Recorded here for posterity (but really just my own future reference), these are the games I played this year and what I thought of them. Grading on a 10-point skill where applicable:
- Last Guardian: 
A nice game with good emotional notes, but its long development time really shows. Also, slightly outstays its welcome - probably could have been 30 minutes to an hour shorter and been better for it.
- Fire Emblem: Heroes 
Fantastic gatcha "collect-n-battle" game with perfect strategy mechanics for mobile. Held my attention all year.
- Resident Evil 7: [ 7, as a game] [But for me personally, a 10]
This game is a little rough around the edges at times. However, it meant a lot to me as an honest-to-god attempt to breath life not only into the franchise, but the Survival Horror genre in general. I loved it.
- Nioh: 
A serviceable Souls clone. The weapon stance combat system is a fresh take on the formula.
- For Honor: 
A shame this game was mismanaged. It was a truly unique fighter that looked and felt visceral and satisfying. But, balance woes and connectivity issues were most likely its death knell.
- Horizon Zero Dawn: 
My wife watched me play this game from start to finish, as if binging a Netflix series. The story was simple but did what it needed to, presenting a serviceable post-apocalyptic mystery with a strong female lead. Combat was a frantic, strategic burst of stealth and action.
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds 
Not quite disappointing, but didn't live up to the original. Story was a little "back-loaded," but there were decent enough character developments throughout. Combat was the biggest letdown, though; to ramp up difficulty, most machines now have huge amounts of HP and elemental resistance, meaning a lot of the best aspects of combat - strategic placement of traps and skillful use of elemental effects - went by the wayside in favor of just pulling out your biggest, most explosive weapon and going toe-to-toe in every encounter
- Snipperclips: .
- Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 
It's very difficult to not give this game a 10. However, there's no such thing as a perfect game - the temples in BotW were fairly unengaging compared to the sprawling Hyrule Castle at the end of the game. Imagine if every temple had that level of complexity! Ah well. Also, the final boss was pretty lame.
- NieR: Automata [6 while playing. A 10 in retrospect.]
This game stuck with me, and became my game of the year. It's not without flaws; the pacing of the plot is all over the place, for example. But, like Metal Gear Solid 5, this game becomes more than the sum of its parts (and that's not just a forced android pun). The story and themes were touching, the art direction was excellent, the gameplay was just classic action goodness, and the soundtrack was pure magic. A fantastic experience that I look forward to replaying in the future.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda 
I fell asleep while playing this. Twice.
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: [9, or 6 if you've played it before]
Still the king of party racing games.
- What Remains of Edith Finch: 
An average "walking simulator" - a good enough collection of melancholy stories, but not much else. Interesting visuals, but at the end of the day, was mostly a forgettable experience for me.
- Rime: 
Boring. Art style was fine. Puzzles felt a little uninspired. Story was unsatisfying.
- Splatoon 2: 
Fantastic shooter for all ages. Have to dock a couple points for Nintendo's continuing struggle to understand online: terrible voice chat system, clunky UI/UX choices, and just bizarre decisions overall (like limiting when you can actually play certain modes of the game). Also, just from a personal standpoint, I was kind of hoping the end of the story would have a little more "meat" to it... but that's purely on me. This is still Nintendo we're talking about.
- Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice 
Flawed but fascinating. Would love to see more "short AAA" games like this. Combat was repetitive but brutal and satisfying. Beautiful environments. Would have liked to see even more varied puzzles. Mechanics occasionally frustrating.
- Persona 5: [8? I'm not a good judge of JRPGs...]
This game was very long, but I was engaged and I did see it through to the end. For a JRPG, that's a compliment if its coming from me, trust me!
- Total War: Warhammer II [Also an 8? I don't play many RTS games...]
This game was a lot of fun, even for an RTS novice. It's got some bad UX (why can't I limit my lord's movement instead of just eyeballing it?) and occasionally confusing UI, and it seems pretty poorly optimized to boot. However, it's an addicting "just one more turn" kind of experience, and it's got great co-op as well.
- Cuphead: 
Gorgeous testament to high-quality art direction.
- Destiny 2: 
More of the same, surprising no one. The first raid was an absolute blast, offering balanced difficulty and a ton of interesting mechanics; the exploration and puzzle elements were also quite welcome. However, nothing can justify launching paid DLC so quickly, when the base game is fairly bare bones.
- Super Mario Odyssey: 
I don't think I have a single complaint about this game. It also, believe it or not, is a really great co-op experience.
- Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon: [5, or 9 if you didn't play Sun/Moon].
A lackluster Pokemon sequel, almost an exact copy of the stock Sun/Moon games. Not enough new features, or even new pokemon, to justify an entirely new game.