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Game of the Year 2017 Day Three: World, Wolfenstein, Moments, and PLEASE STOP

It was a year of moments, and some of them weren't even in Wolfenstein!

Here comes our third day of podcasts with another batch of four categories for you to view! Or listen to! Or skip entirely and just scroll to the bottom of this article, see what won, get mad about one of them, and go about your day! We're all about options here.

Today we've got an audio podcast, which has been broken out into four video podcasts, some bonus fun, and some exciting top lists from the staff and friends.

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As before, we're going to insert some randomly selected images below to ensure there's enough space between you and the award winners. If you want to go into the discussions blind, don't scroll down (tempting as that may be).

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OK? OK.

Best World

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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The worlds of the Legend of Zelda franchise have frequently been as memorable and important as any of its characters, dungeons, or boss fights. The sense of discovery and possibility that was introduced in the NES original has been present to varying degrees in later entries, but never as strongly as it is in Breath of the Wild. Whether or not Nintendo would be able to successfully bring Link to an open world was a topic of debate prior to launch. Not only were they successful, but they did it on a scale that’s just as impressive as when Zelda went 3D with Ocarina of Time. They managed to make climbing towers fun, allowing players to scan the horizon for potential points of interest rather than following objective markers on a map. Often, these scans would reveal mysteries and curiosities like dragons, floating structures, or a mysterious island. Your natural curiosity is almost always rewarded, as travelling to these points usually leads to a new quest, an interesting challenge, or a memorable character or enemy encounter. The world feels alive and full of possibility, and it’s all open for you to explore early in the game. Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule is such a massive achievement that it begs the question of what Nintendo can possibly do next to recapture this magic.

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Runners-up: Assassin's Creed Origins, Observer

PLEASE STOP

Blind Boxes

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This has been a long time coming, but this feels like the year when publishers really started pushing beyond what felt like the old limits for what you'd put in a full-priced PC or console game as microtransactions. It's been very easy, up until this year, to look at blind boxes in games as a limited problem. Most games use them for cosmetics. People weren't forced to partake, and the benefits were stylistic at best. This year publishers seemed to forget all that and push into the sort of territory usually staked out by second-tier free-to-play games. The result? Threats of intervention from government officials, a angry mob that actually seemed to get something done this time around, and, now, this prestigious award from the likes of us.

Maybe we should have seen this coming a little sooner, but the way games like Star Wars Battlefront II, Need for Speed Payback, and Middle-earth: Shadow of War pushed past the cosmetics boundary and right into selling you things with real gameplay relevance makes those games worse. Even situations where no money changes hands, like Forza Motorsport 7's mod crates, end up cheapening the overall experience.

Hell, with games like this stacking blind boxes onto full-priced games, even the games that seemed more acceptable last year, like Overwatch, feel a little more sleazy now. Congrats to all involved, you ruined it for everyone.

Runners-up: WWE 2K/Yuke's, the Nintendo Switch's lousy interface design and feature set

Best Wolfenstein II Moment or Sequence

The Audition Scene

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In a game about fighting Nazis who rule the world, there are so many ways you could include Adolf Hitler that would just come off as bland or perfunctory. He's the ultimate symbol of evil in modern history, and you really don't need to say much more than "Hey, it's Hitler" for people to get the point. But the dense, darkly comic scene in which Wolfenstein II chooses to trot out der Fuhrer is anything but obvious, and that's not just because it's a movie audition that takes place in a flying city on the planet Venus.

Wolfenstein II's audition scene covers a ton of ground in just a few minutes. It captures the grandiose pomposity of Hitler's idiot ideology and self-important manner of speech, as he prattles on about Jews and submission to authority. You see the logical extreme of a cult of personality that's assumed global control, as the deified leader continues to be treated as a god even as the infirmity of old age has him barfing and pissing all over the floor. It walks such a fine line between macabre and comic, with gratuitous violence deployed so casually that it's both hilarious and uncomfortable to watch. Throw in a ridiculous cameo by a certain other political someone (which seems to have flown under many people's radars), and the ability to kick Hitler's face in and receive an achievement for doing so, and you've got the most jaw-dropping scene in a game so full of them that it rated its own category. It's a great prelude for the direction we desperately hope this franchise is heading in a third game two or three years from now.

Runners-up: The death and return of BJ Blazkowicz, Returning home and confronting your father

Best Moment or Sequence

Route E (NieR: Automata)

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NieR: Automata is a game about, among many things, sacrifice. Characters in the game are constantly finding themselves in positions where they're giving up everything for the greater good. Even though you as a player bear witness to these sacrifices, they are still one step removed. This changes, however, when the final sacrifice that must be made in the game is one that has very real repercussions for the player.

In a visual representation of the protocol that is in place to reset the games' protagonists on an endless cycles, you are put in the seat of one last hacking minigame - this time against the credits for NieR itself. After failing many times, against what seems like an impossible battle, the player can accept "help" from strangers. With this help, players can easily defeat the last obstacle in their way. Afterwards, they are asked to sacrifice their save data in order to help out another stranger in their situation. This isn't a symbolic measure, either. If the player accepts, they must watch as their game is scrubbed clean; all trace of 30+ hours of gameplay gone, minus one single title screen.

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Runners-up: Eating the Chicken Dinner (PUBG), Cannery sequence (What Remains of Edith Finch)

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grandCurator

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Honestly didn't expect Nier to take best moment, but boy am I glad it did. The actual GOTY arguments are gonna be something else.

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Efesell

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Efesell  Online

Nier Supremacy Let's Go.

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Memu

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I am curious to find out how Observer got in top 3 of Best World. And Prey isn't even nominated? These deliberations are a farce! ;^)

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thatguywiththedeepvoice

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I'm really happy to see What Remains of Edith Finch getting recognition for the Cannery sequence. It's one of those scenes that's laser burned into my brain, not just for its story but for the way it literally engages both of your hands in ways that push forward the bleak reality and the rich fantasy of the whole thing. I knew that would never win, but seeing it get recognition is super cool.

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Arguls

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Man, I'm with jeff on this one. Best World award was a complete mess with half the crew flip floping on what they thought the definition even was.

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indigozeal

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Just to spoil: what is the cameo in that Wolfenstein audition scene?

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KungFu_Grip

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@indigozeal: A young actor by the name of Ronald Reagan is auditioning for the same role as BJ. Hitler thinks he's a Jewish spy and kills Reagan.

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tissot

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Thank god for Jeff. I can't see how some of the GB crew doesn't see how they are constantly contradicting them self on the discussion. As a listener these are horrible to listen if the category isn't clear to all. Easy to say now but this should have been made really clear at the start and at the latest this category should have been be cut at the 1 minute mark from GOTY discussions.

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golguin

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Listening to the Best World discussion and I clearly don't understand as the candidates that I see as easily winning get cut. Jeff is right to be confused. I'm super confused.

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The_Lord_Fagan

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A glut of podcasts and Hitman in bad sweaters. Again.

Maybe next Christmas they'll finish setting up the studio and can convince CBS to let them hire another video producer to help out, or something.


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Noelle808

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Edited By Noelle808

Remember kids, we can all transcend the weight of the legacy that our creators had in store for us, but not unless we're willing to ask for help, and give help to others in return.

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AWKWARDL0SER

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Edited By AWKWARDL0SER

What did youse guys see in Breath of the Wild that you didn’t see in The Witcher 2 or 3? I’m baffled by this like it makes no sense is it just the Zelda name? Especially since by the time I got the DLC I had a 1080 and was playing on my 4K tv the Witcher’s world was just so gorgeous and full of wonder yet I remember how quickly everyone other than Vinny I told that game to fuck off

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yujinred

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I wish they played more Xenoblade 2. Because I think they knocked world building out of the park. In fact, Nintendo asked Monolith Games help on world building for Legend of Zelda: BOTW. That should tell you how good they are at building worlds.

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H0d0rr

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Can only talk of my own experience but I found Witcher 3 to be lacking anything interesting. Admittedly I think the world is its best strength but I didn't get the same sense of adventure I got in BOTW.

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Efesell

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@yujinred said:

I wish they played more Xenoblade 2. Because I think they knocked world building out of the park. In fact, Nintendo asked Monolith Games help on world building for Legend of Zelda: BOTW. That should tell you how good they are at building worlds.

Eh I dunno.

They built a couple of great zones but made getting around them such a nightmarish chore, then sort of stuck to small linear places by the end.

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Jensonb

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I’m not surprised they picked it (though from the comments it sounds like the deliberations were confusing), but I cannot get with them or the overall consensus on BotW or its world. Sure, it’s large and nice to look at, but it’s so shallow & barren. It’s jarringly mechanical, even (and, arguably, especially) when it’s seeking to emulate real world phenomena & constraints for the sake of realism. Colour me an outlier on this one, because I just don’t see what almost everyone else seems to in that game.

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Shiftygism

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How about Alex and Dan please stop labeling the core gameplay efforts of the 2K WWE games as being "bad" and that they "play like shit/fucking suck" when it's clear they just don't enjoy the simulation approach taken with them and want something more arcadey in nature.

They wouldn't shit on Madden because it's not Blitz, there's no excuse to do it in this situation.

I'll be the first to admit WWE games haven't had a decent overall package since 2K16, but the reason the series has remained popular is because of its amazing creation suite and the most realistic core wrestling gameplay ever seen which offers really awesome back and forth matches with all of the reversal and transitional animations added to the mix over the last few installments. Something neither Alex or Dan (or Jeff for that matter) are looking for....which is fine, but it doesn't mean it's "bad", or 2K/Yukes should "stop making them."

They definitely need a year off to iron out the kinks and rethink some of not so appealing elements of the series, but like they said....the WWE just won't allow it.

Comparing it to Fire Pro, is down right silly though. I fucking LOVE that series, but it's a completely different animal and with its own strengths and weaknesses.

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Protome

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How about Alex and Dan please stop labeling the core gameplay efforts of the 2K WWE games as being "bad" and that they "play like shit/fucking suck" when it's clear they just don't enjoy the simulation approach taken with them and want something more arcadey in nature.

It's their awards and they think those games play like shit. What we really need is a "Please Stop being overly defensive about game series you like just because someone else doesn't like them."

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SilverSaint

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What did youse guys see in Breath of the Wild that you didn’t see in The Witcher 2 or 3? I’m baffled by this like it makes no sense is it just the Zelda name? Especially since by the time I got the DLC I had a 1080 and was playing on my 4K tv the Witcher’s world was just so gorgeous and full of wonder yet I remember how quickly everyone other than Vinny I told that game to fuck off

Lets be real, they would never of played BOTW if it didn't have the Zelda name.

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TravisRex

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@jensonb: listen to the first 5 minutes of the best world deliberation. Its that nonsense for over an hour.

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TracerX

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Edited By TracerX

Man, that Best World section was something.

I feel like the group had a pretty good grasp on what the category meant, but Brad and Jeff getting up in arms at each other immediately made it incredibly painful. They just needed to chill for a second and talk it through as a group, but they IMMEDIATELY jumped right at each others' throats over Wolfenstein, and then everyone trying to quickly get their points in made it way worse.

They eventually got a good explanation in there, but man that was rough to listen to. We don't mind hearing you work stuff out if you need to, no reason to try and shut the whole thing down at the drop of a hat. Chill out a little, dudes!

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Efesell

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Edited By Efesell  Online

@awkwardl0ser said:

What did youse guys see in Breath of the Wild that you didn’t see in The Witcher 2 or 3? I’m baffled by this like it makes no sense is it just the Zelda name? Especially since by the time I got the DLC I had a 1080 and was playing on my 4K tv the Witcher’s world was just so gorgeous and full of wonder yet I remember how quickly everyone other than Vinny I told that game to fuck off

Lets be real, they would never of played BOTW if it didn't have the Zelda name.

Gotta stop bringin' up old shit.

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deactivated-5d61ff6f14b61

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Keep crying those delicious salty tears children! Let your disappointment flow free! It gives me life! Mwahahahaha!

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purpington

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I love GiantBomb

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indigozeal

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@kungfu_grip said:

@indigozeal: A young actor by the name of Ronald Reagan is auditioning for the same role as BJ. Hitler thinks he's a Jewish spy and kills Reagan.

Yep, that's a Wolfenstein sequence! Thanks very much.

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TOA_Doom

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I don't understand at all why "best world" became an argument about mechanics, yeah. That seems like a weird definition for that category. I entirely agreed with Jeff's interpretation here. But it's not my awards, of course.

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siamesegiant

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@jensonb: I completely agree. I keep hearing about how dense it is, and how the land is constructed to guide you certain ways naturally, but I spent half my time wandering aimlessly because I couldn't see anything interesting to move towards. I enjoyed the shrines when I could find them, and it was nice to look at, but the world itself was boring and frustrating to be in.

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siamesegiant

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@yujinred: The world in Xenoblade looks kind of cool, but also very similar to previous games in the series. Also, all you have to do in that game is a series of terrible fetch quests, so it wasn't all that impressive.

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John_Wiswell

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Edited By John_Wiswell

What did youse guys see in Breath of the Wild that you didn’t see in The Witcher 2 or 3? I’m baffled by this like it makes no sense is it just the Zelda name? Especially since by the time I got the DLC I had a 1080 and was playing on my 4K tv the Witcher’s world was just so gorgeous and full of wonder yet I remember how quickly everyone other than Vinny I told that game to fuck off

I don't see many strengths in common between the Witcher games and Breath of the Wild. Witcher 3, with its fully open world, had lots of exploration, but usually to collect and connect various plot threads. The best points were finding clever lore or role playing choices tucked away around things. Whereas Zelda is all about exploration for the fun of mechanics - the climbing, gliding, korok and shrine puzzles, and such. Witcher 3 is an open world with as many plausible story and role playing bits scattered through it as possible, whereas Zelda's is a contrived world built out of fun mechanical things to do.

Witcher 3 and Breath of the Wild are two of my favorite games in recent years, but I wouldn't say they do the same thing.

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gwenners

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Such a bummer Persona 5 didn't even get a mention for best moment or sequence. The big twist in that game and how everything fits together and how it was explained by the characters was amazing.

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standardman

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Where should I skip to if I want to skip the Wolfenstein bit?

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Shiftygism

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Edited By Shiftygism

@protome said:
@shiftygism said:

How about Alex and Dan please stop labeling the core gameplay efforts of the 2K WWE games as being "bad" and that they "play like shit/fucking suck" when it's clear they just don't enjoy the simulation approach taken with them and want something more arcadey in nature.

It's their awards and they think those games play like shit. What we really need is a "Please Stop being overly defensive about game series you like just because someone else doesn't like them."

I'm not being overly defensive, that's just how things are.

None of them enjoy the slow methodical back and forth nature of the simulation focused gameplay, that's why they think it plays like shit, it doesn't fit their strict definition of what a wrestling game should be.

This is evident from the things they have said over the years and seeing Dan not having the patience to even attempt to engage the action as it's supposed to be stubbornly standing around spamming kicks in a proverbial head shaking act of defiance failing to realize the current system is most rewarding to those that actually play smart and don't treat them like some stupid button masher while Alex gives flat-out incorrect instructions of how a new method of play controls claiming it's "bad" when it's actually the most rewarding and layered wrestling system there's ever been and one of the few things Yukes/2K continues to get right with the series.

When Dan points out a completely optional grappling system added this year which allows more freedom in the ring is a step back over the last installment he enjoyed which suffered gameplay wise thanks to the arcade nature of its sped up strikes, it's clear he's not a fan of the genre. He wants an arcade wrestling game, and that's fine....but not acknowledging that and acting as if it's the game's fault for not being what he wants all while taking the tired black or white stance he does way too often is incredibly annoying and devalues his opinion from a critical standpoint.

As I said, you're not gonna bitch about Madden not being Blitz.

For Alex though, there's obviously a little more going on as he's using the opportunity to champion the little guy in Fire Pro World.....which should be, but not in this manner. It's gotta be exactly how they want it or it's dogcrap. There's no grey area at all, and that shit's lame.

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BladedEdge

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Edited By BladedEdge

Honestly, I expected the best moment thing to win from when I first had it spoiled for me (on accident). But then I went and played Danganronpa V3 which did the same general concept, in what I thought was the best part of that game. Given that is also the main reason said spoiled game is so divisive (you either love or hate it) though.

I will say, if I hadn't bounced off the winning game so very very hard, maybe I wouldn't have such a strong "Yah I've seen it done better" vibe. But when my top 1 or 2 GotY has a better version of GB's pick for Moment of the year in it, IMO, its hard not to realize just how disconnected I am between the fans of the game everyone gives props for that moment, and the one I think did it better.

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Marino

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Marino  Staff

Where should I skip to if I want to skip the Wolfenstein bit?

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Efesell

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Edited By Efesell  Online

@bladededge said:

Honestly, I expected the best moment thing to win from when I first had it spoiled for me (on accident). But then I went and played Danganronpa V3 which did the same general concept, in what I thought was the best part of that game. Given that is also the main reason said spoiled game is so divisive (you either love or hate it) though.

I will say, if I hadn't bounced off the winning game so very very hard, maybe I wouldn't have such a strong "Yah I've seen it done better" vibe. But when my top 1 or 2 GotY has a better version of GB's pick for Moment of the year in it, IMO, its hard not to realize just how disconnected I am between the fans of the game everyone gives props for that moment, and the one I think did it better.

Hm, having played both I don't actually find a lot of similarity, other than say a broad broad stroke of playing with the fourth wall.

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Antihippy

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@bladededge: having played both I don't find them similar at all.

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BladedEdge

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@antihippy: @efesell: Ok, since two people commented, I will offer an explanation, in spoiler block.

To start, I did not play Neir, so my basis is not so much on a 1 to 1 comparison of the games, though I get to that, but on word of mouth on how the big twist at the end of Nier effects people.

As I read and understand Nier, (Not played, but have read/watched enough of the games plot/meaning/spoilers to talk about them) the 'delete your save to help another?' is meant to invoke and finalize a lot of the points the game brings up. The game breaks the fourth wall in order to invoke and examine how a player feels about the themes the game creator wanted to explore. The reason it gets moment of the year is in the sudden 'go against playing the game, do something not expected, make a choice based on the narrative we are trying to push, etc.

V3 does the exact same thing, only much more blatantly. Don't save, don't succeed at mini games. Reject every last vestige of what the game's had you doing up until that point. That seems like a fairly straight-forward comparison. Neir breaks the fourth wall and asks you to do something that goes against the grain to invoke a moment, a story element. V3 does this too.

Now neither of you take issue with my thinking V3 does it better then Nier, and that's fine, I don't expect people to agree with me on that, so I won't defend it except to say. It may very well be that you have to A-not think very much of Nier and B-have really liked the V3 ending to get the connection I see between the two, in the way I see them.

And, to be fair. As I never experienced Nier fully in the way where Ending E would have the effect it clearly did on a lot of other people, maybe if I'd played through it I'd think differntly. As it is, I got through the bare-minimum tutorial and took a educated guess that A-the humans are dead B-this is gonna be about how war is meaning for androids, C-its robots and androids so likely it will talk about 'what does it mean to be "human" and....I'd seen all of that done before, and better in other mediums stories. Where as V3? That game took me on a very wild ride. I didn't predict a single thing about the major twists and turns of most of it, and had it not been for Niers Ending E being spoiled for me before I played V3, I wouldn't have realized what V3 was doing as soon as I did. Even so, the ending to that game was fantastic IMO, divided as the games fandom is on that. I think it broke the fourth wall in order to invoke a reaction, cause a moment, impact its audience in a much better way then Nier. Both broke the 4th wall to do that this year, V3 did better something that it doesn't get recognized for..which Neir gets praised as 'moment of the year"

And, it likely should be. If I had the same reaction and enjoyment of Nier that others did, as said, I'd likely think differntly. For me though, nope.

Take it with a grain of salt though. Its a purely personal opinion. If you disagree with me, that's fine. I am just voicing how I feel, not trying to persuade people. Likewise, if you don't find my (long!) explanation of why I think the two compare to work for you, alright. Not trying to convince you they do, only explain why I think so.

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ramennoodle

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@antihippy: I agree. I played through both too and the only similar thing you can say between the two is they both have post-modern ingots in their story telling.

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@travisrex: God, I’ve listened to it now and it’s a fucking shit show. I actually disagree with them even harder now than I did before. Even by the absolutely ridiculous definition they retroactively gave the category to justify the choices they’d already made...BotW still shouldn’t win because of a bunch of reasons not least of which is half their argument for cutting HZD applies TWICE AS MUCH to BotW. Dan, for example, claims at one point that not only was BotW’s barren landscape not a problem it was an advantage. Then, minutes later, he dings HZD for having “areas with not much in them”. They talk about Horizon becoming something they just fast travel around while separately insisting that not fast traveling around BotW is part of the appeal, wholly ignoring the cognitive dissonance from the point where it was observed if you took the gaps out of BotW it would be dull & repetitive. I don’t know what the hell that category even is at this point and I still can’t get with them on it. It’s a mess. I feel like Jeff’s initial definition was much more in line with what Alex initially described.

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clagnaught

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NieR: Automata continues to press onward to become Giant Bomb’s 2017 GOTY.

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mikewhy

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I think "best world" was really the balance between good worlds and gameplay.

On one side you have worlds: their design, story, and auxiliary story elements.

On the other is gameplay mechanics, does it shoot itself in the foot based on gameplay.

Maybe it's too suggestive, I totally get Assassin's Creed being the spark behind this category. The world is amazing and the gameplay totally compliments it.

I don't think Night in The Woods should be on there because it sounds like it's mostly story.

I think Cuphead is a tough sell because the gameplay is actively against you exploring it.

Maybe open-world games have a leg up, they have more gameplay opportunities. Maybe strollplay games are hindered because their worlds can be amazing but the gameplay rather dull.

But the category is interesting if it's trying to find the game with the best balance between the two.

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Teddie

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Edited By Teddie

@gwenners said:

Such a bummer Persona 5 didn't even get a mention for best moment or sequence. The big twist in that game and how everything fits together and how it was explained by the characters was amazing.

I actually thought they fumbled the big twist so badly that I barely even understood what happened when I was playing it, despite the nearly solid 30 minutes of dialogue explaining it (which was followed up by an optional text dump afterwards). They could have summed it up and presented it concisely, but it feels like the writers were so proud of the twist that they had to let everyone know how much thought they put into every faucet of the sequence, when they really just needed an editor or something. Feels like they could have illustrated it visually a lot more clearly after the fact, too.

I did enjoy P5 overall but I'm not sure I could point to one moment as great. I didn't notice it's absence from the nominations until I saw some comments talking about it.

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Gee_rad

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best moment or se[Q]uence

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golguin

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Jason mentioned getting Ending E on stream and watching his save get deleted. Where is that video?

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l4wd0g

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Not to be that guy, but Reagan was born in 1911. He would have been 50 in 1961. Also he really had nothing to do with Arizona. Arizona had Berry Goldwater, another fucked up politician... but don’t put Reagan on us.

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mtfikhan

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I really appreciate that Wolf is all on its own

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eloj

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Edited By eloj

@shiftygism said:

They wouldn't shit on Madden because it's not Blitz, there's no excuse to do it in this situation.

Probably because in American Football the competitive element is real, where-as American Wrestling is a stage-play, so putting a competitive combat simulation element into an AW game is nonsense.

That's my interpretation of what they've said over the years. Doesn't automatically mean that arcade AW games makes more sense, but at least there's a bit less dissonance there IMO.

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Turambar

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NieR: Automata continues to press onward to become Giant Bomb’s 2017 GOTY.

We are currently building the slide.

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Turambar

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What did youse guys see in Breath of the Wild that you didn’t see in The Witcher 2 or 3? I’m baffled by this like it makes no sense is it just the Zelda name? Especially since by the time I got the DLC I had a 1080 and was playing on my 4K tv the Witcher’s world was just so gorgeous and full of wonder yet I remember how quickly everyone other than Vinny I told that game to fuck off

In the case of Witcher 2, an open world of any kind. In the case of Witcher 3, a game that focuses on the physical act of exploration as opposed to the narrative payoff through exploration.