So this is it, the week or so of automated posting while we get nice and fat over Christmas has come to an end and I feel like it’s time to reveal what game ‘won’ 2017. Let’s do this.
Like last year we have used a voting system that counts votes as follows; the 5th place – one point, 4th place- two points, 3rd place – 3 points, 2nd place – 4 points and 1st place – 5 points. This works well after we refined it, ensuring that all staff place 5 votes or they won’t be counted.
Everyone’s votes are weighted the same (obviously) and the cream of 2017 rises to the top. Below you will see what has been written about each game from a respective writers personal GOTY post.
5th. Yakuza 0/Kiwami / – NieR: Automata
Yakuza 0/Kiwami – Matt
This gets a tied vote, as I genuinely couldn’t pick my favourite between them. They are similar enough that they can get grouped together but different enough that I should explain what each one is about – here goes:
This is the brand new prequel to the series, which revolves around a gang murder but more importantly lets you run a Nightclub where you can play dress-up with hostesses and waste hours in the club management mini-game.
This game is a remake of the original Yakuza, which has been updated with new combat and gameplay based on the elements introduced in Yakuza Zero. Where Yak0 was a thoroughly enjoyable romp, Kiwami ramps pretty much everything up by 10%. The dialogue, encounters and story are all ridiculous and helps to move along a complex tale about an orphaned child and gangland struggles.
Which should you choose? Well probably both, which is why they both get a mention here. If you are new to the Yakuza series, Zero will walk you through the basics and get you up to speed. Once you know what you’re doing, get a copy of Kiwami to take your new-found skills against a tougher and broader set of challenges.
Both games offer a bizarre selection of mini-games, including karaoke, wrestling, phoning sex lines, but to be honest Yakuza Zero gets the best selection. Apparently more mini-games are coming for Yakuza 6 (the next new installment) and also Yakuza Kiwami 2 (the remake of Yakuza 2 for worldwide audiences).
It’s a fantastic time to get into the series and the two games released this year have made me very excited for their future offerings.
NieR: Automata – Gary
Become as Gods
It’s hard to just speak about how special this game is because honestly to get the impact it truly needs to be experienced. From the maverick mind of Yoko Taro in collaboration with the talented folks at Platinum you knew it could be something amazing, but it surprised me just how spectacular yet touching the game turned out to be. Put simply it crafted a deep emotional story that could only be created in the gaming medium.
In the distant future Robots and Androids are locked in a seemingly eternal struggle. Curiously, however, the robots appear to be adopting altogether more human characteristics and traits. You are on the opposite side of the coin however, on the side of the androids. You are put in the shoes of Yorha android 2B and her faithful companion 9S as you aid the effort to cleanse the world in the name of both the androids and their human creators, currently residing on the moon.
That is just setting the scene. Throughout the story you will experience so very much, chief among them will be finding out what drives someone and crucially how they view life and existence.
Certainly that sounds a bit lofty and vague, but seriously just play it and it will come together beautifully.
Please play this game, it is one of the most special stories in this whole medium.
4th. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is an absolute banger of a game. If it wasn’t for Nintendo’sstrong output this year UCLL would absolutely be at the top. When I first saw coverage of the game I cringed at the idea of the “Open World” but luckily for me, it was just a slightly wider then normal area with just 3 main objectives for you to choose from.
Uncharted is known for its tightly scripted action sequences which aren’t something that translate well to true open world games, and UCLL brings the action in spades. Being just the right length to not need any real downtime, the pace borderlines on relentless while balancing shooting and puzzle solving immaculately.
If you have an afternoon to fill you could do a lot worse then running through UCLLwith its great characters and locations. It’s like being on holiday.
You can see my Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review here.
3rd. Sonic Mania
Sonic Mania was the 2D follow-up to the original Mega Drive Death Egg saga – and exorcising all memories of the underwhelming Sonic 4, Sonic Maniawas the first genuinely great Sonic game since…well, the Mega Drive.
Stripping back the plethora of lousy supporting characters to just Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, the game focuses on everything that made the games so good in the first place, namely fast-paced 2D action. Sure, there are a few random retro zones included (Oil Ocean – who wanted to see that again?!) but all of them are significantly different from their 16-bit counterparts so dismissing them as mere re-makes does the game a disservice. The plot ties quite neatly into Sonic Forces, although the latest 3D game is so rotten it leaves Sonic Mania as definitive proof that the future of the series lies in 2D.
2nd. Super Mario Odyssey
Mario Odyssey delivers on all fronts, everything about it is so close to what made Mario great: Exceptional platforming mixed in with Mario 64-esque moon collecting. This isn’t even mentioning the beautiful worlds you explore, the charming story (I know? A story in a Mario game) that Odyssey tells, and perhaps the best thing: BOWSER’S WEDDING OUTFIT.
Mario Odyssey is by far one of the best platformers I’ve played in years, and is what ultimately made me buy a Switch – and I can’t say I’ve regretted it.
1st. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Someone asked me if I’d been on any holidays this year. As I listed in my head the few places I went I almost embarrassingly listed Breath of the Wild. But that’s exactly the effect this game had on me; I felt like I’d been on a holiday playing it. BOTW takes you to a new land so alive of experiences and fulfilment that it’s sad to leave.
Overhearing conversations around the game is like listening to two people who have vacationed to the same place. “Have you seen the ninja temple in Gerudo desert yet?” “ooo no, I’ve been mostly swimming in Lake Hylia looking for treasures”. And with good reason. BOTW’s world is so alive and balanced it’s hard to imagine it was born out of a games designers mind.
Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the Citizen Kane of gaming. It’s utterly fantastic and every gamer needs to experience it.
So there we have it, Breath of the Wild has been crowned our number 1 game of 2017. I doubt this is much the surprise of anyone, but BotW was a hell of a game. We return to our normal posting tomorrow, see you then.