bland and for people with friends, but I can't help feeling that the best possible result of enlisting friends to help you grind through Destiny 2 would be not having to pay for as many Christmas presents. Sorry you couldn't be higher on the list, but hey, there is something appealingly ironic about coming third in a mediocrity contest.
3rd Worst of 2017
"Naughty Yahtzee! This game came out last year!" I know, but I reviewed it this year, versions of it came out this year, and I really want to give it one more kick in the baubles before the holidays are over: Dead Rising 4, a stripped-down, tarted-up holiday special of a Dead Rising game with none of what makes Dead Rising good. Even alongside the mediocre Dead Rising 3, it resembles a dog turd in a bread bin.
2nd Best of 2017
It was going to be this or Mario Odyssey, and giving it to Mario felt like writing a sports movie where the winner is the team that practiced more and had the most funding; perhaps to be expected, but nonetheless unsatisfying. I don't love Mario like I love A Hat in Time. Mario merely meets expectations; A Hat in Time is a bit wobbly and not very long, but it's fresh, it's surprising, it's charming, and I did it without needing a room full of sweatshop workers filing every last imperfection off Princess Peach's left bum cheek.
2nd Blandest of 2017
Well, it wouldn't be the Bland Five without a token Ubisoft sandbox, would it, and this year, it's Ghost Recon Wildlands for its protracted adventures in going to the icon and shooting the thing. Not Assassin's Creed Origins; that gets to go alongside games like Prey and Horizon Zero Dawn in the category of "Not Quite Bland Enough for the Bland List", which, I suppose, some might argue makes them the blandest games of all.
2nd Worst of 2017
Sega really don't learn their lesson, do they? You can have all the great ideas in the world for fixing Sonic, but they are naught but ash in the hands of Sonic Team themselves. Sonic Forces starts with the good ideas of a custom protagonist and plot curveball, but I guess something spooked Sonic Team, and like a nervous badger, they darted back to their comfort zone of shitty characters, horrible physics, and masturbation.
Best Game of 2017
Don't think I'm supporting the view that your long-running series might come back around to being good if you just keep plodding along; rather, I'm supporting burning your series to the ground on a regular basis to make snowmen with the ashes. Resident Evil 7 is a successful change of tune that also manages the balance between disturbing and knowingly camp that marks Resident Evil at its best. Well done, Capcom; looking forward to seeing how you fuck it up this time.
Blandest Game of 2017
I know it's the loot box controversy that still haunts this game like the ghost of an albatross, but let's not forget it also had a single-player campaign; an entirely obvious single-player campaign composed from flakes of rust that peel off the grinding wheels of the corporate machine, every inch focus-grouped to most efficiently trick the audience into finding the same nostalgic bullshit as always as valuable as new ideas. I'm not even going to say the name; it knows what it did.
Worst Game of 2017
But after righteous anger, I want the worst game to be something so bad that I come back around to feeling positive about it; something so fucking pathetic, all you can do is laugh. And for that, it's Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3: ugly, boring, badly optimized, and with a story straight from a twelve-year-old boy locked in the bathroom with a Tom Clancy-themed pinup calendar and severe familial issues. Still, at least it has a positive message on diversity: there's a place in the games industry even for complete morons, and not just holding up the archery targets.
- Old Man Winter: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
- Pyre was an honorable mention but in the end I've just never been that big into team sports
- Fingers crossed for that giant killer meteor in 2018