Game of the Year talk is, oddly enough, a year-round topic. I remember early on in 2017, March time, I remember saying to a few friends that I believed that Horizon: Zero Dawn wouldn’t be bettered this year. Also, that Resident Evil 7 was a return to form – even though it took me a lot longer to finish than I cared to admit, at the time anyway. During my review of Shadow of War, for this very site, I often said to my colleagues here that I’d need the dust to settle on the Middle-earth epic before I could say where it sat – but top three was mentioned a fair bit.
Now, one game that I have had to – personally, that is – judge harsher than some other potential Game of the Year titles this year is, surprisingly to some, Destiny 2. If I’d settled on this list in early October, or heck, purely on the nights played with other TiX staff, then Bungie’s controversial sequel would have been a solid top three entry. However, with a game like Destiny 2, I have to let it breathe a little before seeing where it sits. Destiny 2 is a game that, for me, has asthma. Bungie hasn’t given it an inhaler, at least not regular enough, which is why it doesn’t quite make the cut.
Obvious, to some, omissions are most of Nintendo’s first-party hits. From Zelda to Pokemon, deluxe Mario Kart to the sprawling Mario Odyssey, and the much hyped – by me – Xenoblade Chronicles 2. All these titles are stellar but just didn’t strike me like the following three games did.
3rd – Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Overall, I had an incredible time returning to Mordor and the surrounding areas. Monolith really did go and pull an Empire! An improvement in almost every single area, from gameplay, to the unrivalled Nemesis system, and the world they doubled in size. The latter half of the game is a bold move, one that I hope they can make payoff. And if they don’t, then I look forward to my yearly replays of War, and maybe Mordor. Maybe.
2nd – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil 7 was a return to form that I wasn’t aware was needed. Resident Evil 5 was a game that my Wife and I played many, many hours of. Resident Evil 6 was being played when my Wife’s waters broke with our second-child. Yet, Resident Evil 7 has the both of those beat, for me. I was in a party with a good ol’ friend, who had already beaten 7, but he was a passanger on my journery through the terrifying-times ahead – and I dare say he enjoyed every moment which I flinched and yelped at. Yelp, being the replacement word for scream. I yelped a lot.
GOTY 2017 – Horizon: Zero Dawn
I am not sure what to say about Guerrilla Games’ smash-hit. I am serious…. Just buy it, play it. Love it. Play it again. Then go online, talk about it with rabid fans; discover parts you missed. Go back. Play it again. Then write about it on a GOTY list.