Best new online game of 2017

     

Early in 2017, we got the Switch, which made it all the more easy khổng lồ take our hobby wherever we’d like. With the help from some noise-canceling headphones, the bus or the subway or the plane or the entire world can now disappear. Thwomp.

Who couldn’t use that escape? Fantastical worlds in collapse certainly feel more manageable than our own, where there seem lớn be few heroes & endless villains.

This pleasure can come with a pang of guilt. How can we knowingly escape to lớn fantasy worlds when there’s just so much work to lớn be done in the real one?


A wonderfully unexpected phối of games

Are we really escaping when we play games? Or are we learning, experimenting & taking control of ourselves? Are we learning to lớn experience life not as we know, but as those around us experience it? Are we gaining empathy and camaraderie & relief?

Yes, we escape into lớn games. But when games are their best, the experience is so much greater than an emotional exit. Video games can be frivolous. They can be important. And quite often, they manage to lớn be both at once. This year, we collected 50 of our top games into a danh mục. What a strange joy khổng lồ see all of them together.

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And what a relief that, in 2017, so few of these games involve shooting people in the head, splashes of blood being the only color in their world. Instead, we have games that recognize the fragility và preciousness of human life, games that khuyến mãi with death, mental health, teenage anxiety & child illness. They respect life.

Big franchises that could have sầu preyed on our nostalgia voluntarily evolved, creators engaging with our fandom, but firmly pushing their artistic goals forward — & us with them. Rich video clip game publishers continued making games about stabbing and shooting, yes, but they framed them in a way that engaged with history, even when the message was as simple as, “Yeah, pal, it’s good to punch Nazis.”


2017’s best games were silly, thoughtful, gross, beautiful và surprising

Games dropped us into lớn the lives of troubled families in the Pacific Northwest, morally complicated gangsters in Tokyo, baseball-obsessed high school girls in San Francisteo Bay & artificial intelligence in the distant future. They questioned how we live through instant messages, texts, our home page screens & even a glorified spreadsheet.

What’s most encouraging about this year in games, though, is the continued push toward accessibility & diversity. Looking at this menu, you don’t see a nibịt for a bvà of entitled young men, but a medium that is pressing outward while also exploring inward. It is imperfect; it is improving.

Of course, games still can be addictive, puerile and base. (As they sometimes should be!) But the magic of games in 2017, stemming from the abundance & variety of experiences, is the emphatic confirmation that games mean so much more khổng lồ so many more people than they ever have before.

In 2018, we will be once again escaping. In these escapes we have the opportunity khổng lồ recharge and grow. We must work to lớn make our world better, but there’s a value in mindfully embracing these other worlds, too. We mustn’t drown in them, but learn from them. Games offer the tools for us khổng lồ contextualize the past, khổng lồ safely experiment within the present, and simulate frameworks for the future.

Without further avì, it’s our pleasure khổng lồ giới thiệu some of these games with you.

-Chris Plante, executive sầu editor of binhphap.vn


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Image: Laundry Bear Games

50. A Mortician’s Tale

(Oct. 18, Laundry Bear Games)Mac, Windows

An imperfect cri de coeur about the funeral services industry, A Mortician’s Tale begs players khổng lồ consider the business of death. Its story of a young woman landing her first job as a mortician not-so-subtly spotlights the at best tacky & at worst malicious nature of the massive corporations that churn through grieving families, encouraging them to sover off their loved ones in coffins and services that reap the most profit. As a polemic, it’s fine and quite convincing, but a little predictable. The staying power of A Mortician’s Tale stems from its moment-to-moment play. You clean, mas sa, empty, beautify và dispatch dead bodies. And then you provide a shoulder to loved one — or simply bear witness khổng lồ a corpse when no one else will. The đoạn Clip game industry is built on the destruction of bodies of all kinds. How refreshing to lớn play a game that asks you khổng lồ care for them, even after their life has left.

-Chris Plante


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EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

49. Madden NFL 18

(Aug. 25, EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts)PlayStation 4, Xbox One

There are many endings in Longshot, the touching comebachồng tale that is Madden’s first-ever story mode. If you get what its writer, Mike Young, calls the “director’s cut” ending, you’ll know, because the feelings linger for days. Portions of the story draw on shopworn themes of sports movies, but given the constraints Young và partner Adrian Todd Zuniga inevitably faced with an image-conscious licensing partner lượt thích the NFL, that they could deliver something as meaningful as Longshot is an underappreciated writing achievement. The context for anh hùng Devin Wade’s trials — a football reality show that never sees hyên play a down in the league — is novel và surprisingly plausible. Devin’s dad, Cutter, is his guiding light, but Coach Jaông chồng Ford’s humanity & dedication will have the player wholeheartedly busting their ass for hyên ổn.

-Owen Good


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Image: SFB Games/Nintenvị

48. Snipperclips - Cut it out, together!

(March 3, SFB Games/Nintendo)Nintenvì chưng Switch

It’s rare you’ll play Snipperclips without a smile on your face. That’s partly because you’ll always play the game with a frikết thúc, which the two Switch Joy-Cons are perfectly suited for. But it’s also because of the game’s brilliant art, which easily toes the line between adorable & kid-friendly and weirdly subversive. The central gameplay conceit (your characters can “snip” & “clip” each other inlớn chất lượng shapes lớn solve sầu puzzles) is easy to lớn grasp, but the game continually surprises you with creative sầu iterations of that simple mechanic. With a little patience and creative thinking, even the hardest puzzles are fun to figure out. Unless, of course, your partner insists on snipping you to pieces.

-Clayton Ashley


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Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive sầu Entertainment

47. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

(Aug. 22, Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive sầu Entertainment)PlayStation 4

The Uncharted series has always been about relationships: the relationship between Nathan Drake and his criminal buddy Victor Sullivan, or his wife Elena, or his brother Sam. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy pivots on this focus on relationships by removing Drake from the equation entirely. We’re left with two side characters — Chloe Frazer, who debuted in Uncharted 2: Among mỏi Thieves, and Nadine Ross from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End — having a short adventure together. The result is one of the best Uncharted games we’ve seen yet. The puzzles & history remain the focus, while the combat never overstays its welcome. It’s also a chance to lớn hear more from two of the franchise’s most underused voices. After four main Uncharted stories, we were ready for a new take on the story, and The Lost Legacy refreshes the gameplay, the puzzles and the banter in one perfectly packaged experience.

-Ryan Gilliam


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Bloober Team/Aspyr

46. Observer

(Aug. 15, Bloober Team/Aspyr)Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

The world of Observer is far from the neon-soaked streets you may conjure up when you hear that the game is “cyberpunk.” The entirety of the adventure is set in a run-down tenement. It’s 2084 và the Chiron Corporation has taken over Pol& following a plague called the nanophage. The company has authorized a unit of police officers, “observers,” khổng lồ hachồng the minds of citizens, recording their thoughts và fears. The game stars Rutger Hauer — of Blade Runner fame — as Daniel Lazarski, an obhệ thống working for the Krakow Police Department, by way of Chiron. He’s searching for his estranged son, a Chiron engineer, in one of Krakow’s “Class C” tenements. What follows is a meditation on fatherhood & family, on reality, on what’s next for all of us. Observer can be a nasty little virut of a game, infecting your mind with its sickly vision of a future.

-Chris Grant


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Cavalier trò chơi Studios/Tequila Works

45. The Sexy Brutale

(April 12, Cavalier Game Studtiện ích ios, Tequila Works/Tequila Works)Nintenbởi Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

An ingenious blover of Groundhog Day and immersive theater like Sleep No More, The Sexy Brutale requires the player to prsự kiện a string of murders without ever being spotted. All the clues (và character building) are seen through keyholes & heard through walls, giving the adventure an undercurrent of voyeurism that’s unsettling and alluring. If you miss a moment of the story (or the opportunity khổng lồ stop a killing), you can stop & rewind time for another chance. Despite the clever, mind-bending mechanics, what sticks months after playing The Sexy Brutale is its lovely story of forgiveness and redemption.

-Justin McElroy


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Sega

44. Yakuza 0

(Jan. 24, Sega)PlayStation 4

Yakuza 0 almost feels lượt thích the year"s best minigame collection. In between its scenes about family loyalty & gangster drama, our nhân vật Kiryu encounters one hilarious side quest after another. He’s a master of punching first và foremost, but when he’s not decking the Yakuza he left behind, Kiryu is a crane game expert. He’s also on the high-score board at the arcade. He even helps to lớn produce a feature film. There are dozens of little adventures lượt thích this that transsize Yakuza 0’s seedy take on Tokyo inkhổng lồ the most unexpectedly funny open-world game.

-Allegra Frank


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Nintendo EPD/Nintendo

43. Splatoon 2

(July 21, Nintenvì chưng EPD/Nintendo)Nintenvày Switch

Never underestimate the power of local multiplayer. Splatoon 2 fixes the mistakes of its predecessor by embracing the couch — & reminds us how much fun we can have playing in the same room.. Giving squid kids the chance lớn go offline might be the game’s most important addition. As much as the new characters, clothing options, Splatfests and soundtraông xã are wonderful additions khổng lồ Splatoon 2, nothing feels better than Saltháng Run. The horde co-op mode creates for some of the most intense, heart-pumping, hilarious challenges found in any game this year. You can play it online, sure — but the instant bonding & teamwork required to beat Salmon Run’s enemy waves make it Splatoon 2’s most essential, homegrown experience.

-Allegra Frank


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Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo

42. Nioh

(Feb. 7, Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo)PlayStation 4, Windows

Nioh is what happens when you build an entire game around a nearly perfect combat system. The premise of the mechanics goes something like this: Nin-Ja Theory took the fast-paced character action style that it perfected in the Ninja Gaiden series và mixed it with the precision of Dark Souls, then added fighting stances that made the whole thing four times as complicated. On paper, it’s a setup that should never work. In practice, it’s a deep and engaging system that feels built lớn be learned và mastered. Across the thousands of fights in the game, every enemy you defeat — from lowly skeleton khổng lồ giant yōkai detháng — feels lượt thích a lesson learned.

-Austen Goslin


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Adriaan de Jongh và Sylvain Tegroeg

41. Hidden Folks

(Feb. 15, Adriaan de Jongh, Sylvain Tegroeg/Adriaan de Jongh)Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows

It’s tempting khổng lồ dismiss Hidden Folks, a collaboration between designer Adriaan de Jongh and artist Sylvain Tegroeg in which the player spots hidden characters and objects in black-and-Trắng drawings, as Where’s Walvì chưng for the modernist crowd. But the game is neither as commercially crass nor artistically ostentatious as the premise suggests. Instead, Hidden Folks is confident, relaxed và charming. Credit Tegroeg’s hand-drawn art and de Jongh’s “mouth-originated” sound effects, which provide a distinctly analog vibe. Previously, de Jongh operated within the studio trò chơi Oven, where he created games that explored physical spaces. Sadly, those projects have never found the mainstream audience they deserve sầu. With Hidden Folks, de Jongh seems khổng lồ accept that we now live within our screens. Rather than scold us for our obsession with screens, de Jongh creates a space không lấy phí of gaudy color, notifications and noise. It’s an escape from our escape.

-Chris Plante


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Nintenvày EPD/Nintenvị

40. Arms

(June 16, Nintenvày EPD/Nintendo)Nintenvì Switch

There’s something disorienting about Arms, Nintendo’s spin on the competitive sầu fighting formula. The characters are the immediate signal that things aren’t quite right. They have sầu stretchy, springy arms. And they come in oddball types. There’s the boxer and brawler, but also the mound of goo & the gargantuan mummy. The game flips the script on how you fight. Punches unfurl like Slinkies. Instead of the fighters’ bodies, their wild, telescoping limbs take center stage. Unlượt thích 2 chiều fighters, Arms builds its combat on the quirkiness of 3D space. A punch can come from any direction. What looks lượt thích another Nintenvì chưng party game is much deeper than the cartoony characters suggest.

-Chelsea Stark


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Levall Games

39. Please Knoông xã on My Door

(Sept. 7, Levall Games)Windows

There is a hidden cost lớn doing things if you have sầu social anxiety or depression. The point-keeping system assigns different costs or values khổng lồ activities like making food or socializing at work. The challenge lies in balancing that point system in a way that leads khổng lồ a tolerable existence. Please Knoông chồng on My Door takes the point-tracking metaphor for these diseases and turns it inkhổng lồ a literal “game.” There’s no right or wrong way to play; you want to lớn try khổng lồ keep the character as healthy as possible, or role-play decisions you might make in real life. You’ll either learn something about yourself or gain more empathy for someone you know by playing. This is a gentle, caring game about a complicated subject.

-Ben Kuchera


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Ovosonico/505 Games

38. Last Day of June

(Aug. 31, Ovosonico/505 Games)PlayStation 4, Windows

Last Day of June’s best truyền thông media comparison is the opening sequence in Pixar’s Up. It’s an animated puzzle game in which a lonely man tries lớn perfectly rearrange his life in an attempt khổng lồ be reunited with his true love. A joyous little cast of characters speak volumes without uttering a single meaningful word. The universality of the game’s made-up language speaks lớn the breadth of its appeal, which relies on an almost childlượt thích range of expressions. Last Day of June is also an object lesson in how creative indie developers are shaping worlds that feel like interactive works of art. It’s like stepping into a Renoir, mixed with a 1950s paperback love story.

-Colin Campbell


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Frank Lantz

37. Universal Paperclips

(Oct. 9, Frank Lantz)Android, Browser, iOS

The new thought experiment from Frank Lantz, director of the NYU trò chơi Center, looks like any other clicker game. You create a commodity, then sell it for cash lớn buy tools và machines khổng lồ create more of that commodity, until you become the king of making of cookies or candy or, in this case, paper clips. And as a clicker game, Universal Paperclips is very good, which is lớn say it’s tuned lớn be perfectly addictive, offering little bumps of power right as they’re craved. That it’s so good at capturing the vacuousness of the clicker game is crucial, because Lantz’s real goal has to do with exploring what we gain from these games. In theory, we’re optimizing a machine khổng lồ make more paper clips. But no, we’re being optimized to produce more and more and more materials for no greater purpose than growth. Universal Paperclips’ story (yes, there’s a rich story in a clicker game) dissects concerns about the danger of ethically incomplete artificial intelligence. It works just as well as a critique on capitalism. Who needs AI lớn destroy the world when you have sầu Excel và middle management?

-Chris Plante


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Bennett Foddy

36. Getting Over It

(Oct. 7, Bennett Foddy)iOS, Mac, Windows

Bennett Foddy’s games, lượt thích QWOP and Super Pole Riders, get at the essential silliness of what we bởi when we play video clip games: We assume our fingers can control the complex motions of entire human bodies. Getting Over It may be Foddy’s best work lớn date. The player users a sledgehammer lớn push, pull & pop a bald man in a cauldron up and over a mountain. Ultra difficult games can be demoralizing, asking players to be fueled by little more than pride & determination. But Foddy converses with the player, encouraging them forward. When the player falls, losing hard-earned progress, the designer’s voice comes through the speakers, gently sharing thoughts on the pleasure of failure & the fickle nature of progress. Foddy is like a parent encouraging their kid as they learn to walk. He can see the mistakes coming, & yet, this isn’t about hyên ổn. It’s about the two of you getting over this mountain together.

-Chris Plante


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Jason Roberts/Annapurna Interactive sầu

35. Gorogoa

(Dec. 14, Jason Roberts/Annapurna Interactive)iOS, Nintenvì chưng Switch, Windows

Designer Jason Roberts has been crafting the puzzle game Gorogoa for over seven years, and yet it seemed khổng lồ materialize in the world with minimal promotional fanfare. Perhaps that’s because Gorogoa speaks for itself. Or to lớn put it another way, it’s quite difficult khổng lồ speak for Gorogoa. In the last decade, a handful of indie games have taken inspiration from artists who play with perspective, particularly the eye-contorting works of M.C. Escher. Gorogoa isn’t so interested in imitating established optical illusions. Instead, it plays with visual perspective to lớn explore what intellectual perspective sầu provides us as humans. In a lovely protệp tin by Chris Kohler at Kotaku, Roberts had this khổng lồ say about his work: “What vày I lượt thích about puzzles? I think it has to lớn bởi with the idea that there is hidden structure or meaning in the world. That if you can look at an ordinary piece of the world và rearrange the parts of it in just the right way, you would discover some hidden structure. And if you look out in the world & you don’t see that meaning there, that means that there has khổng lồ be some challenge khổng lồ finding it, khổng lồ explain why you haven’t found it yet.”

-Chris Plante

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Accidental Queens/Playdius, Plug In Digital

34. Another Lost Phone

(Sept. 21, Accidental Queens/Playdius, Plug In Digital)Android, iOS, Windows

The prospect of a consequence-miễn phí stroll through a stranger’s phone is an ethically shady one, but the allure of an unlocked phone is svào. Another Lost Phone challenges that voyeurism by dropping you directly into lớn a young woman’s phone interface. You unravel the context behind the lost phone through photo albums and calendar entries. Another Lost Phone is the sequel to lớn A Normal Lost Phone. It’s predecessor establishes the style, but the avenue it takes khổng lồ tell its tale relies on you disregarding the privacy of a person who chose to lớn leave a part of themselves behind. But Another Lost Phone improves upon the original with a more careful & thoughtful story. They should be taken as a pair, showing the growth of an idea & its creator within a single year.

-Jeff Ramos & Allegra Frank


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Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft Milan/Ubisoft

33. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

(Aug. 29, Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Milan/Ubisoft)Nintenbởi Switch

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle pushes the assumptions of how a character, franchise or genre should operate. Did we know we needed a lighter take on XCOM that starred Nintenvày characters & Ubisoft’s Rabbids? And who would have ever expected Mario to lớn hold a gun? And yet, Kingdom Battle works. It scales the basics of its genre well, giving your team powers that you’d expect lớn find in deeper tactics titles, all while incorporating a world that embraces the truly bizarre. Here’s a game that wouldn’t quite work without the Rabbids involved — even if their harebrained antics may be a bit hard to lớn swallow.

-Chelsea Stark


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Laura Shigihara

32. Rakuen

(May 10, Laura Shigihara)Linux, Mac, Windows

Cleverly disguised as a 16-bit top-down role-playing game, Rakuen is an exploration of human frailty in the face of tragedy. It takes place in a dichotomous world where a siông xã boy travels between his humdrum hospital ward và a colorful l& of magic. The game delivers straightforward quests greatly illuminated by a range of characters whose lives represent the anxieties we all face: rejection, loneliness, guilt, fear and pride. Rakuen is a work of truth, elevated by a lovely musical score.

-Colin Campbell


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Nihon Falcom/NIS America

31. Ys 8

(Sept. 12, Nihon Falcom/NIS America)PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4, Windows

Developer Nihon Falcom has always been talented, but Ys 8 represents a new high for the studio, a game where each piece comes together và interlocks in a way that feels damn near perfect. Don’t let the obscure name fool you; forgettable story aside, this is one of the best action-RPGs of this generation.

-Phil Kollar


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MercurySteam/Nintendo EPD/Nintenvày

30. Metroid: Samus Returns

(Sept. 15, MercurySteam, Nintenvì chưng EPD/Nintendo)Nintendo 3DS

Metroid 2: Samus Returns isn’t the most beloved installment in the series, so news of a remake came as a bit of a shochồng. Of course, now we know “remake” isn’t the right word for this new Metroid adventure. Rather than just add new graphics to lớn the original, Nintenvì chưng revamped every aspect of the game, adding new upgrades, trùm fights and a reimagined world. Toss in some of the best-looking visuals in a 3DS game, & you begin to see why this is a must-play for any Metroid fan. This may be one of the last major 3DS releases from Nintendo; it’s not a bad way to go.

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-Russ Frushtick


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Christian Whitehead/Headcannon/PagodaWest Games/Sega

29. Sonic Mania

(Aug. 15, Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games/Sega)Nintenvì Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

What if Sega had kept making 2D Sonic games? What if the 16-bit era never ended? What if Sonic could be as joyful as we remember it, rather than a frustrating và imprecise platformer? Sonic Mania is the answer lớn those questions. It has all the polish và nostalgia khổng lồ feel like one of the best early Sonic titles, but also enough Easter eggs và winks và nods khổng lồ give sầu it its own personality. It’s so well-done that, for a brief moment, it seemed Sega would turn the corner with the Sonic franchise as a whole. Unfortunately, Sonic Forces arrived a few months later & proved otherwise.

-Matt Leone


28. Dirt 4

(June 6, Codemasters)PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows

Dirt 4 delivered the biggest surprise and best action in racing for 2017. There is a ton of variety in its six driving series, và infinitely more thanks to a breakthrough course creation tool that generates an all-new run in the blinks of an eye. Equally gorgeous và gritty, Dirt 4 finds that sweet spot where the driver is pushed khổng lồ the limit while still feeling the challenge is fair. And its replay value is arguably the best among all genres for the year. Rally racing is sometimes an outlier lớn the larger world of video clip game motorsports, but this year, it’s the MVP..

-Owen Good


27. Little Nightmares

(April 21, Tarsier Studios/Bandai Namco)PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows

The creepiness of this horror adventure is manifest in its colors, shadows, movements và moments. But the one aspect of this game that really chills the blood is its sound effects. You play as a little girl in a yellow raincoat who travels from one room khổng lồ another, avoiding a host of misfit monsters. Little Nightmares progresses a lot lượt thích Limbo or Inside, posing a series of physical & mental puzzles that add up to a journey of survival. But those sounds! The world hums and gasps, clanks and squeals. Its monsters slurp và grunt with sickening effect. Perhaps the game’s best audible treat is — juxtaposed with the monstrous bangs & clashes of this frightful world — the soft little patter of the girl’s feet. The odds are against her, but she keeps moving.

-Colin Campbell


26. Emily Is Away Too

(May 26, Kyle Seeley)Linux, Mac, Windows

Emily Is Away Too takes you baông chồng to high school. You might as well have been sitting on Mom’s couch, staring at AIM và aching for connection. Like its predecessor, Emily Is Away, this game presents its story over chats with friends online. As with real teenage conversations, dialogue is never simple: There’s constantly a tension between what you say & what you mean. Suddenly you’re 15 again, và every friendship is desperately genuine and totally performative sầu. You lie about what music you lượt thích, because of course that’s a reasonable way lớn make friends. You lie about things that don’t matter, because you’re so hungry to be understood by the right people — lớn have sầu them see you, even if the you that you’re presenting is painfully self-conscious and tries too hard lớn say the right thing. You want khổng lồ be the person who says the right thing. Emily Is Away Too puts you baông chồng in those shoes. And more importantly, it doesn’t judge you for it.

-Simone de Rochefort


25. Blackwood Crossing

(April 5, Paper Seven/Vision Games)PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows

Months after completing Blackwood Crossing, seeing a screenshot conjures complicated, unnameable feelings. In the game, you play as a teenage girl on a train journey, coping with a troublesome younger brother. The story soon stretches inlớn dreamlike territory, exploring the togetherness and detachedness of cthảm bại relationships. It’s a tale about love & loss, about innocence và grief, so beautifully written và illustrated that the entirety of its cast of extended family & familiars is unforgettable. Some of them are sad và some are funny, but they are all absolutely human. Its story-based puzzles are just challenging enough to lớn engage, but not so difficult that they slow a tale that stands far above the arcs of most Clip games. Blackwood Crossing is a joyful celebration of life — one that will likely leave sầu you in tears.

-Colin Campbell


24. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

(Aug. 8, Nin-Ja Theory)PlayStation 4, Windows

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice follows the journey of Senua — who suffers from severe psychosis — as she descends inkhổng lồ Helheyên ổn, the underworld of Norse mythology, to lớn save her lover Dillion. To build empathy between the player và this tortured anh hùng, the game includes the shrill voices, sounds và images of Senua’s psychosis. Like Senua, this blurs reality và illusion lớn the point that nothing can be trusted. To create this connection with the player và use it solely for scares would be lớn waste it. Instead, Hellblade takes a mature và compassionate look at grief & mental health in a way few games have sầu. It’s a horror game with a heart.

-Austen Goslin


23. Night in the Woods

(Feb. 21, Infinite Fall/Finji)Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows

How Night in the Woods navigates friendship in the wake of self-loathing is relatable. The story begins on a note of self-defeat & depression, yet never drags its heels or feels too sorry for itself. Mae, the main character who also happens lớn be a mèo, has just dropped out of college và returned to her hometown. Through Mae, the game đơn hàng with the anxieties of early adulthood: feeling lượt thích your friends are leaving you behind, dealing with a hopeless sense of apathy, repairing broken friendships. But it’s not all serious & sad. In between catching up with friends & investigating a severed arm found in front of a diner, you play in a b&, vì some bottle-breaking crimes and buổi tiệc nhỏ in the woods. It’s strange and sweet, alien và painfully familiar.

-Ashley Oh


22. Pyre

(July 25, Supergiant Games)Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows

Pyre is a beautiful, moving game in just about every way. It’s gorgeous lớn look at, full of absurdly colorful vistas và strikingly subtle character art. The music is catchy and uplifting, a needed boost in the unforgiving world underneath the Commonwealth. The Rites are exciting và frenetic, but you’re still given enough breathing room for thoughtful strategizing. Weaving all these elements together is a story about the strength of diversity và the power that lies in both mercy và self-sacrifice. And it’s a story that continues regardless of your success or failure, giving every moment a narrative weight that few games reach.

-Clayton Ashley


21. The Evil Within 2

(Oct. 13, Tango Gameworks/Bethesdomain authority Softworks)PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows

Given the universally milquetoast reception lớn the original Evil Within, expectations for developer Tango Gameworks’ survival horror sequel were slyên. Surprise is my enduring memory of The Evil Within 2. It not only dramatically distinguishes itself from its predecessor but (like Resident Evil 7) adds smart, original & well-executed ideas to lớn a genre that seemed stale not so long ago. Unlike so many franchises, The Evil Within 2 exhibits a willingness, if not outright eagerness, to lớn change. Every few hours, it morphs và transitions: a linear haunted house, an open world, a series of puzzles, a collection of dungeons. It can be slow and methodical, & it can be loud & aggressive. By the over, the game feels lượt thích a mixture of fresh new takes and a greatest hits tour of the genre’s past two decades.

-Dave Tach


đôi mươi. Fire Emblem Heroes

(Feb. 2, Intelligent Systems, Nintenbởi vì EPD/Nintendo)Android, iOS

Nintenbởi vì hasn’t had the best track record with its di động gaming attempts, but damn if the company didn’t crush Fire Emblem Heroes. At first glance, it seems like an oversimplified version of the popular turn-based strategy franchise. But it is in fact a more codified, lean & tactical interpretation, focusing the combat on smaller maps where every move sầu must be carefully considered. Sure, the game has some predatory free-to-play elements, but it also offers a stunning amount of content for those who aren’t interesting in spending a dime. Few free-to-play thiết bị di động games treat the player with as much respect và generosity, và even fewer are as well-designed as Fire Emblem Heroes.

-Russ Frushtick


19. Gravity Rush 2

(Jan. 20, SIE Japan Studio, Project Siren/Sony Interactive sầu Entertainment)PlayStation 4

Gravity Rush 2 features multiple strong female leads, a story about the insidiousness of income inechất lượng và a protagonist who never fires a gun. Video game fans have sầu been asking publishers khổng lồ take these risks for decades, & when Gravity Rush 2 was thrown into the market, there were few arms ready khổng lồ catch it. What a shame, because not only is Gravity Rush 2 intellectually fascinating, it’s also a really well-made open-world game. With the power lớn shift the direction of gravity, players send the affable heroine Kat up, down and sideways through a collection of cities and villages stacked upon each other. The art, music & writing are equally playful, blending together inkhổng lồ the Clip game equivalent of hot cocoa. This game warms you up. Maybe you missed it in the beginning of 2017, but don’t let the year pass without it.

-Chris Plante


18. Lone Echo

(July 20, Ready at Dawn/Oculus Studios)Windows

Lone Echo is the most engrossing, most important virtual reality game khổng lồ date. It follows game android engineer Jachồng và his human captain, Olivia Rhodes, aboard a collapsing deep space mining facility — but their frantic fight for survival isn’t what makes the game so exciting. Lone Echo rewards the player with constant little discoveries. Every interface in the game is presented physically, often pulled out of a wrist-mounted display that feels incredible every time you use it. Traversal entails pushing yourself off of walls to propel yourself through zero gravity. It’s also the most emotionally resonant adventure title I’ve sầu played in ages, but it’s those VR interactions that make it much more than just a great game — it’s an essential kiến thiết mandate that could btia laze a trail for VR experiences yet to lớn come.

-Griffin McElroy


17. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

(Aug. 29, Firaxis Games/2K Games)Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

Rather than gilding the lily, the team at Firaxis opted to lớn turn the entirety of XCOM 2 inkhổng lồ solid gold. War of the Chosen fills in the gaps that have plagued the franchise since the beginning. Traditionally, players have beaten their heads against the same objectives over và over again, so through hard work và iteration Firaxis invented new classes of enemies và new mission types that give sầu the game a truly dynamic range of experiences. That is khổng lồ say: Firaxis focused on the micro, & fixed the macro. Meanwhile, the team wrote a great cast of characters & provided organic systems khổng lồ let players create their own. It’s no exaggeration lớn call this expansion not just the best but the definitive sầu XCOM experience.

-Charlie Hall


16. West of Loathing

(Aug. 10, Asymmetric)Linux, Mac, Windows

Let me tell you about my friend, my “pardner,” Doc Alice. My companion through West of Loathing, I picked her because (1) her comments were snarky, & (2) I figured I’d need a healer. She proved lớn have other talents and likable traits, too. She seemed khổng lồ not like clowns, and she was good at knowing where nearby cemeteries were. But when I got really curious about necromancy — which, like all things West of Loathing, seemed lượt thích a silly little thing within this world — Alice got sad. Sad & worried. Eventually she left me over my relationship with the dark arts, and that’s when I realized how much of my story had been interpreted through her, and how different it was without her. For all their crudeness & puerile jokes, these seemingly simple stiông xã figures contain more humanity than the vast majority of lifelike CGI characters in games that cost tens of million dollars lớn produce. West of Loathing was a game that I found infinitely joyful, a journey through life’s absurdities led by its heart.

-Ross Miller


15. Assassin’s Creed Origins

(Oct. 27, Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows

Assassin’s Creed Origins doesn’t waste much time before it sets you completely loose in Egypt. It has a tale to tell, but who wants to follow a dotted line to a story objective sầu when you can sail a reed boat through a marsh and — oh no, crocodiles can destroy your boat! Open-world games offer delightful & sometimes ridiculous opportunities for discovery. They can also be intensely relaxing: You slip into lớn something comfortable và pick up where you left off, perhaps riding your horse through a vibrant farming village, under a cloudless xanh sky. There are people who need your help & you know just what lớn vì. Forget the story. Origins isn’t a rethinking of the genre; rather, it’s an extremely và lovingly polished version of what already works. The franchise has become the Original Recipe, familiar but irresistible. Origins is worth a visit. Get lost in the desert và make the world a better place, one bite-sized quest at a time.

-Simone de Rochefort


14. Cuphead

(Sept. 29, StudioMDHR Entertainment)Xbox One, Windows

On paper, Cuphead’s a pretty simple game. You run, jump, shoot, parry. As a retro-inspired action game, Cuphead is fine enough. But the reason Cuphead is high on this danh sách — và so high, at that — is because of its art và music, which make it feel lượt thích an interactive sầu 1930s cartoon. Cuphead’s developers nailed the game’s presentation so thoroughly that many critics and fans have sầu wondered why no one else had done this before — perhaps ignoring that Cuphead wasn’t just a success because the team behind it chose the ’30s aesthetic, but because of its masterful execution of it.

-Matt Leone


13. What Remains of Edith Finch

(April 25, Giant Sparrow/Annapurmãng cầu Interactive)PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

At first blush, What Remains of Edith Finch is awfully similar khổng lồ Gone Home. As a young woman, you return khổng lồ a large family home on the outskirts of society in search of questions lớn a vague mystery. But where Gone Home is the Clip game equivalent of a novella, Edith Finch progresses like a collection of short stories. A strange “curse” has obliterated the Finch family — every thành viên is now deceased except for 17-year-old Edith. She revisits the house that’s been in her family for generations, but now has access khổng lồ all its secret passages và bedrooms. There’s something thrillingly voyeuristic in exploring an old house, and in turn, people’s memories & diaries. Each room spurs flashbacks khổng lồ its previous owner, the objective sầu tied lớn a specific (typically tragic) moment in their life. You fly a kite on a stormy shore, take photos on a nature hike or pass a tedious workday with daydreams. It lulls the player with the mundanity of life, & just as in real life, the most shocking moments arrive without warning. Edith Finch is one of the most existential walking sims out there, examining life and death with humor, grace và sincerity.

-Ashley Oh


12. Destiny 2

(Sept. 6, 2017, Bungie/Activision)PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

On paper, Destiny 2 is the most generic flavor of video clip games: Dime-store sci-fi meets boardroom-approved monetization in a package that tries to lớn merge the the two most exhausted genres of the past decade, the first-person shooter & the online role-playing game. What elevates Destiny 2 above its contemporaries is its feel. The sway of the rifle, the glide of a double jump, the sharp thwack that accompanies a melee attack: Every motion and sound hits the brain, as if it’s real. It helps that Destiny 2 is the best console shooter since Gears of War. It just feels right.

-Charlie Hall


11. Butterfly Soup

(May 29, Brianna Lei)Linux, Mac, Windows

There"s a music cue in Butterfly Soup that, when it plays the first time, is shocking. Not in a bad way, và not in a horror movie way; it’s shocking because of how inspired, how smart, how straight-up funny it is. The saccharine Titanic soundtrachồng classic “My Heart Will Go On” plays as Akarsha & Min-Seo, two of the visual novel’s four stars who spover much of its story at odds, finally have sầu a breakthrough. The new friends find themselves finding comtháng ground as they skateboard off into lớn the sun, all to lớn the tune of Celine Dion’s song. Except the version that plays isn’t the original, but a cover performed on a very shrill recorder. It’s a hilarious and pointed moment that encapsulates what makes Butterfly Soup so endearing: It’s a powerful tale of female friendship, teen sexuality and coming lớn terms with who you are. But it’s also the kind of game that will turn expectation on its head.

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-Allegra Frank


10. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

(Oct. 27, MachineGames/Bethesda Softworks)PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

From “Wolfenstein 2’s true heroes are its moms”:

“It’s easy lớn champion The New Colossus as strikingly relevant in 2017 because of its gleeful fascist-killing. But where the game’s real relevance lies is in its feminine center. And how refreshing it is, in a world in which women’s bodies are consistently under threat, to play a video game that respects women as equals: strong, capable, persistent.”

-Allegra Frank


9. Everything

(March 21, David OReilly/Double Fine Productions)Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows

From “Everything is a game for everybody”:

“OReilly included in Everything an auto-play mode, which sends the perspective sầu up, down & up again through the creatures & things of its galaxy. There’s a tempestuous debate among muốn video clip game fans about what makes a đoạn Clip game a video clip game. Is it an amount of challenge? Is it a degree of interactivity? Who gives a shit? Here is a game that plays itself. It exists with or without you. In a medium full of power fantasies, Everything invites you to lớn savor the power of knowing you’re powerless.”

-Chris Plante


8. Horizon Zero Dawn

(Feb. 28, Guerrilla Games/Sony Interactive sầu Entertainment)PlayStation 4

From “Horizon sends a warning from the post-post-apocalypse”

“The lesson, và hope, of Horizon Zero Dawn is this: Humans can impose their will on the planet. We have sầu the capacity to lớn unmake this world. But with enough care and ingenuity, & a dollop of luông xã, we can remake it, too.”

-Samit Sarkar


7. Prey

(May 5, Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

From “Prey is the culmination of its genre”:

“Whether or not Arkane gets to lớn exp& on the universe it created, Prey is a towering example of a game that flourishes under brilliant constraints. As with System Shock, maybe it will inspire other developers lớn revere the past, imbue players with the power to lớn make meaningful decisions and mimic one of 2017’s best games.”

-Dave Tach


6. Persomãng cầu 5

(April 4, Atlus/Atlus USA)PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

From “Persona 5 strives to be accessible — ever though its 125 hours long”:

“So while Persona 5 is still contains the utterly fantastical — grotesque monsters, a dark alternate dimension & a talking cat bus — it’s still something I could heartily recommkết thúc khổng lồ anyone, with any gaming background. One-hundred-and-twenty-five sầu hours later, và Persona 5 had snuchồng thief-lượt thích inlớn my heart, changing how I forever felt about games like it.”

-Chelsea Stark


5. Resident Evil 7

(Jan. 24, Capcom)PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

From “Resident Evil 7 captures the joy of the entire series”

“That Resident Evil 7 would be an improvement following the cacophonous Resident Evil 6 shouldn’t be a surprise; after all, there was almost nowhere khổng lồ go but up. But Resident Evil 7 is something far more ambitious. It’s a game full of reference — both to lớn itself & lớn the world of horror games that have sầu filled the half-decade void while Resident Evil figured out what it was again — but in assembling the parts, the development team has managed khổng lồ create something greater than the sum of those parts. Resident Evil 7 isn’t only one of the best games in the storied, two-decade-old series, but a confident new entry in the survival horror landscape.”

-Chris Grant


4. Nier: Automata

(March 7, PlatinumGames/Square Enix)PlayStation 4, Windows

From “Nier: Automata earns its obsessive sầu fandom”:

Nier: Automata is talented, weird, serious, goofy, thought-provoking và beautiful, & it mixes up those qualities to lớn hit you with each often enough that you don’t forget about any of them. You don’t have to lớn be a supertín đồ chasing around the game’s director to like it, but chances are you might become one anyway.”

-Matt Leone


3. Super Mario Odyssey

(Oct. 27, Nintenvì chưng EPD/Nintendo)Nintendo Switch

From “Super Mario Odyssey uses the series’ past khổng lồ kickstart its future”:

Super Mario Odyssey is a celebration of all things Mario. From his wardrobe, which lets Mario dress up in outfits that reference games as obscure as NES Open Tournament Golf & Qix for trò chơi Boy, to Odyssey’s midgame musical number paired with a recreation of Donkey Kong, Nintenvày won’t let players forget about Mario’s past. But what’s special about Super Mario Odyssey is the acknowledgement that the franchise must move forward & exp& outward.”

-Michael McWhertor


2. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

(Dec. trăng tròn, PUBG Corp.)Windows, Xbox One

From “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will define the next decade of shooters”

“A year or two from now, I fully anticipate every AAA shooter will have a battle royale mode. We’ve already seen Epic’s Fortnite and Rockstar’s Grand Theft Aulớn Online take a stab at it with their own unique twists. EA và Activision will undoubtedly follow suit. But without PlayerUnknown’s mods và, eventually, PUBG, we wouldn’t be here. The genre wouldn’t be forever changed. And that’s what the best games vày. They lead the charge.”

-Russ Frushtick


1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild(March 3, Nintenvì chưng EPD/Nintendo)Nintenvị Switch, Nintenbởi vì Wii U

From “Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece”:

“If you like puzzles, there are more than 120 shrines lớn conquer. If you like combat, enemies are everywhere. If you lượt thích building a character, there are weapons and armor lớn collect và tăng cấp. If you like side quests, it has dozens of hours of them — including one where you straight-up build a town. If you like story, Breath of the Wild imbues its characters with more life than any of its predecessors.

“And if you don’t lượt thích some of these, you’re không tính tiền lớn ignore them. If you want to lớn collect cuckoos, knoông chồng yourself out. If you want lớn ignore them (or just whack them with a weapon until they lose their minds), that’s fine, too. Not only does Breath of the Wild present players with an enormous, believable world, but because it puts exploration in players’ hands, it offers an abundance of freedom.”


Chuyên mục: Tin Tức