2017 has been a great year for gaming, even though there haven’t been a ton of games that I would category as quality AAA titles. Regardless of that fact, it has been a great year for gamers. A new Nintendo console released, the Nintendo Switch, and with it a plethora of high-quality games and a consistent software release schedule. Sony has also had their share of excellent exclusives, such as Horizon Zero DawnPersona 5, and NieR: Automata. Microsoft has struggled in this respect and the only noteworthy exclusives I can name that they have released this year are Forza 7 and Halo Wars 2, which is not acceptable for such a major publisher and console manufacturer. Unfortunately Microsoft is banking on the Xbox One X, but if there isn’t much to play on it, what’s the point?

There has been something for everyone this year. The holiday season will give gamers even more to be excited about. Battlefront 2 and Call of Duty WWII look especially promising. Bethesda has some great titles coming out in The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein II, along with Skyrim and Doom on the Nintendo Switch. That doesn’t even take into account the VR versions of SkyrimFallout 4, and Doom, two of which (Skyrim and Doom) which are coming to the PlayStation VR. It’s a great time to be a gamer and while this list will be re-visited at the end of the year, here are the top five games of 2017 up to this point.

5. Destiny 2

Destiny 2 sure is a treat. It is not merely Destiny 1.5 as some have tried to claim. It stands on its own two feet, has a much better campaign than the original, NPCs you actually develop some affection for, and great all around gameplay. The PVP is great, but the PVE is really the pinnacle of what Destiny is about, for me. I’ve fallen in love with the game and while I hope it doesn’t consume my life like the first game did (The Taken King literally had me hooked), there is a chance it will. Strikes are back, Nightfalls are back, and the weapon system has been tweaked to near perfection. One of my main complaints is that shotguns are now power weapons, but considering how powerful they are it was needed for gameplay balance. Regardless, there is so much to do in Destiny 2 and it is easily one of the best games to come out this year.

4. Persona 5

Persona 5 may well be the greatest JRPG to ever be released (although personally I love Xenoblade X). Fans have been waiting years for this game and they were not disappointed. Atlus poured their heart and soul into this game and it truly shows. What’s even more incredible, from my perspective, is that the game utilizes a turn-based combat system. So many people complain about turn-based RPGs, yet they are ready to sing Persona 5 praises. The bottom line though is that the story is superb with twists and turns, the characters are interesting, the dungeons are great, and it’s an utterly satisfying experience.

3. Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn set the tone for the PlayStation 4 this year. Hopes were incredibly high for this epic, and the developers at Guerrilla Games exceeded all expectations and then some. It even went on to be the second best selling PlayStation 4 game year-to-date, only trailing Uncharted 4. This is quite an accomplishment. Sales do not equate with quality though, but Horizon delivered on all fronts. Some like to compare Horizon to Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and although comparisons are valid, they are two different kinds of games. Horizon does have freedom of exploration but the narrative is much deeper. The exploration, puzzles, level of freedom, and game design does make Breath of the Wild superior, but honestly does that even matter? Both are incredible games and deserve recognition as two of the best games to come out this year. I’m really interested to see what they do going forward with the Horizon franchise, as the game did leave things rather open-ended.

2. NieR: Automata

I’ve been told by so many people that I need to play NieR: Automata and it was one of the best games of the year. I finally caved. While it is on Microsoft Windows, it might as well be a PlayStation 4 exclusive. NieR: Automata is an action-RPG which takes place in a dystopian future. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the story is told in a very unique way and is very satisfying. The combat is also a lot of fun and the game is very versatile and incorporates a lot of different genres. It was developed by Platinum Games and published by Square Enix and is by far my favorite Platinum game (Bayonetta included). The story drew me in, the gameplay was a lot of fun, and this is by far one of the best games of 2017.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild really needs no introduction. From a gameplay standpoint it has no rival. While the main narrative is a little lackluster, there are so many great moments with NPCs and if you put the effort necessary into the game, the story actually fleshes itself out. The puzzles are some of the best in the franchise and the conventions of the Zelda franchise, as promised, were turned upside down. I hope the final DLC pack, The Champions’ Ballad, adds more to the story, as it seems that it will. The main dungeons are atypical but they’re a nice change of pace. The world map is enormous and finding shrines and other locations is a puzzle within itself which is actually really rewarding once you find what you’re looking for. The game may be the best of all-time.

While there are a lot more games coming out in 2017, there will be very few that can challenge the ones listed above. From a quality standpoint these games are the best of the best and any one of them can end up as GOTY 2017, although my money is still on Zelda.

About The Author

Founder/Editor-in-Chief

Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of VG Culture HQ. He has been writing about games for over four years and has written over 900 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture.

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  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Horizon Zero Dawn 1 for me and Uncharted Lost Legacy at 2. I feel like Horizon put the best game out this year with combat and story in the for front. Then comes along Uncharted Lost Legacy and it IMO it’s the best uncharted game since Among Thieves!

  • Nine

    Horizon is the goty it’s very rare for new ip to be this good the game is perfect

  • R6ex

    Destiny 2 was a joke.

  • Yoshilord

    Wow this has been a great year for games hasn’t it? Horizon and Nier Automata are my favorites from this list. Horizon had a great story, amazing graphics and absorbing gameplay. Automata probably has my favorite videogame soundtrack ever, really smooth, awesome gameplay and a cool existential narrative. It was a bit rough around the edges, especially with the environments and open world (and that god damn hacking mini game) but it is probably one of my favorite games of all time.

    I also think some indies games this year deserve a mention. Hollow knight has great exploration and fun combat, and some of the best art and atmosphere I’ve ever seen. More recently, Cuphead has an awesome old-cartoon aesthetic with hand drawn animation, responsive controls and a ton of unique bosses that are super satisfying when you finally beat them. Hiveswap was an amusing point-and-click with again, amazing art and animation, great soundtrack and a good set up for the rest of the episodes hopefully.

    I’m planning on getting to Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice, Persona 5, and Uncharted The Lost Legacy at some point too.

    • Mitch Deschambault

      Persona 5 is hyped crap, and I love JRPGs. It’s 90% cut screens, insanely boring and repetitive dialogue, loading. The “social simulator” is just painful and your responses either make no difference or impact your stats but with no logic behind any of it. Save scummimg is a main gameplay feature, fun…