I’m still in a bit of disbelief at just how great a year it has been for games. There was something for everyone, no matter the genre. There were a few true masterpieces, a few major surprises, and oh, let’s not forget the music this year. I think when we look back on this year and look at many of the heavy hitter years, 2007, 1998, 2004, I am confident 2017 will hold it’s own against any of those years because none of them delivered the consistent variety and quality of games we’ve seen. Let’s talk about several more her as we wrap up everything but Best Platform Exclusive and Game of the Year. Don’t forget to listen to the podcast, linked just below.
Time to hand out some awards!
2017’s 2016 Game of the Year
This award is dedicated to our favorite game from 2016 that we played a lot of and still enjoyed (or for the first time) in 2017. And the winner is…
Stardew Valley is a game that terrifies me because I know I’d sink hours upon hours into it, just ask Ross and Nat. I think it’s time to dive in because this is the rare kind of game that can appeal to anyone with its charming style and deep mechanics. We originally missed out on this in 2016 but the recent Switch release has given us plenty of reason to go back and see what we’ve been missing all this time.
Nominees: DOOM / Dark Souls III / Stardew Valley (Winner)
Sometimes you see a game and assume it’s going to be great right away. Maybe it’s a sequel to a beloved game, maybe it just looks super promising. This award is for when those games just don’t. And the winner is…
Nat doesn’t really like talking about this game other than the fact that it isn’t very good. Marvel vs Capcom has a legacy of greatness, so it’s a huge letdown when it can’t live up in any meaningful way. In a year full of superb fighting games, Infinite just doesn’t have any fight left in it.
Nominees: 1, 2, Switch / Halo Wars 2 / Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite (Winner)
In contrast to our last award, this is the game that blew us away because it was better than we ever expected, or in some cases, the fact that it was actually good when it just seemed like a crazy idea. And the winner is…
Where do we even begin? This game appeared to be written off at the start when it leaked prior to E3. Nobody liked Rabbids anymore if ever, it was developed by Ubisoft, not Nintendo, a-and did I mention the Rabbids? Then they had a solid showing at E3 with this XCOM vibe and suddenly people thought maybe this wasn’t such a crazy idea after all, which might actually be the craziest idea of all. Lo and behold, Kingdom Battle is a refreshing take on everyone’s favorite mascot and shows that no idea is too crazy for Nintendo to greenlight. And props to Ubisoft for having the guts to do something like this.
Nominees: Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Winner) / Persona 5 / Divinity: Original Sin II
Best New IP
Creativity and originality need to be celebrated in such a sequel-heavy industry like gaming. Though many of 2017’s best games were in fact sequels or prequels, there were some absolutely amazing new IP that need some love of their own. And the winner is…
I can’t (and won’t) say enough good things about Horizon: Zero Dawn. Guerrilla games went from making the, at best good, and, at worst, middling Killzone series to what is inarguably one of the year’s finest games (without even taking into account the excellent The Frozen Wilds DLC). In spite of the fact that games are very sequel heavy, I am pumped to eventually play more games set in this universe in the years to come.
Nominees: Pyre / Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds / Horizon: Zero Dawn (Winner)
Just because we award the new IP for being original doesn’t mean we’re going to skip the many sequel and prequels that took their series to the next level in 2017. This award is for those games that keep feeling fresh and set the standard for what all those new IP could hopefully become. And the winner is…
I’ve never played a Yakuza game before, but Yakuza 0 is changing that. I’ve heard too many amazing things from Ross and Nat about this game and this series to ignore it any longer. Look how majestic he is just answering the phone. I’m not going to be the one to miss out any longer.
Nominees: Yakuza 0 (Winner) / Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus / Persona 5
Best Track (Song)
This award is for the best individual track we heard in any game this year. It’s a combination of context and quality that makes these tracks so special. And the winner is…
I wish Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There could be the anthem of my life, I’d probably be a lot more productive. The intro track to Persona 5 immediately sets the tone that this game is ready to be a great time. It is accompanied by an excellent animated cutscene that has little to do with the game but was apparently directed by the director of Yuri on Ice, so you kind of already know what to expect.
Nominees: Wooded Kingdom Theme (Super Mario Odyssey) / Weight of the World the End of YoRHa (NieR: Automata) / Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There (Persona 5) (Winner)
Best Original Score
It wasn’t just the tracks that were good, music as a whole was fantastic in games in 2017. Our three nominees can’t do the year justice, but they stood out among a crowded list. And the winner is…
Top to bottom, Persona 5 has variety, quality, style, and charm, and that’s just the soundtrack. It has one of the best boss themes in recent memory and has ambient music that I could listen to forever. This was the first game soundtrack of the year I brought on my drives to work and I’m still listening to it months later.
Nominees: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 / Persona 5 (Winner) / Super Mario Odyssey
We all know games look good, but these games looked best. We don’t discriminate between style and function and reward both equally. Let’s see who looks best. And the winner is…
Horizon has a lot of everything. It is one of the most technically amazing looking games of the year, and possibly the generation. It also has an excellent sense of style (just look at those machines when you play). It has variety in its environments and some of the more machine oriented zones look stunning. If you can, you have to play in 4K and HDR. The game looks amazing regardless, but this is a TV showpiece if you just invested in a new set.
Nominees: Super Mario Odyssey / Horizon: Zero Dawn (Winner) / Cuphead
This award is for the games that came to multiple platforms and brought joy to countless games regardless of their platform of choice. Though most games end up being multiplatform, not all are good enough to win this award. And the winner is…
Destiny 2 is far from a perfect game, but it’s a damn good one. Jump in with a few friends and just spend hours grinding for loot, completing strikes, and attempting the raid. The game looks great, sounds great, and doesn’t suffer for being on one platform or another. There’s also the bonus that it made a very successful transition to PC, something that isn’t always a guarantee, especially for a long time console-only developer.
Nominees: Destiny 2 (Winner) / Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus / NieR: Automata
And that’s it for today’s winners. Next up, Platform Exclusive and the coveted Game of the Year. Thanks so much for checking out the winners and make sure to be here for the finale. Also still to come, both mine and Ross’ individual Top 10 lists, so make sure to stay tuned!