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Creative Christmas: Game of the Year 2017

Game of the Year 2017 - A response to Creative Christmas, Day 12

Completing our journey for Creative Christmas; this is a collaboration formed by community bastion Later Levels, full of tasty festive posts from a growing band of WordPress bloggers.

Question: 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?

Jon: My finger buffet approach to gaming makes this one difficult, and I’m thinking I’m going to cheat here a little bit and say the Witcher series. I’ve been meaning to play them for a while and I’ve just finished 1 and 2 and I’m downloading 3 while I type this. It’s been a while since something has really grabbed me – lore wise – so the Witcher series gets my vote, for reminding me that it’s not a race to devour a game, but an exploration to discover it.

sonicmania00_0
“It had my inner child jumping up and down”

Cat: For pure nostalgia, and hours of joy spent playing it, Sonic Mania.

Chris: Well for me GOTY is easy – Sonic Mania. It managed to pay tribute to the classic (and best) Sonic games on the Mega Drive, without relying purely on nostalgia. It’s a solid Sonic game in it’s own right, you can tell it has been made by people with a genuine love for Sonic. It had my inner child jumping up and down in excitement the moment the opening “Seeeggaaaa!!” intro played, right through to the end credits. The campaign for Streets of Rage Mania starts here!

Dan’s Wife: I loved playing Overcooked but it got difficult… I was obsessed with Piano Tiles on iOS and maxed out the levels!

Claire: Out of all the games to release in 2017, there is only one I could pick as GOTY, which led me to invest in a PlayStation 4.

Horizon Zero Dawn captured me straight away, thanks to my love for archery, but beyond that, I soon learned nothing could get me away from the game. Even since first playing it, other games like Sonic Mania, Cuphead, Life is Strange: Before the Storm and Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy have come along, but they still wouldn’t be able to reach top of the list.

I was so happy to see DLC released, The Frozen Wilds, to make the experience last just a little bit longer.

The mechanics of the game – open world, completing quests, puzzles, working out how to kill giant machines, it has a good balance between story and not overloading you too much with side quests. Working out how to kill the “boss” machines joyfully threw me back to working out how to take down the colossi in Shadow of the Colossus.

The graphics also make you feel like you are there in the world, on top of that, you can also have fun in photo mode…

Unravelling the secrets of the game world, you learn it is closer to our own than you first think, but unfortunately, I cannot reveal why I love Horizon’s story without spoiling it for you 🙂

Overall, Horizon Zero Dawn is just the perfect balance, in my opinion, in all aspects of gaming. It feels like something truly original.

Dan: My game of the year for 2017, which released in that year… it would have to be Prey. It was such a great experience, I’m looking forward to revisiting it; 30 hours of BioShock and Half-Life smooshed together, I loved it.

If we’re talking about favourite game played during the year, I’d have to say Fallout 4. I put this series off for a long time, having seen my brother in law play Fallout 3 many years ago. Was this something I’d be interested in?

Eventually I caved during a Steam sale. To begin with, I had many issues with the game crashing, performance, losing progress because it doesn’t auto save very often and so on. I strayed too far too soon around the map, and was punished for it, not really knowing how the levelling and progression worked.

fallout4-goty-01
Watching Toy Story 3 over Christmas, I was reminded of this horror I stumbled across in Fallout 4, I didn’t sleep very well that night

I just fell in love with it, then the research started, how can I get this game to run better, save more frequently, how can I mod it, how does the levelling actually work, the settlement building looks cool, I can mod the weapons, armour? Oh and build robots?

Before you know it, 300 hours has been invested and I’ve had an absolute blast. Think of all the games I could have finished with that 300 hours! Who cares, I love the wasteland!

Woop: I struggled to think of a game that was released this year that I would consider my game of the year. The only one that sprang to mind was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but with all the bugs, controversy and the fact it was only just released (fully) by the end of the year, I felt it probably didn’t deserve the title – maybe for 2018.

So I have decided the award, for me, goes to a game that was released in 2016 (almost 2017!). Planet Coaster is up there with my all time favourite theme park builder sims. I may even go so far as to say it has surpassed Rollercoaster Tycoon 2… I haven’t had chance to play it much, but I will definitely be sinking many, many hours into this game as they continue to develop it over the coming year.

Dan: So ends another year, quite a good one for gaming, in my opinion, some great titles chosen there! I’d like to namedrop a few others, which didn’t make the cut for me, but I’ve been asking todays question of many people, out of curiosity more than anything.

  • Ghost Recon Wildlands – Three of my colleagues surprised me in picking this one, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I’ve also been forced into playing “Expert” mode and I’m still enjoying it
  • Grand Theft Auto Online – I wasn’t surprised by this persons choice, as he hasn’t played much else all year, but he has a good point. Rockstar have consistently released some great (and free) DLC for about 18 months now, continuing to milk the cow…
  • Nier:Automata – I haven’t played this myself, but I’ve wishlisted it for the PlayStation 4, it’s been very well received and is highly rated, it does look worthy…
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – Another popular choice at work and in the wider world, breaking more concurrent user records on Steam over the festive period. For me, a bit too unfinished, even leaving Early Access in December, but I’ll keep dipping into it over the coming months…

In closing…

I’d like to thank everyone on the team, friends and family too, and everyone else out there for taking part in Creative Christmas. Huge thanks, however, must go to Kim from Later Levels, for organising this event in the first place, so thank you Kim!

Also, 2017 was the humble beginning of nowisgames.com, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading, following, liking and commenting on our musings.

It’s been so much fun working on the site, but more importantly, seeing what everyone else is up to and reading some truly great and original work out there, which is a nice change of pace from the big name sites.

Happy New Year to you, from all of us, here’s to a great 2018!

11 comments

  1. Those are some amazing picks. It is kinda fun to see that many people are picking the same games haha. I would also go for Horizon Zero Dawn as the best game of 2017! I want to wish you all a happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy New Year! I started Horizon but drifted off after the first “cauldron”.

      It’s definitely on my list of “need to finish this”, now more than ever thanks to this lot!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Happy New Year and thanks for reading! We are all close friends and family, so there’s definitely a lot of crossover in our tastes… That said, between us all, we cover most bases, which I’ve tried to capture in this series of posts. Hopefully we can tap into that in the year ahead more generally as well 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the fact that you guys have come up with such a wide range of games! It goes to show you there’s a release to suit absolutely everyone.
    Thanks so much for joining in over Christmas – and best wishes for 2018! 😀

    Like

    1. Ha! There was me thinking we hadn’t chosen that much of a range… I see all these other posts about Nintendo titles and wierd Japanese or retro things I’ve never heard of and consider our tastes to be a little more mainstream lol.
      Also, my backlog is about 90% PC, 5% Xbox One and 5% PlayStation 4… We definitely lean more towards PC even with the titles above that are cross platform.

      Like

      1. I’m starting to lean towards the PlayStation… but I think that’s because my PC is now starting to feel its age! I’m looking forward to finally sorting out our gaming room this year and showing the PC a bit of TLC.

        Like

      2. When our parents got divorced, I stayed with my Dad and we went down the PC route, while Woop kind of carried on with the consoles. She’s very into the PC too now though. I didn’t really get into consoles until 2011, with the purchase of a PlayStation 3 for The Last of Us and GTA V! I loved the fact you could just turn it on and get going, although that’s become a bit of a faff in the last few years on console too!

        Like

      3. It’s certainly helping me to play more games at the moment. Rather than collapsing on the sofa and not being bothered to turn on the PC, I know I can pick up the controller and get going on the PlayStation (providing there aren’t any updates outstanding, of course).

        Like

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