It’s already mid-year of 2017 (how time flies!) and we’ve had half our share of what the year has to offer for gaming. Screen Critics put our heads together and came up with our personal picks of the games that have impressed us, provided us countless hours of quality entertainment, and in some cases, shaken us to our core. From the return of a beloved classic franchise in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to the unexpectedly terrifying Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, here’s the Screen Critics gaming teams picks for games of the year 2017 (so far).
Mass Effect: Andromeda
While Mass Effect: Andromeda received a lukewarm reception at launch, it certainly piqued the interest of Screen Critics writer Daniel Gyenesse, who awarded his Game of the Year to Bioware’s ambitious sci-fi shooter and continuation of the Mass Effect series. Despite its flaws – and of course those unforgettable facial animations – the gameplay itself is surprisingly solid and does a lot to convince die-hard fans of the Mass Effect games to get on its better side, also acting as a decent entry point into the series for newcomers who want to get accustomed to the exhilarating gameplay mechanics. It might be a while before Bioware makes another landing with Anthem, but trust Andromeda to hold you over until then.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
For our writers Zak Brown, Joe Brichetto, and Editor-In-Chief Shaun Kelly, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was not only a superb addition to the long-running Zelda series, but also one of the years best games and a worthwhile selling point to the Nintendo Switch. Breath of the Wild revamps the series and takes it in exciting new directions, from the cell-shaded, eye-catching graphics to the enormity of its massive open world of Hyrule that simply begs to be explored to its fullest, packed with tons of content. Breath of the Wild is a shining example of Nintendo at their lurid best, putting The Legend of Zelda back into the mainstream spotlight while paying great homage to its critically acclaimed past.
Read Joe’s review for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild here.
Bendy and the Ink Machine
In the most unique entry on the list, writer Madison Houston has chosen Steam Early Access indie-horror title, Bendy and the Ink Machine, as her personal game of the year. Taking notes from the most renowned indie-horror darlings in gaming such as Five Nights at Freddy’s and Little Nightmares, Bendy and the Ink Machine is as genuinely unnerving as it is thought-provoking, twisting a child-friendly tone and design from the Walt Disney pages into something far more sinister yet hard to put down. While it may not have left Early Access quite yet, it just makes us more eager to get our hands on the finished product. The possibilities are endless for some nostalgic nightmares.
Read Madison’s extended thoughts on Bendy and the Ink Machine here.
Fighting games are a dime a dozen in this current generation, but Injustice 2 left a big enough imprint on writer Misael Duran for him to consider this wildly entertaining superhero fighter as his game of the year. Injustice 2 does a lot to improve upon its predecessor, tightening up the gameplay for more responsive controls while remaining easy to learn, but difficult to master some of its more intricate combos. Each character from the impressive DC roster has their own distinct style of fighting that borrows heavily from the combat system of Mortal Kombat, yet is kept fresh by its extended mechanics such as the in-depth and gratifying customization options to the newly added power armor that gives you a leg up in the heat of battle. This is one fighter of the year you might not want to miss.
Read Misael Duran’s review for Injustice 2 here.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
For myself, there were many exciting games that developers brought to the table in 2017. I can write volumes about how impressed I was with Persona 5 or Horizon: Zero Dawn, but it was Resident Evil 7: Biohazard that ultimately won me over. Capcom’s rejuvenation of the survival horror genre that brought the series back to its gritty, terrifying roots is back and with a vengeance. The new first-person perspective mixes up the scares and provides plenty of great, unexpectedly frightening moments that kept me on the edge of my seat from the minute it began to the end credits. Resident Evil 7 is as fulfilling of a modern day horror masterpiece as you can get, and does the series justice by giving us what we’ve all been begging for: a return to the days of the original trilogy.
Read Sam’s review for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard here.