2017 is shaping up to match if not beat 2016’s gaming hit parade.
Just when you thought gaming couldn’t get any better than 2016’s hit after hit with Titanfall 2, Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian, Dark Souls 3, Uncharted 4, etc., 2017 comes along with a new set of games to shake up the status quo. 3-D platformers are returning in a big way and sequels are improving on their pre-established formulas. Without further ado, here are my top 5 games that I am most excited for in 2017.
(Dev): Playtonic Games (Pub): Team 17 (Release): April 11, 2017
Return to the world of 3-D platformers as Yooka-Laylee, from the developers of Banjo Kazooie on N64, release a new game about a chameleon and a bat working in tandem. The levels are bright and colorful and the gameplay easy to understand. From what I’ve played with the pre-release ToyBox demo, Yooka-Laylee has the chops to be the game that signals the 3-D platformer genre still has some life left in it. A labor of love funded by fans, Project Ukulele started development back in 2015 and was the fastest crowd-funded game to hit $1 million. Given how many games are funded through Kickstarter, that’s certainly nothing to sneeze at.
It will release on PlayStation 4, PC, macOS, Linux Xbox One and later on the Nintendo Switch.
(Dev) Arkane Studios (Pub): Bethesda Studios (Release): May 5th, 2017
I make no attempt to hide how disappointed I was when I heard the unfortunate news that Prey 2 by Human Head Studios had been canceled. It is my professional and authoritative opinion that there are not enough bounty hunting games in a science-fiction setting. What we got in Prey 2’s place is not remotely close. Not even a little. But what we got isn’t necessarily bad either.
When I played Prey at the preview event in Los Angeles, I played a game that was full of intrigue, unique settings, stories and interesting ways to play. You could specialize in combat, hacking, repair, etc., and that’s only from what I saw in the first hour. Just look at the video below where you can become a coffee mug or a pizza box.
I don’t know what else you could possibly want from a video game. I am a science-fiction dork and it looks like Prey will be the game to scratch that itch.
#3: Destiny 2
(Dev): Bungie (Pub) Activision (Release): Fall 2017
When Bungie first pushed Destiny out the door, barely dressed, it was met with mixed fan and critical reception. The patented, “30 seconds of fun repeated over and over,” was what set Bungie’s shooter apart from any other. Unfortunately, there was very little content to speak of and players that couldn’t keep up with the consistent release of content were left in the dust. And there’s enough updates and nerfs that have been subjects of contention throughout the community since it released. When Bungie fixed a lot of issues with The Taken King expansion, it proved to me that Bungie had learned the error of their ways.
There were more classes, new quests and locations and a bevy of new weapons to play with. The Rise of Iron expansion wasn’t anything to write home about but it did deliver with new and interesting environments. There’s not much known about Destiny 2 but we do know that it is currently in development, your Destiny 1 character will not transfer to Destiny 2 and that it will release this year.
I would expect an announcement before or during E3 2017.
#2: Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy
(Dev) Naughty Dog: PS1/Vicarious Visions: PS4 (Publisher) Activision (Release) June 30th, 2017
My nostalgia goggles are on tight for this one but can you blame me? A remaster of some of my favorite games on the PlayStation 1 returning for the first time on the PlayStation 4. Each of the games are returning in their entirety and with a beautiful graphical overhaul. Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2 and Crash Bandicoot: Warped are included in the bundle for $40. My earliest memories of gaming are of sitting too close to the television playing Crash Bandicoot 1 and going over to my neighbor’s house and learning the secrets of Crash Bandicoot 2. Those are treasured moments that mean a lot to me – not just as a gamer – but as a person.
I’ve been burned on remasters before with the forever broken Halo: The Master Chief Collection and the lackluster Batman: Return to Arkham, but I’m looking to the future.
#1: Red Dead Redemption 2
(Dev): Rockstar Studios (Pub): Rockstar Games (Release): Fall 2017
There are few developers that I can depend on to release a game that is a refreshing experience worth the lofty asking price. CD Projekt Red, From Software, Respawn Entertainment and Rockstar. Even when Rockstar experimented with Max Payne 3 and L.A. Noire and strayed away from the GTA series, they were still worth the time and monetary investments. Their biggest experimental payoff was Red Dead: Redemption released in 2010. A western that put you in the boots of John Marston – outlaw and father – ended on such a dour note. The downloadable Undead Nightmare was almost better than the base game it was developed from.
Not much is known about Red Dead: Redemption 2 and there’s no guarantee that it’ll make an appearance at E3 this year because Rockstar handles its own marketing based off the quality of products it consistently releases. Even with the sparse amounts of information available, Red Dead: Redemption 2 is still one of my most anticipated games of this year.
Honorable mentions: Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mass Effect: Andromeda and Star Wars: Battlefront 2