GOTY 2017

Friends, this has been an insane year for video games. I've been an avid gamer since the 90s - I was actively playing games when 1998 came around (often described as "the best year in gaming" thanks to games like Half Life, Starcraft, MGS, Zelda: OOT, etc) - and I feel comfortable saying that 2017 is the best year in gaming to date. Where previous years certainly saw innovation and polish, 2017 has shown that refinement can produce results which extend beyond just "amazing," but that there is also still plenty of room for innovation on top of these already wonderful, established frameworks.

Before I get to my games of the year, there are a huge number of shoutouts to my "tied for #11s" of the year. Chief among these games are Nidhogg 2, What Remains of Edith Finch, Resident Evil 7, Cuphead and PUBG.

Beyond that, there are also a bunch of games I either didn't have time or the console for, and I know I would have adored if I'd had the opportunity to play them. Horizon: Zero Dawn, Super Mario Odyssey, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Nioh, Golf Story, and many more.

My list this year took a really long time to compile, and though I started it a few months ago, it has been in a constant state of flux (even today, as I post this). Now, it is locked in, and since we have finished the Unofficially Unofficial Giant Bomb Facebook Group GOTY 2017 Deliberations, I am happy to share this list with you!!

Again... What a dang year, folks.

List items

  • If you've read my review on Giant Bomb for this game, you know I have nothing but glowing things to say about it. Not only is it my 2017 GOTY, it also sits atop of my (long-established) "Top Games of All Time" list. It is a very important game, and - at least in my mind - has established Yoko Taro as a figure everyone needs to be watching moving forward.

  • This game was a very "right place, right time" kind of game for me. I had just found myself unemployed, had recently gone through a breakup, and was in a state of depression (I have clinical depression). I figured I'd play something cute, so I tried Night in the Woods. This game is about depression, and it handles it in a way I really appreciated. The characters are real, the scenarios are real, and the dialog is real. I love Night in the Woods. It has its flaws, but I love it.

  • I really, really, really want to say why - in a year as strong as 2017 - a cutesy VN has made the top 3 of my list; but it would be doing a disservice to you if you have not heard of it, nor played it. If you are reading this, and you like VNs, you need to play this game right now - it is 100% Free, and absolutely a worthwhile experience. Along with NieR, it is the very definition of "this could only be a video game."

  • A late entry to my list, I finished it just as 2017 came to its final days. The gameplay is fine, it is a VN; but the story is beyond insane (in a very, very good way). I literally said "wow" out loud several times over its very long playtime, and was absolutely blown away by some of the revelations it threw to its captive audience. Oh. And the whole ending sequence had my mouth agape. Amazing story.

  • Growing up, I adored Iron Chef. I watched it every day after school, and it inspired me to love cooking. I also love puzzles, and I enjoy Monster Hunter. As a game, Battle Chef Brigade hit me right in the face, and I finished it in two sittings. I love everything about it, and look forward to playing it again!!!

  • I liked Gone Home, but I wouldn't say it was one of my top games ever. I really, really, really loved Tacoma. In terms of "walking simulator" games, I can't think of a single one that did more for me than Tacoma. The core mechanic is really fascinating, it is well directed, well written, tells a compelling story, and has a spectacular ending.

  • Steamworld Dig 2 is kind of crazy, and it's hard to describe exactly why. It feels similar to Civilzation to me in a certain way, in that it fills me with the "one more turn" mentality. I found myself saying "it's almost time for bed... I'll just do one more round..." (which would invariably turn into 2 or 3 or more). It's a charming game, and actually has a really surprising story payoff at the end!

  • I do not have psychosis, but through having played Hellblade, I feel as though I have more context and respect for those who do. Similar to Night in the Woods, Hellblade treats mental health with respect, and tries to convey the struggle of being afflicted by something in your mind in an interactive medium. I think the game has some pretty glaring faults, but it did so many things well (including game design) that I cannot help but think highly of it.

  • I love Persona. Persona 4 was, previously, my top game of all time. I think Persona 5 nailed a lot of things, and it was a pretty fantastic JRPG. Unfortunately, I cannot find myself passionate about the game. It did a lot right, but the stuff it did wrong bummed me out enough that I was left a little deflated. I think it is 100% worth playing, and if it is your first Persona game, it is possibly the best one to start with since it has the best mechanics in the series! But again, not my favourite Persona, unfortunately.

  • Man, what a dumb, fun game. The story was a rollercoaster ride through an extremely well told narrative. I loved 95% of the story, but man, this game has some huge caveats. The gameplay is actively bad, the stealth system is broken, and map design is unintuitive (not to mention the game crashed a ton for me on PC). If those issues weren't there, this game easily would have been in my top 5; but, as it stands, it is definitely one of the best of the year, but it also needs to be turned to Easy just to enjoy it.