What is your GOTY?... that wasn't released this year?

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videogameninja

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#1  Edited By videogameninja

What is your personal game of the year!!!?... that wasn’t released this year?

Resident evil 7, Nioh, Nier: Automata, Persona 5, ZELDA!!!, Hellblade, The Evil Within 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted: The lost legacy, Super Mario Odyssey, Wolfenstein 2 and a whole bevy of other top name GOTY contenders littered the calendar this year (and still more to come.).

It seems with a list so robust and differing in nature that one would hardly have time to keep up with every “must play” title that stumbled across their path on what seemed like a continuous, if not at the very least, monthly basis. Still, even with release after release vying for gamers attention and hard earned dollars there has been some “down time” from the next “big release”.

Luckily I’ve been able to dive into my own personal backlog on more than one occasion throughout the duration of the year, something that has actually been a good thing as there were a few games I had been meaning to check out but for whatever reason (shakes fist at new releases.) wasn’t able to get to when they were fresh off the presses.

-Fresh off the presses, Ninja? What year is it?-

Even though I and many others in a similar situation missed out on all the excitement and hype when these games were making waves during their respective releases in some cases it actually worked out even better as many of the titles on sale months (or even in some cases years.) after their respective releases were heavily discounted, released as GOTY editions with all their extra content, or in many cases both.

Games like Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb raider, alien isolation, and a few others rounded out my own personal list of games vying for my attention in what was already a jam packed year thanks to all the hot new releases being dropped on what seemed like a never ending basis. But there was one that stuck out in my mind over the rest. One that I didn’t think I was going to enjoy as much as I did thanks mostly in part due its classification of not technically being a full game like the others.

It’s here where I must somewhat break with my own question of “What’s your game of the year… that wasn’t released this year?” in order to give my answer.

-Can’t even stick to your own rules, huh Ninja?-

My game of the year that wasn’t released this year wasn’t technically a full game… it was DLC.

-Say what, Ninja?-

That’s right. The DLC I’m talking about is none other than The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone.

-Oh, darn it, Ninja! A technicality… I hate it when people do that!-

As much as I enjoyed myself with the main game I found myself gravitating to the events that unfolded in The Witcher 3 DLC that came bundled with my “complete edition” in a way that I had not only not anticipated but in truth enjoyed even more than the events of the main entry itself.

-But… but… BUT IT’S NOT THE MAIN GAME NINJA!!!-

I completely understand why some may scoff at such a claim and it goes just to further prove my point that it was something I don’t think I had ever anticipated. After all, how many pieces of DLC out there can it be argued are actually better than the main game they are meant to compliment?

-Wait... wait, Ninja. So you’re saying you didn’t like the main game? (grabs pitch fork.)-

Not at all. While I did enjoy the main game itself there were a few issues I had with the story and overall pacing that did not seem to present themselves in the same manner in both DLCs offered. As for why I chose the hearts of stone over the blood and wine, well... I just found the events and mystery surrounding the man of mirrors more stimulating and engaging.

-But Ninja, how can you like the DLC more than the main game?! Blasphemy!!!-

Lower your pitch forks and torches everyone. There were a few main reasons for my gravitating towards the DLC over the main game.

1: More friendly to people who are new to the series.

I have to admit, the first few hours of The Witcher 3 I found it very hard to care about anyone or understand half of the seemingly random jargon thrown about so casually. Add in the fact that we are dealing with a title where you are engaged in dialogue for probably half of the game (I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.) and I can understand how some newbies might be completely turned off.

To be completely fair this is not the games fault. This is the main problem most people have when jumping directly into some sort of sequel without having played any of the other entries in the series (which was my scenario.). To help combat this effect I watched 2 one hour videos of the events of the 1st and 2nd game. Even with this aid it did very little to help me understand what was going on for those first few hours of the Wild Hunt. Names of places, kingdoms, enemies, characters, etc... all went through one ear and out the other (-Not surprising, Ninja.-) but at the very least it helped me understand who the main players were as well as what the overall theme of the world I was about to dive into was all about.

Still, even going in with that somewhat limited knowledge I didn’t start “connecting” with characters as well as motivations for certain actions until a good 7 to 10 hours in. The same couldn’t be said of the Hearts of Stone DLC.

-WHOA, WHOA, WHOA Ninja! That’s not fair.-

You’re absolutely right. It’s not. I started playing the DLC right after I finished the main game and as such I had a firm grasp of the characters, events, and motivations of certain individuals. Geralt, Chloe, Yennifer, names I had heard in those first few hours and not really resonated with were suddenly names that brought with them fond memories.

However, even with all of that in mind during my playthrough of the DLC I kept that in the back of my head. Having completed it I came to the conclusion that while having played the main game would definitely be a huge advantage in knowing the world you would soon be traveling through the truth is that one could have played the DLC with very basic knowledge. In a sense the DLC could have been another separate entry in the Witcher series altogether (which technically I think it was.). Personally I think this was why it was so much easier to get into than the main game.

The player wasn’t tied down with unnecessary baggage from previous decisions in prior entries and similarly previous knowledge about characters and scenarios were not the driving motivator behind the events unfolding in this installment.

2: Fewer pacing issues/more direct path to main goal.

Unlike the main game the focus of the narrative and the events that unfolded surrounding certain characters/events in the DLC seemed first and foremost the main focus driving the game forward. While you could go off and explore and investigate to your “hearts” content (-I see what you did there, Ninja.-) it was very hard to lose sight of the main task at hand. In a sense it felt more structured than the overlapping “main missions” present in the full game.

To that end it also seemed that although the main game had an overall theme and main goal (find you know who ;) ) it was quite easy for that task to be put to the back of one’s mind with all the other missions. While it’s somewhat true that at the end of the day most of those “where is this going” missions helped cumulate in rounding out the overall narrative it still in the moment made it very easy to lose sight of the importance and weight of just what the main reason for Geralt heading out on this journey was to begin with.

-What, Ninja? That makes no sense.-

Let me put it this way…

It wasn’t uncommon for me to boot up the main game day after day and say to myself “So… what am I doing again?” while when the same scenario unfolded with the DLC I didn’t have to rely on the various load screen texts (which were very nice by the way.) to know what it was I was doing or trying to achieve again.

To that end I personally felt the tale being weaved was a more coherent and direct one.

-Unlike your ramblings, huh Ninja?-

3: Less forced procrastination.

This is a huge pet peeve of mine. We’ve all been there before. You’re playing a game (usually an open world game.) and when things are just getting good and you can’t wait to see what happens next the developers pull the old “you have to complete some trivial/meaningless task(s)” in order to advance the plot. It’s almost analogous to when you were in school and the teachers gave you “busy work” in an attempt to keep you quiet(-In your case Ninja you must have been doing busy work all day-).

It’s been a while since I played The Witcher 3 so I can’t remember every instance of this scenario but one that does stick out in my mind (forgive me for not remembering character names or places.) was when I had to collect enough funds to convince a captain of a ship to set sail for my supposed new destination.

I’m pretty good at collecting and holding onto things in games (my 1000 items of the same thing cause you never know, I may need them all can attest to that ;) ) so I was expecting to maybe spend another 10 minutes or so collecting the required amount of money I needed to convince this stubborn drunkard (the captain.) to set sail. Needless to say that’s not how it panned out at all. I must have spent a good 2 hours running around the city engaging in extra trivial encounters such as street fights and the occasional random Witcher contract in an attempt to gain as much money as possible.

While doing all that extra stuff can be seen as a form of incentive on the developers part to help open up and expose the player to new things in the environment it’s a double edged sword (at least for me.) as it abruptly halts the flow of the narrative. Suddenly all that excitement and build up turned to the same kind of “enthusiasm” one would have towards doing some kind of repetitive chore (-like reading all your posts, Ninja? Ah, gotcha.).

From my time playing Hearts of Stone (and Blood and wine.) those hang ups were far and few if there were any at all. The main focus of the story seemed unmarred by these trivial “side quests” (technically they are not side quests but you get my drift.) and as such I rarely if ever found myself rolling my eyes that I had to busy myself with some meaningless and time consuming task just in an effort to see what was ahead.

4: A mystery.

This last point (-Thank goodness, Ninja. We would be here all day.-) is more a personal preference than an actual criticism of design or flow.

While the main games’ focus surrounded finding a certain someone Hearts of Stone surrounded the events of a mysterious traveller. As more was revealed about this individual (and his nature.) the more my curiosity peaked in uncovering what lay beneath the surface. Discovering why you were doing what you were doing (the tasks.) as well as unraveling information from those who had some kind of knowledge of just who you were dealing with added another layer of intrigue to an already tantalizing mystery.

Due to the insane amount of love this game has garnered over the years I once again feel it necessary to stress that while I preferred the DLC that in no way is somehow insinuating the main game wasn’t a great game in and of itself.

-Still going to crucify you, Ninja.-

I really enjoyed my time with the Witcher 3 and in hindsight I’m glad I held out for so long on giving it a shot as it gave me a chance to experience the DLC; something that if I had bought the regular game I probably wouldn’t have spent the extra cash to get as I would have thought it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as the main game.

So Giantbomb community, you’ve heard my thoughts (-more like rants, Ninja.-)…

So the question stands…

What is your game of the year that wasn’t released this year?

-VIDEOGAME RAMBLER APPROVED-

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StarvingGamer

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SFV continues to be an excellent fighting game, the overall balance has improved, and the new characters released this year are fantastic

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BoOzak

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#3  Edited By BoOzak

Titanfall 2. Although I havent played in months I put a lot of time into that game this year and they have been pretty good with updating it for free, without the need of loot boxes.

Other than that I completed TLOZ: Phantom Hourglass & Xenoblade Chronicles this year and a had good time with both even if they did drag a bit towards the end.

(and I agree about the pacing in TW3 being off, as someone who enjoyed the first two games more than 3 the DLC felt more in line with those games and was better for it)

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Redhotchilimist

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#4  Edited By Redhotchilimist

Dark Souls 3 got some DLC early in the year that I quite enjoyed, and Street Fighter V has managed to make me play it week after week, month after month. In terms of pure hours, I bet SFV is the game I've played the most in a good long while, but there's no way to see that on the Playstation 4.

But the games I've enjoyed the most this year that are not from this year are Bloodborneand Dragon's Crown.Bloodborne is one of those exclusives I bought a PS4 for in the first place, and early this year I finally got around to beating it. It's amazing and exciting and my favorite of the Souls games bar the first one, a breath of fresh air than honed in on the elements of those games that I enjoy while ditching the ones I don't.

Dragon's Crown is the best beat 'em up I've played, a game that improves the genre with all of its RPG mechanics, beautiful art and precise controls. There are few games out there I enjoy playing as much as this one. I've beaten it many times before, and I did it again this year, even participating in online CO-OP with randos and one of the twitch streamers I follow. If we're counting the best time I've had with games this year overall even, new games included, Dragon's Crown might be it. So it's definitely my Old Game Of The Year.

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OMGFather

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I started Stardew Valley this year and it consumed my life. Then it came out on Switch and it consumed me again. Definitely that game.

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Birtrum_Yonce

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The Witcher 3

Bought it 2 years ago, played it, hated it, heard that the ps4 pro patch was released, gave it a second chance, loved it. Still haven't beaten it yet.

Always thought the writing was pretty great, but couldn't tolerate the combat. After games like Prey, Doom, etc. familiarized me with using weapon wheels, I felt way more confident and got a bit more enjoyment out of swinging my swords around while taking advantage of the abilities.

Dishonored 2 was another game I fell in love with this year for similar reasons, except the story wasn't good but that's ok.

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FrodoBaggins

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Overwatch. Probably next year aswell.

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MajorMitch

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mezmero

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Probably would be XCOM 2 for me. I ended up playing the Deluxe and War of The Chosen versions back to back and there are some pretty terrific additions in the expansion. This was also the year I could finally play Virtues Last Reward thanks to The Nonary Games re-release. I'll probably include both of these games in my top ten of this year even if they get in on a technicality. Having played both the second and third Zero Escape games this year I can say that VLR is my favorite of the three. I also finished Furi, Odin Sphere, and Oxenfree early in the year and enjoyed all of them.

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Dray2k

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The best game I've played that did not came out this year has been Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom and Shadow Warrior 2 (WARRIOOOOOR!)

Especially Emperor was most impressive. I was awestruck on how well designed it actually is. It makes the old Sim City 4 almost look unbearable if you don't mod it, which quite the contrast since Sim City 4 is quite close to perfection. Its just so flexible and building a city feels so versitile and a non-chore. Experimenting with different designs while doing mistakes are feel constantly rewarding as you're learning a lot of things on how to build your creative city so it feels like Factorio in that regard, which is also incredible. I don't even like the Chinese setting (I loved Pharaoh and Cleopatra but its all and all the inferior game).

Its the best building game I've played since OpenTT.

Shadow Warrior 2 is just extremly fun, the way the game just lets you speedrun through it in like an hour yet makes finding secrets still a rewarding thing makes this the most rounded FPS game I've played this year. Another amazing FPS that came out this year, which is Wolfenstein 2, kinda doesn't hit that very paticular sweet spot of pure action driven flexibility and style. However, the story of Shadow Warrior 2 is pretty much forgetable as I absolutely forgot what was going on while playing like the first 5 minutes of the game. Its really not a game where you should care about the world and the story and the developers knew exactly what they wanted to go for. Also that final boss song rules and should be put into a museum or something.

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kopcik

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Definitely ' Last of Us' for me. Never played it before and it might end up on my 'best games of all time list' along side with titles like 'half life 2'.

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Ryallen

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Before Divinity Original Sin 2 released this year, I picked up Fallout New Vegas again after around 3-4 years because a friend played it and had a decent time with it. I had an utter blast playing it again with little to no mods to interfere with my experience. I had forgotten how interesting a game can be when you just focus on playing it just to play it. I dropped it when Divinity came out, but I plan on starting again once I finish it and not stopping until I finish it and all the DLC.

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nicksmi56

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#14  Edited By nicksmi56

Good question...

Right now I'd probably have to go with Persona 4. Even though it runs a little long, the story and characters are fantastic. It's one of the few games where grinding feels good enough for me to do it for hours, and the bosses all have little wrinkles that help them stay interesting. The game balances average school life with supernatural monster battling so extremely well that the average life stuff was a big part of what kept me playing instead of feeling like a roadblock. And any game that can make me bust out laughing or having me tear up like a baby during the ending gets extra points in my book. I still listen to the soundtrack as well.

Runner up would probably be Majora's Mask 3D, which I absolutely adored. Favorite Zelda game by far out of the ones I've played. Time traveling rocks, the characters are lovable, the gameplay and puzzles are super solid and made me feel like a genius in some bits, and the world is really endearing. It also plays to that 'one more quest' mentality extremely well. One of the few games I actually had trouble putting down because I wanted to see what was coming next.

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pweidman

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XCOM2 pretty sure. Played the vanilla and fell in love with the gameplay, added WotC, played that campaign and loved it even more. Soo damn addictive, can't recommend both of those enough. Now with that out of the way, Diablo 3 RoS, is my go-to old game every year. Endless replayability, along with frequent patches keeping it fresh. S12 starts Thursday, can't wait.

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Octopusrocketmark

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Super Smash Bros. Melee. It's been a landmark year for its growth as an eSport and also my growth as a player. God damn that game has a steep learning curve but it's so rewarding.

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jeffrud

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Finally got through Burnout 3: Takedown this year. I think I've been converted to the church of Burnout Paradise, but there really hasn't been anything like B3's Crash Mode since. The last few races are some of the most insanely shit hard things I've ever done in a game. Zero margin of error, all of your opponents are rabid, and everything happens at about 250mph.

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pewpewphil

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If DLC doesn't count for this years GOTY, then I'll say XCOM2 with its War of the Choosen DLC.

However if its a game it has to be doom (2016), bought it last year but I had too many games to play to get to it. Once I had time this year (in april) I had a blast ripping and tearing! Heck its my 2nd favourite game I've played this year, first is xcom2 WOTC.

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Rawrz

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The Witcher 3. It's the best game last year, better then any game this year, and will still probably be better then any game next year as well haha

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Nodima

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#20  Edited By Nodima

The Witcher 3, just like last year. Due to their patch addiction, I dropped the game originally around the time Arkham Knight dropped and didn't pick it back up until all the expansions and related patches were released (I had bought the $100 season pass on release day just off Vinny and Danny hype despite no familiarity with the series as a Playstation player). So I completed the main campaign over a few months last year. Then this spring I picked it back up and played through Hearts of Stone which was really cool.

The Witcher 3 will likely be my not-GOTY 2018 as well since I haven't started Blood and Wine yet. I felt a little stupid dropping $100 on that game at the time, especially when I wasn't totally in love with it my first time through White Orchard and the Bloody Baron quests, but now that I'm five months away from having spent that money three years ago and still haven't got everything out of it, I gotta say, good call @nodima!

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elmorales94

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XCOM: Enemy Within. I never played upon its initial release because it didn't seem like my kind of game. Last year, I decided to give it a shot on Vita, but ditched it because it was so unforgiving. Then this year Exquisite Corps made me pick up the Vita version again, get frustrated by the slow-down and lack of proper soldier customization, and buy a new laptop in part to play this game. It is very good.

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Ares42

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Fallout 4, and if it was released this year it would be my GOTY. After having a blast replaying Skyrim last year I jumped into Fallout 4 earlier this year and it was amazing. Sure, you can nitpick the hell out of the game if you want to, but if you know what you're getting into and is in the right mood for it it's a fan-fucking-tastic game. There's just something magical about those games when you don't treat them like standard linear story-driven RPGs and just roam around in them for weeks upon weeks.

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thebunnyhunter

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#23  Edited By thebunnyhunter

The Witcher 3, I bought it on release and got to Skellege and stopped playing. I recently picked it up again and just went through it all enjoying the story and world, I don't know why I ever stopped.

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ItsaCorey

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Dark Souls 3, again. I wish From Software would make additional DLC for this game if their not going to make a sequel.

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AndrewJD

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I'm still into the League of Rockets in a big way. Omw to 1500 hours and still love it.

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HeathHuston

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Yakuza 5. I finally beat it after playing off and for the past couple years since it's US release. It's my favorite in the series so far but I have yet to really get started on 0.

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MocBucket62

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#27  Edited By MocBucket62

Well, there's a list of games I'd like to add. I beat Contradiction: Spot the Liar mainly for that GBE Play-through back in 2015, but it was actually pretty fun to play and the Contradiction system makes for an amusing system of spotting lies. I'm still trying to finish Grim Fandango Remastered and still I'm loving the art style, the characters, the soundtrack and that oh so good voice acting! I'm also enjoying some of the puzzles, but there are a few that have been frustrating me and I can't figure out what to do. (I'm trying to figure out how to get the boat out of the dock in year 3. I have the anchors up but I don't know what direction I need to go to get out of the dock.) Grim could be my old GOTY, but I need to finish it first. I also want to get into Day of the Tentacle Remastered at some point too.

If I had to pick 1 GOTY that didn't come out in 2017 right now, I might go with the indie game Freedom Planet. Just judging it purely on fun factor, I can't think of an old game I've had more fun with than Freedom Planet. This game is a great mixture of Genesis 2D Sonic and Treasure Action games like Gunstar Heroes. The levels themselves all have fun gimmicks that never wear out their welcome and the game has 3 playable characters which add to replay value. Characters include a dragon girl who's the speed expert (Sonic like I know), a cat who rides on a motorcycle and a dog who can throw green blocks like they're vegetables from Super Mario Bros 2. I'd avoid Adventure mode because it has fully voiced cutscenes and while I admire the ambition, the voice acting is amateurish for the most part. Play classic just to play those levels. Now I eagerly await Freedom Planet 2.

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Captain_Insano

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XCOM 2: War of the Chosen DLC

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hippie_genocide

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#30  Edited By hippie_genocide

I played through about 75% of Wolfenstein: The New Order the year it came out. Right up to the start of the Lunar Base chapter. I thought it was great but for whatever reason, I got distracted and never finished it. With the New Colossus coming out I wanted to finish that game, so I restarted it on Über difficulty (hardest) and man, that is a fun way to play that game. I know Dan likes to put it on the easiest setting and just run around with double assault rifles and go nuts. You can actually still kind of play that way on Über, because the AI is slow to react, it's just when they do hit you it hurts real bad. But the way I played, I would stealth as much as possible and go loud only when necessary. It made for a very tense, fun experience. Great game and looking forward to starting The New Colossus sometime this week.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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#31  Edited By sparky_buzzsaw

I had lots of fun this year with Shadow Warrior 2 and Steamworld Heist. I'm not sure yet which one of those two I'd rank above the other, but it would definitely be between them.

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Superharman

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#32  Edited By Superharman

I've spent the year playing through all single player numbered Final Fantasy games (in no particular order) and while I'm stalling out a bit on 8 due to the fact that there are so many other games coming out now, I should hopefully get through that then tackle 6 by the end of the year and then 12 and 1 early next year.

Anyway, current personal ranking of the ones I have finished are: 15, 7, 13, 9, 10, 5, 3, 4, 2.

For context, the order I'm playing them in is: 15, 7, 5, 9, 2, 10, 4, 13, 3, 8, 6, 12, 1.

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InstantRyan

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Due to the Hot Wheels expansion being released this year, it's Forza Horizon 3. Even though it only released last year, it's likely the game with most playtime of the past few years. Even if I've done all the Championships for every course, I'll still pop in for a couple MP races or just to cruise around the world.

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AlisterCat

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I always put games not released in the current year in to my list. Unless you're covering games professionally I don't see why you shouldn't.

Doom would be the big one for me. Didn't connect with it on release but then loved the hell (get it!?) out of it this year.

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NeverGameOver

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Mass effect 2. I played through 2, 3 and andromeda this year. I like them all but mass effect 2 was clearly the best.

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MeMonk

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#36  Edited By MeMonk

Overwatch and Warframe

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Mamba219

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I really enjoyed playing through The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks this year. I hadn't gotten around to it when it came out, and just finished it. Liked it way more than I thought I would, and it has perhaps the best Overworld music of all time.

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Darth_Navster

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Due to the Hot Wheels expansion being released this year, it's Forza Horizon 3. Even though it only released last year, it's likely the game with most playtime of the past few years. Even if I've done all the Championships for every course, I'll still pop in for a couple MP races or just to cruise around the world.

Same here. FH3 plus the two expansions is easily the most fun I had this year from an older game. It was also my first Play Anywhere game, and weirdly enough I made extensive use of that feature to play on both my Xbox and PC.

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John_Wiswell

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Totally Dark Souls 3. The expansions have been a great excuse to go through the game a couple more times. Love the combat and environmental designs. That twin demons boss fight is a work of beauty.

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YharnaMatt

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I think my answer would have to be Diablo 2, more specifically, Path of Diablo. PoD is a mod that re-balances the skill tree so more builds are viable, tweaks rune words and uniques to also facilitate new builds, and most importantly, introduces a new "map" system to beef up the D2 end game. By taking the map system from Path of Exile, fixing a few remaining bugs, and re-balancing under used skills, this is truly the best way to play Diablo 2.

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Eroq

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#41  Edited By Eroq

I finally played through Dragon's Dogma after reading so much about it. It turns out that game is pretty good.

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tavistavistavis

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Overwatch

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Birtrum_Yonce

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I should get back to Dragon's Dogma on my 360. I had a very similar experience with Wolfenstein: The New Order this year. I unlocked 999 mode, that was definitely cool to play thru. The first half of the old blood was great

Dishonored finally hooked me this year. I think Prey taught me a lot and I applied what I learned which made the experience more enriching this second time around.

Doom 4

Witcher 3 Post-Ps4 Pro patch

Those are my games of the year

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CheapPoison

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Going to echo a few people here. Witcher 3, ruining all other open-world games since 2016

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totsboy

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I played a lot of great games not made in 2017 this year, like Mario galaxy 1and 2. But I think the one that surprised me the most was Castlevania SoTN, I was finally able to understand why this game gets so much praise. And I say it surprised me because I honestly thought I wouldn't like it, I played another castlevania game on SNES at some point and it was pretty bad, so I was expecting something slightly better than that.

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Goboard

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#46 Goboard  Online
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Briggs713

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#47  Edited By Briggs713

I played through Salt and Sanctuary to completion almost 3 times. I'm only missing the achievement to beat the boss at the very beginning of the game. Also, Overwatch. Lots and lots of Overwatch.

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CrossNomad

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Still going strong with overwatch

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Atlas

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Picked up Stellaris a few weeks ago. That game is far from perfect, but the parts that are fun are really, really great. I doubt it would've beaten Stardew Valley if I'd played it last year, but it'd probably be a strong second.

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Forrester90

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Definitely Darkest Hour and Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. I've put Hundreds of hours into each of them this year.