Eurogamer's Top 50 Games of 2017: 50-41
Hello! Chris Donlan here. I hope you had a lovely Christmas. Now we're almost certainly going to make you really angry, which is unfortunate really. Welcome to our list of the top 50 games of 2017, as chosen by the team at Eurogamer! Over the next few days we'll be counting down our choices, ten games at a time.
While publishing this list I re-read Eurogamer's top 50 games of 2008, just to see how things went the last time we handled a best-of this way - and to do a massive cut and paste so I didn't need to write any HTML from scratch, obviously. It turned out to be completely fascinating. What's clear is that, back then, editorial more or less played the same games as each other - it certainly seems that a lot of people could chime in with thoughts on a good proportion of the games in the list.
Games are more varied in 2017, and as players we're also far more scattered. When we all got together recently to argue out the top ten in the pub just down the road, it became clear quite quickly that, aside from a few mega-hits, most of us were arguing from our own comfortable niches.
Does this matter? Not really, especially since, regardless of your niche, 2017 has been a phenomenal year for games and for the people who love them. Whatever you're after, I think you'll have found something to amaze and delight you over the last twelve months - and I hope you'll have made memories that will stay with you for a long time.
If anything, this many-niches landscape represents an opportunity. So many of the games on this list I have never played, and would never think of playing. If that's true for you as well, perhaps in 2018 we should try to burst our own bubbles and discover something properly unexpected.
50. Golf Story
Martin Robinson: A genuine surprise when it came out earlier this year, and a real highlight of the gold rush that's hit the Switch's digital store, Golf Story is an unlikely genre mash-up that works through sheer force of character alone. It's not a great golf game - though it's not a bad one, either - and it's not really all that as an RPG, but in that eccentric combo there's something unique that's hard not to fall a little in love with.
Christian Donlan: Games are so good at surprising people. Sometimes they can do it with just two words, hinting at a bizarre blend of genres that you understand, upon hearing them, that you must investigate the results immediately: Golf Story.
Christian Donlan: This has been an amazing year for video games, but only one of them was genuinely unlike anything I have ever played before. Gorogoa looks like nothing else and seems to have emerged, fully-formed, from a tradition that lies far outside games, and books, and puzzles, while somehow conjuring the best aspects of all three. I still have no idea how Jason Roberts, the lone designer behind Gorogoa, managed to do it, and I doubt he would be able to explain it to me in a way that I could understand.
48. Stories Untold
Paul Watson: On the surface, Stories Untold appears to be a series of disparate text-adventures, albeit with a spritz of 21st-century polish. As the narrative progresses however, developers No Code subvert the player's expectations, introduce mechanics and bend the systems of their game until they quite literally break. It's an incredibly brave first title and No Code should be applauded for this fresh take on an ancient genre.
47. Persona 5
Oli Welsh: This relatively lowly spot is going to surprise people after we published Cassandra's wonderful, breathless Essential review. And it is such a cool game. But it just didn't feature heavily in the voting, even though we do have a few Persona fans on staff, myself included; I didn't dig the characters or setting the same way I did Persona 4's. I still love that weird mix of teen soap, pared-down JRPG grind and the Wagnerian psychedelia of the Persona designs, though.
Martin Robinson: This might have been a little higher up on the list if anyone had actually completed it. Atlus' high school RPGs are always a bit of a timesink, and Persona 4 Golden's case was always helped by it being portable, but it's still worth setting aside 100 hours or so for this, if you can. There's not really much improvement on the series' formula, but it's certainly never been quite as stylish as this. Seriously, those menus are something else.
46. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
Chris Bratt: God bless Firaxis for still making proper expansions. War of the Chosen has so much stuff in it, I'm honestly surprised they didn't hold some of these ideas back for a third game: Soldier bonds, hero classes, the Chosen, sitreps, the Lost, the photobooth, Covert Ops, fatigue. The list goes on. Even after more than a hundred hours with the core XCOM 2 campaign, this felt like something entirely fresh. Bustling with systems and eager to remind you that the alien incursion really doesn't care if you named that soldier after your favourite history teacher, all over again.
Christian Donlan: XCOM gets a daily challenge mode. SOLD.
45. Yakuza 0
Martin Robinson: An insanely ambitious and eccentric Sega open-world game that's set in the 80s? Comparisons between Yakuza and Shenmue are hardly new, but the throwback that is Yakuza 0 makes them all but irresistible - and shows where the two series diverge. Yakuza 0 is a brilliantly drunken, bawdy hug of a game, and pretty much a perfect boarding point if you've never sampled the series' delights before. Proof positive that, despite the common refrain, Sega's still got it - and in some regards its output is better than ever.
Christian Donlan: Any year Jeff Minter decides to release something is a good year for video games. This time we got his best game since Space Giraffe, a mad, breathless, lightning-paced beast of a game. It's great on a normal telly, but it's truly magical in VR. Thanks, Yak!
Martin Robinson: I don't do drugs anymore, so thanks to Llamasoft for giving me some of that same old kick with the exceptional Polybius. Ten minutes of playing this and I'm absolutely buzzing.
43. PES 2018
Konami, PES Productions
Martin Robinson: It's so much better than FIFA. Sorry, Wes.
Wesley Yin-Poole: I tell you what PES 2018 is better than, Martin. Arms.
42. Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Red Storm Entertainment
Johnny Chiodini: Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a great game for anyone who enjoys yelling at their friends constantly and only doing an actual, practical thing every two minutes or so. See, in splitting up the running of a single ship between four different people, no one player ever has loads to do at once - leaving tonnes of room for that player's opinions on how the whole operation ought to be run. I don't think Bridge Crew was designed to be a social manipulation and/or betrayal game, but it certainly feels like one.
Christian Donlan: Finally, a game that understands that Star Trek's not about the space battles and the alien encounters. It's about all of that while having exhausting discussions with everyone on the bridge. VR at its strangest and most effective.
Oli Welsh: Getting four people playing this in VR in the same room must be the most rarefied video game experience of the year. I haven't had the privilege but, after watching our videos, I would love to.
Christian Donlan: Anything from the makers of Bastion and Transistor is worth investing in. Pyre is a wonderfully weird beast, but it's as refined, sophisticated and heartfelt as the lineage suggests.
Robert Purchese: There aren't many developers confident enough to base their role-playing game around a new and peculiar kind of fantasy basketball - but Bastion and Transistor creator Supergiant is. Teams of three play in real-time as they try and manoeuvre their orb (ball) into the other team's fire (hoop/goal). It shouldn't work: it's too energetic, too sporty - but it does. And that it would never seemed in doubt. In Pyre, Supergiant exhibits skill which is a beauty to behold. Playing it is like turning the pages of a ceremonial book belonging to a museum. In a world where so many games try to overwhelm us with more, Pyre dazzles us with less.