2017 Community Game of the Year - The polls are open!

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Hello fellow Goodjers! Well, December is here and 2018's just around the corner. That means that it's time for the 2017 Community Game of the Year thread. After checking in with ClockworkHouse, I'll be picking things up on from here, and I do hope the process is as enjoyable and exciting as she made it.

Before you all start posting your lists, just a quick rundown on how this works. Each year, GWJ community members vote for their favorite games of the year. Since we're all busy and can't always keep up with new releases, we're opening it up to all games you played for the first time in 2017. Doesn't matter if it's one year, five years, ten years, or twenty-five years old, what matters is that it's new to you. If you change your list, don't edit your post, make a new one and tell me you've changed your mind.

Complete guidelines in Q&A form in the post below, and final results will be posted here when the time comes.

Here are the Official Rules of the 2017 Community GOTY Voting Thread, Q&A style.

  • What games can I vote for? Any game you played for the first time in 2017. Say every one had been telling you how awesome Brütal Legend is and you picked it up for free on HumbleBundle and loved it? You can absolutely put it on your list. But if you're going into your third playthrough of The Witcher III and already made it #1 on your list last year, then you don't get to vote for it again. Voting this year is still open to any game on any platform from any year.
  • How do you know if I really played it for the first time this year? I don't have psychic powers. That'll be between you and your conscience. But really, why would you try to rig a silly forum poll?
  • What if I didn't finish it yet? Doesn't matter. If you feel you've played enough of this game for it to surpass others you've played this year, go ahead and put it on your list. Sometimes, we don't have to play 10 hours of a game to know we're going to love it (not to mention that some games are really freakin' long: you might not have finishes, but still know it's awesome).
  • Why are we doing it this way? Because we're all busy and old. GWJ is a site mostly populated with mature, adult gamers with jobs (it's right there in the name of the site), family obligations, hobbies, and other things that take up our time. And we can't all afford the new hotness as soon as it's released. Most of us have piles (see m0nk3yboy's 2017 thread), and though we try to play through them, we don't often get a chance to say that we really love something even if it's old.
  • What if the top game ends up being from 2007 or something? Highly unlikely.
  • So how are votes counted? Games in the top spot on a list get ten votes, second place gets nine, et cetera, et cetera, with tenth place getting a single vote. If your list is out of format (lists that aren't ranked and/or lists that go over ten), games on your list will get one vote each for the first ten games only.
  • Can I vote for an expansion pack? For the purposes of vote counting (and my sanity), votes for expansions are folded into votes for the base game. So for example, a vote for The Wticher III: Blood & Wine is counted as a vote for The Wticher III.
  • I played a game before, but this year I played the remastered Director's Cut with new content on a new platform. Can I vote for it? Nope. Again, the spirit of this thread is to vote for things that were new to you this year, and replaying a game you love with spiffier graphics runs somewhat contrary to that. On the other hand, some remasters and re-releases significantly change the original game, and sometimes replaying something can feel more revelatory than playing something brand new. In the end, it's up to you (see the above, "but how do you know..." question).
  • Can I list a game multiple times so that it gets more votes? No. That's annoying cheating.
  • When does voting open? When does it close? Voting is open when this thread goes up, so: you can vote now.
    Go ahead, knock yourself out! Post your list! Voting will close on January 1st, 2018 (9am GMT+1, 3am EST, midnight PST). That should allow you to wrap up some of those late November games and/or sample whatever you might receive as a gift during the holidays.
  • Are you going to do anything really neat and special with the results? Absolutely! You can look for the traditional community's top ten list & special mentions for each platform. Additionally, the results will be analyzed to award other "'best of" titles such:
    • Best-Loved Game of the Year and Most Loved Game of the Year - These are given to the games with the most #1 votes and most unranked votes, respectively.
    • Classic Game of the Year - Given to the game with the most votes that wasn't released this year.
    • Darksiders of the Year - Given to the game that's maybe good. Better ask just to be on the safe side.

    Stay tuned for more, I'm trying to keep these a surprise.

  • What if I change my mind after I posted my list? By all things holy and unholy, for the love of the Goodjerbot, if you do decide to change your mind (it happens!), then pretty please, be sure to put up a new post that lets me know you changed your list. It'll seriously mess with the thread-tracking if you don't.

If you are so inclined, you can check out previous years!

And you can even check out the thread I've dubbed "Community Game of the Decade" which Gravey ran last year to rank the ten community GOTYs from 2006 to 2015!

Yea!

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

IMAGE(http://cdn.edgecast.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/506870/header.jpg?t=1499497818)
1. Unexplored (PC)

Like many entries in my list this year, Unexplored came straight out of nowhere and knocked my socks off. This is the first of a few rougelikes to make the cut, a genre I wasn't really expecting to dive into this year.

Unexplored drew top honors through delivering on several fronts. Liquid-smooth gameplay with satisfying controls & combat, encouraging "just one more go" restarts. A patented new procedural gen tech, billed Cyclic Dungeon Generation that gives the randomized dungeons an organic, hand-crafted feel. Great Daily & Weekly leaderboard chasing. It all culminates in a tight, cohesive package that's just a joy to play.

Bonus props for the developer offering fee content updates (new game modes) as well as the impressive Soundtrack gratis straight out of the gate.

IMAGE(http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/453790/header.jpg?t=1458850008)
2. Candice DeBébé's Incredibly Trick Lifestyle (PC)

Candice is a grand odyssey of lo-fi jank. It looks like a train-wreck on the surface, but its hidden depths reveal a folk-art masterwork. It's like this one guy had a grand vision but not so much the raw talent. Yet...no one told him that, so he proceeded to brute force the production. To write, program, record dialogue & music...basically just do everything himself. And the results are glorious.

Evil pop singer Krystal has stolen the tan-van from Candice's best friend in the trailer park, leaving her without a way to maintain her sexy, glowing orange complexion. Now it's up to Candice to travel the world getting her magic back for the final showdown with Krystal. A crazy setup, but the 10+ hour story has a lot of heart.

The trailer says it all. On a side note, I spent a good number of weeks completely obsessed with the Soundtrack and still rock it on my phone to this day.

Strange oddity, Candice has her own Twitter feed (played completely in character) that still sees daily updates. Now that's commitment to your art!

IMAGE(http://cdn.edgecast.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/722730/header.jpg?t=1510617320)
3. Cogmind (PC)

Cogmind is the perfect marriage of classic ASCII/tile gameplay & presentation with modern visual effects and QoL features. It looks vintage in stills but modern in motion.

In Cogmind you play a tiny robot making their way to the surface of a large underground complex, searching for answers along the way. While turn-based, the game plays out rather quickly in reality.

There's an interesting push-pull gameplay dynamic where you attach various scavenged/looted robot parts (mobility, on-board scanning systems, weapons, etc.) to yourself helping to facilitate your unique gameplay style (floating stealth assassin, plodding heavy tank, etc.). But the hook is that these parts you collect also serve as your armor. So all damage you take lowers the HP of your parts and when those are compromised your core or true HP starts ticking down. It adds a strategic layer where you're not just searching for ideal loadouts, but also durable parts to help protect your core. It makes you try new gameplay styles out of necessity at times and that keeps the game fresh.

Being a rougelike, Cogmind keeps a persistent data base of all story/log entries and mechanical parts you collect between runs. Each has a unique data page with numbered slots to fill in with entries that count in the hundreds. This "gotta catch 'em all" carrot keeps you wanting to get a little further each time, uncovering new mysteries along the way.

IMAGE(http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/540810/header.jpg?t=1486403421)
4. Fallout 4 - High Resolution Texture Pack (PC)

Browsing Steam randomly this past summer, I came across the Fallout 4 High Res Texture Pack. Didn't even know it was out there, but being a free download I decided to give it a spin. I fired up the game and continued on with my latest save file. A 75 hour game in progress that I hadn't touched in months.

After a quick re-acclimation I proceeded to not only fall in love all over again, but also fall down a rabbit hole that lasted for months. My 75 hour save file ballooned to close to 250 hours during which I picked up all the GOTY DLC and even the fancy-schmancy hardcover art book. For months Fallout 4 was my gaming comfort food, offering up endless new content. Places to discover, new people to talk to, bottomless swag (and junk!) to loot.

Somewhere in that process, I realized that Fallout 4 is my favorite Bethesda sandbox rpg to date.

IMAGE(http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/433340/header.jpg?t=1501715811)
5. Slime Rancher (PC, XB1)

Slime Rancher is pure distilled joy in digital form. I was looking for something to lighten my mood a bit. To stave off the suffocation of the dumpster fire that is 2017. And Rancher came to the rescue, offering up adorable characters in blissfully colorful world open for relaxing exploration.

Being a Farm Sim nerd at heart, Slime Rancher was an easy fit. The cycle of collecting and rearing slimes is as natural as seeding & harvesting the crop. Yet juxtapose to the mundane setting in Farm Sim, Slime Rancher scratches that same itch in a wonderfully imagined universe that's bright and optimistic in look and tone. Fantastic visuals, sounds & music that uplift the spirit. Intelligent upgrade paths not only with slimes but also harvesting technology. Plays like a dream too, controlling like a liquid smooth shooter.

Slime Rancher is therapy in a bottle (well digital bits, I suppose).

IMAGE(http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/305620/header.jpg?t=1501659489)
6. The Long Dark (PC, PS4, XB1)

TLD is the best survival game on the market. Bar none. It has a unique identity in that it drops the player in an entirely plausible environment. Pitting you in a person vs. nature scenario. No zombies. No aliens. Just you against the cold (and occasional wolf!).

This real-world setup makes gameplay incredibly intuitive. After all, what would you do if you were unexpectedly stranded in the Canadian wilderness in high winter (besides curl up in a ball and cry)? Food. Hydration. Warmth. Shelter. Simple stuff really. The gameplay systems are as elegant as they are complex, with systems feeding into each other and overlapping layer upon layer (a stove or camp fire will keep you warm, but you can also use that time to boil snow to create drinkable water). It's all intelligent and well considered, having you spinning lots of plates simultaneously to keep your vitals meters up. Seems taxing on paper but circling back around to the intuitive nature of basic survival makes it all easy to understand process.

Extra shout out to the amazing audio/visual design. The "sounds of nature" are spot on with wind creaking through the trees or the walls of your shelter, the sound of your boots crunching in the snow, etc. It creates a lonely, isolated vibe. And the visuals are off the charts, with unique water-color presentation coupled with chunky, dense poly counts (world items) giving the environment a fully lived-in feel.

IMAGE(http://cdn.edgecast.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/333640/header.jpg?t=1508541811)
7. Caves of Qud

CoQ is a late entry on my list and likely the hardest sell. It's the most rougelike of the ones listed and visually the most bland. But it's depths are quite impressive. The store page touts, "Assemble your character from over 70 mutations and defects and 24 castes and kits—outfit yourself with wings, two heads, quills, four arms, flaming hands, or the power to clone yourself—it's all the character diversity you could want."

And that's just scratching the surface.

Qud is one of those games where you spend the first 30-90 minutes wondering if you've made a mistake investing in it. It's a bit obtuse regarding direction and not very friendly to newcomers. I lucked into a quick & dirty Beginner's Guide that's as funny as it is helpful. It got me over the hump of first couple hours and it's been smooth sailing since.

CoQ is ultimately a game that's hard to describe. On the surface it's a lot like Dwarf Fortress, tracking a mind-dizzying array of stats and outcomes. But it's a bit more intimate as it plays more like an open-world rpg. Once you move past the basics it feels like there's a world of endless possibility hiding beneath the cold surface of the game's presentation. There's a TON of unique, quality writing and I think this propels the game forward as much as the bottomless depth. The soundtrack is pretty haunting as well.

IMAGE(http://cdn.edgecast.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/597220/header.jpg?t=1502377288)
8. West of Loathing (PC)

Loathing is the funniest media experience I've had all year. Across the board. The writing is shockingly good.

Love the stark black & white stick figure presentation. In a landscape dominated by AAA bad-ass dudes running around doing AAA bad-ass stunts with AAA bad-ass explosions happening everywhere, West of Loathing's clean visual simplicity is a surprising breath of fresh air.

Shout out to the foley work in the game. For a title that looks so visually simplistic the environmental sound effects are as authentic & memorable as they are plentiful.

The Walking Stupid skill book gets my vote for Best Moment of the Year.

IMAGE(http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/530390/header.jpg?t=1497568164)
9. Slayaway Camp (iOS, PC)

Designed by a team of ex-PopCap vets, Slayaway is my fave mobile experience of the year. Imagine a sliding-block puzzle game with Mindcraft'esque graphics all set in 80's Slasher Movie environments.

You play any number of 80's-inspired killers and your job is to wipe out every civvie on the map before making your way to the exit. You can go in for the direct kill or you can scare/lure them into any number of environmental traps. The game ramps up difficulty by introducing new mechanics in the way of victim behavioral defenses, a few timed missions, introduction of police and SWAT teams, etc.

There's a ton of content on offer, with each tile set consisting of several levels themed after 80's genre tropes (summer camp, haunted hospital, etc.). Being a sliding puzzle game it plays wonderfully with touch on mobile devices. Puzzles are smart. Settings are 80's slasher nostalgic. Gore kills against "Minecraft clones" is pretty darn graphic, but kinda funny at the same time due the cartoonish presentation.

IMAGE(http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/412830/header.jpg?t=1498129241)
10. Steins;Gate (PC, PSP/V/3/4, 360, iOS)

Being a bit of a lit-snob, I always wanted to try out a Visual Novel. But the genre's seedy reputation always seemed to put me off. Someone online suggested that I give Steins;Gate a shot, claiming that is was short on fan-service tropes and high on quality writing.

Turns out they were right! S:G is an intelligent sci/fi story in the time machine sub-genre. The primary cast of four gel together well. The Japanese voice-acting is exceptional. At first I was turned off by the ego-maniac lead character as he's so over the top. But after settling in with the story and discovering all the other characters feel the same, the lead suddenly changed to "so over the top it's funny because everyone is making fun of you anyway". I went on to find his eccentric nature endearing.

Quality artwork in this one as well. I quite enjoy the style.

I'm glad I gave S;G a shot as it made me realize the genre is more diverse than the tropey downsides would have you believe. It also inspired me to check out Doki Doki Literature Club (see below), something I never would have considered pre-Steins, so I'd call that a double-bonus win!

Honorable Mention
Stories Untold (PC)
Hidden Folks (PC, iOS)
Divinity: Original Sin 2 (PC)
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PC, PSP/V/3)
Doki Doki Literature Club! (PC)

Most Anticipated in 2018
MachiaVillain
Necrobarista
No Truce With The Furies
Ooblets
The Last Night

Eleima wrote:

But if you're going into your third playthrough of The Witcher III and already made it #1 on your list last year, then you don't get to vote for it again.

But it is the best game of the year!

Oh boy time to figure out which of the four new games I played this year I actually liked

Well, this is off to a great start! I only know three of the games in Aaron D's top ten. This is what's so awesome, discovering new games you'd never even heard of.

Rykin wrote:

Oh boy time to figure out which of the four new games I played this year I actually liked ;)

Sure, make it easy for me, why don't you!

I just want to say that I am really thrilled that Eleima graciously volunteered to herd you lot of obstinate cats run the game of the year threads. I enjoyed my time running the threads, but I couldn't be happier handing it off knowing that it's in such good hands.

Eleima, I hope you have fun with it, and make it yours. I'll post my own votes in the next week or two. Thank you!

Looking forward to finding some time to pull my list together. Just started Wolfenstein, so I probably need a little time to see how that treats me. Thanks for making this community list happen Eleima!

The past year has been one of the worst of my life, at least as far as free time, and the majority of it was playing games that were released at the tail end of 2016 and don't technically make the cut. Final Fantasy XV and Mafia III were truly my games of 2017.

That said, there were two little gems that deserve mention, although I don't expect them to make the final cut; along with one 2017 AAA game that I'm sure will:

(1) Doki Doki Literature Club - I can't say much that has not already been said. If you have a passing interest in visual novels, in horror, or in experimental games, this is worth checking out. Try not to get spoiled beyond that. For heaven's sake, it's donationware and only takes a couple of hours!

(2) Little Nightmares is a fairly straightforward puzzle/platformer with some of the best art direction I've ever seen in a game.

(3) Horizon Zero Dawn suffers a bit from an overly busy and distracting map early on, and it's one of those games that rewards the player in relation to how much the player is willing to invest in learning its systems. I'm not going to cheerlead it too much because LarryC will be in here to do it better. I know it didn't click with everyone, but there's a lot going on beneath the surface with it. And while the story and characters could occasionally be bland, there are also a couple surprise twists, some great foreshadowing, and a great deal of diversity.

I'm declining to vote for anything else I played this year. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age was enjoyable; but, it had previously been my favorite Final Fantasy game, and I came to realize that I had way less tolerance for its peccadilloes after experiencing FF15.

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beeporama wrote:

The past year has been one of the worst of my life, at least as far as free time, and the majority of it was playing games that were released at the tail end of 2016 and don't technically make the cut. Final Fantasy XV and Mafia III were truly my games of 2017.

Beeporama - I think Eleima specifically stated that you could vote for games that were released previously but were NEW TO YOU and played in 2017. Certainly I think games that fell at the end of 2016 but you mostly played in 2017 fall in this category. Up to you though. I enjoyed FF15 myself.

Yup. Vote for what you played for the first time in 2017 (and then for Witcher 3 because it is the best game of all time... )

I'll probably be a month in waiting to put my own decisions together, even though most of my list is pretty solidified.

However, I wanted to bring attention to my general game awards discussion thread because I have severe self-esteem issues and want everyone to pay attention to me last year there was so much derailing and arguing about what does and doesn't count that I wanted to create a separate thread for such bickering and screaming. Let Eleima's rules be Eleima's rules, and if you take umbrage then go to the general discussion thread to debate about what should or should not count when putting together a game awards discussion/show/thread/whatever.

That way, this thread can be joy and happiness and discoveries.

I look forward to reading everyone's top ten picks, and thank you Eleima for taking up this task.

1) Persona 5 (PS4) - It felt like a step backwards from P4: Golden, in terms of pacing and dialog, but the style on this game made up for that in spades. Months later, I'm still listening to the soundtrack, and planning out when I can plop another 100 hours for a completionist playthrough.

2) Until Dawn (PS4) - Tackled during a weekend when my wife was sick. We couch-played it together for one of the most wonderful coop gaming experiences I've had in years. I'm really excited to try Hidden Agenda when I have time again.

3) Doki Doki Literature Club (PC) - this was some sick twisted stuff, and I love it.

4) Reigns: Her Majesty (Mobile) - Super late addition - this game is a somewhat graphically stripped down member of the same family as Long Live the Queen on PC - a decision generator/life simulator, with lots of death. It avoids the creepy pedo/male gaze of the genre, which usually looks back to Princess Maker for inspiration.

5) Torment: Tides of Numenera (PC) - While it didn't live up to its spiritual predecessor, I think it did an admirable job of portraying an impossible world, and creating a heroic amount of possibility for different playstyles.

6) Dream Daddy Dating Simulator (PC) - I haven't really come close to finishing this, but what I've played so far, I've loved.

7) Almost a Hero (Mobile) - My random idle game of the year. I've managed to not spend any money on it, but I've sunk a fair amount of time in.

8) The Room 3 (Mobile) - Continues the beautiful, fun puzzle play of the first two games

9) Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls/Seasons stuff - I'd played it previously, but this year I had a good time sinking myself into the Seasonal gameplay twice.

10) Yakuza Zero (PS4) - I just picked this up in a sale the other day, so I've only had a few hours with it, but the hyper-dramatic story, ridiculous side characters, and sheer fun of the game have overcome a lot of my not-so-crazyness about the gameplay.

Honorable mentions: Stellaris - the ongoing patching of any Paradox game makes it tempting to include it in future years, but I don't think enough has changed *yet*, though the next patch looks like it might justify an inclusion in the 2018 list.

Ascension (Mobile) - Plopped a good amount of time into this, playing with GWJ friends, and solo. An admirable port of the tabletop shuffling simulator.

Prey (PC) - I enjoyed what little of this I played also, but not nearly enough for it to place, this year.

Played, but not listed: Mass Effect Andromeda - I stalled out pretty quickly. The switch to playing on the PS4 threw me for a loop, as someone who'd played the previous three on PC. I'll have to give it another try when I've got a better TV/layout.

Horizon: Zero Dawn: Promising start, but I lost interest pretty quickly

Nier:Automata: I'll have to go back and give it a try with the difficulty tuned down. I always underestimate how terrible I am at these games.

Edited for formatting, addition of Reigns

1) Breath of the Wild (Wii U)
2) Star Wars Battlefront 2 (PS4)
3) Puzzle Droids (Android)

Thanks for taking over after Clocky’s retirement, Eleima!

I’ll post mine far closer to the deadline. I expect to get through ELEX and start something else before the deadline so my list may be very different than it is now.

1) Horizon Zero Dawn - My favorite open world game and narrative this year. Enjoyed this enough that I may replay at some point soon, which is rare for me in this genre.
2) Zelda BotW - Neck and neck with the first. Spring 2017 was a good time to game.
3) Assassin's Cread Origins - I've struggled to get into AC games before. The Egyptian setting is fascinating, though.
4) Mario Odyssey - Great plat-former, and it finally sold me on a Switch, which will probably now collect dust.
5) Divinity Original Sin 2 - Really enjoyed the first two chapters of this. Need to go back and finish.
6) Tales of Berseria - Played at the beginning of the year and finished for once! Good if you like Tales Of games.
7) Destiny 2 - I enjoyed the campaign for this. I might be still playing if Bungie didn't hate me and keep kicking me offline every time I go near the hub areas in the game.
8) Middle Earth Shadow of War - I enjoyed the setting and the first two open world areas. Game does bog down later, but it was great while it lasted.
9) Opus Magnum - Addicted puzzle game like Space Games. Lost a couple nights' sleep here.
10) Final Fantasy 14 MMO - Best MMO I've played that wasn't WoW. Got stuck after 45 levels and stopped after a couple months. Someone more interested in the PvP aspects probably would have made it through however.

Another year with another December release that I'm very interested in means another late list posting for me, but as usual I'm quite excited to read everyone else's lists in the meantime.

Legend of Zelda : Breath of the Wild
So good I completed it twice! Once on the WiiU and then again on Switch. Also, it's the first Zelda game I've ever finished. Just amazingly polished and fun to play. My only niggles are a brief wavering dalliance with a joke sequence that's skirting the edge of transphobia (but I feel recovers it's footing with the way certain things are represented in the desert city society) and I'd have loved an option to play as Zelda herself. Oh well, maybe in DLC... (probably not).

Ladykiller in a Bind (aka "My Twin Brother Made Me Crossdress as Him and Now I Have to Deal with a Geeky Stalker and a Domme Beauty Who Want Me in a Bind!!")
I'll be honest. I never thought I'd see the day where I happily include what is, essentially, a kink-positive lesbian sex-game in my GOTY list...but here we are! I'm not a massive fan of the art style but playing an erotic visual novel written by and for lesbian women was SUCH a breath of fresh air in a genre that is often just a bit on the sleazy side (in a bad way). The non sexy bits of the story are pretty good too!

The Infectious Madness of Dr Dekker
I LOVE cheesy FMV adventure games, and this is a modern attempt at a cheesy FMV adventure game (of sorts). Really it's more of an investigation game a-la Her Story but with strange lovecraftian twists. Even though you spend a lot of time battling against it's frustrating parser to find the next clue, each of the increasingly weird backgrounds and "powers" for the patients you are interviewing made it compelling through to the end.

Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)
Just stunning to look at and play, with a genuinely interesting woman protagonist. The bleakness of the world's back-story was really compelling and kept me barelling through the main story to get more of it, which is something that doesn't normally happen with me and open world games. Also: zoids!

Tacoma
Honestly, this is mostly on the list for the novelty of having an AI-centric story with a really, REALLY positive ending (but also because of some fantastic acting, world building and a virtual cat that does not give any f*cks whatsoever).

Prey
I ummed and erred about adding this to the list or keeping it in the "Honourable mentions" pile, because I really did not have much fun at all with the combat in this game. The enemies were just not all that much fun to fight. HOWEVER...literally everything else was amazing! The way the station opens up geographically into something that feels like a real place was amazing, and it managed to scratch my 'deus ex / dishonored / system shock' itch with it's freedom to explore and experiment with the environments. And it looked gorgeous, too!

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
Colourful, fun and exactly what I needed at the tail end of a miserable, chaotic 2017. A little bit let down by the double-dose of damsel rescuing, but that aside I had a blast with it. Still got plenty of moons to go back and collect, too.

Night in the Woods
I mean...it has to be on this list, right? Pretty sure that's in the GWJ fine-print somewhere... Luckily it's also rather good with brillo art and laugh/cry out loud dialogue in places!

Divinity : Original Sin 2
soooo Huuuuge :O A massive improvement over the first game, both in mechanics and in story which manages to dial back a lot of the faux-Pratchett sillyness while still giving you about a million ways to interact with the world and develop your character. Played it obsessively through to the end and enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Dishonored : Death of the Outsider
I mean...its more dishonored, so unless it screwed up spectacularly then it's inevitable that it makes it on to this list. It nicely wraps up the remaining plot threads left outstanding from the previous two games. I wasn't quite as enamoured with Billie Lurk's skills and abilities as I was with Corvo or Emily's, and there's a late-game bad guy that was more frustrating than fun to deal with, but aside from that it was top notch stuff!

Honourable mentions...

The Sexy Brutale
(almost made the list - clever time-bending groundhog day-em-up with some clever twists)

HITMAN 2016
(probably the best in the series with some amazing sandbox murder-em-up gameplay)

Wolfenstein 2
(Bonkers and incredibly cathartic, given the year we've had)

Batman : The Telltale Series
(Fun, lore-bending alternative take on Batman with a focus on Bruce Wayne)

Stories Untold
(Creepy, Stranger things-esque collection of short stories. Let down a bit by the final twist)

Skyrim
(switch version - possibly witchcraft. No idea how they got this to work on Switch but I'm glad they did!)

Kings Quest (2015) - All Episodes
(Heart warming and heart-breaking in equal measure. Some dud gameplay though)

Mass Effect : Andromeda
(It was OK. Not great, not terrible. It was OK. I was a bigger fan of sassy, snarky Ryder than most I think).

Life is Strange : Before the Storm
(Love what I've played so far, but I'll withhold final judgement until the full thing is available, so this MIGHT end up replacing one on my main list (the D&D scene alone makes it worth it!) later, depending on how things play out. ).

As ever, I struggle to even make it to ten new games in a year.

Spoiler:

1. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen (PC)
I'm always reluctant to include DLC or expansions in my lists, but this one added so much to what was already a good experience, I felt it should be included (and at #1 at that). I know it's a niche pick, just based on the genre, but I love the mod community, and the game is good in its basic form as well.

2. Middle Earth: Shadow of War (PS4)
Another entry in the Middle Earth series. It's just fun to slay orcs. It feels about the same as the first one, but I got a platinum trophy in that game, which I almost never do, so I must like the formula. The Nemesis System deserves to be "borrowed" for other games. I hope to see more of this type of emergent gameplay in future titles.

3. Heat Signature (PC)
This one caught me by surprise. I bought it because I loved the trailer, if we're being honest. The game is weirdly addictive though. There are times I dare not fire it up because I'll play "one more mission" about 12 times. Speaking of the Trailer, I loved it largely because of the reading of Alex Ashby. I'm going to drop a plug in here for the set of podcasts he did for Idle Thumbs called, " Something True: Stories from the Footnotes of History." It's like well written (and read) bedtime stories for adults. There. A double recommendation.

4. Nioh (PS4)
I think it's safe to say this is the Dark Souls of Dark Souls-alikes. Unfortunately, the buttons are different, and that almost kept me from playing it. The graphics are nice and I really liked some of the boss battles. Good stuff.

5. Battle Brothers (PC)
I'm a fan of the difficult turn-based strategy games. This one kept my attention for a little while. I'll likely go back to it after a bit of time and give it another go.

6. For Honor (PC)
Meaty, physical combat highlights an otherwise mediocre cap-the-point style multiplayer experience. The campaign was short, but I really enjoyed it.

7. Titanfall 2 (PS4)
I don't need another multiplayer game, so I just played the campaign, but that was worth making the list. This game seems to be the unfortunate victim of a saturated AAA shooter market.

8. Uncharted 4 (PS4)
Spikeout (shout out!) got me playing the multiplayer portion of this one recently and I was amazed how deep the combat feels. Aim takes a back seat to tactics in this one, and teamwork rules the day. Good stuff.

9. Broforce (PS4)
It's not new this year. Dumb, fun, and crazy couch co-op.

10. Mobile: Middle Earth: Shadow of War (Mobile)
I think the is the second time I've included a mobile game on one of these lists. I'm not even sure this one is good. It's basically a skin of every bad mobile pay-to-win there is. Also, I can't seem to stop playing it.

Added words.

Also changed #8: Removed Divinity: Original Sin 2 and replaced it with West of Loathing.

Aaron D. wrote:

Added words.

Your GOTY lists always add such interesting things to my Steam wishlist.

You humble me, madam.

I may come back and added a brief summary later, but for now - the list!

1. Witcher 3
2. Final Fantasy XIV (on the list because of Stormblood expansion)
3. Super Mario Odyssey
4. Darkest Dungeon
5. Steamworld Dig 2
6. XCOM 2
7. Nioh
8. Picross S
9. Hollow Knight
10. Tangledeep

Honorable mentions:
- Fortnite
- Star Realms (digital)
- Race for the Galaxy (digital)

Looking forward to seeing everyone's lists including ones already posted! As usual, I'll be waiting until after Christmas in hopes of finishing up a few more games. I do easily have enough to come up with 10 at the least already!

Doogiemac, Eleima specifically said that it is not permitted to vote for The Witcher III.

I may be selectively reading her explanation.

My plan worked!

ChipRMonk wrote:
beeporama wrote:

The past year has been one of the worst of my life, at least as far as free time, and the majority of it was playing games that were released at the tail end of 2016 and don't technically make the cut. Final Fantasy XV and Mafia III were truly my games of 2017.

Beeporama - I think Eleima specifically stated that you could vote for games that were released previously but were NEW TO YOU and played in 2017. Certainly I think games that fell at the end of 2016 but you mostly played in 2017 fall in this category. Up to you though. I enjoyed FF15 myself.

Thanks; I didn't make it clear with my phrasing that I had played both of them in 2016. I probably even voted for them in last year's community thread, based on the time I got with them. I just dumped a lot of time into those games, probably more this year than last, but definitely still a fair amount in 2016.

I'm of the opinion that you're totally cool posting whatever you want, but a quick reminder that if folks want to argue about it ccesarano very kindly provided us with a dedicated thread for that this year.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) - Bravely and brilliantly replaced the longstanding Zelda trope of "do a few large dungeons, get the Master Sword, do several more large dungeons" with a huge world that's really worth exploring. Exploring the wilderness and happening upon concealed shrines managed to re-evoke the feeling of discovery that I remember from playing the original NES Zelda as a kid!

2. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch) - Full of great surprises, beautiful art, fair challenges, and so many things to do. An even better iteration on the gameplay, level design, and themes of past Mario 3D titles (Mario 64, Galaxy, 3D Land) than I might have thought possible.

3. SteamWorld Dig 2 (PC) - Rolled into this directly after finishing SteamWorld Dig 1 for the first time, which turned out to be an excellent way to approach it, with the NPC Dorothy from the first game turning PC and searching for Rusty, the first game's hero gone missing. Solid digging gameplay with lots of fun character upgrades, both major and minor.

4. Blaster Master (2017) (Switch) - Blaster Master for the NES was one of my personal nostalgic favorites. A great update while still retaining the best parts of the original. Played through it twice, getting the fun surprise at the end of the second playthrough for 100%-ing the game up through the boss.

5. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Switch) - Great tactical strategy game, minimizing the impact of luck on the gameplay, and building on the foundation laid by X-Com by introducing lots of neat new gameplay mechanics.

6. PPKP (iOS) - A simple yet interesting 1-on-1 brawler-type fighting game perfectly tailored to being played on a mobile phone. Manages to make a deep and rewarding combat and upgrade system out of only two in-game "buttons". App Store link.

7. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) - My favorite racing game in a long time. I actually enjoy watching others play this almost as much as I enjoy playing myself; while just observing, I notice all of the beautiful graphics happening in the environment around the race track, whereas when I'm actually playing I tend to tunnel vision in on the race itself.

8. Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS) - A very cool stride forward in 2D Metroid games with the counter-attack and 360-degree free aiming systems, even though I think I may still prefer the elegant simplicity of the original Super Metriod (SNES) gameplay. Interesting to compare and contrast this Metroid 2 (Game Boy) remake with last year's indie take on the same, AM2R.

9. Cosmic Star Heroine (PC) - A 16-bit-style turn-based RPG in a sci-fi setting with an interesting new battle system. Steam link.

10. Fire Emblem Heroes (iOS) - A nicely simplified pocket implementation of the standard Fire Emblem gameplay. I enjoyed it when it came out, although I did lose interest fairly soon after reaching the level cap of 40, despite the new content and events periodically being released.

Honorable Mentions: Puyo Puyo Tetris (Switch); Hollow Knight (PC); Snipperclips (Switch).

Previously: 2016 (GOTY: Stardew Valley). 2015 (GOTY: Super Mario Maker).

1 PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

-This was by far an unexpected surprise. Although this is an Early Access game it is by far the most stable and advanced Early Access i've experienced. While people not familiar with the genre of military shooters may see this as an unkempt mess, but it's actually a distillation of all the good parts of Arma/DayZ/Battle Royale games that came before it. Not a surprise considering the author.

2 Warframe: Plains of Eidelon

- This would've been on my list regardless of the brand new update. This is not the game that i originally played 4 years ago and completely trashed in my reviews of it. Digital Entertainment has continually added, updated, refined the game into something that is way deeper than it started as. Plains moved it into new territory adding an open world component.

3 Destiny 2

- While not as deep as most would like after spending so much time with it's predecessor it is a step in the right direction. It's also on the PC and smooth as hell and just feels right being there.

4 Divinity: Original Sin 2

- This is such a meaty RPG. There's still so much to do in the game and i look forward to spending more time in it.

5 Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire

- New expansion, new mounts, new Hero classes, new fun.

6 Elder Scrolls Online:Morrowind

- New expansion with a lot of feel good moments. The new campaign was a bit shorter than i would like, but it definitely was fun along with the new class.

7 Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands Ghost War

- Besides possibly winning the award for the longest name this is Wildland's new PVP mode. It's structured similar to RB6:Siege, but the environments are built in the lush Wildlands world of Peru.

8 For Honor

- This is such a polarizing game for me, but it's SLOWLY getting better and even at the base of it is an impressive and beautiful fighting game.

9 Call of Duty: WWII

- I know people here think of me of the eternal FPS fan boy, but i can't stress how much i disliked CoDs previous installment. It was such a disappointment. This one on the other hand fixes almost all of my issues with the previous one and it has a better campaign along with an enjoyable multiplayer plus a Zombie mode that scares the sh*t out of me at times.

10 Absolver

- Who knew that 2017 would be the year i gladly jumped into fighting games again. With its unique art style and ability to build your own fighting styles i figured it would catch on, but i guess their lackluster marketing campaign and the games need for a LOT of grinding kept it out of the spotlight.

Honorable Mentions:

Total War: Warhammer II - Skaven 'nuff said.
Rising Storm 2: Vietnam - Solid release by Red Orchestra and their usual eye to detail.
Fortnite Battle Royale - PUBG-lite actually fun with the building mechanic and a nice diversion waiting for netcode and hacker issues to be fixed in PUBG.
Star Wars Battlefront II - Despite the lootbox controversy it has a solid (albeit short) cannon single player story and the multiplayer is much improved over the last version.

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