As is becoming an annual tradition here at Push Square Towers, we’ve corralled our core group of staff writers and prodded them until they’ve told us what their favourite five games of the year are. With such a strong assortment to select from, added force was required in some instances. We had to clip Sammy’s wings before he gave us this list.
Fifth Choice: The Invisible Hours
The thing about life is that we’re all supporting characters in each other’s stories. The Invisible Hours pokes at this underexplored truth, casting you as a voyeur in a stately home occupied by famous historical figures like Thomas Edison and Nikolas Tesla. By shadowing the cast in realtime, you’ll slowly unravel a complex tale of time travel, family feuds, and fierce rivalries. The twist is that you can only be in one place at any given time, so while you may be witnessing a murder in the basement, there’s every chance something equally significant is occurring upstairs. Truly unique.
Fourth Choice: Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
While the game struggles with consistency, the opening third of Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is among the best that the vintage franchise has ever produced. The Bakers are delightfully dark villains, perfectly toeing the line between pantomime and straight-up petrifying. Capcom’s creativity flourishes in these first few hours, with each encounter against the crazed family unit paving the way for a truly unique set-piece. It’s the abandoned guesthouse that’s the real star of the show, though, with its thoughtful layout embedded in my memory almost a year after the title’s release. More of this, please.
Third Choice: What Remains of Edith Finch
I love dark fairy tales, and What Remains of Edith Finch is right up my alley. A poignant walking simulator about an eccentric family with rotten luck, the most impressive thing about this game is just how well it leverages the medium to tell its tale. There’s still all of the intensely detailed environmental storytelling you’d expect of the genre, of course, but it communicates its most powerful plot beats via the inherent interactivity of the medium; macabre vignettes reveal how the mind’s guilty of wandering in moments of sheer monotony, and much more.
Second Choice: SUPERHOT VR
SUPERHOT VR makes you feel like you’re performing ballet in a murderous polygonal otherworld. An arcade game in essence, time only moves in this title when you do, allowing you to dodge and weave in virtual reality as bullets fly past your face. The storyline isn’t quite as affecting as its traditional television counterpart, but the added physicality enabled by PlayStation VR make this an extremely original experience – even if it does push the limitations of the technology a little too far at times.
First Choice: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Of all the outstanding games on this list, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is the one that I won’t forget. It’s not the most mechanically tight title of 2017, but its ability to communicate the plight of its Celtic protagonist through gameplay is second-to-none. Whether it’s the fear of the unknown or the way puzzles are introduced, Ninja Theory’s character action opus genuinely helped me to understand mental health issues that little bit better. And while that alone is an achievement worthy of praise, plaudits must be poured in the direction of Melina Juergens, whose performance as the heroine was superlative.
Are you in agreement with Sammy’s oddball selection? Fear for your save progress in the comments section below.