The Game of the Year nominations for this year’s Game Awards were announced recently, and we here at PCU are glued to the internet in anticipation.
It’s easy to see why these specific titles have been nominated as the best game of 2017, so these nominations should come as no shock to anyone. From a post-apocalyptic future Stone Age action game, to the most recent chapter of a long-running JRPG, to a multiplayer online battle royale, to a new title starring everyone’s favorite Italian (no longer a) plumber, these five games blew gamers’ collective minds this year, so we wanted to share our thoughts on them with you.
Horizon Zero Dawn (developer: Guerrilla Games)
As we mentioned in our First Impressions review of this game, it is COMPLETELY amazing. With its unique storyline of a female protagonist in a world set back to the Stone Age (yet overrun by robots), the enormous map, creative combat & stealth elements, and gorgeous graphics, Horizon Zero Dawn was a shoe-in for a GotY nomination from the get-go. The game also speaks a lot to the recent ethical debates about artificial intelligence, war, humanity’s place in the world we live in, and various other aspects. Seeing Guerrilla Games’s idea of where these concepts could take our species in the future leads to an amazing game, with some of the best writing, graphics, gameplay, and themes we’ve seen in console gaming to date.
We’ve also spoken to a lot of gamers since the title released back in February of this year, and have yet to hear of any major flaws that they’ve experienced. Overall, the game has gotten some of the best ratings (from critics and fans alike) of any game we’ve encountered in recent years. Frankly, if this game had not been nominated for GotY, we’d be shocked.
Persona 5 (developer: Atlus)
While one might ask how a game that’s essentially half a Japanese high school dating sim could stand alongside games like Breath of the Wild or Horizon Zero Dawn, the proof is in the product itself. It’s a game that’s more concerned with making your time count, rather than artificially extending it with endless variations of fetch quests. Whether that’s building upon story via building friendships, exploring dungeons, or by taking jobs and so on, everything you do matters.
Persona 5’s presentation is well beyond what gamers have come to expect from most games. We’ve come to mistake expansive open-worlds for progression in games, and while (in certain cases) that can be true, it shouldn’t just be down to fetch quests. Persona defies that by giving you a grand experience that’s entirely in the game. A curated game whose artistic boundaries extend even into what would normally be the boring loading menus, as well as an amazing acid jazz soundtrack, and a beast of a storyline that’s a long and painful deconstruction of society’s benign cruelty and apathy. All of which you attack with your supernatural powers. It’s a one-of-a-kind game experience and it’s easy to see how it caught the eye for GotY.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (developer: PUBG Corporation)
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG, as it’s known by the interwebs) has become quite the phenomenon since its release. A massive map that shrinks over time, unpredictable human opponents, and a host of vehicles, armor, and weapons to find and loot have captured the attention of many a PC gamer. In keeping with the competitive gaming vein, this battle royale style 3rd person shooter pits friend against friend, and stranger against stranger in a Hunger Games style fight to be the last man/woman standing after not only fighting one another, but the map itself.
It’s no surprise that this has been nominated for GotY, as the concepts of the competitive shooter have been embraced by PUBG Corporation, and then taken a step further. With its high-level graphics, great sound, expansive maps, and replayability factor, this game is a serious contender for top honors. PUBG will also hit the Xbox One on December 12th, so keep your eyes open for that.
Super Mario Odyssey (developers: Nintendo / Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development)
What can we say about Super Mario Odyssey that hasn’t already been mentioned ad infinitum? The game is gorgeous, introduces some unique mechanics, gives just enough of a nod to the franchise’s history to make older gamers feel nostalgic, and near-perfectly utilizes the motion control aspect of the Nintendo Switch joy cons.
With the Mario franchise having been going for several decades, Nintendo has once again found a way to give gamers something fresh, new, and seriously fun. Whether those playing it are young kids or gamers who have been around for decades, there’s not much in this title that is NOT enjoyable, and it’s definitely one to watch at this year’s Game Awards.
The 2017 Game Awards will be streamed live from 8:30pm Eastern Time on Thursday, December 7th until 7pm Eastern Time on Friday, December 8th. If you want to vote on the nominees in each category, you can find the roster on the Game Awards website.