5. Golf Story – Golf Story is a retro-inspired golf RPG on the Switch. It has a vibe similar to Earthbound, with strange characters and even stranger events that everyone seems to accept at face value. The golf mechanics are surprisingly deep, but the game fails to explain many of them, leaving players with a handicap (*rimshot). While the gameplay frustrated me at times, the story and characters never failed to charm me.
4. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp I love all things Animal Crossing. Even though the core game has changed little over the years, I still buy every iteration. So, when Nintendo published a mobile game, of course I had to be one of the first to play. It’s not as full-featured as a console AC game but that hasn’t stopped me from sinking hours into performing tasks for my villagers and curating my campsite. They recently released an update that introduced gardening, so I’m confident I will remain at my pocket camp for some time to come.
3. Theatrhythm: Curtain Call – This game didn’t come out in 2017 but 2017 is when I got around to playing it. This is a rhythm game centered on the music of Final Fantasy with light RPG elements. Although I’ve never played more than a few hours of any Final Fantasy game, the music is legendarily good. I became quite obsessed with getting all perfects on each song and leveling up my characters. The style of the game is charming with cute characters and animations. This is a game I’m sure to revisit in the future.
2. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – BotW is a close second to Yakuza 0 for me, but the durability system and weak story slips it down a notch on my list. What BotW did right, it did amazingly well. The world is so fully realized and fun to wander that it was easy to let hours go by while I did “one last thing.” Playing it on the Switch was revolutionary. Someone else in the family needs the tv? No problem! I loved the freedom that both BotW and the Switch gave me to do what I wanted, when I wanted.
1. Yakuza 0 – Yakuza 0 is by far my pick for best game I played in 2017. It has it all: an engrossing story, memorable characters, immersive environments, fun combat, and a variety of content. It introduced me to a series I had long been interested in, but somehow never managed to play. And what an introduction! I have since played Kiwami and Yakuza 4 but they don’t ignite the same love that I hold for Zero. Zero is a nearly perfect game for me (some annoying mini-games and car chase aside). I hope to revisit it soon.