Gamer Escape’s Top 5 Reviewed Games of 2017

Well, folks, it’s just about time to wrap up another wonderful year here at Gamer Escape! It sure was one hell of a year – Final Fantasy XIV saw Stormblood launch, and with that, we were among the first to have hands-on time with it prior to launch, which led to several articles resulting in the most views we have ever had on our blog! We also had the opportunity to interview some wonderful people like Koji Fox, Naoki YoshidaKenichiro Takaki, and Masayoshi Soken; and we kicked Fusionx out of the country to cover the FFXIV Fan Festival in Frankfurt!

Here in my corner of the Gamer Escape empire, though, we have continued to ramp up our game reviews to new heights. We’ve once again outdone the number of reviews from last year, covering 55 games over last year’s 44. We also expanded our review team, bringing on a number of new dedicated and part-time reviewers (as well as convincing some current staff to start writing reviews…)!

For the past couple of years, we’ve taken New Year’s Eve as a chance to look back at all the games we reviewed throughout the year, and an opportunity to highlight the select few that we believe are absolutely worth your time. Being that this is our third year doing this, I think we can call it a tradition now…right?

Our review staff sifted through all of the games we scored at least a 9/10 to select the five that we feel are the best of the year. We didn’t give these five any specific rankings, so we just listed them in order of release date instead. We’ve also gathered the original reviewer for each of the below titles to give their final words for the year! So, without any further ado, may we present…

Gamer Escape’s Top 5 of 2017!

~ Resident Evil 7: Biohazard ~

Reviewed by: Fusionx
Release Date: January 24th, 2017
Systems: PC, PS4, XB1
Reviewed Version: PS4
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

As a fan of the series, I wasn’t sure what to think of Resident Evil 7 at first with its move to first person. However, the game quickly grew on me, with the new point-of-view making the series feel the most immersive its ever been.

The last pieces of DLC have recently released for Resident Evil 7, offering unique gameplay in each with its new playable characters. I’ve also recently picked up a PlayStation VR and Resident Evil 7 was the first game I played with it – it was amazing. From being attacked by crawling enemies I couldn’t quite make out in the dark rooms, to being eaten by a gator in VR – this is definitely a game to check out for anyone that isn’t afraid of a few scares. Furthermore, if you’re one of those people that can tolerate a few jumps and have a PlayStation VR, this game is a must play.

~ Yakuza 0 ~

Reviewed by: FireMarth
Release Date: January 24th, 2017
Systems: PS4
Reviewed Version: PS4
Gamer Escape Score: 10/10

A highly successful and popular series in its home country, the Yakuza franchise really hadn’t gotten more than a cult following in the west until recently. Sega put a hiatus on localizing the series after the fourth installment back in 2011, not bringing over Yakuza 5 until late 2015 – three years after its Japanese release, and as a digital exclusive.

This year, though, it seems like Sega has become reinvigorated on localizing the series, releasing two titles in the series in 2017 alone, with another planned for early next year. Yakuza 0 hit western shores at the beginning of 2017, and I have to say, it was a hell of a way to start the year. It was the first game I reviewed this year, and it sure as hell set the standard, being the only game we awarded a full score this year at Gamer Escape.

Blending an exciting and dramatic story with wacky and unusual moments and some truly intriguing characters, Yakuza 0 enthralled me from start to finish. The game offered up a couple of compact areas to explore that felt alive and lived in, with an almost overwhelming amount of things to do.

Acting as a prequel to the series as a whole, this game is an excellent entryway into the Yakuza franchise, and has definitely inspired me to check out the other games.

~ NieR: Automata ~

Reviewed by: Anwyll
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Systems: PS4, PC
Reviewed Version: PS4
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

I always anticipated that I would enjoy NieR: Automata—I tend to enjoy the weird works of Yoko Taro even when the gameplay is (as it has often been) somewhat wonky. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, backed by the developers at PlatinumGames, Automata was something of a masterpiece. It’s not a flawless collection of code or specimen of storytelling, but by bringing discordant themes, visual styles, musical genres, and gameplay mechanics into harmony while delivering an unexpectedly philosophical experience that makes the most of video games’ ability to reach out to and interact with the players controlling them—it was easily the title that as a whole left the deepest impression on me this year.

~ Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana ~

Reviewed by: FireMarth
Release Date: September 12th, 2017
Systems: PS4, Vita
Reviewed Version: PS4
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

It’s no secret by this point that Falcom is one of my favorite developers, with their Ys series being one of my favorite franchises overall. I found it hard to contain my excitement when Ys VIII was announced, and when I finally got it in my hands, it still managed to impress me more than I ever expected.

Marking the series’ first real HD outing, Ys VIII perfects the “party” battle system the last few entries have been using, and offers a sense of adventure above and beyond the rest of the series. Falcom’s in-house band also pulled out all the stops, crafting a soundtrack that I can honestly rate now as one of my favorites of all time. Seriously, take a moment to go listen to “Sunshine Coastline,” the first overworld theme of the game – it’s worth your time.

While NISA’s handling of the game has been a bit unsteady, with a somewhat rough translation and the ongoing tribulations of the upcoming PC release, Ys VIII is still an absolute must play.

~ Pyre ~

Reviewed by: Fusionx
Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Systems: PC
Reviewed Version: PC
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

Having enjoyed the previous two titles from Supergiant, I was excited to see what they would do with Pyre. Supergiant continues to have absolutely stunning artwork and amazing audio with Pyre. I still find myself listening to the soundtrack on occasion.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone that hasn’t had a chance to check it out yet – and if you haven’t experienced Bastion or Transistor yet either, you should definitely add all of these games to your list.