Surprisingly enough, 2017’s best action games are not shooters. Well, not most of them anyway.
While we did have plenty of good shooting action this year, the games we ended up really liking had more blades, flowers and hedgehogs then usual. And some of them were downright retro.
It’s actually refreshing seeing so many games that don’t involve so many guns on our list this year.
Here are our picks for the best action games of 2017.
Developer: Arkane Studios
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
I think by now it’s pretty obvious I’m completely in love with everything Arkane Studios make, and Prey is no exception.
True, when Prey 2 got canceled I was pretty upset because it looked amazing. However, once I learn Arkane will be the ones to pick up the IP and deliver a whole new experience, I immediately knew it will be even more amazing. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Prey is a big game. Not just in terms of its environments, but also when it comes to the gameplay. It wants you to play any way you want, and provides you with the tools to ensure that you can.
The multi-purpose GLOO Gun is a perfect example, but also how the powers you choose to unlock and use can affect the environment and even story.
I love Prey for that freedom, but also for the coffee mugs that turn into goo aliens when you least expect it.
Guy Yuval, Senior Editor
Developer: Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch
Sonic Mania is Sonic at its best. The return to the classic 2D design was a bold and magnificent move by developers who seem to really understand both the Sonic franchise and its fan base.
Finally, a game for all those long-time fans that did not approve of the transition to 3D platforming (or of Sonic Forces).
Sonic Mania is a very fun game, with addicting gameplay and crazy levels that you can replay over and over again thanks to their forking paths and awesome design.
With plenty of throwbacks to all of our favorite Sonic games of the past, Sonic Mania was a nostalgia loaded adventure that all of us really loved.
Meitav Kleinfeld, Editor
Metroid: Samus Returns
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
After a long, long wait, Samus Aran has finally made it into a new game. This time, it’s the long-awaited remake of the second game in the series, which up until now was the only game in the series with pre-SNES graphics.
With intense battles, cool puzzles, and a huge map to explore, this is easily my favorite action title for the 3DS, and probably one of the best Metroid games.
Running through cave after cave, discovering new powers and weapons, and finding upgrade pickups is just part of the fun. The great bosses that always keep mixing it up with new attack patterns is another example of why I love the game so much.
Metroid: Samus Returns is an addicting Metroid game for the 3DS that I simply couldn’t let go of.
Meitav Kleinfeld, Editor
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Now that the Dark Souls trilogy has concluded, there’s a vacancy that needs to be filled – and while these are some mighty big shoes to fill, Nioh fills them up admirably.
Nioh covers everything fans of the genre could possibly wish for. Of course, being a Team Ninja game, Nioh also has their signature touches: fluidity of motion, beautiful weapons and more combos and moves than you can run a spear through.
Between 7 types of melee weapons, 3 stances for each weapon, 3 additional types of ranged weapons (with 2 ammo types for each) and then some magic and crafting on top, Nioh probably has one of the most extensive arsenals in the genre.
The Diablo-like loot system along with the “Guardian Spirit” system ensures a variety of equipment, and the separation of PvE and PvP content guarantees you’ll only play the way you want to.
I think it’s pretty easy to see why Nioh is one of the top games for this year and a must-play for anyone looking for a tough-but-fair romp through Japan’s mythology.
Tarradax, Staff Writer
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Cuphead isn’t just a great indie game, it’s a great action game in general.
Its colorful 1930s cartoon aesthetics hide one of the most difficult games of the year. You die a lot, but you immediately get back up and try again; and again; and again, until you finally defeat that damn clown.
It might sound a bit tedious, but Cuphead’s bright visuals, lovely characters, and great soundtrack help you focus on just one goal – the next boss.
Personally, I kind of suck at the game, and I was only able to progress through it with the help of a friend in co-op mode. Co-op is a big part of the game and a big part of what makes it so darn fun. It adds to the chaos on screen and makes enemies a little harder to beat, but it gives you someone to share both defeat and victory with.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a heartfelt high-five after particularly difficult boss (which is all of them).
Guy Yuval, Senior EditorSome of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.