Right, so forget all about the crap like microtransactions and just focus on the good times - has there ever been a year so consistently packed with great games as this one? It can be all too easy to dwell on the negatives, but the truth of the matter is this pales in comparison to the list of unbelievably good games that were released throughout 2017.
If I were to list the top 20 games I’ve played this year, I reckon every single one of them would probably be better than Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, the 2014 Game of the Year during the Global Game Awards by a considerable margin. Not a hard task, admittedly, but it means that for me personally there’s a game coming out ever 2-3 weeks that’s better than the 2014 Game of the Year.
Naturally, there are strong contenders for best ever years in gaming. The rule of 7’s applies here. 1997 and 2007 were both fine years, typically the results of generations of hardware and game engines maturing. In 1997 we had Age of Empires, Goldeneye, Final Fantasy VII, Fallout, Total Annihilation, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Tomb Raider 2 and Grand Theft Auto. 2007 meanwhile was a beast that has come to define many of the industry’s biggest franchises - COD4, BioShock, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Halo 3, Super Mario Galaxy, Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed, The Witcher, Crysis and God of War 2.
Some years didn’t have the best games of all time, but there’s no doubting they were transformative. 1996 was when 3D gaming really began to take hold. We had Quake, Diablo, Mario 64, Duke Nukem 3D, Wipeout, Crash Bandicoot, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Mario Kart 6, Pokemon and, the greatest of them all, Wave Race 64. Oh god I'm nearly myself this was the champion now.
All of these present stern tests when compared to 2017, but just take a moment to consider the treats we’ve had this year - Nier Automa, Breath of the Wild, Horizon, Resident Evil 7, Prey, Divinity 2, Super Mario Odyssey, Wolfenstein II, AC: Origins, PUBG, Cuphead, Nioh, Shadow of War, Edith Finch, Splatoon 2, Sonic Mania, Evil Within 2, Total Warhammer 2, Yakuza Zero. The list goes on and on.
Taken on balance though, I reckon 2017 has been the second-best year ever in gaming. Nothing can quite topple the beauty that was 1998 for me. It was the perfect storm of great games, new ideas and fresh IPs. A handful of my favourite games of all time launched in 1998, and it’s going to take something really rather special to top it. We’re talking Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Half-Life, Metal Gear Solid, Grim Fandango, Baldur’s Gate, StarCraft, Resident Evil 2, Fallout 2, Thief, Banjo Kazooie, Unreal, Rogue Squadron, Turok 2, Soul Calibur, Tekken 3 and F-Zero X. So many of these games began something really special, I do wonder if anything this year can quite have the same lasting impact.
So what are your thoughts, which year do you think has been the best year ever for gaming? Is 2017 the peak? Let us know!