It’s hard to believe but 2017 is almost over. This year Microsoft made a huge statement with the release of the Xbox One X. As positive as the buzz has been on the new console, it’s also clear that Microsoft has struggled to release exclusive content on the platform this year. While 2017 might not be a standout year on the platform there were still some amazing games to be played over the last 12 months.
As with any list, Game of the Year is always subjective to the author. My list for game of the year isn’t based on critical reception or even technical achievement. For me, it’s more about the experience and fun of the game. With that in mind, here are my top 5 Xbox One games of 2017.
Marvel Heroes Omega
Marvel Heroes Omega was a dungeon crawling action game in the vein of Diablo. It was originally released on the PC back in 2013 and finally made its way to consoles in 2017. Players could choose from a huge selection of Marvel Heroes. Big names like Spider-Man and Iron Man to lesser known characters like She-Hulk and Moon Knight. Combat was simple hack and slash esque taking characters from chapter to chapter to complete a giant story set in the Marvel Universe.
Two things that I’m not very fond of are Free to Play games and Dungeon Crawlers. So, it makes absolutely no sense that I loved Marvel Heroes as much as I did. The hook for me was easily the Marvel Universe. As a comic nerd, I loved visiting Hell’s Kitchen, unlocking the Hawk-Guy skin, and taking down Klaw. It was a game built for Marvel fanatics. Unfortunately, Disney announced that the game would come to an end in November. Marvel Heroes was an online, Free to Play game which means when the servers turned off the game ceased to be. It really is a shame because it was one of my gaming highlights of the year.
Cuphead is a hard-as-nails action platformer starring a guy with a cup for a head. The title character, Cuphead, and his buddy Mugman, sell their soul to the devil and have to collect contracts to earn them back. The player bounces between run and gun stages and boss battles. The game also features a hand-drawn, 1930s animated art style which sets it apart from anything else on the Xbox.
While I have a soft spot for Mega Man, these days I tend to shy away from the extremely difficult games of that ilk. The time investment in learning a game like Cuphead is huge and the frustration level can also be very high. But none of that could deter me from playing Cuphead. The breathtaking art design alone is something that has to be seen to really be appreciated. Am I playing the game on easy? Yes. Will I ever defeat the devil? Probably not. Does that stop this from being one of the best video games on the Xbox One in 2017? Not a chance. Few games are as special as Cuphead. It demands to be played.
Chroma Squad is a turn-based, strategy RPG. Similar to games like Fire Emblem or Tactics Orge. The setting of the game is inspired by the Japanese Super Sentai TV series, better known to the rest of the world as Power Rangers. You play as a team of teenagers who have the power to “Chromatize” and morph into a color clad fighting team to save the universe.
I have 2 deep geek loves in my life, Star Wars and Power Rangers. While there have been Power Rangers games through the years, none have been able to really capture what is great about the material. Chroma Squad manages to do that and so much more. When the game starts, your characters are actors on the Chroma Squad show. They quit the show and decide to make their own Power Ranger show. This is the setting for a story that is as bonkers as the source material. You upgrade the cardboard used for Megazords and you buy upgrades for your studio’s camera and lighting. You market your shows and cast new actors. I haven’t even mentioned the combat yet. Turn-based strategy is probably my favorite genre of games and there just aren’t a lot on Xbox. The game is colorful, fun, and zany in all the best ways. There was a time that Chroma Squad was #1 on this list.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is the third LEGO Marvel game to be released. The first game leaned on the comic roots of the characters and topped my list of best LEGO games (which you can read here). LEGO Marvel Avengers covered the Marvel Cinematic Universe. LEGO Marvel 2 manages to bridge the gap and add so much more. The game is an open world, level based, action game where players switch between over 200 Marvel characters and band together to save the world. If you’ve played a LEGO game before, you know what you are getting.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 was easily my most anticipated game of 2017. I got to review the game last month. Here are a few of my final thoughts, “I wanted to love it and, for the most part, I did. In spite of the bugs, in spite of the pedestrian voice cast, and in spite of the missing X-Men characters there is a lot to enjoy in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. If you are a fan of LEGO games and/or a fan of Marvel, this game was made for you. Between Wong sweeping the Sanctum Sanctorum, Ms Marvel taking selfies with the heroes, and Star-Lord dancing to his very own Mix Tapes LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 kept a smile on my face.” If you want to read my full review, you can find that HERE.
What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is a first-person adventure game set on the coast of Washington State. The lead character is Edith Finch who returns to her childhood home following her mother’s death. In search of answers to questions that she didn’t even have, Edith takes players on a journey of family history, heartbreak, and hope. The story is played out in small vignettes as Edith finds her way through the old residence.
It’s really hard to express how much I love Edith Finch and that’s mostly because games like this are very subjective. If you are a fan of Gone Home or Firewatch, then you will be right at home with Edith Finch. Edith is a broken person who has carried around the belief that her family is cursed. Her mother dies and leaves her a key, but she is not sure to what. Edith returns to the house of her youth which was also home of several previous generations of Finches. While she is exploring the home, she is introduced to the former members of her family as she plays though the key moments of their life. From a baby in a bathtub to a father and daughter hunting trip, each story is told through excellent dialogue and atmosphere. You can complete the game in about 2 hours but nothing in that time is wasted. It is one of the most sincere and beautiful gaming experiences that I’ve ever had.
It is clear that while 2017 might have been slim for exclusive content on the Xbox, it’s also clear that there were some amazing experiences available to fans. I’d love to know what your personal games of the year are so leave a comment down below and let me know.