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GOTY of the Year

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It's Breath of the Wild for me. No doubt. Most played and most enjoyed game for me this year. Can still pick it up and end up playing hours of it without noticing. Wish I had a Switch so I could play it even more, but the Wii U must suffice for now..

 

Runner up: Prey!

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Last year I actually played through and/or spent a lot of time with several video games. This year I regressed into the bad old habits, and didn't really give games their due time before moving on to the next thing. 

 

That said, Breath of the Wild is my no-contest GOTY, and probably my favorite game in several years. I suspect I will end up double-dipping and buying it again for the Switch.

 

Runners Up:

XCOM2 War Of The Chosen, although I only just started it this Thanksgiving and haven't finished a campaign yet

Heat Signature, which I also really need to spend more time with, ugh

 

Literally Every Other 2017 Game I've Played That I Can Remember:

Persona 5, which I liked a lot initially, but I stopped playing for some reason and never felt the urge to go back... and looking at it now, I was probably less than a quarter of the way through!

Pyre, which I impulse-bought but haven't really given a decent chance

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Games that came out this year, I bought hardly any:

 

Horizon Zero Dawn - Fine but extremely overrated. Looks great but boring repetitive gameplay.

 

What Remains of Edith Finch - Short, but very interesting. Had a great time playing it.

 

Night in the Woods - Cool setting, vibe, interesting story. Up there as one of my favourites.

 

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy - More Uncharted, not a bad thing but its a safe game overall. Had fun playing it.

 

Dishonored: Death to the Outsider - More Dishonored, a great thing! I love this series.

 

Hollow Knight - Only played like 30 minutes can't rate it yet.

 

Yakuza 0 - Only 1/4 the way through, its good fun but can't rate it enough yet. My first time playing the series.

 

The only other new 2018 game I will get this year will be Wolfenstein 2.

 

My GOTY so far is Dishonored! 

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Well I only played four 2017 games so far this year so I'll just list them all!

 

Breath of the Wild - The most fun I've had exploring an open world basically ever? GOTY.

Pyre - I loved the art in this one so much and the cast of characters are fun and diverse. The branching visual novel setup is cool too and there's tons of cool Lore if that's your thing. The Rites themselves are fun though maybe not remarkable.

Persona 5 - Flawed but overall I really loved it. The soundtrack is amazing.

Destiny 2 - The campaign story is still bad but the shooting in these games remains top shelf and the raids are a totally unique thing that I love (Vault of Glass is still the best one though). I didn't find myself redoing endgame stuff like I have in the past but hey, the next expansion is out today!

 

I'm playing Nier at the moment. Just a few hours in but it's definitely got some ideas in there. I'm not sure the gameplay is up any of the Thumbs' alley but I'd love one of them to play through it for the 'cast.

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I've only finished a few games this year, and I've bought even fewer new games. I guess 2017 has been a strong year but for the most part I found myself feeling very little urgency to catch up with the latest thing. Still, I have opinions! I've attached links to longer things wot I wrote about some of these, in case anyone is interested:

 

Breath of the Wild stands on a mountaintop, comfortably above everything else I've played lately, waving its little sword in defiance.

At the beginning of this year I really didn't know if Nintendo could do it. They'd never made an open world game before, and much as I like the Zelda games, well – I got quite far through Skyward Sword just before this came out, and so much of that game feels awfully tired now. But BotW is entirely phenomenal. I don't think I was expecting anything nearly so good. For all the ingenuity of its systems, it stimulates a very primitive sense of wonder in a way anyone can appreciate. The Wii U was my first Nintendo console, and it's somehow fitting that after introducing me to so many classic titles, it should be this faithful machine which ushers in what feels like a real next generation moment.

 

Dishonored 2 I liked very much. I still think it's essentially a portfolio of brilliant immersive sim ideas in search of a story; the stuff which holds it all together is a bit lacking. But when it's on form, it's frequently stunning: A Crack in the Slab in particular might be the single best example of the 'sneak around a big mansion' level type I've ever played. I haven't played Death of the Outsider yet – though I literally have a copy sitting in my drawer – but I'm excited to see that it seems to be ranking here in front of the main game. 

 

I am playing Nier: Automata at the moment. I've not got far but I feel it's going to be something kind of extraordinary. Baby baby baby.

 

Other notable mentions, for older games I finished this year:

 

The Last Guardian. I really think this is something special, and it's kind of a shame it got such a lukewarm response. At a time when most story-driven games seem to be striving to get away from asking the player to establish their own relationship with some kind of systems-driven AI, this game's singular focus on that (for all the ensuing flaws!) seems so remarkable to me. Nobody's ever made anything like this and I don't know that anyone will ever make anything like it again. It is, by some distance, Ueda's best game.

 

The Beginner's Guide. One of the most thoughtful, affecting, disturbing games I've ever played. All the games I've mentioned here are funny in their own way but this is the best joke among them all. A minor metafictional masterpiece.

 

Fire Emblem: Fates and Hitman. I've poured countless hours into both of these; both are immaculately polished, both are somewhat lacking in the plot department, but both are full of character, and mechanically peerless. If I haven't bought one before then, when the next proper Fire Emblem game is released I shall happily lay down the price of a Switch.

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13 hours ago, marginalgloss said:

The Wii U was my first Nintendo console, and it's somehow fitting that after introducing me to so many classic titles, it should be this faithful machine which ushers in what feels like a real next generation moment.

Thinking about it, if Wii U is your only Nintendo console, it's pretty unbeatable in terms of first-party games you can access: the entire Wii library, the cream of GBA, DS, NES, SNES and N64 on Virtual console, and even some GameCube games via New Play Control rereleases and HD Wind Waker.

 

Switch has been my bag this year (almost exclusively) so my Goaty list is entirely predictable, plus a load of last year's games. Good year.

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Man, I still think the WiiU is secretly the best Nintendo console. Backwards compatible with so much of the best they've ever done, and had that same vibe the GCN did for its original games: "Fuck it, we're behind anyway, so let's do a bunch of crazy shit and see what sticks." So good.

 

I also loved The Last Guardian when I played it in January (technically 2017!), but it really does fall to the same problems that SotC did. Hugely ambitious, greatly affecting, damn near triumphant when it works, but so clunky that those triumphant moments sometimes only actually work the fourth time you try to do them. I lost count of the number of times that an otherwise amazing moment fell flat because the scripting broke. That said, anyone with a PS4 should at least give it a punt to see if it's their thing now that it's surely a lot cheaper.

 

As for my own personal GotY 2017, I'm having a hard time answering that. I have loved my Switch and everything big that I've played on it (except ARMS, which was kind of a wet fart). Splatoon 2 has been great, Mario Odyssey is incredible, Mario Kart 8 was really fun, even little stuff like Golf Story I loved a bunch.

 

I think that in terms of how much quality gaming I got out of it, and just with respect to the amazing craft that went into making it, Zelda: Breath of the Wild is probably my GotY as well. The trouble is, I find I'm not as passionate about it as I thought I'd be back in March when I was playing it. It was amazing and super involving when I was lost in the world, and I spent over 100 hours getting every last damned shrine, but for whatever reason my memories of those hours feel muted. I still intend to go back and do the DLC when that comes out, but I'm honestly not that excited to do so when I think about it, and I have no intention of going back and replaying the full game any time, as I have with every single other Zelda except for Skyward Sword (and still plan to do with Skyward Sword in the near future, having gone to the Symphony of the Goddesses tour last weekend and having my interest rekindled). The change in format was necessary for the series, and I think made for a phenomenal game, but it just didn't hit me in the same way that Zelda usually does. And I say this as one of the biggest Zelda fanboys out there.

 

Outside of the Switch, 2017 games I've played are few and far between. The full list:

 

I got all of the endings in Nier: Automata and loved that damn game. It really is something special.

 

I played some of Horizon: Zero Dawn, but fell off it pretty quickly outside of the tutorial world. Maybe I'll go back.

 

 I just finished New York in Wolfenstein 2 and am really looking forward to seeing where that goes. I loved how different from other shooters The New Order's encounter design was, and New Colossus seems to have picked that up and run with it, so I hope that the complaints that most people have had about this stem from trying to play the game like a shooter rather than whatever the fuck it is. Either way, finishing it before listening to GotY podcasts is my personal homework as soon as winter vacation starts, and I really look forward to it.

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I am going to echo what many people have said here already: this year I played virtually every big release on Switch, so obviously the GOTY should arise from it. It's kinda weird that you can consider literally the entire catalogue of Switch games for GOTY. It's a tough choice too, with Splatoon 2, which I massively loved (especially Salmon Run), narrowly falling to the wayside because of juggernauts Mario and Zelda. As a singleplayer enthusiast, those will inevitably hold more weight to me.

 

Luckily for Breath of the Wild, I'm in the process of wrapping up Mario Odyssey and its hold on my is waning. I even find that I'm not all too interested in those final 100-odd Power Moons. So I can probably look back at those games in the same manner, and I feel that Breath of the Wild is ultimately the worthier subject.

 

4 hours ago, miffy495 said:

The trouble is, I find I'm not as passionate about it as I thought I'd be back in March when I was playing it. It was amazing and super involving when I was lost in the world, and I spent over 100 hours getting every last damned shrine, but for whatever reason my memories of those hours feel muted.

 

This is the problem with most open world games. Once you've sucked most of the juice out of it, what's left is a vaguely barren world with not much in it. BotW circumvents this by way of its incredibly satisfying movement. Even the act of running over hills is simply enjoyable, and once you jump off a cliff and paraglide downwards in this surprisingly vertical landscape, it's a thrill.

 

But you're right, Miffy, I too couldn't exactly recount what I did in all those many hours, save for the memory of enjoying it very much. When I recently momentarily jumped back into the game to partake in the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 promotion, I was immediately struck by its beauty again. Those first twinkling notes of the Zelda theme... just gorgeous. So I feel that if any game I played it worthy of GOTY, it's this.

 

But, you know, whatever. Mario was superb too, Splatoon 2 is so good, why do we have to pick a single winner? What kind of silly system is this?

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The idea that open world games become less as you strip them of missions is kinda interesting.

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Not to hijack this topic, but - yes, well, that's what I usually feel with open world games. Whether it's GTA or Assassin's Creed; as soon as the missions are done, the world feels a little hollow. Not much to go back for, in a way. Breath of the Wild sort of prevents this by not being overly stuffed with things in the first place: instead it's all about traversal.

 

[And finding Koroks.]

 

[Mostly Koroks.]

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Freeways by Captain Games is my indie GOTY. Making traffic optimizing into a small puzzle is captivating for me. 

 

Hollow Knight I really enjoyed my time with. I only got maybe half way through and then felt totally lost and over whelmed, it's hard to pick up again after a hiatus. 

 

I like this debate about open world games becoming empty as the mission content is mined. To me it opens the doors to something I always wished open world games had instead of bespoke missions, which is to have dynamic world content systems. That would be an interesting challenge to design, to put all the focus into world systems instead of designed story missions. Obviously that's an unspeakable sell because systems content is impossible to QA. Amorphously obtuse Dwarf Fortress comes to mind.

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I'm going to vote Stories Untold for GOTY of the Year 2017. Prey was great, Wolfenstein 2 was fun,  Uncharted: Lost Legacy was exciting.

But Stories Untold was something else.

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@plasticflesh Mount & Blade: Warband does this. NPC factions are constantly trading territory, marrying one another, and trading. So the open world game develops a history that includes you and continues on.

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Well, Zelda's DLC is out now, so I guess I'm jumping back in over the next few weeks to remind myself of it and confirm it as GotY after all. Fun times ahead!

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I just tried to count the games I've played this year - Steam doesn't make it easy so it may not be accurate, but seems it was only Thimbleweed Park and Kentucky Route Zero, and then some puzzle and party games. So Thimbleweed Park would kind of win by default by being the game I've played that's from this year. I don't think I would put it very high on my list if I had actually played a lot of games, though. I've also played some VR games at VR spaces, but not enough to count. I hope to play some more games over Christmas, but I think I will be just going through my backlog of games mostly from the previous 3 years or so.

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On 12/7/2017 at 8:20 PM, plasticflesh said:

Freeways by Captain Games is my indie GOTY. Making traffic optimizing into a small puzzle is captivating for me. 

 

Heeeell yes! :) It's one of my faves too, though only #10 on my (still under construction) Top 15 of the year list.

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4 hours ago, Henke said:

 

Heeeell yes! :) It's one of my faves too, though only #10 on my (still under construction) Top 15 of the year list.

 

I have you to thank for cluing me into this great gem. I resisted to look too closely to your solutions to the maps you posted elsewhere, but from what I saw I was very impressed with your efficient use of round about. Being from New Jersey USA my instinct is towards overpass and jug handle gore.

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