Best game of 2017

‘Open world’ games will never look the same again

Best Game of 2017 Zelda Breath of the Wild

Best Games of 2017 Award

Every year, Digital Trends editors hand pick the most exciting products we’ve had the privilege of handling this year. Make sure to check out award winners in categories from cars to computers, plus the overall best product of 2017! Read on for the games that floored us this year. 

Winner

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gives new meaning to the idea of “going on an adventure” in a video game. Nintendo has been telling Zelda tales for 30 years, but this one not only feels fresh relative to its predecessors, it feels unique among all games — a truly rare phenomenon in 2017.

This game takes its hands off the reins and allows you to explore the world your own way. You can go anywhere at any time. Some areas may be too difficult for you without the right equipment, but there’s nothing stopping you from finding what you need and coming back. Restricted only by your skill and imagination, you can always look out into the distance, pick a point on the horizon and just go.

Many open-world games built for exploring feel like a series of key locations strung together with visually interesting, but ultimately flat scenery, but Breath of the Wild’s land of Hyrule feels alive. There are creatures, friendly and dangerous, travelling on every road, sleeping in every clearing, and hovering over every mountain summit. No spot in the world feels out of place, or like a technical seam meant to hide loading enemies: You are meant to see every square inch of it.

Breath of the Wild is one of the rare few that gives you the tools and inspires you to try new things.

And you’ll want to go out and find it. It feels like every new interaction — every quest, puzzle, and activity — introduces some new gameplay element or weird quirk. It’s always exciting to see what’s over the next hill. That desire is so strong, in fact, that we’ve heard of many players who have spent dozens of hours wandering without conquering any of the core “Divine Beast” temples.

That, more than anything, is what makes Breath of the Wild feel special. Plenty of games offer you a sandbox and give you toys to play with. (Nintendo’s other major release this year, Super Mario Odyssey, does it extremely well). Breath of the Wild is one of the rare few that gives you the tools and inspires you to try new things.

Read our full The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review

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Runners up

Destiny 2 builds upon all the most addictive, interesting elements of Bungie’s 2014 MMO-loot-shooter. It pushes all the right levers in just the right ways to make even repetitive tasks feel interesting and fun. Whether you and your friends are racking your brains to finish a raid, or mindlessly doing patrols, playing Destiny 2 just feels good.

It also (mostly) solves the original’s content issues. No matter how much content Bungie delivers, its fans will never be satisfied, but they always come back whenever there’s something new to do. As challenging as it is to make a game that fans will keep playing forever, it’s even harder to make one that fans will never give up on.

Read our full Destiny 2 review

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Destiny 2

As white nationalism creeps from history books back into newspapers, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus’ vivid depiction of a Nazi-controlled America is both a cautionary tale for our current political climate, and a salve for it. Though it was developed before present-day headlines, its delicate writing, undoubtedly some of the best this year, conveys both the severity and absurdity of wrestling with those ideals. Never has shooting a Nazi in the head felt so cathartic. The American experience in 2017 has been defined by political conflict, and The New Colossus proves that games can be a productive part of the conversation.

Read our full Wolfenstein 2: The Colossus review

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Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
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