It’s only halfway through the year and there are already more games than we have time for that are worthy of playing! As per The Young Folks’ tradition, we acknowledge the best of the first half of the year in the form of collaborative lists with staff writers, editors, and site contributors, resulting in a breadth of taste that make our collection of top 10 games kind of an eclectic but tasteful mess.
Here are some Honorable Mentions that we don’t want to pass by some people just because they’re not on the list proper:
Gravity Rush 2
The gameplay is mixed up with the new heavy/light mechanic, the action is fast and whipping boxes, tables and debris (not to mention a few people) around the expansive world always a blast. – Miles Stanton
Vanquish is back, and beautiful. Up to 4K resolutions, running a smooooothe 60 fps constant, redone textures, improved lighting engine and a port so well optimised it could run on a toaster. If you own a computer, you owe it to yourself to play Vanquish. – Miles Stanton
Combing its derivative gameplay with the setting of ‘Feudal Japan except we’ve got demons everywhere’, Nioh is the result of an excellent mixup of Diablo and Soulslike games. – Nic Parulus
Good lord, Early Access actually works! It’s great when you can see good developers do what they do best. Honestly, the folks at The Behemoth could never finish the game and there would still be hours and hours of fun to be had and loot to be gained. – Travis Hymas
A shockingly solid fighter complete with a diverse roster and a fun gameplay loop in the gear system. The story isn’t really anything to write home about, but you’ll be having too much fun hitting super heroes to be put out by anything. – Travis Hymas
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
RE7 is creepy, it’s a departure from typical Resident Evil tropes, and the game itself is a challenge even for seasoned gamers. This is a must for horror fans. – Justin Carreiro
Your handheld camera is going to be your BFF. And you’re going to be scared. As I mentioned in the review, this is a challenging game that requires a lot of trial-and-error, but if you’re not afraid to run deeper into the evil, then this is the game for you. – Justin Carreiro
There is a lot to love with Friday the 13th. It brings back the nostalgia of the 80s slasher flicks, it’s highly addictive, and the little details in the game will mean a lot to die hard fans of the movie series. However, just as I discussed in the video game review, the release did suffer from major technical issues. With putting those errors aside and waiting for patches, the long awaited Friday the 13th is one of the best indie games of the year, of of the biggest surprise multiplayer hits, and one of my personal favorites so far.
- Justin Carreiro
9: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch)
This may be a rerelease of a game, but it’s a rerelease of a game I never got the chance to own on the Wii U, that has plenty of added features, and is also on the Nintendo Switch so it is very portable. In fact, it’s the first portable Mario Kart I’ve owned since Mario Kart DS in 2005, which is my most played game in the sub-franchise, so I expect to put plenty of time into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as time goes by for me as a Switch owner. With Zelda, I can play at home while I’m focused for sure, but the fact that I can take the Switch with me, and always have two controllers at the ready with a 7 inch screen and a mostly dependable battery life makes me excited as a Switch owner fundamentally. This will certainly satisfy my Mario fix leading up to, and maybe even beyond the release of Super Mario Odyssey this fall.
- Evan Griffin
8: Snipperclips (Switch)
No game makes me audibly say “aw” like a crazy person looking at a baby or a puppy, but wowie, Snipperclips made me into that guy for a little while. Even the most stoic rock hearted person can’t not light up with a smile while playing this indie couch co-op game that’s been available since the Switch’s launch. This cooperative puzzle platformer is cleverly put together and is reminiscent of the days of grade school geometry and science tests, but the parts that weren’t miserable. You and a partner each control the kawai faced doo-dads with feet, as you rotate, climb and walk around a stage as each thingy you play as has the ability to slice and dice each other into proper shapes to solve the puzzle. It’s bonkers and ridiculously cute.
- Evan Griffin
7: Blaster Master Zero (Switch, 3DS)
A cult classic NES game gets a Mertroid Zero Mission style remake for the Switch and the 3DS, and I’ve had a ton of fun with this game in the past few days. For those who never played the original Blaster Master on the NES, Zero follows more or less the same plot. But the gameplay is the star of the show.
Zero properly brings back the feel of the original game, with the momentum-based movement of Sophia III and the power-up don’t-get-hit nature of Jason that strikes a similar chord to how old games like Contra handled powerups. Platforming with Sophia is a blast, especially with the powerups you find later in the game. Eventually, your tank can swim, hover (or double jump, a new feature that can be swapped with hovering), and climb on walls and ceilings, all abilities from the NES original. Jason, in his top down sections, starts off with a purposefully pathetic pea shooter gun, almost exactly what you start out with in the original Metroid. But find the power ups that are plentiful but mostly hidden in these areas and you’ll have more firepower than you know what to do with, powering your gun up eightfold, but there’s a catch: get hit, and your gun power goes down by one level. And here’s where modern game design kicks in for the worse…
The trend of modern games becoming easy is no more apparent in a direct comparison of Zero and its NES original. In the original, get hit once and your gun loses two levels. In Zero, get hit once, and…well, if you can avoid getting hit again for another couple seconds, you won’t lose your power ups at all. The first 4 levels are laughably easy, but thankfully the difficulty steps up in the later levels. Not to a significant degree, but it’s at least more engaging. At the time of writing there has been added an unlockable difficulty, “Destroyer mode,” that does away with these concessions and in general makes the game harder, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
Overall, the game does a great job of scratching that Metroid-esque adventure itch, the progression of Sophia’s abilities is wonderful (climbing on any wall or ceiling you want with a tank is so fun), and the arcadey nature of Jason’s gun power is exhilarating, albeit all a bit too easy.
- Alex Taubert
6: NeiR: Automata (PC, PS4)
Let me start with this: NieR: Automata is a masterpiece, but the reasons why are VERY spoilery, so just take my word for it and buy the game. Platinum games, fast action, third person hack-and-slash, great music, thicc robots, FANTASTIC STORY. I can, however, talk about Yoko Taro.
Yoko Taro might be my next favorite director. See, Kamiya and Kojima have been tied for so long, I began to think there wasn’t any need for third place because 1st and 2nd where in such tight competition, constantly putting out the best games and being charismatic stallions in public and online. (Seriously, follow Kamiya on twitter. You are welcome.) But then swings in Yoko Taro, the usurper. I knew his work from the original “Drakengard” from the PS2 and the original Nier on PS3 and 360, but I never looked too far into him. Then comes Nier Automata, and Taro hits the spotlight proper. The man is mad as a hatter, and I think it bleeds into his work. All of Taros’s work so far have been fantastic ideas trapped in a jank game, and that makes them immediately endearing to me. The original drakengard was a “Dynasty warriors / Ace Combat” hybrid, where you murder troops by the hundreds in every level, but the overarching theme of the game is how every life is important. Yoko Taro loves to play with cognitive dissonance, where the message of the game and the actions of its characters contradict each other. This narrative method plays a large part in Nier automata, and to rather interesting effect. In conclusion, Yoko Taro is the best videogame of the year. 11/10, GOTYAY.
- Miles Stantion
5: Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)
Coming out of nowhere from Guerrilla Games (The developers behind the well known Killzone franchise), Horizon: Zero Dawn is a brand new IP that draws you in with a wholly unique world and a mystery that can’t help but invite you to explore it: ‘What the heck happened to the Earth and why the frick am I being attacked by robot dinosaurs?’. The story that follows is a rollercoaster of revelations and surprising plot twists.
Combined with this is a gameplay style that rarely gets old; The strategic dismemberment of robotic prehistoric wildlife in reactive and smart combat that just makes you feel pretty dang cool! If sci-fi, big robots, archery and satisfying mysteries are your style, I’d wholeheartedly recommend you pick up this excellent game.
- Nic Parulus
4: Persona 5 (PS4, PS3)
I’m beginning to realise that almost all of the games on this list have taken AGES to come out. Persona 5 was announced in 2013 with a release date in winter 2014. Well, that didn’t happen, but the polish and love that went into the final product was well worth the wait. Persona 5 is the latest in the long running Shin Megami Tensei spin off series, a JRPG series about capturing and fighting daemons, high school shenanigans and after school jobs. Persona has always been a game about spinning plates. You go to school to level up your social skills, you use your social skills to hang out with a whole gaggle of weirdos, and progressing your relationship with said weirdos gives you stat buffs for your afterschool dungeon fighting. And why do you fight daemons and evil shadowy representations of people’s deepest desires? To keep your school safe. Also mad cash, but mostly that first one. Rinse/repeat for about a year of game time and you have the basis of one of the most addicting games of the year. This time around, you are a part of a crew of juvenile delinquents who moonlight as magical thieves who steal the hearts of corrupted and evil people to make the world a better place, and make some cash on the side. The characters of persona have always been a huge draw to the game, with each game having a fantastic cast of oddballs and misfits that you learn to call friends by the end, and 5 has one of the best casts to date. Between best girl Futaba, trash wife Ann and bestest girl Makoto, persona 5 has a fantastic wife roster. Also some guy characters and some cat thing, but they aren’t why we are here. Coupled with the ABSOLUTELY STUNNING SOUNDTRACK, Persona 5 ranks as my 2nd favorite playstation 4 game to date. And number 1 is coming up in a bit.
- Miles Stantion
3: Hollow Knight (PC)
With a captivating world, and intriguing story, flawless gameplay mechanics and a perfected soundtrack, Hollow Knight is easily the best game I’ve played in years and an instant classic in my eyes.
Despite Hollow Knight being their first full game, Team Cherry (Composed of only four staff members) has proven that fresh and unique ideas can be pulled off by brand new teams if enough heart and soul is put into them. If you haven’t checked it out yet and you’re at all captivated by the unique artstyle, please do yourself a favor and take a look at this excellent game.
- Nic Parulus
2: Night In The Woods (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4)
Not a day goes by since playing this title that I don’t give it some thought. In the time since my review ran, I’ve discovered even more within it courtesy of repeat plays and stories of other people’s experiences while they play it. This is the kind of game that’s going to mess you up emotionally, as it is made up of the most human-like characters of any game this year; and they’re all animals. If you still haven’t played this, you’re missing out on the best game this year.
- Travis Hymas
1: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch, Wii U)
But really, nothing can stand next to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I haven’t been this fully engrossed in an open world for a month straight since Skyrim first came out. I don’t think I’ve ever garnered this much satisfaction from exploring an in-world game in, well, ever! The inventory management takes some getting used to, but the combat, the crafting and the characters are some of the most refined I’ve ever encountered. Breath of the Wild was a revitalization of a franchise, a console carrier and most certainly a hard game for the rest of 2017 to try and topple.
- Alex Suffolk
What’s your favorite game of 2017? Did we talk about it here? Leave a comment and let us know, and hit us up on Twitter @TYFOfficial!