2017 has been a stellar year for the gaming industry. Since last January, we’ve seen very high-profile titles launch consistently for every platform. Games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Cuphead, Persona 5, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Super Mario Odyssey, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are the current contenders for many outlets as being the game of the year.
Last weekend, the ever-wonderful Geoff Keighley hosted The Game Awards, the industry’s version of the Oscars (shout out to Joseph Fares for his rant on Hollywood) and with the spectacle focusing on many categories, the most important comes down to which game goes home as being the best game of the year?
This year, we got a new Zelda title and a new Mario title, which doesn’t happen often. On top of that, Nintendo released both games on time and went on to reinvent their respective genres, with Breath of the Wild setting the example on how to evolve the open world in new and exciting ways. Super Mario Odyssey returns Mario to a platformer like Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, and yet again, set the standard of what a platforming game should be.
Persona 5 did the same for JRPGs, creating a stylish, exciting, and fun experience from start to finish. The music, the battle system, and the story set up and steal the hearts of those who played it with it’s ever addicting soundtrack that guides the adventure through a stylized version of Tokyo.
Horizon Zero Dawn released in February of this year, and the new IP from Guerilla Games quickly became a critical and commercial success, with Aloy and her adventure being praised, as well as the post-apocalyptic world that truly felt wondrous to explore. I spent a lot of time learning the secrets of the downfall of humanity in Horizon Zero Dawn, the story elevated the experience to new levels.
Cuphead is not only a blast to play, but it’s also one of the hardest games I’ve played in recent memory. Coming from Studio MDHR, a local Oakville developer, Cuphead has seen immense success since launching in the fall, winning Best Art Direction and Best Indie at The Game Awards, the score is delightful as well and summons old, timey cartoons we haven’t seen in years.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds shouldn’t qualify but many outlets seem to have it on their lists, the premise brings in droves of players on PC, and the game launched on December 12 for Xbox One exclusively. I’ve seen the game and understand the hype, it’s an exhilarating experience whittling down enemies and surviving as the last man standing.
IGN’s Game of the Year is currently being voted on, with the polls closing on December 19th, this is a tough decision if you’ve played these titles, as each does something exciting. What do you think will be the Game of the Year this year? I’m still deciding, I wish I could give each title the coveted award but it’s going to be down to the wire on this one. It’s a sure bet though, that whoever wins, will deserve the award