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PressA2Join 2017 Video Game of the Year Selections

PressA2Join 2017 Video Game of the Year Selections

In terms of hardware and software success, 2017 has been one of the best years the industry has ever seen. Everybody’s favourite Japanese electronic giant Nintendo made huge steps towards being able to once again compete with Microsoft and Sony with its launch of Nintendo Switch on March 3rd. Great first and third party support followed, and with less than a year under its belt, Switch already has 2 game of the year contenders with the returning Link in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario in Super Mario Odyssey being greatly lauded by critics and players alike. Not only that, but Nintendo has delivered on its promises with superb third-party support from some of the biggest developers and publishers in video games entertainment to bring the likes of DOOM, FIFARocket League and Skyrim to Nintendo Switch, with the promise of more to come in 2018.

The rejuvenation of Nintendo aside, 2017 also saw the long-awaited release of Microsoft’s mid-cycle iteration the Xbox One X this past November. Microsoft’s self-proclaimed “worlds most powerful console” is capable of running games in true 4K with a seemingly endless list of games already enhanced for the Xbox One X, and more titles set to receive an ‘Enhancement’ patch in 2018. Although 2017 hasn’t been the best for the Xbox brand with a lack of major first party games discounting Forza Motorsport 7 and Halo Wars 2 there has been no shortage of superb ID@Xbox games for players to sink their teeth into including Studio MDHR’s tough as nails 1930’s inspired platforming shooter Cuphead, >Observer_, Her Majesty’s SPIFFING and Slime Rancher to name but a few.

Cuphead

Elsewhere, it was another hugely successful year for Sony with the PS4 topping the hardware charts for 2017 in the US. 2017 started with a bang with the ability to play Resident Evil 7‘s entire campaign with PSVR, February saw Team Ninja’s NioH and Guerrilla Games’ exceptional open-world adventure epic Horizon Zero Dawn launch to critical acclaim. A very successful year for PS4 software continued with a slew of fantastic console exclusives including Persona 5Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, NieR: Automata and of course, the return of everybody’s favourite marsupial with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

Away from consoles, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds took Steam by storm in 2017 with a whopping 3 million concurrent players recently reported despite the game only being out in Early Access. The overwhelming success of Bluehole’s 100 player battle royale game recently made its way to Xbox One where it has already enjoyed similar success with Xbox players, despite varied reports of horrendous framerates and performance issues. Another Early Access title making a splash in 2017 is id Software’s Quake Champions with the arena shooter making a triumphant return following a 7-year long hiatus. PC gamers were also treated to the usual flurry of great titles including Sega’s Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III in April, Divinity: Original Sin II in September, Gears for Breakfast’s brilliant 3D platformer A Hat in Time in October and Football Manager 2018 in November in addition to releases for NieR Automata, NioH and Cuphead. Elsewhere, Studio Wildcard’s open world dino adventure ARK: Survival Evolved and Dynamic Pixels’ stealth-based horror game Hello Neighbor both departed Early Access for a full release.

NieR: Automata

As is customary fashion, our merry band of misfits have come together once again for PressA2Join’s third annual Game of the Year selection, a featured article where our dearly beloved staff writers discuss their individual highlights from the past 12 months while selecting their favourite games of 2017, and of course, steer you in the right direction for 2018 with a few games to look out for over the next 12 months. So let’s begin.

Stephen Huston

2017 will be remembered as a landmark year in gaming. With nearly every major release like Wolfenstein II and Assassin’s Creed: Origins hitting their marks, it’s a wonder how I didn’t play most of them. Apart from covering games here, my year of gaming was spent making a dent in my backlog. Even so, the events of the gaming year can’t be overstated and no-one has had a more impactful year than Nintendo. The Switch wasted no time coming out swinging and has found a stellar title on its platform every month of its life so far. It should be no surprise then that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey make my shortlist. Surprising myself, Injustice 2 makes the list for its fluid combat system and slick presentation. Sonic Mania worked its nostalgia-fueled magic on my senses, while RiME’s emotional gut punch and open design standout against the biggest games of the year.

Stephen’s picks for 2017:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Super Mario Odyssey
Injustice 2
Sonic Mania
RiME

Super Mario Odyssey 7

Super Mario Odyssey

Games to look out for in 2018:

Bayonetta 3
Sea of Thieves
Far Cry 5

Megan Walton

2017 was an exciting year for gaming in my eyes. I got to review so many amazing games, both AAA and indie titles. Great platformers such as A Hat in Time and Yooka-Laylee shone for me, with hidden gems like Snake Pass and AER – Memories of Old coming out of nowhere to wow me. Assassin’s Creed took a new and interesting turn, which I definitely am all for, and Cuphead was as fascinating as it was frustrating. I can’t wait to try out A Way Out next year, hoping it will be the co-op experience I have been craving, and the next installment of Far Cry, to see just how crazy things will get.

Megan’s picks for 2017:

Candleman
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
AC: Origins
Cuphead
Yooka-Laylee

Yooka Laylee

Games to look out for in 2018:

Far Cry 5
A Way Out (co-op)
Sea of Thieves

Adam Wallace

2017 was an exhausting year for me. With various reviewing projects on PressA2Join, Defunct Games, and Vocal as well as playing just for fun, I’ve given just about all my gaming tastes a workout this year. Even though most of my playtime this year has been with retro games (including putting together my ultimate list of my all-time favorite games), I have played a decent number of new ones. There are some I missed like Tekken 7 (I’m kicking myself over not getting to play that one). Oh, well, here are my favorites that came out in 2017.

Adam’s picks for 2017:

OBSERVER_
Aven Colony
NioH
Pinball FX3
Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0

Games to look out for in 2018:

Yakuza 6 (Obviously)
Ace Combat 7
Tropico 6
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Detroit: Become Human
Jurassic World Evolution
Shenmue 3
Spider-Man

Paula Turner

2017 was a year of change for me. After being an Xbox fan for nearly a decade and almost playing it exclusively last year, I’ve found myself drawn more and more to my PS4 leaving behind a whopping 445,000 gamerscore accumulated over years of obsession. A couple of the games I was excited for last year were delayed until 2018 so here’s hoping I finally get to play them (I’m looking at you Red Dead Redemption 2). Mass Effect Andromeda released to widespread hate and mockery for its ridiculous character animations, but I couldn’t help but love it. As a huge Mass Effect fan, I loved it so much that I got 100% of the achievements and trophies on both Xbox One and PS4.

This year was definitely a year for nostalgia with Crash Bandicoot being remastered. I counted down the days before I got to relive my childhood…and then came the frustration! I didn’t remember it being that hard, I kind of wish it had stayed in the past, or I could invent the time machine so I could get my younger self to get the platinum trophies for me without breaking a controller. As far as exclusives go, I was blown away by Horizon Zero Dawn, I kept thinking how glad I was to have both consoles and not miss out on games, Aloy was such a great protagonist and I definitely won’t be forgetting that game for a while. Prey also deserves a top spot, I’m simply in love with all things sci-fi and thoroughly enjoyed taking on the aliens aboard Talos I.

Being limited to 5, a couple of games didn’t quite make the cut but definitely deserves a mention. Assassin’s Creed Origins was a surprise but for me lost its AC feel which is the only reason it missed out, and I cannot put into words how surreal it was to play Skyrim VR, a game I’ve completed multiple times across different platforms. To put that headset on, and be surrounded by snowy mountains, to have huge dragons brought to life before my eyes, it was a definitely an experience that shouldn’t be missed but Skyrim always makes my list so I felt new games should be given a chance to shine.

Paula’s picks for 2017:

Prey
Horizon Zero Dawn
Mass Effect Andromeda
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Games to look forward to in 2018:

Metro Exodus
Red Dead Redemption 2
Tropico 6
State of Decay 2
God of War

Daniel Pitt

Without question 2017 was the best year our beloved industry has seen since the early 2000’s. Following the release of Nintendo Switch, Nintendo once again stole players hearts with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, Microsoft released the worlds most powerful console – the Xbox One X and Sony continued to push out sublime first-party titles with Guerrilla Games’ beautiful coming of age tale of heroine Aloy and Horizon Zero Dawn, Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: The Lost Legacy proving that you don’t need good ol’ Nate to be an overwhelming success while elsewhere Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo Sport launched for PS4 with PSVR compatibility. Popular returning series’ dominated 2017 with Assassin’s Creed taking players back to where it all began with Origins, Sebastian Castellanos re-entered the horrific rabbit hole that is STEM to save his daughter Lily in The Evil Within 2 and Capcom reimagined the terrifying universe of Resident Evil to deliver one of the greatest numbered entries in series history.

Not only were players treated to returning and brand new IP’s, 2017 also saw an abundance of wonderful indie titles that prove you don’t have to have a big budget to produce a magical experience to remember. Whimsical games such as Tarsier Studios’ wonderfully Burton-esque styled Little Nightmares captivated me personally on a different level, much as Inside had in 2016, StudioMDHR welcomed us to the 1930’s inspired cartoon world of platformer Cuphead and Tequila Works’ puzzle adventure game RiME captured the hearts and minds of players with its sheer beauty.

Daniel’s picks for 2017:

Horizon Zero Dawn
Resident Evil 7
The Evil Within 2
Little Nightmares
Call of Duty: WWII

Little Nightmares

Games to look out for in 2018:

Spider-man
Sea of Thieves
God of War 
Red Dead Redemption 2
Metro Exodus
The Inpatient

Paul Policarp

2017 for me was a year of catching up with my backlog (rather successfully, all things considered) so I haven’t played a whole lot of the stellar releases, of which 2017 had many. Destiny 2 stands out as one of my favorite and reviled games of this year. I started out excited and played it daily not because I had to (as with Destiny) but because I wanted to. The past few weeks and the whole controversy surrounding its scummy business practices as well as a quickly-refunded DLC soured me towards the game to the point where I stopped cold turkey.

2017 also marked the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera, the spiritual successor to my all-time favorite CRPG Planescape Torment which I’ve enjoyed tremendously. I’ve not yet delved too deep into Divinity 2, but I’ve spent a lot of time playing the first one with my significant other and look forward to the better experience this installment is shaping up to be. I also snuck in The Witcher 3The Wild Hunt on here because, as I said, this was a year of catching up with my backlog and I’ll be damned if I leave such a stellar game off my list just because it’s two years old! I just hope Daniel doesn’t notice, so please don’t tell him. The Prey reboot was my favorite game this year. We need more immersive simulators and it looks like Arkane is the one to pick up where Looking Glass Studios and Ion Storm left off.

Prey

As for 2018, I’m really looking forward to A Way Out (especially after Josef Fares’ performance at The Game Awards) because it promises a unique co-op experience. Also looking fresh is the new God of War game set to come out next year with what looks like slower, more deliberate and methodical combat and I’m all about that. Last but not least, System Shock is a game that kickstarted a genre and has not aged well. That a review is coming in 2018 fills me with excitement. That Chris Avellone is writing fills me with glee.

Paul’s picks for 2017:

Vanilla Destiny 2
Torment: Tides of Numenera
Divinity: Original Sin 2
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
Prey

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Games to look out for in 2018:

A Way Out
God of War
System Shock

Stephan Rodts

When I think back on 2017, a lot of anger and disappointment comes to mind. 2017 will go down in history as the year that Bethesda started monetizing worthless mods while Electronic Arts implemented an F2P business model in Star Wars Battlefront II to a huge outcry from players. It’s a good thing then that indie developers left me with a feeling that is completely opposite of that. Team Ninja managed to release a triple-A title in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice that both played well and looked great; all for the price of an indie game. However, the game I played the most this year is PUBG. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds may not be the best looking or most graphically sound game out there but it is so much fun to play with a squad. Its ability to captivate me has me crawling back to it every single day.

3 indie titles really impacted me and the gaming community on a different level in 2017 starting with the most visually stunning game of the year, Cuphead. StudioMDHR really managed to capture the essence of early 20th century cartoons and transformed it into a challenging platformer that deserves all the plaudits it received following its release in September. Of the other two, Doki Doki Literature Club managed to get a community together to figure out the hidden meaning behind the visual novel and credit must go to What Remains of Edith Finch, a game that showed how important a story can be to a video game with the strongest narrative of this year.

Stephan’s picks for 2017:

HellBlade: Senua’s Sacrifice
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
Cuphead
Doki Doki Literature Club
What Remains of Edith Finch

Games to look out for in 2018:

Vampyr
Metro Exodus
Red Dead Redemption 2

Will So

2017 sparked a controversial year in gaming, thanks largely to the shift in many games in offering lootboxes (that can be bought with real money) which offer players a chance to unlock a wide variety of items and abilities. The most egregious games that took advantage of this new system were Star Wars Battlefront II and Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. While still being enjoyable games in their own respects, both games couldn’t escape the wave of criticism regarding their inclusion of lootboxes that affect actual gameplay and often seemed necessary to buy in order to skip the required lengthy grinding to earn these same rewards through normal gameplay.

There were also some disappointing sequels such as Ghost Recon Wildlands, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Life is Strange: Before The Storm which failed to live up to the expectations built by the established games beforehand. However, there were sequels that managed to deliver an experience that felt above and beyond their predecessors including games such as Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Injustice 2, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. 2017 was also a great year for fighting game fans as we saw new entries to long-time favourite series such as Tekken 7, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2. Overall, there were plenty of great games to be played in 2017 across many genres and platforms.

Will’s picks for 2017:

Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Injustice 2
Cuphead
What Remains of Edith Finch
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Injustice 2

Games to look out for in 2018:

Anthem
Dragon Ball Fighter Z
Darksiders III

Brandon Dean

2017 has been a year of ups and downs for gaming. We’ve seen Assassins Creed rise from the ashes with Origins and single player games take the spotlight more than ever. But of course, for these ups we’ve also had downs such as Star Wars Battlefront II‘s ludicrous microtransaction scheme, Shadow of War‘s microtransaction scheme and well, just microtransactions in general. With all that in mind here are my top 5 games for 2017.

Brandon’s picks for 2017:

Super Lucky’s Tale
Assassin’s Creed Origins
WWE 2K18 
Prey 
Wolfenstein 2 

Games to look out for in 2018:

Kingdom Hearts 3
Untitled Call of Duty Game
Halo 6

We would like to wish every reader a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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