2017 was a mixed year for fans of role-playing games. On one hand, we had some really great games in a variety of settings, from classic fantasy to superheroes and sci-fi. On the other, there were some huge disappointments as well (we’re looking at you Mass Effect Andromeda).
However, we choose to focus on the best RPGs we got to play this year. Man, narrowing down this list to just 5 titles was hard, but our resident RPG masters managed to finally do that without too much bloodshed. Some good ones didn’t make the cut, but those that did are definitely the best of the best – and you should play them all.
Here are our picks for the best role-playing games of 2017:
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Or Isaacs: Nier Automata nails down the core features of every good JRPG – the story and player experience, with both being among the most powerful and emotional I’ve played through this year. The game follows 3 androids in a post-apocalyptic future, where androids and robots are constantly at war. It may sound a bit generic, but the story is amazing. As you uncover the reason behind this ongoing war, you encounter many twists and tragedies that bring you closer to the characters on screen.
The story evolves into a philosophical tale about the nature of being human, the rise and fall of empires, and the relationship between a creator and its creations. The great part is that the game never gets preachy about anything, and your philosophical journey is an organic one. The amazing soundtrack and the fun gameplay help as well. Nier Automata isn’t afraid to shift genres from time to time, all under the careful guidance of PlatinumGames. This is an incredible game, and I cannot recommend it enough to those who are looking for something new and memorable.
Tales of Berseria
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Or Isaacs: Tales of Berseria is another game in the long-running Tales series and one of the best entries so far. It’s a tale of revenge, and how it can consume not only yourself but also everyone around you. It’s also about good and evil, and how the two can shift depending on your point of you. Heavy stuff.
The game can get really dark, especially for a JRPG, but it does so in a way that helps you connect with your characters. It never gets to be “too much”, and does a good job at showing that evil often exists on both sides of a conflict. The combat is real-time and feels almost like a fighting game – a really good fighting game. You’re encouraged to trust your reflexes and master a growing move set. Like the gameplay, the plot, art style, and voice acting are top notch, which makes Tales of Berseria a worthy successor to the Tales series’ lineage.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios
Or Othnay: Divinity: Original Sin was considered one of the best RPGs in recent years and as such, I had a hard time believing that Larian Studios will be able to surpass it with their newest release, Divinity Original Sin 2. Since the games’ release, it has been nearly unanimous that this game is as good, if not better than the original one. I agree all-heartedly.
Divinity Original Sin 2 improves on most if not all aspects of the game and is an absolute pleasure to play. The game has an interesting story, lots of side quests and exploration, as well as powerful and interesting abilities that can interact to create powerful combos. The game also offers lots of different ways to achieve an objective, but still offers that feeling of satisfaction when figuring out a problem. All that, together with the gorgeous graphics and the great narration, in my opinion, make this game one of the best role-playing games to come out this year, and probably the last several years as well.
Publisher: Atlus USA
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
Or Isaacs: If I had to describe Persona 5 in one word, that word would be “style”. The game’s visual design is expertly polished, from the character poses to the combat animations. Even the in-game menus are border on eye candy. It all comes together to create a unique, unforgettable visual experience. All this beauty and style is complemented by a twisted story about teens fighting to bring social, financial and political justice to their corrupt city.
Apart from the not-so-subtle social criticism, this story translates into exploring interesting dungeons, tactical combat against demons, and relationship management. There’s always something to do in Person 5, so the game never gets boring or repetitive, even after tens of hours of gameplay. It’s style, writing and music all combine into an exceptional game that was well worth the wait.
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Tarradax: “If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again” is good life advice, which also applies to creating video games. With their first Dark Souls clone coming up short, Deck13 learned their lessons and tried again – with The Surge being the result. A successful entry in the “Souls-likes” genre, The Surge improves where needed and doesn’t break what worked well, and the result is a polished and responsive sci-fi “Souls” with an identity of its own.
Some of the old Lords of the Fallen mechanics still survived, like the increased XP (Scrap, here) gain the longer you go without resting and the option to “Bank” your gathered scrap and avoid potential loss. Supplemented by its own unique mechanics of dismembering enemies to get their stuff and the interesting take on equipment, The Surge is a solid entry into the genre that mixes old and new to forge an enjoyable experience.Some 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.