2017 has already without question been an amazing year for games. With fantastic titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Persona 5 and countless others released within just the first few months, us gamers have had access to arguably a more varied range of quality experiences than ever before. And the best part is that with it being only July, there’s plenty more of 2017 for us to enjoy, and an even more packed roster of games to tuck into as a result. Below are listed the seven of this ever-growing list that make me the most excited in my nether regions. (That’s a joke. Maybe.)

Super Mario Odyssey

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Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Nintendo seem to have finally grasped the fact that the best possible way to please the vast majority of their fans (myself included) is to pump out new versions of their biggest and most important franchises. Luckily for us, this has led to us receiving both a new Zelda and Mario, in the same year and on a brand new console. The former, as we all know, was an unequivocal tour de force. If Mario’s series of Galaxy games are anything to go by – and, based on the fact that this looks to be in a very similar vein, they almost definitely are – then there’s very little doubt in my mind that the Big N will continue their 3D platformer winning streak with Odyssey. Recent showings have been brimming with the creativity these games are known for, and the Cappy mechanic has near-endless possibilities. What’s more, Miyamoto discussing a return to the explorative elements and more ‘hardcore’ design just like mamma used to make in GameCube classic Super Mario Sunshine? Yes please.

Agents of Mayhem

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I loved Saints Row: The Third. No game is more synonymous in my mind with pure, balls-out ridiculous fun. Then SR4 came along and ruined everything, retaining the same craziness that we all knew and loved, but making the player ludicrously overpowered and nigh on indestructible, and sucking all of the joy out of the series in the process. Clearly realising they’d hit something of a dead end, Volition have opted to essentially start from scratch, ditching the Saints Row namesake and setting the game, although still in the same universe, in a totally different location, in an effort to perform a sort of soft reboot. Futuristic Seoul, South Korea seems a perfect fit for the insanity of the series, and the addition of an Overwatch-esque heroes dynamic with the ability to change characters on the fly is a novel way of switching up the gameplay, without falling into the trap of turning us into omnipotent gods. Let’s hope the game turns out to be as fun as it so far looks.

Metroid: Samus Returns

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Fortunately for me, I am currently playing through the utterly mesmerising Metroid Prime Trilogy, finding myself falling head over heels for Samus’s Alien-inspired adventures. As a result, having had very little experience of the classic 2D iterations, I’m growing increasingly excited to steal my girlfriend’s 2DS so I can play this upcoming reimagining of the GameBoy’s Metroid II: Return of Samus. This, combined with the SNES Mini’s version of Super Metroid, is going to provide me with all the bounty hunter action I’ll need this year. Maybe a bit too much, actually, but ah well – it’s a long old wait until Prime 4.

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

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The predecessor to Monolith Productions’ latest offering, Shadow of Mordor, caught me off guard slightly, being a licensed game that wasn’t terrible. Although not the world’s biggest fan of Lord of the Rings – I’ve seen and enjoyed all of the films though, angry fanboys – I got a massive kick out of, well, kicking some ork butt with the game’s Arkham-like combat. The Nemesis system was an excellent addition, and with promises that it will be greatly improved in the sequel, what can go wrong? Plus, gameplay from E3 demonstrated the ability to ride a dragon. Consider me sold.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

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Before you laugh, yes, I’m deadly serious about this one. I will be the first to admit that the Rabbids are the greatest scourge upon human history, perhaps ever, being arguably even worse than those also-horrendous ‘Minion’ creatures when it comes to their ability to annoy and frustrate. But having seen gameplay of this Ubisoft-developed crossover, I’ve realised that my deep-seeded hatred may have to take a back seat in favour of what appears to be a surprisingly deep turn-based strategy. Ashamedly, I must admit that my experience in the genre is somewhat limited (read: I have none) and so I’m very much looking forward to jumping in with what will, let’s face it, not exactly be the hardest game on the planet. The inclusion of everyone’s favourite mustached Italian stereotype and his friends may also help to soften the headaches from the horrendous screams of those horrible little demented bunnies.

Yakuza Kiwami

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Quite simply, the reasoning behind this entry is that I’ve never played a Yakuza game before and would very much like to. Yakuza Zero caught my eye last year – mainly because it looked effing awesome – but I never got around to playing it. With this instalment serving as a remake of the very first game in the series, I intend to use it as an access point into a saga that I’ve heard nothing but good things about from multiple sources. Who doesn’t want to play as a member of the Japanese version of the mafia, after all?

Sonic Forces

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To try and ensure that my credibility would remain intact, I have saved almost undoubtedly the most controversial entry for last. I’m not joking about this one either, but before you break into my house and attempt an intervention, allow me to explain myself. At their core, Sonic games should be good. The first one that I played, Sonic Heroes on the PS2, was in fact very good indeed, despite the most unnecessary inclusions of Sonic’s friends besides Knuckles and Tails who, without fail, manage to put you in a similar frame of mind to that of Daniel Craig when faced with the idea of playing Bond again, as they cause you to consider slitting your wrists an appealing concept. So far we’ve only seen one new character, and the fact that he/she/it will be player-created hopefully means they won’t be too irritating. So that’s a start. Plus, Sonic Generations proved that Sonic Team can do it right if they really try, managing to strike a wonderful balance between 2D and 3D perspectives without a single Werehog in sight. Here’s hoping that Rise of Lyric was just a terrible, god-awful, near-vertical bump in the road, and the devs can manage the seemingly very difficult task of making a decent Sonic game.

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