The best localized games of 2017

2017 has been two very disparate things: a tumultuous year for the world and a straight-up wonderful one for the world of games. Masterfully crafted experiences have been our oasis, comforting us and lifting our spirits. And these are the best of the best.

10. Dragon Quest Heroes II

The they-won’t-admit-it’s-a-Warriors-game-but-it’s-totally-a-Warriors-game Dragon Quest Heroes II embraces all of the addictive hack-and-slash of its parent series while infusing it with much-needed combat tactics. That enough would make it worth a look, but its adherence to the Dragon Quest aesthetic gives it a look and a soundtrack that’s thoroughly pleasant rather than… let’s just say the whole Omega Force thing is best in small doses? The nostalgia’s a bonus, but the fun’s not just about revisiting these characters. – Graham

9. Culdcept Revolt

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as crafting your own strategies and then successfully executing them, and games with deck-building schemes do that as well as can be done. For the price of merely dipping a toe into the world of Magic: The Gathering or Netrunner, Culdcept Revolt delivers an entire experience, complete with engaging single-player challenges and a deep well of collectible cards. Sure, we’d love it if it’s on the Switch next time too, but don’t miss it just because your 3DS needs a charge. – Graham

8. Nier: Automata

NieR: Automata is a game that keeps growing. The more you play, the more you understand about the characters, their world, the struggle people face and maybe even yourself. Each round opens things up, providing access to new endings that may or may not satisfy you. 2B, 9S and A2 may be artificial in more ways than one, but the way they make players feel is real. And, thanks to gameplay systems that make it as challenging or forgiving as you want, everyone can enjoy it. – Jenni

7. Yakuza 0

Kazuma Kiryu is great. So is Goro Majima. But how did these two Yakuza icons develop into the men we have seen in six games? Well, Yakuza 0 tells their story. We get to see how each one got started, experiencing both pertinent and frivolous activities along the way. The real secret is, these two guys were amazing all along. – Jenni

6. Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 has certainly stayed fresh. The sequel has developed into a game that does so much more than the original. The story mode is more substantial. The music minigame offers a huge library of tracks. We have four multiplayer ranked modes to go through. There are lots of weapons, clothing items and maps. We can even compete in regular Splatfests. The best part is, Nintendo keeps adding to the game to give people reasons to come back and play. This is one instance where you want to get hooked. – Jenni

5. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5

We have been waiting for years for Persona 5. Clearly, it has paid off. This latest installment places us in the shoes of young people disgusted with the corruption in society and attempting to right the wrongs of people abusing their power. There are twists and turns as we reach a showdown. Just remember to pass your tests, spend time with friends and get plenty of rest along the way! – Jenni

4. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone

What can we say? It’s the only rhythm game you’ll ever need. The tunes are cool and catchy, there’s an abundance of cosmetic unlockables to keep you interested in the progression and (perhaps most importantly) it’s all built on a button-matching system that’s been refined over and over again. Also there are fun Sega references in it, and those are pretty nice. – Graham

3. Fire Emblem Heroes

Fire Emblem Heroes takes elements of the Fire Emblem formula, like the weapon triangle and class characteristics, and puts it into a turn-based game you can play for fifteen minutes for a full hour. It condenses some of the most important parts of the formula into something that is different, yet familiar. Most importantly, it is fun whether you decide to kick in real cash to play or enjoy the free-to-play experience. – Jenni

2. Puyo Puyo Tetris

When you take the best puzzle game of all time and cross it with the second-best, you inevitably get something everyone should play, but it’s taken to a whole new level when assembled with craft. Puyo Puyo Tetris is frantic, wacky and fun. It’s also refined and intensely competitive. It’s great solo, it’s great head-to-head and it’s great as a party centerpiece. – Graham

Michibiku Game of the Year 2017: Super Mario Odyssey

In a year full of the quirky and cool, we tip our hat at a game that delivered too solidly in too many ways to be ignored. It’s still Mario, but it brings a freshness along with the nostalgia. (And, of course, it has the most polished controls and environments in the business, which helps.) – Graham

Super Mario Odyssey caps our list, and rightfully so! It has been years since we saw a Super Mario game so innovative. The capture mechanic is a fresh approach to letting Mario get new abilities. The plethora of Power Moons and ways to collect them gives us excuses to keep the road trip running. Plus, it is so rewarding to earn new outfit items to create your ideal Mario. Something that is only fitting, since this might just be the ideal Super Mario game for so many of the series’ fans.
– Jenni

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