Before we reveal our Game of the Year 2017 awards, we first would like to tell you what games were the best of this year. We did a list earlier in the year, but a lot of games have come and gone since October. We had new releases such as Super Mario Odyssey, Call of Duty: WWII, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. A few games that were previously some of our most beloved may disappear, while newly released games may skyrocket to the top. This doesn’t mean that these games are any less incredible; it just shows how strong this holiday season was. This was an incredible year for gamers. Nintendo came out with the Nintendo Switch and a more-than-stellar collection of games. Sony finally broke out with some amazing exclusives for the PlayStation 4. Microsoft came out with the Xbox One X, although there was not much else worthy of note there. Third parties such as Bethesda and Activision had amazing years, with Activision finally delivering a quality Call of Duty worthy of the franchise. Here are the best games of 2017. 5. Call of Duty: WWII Finally, a game worth of the Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty: WWII‘s campaign was like an interactive version of the classic HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. It was powerful. It was invigorating. This iteration of the classic franchise which has been run into the ground by Activision is the best Call of Duty since Modern Warfare II, which is easily the best in the series. It also brought a level of realism to Call of Duty that has been missing since the initial installments in the series. The multiplayer is balanced with tons of game modes and the campaign is one of the best in the series. Surprisingly, it’s one of the best games of this year, by far. 4. Horizon Zero Dawn Horizon was a hard choice at number four because it’s just so good. The only edge that number three has is that its gameplay mechanics are better, which make for a superior game. Regardless, Horizon Zero Dawn is Sony’s new up-and-coming IP. The story was one of the best narratives to grace this console generation, the gameplay was stellar, the characters were compelling, and the world was fascinating. The game was by no means easy and there were secrets to be found everywhere in the world of Horizon Zero Dawn. With so many upgrades and so many sidequests to complete alongside the main quest, it made it difficult what to decide: continue with the fascinatingly intriguing story or form bonds with the characters you’ve grown to love. There’s simply so much to do and although Horizon isn’t the best game of 2017, it is easily in a class of its own on the PlayStation 4. The game even gives a great set up for a potential sequel. Can you deliver in two or three years, please? 3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Well this is a shock, even to me. I am the biggest Zelda fan you will ever meet and even tattooed the Hylian Crest on the nape of my neck. That’s beside the point though. I was incredibly hyped for Breath of the Wild. I knew the game would have a massive overworld, I knew the puzzles would be fantastic, I knew it would be mechanically perfect, I knew it would be challenging, but I didn’t know that it would be somewhat bland. There is no story. Everything is told in flashbacks. While Skyward Sword didn’t have a connected overworld to explore, the story and the dungeons/puzzles were second-to-none. A Link Between Worlds established the building blocks for Breath of the Wild. You could complete the dungeons in any order, items could be rented or out-right bought, they were upgradeable, and the difficulty ultimately depended on what order you decided to finish the dungeons in. This is all reminiscent of Breath of the Wild. The only difference is that A Link Between Worlds had an actual story to tell and managed to balance the gameplay and story perfectly. Breath of the Wild was all gameplay with a few flashbacks thrown in. The story from 100 years ago was fascinating, yet we barely got to see it. Regardless of that though, the shrines in this latest iteration of Zelda have the best puzzles in the series. The dungeons are a breath of fresh air. If you take into account the DLC, Breath of the Wild would easily be number two. The question is though, should paid downloadable content be taken into account when reviewing and ranking a game? We at VGCultureHQ say no, which is why Zelda takes our number three spot (which is still quite incredible considering the games that proceed it). 2. Super Mario Odyssey This is surprising. I am not a fan of 3D Mario games. In fact, the only 3D Mario game I like is Mario Galaxy (and its sequel). Low and behold, I play Super Mario Odyssey and I’m in love. The kingdoms are diverse and beautiful. The gameplay is innovative. Cappy is the best companion in a video game since Midna. As a developer once told me, every great video game strives to bring both something old and something new. Super Mario Odyssey does this to perfection. The 2D parts are incredibly well integrated into the game, the Power Moons are well integrated, and most importantly, the newest installment in the Mario franchise is a lot of fun. It’s not only the best platformer of all time but the best Mario game of all time, which is both a special accomplishment, but a much more and a more monumental achievement. 1. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 There’s only so much I can say regarding Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It has its flaws, but its strengths outweigh them. It has a fantastic cast of characters who have an incredible dynamic between them. Yes, there are some anime tropes, but why do we view that as a negative? This is the best RPG of our generation. The combat mechanics can become somewhat complicated, but you’re gradually introduced to its intricacies over time through tutorials. There were issues with the minimap, but those have been fixed. The game’s story is one for the ages, and it’s the characters who make it so great. This is everything Final Fantasy XV should have been. It is the definitive RPG of our generation, and it seems each of Tetsuya Takahashi’s Xenoblade installments get better and better. There are moments that will make you laugh and cry, not out of sadness, but out of sheer catharsis. The gameplay is incredible once you unlock everything. It’s a very special RPG that only comes along maybe once in a generation, though Nintendo may prove us wrong considering the quality they are putting out (Zelda, Mario, and Xenoblade in a single year).