It’s been a fabulous year for gaming. With the welcome return of gaming icons like Sonic, Crash Bandicoot and Mario, the launch of the Nintendo Switch and the rise of VR, 2017 is one for the history books. However, it’s time to separate the Octoroks from the Heroes with The Edge‘s Top 5 Games of 2017. Let’s a go!
5 – Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy (PS4)
When Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy was released back in July, it marked a superb rebirth for one of the gaming’s best loved franchises. After stumbling with a number of below-par released in the mid-2000s, the N-Sane Trilogy returns the eponymous orange hero to his roots with remakes of the original Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped. Whilst the gameplay isn’t particularly complex in terms of button-mashing, the Crash Bandicoot series is deceptively difficult, with some levels still striking fear into gamers today – I’m looking at you: ‘The High Road’. The bright colours of the original games comes to life superbly on the PS4’s graphics engine and the remakes even cranked up the difficulty to provide returning players with a genuine challenges. Overall, the N-Sane Trilogy is silly and nonsensical crate-smashing, wampa-fruit-collecting fun for anyone who picks up the game. Credit to Naughty Dog and Activision for doing such justice with these remakes! Here’s to a Crash Bash return in 2018.
words by Robert Pratley
4 – Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)
As one of Sony’s biggest exclusive releases of the year, Horizon: Zero Dawn was a huge change of pace for developer Guerrilla Games, the studio formerly known for the first-person shooter series Killzone. However, this seems to have paid off in spades given the game’s immense success. Horizon: Zero Dawn is an action adventure game with a focus on tactical gameplay set in the robot-filled yet somehow prehistoric 31st century. How did robots come to rule the earth? How did humanity survive? The answers to these questions and many more are sought out by protagonist Aloy, an outcast of her tribe. The game has some of the most stunning visuals of this year’s releases, beautifully blending luscious grassy environments with the ruins of an ancient civilisation and the complex design of the machines that have come to rule the land. Like any modern RPG, Horizon also gives the player many skills and weapons that can be upgraded. Credit must go foremost to Guerrilla Games. They’ve created a game that exudes passion and imagination in its design and I look forward to see where their creative team venture next.
words by Ollie Webber
3 – Cuphead (Xbox One, PC)
Certainly 2017’s most unique game stylistically, Cuphead was released on Xbox One and PC back in September. It’s essentially a run-and-gun game with a focus on defeating bosses, but this is no ordinary indie platformer as it distinguishes itself with a beautiful ‘rubber hose’ graphical style based on cartoons from the ’20s and ’30s. It is also one of the toughest games of the year, even the early bosses requiring patience and perfect timing to overcome. That being said, Cuphead is far and allows each level to be retried an infinite number of times without consequence. Considering that it’s been in development since 2010, it was great to see it finally get a release in 2017 after years of teases and gameplay trailers. Given it’s massive success, the developers have now promised several expansion packs with more bosses to overcome. The vision of a small Canadian studio was finally brought to life and it was certainly worth the wait!
words by Ollie Webber
2 – Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)
We’ve travelled from Ancient Egypt to Wumpa Island so far on this list, but Super Mario Odyssey is truly a worldwide adventure. After the disappointingly simplistic Super Mario 3D World, Mario returned to form in 2017 with his debut adventure on the Nintendo Switch. Odyssey builds on the formula established in 1996 for Super Mario 64, an N64 classic still widely regarded as one of the greatest games of all time. However, the plumber is no longer restricted to the familiar Mushroom Kingdom and travels to locales from across the globe. This includes the jurassic Cascade Kingdom, the bustling New Donk City and even the deliciously food-themed Luncheon Kingdom. Mario has also gained the ability to
possess ‘capture’ certain enemies and objects. This means you’ll be able to control everything from a Goomba to a Chain Chomp. Basically, Odyssey is incredibly fun. The only problem? It launched the same year as the next game on our list!
words by Josh Nicholson
1 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had a lot riding on its shoulders heading into 2017, 5 years on from the critically acclaimed yet divisive Skyward Sword, the cross-gen title had the unenviable task of ushering the Wii U to the end of its life, carrying the Nintendo Switch’s launch essentially on its own, and delivering an experience that would please longtime fans whilst breathing new life into a series that many had begun to label as ‘stale’. So, it speaks to the magnitude of Nintendo’s achievement that they accomplished each of these goals, creating a new gold standard of the open world genre in the process.
Breath of the Wild’s iteration of Hyrule is the biggest and most beautiful yet, sporting a gorgeous visual style that sits somewhere between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, while featuring a play area 11 times the size of the latter. Still, the most impressive accomplishment from director Fujibayashi and his team was in exactly how the player traverses this enormous world. Link’s repertoire was expanded to include the ability to climb almost any surface in the game and a glider that lets him descend from Hyrule’s highest peaks with ease. Add to this the gloriously fun shield surf and numerous animal mounts, and Breath of the Wild’s map feels more open and free than potentially any video game that has come before.
Having such unrestrictive and enjoyable movement options, coupled with a brand-new, complex physics engine, even a simple sandbox would create a compelling experience. Thankfully, Breath of the Wild is chock full of puzzles to solve, towers to climb, and Koroks to discover. With each one hand-placed to ensure it always feels like there is always something new to find on both a macro and micro scale. The satisfaction of following this loop of exploration, travel and discovery makes this a game that is almost impossible to put down.
With development having ceased following the release of the last DLC pack, one can only hope that a direct follow-up is on the cards, complete with larger, more intricate dungeons and an even deeper combat system.
words by Teague Hipkiss