6 – Lego City Undercover (WiiU, PC, Switch, PS4, XB1)
There’s many reasons Lego games are very much a gaming touchstone for me probably too many to list here now, but first and foremost, they’re fun puzzlers that can be played at whatever pace I want with my child in the room, even joining in with her controller if she so wishes.
Then there’s a reason that this hasn’t appeared on any of my GOTY lists before and the reason is simple: it’s never worked properly. It’s finally found the correct platform to play on and that is the PlayStation 4. Gone are the game breaking loading times and glitches that made what should be a joy a chore. This year I’ve finally been able to really get stuck in to the story and it’s the usual high standards of witty writing expected from a Lego game that’s made Chase McCain a good clean hero in our household.
7 – Hitman Season 1 (PS4, XB1, PC & MAC)
As always with games, I’m late to the party again with this. It does mean I’ve missed the Elusive Targets feature, but to be honest, looking at how well I’ve played this game, that’s not a loss. So far I’ve managed to barely scrape through the wonderfully entertaining tutorial and get myself completely stuck in the first mission in Paris and you know something? I don’t care how bad I am at this game at all. It’s an amazingly intricate logic problem disguised by some of the most beautiful graphics, sound and gameplay this current generation has to offer. Come back to me in a years time and I may still well be stuck in Paris, but I’ll certainly still be enjoying it, because it’s a game after all and isn’t that what you’re supposed to do with them?
8 – Mario Odyssey (Switch)
I’ve double checked and 2017 has been the year for me that has had the largest amount of games from that year make it into my top ten list. What’s helped this is the arrival of the Nintendo Switch, a console I was sick to the back teeth of before it had even launched as fanboys everywhere went into meltdown. Hype never helps anything, but luckily I managed to get one in my hands (through a lot of dealing) for £100 less than the £280 price tag. I kept my unit instead of selling it for a profit, but I had a boatload of reservation.
Mario Odyssey, a game that I would’ve considered a shoo-in as a launch title was mystifyingly released seven months later. I really couldn’t see why Nintendo had decided to put the cart out there before the horse, but it makes sense in retrospect as they’ve been able to give other IP’s the room to be discovered and enjoyed before the big one is unleashed. And my, what a big one it is.
Odyssey has taken everything good from the Mario platformers and created what Could be one step closer to the perfect Mario game. It’s not quite there yet as sometimes the Cappy throwing mechanic can be a bit hit and miss and frustrating on more than one occasion. Couple this with the fact I’ve been unable to devote as much time to it as I would like to and this is why a major release on anyone else’s calendar is only just in my ten favourites of the year.
9 – South Park: The Fractured But Whole (XB1, PC, PS4)
This suffers the same fate as Mario Odyssey. It’s been buried by not only some of the largest releases of the year, but this generation and the time of year when my workload increases exponentially thus squeezing time played to virtually nothing.
What I have played though has been thoroughly enjoyable. All the barbed South Park humour is intact as the boys continue their adventures the morning after their Stick Of Truth fight. Again taking elements of RPG levelling up and battle mechanics and throwing in the familiar X-Com move grid system for good measure means you have a game that’s not impossible to finish and lets you breathe and enjoy the ever pervasive, irreverent comedy throughout.
10 – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch)
As with the last few Mario Kart releases: it’s Mario Kart ‘nuff said. What’s important here is that the full blown console polish that all the twenty eight players of the WiiU version experienced is now out there in the great wide open thanks to the Switch portability and the perfect balance of fine tuning and additions to make this the finest Mario Kart to date, but at the core, this is nothing more than a port or a ‘remaster’ in the same way Resident Evil 4 is constantly re-tooled. Speaking of which, when’s that coming to the Switch..?