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. Fortunately, Joey was no problem at all getting us his list.
Fifth Choice: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein: The New Order was zany, but the sequel cranks the crazy up to 11 and never stops. B.J. takes his fight against the Nazis to the US with his motley Kreisau Circle and sparks a revolution that’s hard to forget. The dialogue, character development, and backstories boast the same bombastic gravitas as before, but Machinegames loses sight of keeping these things as grounded and consistent throughout. The game also suffers from a weaker balance between stealth and action, which is only compounded by its rushed final act and some remarkably mediocre levels and bosses. However, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus certainly has the most satisfying mechanics and controls out of any first-person shooter I’ve experienced. With phenomenal visuals and art direction across the board, I can forgive its missteps more than I should.
Fourth Choice: Pyre
I’m an unabashed apologist for Supergiant Games. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be because the team has yet to disappoint me, and this remains thankfully true with Pyre. It’s like a text adventure and an arcade-y sports game rolled into one. In other words, in between drinking in the rich lore of The Downside and bonding with your growing team of Nightwings, you’re mastering the soccer-like Rites, which are 3v3 matches where teams wrestle over a ball with tricky moves and magical abilities. You’ll be emotionally invested before you know it in this developer’s strongest game yet that boasts a mature, creative command over its own brand of writing and game design like never before.
Third Choice: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Although I don’t know anyone with psychosis, I’m acquainted with the effects of mental illness in my family. Yet I’ve always wondered what it’s like to see the world through the eyes of people impacted by it. Ninja Theory has convinced me that greater empathy is possible through video games with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It’s an unadulterated tale that cuts deep with philosophical and spiritual musings that shook me to the core, which were all the more powerful thanks to one of 2017's best mo-cap performances from Melina Juergens. Visceral combat, audio design, and visuals of this calibre are unheard of with teams on Ninja Theory’s budget, but the resilient, passionate developer has defied the odds with this year’s most emotional experience.
Second Choice: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
If you’d told me an expansion of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End would wind up being one of the series’ greatest games, I wouldn’t have believed you, but I should be used to Naughty Dog exceeding my expectations. As if Chloe and Nadine’s wonderful chemistry wasn’t charming enough, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy boasts some of the finest levels, set-pieces, and action-packed moments in the franchise. Fellow writer Liam Croft explained why The Western Ghats is what Uncharted should become by further embracing exploration and open world design. I couldn’t agree more and hope it will continue to evolve in this direction.
First Choice: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
I thought Capcom was going off the deep end by making the next Resident Evil a first-person shooter, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Resident Evil 7 brings back careful inventory management, limited supplies, and tension-inducing controls with a perspective that ups the claustrophobia and uneasiness. The Bakers are the series’ most believable villains yet with tragic pasts, and exploring their mansion unveils environmental storytelling and level design that’s a return to form. Capcom’s experimental failures with Resident Evil and decade-long reticence to publish another Mega Man title have been troubling, but Resident Evil 7 is a boldly new yet faithful take on the franchise that’s restored my faith in the publisher’s abilities and willingness to listen to fans.
How do you feel about Joey’s favourite games of 2017? Has it left you nodding in agreement or stroking your chin? Be nice in the comments section below.