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Opinion

Game Of The Year 2017 – Overall Winner

The big one.

It’s time for the big one. We’ve covered a long list of categories over the last fortnight, from individual categories like Best Racer and Best Shooter to honouring the fantastic work of actors, writers and sound designers and artists. However, it all comes down to this final choice for what we consider to be the best game of the year.

It was an unsurprisingly close vote, and while many of us on the writing team have personal favourites, a few games did stand out from the crowd. There can only be one winner though, and it’s slightly amusing to think is that our our overall winner is actually a Wii U game.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild deserves each and every award it gets. This is a landmark moment for the decades-old series and one that will define the games for decades to come, with Eiji Aonuma directing his team to take a bold step outside of the familiar form that Zelda games have had since the days of the N64.

It’s a game that’s full of sorrow for what has been lost in this world, with a poignant story that looks back on the travails of Zelda, Link and the four Guardians that stood alongside them against Ganon. Waking up a century after the fall of Hyrule, you’re free to explore in any direction you choose in this fully open world, finding Shrines all around you, tackling the four Divine Beasts, and finding adventure in all corners. There’s so many standout moments and puzzles to find.

While it takes on some elements of the hardened edge of Dark Souls combat, there’s also a distinct playfulness to be found in how various elements interact with one another, as the Sheikah Slate’s abilities let you play with gravity and magnetism in a world that’s built with physics and weather in mind.

To quote my own review, “It’s refreshingly new and familiar at the same time, making for both one of the greatest launch titles and the sweetest swan songs any console could wish for.”


Horizon Zero Dawn – Runner Up

I’m starting to run out of ways to describe and praise Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn. For a game studio that cut their teeth on first person shooters, a grand open world adventure was a bold new direction for the team to take, but they pulled it off with style.

The combat in particular is a real highlight in this post apocalyptic setting, as Aloy has to use primitive weaponry to take down machines of all sizes. Stealth comes into play as you analyse their movements and prepare your attack, before you try to execute your plan of attack. Whether it’s dealing with a herd of placid robotic creatures or the hulking great predators of this world, you’re always on the edge of success and failure. It’s gripping stuff.

Alongside that is a compelling and intriguing world to discover through Aloy’s eyes. Aloy’s own adventure of personal discover is cleverly dovetailed into the story of the world and how modern civilisation tumbled and fell back into the prehistoric form we see here. There’s a hard science fiction edge to it that leads you in several different directions and kept me guessing throughout.

Throughout our Game of the Year awards, Horizon Zero Dawn has remained the eternal bridesmaid. Denied on one side by Hellblade’s visceral portrayal of psychosis and on the other by Breath of the Wild’s own brilliance, Guerrilla Games could rightly feel that they could have walked to victory in other years.


Super Mario Odyssey – Runner Up

I almost feel bad for Mario. While Super Mario Odyssey is at least on a par with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it’s Link’s latest adventure that has garnered so many awards and sits first and foremost in the memories of Nintendo Switch owners.

Super Mario Odyssey is a truly glorious return to the open world sandbox style of game that Mario first embraced as he entered the third dimension, but it takes that to the extreme. Each of the many kingdoms you visit is stuffed full of dozens of Power Moons to collect, whether it’s from defeating a boss, beating mini-games, or simply looking in the right place. It’s the classic collect-a-thon game structure, brought back for the modern day in a brilliantly engaging, varied and joyous fashion.

Nintendo are constantly looking for new ideas and ways to reinvent their Mario games, and Odyssey is no different. The introduction of Cappy opens up the game to newcomers with his simplified attacks, but also open up new ways for advanced players to get around and explore every single corner of every world. Between the fun and often nonsensical way that you can capture and control other being and objects in the world and the many homages to previous Nintendo games, it’s a game that keeps on giving.

If it’s any consolation to Mario, Odyssey would be my personal pick for Game of the Year, but here we find it in third place. Sometimes life just isn’t fair – just ask Peach who seems to get kidnapped every other Sunday.


Honourable mentions (in alphabetical order)

  • NieR: Automata
  • Sonic Mania
  • Yakuza 0
6 Comments
  1. ron_mcphatty
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    Perfect choices and I think the order is spot on. I agree that it’s a shame Horizon didn’t win in more (any?) categories, it is bloody brilliant though and my favourite game on the PS4. I’m a couple of hours into Mario now and thoroughly enjoying it, Nintendo have done really well to make it look so good and be so approachable but with a broad range of difficulty too.

    Comment posted on 31/12/2017 at 16:18.
  2. Tony Cawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    I’m sure it’s well deserved, only ever heard very positive things, will never play it myself though.

    I’ll be getting HZD very soon, top of my to-play list.

    I’ve really enjoyed these awards, well done to all at TSA.

    Comment posted on 31/12/2017 at 22:10.
  3. leeroye
    Member
    Since: May 2012

    Really enjoyed these articles guys and great justifications for your choices.

    I cant help but chuckle at the amount of runner up awards that Horizon has had. Surely you need to have one more award for most runner up awards – surely it would win that one :)

    Comment posted on 01/01/2018 at 10:59.
    • Dave Irwin
      Member
      Since: Jun 2015

      Funny that you say that, I did suggest the “Chief Bridesmaid Award” for the Alternative GOTY piece, but Tuffcub wasn’t having any of it!

      Comment posted on 02/01/2018 at 12:34.
  4. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    I can’t argue with any of that as i haven’t played any of those – yet at least. :)
    Skyrim VR would have to be my goty and i still have plenty of it to complete yet but once that’s done i’ll have time to play H:ZD – and as i’ve treated myself to a Pro for xmas i’m very much looking forward to that!

    Comment posted on 01/01/2018 at 11:38.
  5. Kris Lipscombe
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Mar 2009

    Sonic Mania was robbed

    Comment posted on 02/01/2018 at 10:59.