My 2017 Game of the Year category winners: part II

So, I've already presented my take on GB's actual award categories. But now it's time to take a look at some of the categories that Giant Bomb inexplicably forgot to include (I hope they fix this for 2018). Please enjoy this 100% serious post, and let me know of games I missed or categories you would have included.

The "Need for Speed" award for most egregious use of always online functionality

Gran Turismo Sport

Oh dear.
Oh dear.

Gran Turismo Sport was divisive enough already as it strayed away from the series' staple car-PG gameplay and morphed into a stripped down, primarily online focused experience. But even more maddening is the game's insistence for its players to be online to save anything. It doesn't matter if you're playing in offline modes - if you can't connect, you can't save.

And if the GTS servers are down... well, I hope you don't mind leaving your PS4 on and not playing anything else on it for a while!

Best Romance

Hideo Kojima & Mads Mikkelsen

Despite a year dominated by fear, turbluence and hate, it was in 2017 that the budding bromance between Hideo Kojima and Mads Mikkelsen bloomed like the fullest of Spring blossoms. A modern love story played out on Twitter and Instagram, the amourous adventures of these two entwined souls captured the hearts of millions and stitched out a wondrous tale that will linger for a thousand generations.

Meanwhile, in an undisclosed location, Geoff Keighley sobbed gently into his Kojima Productions branded pillow.

Best Recovery for an Official License

Ashes Cricket

Steve Smith enjoying a quick blast of Ashes Cricket 2013
Steve Smith enjoying a quick blast of Ashes Cricket 2013

2013's Ashes Cricket game was so hilariously bad that they tried to cancel it after it had been released, leading to some horrific publicity and perhaps making cricket's biggest inroad into the American public consciousness yet.

Fortunately, for this year's edition the cricket boards wisely did not award the license to a publisher who admitted they had no idea what the development team they had contracted were doing, and simply got the guys from the respectable Don Bradman Cricket series to do it instead. Now cricket fans everywhere can enjoy the total misery of England's pitiful bowling and dreadful batting.

(Just remember, Don Bradman (statistically the greatest sportsman in history) died for this.)

Worst Reveal

Artifact - the Dota 2 Card Game

The video says it all.

Most telling revision of a long-held opinion

Dan Ryckert on Super Mario Sunshine

Dan Ryckert and his friends enjoying another rousing session of Super Mario Sunshine
Dan Ryckert and his friends enjoying another rousing session of Super Mario Sunshine

Once you get past the excitement over the fact that the latest Mario game is finally here, you'll find a game that's generally pleasing but heavily reliant on a few new moves that seem more like gimmicks than gameplay innovations.

Gerstmann, J., "Super Mario Sunshine review", Gamespot, 26 August 2002

It was Dan's love of and perceived notion of bias against the series' Gamecube entry that led to an entertaining playthrough by the GBE team. Slowly but surely however, even Dan himself began to crack a little at the numerous niggling flaws that cropped up whilst playing Sunshine.

Occasional technical issues also make for quite a bit of frustration, such as clipping problems that cause you to fall through objects or get you stuck inside walls or fences.

Gerstmann, J., "Super Mario Sunshine review", Gamespot, 26 August 2002

He probably still likes the game, but now the secret is out. Super Mario Sunshine is not a great video game. Sorry Dan. Why not play another "collect 100 coins" level to cheer yours-

While a few level goals truly stand out and will remind you of why you love the Mario series in the first place, many of the game's goals--particularly the red coin challenges--are simply tedious, and completing them feels more like a relief than a reward.

Gerstmann, J., "Super Mario Sunshine review", Gamespot, 26 August 2002

Oh.

Best Giant Bomb Opinion of 2017

Cuphead winning "Best Styyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyle"

A Persona 5 fan reacts to the
A Persona 5 fan reacts to the "Best Styyyyyyyyyyyyyyle" result

Cuphead is clearly a cut above anything style-wise. Maybe it's not an original look in itself, but it is an original visual concept for games. But most crucially of all, each component just works together so well. It's just so GOOD!

#dealwithit

Worst Giant Bomb Opinion of 2017

Cuphead winning "Best Styyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyle"

The most terrible robbery of 2017 (fitting, really)
The most terrible robbery of 2017 (fitting, really)

WTF? Do GB staff have eyes? Persona 5 clearly has the best styyyyyyyyle of 2017. I mean, look at the menus. People cosplay as the menus.

I confidently predict that in ten years' time we will open the dictionary and the entry for style will just be a gif of the menu for Takemi's clinic.

They didn't even play the game anyway...

#robbed

Worst Framerate / Best Slideshow

PUBG (Xbox One)

PUBG is a terrific game and is well worth playing however you can get your hands on it. If you have any choice in the matter however, you would do well to avoid the sluggish Xbox One version. The PC and Xbox One X versions aren't exactly a masterful showing of buttery smooth framerates and exceptional technical visuals, but they do offer a considerably improvement over the base One experience.

That said, there are approximately a million videos on this topic on the internet, so instead enjoy what might be the worst performing game of all time.

Best Menus (outside of Persona 5 to make it interesting)

Super Mario Odyssey

Beautiful (press B to orgasm)
Beautiful (press B to orgasm)

Super Mario Odyssey looks absolutely fantastic in every way, but particularly delightful were the excellent menus. Clear, crisp, colourful and genuinely useful, the presentation of information was expertly done in both the traditional menus themselves and the maps of each kingdom.

Not to mention in a year packed full of great video game soundtracks, the menu noises to indicate going backward and forward through the menus were sublime. Especially the back button noise. Mmmm.

Worst Game that Giant Bomb actually played but forgot about

Vroom in the Night Sky

Wood only they remembered this game...
Wood only they remembered this game...

On the Nintendo Switch launch stream, the GB team played what proved to be Metacritic's Worst Game of 2017. I'm not surprised that the guys totally passed over this shining example of how technology can poison the mind, but let it be shown for the record that they did in fact play, and not enjoy, the debut of the self-described "Magical Bike Action Game" genre.

The features of this game are Fantastic feeling, Speedy feeling, and Realistic feeling using HD Vibration.

The publisher of this complete nonsense

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My 2017 Game of the Year category winners

So like some other people on here I decided to take the Giant Bomb categories and decide what I thought would win. I didn't include all of the categories as I skipped ones that I either have no strong opinions on or had nothing that fit the category (I didn't play a game that I'd be comfortable describing as "worst). So without further ado:

2017's Old Game of the Year

Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 on Wii U was the best game in the series combining superb track design, fantastic gameplay and beautiful visuals. The Switch version elevates the experience not only by fixing the flaws with the original release but by making the game playable on the go with local multiplayer instantly accessible. Few games have been able to demonstrate the strength of the Switch's hybrid design as well as Mario Kart 8 did.

Runners-up: Skyrim (Switch), Rainbow 6: Siege, Crash trilogy

Most Disappointing Game

Mass Effect Andromeda

There's little doubt with this category, which given that we're talking about Mass Effect is such a gigantic shame. Andromeda was rushed out in an unfinished state, but even as the litany of bugs, issues and animation goofs were patched out the experience still fell well short of its illustrious predecessors. It was always going to be tough for Andromeda and its new development team given it was facing such lofty expectations, but the game falls so far short.

Best-Looking Game

Cuphead

Cuphead not only successfully introduces a visual style that's largely new to games, but does so in such a richly realised way that the visuals in many ways enhance the overall experience. The visual flourishes such as the excellent tutorial and the universal use of pink for parrying demonstrate that the developers are not simply paying homage to a classic style but have carefully considered how best to adapt it to suit the gameplay. Games like Horizon: Zero Dawn looked very impressive, but Cuphead's visual design is not only universally appealing but technically proficient and highly original .

Runners-up: Horizon: Zero Dawn, Battlefront 2

Best Multiplayer

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

PUBG takes the core from the mod and games like H1Z1 and turns it into an experience that's fun to play. What makes PUBG so special is those magic moments that you experience that make you so glad you have something like Shadowplay running. There's just such a variety of memorable stuff here: from solo-playing and stalking your last opponent, to wild firefights when dropping on the school, to wiping somebody's squad to your own, to killing half of your team by rolling a jeep when escaping from opponents on buggys and motorbikes. PUBG was my most played multiplayer game of 2017 and I can see myself putting in far more hours in the future as the game expands further.

Hottest Mess

Battlefront 2

It's rare for gamers to make any real impact through boycotts and complaints, but it seems EA may have suffered some actual reputational and financial damage from this saga. Whilst I'm in no doubt that it will have little lasting effect, the fact that I can even write that first sentence is pretty astonishing.

Best Surprise

Cuphead

Cuphead may have stolen everyone's attention at successive E3s for its incredible look, but what particularly impressed me when I finally played the game was just how damn good it was as a videogame. Not only does the music match the visuals for quality but the bosses are incredibly well designed, with just the right balance of challenge and frustration, and the platforming sections mix up the action well. I was concerned that Cuphead would be all style and no substance, and I'm very glad to be wrong.

Runners-up: Horizon: Zero Dawn, PUBG, Nintendo's 2017 in general

Best Music

Persona 5

Frankly any of the games here could have won and it's personal preference as much as anything that Persona wins for me. Not only is the music in this game damn good but there's tons of variety and it all fits the vibe of the game so well. Wandering around Tokyo at night with that music playing is just so cool!

Runners-up: Nier, Cuphead, Super Mario Odyssey

Best World

Prey

To clarify, my take on "Best World" was based on which game was most enhanced by the explorable setting that it was based in.

Prey was a pretty flawed game, but what it did do exquisitely well was create a realistic environment littered with little stories to savour, nooks and crannies to explore and varied environments to experience. It took the best elements from other environment-heavy shooters such as Bioshock and worked them into a space that was not only atmospheric but believable as a place where people worked and lived.

Runners-up: Zelda, Persona 5

PLEASE STOP

Blind Boxes

Can't disagree with the GB folks here. Having microtransactions in full priced games isn't the nicest experience in itself, but I can tolerate it. But placing these purchases behind a randomised system that strays uncomfortably close to gambling just feels really wrong to be. I've never purchased a loot box with real-world cash before and I never plan to, but for some people the desire to get that one shiny new item might lead to major problems. I'd recommend watching the BBC series "Broken" (with Sean Bean) as one powerful viewpoint from this year.

Best Moment or Sequence

Chicken Dinner (PUBG)

I've never felt tension playing a game anything like I do when I'm down to the last few players in PUBG. I almost exclusively play solo, and the feeling you get when there's only one or two people between you and the dinner is perhaps magnified by knowing it is just you and other random individuals waiting for someone to make the first move (or first mistake). When I won my first game, largely due to my excellent positioning forcing my opponents to move across an area I had covered, I felt elated in a way I rarely do when I play games. Each successive win has felt equally special.

Runners-up: Mario ending, Wolfenstein II auditions

Best Styyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyle

Persona 5

Cuphead has style, but Persona has styyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyle. Every single element of that game meshes together to create probably the most stylish and cool experience ever in a video game. Not only are normally mundane elements such as menu transitions, in-game HUDs and post-battle screens actually interesting, but they retain their interest even through a 80-100 hour playthrough. Mix that with the fantastic looks, interesting characters and great music and Persona 5 just has to win.

Runners-up: Cuphead, Super Mario Odyssey

Best New Character

Senua (Hellblade)

Suprisingly, for a year packed full of great games there perhaps weren't as many memorable characters as you'd expect. Senua takes this category thanks to her being a revealing and nuanced take on psychosis. The character recieved expert attention from a Cambridge professor who studies the condition and it shows. The way that Senua's psychosis meshes with the story and gameplay is very well done, leading the player to doubt everything she sees and feel the pain she experiences clouding her judgement.

Runners-up: Bayek (AC: Origins)

Best Story

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Horizon's central story was fascinating and engaging. I enjoyed the way the game revealed, using a variety of narrative techniques, a plot that intertwined both past and present into a story that was just really damn cool. I wasn't expecting to enjoy the story as much as I did, but as I played I was pushed onward by the desire to find out just a little bit more about the world.

Runners-up: Wolfenstein 2, Persona 5, AC: Origins

Best Super Mario Odyssey Capture

Bowser

Come on. Let's not pretend this was anything other than totally unexpected and ridiculously cool.

Runners-up: Yoshi, Pokio, anything inanimate

Best Game

Super Mario Odyssey

What a year 2017 was, and what a difficult choice this was, but Mario had to win for me. No other game this year combined so many good elements together into such a strong package with intense highs and few lows. Mario looks incredible, sounds incredible, plays with sharpness and inventiveness, has incredible depth and comes together into such a special experience. The way in which the new capture mechanic subverts the traditional Mario gameplay and yet feels so natural in a "why have they not thought of this before?" way is something truly special.

Runners-up: PUBG, Persona 5, Cuphead, Horizon: Zero Dawn

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