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[Question] The Gamingforce Game of the Year 2017: Super Deluxe Gold Voting Edition w/ loot boxes
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OmagnusPrime
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Old Dec 28, 2017, 11:29 AM Local time: Dec 28, 2017, 04:29 PM 5 #1 of 9
The Gamingforce Game of the Year 2017: Super Deluxe Gold Voting Edition w/ loot boxes

2017 has been a pretty mixed bag, to put it generously. It's odd because when you look at media, particularly gaming, it's been a pretty amazing year overall, but then everything else has been a giant dumpster fire and then some. Who thought we'd be fighting Nazis in real life as well as games?

Anyhoo, the drawing of a close to 2017 means that once again it's time for the Gamingforce Game of the Year to make its appearance! This might be quite a tricky year as I can't help but feel there's been a really high amount of quality games coming out and I know I'm going to struggle personally wittling that down to just a couple of games. And as ever this is the arena of combat and popular choice in which the game of 2017 will do battle to become our Gamingforce Game of the Year.

But things are going to be a little different this year so please pay attention to the details below!

Firstly we're going to try and see what kind of mayhem ensues when we open up voting on Facebook as well as the GFF thread. In order to try and keep things straight there's some changes to the rules: if you post your votes on Facebook please put your GFF username at the top of your entry. Also if you try to vote twice I'll take your GFF votes and halve the points. So don't do that. This is a bit of a test run and the preference will be for people to vote on the GFF thread, but we'll see how this goes.

Secondly I'm going to ask you to add in 3 predictions for the coming year. This will just be a for fun thing that you could choose to ignore if you want, but if you do throw down a couple of thoughts for 2018 then next year as part of the results I plan to do a look back and see how we fared with our predictions.

Other than that it's business as usual as per the previous years' voting, so it'll work like this: each person has 100 points to vote for games released in 2017 (doesn't matter where, but games have to have been commercially released in 2017) and you can allocate them to as many games as you like as long as it totals 100 in the end. The only rule is that you can't award any single game more than 40 points. So you could vote two 40s and a 20, or a 40 and six 10s, or any other combination of points as long as it adds up to 100.

To vote all you have to do is post a reply with your top games of 2017, how many points you're giving each, and a brief explanation of why you feel the game deserves your points.

Example:

<If on Facebook: [b]GFF username[b]>

GAME A - 40 points
Man I loved game A because...

GAME B - 20 points
I ended up playing so much of game B that...

GAME C - 15 points
Game C gets some points because...

GAME D - 15 points
I couldn't decide between this and C, so gave both points, but D rocks because...

GAME E - 5 points
Good, but not necessarily great, but I figure E deserves some points because...

GAME F - 5 points
Like E, F gets a few points because...

Predictions:
1. That...

2. I reckon...

3. Maybe...

--------

Voting will close on Saturday 20th January at 18:00 GMT (that's Englandland time), at which point I'll add all the points together and work out GFF's top games of 2017, posting the results in a new thread for discussion/people to complain about.

So, go on, get voting.

Oh, and get other people to come vote and take part too.

Disclaimer/Rules:
1. If you allocate any game more than 40 points your vote won't be counted.
2. If your points allocation totals more than 100 points your vote won't be counted (totals less than 100 are fine).
3. Votes for games not released in 2017 will be ignored.
4. Only official commercial releases in 2017 count.
4a. No 'Early Access', 'Alpha', 'Beta' or other pre-release titles will be counted.
5. No negative points. I'll point and laugh and then ignore your vote.
6. Whole integers only. Fractions and decimal places will also lead me to ignore your vote.
7. Votes on Facebook must start with your GFF username.
8. Only vote on GFF or Facebook; double votes will incur a halving penalty on the GFF votes.
9. Any other such idiocy will also probably lead your vote not being counted.

And as ever, I take no responsibility for Skills fucking with stuff, which if you ignore these points he almost certainly will do somehow.


Jam it back in, in the dark.
Clamjouster
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Old Dec 28, 2017, 12:02 PM Local time: Dec 28, 2017, 01:02 PM 2 #2 of 9
Cuphead 30 points

The sheer amount of effort and polish in this game is crazy, hard to choose one game for this year but I think this is it for me. Love the music so much I am even learning some of it.

Nier automata 20 points

I love action games and this basically was perfect, making the system from metal gear rising even better, it is just fun .

Dragon Quest XI 10 points

This game is riding on nostalgia hard, but I think it stands on its own as a great RPG, one big flaw is that some of the mechanics just make the player suffer for no reason like the quest that demands that you get a jack pot on the casino, not a high amount of chips or anything you gotta hit the jackpot of jackpots. Which can be quite frustrating.

Horizon Zero Dawn 10 points

Have not finished it yet, but I am blown away by the setting and graphics.

Persona 5 10 points

super stylish jrpg that whill surprise you more often than not.

Xcom 2: War of the chosen 10 points

This is an expansion that made an already great game even better, fixing most of the issues the players had and adding new twists that keep things fun. It could have been something that wasn't zombies, but I am not too bothered by it.

Nioh 10 points

These days we have the bad habit of calling every game "dark souls" but this took that formula and put an original twist on it which made for a very challenging, but fair experience.

my predictions for next year:

red dead redemption 2: I just hope it doesn't get milked as much as GTAV
spiderman : they just need to get the swinging right(psst just do it like the spiderman 2 game on PS2 the one with the pizza delivery minigame)

honorable mentions:

yakuza 0 and kiwami, tekken 7, gundam, guilty gear.

How ya doing, buddy?
map car man words telling me to do things
find animals!


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Old Dec 31, 2017, 05:50 PM Local time: Jan 1, 2018, 12:50 AM 2 #3 of 9
Cross-posting from my gurnal

Honorable mentions:



RiME
[Best almost ICO but not really] [Best Little Hogs]



7/10




Cuphead
[Prettiest Game] [Best Graphics] [Best Animation] [Best Colour Bleed]

7/10




ECHO
[Best Scifi] [Best Setting]

7/10




Trackless
[Best Zork-like]

7/10




A Hat in Time
[Best Hats]

7/10




Tiny Echo
[Cutest Game] [Most Peaceful] [Most Envelopes]

7/10




Hob
[Best Terrain Raising] [Best Forest Sprite Creatures]

7/10




THE QWARKY TOP 11 BEST GAMES OF 2017 (points in the top 6)



11.



Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
[Best Sound] [Cringiest End Credits Song] [The More Satisfying on Hard Award]

It's kind of like a walking simulator with occasional moments of combat and puzzles. What is important about it for me is an indie developer showing they can get a high quality, high production value title like this done in this day and age, and find an audience. And it's a solid experience too.

7/10



10.



Ruiner
[Best Cyberpunk World] [Best Helmet] [Best Atmosphere] [Best Music] [Best Use of Susumu Hirasawa]

Really cool setting, really cool look, stunningly good soundtrack. The action is a bit too hectic and punishing so I had to drop it down from Hard to Normal, but all in all a really enjoyable and memorable action game. I'd love to see them do more in this world.

YouTube Video

8/10



9.



Memoranda
[Best Name Searching] [Best Disguised Elephant] [Best Talking Moose Head]

A lovely little point & click adventure with wonderful atmosphere and storytelling.

8/10



8.



Nex Machina
[Most Twin Stick] [Best Ari Pulkkinen Soundtrack] [Best Viewpoint Switching and Zooming] [Most Secret Humans]

Housemarque made their best game and probably the best twin stick shooter. Probably.

9/10



7.



Thimbleweed Park
[Best-a-who] [Best Sprites] [Most Maniac Mansion] [Best Annoying In-Jokes Toggle Option]

Ron Gilbert does NOT know how to end his games in a satisfying manner. But aside from that, this is a clever, funny, well written point & click adventure with tons of delightful little details and gags.

8/10



6.



Snake Pass - 10 points
[Cutest Game] [Most Colourful] [Best Snake] [Best Noodle] [Best Stream Game] [Best Music] [Best Murderous Hummingbird]

A delightful 3D exploration game, where the actual act of navigating the environments IS the gameplay hook and main draw. I had a blast streaming most of this game, it's bright and colourful, has a wonderful soundtrack from David Wise, and has that rare brand of slapstick that comes from gameplay instead of visual gags.

YouTube Video

8/10



5.



Mr. Shifty - 10 points
[Best Thief] [Best Teleporting] [Best Punching] [Best Broom Use]

Was totally surprised by this game and its central gameplay hook of dodging and punching. A superb little action game, with fun levels and tight controls. I want to see a sequel really bad.

8/10



4.



Battlerite - 20 points
[Best Multiplayer] [Best Arena Brawling] [Best Music] [Best Blossom] [Best Lucie] [Best Poloma] [Best Oldur] [Best Freya] [Best Winter Event Skins] [Best Prehistoric Event Skins]

I don't like competitive multiplayer. I've got 150 hours in this game. It's freaking great. The characters are all fun to play and well designed, the matches go by fast so even losing doesn't feel terrible, and the combat is hectic and tactical and so much fun you just lose hours and can always get better. Poloma is A++







YouTube Video

9/10



3.



Hollow Knight - 20 points
[Best Bugs] [Best Painted Backgrounds] [Best Atmosphere] [Best Tragedy] [Best Incidental Details] [Best Music] [Best 100% Experience]

It's dark, it's sad, it's beautiful, it's fun and intense and magical and heartbreaking. Fucking play it already, it's amazing. I put 44 hours into it to 100%. Trial of Fools is a bitch. My hands hurt for days afterwards from gripping the controller so hard.

YouTube Video

9/10



2.



NieR: Automata - 20 points
[Best Androids] [Best Existential Agony] [Best Music] [Best Platinum Game of the Year] [Best Story] [Best Endings] [Best Hidden Endings] [Most Swords] [Best Pod] [Best Fishing] [Best Hacking] [Best 2B] [Best End Credits] [Best Final Final Ending]

The only knock against the game is how you kind of have to persevere with it to see the whole thing, it doesn't NATURALLY engage you to continue playing. But once you get over that hump, good god. Get all the endings. Cry over androids. It's Yoko Taro's most hopeful game but it's still incredibly cruel and dark and overwhelmingly sad. It's smart, it's brave, it's surprising and deeply touching. An amazing experience, an unbelievable soundtrack, well worth 50 hours. You'll get more out of it if you play through the original NieR first (all four endings)

YouTube Video

9/10



1.







Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 20 points
[Game of the Year] [Best Link] [Best Zelda] [Best Side Characters] [Best Emergent Narratives] [Best Open World] [Best Climbing] [Best Exploration] [Best Atmosphere] [Best Music] [Best Sunsets] [Best Sunrises] [Most Grass] [Best Bears] [Best Fields] [Best King of the Mountain] [Best Sidequests] [Best Koroks] [Best Desert] [Best Lynels] [Best Hanggliding] [Best Horses] [Best Scientists] [Most Fruit] [Most Swords]

A remarkable achievement and a remarkable adventure. Nintendo succesfully takes bits and pieces of modern open-world game design and perfectly integrates them with their own design philosophy and ideas, into a wonderful Legend of Zelda experience that moves the series forward, while totally nailing what the first game did so well. The final ending is maybe a little anticlimactic because of all the things you do before it, but it remains essential gaming and I wouldn't have sunk over 90 hours into it if I hadn't loved it so much.

YouTube Video

9/10

This thing is sticky, and I don't like it. I don't appreciate it.


Last edited by map car man words telling me to do things; Jan 1, 2018 at 05:06 AM.
Final Fantasy Phoneteen
what


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Old Jan 3, 2018, 06:46 PM Local time: Jan 3, 2018, 03:46 PM 1 #4 of 9

Monster Hunter Stories - 40 points
A little bit of Pokemon catching and element exploiting, a bit of Shin Megami Tensei monster fusing, some rock-paper-scissors and a boatload of main series references made this my favorite new IP in the role-playing genre in years. Easily my favorite RPG in general this year. Memorable characters, fun and funny animations and special moves that give every monster some personality, and ON POINT difficulty balancing. I did a shitton of level grinding and many of the game's bosses still pushed me to the brink if I made one or two bad moves. Boatload of endgame content that I'm still working my way through, and obligatory crossover DLC like Zelda armor, playable Epona battle partner, etc.

If you're a fan of the main series or want to see a different take on monster catching, it's a wonderful surprise.



I'll continue to add to this if I get around to checking what else I beat that was new this year.

I am a dolphin, do you want me on your body?

Last edited by Final Fantasy Phoneteen; Jan 3, 2018 at 06:49 PM.
SuperSonic
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Old Jan 6, 2018, 11:00 PM 3 #5 of 9


Splatoon 2 - 5 points

The single player campaign is pretty good with Squid Sister Marie being your guide, some of the new music is alright, the addition of Salmon Run is very welcome. Marina is cool.

Overall though, I wish they'd just port the first game over to Switch. Multiplayer isn't as fun where they've nerfed my roller, there should be an option to select what music you want to play including the old stuff (hey, it's in the ddr game), and good lord I can't stand Pearl. I miss the old Splatfests, which if you scan a Marie or Callie amiibo should allow you to do this.

Still, not a bad sequel. I just suck on this one compared to the predecessor where I could compete with Level 50 Japanese players.










Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 20 points

By far the longest Zelda game I've ever experienced which previously was Skyward Sword but this beats Skyward by miles. Very beautiful game and a decent addition to the Zelda series. It's an interesting twist taking away the formula of going to temples, acquiring a special item, and defeating boss with said item with instead just freeroaming and eventually building up an arsenal but with procurement on your own end.

It's a shame that most of the music just didn't connect with me (Zora's Domain and two of the ancient enemy battle music were the only ones that currently come to mind). On top of that, it would've been nice if instead of using a sound beacon to find the 100+ shrines and the gazillion seeds they would've marked them on your map when you went to the lookout towers and connected your slate (a la Assassin's Creed).

Still, it was a worthwhile adventure in the end. Also, Link/Mipha.











Super Mario Odyssey - 35 points

The best Switch exclusive. This game is just all sorts of fun and pretty to look at. There are a lot of collectibles, the music is great to listen to, and there are A LOT of moons to collect. If I had one gripe with this game, it's actually that there are too many moons to collect. I can honestly say I did collect all of the individual ones without the help of the internet. I used my amiibo for assistance and traded information with my g/f. That also really made the game quite enjoyable.

What also makes this game really fun is instead of power ups, Mario has the ability to use his new friend Cappy to take over the bodies of just about any enemy in the game. You can even become steal a T-Rex's body. You can play as T-Rex with a Mario cap and destroy just about everything in your path!

Oh and there are costumes you can collect to play as for Mario as well. Some of these fit the theme for some of the lands you visit while others are borrowed from characters in the Mario series.

The Mario series continues to be insanely enjoyable. I really don't know how Nintendo continues to do it.












Sonic Mania - 40 points - GAME OF THE YEAR

HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGH!!

I could leave it at that, but this game brought me on the verge of tears with how fun and great it is. It hits all the nostalgia spots but also gives some new interesting twists to some old levels while introducing new ones.

How so? Okay, I won't spoil you but go play this game and get to Chemical Plant Zone Act 2's boss. It's a throwback to something back on the Genesis/MegaDrive and was hilariously unbelivable. That is just ONE of the points of awesomeness in this game. The team that worked on this game not only knew their stuff but put so much tender loving care into it.

The special stages from Sonic 3 and Knuckles make a comeback, but they're not the special stages for the emeralds. Instead, completing them unlocks things in the extras menu. The special stage for the emeralds feels kind of like Sonic CD, but instead of destroying 6 UFO's you're chasing 1 UFO to destroy it to obtain the emerald.

There are a lot of old stages in this game but they also have new twists to them (usually in Act 2). They introduce some new stages as well. The stage choices...I can't complain about, it's an unexpectedly great selection.

The music is godlike. I repeat: THE MUSIC IS GODLIKE. Best Soundtrack 2017 (Mario Odyssey's is pretty close).

After beating the game, they give you some new options to replay the game (instead of using the new drop dash, you can use some of Sonic's special moves from older games).

I would almost go so far as to say this is the best 2D Sonic game...okay, maybe Sonic CD might still have that honor but this one is definitely close.

GOTFY...GAME OF THE F***ING YEAR!!








Predictions

1. Super Mario Maker and Smash 4 will be ported to the Switch by the end of 2018.
2. The Playstation 5 will be announced and FF7: Remake Episode 1 will be a launch title.
3. Splatoon 2 will unlock a subway/train which will take you to Inkopolis Plaza from Splatoon 1 where you can get your stage news and Splatfest dance from Callie and Marie provided you've beaten Single Player. It will also allow you to play through the stages with the old music. Finally, they'll fix the roller to what it was in Splatoon 1. This will allow you to experience everything great about the first Splatoon without having to purchase it as a port on Switch...or they'll just port the 1st game to Switch which I'd be happy with as well.

Most amazing jew boots

Last edited by SuperSonic; Yesterday at 12:56 PM.
Jurassic Park Chocolate Raptor
Reactor online.
Sensors online.
Weapons online.
All systems nominal.



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Old Jan 14, 2018, 11:26 PM Local time: Jan 14, 2018, 10:26 PM 4 #6 of 9
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (30 points)

YouTube Video

Has a few technical issues, and the gatcha system isn't the best, but what a wonderful world to explore, with a great soundtrack, and interesting characters. Not done in yet but enjoying everything I've done so far in it a lot. Like a lot of switch games, works really well on this platform. Good tunes too.

Super Mario Odyssey (30 points)



This game is very happy. THE HAPPIEST. Have you seen Bowser's hair? Hair of the year.

Breath of the Wild (40 points)



I think this gets my most points not because it's so amazing, detailed and adventurous (which it is), but because the time I spent figuring out what to do while playing alongside my best friends (that's you guys) in spring of last year. Experiencing a game like this WITH my friends, alongside them, discovering as they did, and having the game support our myriad of play-styles as it did was the video gaming moment of the year. It gave us a canvas, and we had a hell of a time painting on it. That's what makes it the best.

-------

Predictions:

- Nintendo paid online service: Comes with a Virtual Console subscription of some sort.
- Both Ace Combat 7 and Metroid Prime 4 go to 2019 and I get salty about it.
- Victor Ireland loses the last of his god damn mind and actually releases the PSP version of Class of Heroes 3. In 2018. He subsequently buys up all UMD production facilities from the defunct factories with the 22 dollars he made in profit from this two year venture and then makes Class of Heroes 4 in RPGMaker. After it does poorly on Steam, with many reviews wondering why Bill Clinton jokes are still present, he blames the current political landscape and cancels the super-hyper-limited UMD version of that. He then sells more signed copies of his old stuff on eBay.

What kind of toxic man-thing is happening now?

Last edited by Jurassic Park Chocolate Raptor; Jan 14, 2018 at 11:45 PM.
OmagnusPrime
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Old Yesterday, 11:31 AM Local time: Jan 15, 2018, 04:31 PM 1 #7 of 9
Horizon: Zero Dawn - 5 Points
Man Horizon is an great game. It's an incredible open world game with a really cool bow and arrow (and mechanics/tools to go alongside that) and with robo-dinos. It also has an incredibly story which I did not expect to find myself saying or thinking, but it does. I actually found myself so getting into the lore I became excited to find audio logs and records as I explored. The combat is an awful lot of fun and the game is ridiculously gorgeous (especially the 4K HDR mode). Unfortunately for Horizon another open world game launched at a similar time.

Persona 5 - 5 Points
My second favourite JRPG featuring my second favourite cast of characters for the year. Good lord is this game stylish. It was worth experiencing for the way the game looks and hangs together, but fortunately it's also a real solid Persona game with some neat little twists on combat mechanics. Having the main dungeons be fixed designed dungeons was also a nice feature, and the story was as solid as you'd expect. However, much like Horizon another game came along and impressed me more.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 30 Points
What's left to say about this game really? What an astounding achievement, an open world that very quick opens up and says "Have it, go wherever you want and do what you want". Just prodding and pushing at the world, the enemies, the systems discovering what works or doesn't. The sheer number of times you'd have a "Wait, will this work? Oh shit it does!" moment is just amazing. The devs put a lot of love into this game and it shows. I know some people have issues with how the story was handled, but I actually rather liked it and enjoyed all characters and piecing together what happened 100 years ago from the various memory flashes.

Super Mario Odyssey - 30 Points
YouTube Video
So much damn fun. I completely adore this game and enjoyed it so much I couldn't help by go for 999 moons just to have the excuse to keep playing. Also that song.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - 30 Points
Well this was somewhat unexpected, as much as I was looking forward to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 I did not expect it to end up joining the ranks of Breath of the Wild and Odyssey, and I certainly wasn't expecting it to become my favourite experience. But man, what a game. So yeah, it has some weird designs going on that much is certainly true, but the cast of characters are so well done that I absolutely fell in love with this rag-tag group and found myself feeling a little lost when I finished the game. I so enjoyed spending time with these characters and their adventures. And plus the game is pure Xenoblade class with a fantastic combat system (that has a lot going on, but in a really fun way), the excellent world designs and amazing music. If you've at all enjoyed either of the previous Xenoblade games I strongly urge you to give this a look. Ignore the whacky designs and go with it, you'll be hansomely rewarded for your time.

--------

Predictions:
- Nintendo will announce at E3 that Metroid Prime 4 is delayed into 2019, but will appease fans by announcing a Metroid Prime trilogy release on Switch coming late 2018.
- Anthem will have at least 6 different editions announced for purchase on release, including a special edition that will be over $300.
- This year the following games will be announced (though not necessarily released) for the Switch: a new Animal Crossing, a new Mario Party, Smash Bros. 5, a new Donkey Kong Country game, a new Zelda game and a new game based on the F-Zero license!

How ya doing, buddy?
Tails
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Old Yesterday, 12:19 PM 3 #8 of 9
Splatoon 2 - 15 points

https://twitter.com/TheRoflfox/statu...29274234339328

Mario Odyssey - 15 points

Odyssey is great, and pretty much everything we could have ever wanted from a game that follows in the footsteps of SM64. Too bad the best part in the game doesn't happen until after you finish the main story and go on top of Peach's Castle.

Sonic Mania - 15 points

So good Sonic Team really should just consider handing the rights to the IP over to Christian Whitehead and co. I'm just looking for more excuses to run around as classic Tails, really. Also

YouTube Video

A Hat In Time - 10 points

Gears for Breakfast did a fantastic job with their little platformer. Unfortunate timing in that it released the same year as Odyssey and probably got overshadowed a bit in that regard, but it's full of charm and has an amazing soundtrack to boot. I cannot recommend this game enough.



Touhou Double Focus - 10 points

YouTube Video

The only Metroidvania game I've enjoyed in a very long time.

Golf Story - 10 Points

I never thought I'd say anything close to "Wow this RPG about Golf is amazing" but here we are. Golf Story is just flat out fun. The multiplayer (offline only, sadly) is pretty damn hype too.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - 10 Points

Rabbid Peach somehow making me eat my words about hating all Rabbids. Coincidentally, it's the only one that gets any screentime in game because the devs knew it was the only one that was funny.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap - 10 Points

Wonderfully executed remake of an old classic.

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King - 5

I might not play Zelda games, but I sure do love games that are basically Zelda games.

2018 Predictions:

The new Yoshi game will come out and I'll lose my mind over it

What, you don't want my bikini-clad body?

#654: Braixen

Last edited by Tails; Yesterday at 12:24 PM.
Franky Mikey
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Old Yesterday, 06:59 PM Local time: Jan 16, 2018, 12:59 AM 2 #9 of 9
Unfortunately, some degree of peer pressure helped me get far to deep into a certain 2016 game pretty early in 2017, and I haven't enjoyed nearly as many new releases as I thought I would. Still, as per tradition, here are my picks for this edition.

Bayonetta - 10 points



To most of you, I'd assume Bayonetta is an established classic. As for me, the 2017 Steam version was the first chance I got to experience what the fuss was all about. Suffice to say I had a blast, and other publishers could learn from the quality of this port.


Endless Space 2 - 20 points



Without being a huge 4x fanatic, I had had a jolly good time with the first Endless Space game as well as Endless Legend. Would Amplitude Studios manage to make the most of Sega's patronage to up their game and deliver a worthy sequel that would reach beyond their niche fanbase? The answer is yes... if you gave them time. Sadly enough, ES2 was rushed out of early access in a questionable state, and it wasn't until around summertime that fixes and patches finally gave it the last bit of polish it needed. Devs have been pumping in adjustments and (free) new content ever since, further adding to what may well be the most gorgeous and immersive 4x game on the market. Even after 212 hours I'm not done with that one by a long shot.


Sonic Mania - 30 points



A miracle. Sonic 3 & Knuckles defined several years of my childhood, and ever since, I'd just assumed the franchise had died with that magnum opus. No, it hasn't - just put it in the right hands, and the magic rises anew. Go fast and turn up the volume: our old friend falk mixed some pretty damn amazing tracks there.


Rain World - 40 points [Game of the Year]



Sit down, relax, and leave your expectations at the door. You've likely heard about some kind of nail-biting hardcore platformer, with action/adventure/metroidvania elements and a cute protagonist. You're thinking Super Meat Boy, Ori and the Blind Forest, etc. While none of this is entirely wrong, the true essence of Rain World lies somewhere else, and forcibly fitting it into existing genres will do little justice to its originality. Let's start over.

There's a good reason why the game is not called Rain Action or Rain Adventure: the world is an essential piece, to the point where the discovery of its vast, diverse regions and hundreds of unique rooms seems like a bigger purpose than - eventually - progressing towards some form of ending. Rain World post-apocalyptic/decayed industrial setting is not only an artistic masterpiece, but also brilliantly designed and structured. The hint system is subtle enough that you'll likely lose yourself for a while before every corner of this non-linear maze starts feeling like home.

What would a world be without its inhabitants? Rain World's intriguing, delightfully alien-looking fauna and flora compose the most alive-looking ecosystem I've yet seen in a game. The complex AI allows these creatures to exist independently of potential interactions with the player, seemingly following their own motivations and purposes, while the procedural animation system makes everything feel incredibly alive.

So where does the player fit within that universe? You're an orphan Slugcat, a small, rather adorable and nimble mammal around the lower end of the food chain. What does a Slugcat do? For the most part, hunt, eat, avoid the jaws of larger predators, and hibernate. With each "cycle" giving you limited time to run around before the deadly rain strikes, finding food and shelter will be your primary concern. But as your curiosity inevitably draws you towards exploring new areas, you'll have to make the best of your agility and crawl into pipes, climb on poles, pounce across gaps and manipulate basic tools. Not only that, but you'll learn about the wide range of possible interactions with other creatures. Friend or foe? Can the hunter become prey? The predator, friend?

Alas(?), such knowledge has a cost. Early hours and subsequent discoveries of new areas/creatures will involve a significant amount of trial and (mostly) error. I cannot overstate how much patience and perseverance Rain World requires, and this might throw off new players. It is very easy to die, sometimes in rather unfair ways - and dying may set you back a significant way. Experience does a lot to mitigate that, but even after dozens of hours it remains possible to get caught off-guard or to trip to your death on a stupid jump. This may not be the game's most pleasant side, and it has earned a fair bit of critism there - to the point where an early patch largely addressed the most frustrating issues, and an easier mode was also implemented in a recent free update.

Without brushing aside these concerns, I would argue that Rain World is unique, deep and intriguing enough to be worthy of your patience and perseverance. They'll be largely rewarded, as soon as you settle into the game's unusual rhythm and allow yourself to learn the ropes, even when that (temporarily) puts your progress on hold. As far as I'm concerned, this has been one of the most original and immersive experiences of my recent gaming years, and you'd be crazy to miss out. Don't let it intimidate you and, insofar as you can help it, don't follow a walkthrough!


2018 Predictions

Borderlands 3 will be postponed to early/late 2019. If it isn't, it will have loot boxes, cancerous microtransactions and/or will suck.

The next Metroid game will be amazing and sweep the next awards clean, but I still won't have kicked my butt to go pick up a Switch and check it out. #sheltered

Star Citizen still won't be eligible for anything other than Best Vaporware.

Jam it back in, in the dark.

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