It might have been a bad year for just about everything else, but 2017 was phenomenal for gaming. The Nintendo Switch launched with a bang and delivered possibly the best Mario and Zelda games ever made, while Sony birthed a hit new franchise in Horizon: Zero Dawn. Indie darlings like Cuphead and Tacoma stole our hearts, while iconic series such as Sonic and Resident Evil returned to form in a big way. We explored Egypt; fought Superman; picked up the Master Sword; and punched Nazis — and we did it all to bring you this list of the 25 best games of 2017.
Credit: Altus; Telltale; Nintendo; StudioMDHR
A departure from previous entries in Sony's long-running racing franchise, Gran Turismo Sport brought a renewed focus on esports and professional motorsports to the Real Driving Simulator. Developer Polyphony Digital eschewed GT's dated structure to pull a page from more serious PC sims like iRacing, which inspire communities of competition through scheduled daily events, championships and a balance-of-performance system that keeps the racing close. From a technical standpoint, GT Sport is a masterpiece that pushes the PS4 as far as it can go, offering the smoothest, prettiest and best-handling racing experience on the current generation of consoles, while also delivering an even more addictive photo mode and, at long last, a livery editor. — Adam Ismail
Pyre is a party-based RPG featuring a team of social outcasts competing in a form of fantasy-basketball matches called The Trials to earn their way back into society. What makes Pyre special is what happens in between these matches. The branching story of the Nightwings' journey unfolds in bizarre and compelling ways, mostly due to the fact that story keeps moving, win or lose, during the season of this competition. The world of Downside is realized beautifully and is a deadly place with plenty of mystery to uncover. It's the most imaginative work from Supergiant Games, which is a lot to say about the studio that made Transistor and Bastion. — Jorge Jimenez
Credit: Supergiant Games
Although The Walking Dead: A New Frontier started in 2016, its final three episodes debuted in 2017, and they were worth the wait. Telltale's long-running adventure series, inspired by Robert Kirkman's comics, continued the franchise's commitment to memorable characters, difficult moral choices and weighty narrative arcs. As new protagonist Javier García, players got to see a complicated family drama play out before, during and after the zombie apocalypse. Returning characters like Clementine helped keep the game grounded in the ongoing storyline. Ultimately, The New Frontier isn't that different from the two seasons that came before it — but those seasons were excellent, and the trend has continued. — Marshall Honorof
Whether you're chasing down a killer who turns his murders into grotesque art exhibits or evading the gaze of a gigantic eye in the night sky, The Evil Within 2 never lets up on throwing something new and weird your way that is guaranteed to give you the heebie-jeebies.
The Evil Within 2 improved on almost every aspect from its rather disappointing predecessor, focusing more on the unique brand of horror from the twisted mind of Shinji Mikami and throwing you in a interesting and ever-changing open world. It's easily one of 2017's biggest surprises.— Jorge Jimenez
The Tales series hasn't changed that much since its very first entry in 1995, opting for gradual refinement instead of revolutionary overhauls. Two decades of evolutionary changes culminated in Tales of Berseria: a dark, unconventional Japanese role-playing game with an irresistible cast of characters and an addictive battle system. Players take control of Velvet Crowe as she and a group of misfits seek to oust the corrupt Shepherd Artorius by any means necessary — including deception, kidnapping and assassination. The story and characters are unforgettable, but the big draw here is the fast-paced, real-time battle system, which lets you create gorgeous, devastating combos on the fly. — Marshall Honorof
Credit: Bandai Namco
After ten years, it was time for Naughty Dog to let Nathan Drake go. Chloe Frazier and her companion take the wheel in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and having women of color in the flagship series gives it a shot in the arm. The game is gorgeous and India makes for an interesting locale. Seeing Nadine — who is paramilitary, not a treasure hunter — evolve is a pleasure. The game starts slowly, and the open-world experience is hit-and-miss, but the game eventually gets to the over-the-top Hollywood set pieces that define the series and make you feel like you're playing a movie. — Andrew E. Freedman
Credit: Naughty Dog
Prey takes some of the best parts of BioShock, Dishonored, the movies Memento and John Carpenter's The Thing and puts them in space. From start to finish, there's an overwhelming sense of dread, once you realize that death could come in the form of an innocuous coffee mug or a hulking black mass of goo that used to be human. Yes, the "protagonist has amnesia" plot is a little tired, but the beautiful art deco style of the abandoned space station is something to behold. The combat mechanics can use some tweaking, but if you're like me and love first-person shooters, creepy body-snatching aliens and beautiful backdrops, Prey is worth playing before the year is out. — Sherri L. Smith