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Game of the Year 2017 Day Five: Best, Worst, Cast, and Capture

It's the big one! And I'm sure it'll be easy to decide the game of the year!

Now we come to the final payoff. This is our final day of deliberations and our final set of categories. We've been through a lot together, and the people here at Giant Bomb hope you've enjoyed our stuff this year. Let's get down to it and clear the slate before we all take on 2018 together.

We also have our last batch of lists from the staff and friends, so check those out, too. Hey, want a video, right here, for you? For free? OK, here it is!

Cool! Here's the final set of Nicolas Cage pictures, which as you know are here to separate you from the winners. Don't scroll down unless you want to see those winners right now!

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Best Super Mario Odyssey Capture

Pokio

Look, we all saw that E3 trailer and loved the frog and the Hammer Bro and Bullet Bill stuff. None of us predicted that they’d all be overshadowed by a sweet little bird that hops around and stabs things with his beak. It’s weirdly satisfying to jettison enemies off ledges, bounce bombs around, and especially scale walls with this dude. Also, the sound is great when his beak goes into wood. He’s not big and flashy like the T. Rex or other captures in the game, but he’s certainly the one that made us the happiest to control.

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Runners-up: Goomba, Meat

Best Cast of Characters

Night in the Woods

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Night in the Woods might be the best representation of your shitty high school friends in video games ever. Never did I feel more at home then when Mae meets up with Gregg, Bea, and Angus for the first time in years. They go grab some pizza, practice band, and find a disembodied arm and promptly poke it a bunch with a stick. As you progress, you have deeper conversations and get into more serious moments with your crew that delicately touch on topics ranging from mental illness, to sexuality, to crossbows. I felt instantly welcomed back by my friends in Possum Springs, and I felt myself growing with these truly awful teens. Other side characters such as Mae's mom, dad, and a science teacher help make the world feel even more alive. And Gregg rulz, ok?

Runners-up: Pyre, Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

Worst Game (That We Played)

Mass Effect: Andromeda

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It may be unprecedented in the history of this site for the same game to win both Most Disappointing and Worst Game, but Mass Effect: Andromeda was up to the challenge. With a premise that casts aside nearly all the cool political intrigue and inter-species strife of the Mass Effect universe, a crew of characters largely made up of forgettable clichés, and a story that ultimately reduces down to a generic struggle against some Big Bad Video Game Monsters, Andromeda doesn't come within a galaxy's breadth of recapturing what made the original games so special.

While Andromeda was a vastly disappointing Mass Effect game, it's hardly the worst game ever created. There are a few fleeting moments here and there where you almost see the outlines of a much better game starting to take shape. However, it simply can't be said enough how much the technical failings of this game ruined the experience of playing it. In terms of the number and severity of visible bugs, it's one of the shoddiest big-budget products ever released by a major publisher. Behind-the-scenes reports of the tumult of this game's development may explain its rankness, but they don't excuse it. To go from winning Giant Bomb's 2010 Game of the Year award to "winning" Worst Game in the space of two installments is really something. They killed Mass Effect, and it's not clear when or even if they'll manage to resurrect it.

Runners-up: Drawn to Death, Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back

Best Game

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

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PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds means different things to different people. You've got that serious crowd that wants to take it as tactically as possible. At the other end of the spectrum you've got crews of friends who are more interested in goofing around as a unit and getting a kill here and there than figuring out bullet drop. That's kind of the beauty of it right now.

That "something for everyone" approach gives Battlegrounds an extreme pull. It can be your evening hang sesh, where you and your friends hook up on a Discord and talk about the day's happenings while hunting for backpacks, only to get serious in bursts, when the hot moments pop up. That build and release, that sudden tension spike when you roll into your first encounter, gives the entire game weight. And it just ratchets up from there as you get deeper and deeper into a match. Press your luck far enough and you just might win one.

Then there's the solo game, which ends up feeling more serious--at least considering the way most of us seem to play in squads, that is. When you're alone, the whole game feels like a pressure cooker, but the stakes are temporary. Get shot down and you could be back in another match within a few minutes. That quick cycle between matches, combined with your choices about jumping into hot areas or creeping around the outskirts of the action, give you the illusion, at least, of some kind of control. You're the one doing the looting. You're the one doing the shooting. Just keep telling yourself that everything's going to be OK and keep some bandages on-hand.

Then there's the high player count and large maps, which help to give the game a big-scale feel that other popular shooters don't even attempt to match (yet). It manages a neat trick where it somehow makes almost every game you join feel like the most important one you've ever played... yet the penalty for failure is that you just get to start all over again and take another crack at it. No harm, no foul.

It's a fantastic game that generates wild moments and the type of player-created stories that make games different from other mediums. Every story is your own, and every kill feels either like a hard-fought victory or, in the cases where you catch some poor fool slipping, a gift from above. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds brings all of this together under one roof, and it's a tremendous computer game.

Runners-up: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nier: Automata, Super Mario Odyssey, Cuphead, Destiny 2, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Night in the Woods, Tekken 7, Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator