GWJ Writers' Top Ten Picks of 2017

GWJ Writers' Top Ten Games of 2017


10. Bendy and the Ink Machine
Competition for my top 10th spot was fierce, but I had to go with The Meatly's quirky and charming take on the horror genre. An interesting story, and a fantastic art style, eke out a spot at number ten, just ahead of Hello Neighbor.

9. Super Mario Odyssey
It feels like a cop-out to add this to the list, but it really is the best 3D Mario game since Galaxy. I wholly approve of Nintendo’s new approach of rewarding exploration rather than punishing failure.

8. Battle Chef Brigade
Do you like Match-3 games? Do you like 2D side-scrolling combat? Do you like Iron Chef? Well, tuck in friend, because this is the game for you! This one virtually oozes the sort of wacky charm that makes video gaming such a great hobby.

7. Redeemer
A late addition to the release list for 2017, but a great game nonetheless. It's a more forgiving version of Hotline Miami with a good twist on the Batman combat that everyone pretends to be sick of. It’s not flashy, but it’s solidly excited and compelling enough to pull in at number seven on my list.

6. Destiny 2
Yeah, that's right. A multiplayer game made it into my top ten. Mainly because you don't have to play it like a multiplayer game. At least I finally got to see what all the fuss over Bungie shooters was all about without buying an Xbox. I also got to consume a surprisingly good story, to boot!

5. Agents of Mayhem
It still mystifies and perplexes me why this game wasn't a bigger hit. It has everything: decent comedy writing with callbacks to 1980's Saturday morning cartoons, fun action, a nice tech tree, and the most diverse cast of playable characters I've seen in a single-player game that didn't have a build-your-own-character menu. It's a great game and it deserved better than it got. This game won’t be on any other top ten lists for anything good, but it makes my top ten without breaking a sweat.

4. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition
The only thing that could make Bulletstorm better than it already was – aside from ditching GFWL – was adding Duke Nukem to the main story campaign with new dialogue by Jon St. John. I didn’t even care that the implementation was a little ... rough. Easy top-five pick.

3. Spintires: MudRunner
Have you ever played a game so amazing you didn’t think it could be topped? Have you ever played a sequel that was even better? That’s MudRunner. In any other year, it would be my number-one choice. As it stands, it pulls in at number three.

2. Farming Simulator 17 (Switch Edition)
Ok, so I'm cheating a bit on this one since I already chose the PC version as my number 2 last year. However, the Switch Edition of Farming Simulator 17 is exactly the version of Farming Simulator 17 I wanted. It does everything you can do in the PC version, but you can bring it with you anywhere and you can suspend the game in the middle of those timed jobs. It’s the best version of an already great game.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I never thought I'd get into a Zelda game, but darned if this one didn't suck me in. Saying it’s the best Zelda game I’ve ever played is meaningless, since I haven’t played any other Zelda games. It is, however, the best open-world game I’ve ever played, and that’s a genre I know a thing or two about. Breath of the Wild wins my nod for game of the year in a walk.

10. Stardew Valley
The medium matters. This list is going to be super Switch heavy and this game is a great demonstration why. I already owned Stardew Valley. It’s a concept that intrigues me yet it’s been sitting uninstalled in my Steam list for a year. But when it came on Switch? I bought it day-one and, as I was laying down all comfy in my bed, I turned on the system and was planting radishes within minutes. The Switch has allowed me to play this game as a sleeping aid and even though that was never what the game was sold as, that’s the only way I want to play it. It’s my game. Let me play it how I want.

9. Sonic Mania
I was a Nintendo kid, but Sonic’s Totally RADICAL Attitude™ drew me in enough to eventually get a Genesis too. When the 16-bit era passed, I never gave him a second thought outside of web comics I saw mocking the lows he reached later on. He was apparently a werewolf at one point? When Sonic Mania released I kept hearing one phrase: “Sonic is back!” That was enough for me to pick it up and once I played it, the game made me feel as if he had never left that old 16-bit era.

8. LA Noire
My wife's not a gamer, and gaming has never been a part of my life I really share with her. Then L.A. Noire game came into our life. We started watching some old noir films, and she started to like them and an idea struck me: She likes mysteries; she likes these old movies; maybe … maybe … . And it worked. For about four weeks I took the controller while she told me what to do. We drove around the city, found clues, and interrogated crooks. Honestly, everything “gamey” about this game was the least exciting part of the experience, but solving mysteries with my wife was a unique and enjoyable time I won’t soon forget. Any chance for Whore of the Orient?

7. Middle Earth: Shadow of War
It was fine.

That sounds mean, and I don’t intend it to be – it made the list, after all – but it was just … fine. I enjoyed killing orcs and I had one or two emergent storytelling experiences that were cool, but for the most part I’ve forgotten everything about this game. It was popcorn. I enjoyed eating it, but I don’t have any real strong emotions to the popcorn I ate months ago.

6. Stellaris
I’m sure it has tons of deeper strategy and complex systems that I could bury myself into if I ever played it at the harder difficulty levels, but I stuck with easy and quickly uninstalled it after I had won. Honestly? I was in it for the galaxy-conquering thing. I like conquering the galaxy. As this game let me conquer the galaxy, I can’t really complain about it.

5. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
Any ranking of Mario Kart games is usually just a ranking of what space in your life you were in when you played them. There is the one you played first, the one you played all the time with your buddy after classes, the one you bounced off of because you were swamped with work and it was hard to get friends over, and then the latest version. But let me throw one other in that line-up; the one you first played with your kids. My kids are now 5 and 7, and this is the first year we’ve actually been able to kinda-sorta play video games as a family. The Guidance Helper mode is fully on, and we give my youngest every advantage we can, but he still always comes dead last. But you know what? We are playing together. As a family. It’s pretty magical and I’m grateful for that memory.

4. Splatoon 2
I don’t like shooters, I don’t play shooters. I’m not interested in shooters. But let me tell you about this great game in which you are a shooter busy with shooting walls instead of shooting other shooters. You win the game by spreading ink on walls and floors and “killing” other players doesn’t actually help you very much. The goal is to cover as much surface as possible, so I’m constantly feeling like I’m accomplishing something even if I’m playing with people who are way way better than I am.

3. Friday the 13th
I never watched the films – I was always a Freddy man – but podcast after podcast mentioned this game and each made it sound so much fun that I wanted to give it a try. It was everything I never knew I wanted! This is the first online game in which I’ve actually talked to strangers, and the community has been super. Yes, there were some jerks, but there was also a guy who did a “Rick” voice for the entire time he was Jason, and there were others who gave me healing sprays when I was down, and a guy who escaped alone in the car in a total dick move but who felt really bad about it when we chatted in the lobby post-game. Plus, from the maps, to the music, to the vibe, this game captures the feel of its source material in a way that adaptations rarely do.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
You knew it was gonna be here. Those of you who have played it might even wonder if being second place is a bit of an insult for this game. It almost is. For the first time in a long time that Nintendo made me feel like a kid again. For the first time in forever, Nintendo made me excited to explore. The game play? The core of the experience? Every mechanic works within and against each other in a way that must have took more hours of play-testing than I can conceive. Being able to do all that on-the-go? To play it in my car on my lunch break? Amazing. Incredible. A system seller that could only be beat by …

1. Skyrim: Switch Edition
Honestly, I’m as surprised as you are.

“But, but … it’s such an old game!” Yeah, but it’s new to me! Skyrim came out when I had a Wii, an old PC lacking the horsepower to play it, and a 13-month old toddler who was getting into everything. I experienced Skyrim from afar and never actually heard an NPC say “take an arrow to the knee” until this month. I never crafted armor until this week. I never turned down being turned into a vampire (because it was against the character I was creating in my head) until today. If you have fond memories of Skyrim, those same experiences aren’t memories for me. They are fresh experiences that I am doing for the very first time now, today! I’m doing them on a subway, or before bed, or on a big-screen TV. I'm experiencing those things in five-, ten-, or sixty-minute bits and pieces wherever I can find them. I am exploring a world that is both breathtaking in its scope and exciting in its minutia. It was all I could do to (reluctantly) decide to spend free time writing this list instead of playing Skyrim. So, shoo! Go away! I need to play more Skyrim!

10. Doki Doki Literature Club!
So … that's a thing. I have an appreciation for the meta, and this game had it in spades. It's really hard to explain the ranking without spoiling the entire experience, but let's just say it's a unique take on games. I am really looking forward to seeing what the studio's next effort is, and more specifically how it ties into this.

9. Paper Mario: Color Splash
Long-winded as always, but still a very interesting take on the series that provided a lot of wrinkles and that same quirky, offbeat sense of humor that I love – but some find incredibly annoying. If you didn't like the scarcity mechanic of Sticker Star you'll hate this too, but there were so many facets of gameplay that it never felt like it was boring – even when backtracking a couple times to find that one stupid Toad I needed in order to complete a bridge!

8. Dirt Rally
I know, I know, I'm as surprised as you. Racing games aren't really my thing, and I had no idea Rally was even a sport (burn the heretic!). However, this was a highly enjoyable tutorial of all the incredible amount of physics that go into the insanity, plus a good primer for the upcoming icy season. Just don't judge me for never really moving beyond the starting engine power; that high-octane racing is for you young whippersnappers, what with your reflexes and quick thinking.

7. Hollow Knight
2017 was apparently the year I rediscovered Metroidvania-style platformers. This is a tight, fun, tactically-oriented romp of a 2D experience with gorgeous hand-drawn graphics with a muted color palette. Combat remained ever-interesting, though the platforming wasn't quite as varied as the next entry, which is why Hollow Knight was just barely edged out by...

6. Ori and the Blind Forest
Combat is not quite as enjoyable as Hollow Knight, but the platforming – kinda more my thing in these games – was tighter, and the graphics were oh so pretty. My kids really loved watching this as well, and that's worth something.

5. Stardew Valley
At 102 hours, this is surprisingly not my most-played game of this year. It falls slightly behind both #1 and #2 on my list. However, it was the most relaxing, and a really great experience all around. I finally quit at the end-game when I had a full wine cellar of ancient fruit wine, but the build up to that point and the sweet story with simple but deep mechanics surrounding everything kept me going for quite a long time.

4. Stephen's Sausage Roll
Just … wow. Someday I'll complete world 4, but my brain needed a break for a bit there! If you enjoy challenging puzzle games, this may be the best example yet. In a world where most puzzle games try to throw more and more mechanics at you in this huge open space, the sparseness and minimalism of Stephen's Sausage Roll makes its puzzles even more infuriatingly brilliant. A+++, would burn sausage again.

3. Super Mario Odyssey
I think most years this would be #1. Easily the most fun I've had platforming since Galaxy, and the levels and mechanics were about the freshest they've had since then as well. I look forward to slowly and surely finding as many moons as humanly possible. At least, once we "officially" own a Switch after the big Christmas reveal. A dad's gotta test it out, y'know.

2. Persona 5
Oh, it feels good to be back. With a much better and more accessible dungeon-crawling system, a more grounded(ish) story than Persona 4, and more of the crunchy school scheduling that we all love, this was a joy from start to finish. Points for literally being THE MOST STYLISH GAME EVARZZ!!!1!!, with every menu and cut-scene dripping with panache. They keep refining the system and mechanically this is the best game yet. I still can't quite rank it above Persona 3: FES, but it's the closest they've come.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I say this fully without hyperbole: I think this is the greatest video game ever created. I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said, or that I haven't already said myself in the forum. A true masterpiece in every sense of the word.

5. Horizon: Zero Dawn
If you can't play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Switch, this is your next best bet. One of those rare open-world games in which I found it actually fun to noodle around randomly, hunting a wide variety of mechanical beasts – each with their own patterns and weaknesses. That's not to say the main quest isn't an interesting new story. I might have ranked this higher, had I finished it yet.

4. Mass Effect: Andromeda
Maybe it's because I played this after a number of big patches, but I can't see why people are down on this game. The stakes of the plot are meaningful, if different, from the original trilogy. Otherwise, this planet-hopping space-opera ticks all the Mass Effect boxes while including vehicle exploration and more opportunities to craft your own stuff. What's not to love?

3. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
This expansequel renovates XCOM 2 so comprehensively that you feel the game's true potential shine through. Sure, with the new boss villains, gear and classes, your squad could be heinously over-leveled for the final mission, but I always enjoyed that as the vindicating point on my arc of struggle, in honour of those lost along the way.

War of the Chosen lifts XCOM 2 from 'I see what they were going for' to 'lock and load'.

2. Dishonored 2
I am so glad this steampunk stealth setting got another outing. It improves upon the original in every way: incredible levels, a more interesting spread of powers between stealth and violence and another host of curiously grotesque characters. The clockwork-house level alone is worth the admission fee.

1. Witcher 3
When a game lives up to its hype, you love it all the more. I bounced off the first two Witcher games. Here, CD Projekt Red finally devised a combat system interesting enough to keep me around for 120-plus hours to savour the rich world, fantastic quests, memorable characters and (kisses fingers) even the Gwent.

What can I say about this masterpiece that hasn't already been said? Games may not yet have their Citizen Kane, but with Witcher 3 , they have at least got something on par with Game of Thrones. An amazing RPG that is above average in every way, save perhaps for inventory management.

10. Akiba's Beat
I've never played a game so insistent in padding its time with back-and-forth fetch-quests and checkpoint hunting. Akiba's Beat seems to completely discard any smart design decisions in favor of preserving its jank. By all accounts, this is my most disappointing game of the year.

I couldn't leave it off my top ten, though. That story is just going to stick with me for a long time to come. Surprisingly lacking in typical Otaku fan-service and with a wide assortment of characters, Akiba's Beat challenges us to face our dreams and fantasies, to embrace all the ways in which they make us better, and to confront all the dangers they pose to our perceptions of the world and interactions with others. If I hate the faulty design choices made by the team at Acquire, it's only because I love the story so much.

9. Horizon: Zero Dawn
In any other year this game might have released in my top five. Unfortunately I simply find too much of this game obscures its best design decisions behind convoluted genre conventions. Abilities that should be available from the start of the game are locked behind arbitrary skill trees, encouraging the player to develop bad habits early on that will prevent deeper engagement during later hours. Elemental and other advantageous combat abilities are locked behind a variety of similar-but-different equipment, decreasing the likelihood that a player will experiment with all of the gear and options and instead find a "reliable" arsenal that prohibits them from digging deep into the meat of the combat system.

Which is a shame, as Horizon's combat is its strong-suit – usually, at least. The game also has a habit of forcing you into close-quarters combat with humans despite the melee combat only being sufficient as a stealth option. When you can sneak about a bandit camp, picking malevolent thugs off one-by-one, or set a series of traps to annihilate a herd of foes with minimal struggle, or freeze a foe into slow-moving submission in order to reveal their weakpoints, Horizon is on fire.

8. What Remains of Edith Finch
It takes quite a bit for a "walking simulator" – a term I use lovingly – to grab my attention. I am one of those jerks that prioritizes a game's mechanics over narrative, but I also appreciate a game whose narrative is only possible through the interaction a video game can provide. What Remains of Edith Finch tells a story filled with untimely demise, yet each vignette is not only a delightful little game experiment, but also a celebration of how each of these characters lived their lives.

While the fish cannery is the most ambitious – and honestly best – part of the game, it really is the package as a whole that makes it worth playing. In its own way it is a celebration of games as much as it is a celebration of life, and without inviting the player to take part in these narratives, its heart-warming message would not have been nearly so effective.

7. Splatoon 2
I'm a little disappointed in Splatoon 2. Both the campaign and debut horde-mode Salmon Run force the player to experiment with a variety of weapons, hoping to encourage diversity of play but instead encroaching upon enjoyment of the game. A single mission can take numerous attempts thanks to a weapon that is just awkward for the player, and an entire round of Salmon Run can be brought to an early close as the weakest link is just unable to wrap their head around the tool in their possession. This is nothing to say of the low tick-rate of the servers.

Despite these issues, however, Splatoon 2 is a delight to sit down and play. Missions are still enjoyable to return to – particularly with more preferable weapons – and Salmon Run is a phenomenal change from the endless splat-matches between Squid Kids. While I'm not about to let that atrocious tick rate off the hook, the multiplayer has made some significant changes to make the nature of competition a lot more fun for everyone. It's accessible, it's stylish, and even now Splatoon 2 manages to stay fresh.

6. Metroid: Samus Returns
Rejoice, friends, for a "real" Metroid game has landed upon the 3DS! Developed by MercurySteam, Samus Returns takes a fascinating approach to "accessibility" without sacrificing the challenge 2D fans of the franchise have been hungering for since Fusion cranked the heat up. No monologues try to add a sophomoric sense of depth to Samus, and objective markers are purely optional in-game.

Whether it's a great entry to the franchise is bound to be debated. The counter-attack ability is oddly empowering yet forces the player into a stop-and-go pace throughout half of the game, and in the latter half it's hardly a feature mechanic at all. Boss fights rely on old skool pattern recognition while retaining modern polish and animation that feel a Hell of a lot more smooth. It has its frustrating moments, but on the whole it's a damn fine game to return to for some speed-running.

5. SteamWorld Dig 2
Gotta be honest, though, Image & Form out-Metroided the Metroid. The one weakness to this game is the slow start, bringing the player back down to basics of digging and dugging while slowly gaining upgrades. As time progresses, though, the player's mobility becomes so incredible that it's hard to imagine playing a side-scroller without these abilities.

Best of all is the ability to sequence-break. Designing this game so that players are directed through a linear narrative while simultaneously allowing for sequence breaks and speed-runs was a contradictory and tricky challenge, yet Dig 2 does it all and more, with challenging environments, varied foes, and massive chambers to clamber about and dig deeper into. SteamWorld Dig 2 is easily one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had this year.

4. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
I've been following Hellblade since early in its development. Ninja Theory made it easy, after all, with their developer diary going through the process every step of the way. I saw them change Senua's appearance several times, saw their video editor go from temporary motion-capture stand-in to delivering phenomenal performances, watched as they showed the game to folks enduring the many forms of psychoses, and throughout the entire process I was nervous that this game would be a let-down.

Instead, it taught me some Norse mythology, told a captivating tale of a strong yet vulnerable warrior woman at odds against all systems – those of man and those of gods – and held a deceptively diverse combat system. It's a game worth returning to not just for a very arthouse narrative and excellent performance by Melina Juergens, but for the challenge of methodical, metal-clamoring battles into Hel.

3. Super Mario Odyssey
Cheap choice? Predictable? From here on, perhaps. Those without a care for Nintendo or Mario games are likely sick to death of hearing about Super Mario Odyssey, but there's a reason so many of us are deathly loyal to the digital toymaker and their videogame equivalent to Mickey Mouse.

Super Mario Odyssey is the only game this year to give me the same euphoric sense of joy that the Super Nintendo gave me as a kid. It brought me back to a stage of pure enjoyment, before I was old, jaded, and pretentious enough to label my over-thinking as "analytical criticism." My brain was never "shut off", I was thoroughly engaged, but I stopped thinking about whether the game was good or not. Instead, I experimented with flicking my hat at things, saw the variety of responses and options unfold before me, and smiled.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Super Mario Odyssey maybe be a delightful toybox, but Breath of the Wild turns Hyrule into a world unlike any I've ever been in. The soft, minimalist soundtrack conveys a serene post-apocalypse, one where the lilting notes of piano suggest a soft breeze rustling through blades of grass and petals of flowers, only to deepen into the dangerous depths of looming beasts.

Anywhere I wish to go, I can go. Anything I uncover promises a reward of some sort. A weakened weapon becomes a deadly projectile as I hurriedly consider which blade to swap to. Shrines tease my brain in ways only Portal and Catherine have managed – though with far less frustrating adrenaline than the latter. There have been a lot of video game worlds out there, but Hyrule is the first one I've truly wanted to go back and simply be in. Every element of the world – from how metal conducts electricity to how wind manipulates the direction of fire and sails – sufficiently adheres to a common logic that shows how Nintendo's approach differs from their competition. They didn't build a world to be littered with icons; they created a world to simply exist. Simply wandering in it calls to a sense of adventure beckoning back to my childhood watching the Rankin & Bass The Hobbit and Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings animations. I love this game.

1. Nier Automata
Surprising no one, the only thing that could surpass a game I simply loved to be in is a game that continues to drive reflection. Video games have been improving in their narratives, but so many are lacking the unseen depths of what director Yoko Taro brings to the fore. At its core, Nier Automata is about our reason to live – as a species and as individuals. Perhaps more specifically, it asks us why we fight to survive. Why even bother risking our lives? Very simple – very stereotypical – reasons are provided at first, but as the game progresses every character will discover and reveal new truths of others, themselves, and their perceptions of the world in order to discover an answer.

Of course, this is a game after all, and while Nier Automata doesn't have the greatest combat system I've experienced in a game, it has a variety of creative modifications and customizations and just enough enemy variants to challenge my timing at dodge and heavy strikes, and it breaks it all up with some twin-stick shooter action. While lacking the variety of genres of its predecessor, Nier Automata was never boring for me to play ;ndash; not that it mattered, as the narrative kept me curious, guessing, and even stunned right up until its conclusion. There's no attempt at a critically self-aware meta-narrative here, to have something pompous to say about the violence and inherent dissonance of video games specifically. Even so, by the end of the game you discover that Yoko Taro uses the medium to communicate his narrative themes and deliver them in a fashion that few others can manage. I will return to this game repeatedly. I will re-witness these characters go through extreme pains. I will interpret their actions through a new lens. I will discover the hurts hidden behind those blindfolds. Most of all, I will be there to fight back the welling tears at the game's supremely optimistic conclusion.

You can listen to the Conference Call Crew discuss their picks in part one and part two of their podcast discussion.


Allen "Pyroman[FO]" Cook

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
2. Super Mario Odyssey
3. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
4. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
5. Night in the Woods
6. Endless Space 2
7. Superhot VR
8. StarCraft Remastered
9. Solitairica
10. Doki Doki Literature Club!

Amanda "Amoebic" Knowlton

1. Tacoma
2. Night in the Woods
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
4. Reigns: Her Majesty
5. What Remains of Edith Finch
6. Dream Daddy
7. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
8. Perception
9. Miracle Merchant
10. Splatoon 2

Cory "Demiurge" Banks

1. Super Mario Odyssey
2. Metroid: Samus Returns
3. Prey
4. Horizon: Zero Dawn
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
6. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
7. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
8. Destiny 2
9. Friday the 13th: The Game
10. Ballz

Julian "Rabbit" Murdock

1. Horizon Zero Dawn
2. Prey
3. Assassin's Creed: Origins
4. Gorogoa (iOS)
5. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
6. Superhot VR
7. Splatoon 2
8. Farpoint
9. Through The Ages (iOS)
10. Forza 7

Sean "Elysium" Sands

1. Prey
2. Divinity: Original Sin 2
3. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
4. Path of Exile: Fall of Oriath
5. Ultimate General: Civil War
6. Assassin's Creed: Origins
7. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
8. Endless Space II
9. Sniper Elite 4
10. Torment: Tides of Numenera

Shawn "Certis" Andrich

1. Horizon: Zero Dawn
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
3. Divinity: Original Sin 2
4. Assassin's Creed: Origins
5. The Last Guardian
6. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
7. Super Mario Odyssey
8. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
9. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
10. Persona 5


But Andy, did you play Witcher 3?

Nope. At least, not enough to form an opinion. I think I made it to the first village and got distracted by life. Maybe next year?

Minarchist wrote:

Nope. At least, not enough to form an opinion. I think I made it to the first village and got distracted by life. Maybe next year?

I bought it last night. I look forward to us being 2 years behind on our lists for 2018.

My friend has been trying to get me to play Witcher 3 so I'll probably be giving it a try sometime in 2018 myself.

Theoretically, it shall be the eternal game of every year.

I really enjoyed this two part episode. Can these votes get counted in the overall GWJ game of the year awards?

LeapingGnome wrote:

I really enjoyed this two part episode. Can these votes get counted in the overall GWJ game of the year awards?

If the writers and casters post them in the community thread, yes.

JR Ralls wrote:

8. LA Noire [....]
Honestly, everything “gamey” about this game was the least exciting part of the experience, but solving mysteries with my wife was a unique and enjoyable time I won’t soon forget

This rings so true to me. I actually just finished the PC version of LA Noire last night (or early morning... binged through the last 4 cases and severely delayed my sleep). Much of the mechanics in this game had me really frustrated, and I found myself mumbling "this is so stupid" quite often. I'm extremely grateful for the "skip action" implementation, and have used it more times than I'd like to admit. That being said, I think the story was intriguing and engaging, and having a peak into 1940s detective lives is a really memorable experience.

I think the real shame of L.A. Noire is it launched just before Telltale's Walking Dead hit the scene, and while they were bringing back adventure games before then (not to mention David Cage with Farenheit and Heavy Rain releasing before then), it was The Walking Dead that sent a shockwave through the industry and really clued more people in to making narrative adventures. Because of Heavy Rain and The Walking Dead, we have Until Dawn. We also have Life is Strange. Just this year came Planet of the Apes: The Last Frontier.

L.A. Noire was developed in an era where I think a game about just investigation with minimal traditional gameplay would have been scoffed at. So effectively it becomes half an engaging game about being a cop and half a really sh*tty GTA clone.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

I really enjoyed this two part episode. Can these votes get counted in the overall GWJ game of the year awards?

If the writers and casters post them in the community thread, yes.

Aww don’t be that way Clocky!

LeapingGnome wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

I really enjoyed this two part episode. Can these votes get counted in the overall GWJ game of the year awards?

If the writers and casters post them in the community thread, yes.

Aww don’t be that way Clocky!

Not my call. Although I 100% agree with Eleima on this one and had the same policy. Adding in these lists and the Conference Call lists is a significant amount of extra work added to an already time-consuming volunteer project.

Besides, Chris, Greg, and JR already posted their lists in the community thread, and I think Certis did, too. They're being included if they want to be.

Hmm...Friday the 13th appears to be the outlier for my pics. I’m a little surprised it didn’t make anyone else’s list.

GWJ is in serious need of another editor who loves AAA mainstream games. I say this selfishly, because these lists are mostly from a different planet than the one I live on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there is so much variety and that so many games ignored elsewhere get love here. I would rather see more takes on games I love from my favorite writers on my favorite site.

Fist bump to Greg for Agents Of Mayhem. That game has so much awesome, but nobody played it. Maybe it was timing. I didn’t get to play it for long enough because something else distracted me. Makes me sad it didn’t sell well, though.

Loved reading through these. It was a good year with many games I need (and want) to get to. Glad to see Breath of the Wild receive such high praise. I loved it, too.

Love these lists and the podcast, Amoebics take on Night in the Woods made me add it immediately to the pile. I wish I loved the Switch as much as everyone else. Just could not get in to Zelda and while it’s great for portable play, I don’t really need a portable gaming system very often. I know many are saying that it is a superior experience to the other consoles even when docked but playing Doom on that system vs my Xbox One X - I dunno, I still like the better graphics and frame rate.

So glad to see Horizon getting love, though, that game is amazing and is a console system seller.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

I really enjoyed this two part episode. Can these votes get counted in the overall GWJ game of the year awards?

If the writers and casters post them in the community thread, yes.

Aww don’t be that way Clocky!

Not my call. Although I 100% agree with Eleima on this one and had the same policy. Adding in these lists and the Conference Call lists is a significant amount of extra work added to an already time-consuming volunteer project.

Once again, Clocky is the voice of reason. Although I'm tempted to factor in Felix's list. For reasons.

I must say, with the part 2 of the CC, I was a bit worried there'd be a love in with Night in the Woods due to the relationships with the game creators. But, I was so glad to hear Certis outright state this potential bias, and in turn for people to say that it just didn't really click with them (Certis as well?)

I said in my honourable mentions that the game didn't click with me. I Kickstarted the game, and love the art, but I feel that it hit harder for those who had really felt the financial crisis in small-town America. Being from the UK, the whole game didn't resonate as much with me. I was glad to hear it talked about, as I enjoyed the direction and following the game through its development. From listening to Amanda, it's easy to hear why she enjoyed it, but I just couldn't get it.

Also, on L.A. Noire, I've been watching a lot of the VR playthroughs on YouTube. If this game game out as VR originally, I wonder how much it'd be hailed as a masterpiece. I enjoyed the game originally, I thought it was nice to play something original, it seemed to get a bit of criticism for an "empty open world", although I feel too many open worlds now just put filler in the game.

4. Stephen's Sausage Roll
Just … wow. Someday I'll complete world 4, but my brain needed a break for a bit there! If you enjoy challenging puzzle games, this may be the best example yet. In a world where most puzzle games try to throw more and more mechanics at you in this huge open space, the sparseness and minimalism of Stephen's Sausage Roll makes its puzzles even more infuriatingly brilliant. A+++, would burn sausage again.

I periodically pick up Stephen's Sausage Roll and try to understand it well enough to solve one more level. At my current rate of completion I'll finish sometime around 2117.