“…so choose your G-O-T-Y…!”
On the eleventh day of Christmas Collab, Kim asked of me: You wake up the following morning, hungover but happy – you have an entire day of gaming ahead of you. You start thinking back over the video games you played during 2017; what was your game of the year?
Well, this is sort of awkward. Let me list the games I’ve played in 2017 (some not for the first time):
- Mass Effect
- Mass Effect 2
- Mass Effect 3
- Mass Effect: Andromeda
- Final Fantasy 13 (still finishing)
- Dragon Age II
- Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
- Computer Tycoon
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
So… obviously it’s a tie between Mass Effect 2 and Metal Gear Solid 2……
Okay, okay… since that’s probably not what you guys actually wanted to hear, let’s talk about some of the more recent games that I played this year.
I think Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice would absolutely take the top spot, with RiME as a very close second. Both handle very tough subject matter, each in their own ways. RiME gently guides the player through beautiful – and sometimes beautifully tragic – worlds, letting the narrative unfold slowly and subtly until the final emotional punch at the end.
On the other hand, Hellblade brings the blurred line between objective and subjective reality to the front of our collective consciousness, creating a world that seems fantastical and unrealistic to us – in an almost “uncanny valley” way – but is the actual reality that the main character lives in.
The reason that Hellblade slightly edges out RiME for the top spot is because, while I was crying by the time RiME ended, by the time the credits rolled for Hellblade, I was emotionally exhausted and staring at the screen thinking “wow…” over and over again. Where I wanted to protect the boy from RiME like a distant deity rooting for a beloved creation, I felt like I had walked each step with Senua during her long, trying journey both through the landscape and through her own haunted mind.
And the Winners Are…
My personal Game of the Year would be Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Second place goes to RiME.
Honorable mention would go to Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Yes, I’m serious. While I’ll be the first to defend the story, and I quite enjoyed myself after I cut through the open-world bloat, there were a lot of industry standards that this game represents, and perforce shook up when it didn’t do well. Day one DLC, broken multiplayer, the above-mentioned open-world bloat, and a sloppy disregard for the players on the part of EA all resulted in a spectacular backlash.
While I don’t think EA and BioWare received the message they probably should have, I think that a game that creates a stir because of its poor development process is worth mentioning as an important game for the industry. This, I believe, set the stage for the amount of anger that resulted from the microtransactions in games like Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Battlefront II, and Middle Earth: Shadow of War. Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but I do think that the immense disappointment that Andromeda started the year with definitely had a catalyst effect.
So, honorable mention, yes.
Anyway, back to games that didn’t upset people, there were so many games that came out this year that I didn’t play, like Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, Uncharted: Lost Legacy, and literally every single game that requires a Nintendo Switch (good heavens, did I play any video games this year??). It’s thus really hard to say for certain what the best game of 2017 was. But, of the titles that I played that aren’t a few years old, Hellblade and RiME take the top spots.
Now for Something Completely Different
I also want to give a special shout-out to anyone who noticed I’ve been quoting holiday songs for the titles of these past 12 posts. How many did you recognize?
What about you? What is your Game of the Year for 2017? Was it released this year, or is it an oldie but a goodie? Let me know in the comments!
And a great, huge THANK YOU to Kim from Later Levels for organizing this entire event and coming up with such fantastic questions for our 12 days of holiday posts!! Be sure to show her some love if you haven’t already!
Has a song in her heart and a controller in her hand,
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