Game of the Year 2017

What’s up everyone.

There were a lot of awesome games this year. Some from old franchises, some new, and some in early access. I know right? Let’s get to it.

I’m including early access games because I believe the line between something that is early access and what is actually a full version 1.0 release is too blurry. If it’s a product the public can pay to play right now and most, if not all, of the features are there, I’m including it.

Honorable Mentions:

Quake Champions: Pretty good gameplay, but the ui/netcode/hitboxes and other technical problems plague the game.
Cuphead: Fantastic visuals and fun gameplay, but kind of shallow and short.
Yakuza Kiwami: A good remaster of the original Yakuza, but there is a much better Yakuza game that came out this year.


10. The Evil Within 2
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Surprisingly fun game. A little bit more action than horror, but it had some memorable moments and boss battles that were incredibly tense. Not as great as the first game but still thoroughly enjoyed it.

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9. Nioh
Developer: Team Ninja

A great new take on the 3rd person rogue-like action genre (or Souls-like, if you will). A much faster paced game than the Dark Souls games with a skill tree and multiple stances for each weapon. I had a lot of fun with this one, but the overwhelming amount of trash items coupled with the underwhelming inventory management system created long downtime between every 2-3 missions.

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8. Super Mario Odyssey
Developer: Nintendo

I honestly thought I would have more fun playing this game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic platformer and is one of the best 3D Super Mario games ever made. However, a very large amount of the collectible moons, most being incredibly easy to get and so much so that you don’t really have to use any thinking or mechanical skills to obtain them, feel unrewarding. The complex challenges and moons are few and far between. It’s a great game to pick up and play for 15-20 minutes to try and increase your moon count, but I would rather play other things to be honest.

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7. Resident Evil 7
Developer: Capcom

What a great way to bring the series back to its roots of survival horror. Even though the latter half is more action based, the overall package was very fun and felt like a new beginning for the franchise. Going first person was a great idea. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

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6. Persona 5
Developer: Atlus

I hadn’t played a turn-based JRPG in a long time and this really scratched that itch. The story was great. The characters were great. The soundtrack is amazing. The whole style of the game is unique and well designed. It may have dragged on about 10 hours too long, but otherwise I loved every bit of it.

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5. Yakuza 0
Developer: Sega

This is the first Yakuza game I’ve ever played and it was absolutely amazing. The combat is extremely fun and only really gets old if you neglect to experiment with the heat actions. The characters and the stories they tell range from serious life learning lessons to comical settings that actually made me laugh. The music matches whatever the situation calls for and is pretty damn good in its own right. Kiryu and Majima are extremely likable protagonists with compelling stories. If you’ve never played a Yakuza game before, go ahead and start with this one.

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4. Tekken 7
Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment

Easily the best fighting game of the year. Probably one of, if not, the best Tekken game ever made. Large amount of characters and stages along with and awesome soundtrack and a crazy customization system. The addition of the slow motion end of fight sequences is brilliant and creates a lot of oh-shit moments. The downside is that the game has no tutorial and it can be incredibly difficult to try and learn without some type of outside aid. If you can get past that or just play with friends of equal skill, you’ll have a blast.

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3. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
Developer: Bluehole Studios Inc., PUBG Corporation

Wowee. This game just kinda came out of nowhere didn’t it? I mean battle royal games/mods have been around for a couple of years now, but to think it would become the most played game on Steam, break the most concurrent players record by a large margin, and get over 20 million in sales even though it’s an early access game with many problems is insane. All within a year too.

If you haven’t heard of this game I’ll quickly explain it. One hundred players are dropped onto an island and the last person/team to survive wins. You have to scavenge for guns, armor, and medical supplies in order to defend yourself. As the game goes on, the play zone decreases by way of a giant blue wall that slowly closes in on a random part of the map, eventually leading to a close quarters situation with very tense moments.

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What’s great about the game is that fun and excitement can be found whether you win or lose. The queues are extremely fast so the next game is underway in less than 2 minutes. There’s a lot of skill involved in improvising and thinking on the fly when it comes to approaching each situation. What guns do I have? What guns do they have? How many people are left? Do I have an escape route/vehicle? Should I let other teams kill each other before I show myself? There’s a lot to think about.

The problems so far are the poor performance that many people are getting. My friends on their 1080ti’s are getting sub-optimal performance no matter the graphics settings. The servers still could use some work due to lag and rubberbanding at the beginning of the matches. There’s a huge hacking problem which they are constantly working to alleviate. Also, custom games are only available to select people (popular streamers) at the moment which is unfortunate.

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Like I said in the intro, it doesn’t really matter to me that this game is in early access (actually it’s about to be released within the next few days) because the line between what an early access title is and what a full release means is too blurry. This is a topic for another time. However, the fact I’m even thinking about bringing up this game in the discussion for game of the year means it belongs here. This game has changed the industry moving forward. Don’t be surprised to see big name titles like Call of Duty and Battlefield take a shot at a battle royal game mode. Just look at Fortnite.

 


2. NieR: Automata
Developer: Platinum Games

I’m so glad I decided to play this last month. I love Platinum Games’ combat style and it transfers over to NieR, albeit a little differently than their other games. The story here is absolutely fantastic. I love the idea of androids and machines becoming sentient and evolving/learning.

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The plot revolves around androids that were built to protect and preserve humanity. Aliens invaded earth and built machines to help erase humanity from existence. The humans had built androids to protect themselves and now the last bastion of humans is on the moon as their elite androids, the YoRHa, are tasked with eliminating all enemies off of earth so that humanity can survive.

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There’s much, much more going on than that but you have to play it to find out. The soundtrack is one of the best of the year, without a doubt. You’ll have to beat the game multiple times in order to get the most out of it and get the true ending, but trust me, it’s very much worth it. Also each playthrough will be different.

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My only issue with the game is that it was too easy on the normal difficulty. Mindlessly easy. I was never in danger of dying at all and could just mash attack buttons and win. Also, there is a lot of supplemental material you may need to read up on after you finish the game completely in order to really understand the full story.

Besides all that, this game truly is amazing and deserves to be mentioned as one of the games of the year. No question.

 


1.The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Developer: Nintendo

I was really surprised at this game. At first I thought it was going to be really shallow with not much to do or see. I was dead wrong. You can check out my full review of the game here.

I’m not a hardcore Legend of Zelda fan. I think the only one I actually played all the way through was Ocarina of Time. Twilight Princess didn’t keep me interest in part due to the Wii controls and I never got into Wind Waker. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not invested much into the franchise. I wasn’t going to like the game just because it was a Zelda game. It had to be damn good. And it was.

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What Breath of the Wild does so well is throw you out there into the world with one real objective, destroy Ganon. From there you can choose to go straight to Hyrule Castle and try your best to defeat Ganon right on the spot, or explore the world and weaken Ganon/strengthen Link. This game is truly a great ADVENTURE game. The level design is expertly crafted so that some point of interest is always in your line of sight. There is constantly something that you will want to investigate or explore. And thanks to the fantastic traversal mechanics such as climbing, gliding, shield sliding, and riding your horse, it’s incredibly fun too.

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The combat is simple yet engaging thanks to a variety of weapons, dodging, parrying, and being able to counter attack. The weapon degradation system was more of a negative than a positive for me, which made me wind up just hoarding the best weapons until I absolutely needed to use them, but it isn’t that bad. This along with all the different armor and food you can cook up create a good variety of ways to approach different situations.

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I do wish the story was a little better. I also just generally dislike silent protagonists, especially when they are being talked at with important information yet have no response.

I got sucked into a 100+ hour adventure and didn’t really want to stop until I explored every last bit of the map.

 


Honestly the top 3 games could probably go in any order, but all you need to know is that they are GREAT games.

2017 had many amazing games in it along with some I didn’t get a chance to check out such as Prey, Assassins Creed, Wolfenstein, and Hellblade. However, 2018 looks to be just as packed with good games which I’ll be talking about soon as well.

Have a Happy Holidays everyone! Catch you on the other side.