You can almost boil October down to a single day, as far as new games are concerned. The last Friday of the month was one of the biggest release days ever, with Super Mario Odyssey, Wolfenstein II and Assassin’s Creed Origins all coming out at the same time. It’s the kind of coordinated fusillade that can lay even the most dedicated of games players low. How can any one person be expected to squeeze all of that high quality, top shelf gamesmanship into a single weekend? It’s an impossible proposition.
Still, Paste is a professional operation. Between myself and my assistant editor, Holly Green, we tackled not just all three of those games but also, like, a whole lot more throughout the month that just was. When you have to play games I guess you just sort of play games, you know? And here are the best of all of those games, from across the entire spectrum of the interactive gamertainment whatchamacallit. We put real effort and thought into this, we swear.
5. The Evil Within 2
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
The Evil Within 2 is an improvement on itself, if not on the many established tropes it borrows from. In some ways it is actually better off for adopting some of the stalest features in the entire medium: the improved stealth system successfully adds some necessary intrigue and tension to the combat, and the open world exploration is miles more entertaining than the obnoxiously stilted play areas of the game before. There’s even a map and a well organized user interface! Both are already an almost universal, basic necessity in videogames, but better late than never, right?—Holly Green
4. Fire Emblem Warriors
We weren’t the biggest fans of Hyrule Warriors when it came out for the Wii U in 2014, but this latest Nintendofied take on Dynasty Warriors works better than the first one. It helps that the plentiful heroes of the long-running Fire Emblem series are a good fit for the similarly hero-centric Dynasty Warriors template. What you’re missing from a real Fire Emblem game isn’t as drastic or disappointing as what you’re missing from a real Zelda game in Hyrule Warriors. It also has a more strategic element than that game, in fitting with the whole Fire Emblem concept. And if you’re an Amiibo collector, Fire Emblem Warriors offers one of the more useful and wide-ranging array of Amiibo-related benefits. It’s still a bit on the mindless side, a little repetitive with the constant hacking and slashing, but it’s an enjoyable brawl for most of its run time.—Garrett Martin
3. Assassin’s Creed Origins
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
The latest Creed adds RPG elements and a new combat system, but remains exhausting in the way all of these games, even the great ones, are. That’s not inherently a bad thing, though. It shows the commitment to world-building that courses throughout the series. Like real life, this game will overwhelm you. The key is to find your own way through it as best as you can, whether it’s beelining straight to the next key milestone or taking the time to wander and discover both your neighbors and yourself. It’s a familiar adventure, but not a forgettable one.—Garret Martin
2. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Wolfenstein II is its simplicity. Today’s first person shooters are all but bogged down by overstimulating user interfaces that distract from the experience. Wolfenstein II, keeping intact its legacy as one of the first proper shooting games, is almost minimalist by comparison. The end result is a fluid experience that encourages forward momentum and continually rewards the player for tackling conflict head-on and at high speed. This is not to say that the game’s stealth elements go underused or ignored. Those too are understated and generally unsaddled with the many tweaks and innovations made to its genre in the past two decades. Whatever method used to tackle a mission, the ensuing rush is completely satisfying.—Holly Green
1. Super Mario Odyssey
Bicker about what makes up a “core” Mario game all you want. All I know is that Super Mario Odyssey is one of the two or three best games to ever have that lovable little guy’s name in the title. It is every bit as powerful as Super Mario Galaxy or Super Mario Bros. 3, the previous high-water marks for Nintendo’s mascot, and for the platformer genre in general. Odyssey is an overwhelming cornucopia of pure joy, full of the kind of freedom typically found in open world games but with a constant chain of clear objectives and attainable goals pulling you ever deeper into its roster of candy-colored kingdoms. It’s a perfect bookmark to Nintendo’s other major Switch game of 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: both recraft a classic cornerstone of the entire medium into an effortlessly enjoyable and crucially contemporary masterpiece that unites all eras of gaming history.—Garrett Martin