DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Jordan's Top 10

In the leadup to DualShockers' Game of the Year Awards, Staff Writer Jordan Boyd shares his personal top 10 games for 2017.

As 2017 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games for our official Game of the Year awards. In the lead up to the New Year’s Day reveal, each member of the staff will give their personal top 10 games they played this year.

2017 has given me a lot of incredible opportunities, and while everything has been kind of crazy, there have been a ridiculous amount of titles to accompany me on this crazy journey we call life. I’ve been reflecting over which games I would include on this list and it’s been tough, to say the least. There are so many great games that have resonated with me and so many that I’ve gone back and finished from years past.

It’s hard to put one ahead of another because I really do love them all almost equally, and each one stands out to me in its own way. But alas, there are two titles that really stuck out to me this year, one from my favorite series, and another from a series I haven’t been too engaged with since the Wii. So without further ado, I hope you enjoy my top 10 games of 2017.

10. Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Nintendo consoles have been rather lackluster in their offering of JRPGs in the past. While there are obviously some great titles on the Wii and Wii U like Tokyo Mirage Sessions, The Last Story, and of course, Xenoblade Chronicles, there isn’t much more that comes to mind when thinking about JRPGs that really made an impression and stand the test of time. Luckily, it appears the Switch won’t have the same issue as its predecessors.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was a great way to end 2017, as it offers a wide open-world for players to explore that’s filled to the brim with loot, and enemies that are larger than life. I initially didn’t love the game too much but as time went on, it really started to grow on me. It’s got a likable cast of characters and a story that’ll keep you interested all the way through.

With Project Octopath Traveler, Shin Megami Tensei V, and Dragon Quest XI coming in the future, it looks like Switch owners will have a great library of JRPGs to choose from going into 2018 and beyond.

Check out DualShocker’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2 review.

9. Sonic Mania

Sonic is a series that has never truly resonated with me until Sonic Mania. I grew up during Sonic’s worst period — his entrance into 3D — and while the titles have always been aesthetically cool, I could never get into them because of their clunky on-rails gameplay. Or maybe it’s because I purchased Sonic the Hedgehog in 2006 and never looked back at the series after sitting through that hot garbage as a prepubescent preteen.

Sonic Mania made me finally understand why some gamers hold the original games in such high regard. The title controls well and it’s aesthetically everything I could ever want from a Sonic game. Hopefully, game director Christian Whitehead will get a second chance at assembling a sequel of some sort in the near future.

Check out DualShockers’ Sonic Mania review.

8. Super Mario Odyssey

Odyssey is arguably one of Mario’s best outings to date. There’s a lot of love for the iconic plumber and his history spread all throughout the multitude of worlds that players can find in Super Mario Odyssey. It easily has one of the best main campaigns out of any Mario game and has an ending that’ll make any gamer smile from ear to ear.

Like another great Nintendo Switch game this yearSuper Mario Odyssey brought me right back to the first time I jumped into Super Mario 64. But what can I say? I’m a sucker for nostalgia.

Check out DualShockers’ Super Mario Odyssey review.

7. Resident Evil VII: biohazard

Resident Evil VII: biohazard was one of the most surprising announcements that came out of E3 2016. As far as survival horror games go, Resident Evil is one of the best in my mind. Ultimately, I’m glad this title seemingly takes a ton of inspiration from what was originally supposed to be Silent Hills. Resident Evil VII goes back to the beginning, taking on mechanics that were popularized in the first title and adding a new, first-person perspective.

While I was initially worried about this drastic change in perspective, Capcom managed to make the title feel like a true sequel to the franchise. While I didn’t necessarily think the final act held up compared to the rest of the game, the journey there was a hell of a lot of fun and its cast of grotesque villains will stick with me for years to come.

Check out DualShockers’ Resident Evil VII: biohazard review.

6. Splatoon 2

Splatoon as a series only seems to get better with age. Since its launch in July, Nintendo has continuously rolled out a ton of free content for Splatoon 2, and with the addition of Splatfests, there’s always plenty of reasons to go back.

Splatoon 2 offers some of the quirkiest third-person shooter gameplay around, an incredibly charming cast of characters, great four-player co-op in Salmon Run, and a good amount of varied game modes that should keep all types of shooter fans interested. Hell, I haven’t even touched the campaign yet I’ve been so addicted to its multiplayer and Salmon Run. 

Of course, I won’t deny Splatoon 2 can feel like a flawed game because of Nintendo’s decisions with its online functionality: gameplay-wise though, it’s a fantastic modern third-person shooter that has kept me coming back.

Check out DualShockers’ Splatoon 2 review.

5. Fortnite: Battle Royale

Fortnite: Battle Royale is easily the best way to enjoy the Battle Royale genre on console, not to mention that it’s free-to-play. As far as Early Access goes, Fortnite: Battle Royale manages to feel complete. I rarely encounter bugs or anything of the sort, games run smoothly, and I generally always had a fantastic time playing.

The developers have managed to throw in a few different features that set the title apart from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and have even continuously experimented with new modes that players get to try. I’ll be sure to continue racking up hours in Fortnite: Battle Royale with my friends going into 2018 and beyond.  

4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is easily the best title in the series to date. Time and time again, Nintendo has proved that it can offer a refreshing experience in even some of its most long-running series. I never owned the Wii U version of Mario Kart 8, so the content that’s included right out of the box was pretty overwhelming to me, in a good way. The game offers the most maps, the most characters, and so many fantastic items that’ll be sure to ruin friendships. With the ability to take Mario Kart with me wherever I go, I’ll be sure to continue playing it for years to come.

Check out DualShockers’ Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review.

3. Nioh

Nioh has become my favorite title in the Souls “genre.” Where Dark Souls and Lords of the Fallen never connected with me, Nioh and Bloodborne have. I think that’s primarily due to the fact that they’re more fast-paced games. Games set in Feudal Japan are also always an easy sell for me.

After playing the beta, I was literally craving Nioh, and it most certainly did not disappoint. The game is filled to the brim with varying levels and difficult enemies that are sure to make any Dark Souls fan drool. Nioh is a shining example of the Souls genre being embraced masterfully by another developer, and I can’t wait to see how more developers take on this ever-growing genre.

Check out DualShockers’ Nioh review.

2. Persona 5

Persona 5 is one of the only games I had been consistently following since its reveal back in 2013. Needless to say, the title did not disappoint, even though we had to wait a lot longer than we expected to get the game in our hands. Persona 4 Golden is my favorite Japanese game of all time, and Persona 5 manages to take everything from that game and give it a modern coat of paint.

The thing I seriously appreciate most about Persona 5, and the series in general, is how it tackles different types of subject matter. Persona has always done well at connecting me with its characters, but in Persona 5‘s case, the subject matter could often hit very close to home. You have an incredibly interesting cast of characters that are dealing with very human issues that players can connect with. While many JRPGs aren’t often grounded in reality, Persona 5 manages to have a ton of little heartwarming moments that make its characters feel so alive.  Not to mention the game includes the most refined turn-based combat in the series, as well as a slew of incredibly addicting activities and quests you can strategically conquer. Also, the game’s brimming with style and offers one of the best soundtracks in the series to date.

I played about halfway through Persona 5 before I headed to Japan for the first time earlier this year, and I have to say that the level of detail the team put into recreating Tokyo is insane. I still remember the first time I entered Shibuya in real life and immediately saw Persona 5 in my head. I’m sad I can’t give this title my top Game of the Year spot, but it sure as hell came close. Also never forget: Makoto is the best girl.

Check out DualShockers’ Persona 5 review.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

What can be said about Breath of the Wild that hasn’t already been said? A game comes along maybe once every two or so years where you look off into the horizon and just can’t even believe that this world is yours to explore. There’s a level of freedom that the game offers that will have me comparing other open world titles to it in the future.

Breath of the Wild gave me the same feeling of childlike wonder that I had when I first saw the startup screen for Ocarina of Time way back when. But with Breath of the Wild, it’s more than just nostalgia: it’s the feeling that you’re experiencing something entirely new that’ll have you coming back night after night. It’s a feeling that some of the best in our industry are known for delivering time and time again, a feeling that so many games delivered to us in different ways this year alone.

Breath of the Wild manages to reinvent The Legend of Zelda while still retaining what has always made the series so special, and as always, the soundtrack is absolutely incredible. Nintendo won me back this year.

Check out DualShockers’ The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild review.

Check out the other DualShockers’ staff Top 10s and our official Game of the Year Awards:

Jordan Boyd

Jordan Boyd is a Staff Writer at DualShockers, specializing in indie games, RPGs and shooting titles. He's majoring in journalism at Stony Brook University on Long Island. During the 7th console generation, Jordan faced a crippling blow with the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines that scarred him for life.

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