Usually I start these mid-year lists of the best PC games with “Can you believe it’s already June?” But I think I speak for everyone when I say, “wow, we’re only halfway through 2017? Seriously?” This has been one of the busiest spring release windows I’ve ever seen, with dozens of major PCgames already released this year.
Sure, a few we were looking forward to turned out to be high-profile flops (cough Mass Effect: Andromeda cough), but there have also been some instant classics—Nier: Automata, Prey, Thimbleweed Park, and more.
Look for those and more inside, as we round up the best PC games of 2017—so far, at least. This fall’s looking even more packed.
It’s not the story you tell, it’s how you tell it. You could easily look at Preyand dismiss it as same-old, same-old. Immersive sim on a space ship? Oh, so it’s System Shock 3. And indeed that’s the target Arkane aimed at when it started this whole project.
What it lacks in originality it more than makes up for in style, though. Dishonored’s take on the genre is always slow, plodding, and methodical. Creative, to a point—but restrained by the tools at your disposal. Prey has no such restraints. The fact that speedrunners have beaten the game in seven minutes is testament to the freedom Prey gives you, as is the fact that your first “gun” is good mostly for building platforms and accessing those hard-to-reach areas.
Is Prey a revolution? A reinvention of old ideas? Not in the slightest. But it takes much of what made System Shock 2 great, repackages it in a modern game with modern design and modern tech, and runs with it. It’s one hell of a space station and one hell of a game.
I didn’t really understand Nier: Automata until the credits ran for the fifth time. It’s an RPG that breaks all genre conventions from the get-go, with lengthy bullet-hell sequences interspersed between the fast-paced and fluid combat Platinum’s games are known for. And it’s a game that features singing robots