17 games we loved in 2017 (and 3 we loathed)

If you made it through 2017 and out the other side, we've put together a list of games that kept us sane (and some that didn't) throughout the year.

Oh, 2017, you cruel and unrelenting so-and-so. Though you're finally at an arm's distance, the memory of you still lingers. While just about everything you brought us in the real world caused us endless pain and suffering, the digital world was a little kinder. Despite its many flaws, 2017 managed to bring us more quality games than we could possibly keep up with, as if it were trying to make up for something.

Here at finder, we managed to clock an unhealthy amount of games last year, so we all decided to get together and reminisce about the good times we had in a year that's otherwise best forgotten.

Admittedly, we're a little late to the party, but we've thrown together a list of 16 games the people at finder escaped to, one mini console that Alex fell head over heels with and three games that Griz love-hated, but mostly hated.


matts-picks

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

best-lis

Best game to leave you in tears (in a good way)

I've never been as happy to be wrong than with Life is Strange: Before the Storm. I adored the original Life is Strange, but hearing that a brand new developer was stepping in to create a prequel based on Chloe – far from my favourite character from the first game – left me with low expectations. Thankfully, the first episode of the three-part Before the Storm rendered my concerns null and void, with Deck Nine delivering a heart-warming tale every bit as enthralling as its inspiration. I couldn't be more excited for episode two.

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If you liked
Oxenfree, Life is Strange
Release Date
1 September 2017
Developed by
Deck Nine
Published by
Square Enix
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RIME

best-rime

Best game to remind you of the fragility of human life

After a strong recommendation from fellow finder-er Brodie, I had no choice but to check out Tequila Works' gorgeous adventure game RIME. I was not disappointed. Despite a notoriously troubled development, it managed to evoke a sense of wonder and joy that very few games can muster, telling an emotionally-charged story that said so much without a single word. I have no trouble in ranking RIME up there with ICO and Shadow of the Colossus as one of the most hauntingly beautiful adventure games I've played.

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If you liked
Shadow of the Colossus, ICO, Abzu
Release Date
27 May 2017
Developed by
Tequila Works
Published by
Grey Box
Purchase
Buy now

RUINER

BEST-RUINER

Best game to assure you that cats will one day take over the world

There are a lot of stylish games getting made these days, but few manage to express that style through their gameplay as much as their art. RUINER is the exception. Its gorgeous cyberpunk aesthetic flows smoothly into its exhilarating action, with every dash, every blow and every gunshot as slick as its neon-drenched streets. I have no hesitation calling RUINER one of the best twin-stick action games I've played, period.

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If you liked
Hotline Miami, Redeemer, Nex Machina
Release Date
26 September 2017
Developed by
Reikon Games
Published by
Devolver Digital
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Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War III

warhamer-40k

Best game to have you quipping in a cockney accent.

Real-time strategy games are something of a rarity these days, so it was a welcome surprise to see the Dawn of War series make its comeback this year with Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War III. Even better was the game's decision to revive the hero-focused RPG systems that Warcraft 3 dabbled with back in the early 2000s. From the sledgehammering Space Marine Gabriel Angelos to the psychically-powered Eldar Macha to the unforgettably hilarious Ork Gorgutz, Dawn of War III elegantly balanced its character-driven gameplay with the scale of a more traditional RTS. Add to that one of the most engaging and genuinely funny stories any real-time strategy game has ever told, and there's no question Dawn of War III deserves a spot among the best games of 2017.

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If you liked
Warcraft 3, Company of Heroes
Release Date
28 April 2017
Developed by
Relic Entertainment
Published by
SEGA
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Yooka-Laylee

best-yooka

Best game to leave you with ear-worms for weeks

I'll admit, Yooka-Laylee isn't without its flaws. As our own Alex pointed out in his review, the game's massive worlds can feel a bit empty at times, and the mandatory quiz levels were just plain bad. But as someone who spent his childhood living and breathing Banjo-Kazooie, Yooka-Laylee delivered exactly the kind of classic 3D platformer my nostalgia had long been begging for. Between the vibrant visuals, the unlockable abilities and the endless puns, developer Playtonic nailed 90s platformer experience to a T while still updating some of the more egregious elements for a modern audience. For me, that was exactly what I wanted out of Yooka-Laylee, making it one of my favourite experiences of this year.

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If you liked
Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario 64
Release Date
12 April 2017
Developed by
Playtonic Games
Published by
Team17
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Buy now

livs-picks

Hollow Knight

best-hollow

Best game to remind you that not every ending is a happy one

If you have ever played a Metroidvania game then you know how Hollow Knight feels, but I want you to know that it is so much more than that. Hollow Knight is built around the combat, platforming and exploration necessary to survive in this underworld that is crumbling and teeming with life around you. The abandoned insect kingdom of Hallownest is sparse and cold, filled with remnants of a past city and ecosystem destroyed in a calamity before. The characters and storytelling throughout the interconnected tunnels beneath are endless and is absolutely an adventure worth experiencing.

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If you liked
Metroid, Castlevania
Release Date
24 February 2017
Developed by
Team Cherry
Published by
Team Cherry
Purchase
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Persona 5

best-persona

Best game to experience being a Japanese teenager

If you have ever wanted to be a Japanese high school student with mystical powers and a rag-tag team of misfits at your disposal then this is the game for you. In Persona 5, Atlas balances an action-packed JRPG and high school social simulator effortlessly, somehow making both disparate parts of the game just as fun as the other. By day you attend class, study, make friends and hang out at the local shopping centre, but by night you enter into a realm of darkness and fight monsters with cool outfits. While it might be the 5th entry in the series, Persona 5 still manages to freshen up the saturated JRPG genre.

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If you liked
Persona 4, Earthbound
Release Date
4 April 2017
Developed by
Atlus
Published by
Atlus
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Pyre

best-pyre

Best game to give you an existential crisis

Pyre is a party-based RPG in which a band of exiles strive for liberation through a series of ancient trials and rituals for the gods themselves. The journey to glory and retribution is not so simple though, as only one of your friends can be saved at a time from the vast, deadly world below. Who will remain and who can rise to the world above? That is for you to decide – if you survive the journey, that is.

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If you liked
Transistor, Bastion
Release Date
25 July 2017
Developed by
Supergiant Games
Published by
Supergiant Games
Purchase
Buy now

brodie-picks

Cuphead

best-cuphead

Best game to turn your dreams into old-timey nightmares

Look, the Xbox One didn't have a whole lot going for it this year. That's no secret. Forza Motorsport 7 was a bit of a letdown and Super Lucky's Tale was a poor excuse for an Xbox One X launch title. However, Microsoft's software-skinny console did have one ace up its sleeve. The game that asks you to gamble your sanity, Cuphead. This divisive boss-heavy run and gun shattered egos and cracked players' confidence like fine china when it released. I like to think of myself as cool, calm and collected, but Cuphead turned me into a hot-headed devil with no regard for the integrity of his wireless controller. While that doesn't sound like a very nice experience per se, the sheer relief of seeing "Knockout" scrawled across the screen is one I'll never forget – even if Cuphead's jaunty soundtrack still keeps me up at night.

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If you liked
Paying for new controllers, anger, Mega Man
Release Date
29 September 2017
Developed by
Studio MDHR
Published by
Studio MDHR
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DropMix

best-dropmix

Best game that drops it like it's hot

Harmonix is the digital grandmaster of rhythm-based games, but like a fledgling and exploitable pop star, it sold out its most popular titles with a landslide of forgettable sequels and spin-offs. Now, Harmonix has kicked its addiction to mediocrity and is making the comeback of the century. DropMix melds the digital and physical realms with an NFC-enabled card game that utilises licensed songs. The game itself plays like a musical UNO but it makes you feel like a natural born David Guetta (he's still relevant, right?).

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If you liked
UNO, EDM, RNB
Release Date
20 September 2017
Developed by
Harmonix Music Systems
Published by
Hasbro
Purchase
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Hidden Agenda

ps4-hidden-agenda

Best game for... wait, what is everyone one looking at me for? ALEX IS CLEARLY THE KILLER

I'm no good at games of deception like Resistance and Werewolf. I'm a lousy liar and take it a little personally when I'm wrongfully accused. Of course, I jumped on the video game equivalent, Hidden Agenda, at first chance. In Hidden Agenda, you and up to five friends play through a branching narrative about a serial killer who sets up booby traps (creatively named The Trapper) where you all vote on the decisions. The catch is that someone among the ranks has a... hidden... agenda and is tasked with sabotaging the mission. After months of PlayStation placing That's You! in front of us in the way a cat presents a dead rat, Hidden Agenda has finally legitimised the PlayLink platform for me, personally. Hidden Agenda might not be a great game, the writing is utter trash and sometimes the decisions don't make much sense, but between friends and a few beers, it's an absolute riot.

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If you liked
Until Dawn, Werewolves Within, Losing friends
Release Date
24 October 2017
Developed by
Supermassive Games
Published by
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Purchase
Buy now

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

best-wolfenstein

Best game plot to try and explain to your friends

So then you're walking around a fascist-occupied Roswell with a little nuke on your back right? And this Nazi orders a milkshake and there's this monkey with a cat's head that lives on your U-boat right? And then like you've got to fly to Venus to audition for an upcoming Nazi blockbuster right? End scene. That's a fairly accurate recital of how I've tried to explain the plot of Wolfenstein II since closing out its bizarre, adrenaline-fuelled campaign. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a game I struggled with at first, trying to utilise the stealth options at hand. It was only when I fully embraced the madness and chaos of New Colossus that I became the relentless Nazi slaying machine you see before you. Dual-wielding shotguns and going toe-to-toe with Hitler's death machines with a laser beam, an axe and a smile that spread from ear to ear.

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If you liked
Wolfenstein: The New Order, Doom, LSD
Release Date
27 October 2017
Developed by
MachineGames
Published by
Bethesda
Purchase
Buy now

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

best-breath-of-the-wild

Best game that was a better place to spend 2017

Oh how creative, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in yet another Game of the Year list. Look, if I had it my way this list would be Breath of the Wild 20 times over. So sue me. To deny Breath of the Wild a spot on any Game of the Year list would be, in my opinion, either a desperate cry for attention or a list written by the banana-loving Yiga clan themselves. Breath of the Wild does for family audiences what GTA III did for adults and edgy teens back in 2001 by offering up an experience where the real fun is to be found in-between missions when the player is wasting time in the wilds. Breath of the Wild offers a mammoth map built upon some incredibly solid emergent and non-linear gameplay foundations and is constantly encouraging the player to not only think outside the box, but to smash the box over an enemy's head, or use the box as a makeshift means of travel.

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If you liked
Dressing for the weather, climbing, any Legend of Zelda game
Release Date
3 March 2017
Developed by
Nintendo
Published by
Nintendo
Purchase
Buy now

alex-pick

SNES Mini

best-snes

Best game that is not one game but many

Because it's goddamn amazing. If you don't like this you don't like games, period.

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If you liked
Games.
Release Date
29 September 2017
Developed by
Multiple developers
Published by
Nintendo
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kelly-pics

Divinity: Original Sin II

best-divinity

Best game to live out your latent cannibalistic tendencies without too much bother from the law

I'm an old-school fantasy kinda gal from way back, but I never really had the chance to get into D&D. I think just because I never had anyone in my immediate circle who would play with me. Luckily, we have technology these days to circumvent physical proximity issues like these. Enter D:OS2.

It’s like an intense, beautifully crafted and immersive D&D game you can play online with up to 3 other players (or solo with up to 3 AI players if that’s your jam). You can tell it was made with love by the sheer number of dialogue options and plot-paths you can venture down. Thank goodness for Kickstarter enabling these kinds of gems to flourish.

I’ve been playing as a rogue elf with a necromancer bent and I’m loving it. The lore, the world, the characters, the skills (mosquito attack? Heck yeah!)... but mostly it’s the little things. Like how you get encouraged to eat some dead dude’s leg in the very first 10 minutes of the game and hardly anyone bats an eye when you admit to having done it. I guess it’s not really cannibalism if he was a human and you're an elf… right?

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If you liked
Neverwinter Nights, Divinity: Original Sin
Release Date
14 September 2017
Developed by
Larian Studios
Published by
Larian Studios
Purchase
Buy now

Horizon: Zero Dawn

best-hzd

Best game for ginger hair inspo that’ll also make you afraid of your toaster eating you in a post-apocalyptic wasteland

Seriously though, how on point is Aloy’s hair? Not since The Little Mermaid have I had hair-envy this bad. Add to this the fact she’s a female character who manages to wear environment-appropriate clothing that actually looks like it could provide some armour benefits and there’s no reason not to love HZD.

As amazing as Aloy’s hair is, it can’t hold a candle to the graphics and glistening vistas in HZD. Holy cow, is this a beautiful game or what? I’m just sad this game is a PS4 exclusive and not available on PC – can you imagine what the modder community could do with this game?

But wait, there’s more. The gameplay lends itself to more than the typical hack-and-slash combat of most games these days and forces you to think more about strategy before you engage your (lovingly-crafted) enemies. It’s a novel challenge I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with. There are hours of fun (and frustration) to be had here.

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If you liked
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WIld
Release Date
28 February 2017
Developed by
Guerilla Games
Published by
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Purchase
Buy now

griz-picks

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

best-south-park-fractured

Best Earth-shattering climax and/or origin story

[Minor spoiler warning] Every hero needs the proper, often tragic impetus to make them go out and combat evil-doers, typically by farting on them until they spew forth apologies, monologues of revenge or... you know, vomit. Sir Douchebag, the enigmatic player character from The Stick of Truth, didn't stay a mystery for too long in this sequel, thanks to a backstory attributed to him by the modern Shakespeare that is Eric Cartman.

It started off well enough: as a child, you awakened in the middle of the night to the sounds of distress, and a heroic battle with a pack of murderous burglars ensued. Hearing screams from your parents' room, you kicked open the door and... yeah. They were hard at work, making the beast with two backs. This becomes your gamma ray moment. The Wayne-esque destruction of your innocence. Worse, it's a... er, climax in your story that you're never allowed to forget. Cartman is a sadistic little bastard who likes to relive the flashback, again and again, every time you significantly level up into a new power, and, of course, with each retelling, it grows in grossness. Wonderful. Thanks so much for the imagery, Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

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If you liked
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Far Cry
Release Date
17 October 2017
Developed by
South Park Studios
Published by
Ubisoft
Purchase
Buy now

Star Wars Battlefront 2

best-star-wars

Best nickel-and-diming this side of a semi-functional pokie machine

Ah yes, the modern gaming fad of putting financial strain on the player by charging small amounts for many minor services which were, up until yesterday, free. Why are you a thing, microtransactions? Or, better question: how can so many idiots not see that with every micro-purchase they make, they're begging publishers to short-change them a little bit more come sequel time. Some of you really ought not to have been issued wallets, because you vote with them with all the foresight of a Trump supporter.

Case in point: in Battlefront II, EA thought it would be a stellar idea to gatekeep its weaponised Star Wars nostalgia behind a randomising loot box mechanic. Don't feel like coughing up the credits? That's ok, you scruffy nerfherder peasant. You'll just be Palpatine into a pulp by M0neyB4gginz, the 11-year-old who stole his mum's credit card and is now bristling with super-perk star cards. Not to take the high ground here, but I do have to ask: what happened to you, DICE? You were the chosen ones. It was said you would get more players to join your servers – bring balance to the multiplayer meta. Not destroy it.

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If you liked
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, FarCry
Release Date
14 September 2017
Developed by
Larian Studios
Published by
Larian Studios
Purchase
Buy now

Mass Effect Andromeda

best-me-andromeda

Best sci-fi bug-fest since the Starship Troopers movie anthology

Five years + 40 million dollars = a sequel that's disappointing against all odds. Also, it has more bugs in it than a petrol station hot dog that's made the transition from consumable to heirloom conversation-piece. Sorry to say it, Pathfinders, but Mass Effect Andromeda was light years away from the halcyon days of Mass Effect 2. In fact, Andromeda is such a lemon, it even manages to make the kick-to-genitals-from-a-running-start which was ME3 look good.

Where to begin with the cavalcade of crapiness, though. How about freakish character models from the PS3 era, all of them flapping their rubber faces to stuttery voice work? And you've got to love watching your companions walk through walls, or have enemies attack you while you're stuck in a conversation with an NPC (a digital extra who may have erroneously spawned into the environment twice).

If this glitchtastic experience starts to play on your sanity, you could always try to escape the madness by driving off into the wilderness of your current planet. Just be aware that you may be kicked out of your Nomad vehicle and stranded in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason. On the long hike back to civilisation, you might just get lucky and be put out of your misery. Nothing kills a person quicker than falling through the floor, after all.

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If you liked
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Release Date
21 March 2017
Developed by
Bioware
Published by
EA
Purchase
Buy now

Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris

best-destiny

Best digital recreation of an emotionally abusive relationship

No. You were not going crazy with space madness. There was so much gaslighting going on in this relationship, guardian. For whatever boneheaded reason, Destiny 2 decided to slyly introduce a bit of psychological warfare designed to cloud your judgment and keep you dependent on it for longer.

“Ohhh come on, sugarlumps,” it would coo at you, like some sort of stupid-sexy succubus. “Look at allll the XP you're getting from me! Log into me again, baby!” Lies. All lies. Because one guardian out there – who had his eyes up and sharper than the rest of us – spotted a large disconnect between the experience was being visually reported, and what was actually being banked. Worse, the harder and more frequently you grinded this MMO mistress, the less she reciprocated your love. End result: many of us called bullshit and moved out. Can we reconcile – maybe make another go of things in a better expansion pack? I honestly don't know. I fell hard for your interstellar shooter, Bungie. But now, ironically, I need some space.

More information

If you liked
Destiny, Being played by a video game
Release Date
5 December 2017
Developed by
Bungie
Published by
Activision
Purchase
Buy now

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