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Games of the Year Awards 2017

December 27th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

So 2017 was a pretty interesting year. On the non-gaming side for me it was fairly quiet though the year started (literally a few days into the year) with my father being diagnosed with cancer, and subsequently my father beating the shit out of said cancer and being cancer-free within a few months. Also I built a gaming PC on my own for the first time (before that I’d pay NCIX extra to build for me, never again). It’s super easy, everyone can and should do it… maybe I should do a quick post about that.

As far as gaming goes though… 2014, 2015, 2016 have all been pretty lame years for gaming. Game of the Year posts from me were difficult to write for the last few years because… Well, when there’s a year where there aren’t even 5 games good enough for the GotY award, you know it was a bad year. That said, 2017 said “fuck that here’s a ton of games” and I could’ve easily made a decent GotY post halfway through the year, with completely different games than what are on the list now, and it would still be a solid list. I did not have time to stop playing games this year, because there was always new stuff coming out. 2017 was a HUGE year for games, it was pure insanity.

So yeah… let’s go as per usual. A quick rant, then 5 almost-winners followed by the top GotY winner and finally a boatload of honorable mentions. Haven’t quite played enough trash this year for a “Trash of the Year” segment… So I won’t do that this time.

Rules: only games I played, and only games that came out this year (so no remasters or late ports, remakes are a grey area but I avoid them… example: the Crash trilogy wouldn’t be valid, but the Samus Returns remake would be). I may still put some as honorable mentions but they’re not valid for GotY candidacy.

Note: There’s several noteworthy 2017 games I haven’t played like Prey, Pyre, Evil Within 2, South Park, Hellblade, Battle Chasers: Nightwar, Divinity: Original Sin II, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Hand of Fate 2, For Honor, Dragon Quest Heroes II and a handful of others, so if you think they’re GotY and I don’t name them, know that I hold no ill will for these games.

Other note: I avoided games I knew would be shit like Shadows of War, Destiny 2, whatever Assassin’s Creed came out, Battlefront 2, Mass Effect Andromeda and several others… and know that I do hold ill will for these.


2017 can be summarized pretty quickly: There were too many good games to count, Microsoft released the dumbest console ever but not games, Sony forgot to exist after April, PCs kept getting better and more affordable, and Nintendo did a shitload of things somehow, making you wonder why the other companies were so inactive.

The Xbox One X is easily the most pointless console in existence. At E3 2016 MS announced “no more exclusives”. At the same time, just to contradict what they just announced, they announced a stronger console that plays the same games as the current Xbone. So you have the most powerful console on the market right now (still weaker than mid-range PCs from 3 years ago), good job I guess but it has no software that warrants its existence. There’s no reason at all for this brick to exist. So basically Microsoft’s contribution to 2017 in gaming was… nothing. Build a PC.

Sony had a decent amount of releases early in the year. It was looking pretty good. Then E3 2017 happened, probably the worst Sony has ever done at E3 (which is saying a lot, they rarely do well at E3). We thought at least a few things for PS4 would get announced, and that there’d be release dates for stuff that was announced last year. Well that wasn’t entirely wrong. Nothing was announced, but everything that was announced last year got a vague 2018 release window. So the only things Sony really had coming past April in 2017 were Knack II (which no one wanted) and Gran Turismo Sport (which I’ve heard nearly nothing about and am not too interested in myself). They’ve had a pretty bad year. It was better than 2016, since they actually had games out, but it wasn’t what I’d call a good year. All the stuff that was announced in 2016 is coming out in 2018, making for a pretty empty 2017 overall. So maybe 2018 will be okay? We’ll see.

Nintendo went from the “doing basically nothing” thing they’ve been doing with the Wii U and even 3DS as of recent and turned it on its head. They officially announced a console in January (after a quick tease in October 2016), released it only 2 months later in March, and had a crapload of games ready for it every month this year. Plus they still had several 3DS games coming out as they started turning off production of several 3DS models (and the release schedule for it dying way down). Some of their games released this year weren’t even announced until January or June too, so it’s been really quite surprising. They were on the ball, the whole year. They weren’t just releasing games, they were releasing huge games, huge games that went far beyond what they’ve been doing for a long time now. It’s no surprise that 2017 is considered a comeback year for Nintendo. They more than eclipsed the competition. Plus their new console is awesome, even old games are noteworthy releases when it, by default, becomes playable anywhere.

As far as games… where do I even start? I already mentioned I could have made a list with games that came out in the first half of the year and still had a really solid GotY post. Not AS solid as this one, but I could see other people having vastly different GotY choices and I’d consider most of them valid (the VGAs putting a game that wasn’t even released and a game that came out last year on their nominee lists in some categories notwithstanding… but no one takes that shitshow seriously for anything other than the trailers for new games… fuck the VGAs). There’s a LOT of really awesome stuff, some releases that were really surprising, some that were a long time coming that ended up actually living up to the hype… So much came out that I basically gave up on my alternate hobby of board gaming this year. I’ve been to only a few board gaming nights, I had something else to play almost all the time. My list of honorable mentions is huge. Plus as far as game announcements there have been some great ones like Mega Man 11 and Metroid Prime 4 that will hopefully come to fruition soon.

Games of the Year Winners

This is in no particular order. It was really hard to cut this down to 4 games, so I went with 5 instead (which was still hard). These are the “just below the top” The Save Points Games of the Year. There’s gonna be a “top” winner after these 5, so keep reading!

Sonic Mania (out on August 15th for Switch, PS4 and Xbone, August 29th for PC)

sonic mania
Sonic has had it rough. He needed something like Sonic Mania, something made by fans that did what fans want, because clearly Sonic Team doesn’t care. Sonic Mania is a display of what Sonic means to fans of the series since the Genesis days. It plays like those games, it looks like those games (but better), and it’s fucking awesome. Even the remade old levels had new elements, design and gameplay added to them and weren’t just straight up copies, and had new bosses. Plus the new bonus stages were really fun. Sonic Mania is Sonic at his best, something we haven’t seen in DECADES. Do I think it’s possible for Sonic to transcend his 2D games and do something completely amazing in 3D? Very much so. However I don’t think Sega, and Sonic Team specifically, is able to provide that, so I’ll settle with a Genesis-style Sonic game being the series’ swan song. And what a swan song it is. It’s a love letter to the best of the franchise, and a game everyone should check out.

Cuphead (out on September 29th for PC and Xbone)

This was a game I didn’t think would ever end up coming out. I was hyped for this for years, every time we caught a glimpse it looked nothing short of amazing. And every time we saw some of it, it seemed like it disappeared for a year. So seeing this get a release date at this year’s E3 was mindblowing. Almost as mindblowing as the game itself living up to my astronomical expectations. If this game doesn’t win a ton of awards for its graphics and music there’s something wrong with this universe. It may be the best looking game of the year and the game with the best music of the year, but that’s not all this game has. It also has absolutely amazing gameplay and massively fun boss battles. It’s a difficult game but it’s very fair in its difficulty, no bosses here can be qualified as “cheap”. I very much enjoyed the challenge. So yeah, awesome game.

Nier Automata (out on March 7th for PS4 and March 17th for PC)

Ah yes, this one. I wasn’t a big fan of the first Nier (though I should give it another chance eventually if they ever decide to port it to anything, I didn’t get far into it so maybe it’s just the beginning that sucked balls), but this one had my attention due to being developed by Platinum, and also the characters looked cool. What I didn’t quite expect was one of the craziest games I’ve played in years. Man this was weird, it had WTF moments every other minute, or really fun implementations of some gameplay elements, and it still managed to have a fun and deep narrative, fun combat, decent little RPG elements, lots of sidequests, and one of the more interesting endings in a while. Maybe the most interesting ending this year. With it subverting expectations and being just plain fun, Near a tomato is a fine game.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (out on March 3rd for Switch and I think 1 or 2 people bought this on Wii U)

Is there any question that this should be called one of the top games of the year? It’s absolutely huge, it’s a new take on the Zelda formula that experiments with a lot of different things (while also being something of a revival of the first game’s style), the shrines are a cool idea, the combat is fun enough, the exploration is fun and can be rewarding. It’s a game that really gains a lot from being played without knowing anything about it. I had a great time with this. Not that there weren’t issues with the game, I think having more items would be nice, the korok seeds are dumb and the dungeons may be some of the least interesting ones in the entire series even if they are actually very creative. But this is one of the biggest games of the year for a good reason. Even without the DLC (which seems… okay) the game still feels like a complete experience.

Has-Been Heroes (out on March 28th for Switch, PC, PS4 and Xbone)

Has-Been Heroes
This is gonna be my “obscure, weird, niche” choice of this year’s GotY awards. Has-Been Heroes might be my most-played Switch game this year outside of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. In a year where both Zelda and Mario were released, this still got a lot of gameplay time. It’s a weird game, one that isn’t straightforward in its gameplay at all, one that most people who played it didn’t really understand how to play it, one that doesn’t at all hold your hand and barely even tells you how it’s supposed to be played. There’s a tutorial, but it’s not very detailed. It’s a game you have to figure out how to play on your own, and when you do it’s a total blast. It’s a hard game, and a surprisingly big game with lots of content. I really enjoyed it, and will keep on enjoying it. There’s nothing I can really compare Has-Been Heroes to, it’s really that unique. If I were to attempt a comparison, I’d say it’s like a strategic action-based Plants VS Zombies with elements of Binding of Isaac. It has lane-based combat, magic spells, and some really tough strategy with tough boss battles.

Plus hey it got a huge free DLC update in November, adding new modes, new character versions, the characters from Trine are unlockable now and a ton of new spells and items and crossroads. This game has way too much to do in it.

Top Game of the Year

And here it is, the very top Game of the Year. The one that stands above all the other Games of the Year in 2017. The one that, if you were to buy only one 2017 game, should be the one you buy.

Super Mario Odyssey (out on October 27th for Switch)

Any questions? No? Okay.

I mean, seriously, nothing else this year comes close to how fun this game was. And that’s saying a lot considering how good 2017 has been. It’s not like Mario didn’t have competition (including himself teamed up with rabbit creatures). He did have a ton of competition, but none of it was strong enough. Nintendo improved on the formula used by some of the best Mario games and gave us a game that is absolutely packed with content and original gameplay concepts. The controls (minus some of the motion stuff), the myriad movement options, the levels, the presentation, everything in this game is top notch. If this was the only Switch game to have come out this year I’d still say it’s worth buying the system for.

Super Mario Odyssey has set the bar by which every subsequent game must be measured against. The worst thing about it really is that it ends. It shouldn’t end. I’ll be first in line to pre-order DLC kingdoms for this.

Games that could’ve easily been at the top with the 5 winners but I had to cut something so that the post wasn’t too long

Splatoon 2 (the first Splatoon was GotY the year it came out. Splatoon 2 is better. So obviously it would get high accolades here. Plus it flies in the face of the anti-consumer BS other (lamer) online shooters pull, so that’s nice)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (a surprising release, but a really awesome one that surpasses all expectations, made by a passionate team)
Persona 5 (it has the same issues Persona has had since 3, but it’s still a damn good game with an amazing dynamic presentation, a fun story, cool characters and great gameplay. Kawakami is best girl, other choices are factually incorrect)
Nioh (it’s like a Souls game as far as gameplay goes but swifter, funner and more visually interesting IMO, plus I prefer the level-based progression over the “open world” of Dark Souls… basically each level is a mini-Dark Souls)
A Hat in Time (remember Yooka-Laylee? … me neither! A Hat in Time was very fun though)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
(it may have huge pacing issues (maybe less than Persona 5) but it is a really fun RPG)

Other honorable mentions

Evil Within 2 (I haven’t played it but a british person is telling me it’s a top GotY contender, so there you go)
Horizon Zero Dawn (I gave up on it because of Zelda (I received my Switch late so I had to play something during that 3-day wait) and had trouble going back to it after months of not playing it, but for the time I was immersed into it I quite enjoyed it. Might have been a GotY contender if Zelda wasn’t around)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (I still prefer The Old Blood)
Spelunker Party
Puyo Puyo Tetris
ARMS (a much better fighting game than you may think, I highly recommend it… also a rare example of motion controls actually being good)
Resident Evil 7 (Resident Evil is finally a horror game again, and it feels like an RE game regardless of the first-person perspective)
Fire Emblem Warriors (might be the best Musou game, at least from what I’ve played)
Mary Skelter: Nightmares
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth
Demon Gaze II
(not as good as the first, still pretty solid)
Hollow Knight

Metroid: Samus Returns
Steamworld Dig 2

The End is Nigh
Battle Chef Brigade
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

Golf Story
The Mummy Demastered
Star Fox 2
Disgaea 5 Complete
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Pokken Tournament DX
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions
Just Monika

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