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Game of the Year 2017 Day One: Old, Disappointing, Shopkeepers, and Looks

It's time to get this show on the road with our first four categories, a batch of top 10s, and more!

Welcome, friends, to Giant Bomb's Game of the Year presentation for 2017. This year we've got our full podcast deliberations in both audio and video form, top 10 lists from your friends at Giant Bomb Dot Com and your other friends from around the world of video gaming, and a little extra fun to keep things moving. This is the first day of awards and we'll be going for five days, so be sure to check back tomorrow for another set of stuff.

We more or less put everything up around the same time so you can decide how you want to take this all in. This year we'll be breaking the video version of the podcast up into its individual categories, which might be handy if you want to skip around or miss categories about story or other things you might not be ready to hear. The audio version will send you straight through, as usual.

We'll also have top 10 lists up from Ben Pack, Jeff Bakalar, Mary Kish, and more.

Here's today funtime video for people who like to have a good time:

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Holiday Specialtacular 2017: East Meets VR

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OK, for those of you who would rather know what won before you get into any of these deliberations, we've included that info below. We're going to put some space between here and there, though, so that people who don't want to see the specifics before listening or watching the deliberations can get out now. Don't scroll past the following images unless you're here to read about the winners!

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OK, here we go!

2017's Old Game of the Year

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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The original release of Mario Kart 8 was one of the best games to come out of the Wii U’s limited library, so it was no surprise when it was just as good on the Switch. With quality of life upgrades giving you the option to auto-accelerate and auto-steer, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is even more accessible for young folks first getting into the series, or more experienced players who are just tired of getting hand cramps.

The Switch’s portability makes it great to play for quick sessions on-the-go as well as longer sessions with friends. It’s still the same game that won us over in 2014, but the included DLC courses, the 200cc mode, and a newly fleshed-out (and dramatically improved) Battle Mode all offer a fresh challenge for players looking to hop back into their favorite kart racer.

Runners-up: Windjammers, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Best Shopkeeper

Emil (NieR:Automata)

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"Every day's a sale

Every sale's a win

Better buy now or you'll cry all night

Every day's a sale

Every sale's a win

Every day is great when you're me"

Blink and you might miss Emil. The young boy made his debut as a cursed ancient weapon in the original Nier, but in Automata he plays a different role--shopkeeper. He’s a bumbling chaotic robot scooter of sorts who haphazardly sells items and costumes to our android heroes. The combination of his smiling face and his theme blasting on repeat when he arrives to sell his wares offer a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dingy and dark overworld.

Runners-up: Falcon Ron (Pyre), Porkrind (Cuphead)

Most Disappointing Game

Mass Effect: Andromeda

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As defined, this category is based on the gulf between our expectations for a game and the reality of it, and there has never been and may never be a more appropriate game in that context than Mass Effect: Andromeda. Think about the impact the Mass Effect series has had up to now, all the stories told and themes explored. Think about the vast galaxy it created, full of fascinating aliens and intercultural struggles. Think about a story arc so grand that it was (mostly) successfully told across three entire games. Think about how deeply and personally every player embodied their own Shepard. Think about what Mass Effect has meant to so many people.

Now think about a game that misunderstands or discards most of the best things about Mass Effect, a game built on the worst tendencies of open-world design, a game that launched in a state so technically compromised that it felt like it was on the verge of collapsing in on itself; in other words, a game so disappointing that EA has now indefinitely shelved what was once the most exciting franchise in video games. While we're on the subject, "congrats" to EA for running the category this year. Heck of a showing.

Runners-up: Need for Speed Payback, Star Wars Battlefront II

Best Looking Game


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Cuphead looks like nothing we’ve ever seen before in video games. Sure, it’s paying homage to a bygone era of animation, but the team has also managed to make something exceptionally unique. It’s one of those rare examples that works so well it’s almost hard to believe and makes you constantly want to show it off to anyone who hasn’t it seen it in motion. All the bosses have multiple transformations that seem to be waging some internal war of creative one-upmanship to be the most visually audacious. Even through to the end of the game you are treated to a barrage of new and inspired characters and animations.

As a complete package Cuphead is truly a marvel to behold. Whether it’s the overly expressive animations on the bosses or the simple idle bopping of Cuphead and Mugman, everything feels cohesive, curated, and produced with the most extreme attention to detail. Even if you’re not a fan of the game itself, it’s hard to not stop and stare at the truly arresting visuals that Cuphead has on offer.

Runners-up: Horizon Zero Dawn, Destiny 2