2017 will likely go down as one of the best years the video game industry has ever had. There were more amazing games than you could ever hope to play in just 12 months and there was something everyone, no matter which style of game you enjoy. It was a year of new hardware with the Nintendo Switch taking the industry by storm and the Xbox One X showing how powerful a home console could be. It was a year of long running franchises trying to reinvent themselves, from Resident Evil 7 to Zelda to Assassins Creed: Origins. It was also a year of amazing new series to make their debut, with Horizon: Zero Dawn , Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds & Cuphead all making huge splashes.
It’s probably the only year since we started Mega Dads that we could easily fill out a Top 10 list instead of our usual Top 3 and still feel like there wasn’t enough room. So choosing our picks was tough this year, but we think we have some pretty great games on the lists. From big time blockbusters to a small indie that you may have missed, we hope you enjoy the list and maybe check out a few of the games if you haven’t already!
3.Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
As I think back on the series of events that unfold over the course of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, I can’t help but wonder how in the world they managed to pull it off. If you take any one of the completely crazy scenes on their own you might shake your head and dismiss the game as an over the top mess, but taking a step back and looking at the entire 12 hour spectacle of blood, guts and Nazi robots it’s clear that it is a work of insane genius.
Bethesda manages to elevate what you might expect to be nothing more than a mindless shooter by adding a fascinating cast of characters, a sharp sense of style, and a story that is surprisingly complex and filled with laughs, cringes, and some surprising quiet and emotional moments. The gameplay mechanics might not break new ground (although finding new ways to slaughter Nazis never gets old), but the package that it is presented in is so unique and outrageous that I couldn’t wait to see what they were going to do next. It’s bat shit crazy in the best possible way.
2.Super Mario Odyssey
As much as I have always enjoyed the 2D Mario games, his 3D adventures have always been particularly special to me. I loved Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64 holds a special place in my heart as one of my favorite games of all time. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only does Super Mario Odyssey live up to that classic pedigree, but there is an argument to be made that it could be the best Mario game of all time.
Every bit of this game is brilliantly designed to make me smile like an idiot for hours on end. It’s comfortably familiar the way you’d want a sequel to a classic to be but also introduces clever new mechanics that give the game it’s unique identity, it’s bright and colorful and features a soundtrack that will have you humming along throughout the game, and most importantly it plays like a dream. I think my enjoyment is also in no small part due to the fact that I played this game with my family. Seeing my daughter fall in love with this world of characters that originally made me fall in love with gaming 3 decades ago is priceless experience. I had a complete blast finding each one of the 999 moons hidden throughout the game and in the end wished that there was even more.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It’s hard to put into words just how much I’ve loved my time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s easily the best Zelda title I’ve ever played, a series which is one of my favorites. It is a perfect blend of familiar themes and mechanics, but imagined in a way that completely reinvents the series. It’s story is simple, but it’s set in a vast and complex world full of great characters and an almost endless amount of mysteries to discover. They created a world so fun to traverse and explore that I would find myself spending hours just getting lost in it. Pick a direction and go, chances are you’ll find something amazing or beautiful along the way.
I’ve logged over 140 hours on Breath of the Wild. That’s more than any single player game I’ve ever played. It’s a game that we enjoyed as an entire family and one that I think I’ll look back on years later as the one game that caused my daughters to fall in love with video games. It’s still their go to game on a road trip or long car ride. Nintendo has create a one of a kind experience that I’ll find myself revisiting for years to come. A fantastic world where I got as much enjoyment out of climbing a mountain to enjoy a sunset as I did taking down a difficult boss. It is a masterpiece in every sense and will go down as one of the greatest games of all time.
3. Super Mario Odyssey
For the last two console generations I have been enjoying Nintendo’s Mario offerings while waiting patiently for the single-player 3D platforming return of our favorite plumber. I knew Nintendo could only ignore the Mario 64 formula for so long before they brought the series back to the star (or moon) collecting explore-a-thon adventures I’ve been dreaming of since Mario left the shores of Delfino Island. So when I took controller in-hand and embarked on this Odyssey it wasn’t long before I realized how special this game was.
Nintendo has polished this Mario platformer to a fine sheen while also kicking the Nintendo nostalgia into overdrive. Around every turn and under every block you will see nods to the heritage of the series. Tanooki trees, sprite based 2D segments and a post-game that is quite simply a love letter to all of us who grew up wearing the red cap. But on top of what we know and love there is an evolution for the franchise in small subtle ways that make this feel like a perfect step forward for the franchise. Nintendo eschews 1ups for a new system of coins for respawns, there are awesome in-game purchases and customizations that give a middle finger to paid DLC and micro transaction practices by allowing you to get the latest outfit or artifact by *gasp* PLAYING the game, a wonderful “Assist Mode” for the kids ala Mario Kart 8, and best of all this game takes player complaints about the lack of post-credit Zelda adventuring by doubling the size of the game after you conquer the King of Koopas.
All-in-all this is the ultimate 3D Mario adventure for veterans and newcomers alike. WAHOOO!
2. Night in the Woods
There is a big part of me that wanted to give Night in the Woods my top honor for 2017. On a personal level I have not enjoyed living in a game world and just experiencing the stories and characters unfold like I did with NITW in quite a long time. The loving way the town of Possum Springs and its residents are brought to life is so fantastic. It calls to mind the way I used to feel about games when I was younger and how I wanted to live in their worlds and befriend the characters within them. Mae, Gregg, Beatrice and Angus are only the core of the wonderfully written misfits that you will meet in Possum Springs and you will love getting to know each one of them as you hang out at the Snack Falcon or take in band practice at the closed-up Party Barn.
The story of Night in the Woods follows Mae Borowski, a college drop-out who returns to her small run-down home town to try and escape her troubles by retreating to the comforts of a forgotten youth. Her high-school friends all lead dead-end jobs with a sense of an unfulfilled life as they could not escape the borders of this tiny town. Mae reconnects with her friends just as a bizarre and deadly mystery begins to unravel in the Woods and in her own dreams. I can’t praise this game highly enough. If you are a fan of indie games and odd-ball dramedy stories like Garden State or Royal Tenenbaums you simply must play Night in the Woods.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
What can be said of Breath of the Wild that hasn’t been said already? The entire world has been beating the drums of praise for this game since it debuted early this year, heralding Nintendo’s return to the top. Breath of the Wild not only redefines the Zelda adventure template for generations to come, but turns the open-world formula on its ear by giving the player unparalleled choice and the feeling of discovery that Shigeru Miyamoto surely only dreamt of all those years ago as a child exploring the Japanese country. Never before have I felt such a sense of adventure, beginning my journey armed with only a wilted branch and ending it as the knighted savior of Hyrule kingdom.
Every step I took from the shores of Zora’s Domain to the heights of Mount Doom were mine alone. Every shrine I unearthed and every Korok Seed pillaged was because of how I chose to advance. That is where the true genius of this game awaits, for as many thousands of us took hold of the Master Sword, we all forged our own unique legend in getting there. The Legend of Zelda is not only my top game of 2017, it is my favorite game of all-time.