Game of The Year 2017 – Adam
10. Destiny 2
Much like The Division last year it’s hard to justify not including a game that I racked up 80 hours of game time in little over 2 weeks. In a similar vein to The Division I have little interest in the end game content and Bungie’s continued fumbling of XP and leveling along with what new content looks like only helps to reinforce this stance. However there are few developers that have nailed that minute to minute FPS game play like Bungie, the controls are so tight, the weapon systems interweave in a simple but effective way and the classes offer enough diversity to make playing with friends/having a second character a meaningful experience.
9. Assassin’s Creed Origins
Assassin’s Creed is a guilty pleasure of mine, I know the future story is complete and utter crap especially since 3’s terrible ending but I can’t stop continuing to be fascinated by the dynamic of using the past to inform the future. Origins does interesting things with the world outside the animus whilst still managing to largely ignore the actions of Desmond Miles. In terms of stepping back to ancient Egypt Ubisoft have finally managed to solve the Ezio problem, in the form of Bayek, instead of trying to make a charismatic ladies man to ape him they have taken a completely different route, Bayek is a raw guilt ridden married man whose introduced to the Assassin’s order at it’s inception and isn’t even that great at it. He is a flawed man having to find his place in a world populated by many who believe his position as last of the Medjay makes him a god, joining him for this journey is an incredible experience and I’m excited to see where they take the series from here.
8. Splatoon 2
Trust Nintendo to take the online shooter and completely revamp it into an accessible game that everyone can enjoy. Splatoon by nature of being a Wii U game was somewhat overlooked so bringing a largely unchanged game was a no-brainer. Instead of playing to kill Splatoon has you controlling a inkling a human/squid hybrid armed with a variety of paint based guns trying to cover as much of the arena as possible. The single player takes more the form of a platform/third person shooter with the ability to navigate in paint adding an interesting traversal mechanic that wouldn’t look out of place in a 3D Mario game.
7. What Remains of Edith Finch
I’m not going to try not to write much about this one. What starts as a first person narrative game in the vein of a Gone Home turns into so much as you control Edith Finch around the house who is exploring the downfall of her extended family. There are some fascinating scenes that play out that constantly surprise and subvert your expectations as to what this kind of game can offer. There is a childish wonder that comes with exploring some of the spaces and you can’t help but smile despite an overwhelmingly grim outlook for many of the characters.
6. Stardew Valley
Where to start, go back and listen to the podcast at the turn of 2016/2017 as we mentioned this a lot. Out on consoles too late in the year to make the cut last year; Stardew Valley is a game I spent 40 hours playing on Xbox before putting it down and waiting for the Switch release. I’ve since gone back dipping in and out throughout the year. Stardew Valley takes the graphically style of the 16 bit Harvest Moon titles and adds modern game sensibilities in the form of quality of life mechanics. The game can initially feel like a grind as your struggle to manage your stamina and time to ensure you the upkeep of your farm along with maintaining friendships and exploring the sizeable mines for ores and crystals to sell/craft with. This game flow does change over time, as you diversify your revenue streams through livestock, automate large parts of your crop growing process and get married to share the workload. None of this would matter if the world didn’t feel lived in, this is achieved by having the players work on a loose routine that gives the illusion of characters living their lives. This coupled with simple but effective writing helps to characterize each of the villages inhabitants, you’ll grow to love, hate and outright loath many of them (I’m looking at you Haley, you cold heartless %&*@!), all of this from a one man developer which makes it all the more impressive.