It’s been a hell of a year, to put it mildly. Thankfully, we’ve had a great twelve months of games and movies to take our minds off the world slowing falling into a Trump-shaped festering sinkhole.
Best of 2017:
Nier Automata – I hated the first playthrough. By the third, it had totally changed how I feel about all video games. Utterly essential, with the best game ending ever.
Horizon Zero Dawn – Beautifully designed and an absolute joy to play, with an open world that I was happy to lose myself in for hours.
Uncharted Lost Legacy – The best Uncharted. The marketing focussed on the open-world first third, but the rest is a greatest hits of everything that makes Uncharted great.
Little Nightmares – Stunning horror tale. This year’s Inside.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew – So much more fun (and complicated) than I thought it would be. I only play in single-player (and it’s great), but Matt’s all over the multiplayer and loves it.
Super Mario Odyssey – A game that waits for you to finish its story before truly opening up into its true form as the rightful heir to Mario 64. Endlessly creative and joyful.
Floor Kids – I can’t dance, but I sure as hell want to learn after playing this. One of the best Switch games, and so, so cool.
Arms – Of all the great Switch games this year, Arms is the one I keep coming back to. What started as a bit of a bare-bones premise turned into a wonderful fighting game stuffed with free add-on content. And not a loot box in sight.
Ghost Recon Wildlands, Stardew Valley, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Just Dance 2018, Wipeout Omega Collection, FIFA Switch
It was fine:
Hitman: The Complete First Season, Persona 5, Splatoon 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins
Destiny 2, Gravity Rush 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (my biggest disappointment of the year), 1-2-Switch, Nidhogg 2, Lego Worlds
Call of Duty: WWII, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, Oxenfree, Agents Of Mayhem
Notable exceptions that I haven’t played:
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Nioh, What Remains of Edith Finch, Prey, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, Star Wars Battlefront II
Best of 2017:
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi – I mean, it has to be. My full review’s coming, but for now just know that it is everything I wanted as an adult Star Wars fan. Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. Star Wars has not been this creative or relevant in decades.
Wonder Woman – I would rewatch this happily every night. The one great modern DC movie. An almost perfect film, with a stunning lead and incredible director.
Logan – Everything’s great here – the tone, the acting, the story – but it’s Dafne Keen that takes my breath away every time. It’s not surprising that she’s been compared to Natalie Portman in Leon.
Dunkirk – Inception is one of my all-time favourites, but after Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar, I’d given up hope that Christopher Nolan could regain his former glory. Then Dunkirk came along – possibly his best film – and I believe again. Also, Tom Hardy once again shows his ability to steal a film with only ten lines, most of them through a mask.
Thor Ragnarok – So. Much. Fun. An absolute blast from beginning to end, with some exceptional fight direction thrown in for good measure.
XXX3: The Return Of Xander Cage – Honestly, this is one of the all-time great ensemble action movies. Everyone on the production is clearly having a great time, and has the most diverse cast you’ll see in a Hollywood production. Very quotable, too. Put away your snobbery and get watching.
Baby Driver, Life
It was fine:
Lego Batman, John Wick 2
Kong: Skull Island, Colossal, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Atomic Blonde
Notable exceptions that I haven’t seen:
Get Out, Alien: Covenant, The Big Sick, War For The Planet Of The Apes, Blade Runner 2049
Here’s hoping for 2018 to be another great year in games and film (because we’ll probably need it to be). Happy New Year!