2017 is still pretty recent, but, man it was one hell of a year. If anyone wants to debate which year of the 2010s was the best, you would have to have 2017 in the conversation. The Nintendo Switch released this year, launching with one of the best games in a beloved franchise and continued to have well-liked releases all year long. There's plenty of surprises in 2017 too, games that few would have said "yea, that will be one of the best games released in a few years" when they saw it on the release schedule. All in all, a fantastic year.
Keep an eye out here for every year's list of the past decade, including an overall best 100 games of the 2010s.
The 15 Best games of 2017
15 - Doki Doki Literature Club!
Developer: Team Salvato | Release Date: September 22nd, 2017
So how do you make a free visual novel appeal to the masses? It's a tough question, but Doki Doki Literature Club! managed to solve it. It turns out the answer is to have it totally shatter the fourth wall while acting like part horror story. Doki Doki Literature Club! may seem generic at first, but when given time it quickly becomes something unexpected. It's this subversion that made it remembered so fondly, and why it starts this list.
14 - Splatoon 2
Developer: Nintendo | Release Date: July 21st, 2017 | Game Page
When we heard Nintendo was making a competitive third-person shooter, it sounded... wrong. When Splatoon came out, it made sense, having players paint the world rather than shoot each other. Splatoon 2 improves on the formula in all the right ways, with more weapons, stages, and a better single-player campaign. By also including its amazing soundtrack and wacky presentation, it shows that Nintendo really can excel in any genre it tries.
13 - Sonic Mania
Developer: PagodaWest Games, Headcannon | Release Date: August 15h, 2017 | Game Page
Sonic is another one of those IPs that hasn't really managed to put out much quality in quite some time. So what does Sega do? Ask a team of fans to make something better. The result is Sonic Mania, a 2D Sonic game that takes the gameplay and presentation from the classics while also giving it enough of a modern twist to really feel unique. So is that enough to make people care? When it came out the answer was a resounding yes, and we ended up with the best Sonic game since... probably the original.
12 - Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Developer: Capcom | Release Date: January 24th, 2017
It may be hard to tell now, but in 2017 Capcom was in a miserable place. None of their projects were landing, and "will Capcom shut down?" was becoming a seriously asked question. Resident Evil 7 looked interesting, but if it would be worth it was up in the air. Yet this game marked the new Capcom and took everyone by storm. Changing the series to first person, setting it in a fantastic environment, and making the villains terrifying was more than enough to make Capcom suddenly get an incredible second wind.
11 - Horizon: Zero Dawn
Developer: Guerrilla Games | Release Date: February 28th, 2017 | Game Page
Look, you had most people at "a woman hunts robotic animals with a bow." That's enough. The fact that Horizon: Zero Dawn makes actually hunting these animals a ton of fun is only icing on the cake. From a beautiful game world to creative enemies, there's a lot to love here. There's just something fantastic about climbing on top of a giant moving tower and looking over the lands to see just how the robots have changed everything.
10 - Hollow Knight
Developer: Team Cherry | Release Date: February 24th, 2017 | Game Page
If Ori and the Blind Forest showed that you could bring back 2D metroidvanias with cute art and fun gameplay, Hollow Knight showed the same thing but also add "intense combat" and "high difficulty" to that list. When you navigate your cute bug through the world, trying to keep them alive and away from various enemies, it's hard not to get engaged. Hollow Knight delivered on all that you'd expect to make it a real indie classic.
2018 TechRaptor Awards Won: Best Evolving Game
9 - Cuphead
Developer: StudioMDHR | Release Date: September 29th, 2017 | Game Page
Ever since cartoons have been coming out, games have been trying to copy their art style. There's a certain charm to the classic animations, and Cuphead sets to recreate them as best they can. Ultimately, this is perfect. The art style is so unique and so memorable that it does a ton for the game. When you combine this with a jazzy soundtrack and some rather difficult 2D run and gun boss fights, then you got a real winner on your hand.
2017 TechRaptor Awards Won: Best Multiplayer, Best Visuals, Best Soundtrack, Indie Game of the Year
8 - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Developer: Ninja Theory | Release Date: August 8th, 2017 | Game Page
Mental health is one of the most difficult subjects to tackle in a video game. Hellblade managed to tackle the subject in a respectful way, without resorting to turning it into a dumb video game trope or powerup. When it also brought fast-paced combat, amazing graphics, and a shocking story, people took notice. Marketed as a AAA Indie game, it was clear to see a lot of love went into Hellblade, and so many remember it so well because of it.
7 - Total War: Warhammer II
Developer: Creative Assembly | Release Date: September 28th, 2017 | Game Page
It's strange to think no one really tried to combine the Total War series with fantasy material before. Yet Total War: Warhammer showed that a place for such an idea existed. Its sequel then took all that goodwill and ideas and made them much better. There are fun tactical decisions to be made in leading around your fantasy nation, and it's always fun to watch RTS battles with hundreds of units. The only real mistake was not just naming it "Total Warhammer."
6 - Persona 5
Developer: Atlus | Release Date: April 4th, 2017 | Game Page
jRPGs aren't really a genre known for style. Sure they sometimes look good, but Persona 5 has /style/. Following the Phantom Thieves on their quest is already killer, but they do it in such a stylish way that it's almost easy to forget that you're partaking in turn-based combat. Each fight, each movement, cutscene, even just jumping from cover to cover, is done in such a unique and classy way that it's impossible to look away. It's just awesome to watch.
2017 TechRaptor Awards Won: Best Writing
Our 5 Best Games of 2017
5 - Divinity: Original Sin II
Developer: Larian Studios | Release Date: September 14th, 2017 | Game Page
So after Divinity: Original Sin reminded people why they loved cRPGS, Original Sin II had the difficult task of following this up with something better. It succeeded. Taking all the already fantastic parts of Original Sin and making sure that they continued to shine while also ironing out the worse points, we had another fantastic cRPG on our hands. A deep story and fun tactical gameplay added everything we needed to make Original Sin II the best follow-up it could be.
4 - Nier: Automata
Developer: PlatinumGames | Release Date: March 7th, 2017 | Game Page
When Platinum got their hands on the Nier sequel, people were confused. The original game was known for its story and soundtrack, not so much its gameplay. Nier: Automata managed to preserve those two elements, continuing to tell a mind-bending story that leaned on the fourth wall while having one of the best soundtracks in gaming. It just also added fast-paced character action gameplay. That's all the sequel really needed to stand out from the crowd.
3 - Yakuza 0
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio | Release Date: January 24th, 2017
Up until 2017, the Yakuza series was popular in Japan but only really a footnote in America. However, the unexpected success of Yakuza 0 changed all that. It introduced a whole new generation of players to wacky Japanese melodrama combined with super-serious moments and combat that would alternate between goofy and overly violent. It's a strange mix, but it's one that works worlds better than it should and connected with a lot of people.
2 - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Developer: Nintendo | Release Date: March 3rd, 2017 | Game Page
Not since the original Halo has a launch game gotten so much critical acclaim. Breath of the Wild took a page from other games released around the time, most notably the classic Ubisoft Open World design. This led to a Zelda game that tackled something entirely different, and it did so in a fantastic way. From amazing combat to a world where it seems like any weird thing is possible, Breath of the Wild introduced us all to the Switch and why we should pay attention to it.
2017 TechRaptor Awards Won: Game of the Year
1 - Super Mario Odyssey
Developer: Nintendo | Release Date: October 27th, 2017 | Game Page
If Breath of the Wild introduced us to the Switch, Super Mario Odyssey made us love it. It turns out Mario doesn't need a fancy open world, it just needs a gimmick. One super clever, super well-made gimmick. In this case, Mario has Cappy, a hat that lets him possess any enemy he comes across, giving him access to all-new abilities. Suddenly, so much seemed possible. Better yet, Odyssey was happy to let you go wild with it. Each stage is masterfully crafted so that each gimmick can be used to its full potential, and you can explore and find collectibles for any weird thing you could think of. The worlds are clever, the situations are fun, and every part of Super Mario Odyssey is crafted so that it is one of the most joyful experiences known in gaming.