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Home / BGA / Brutal Gamer Awards Part 1: The Genre Bests of 2017

Brutal Gamer Awards Part 1: The Genre Bests of 2017

It’s time once again to award the best of the best, chosen by your friends here at BG. 2017’s BGA’s is loaded for bear in this first installment of three, and by the end of the week we’ll have crowned our overall champion(s).

BGA’s part 1: The genre bests

This past year was one that, for many, will go down as a monster for big game releases. There were loads, and not all of them were packed into the Holiday season. 2017 saw quite a few sprinkled across what are traditionally some of the slowest months on the calendar. A big part of this of course, was the launch of the Nintendo Switch.

The Switch’s release made sure there were solid games hitting in the spring, and even some of the summer. There were so many marquee titles landing on shelves that it was almost impossible to play everything. It was for me anyway, as I missed out on a bunch all together, and didn’t spend nearly as much time as I would’ve liked with the ones that I actually did get to play. That’s more than evidenced by the games included in our Genre Bests category, here in this first installment of the BGA’s.

Wednesday, by the way, will see the publishing of our Miscellaneous picks for the year that was, including categories like Best Graphics, Best Sound, and Most Innovative. Also, make sure you’re on the lookout for posts from our editorial team, highlighting their individual picks and faves. After all that, it’s on to the finals this Friday, where we choose our platform kings, and the all-important Game of the Year and Platform of the Year. Don’t miss it – there are more than a couple of surprises!

…and you probably won’t agree with most of it.

So without further delay (and award yourself a no-prize if you actually read through the above), here are Brutal Gamer’s Genre Bests for 2017:

Best Action Game

This year’s action game lot was a tough one to sort. There were loads of excellent picks, and a few that didn’t feel quite right being included. Nevertheless, you can’t have a category for everything (this’d go on for days), so owe made our choices from the following nominees:

  • Resident Evil VII
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Metroid: Samus Returns
  • Hellblade

And the winner is:

In a narrow vote that really split our staff of writers, Resident Evil VII took best action title for 2017. Capcom’s latest horror game was a reinvention of the franchise in many ways. It brought back the terror and suspense that the series was formerly known for, before getting much more action-oriented with RE 5 and 6. But even though it’s a bit slow moving at times, the game most definitely kept in enough action to keep the adrenaline pumping. If you have the choice, play it in PSVR. It’s not the most widely known virtual reality title, but it just might be the platform’s killer app.

While Resident Evil VII won the category, it was almost nudged out by our second place finishers Shadow of Mordor and Horizon Zero Dawn. Both of those games tied in votes for a solid silver.

Best First Person Shooter

The FPS had a terrific year in 2017, with some massive titles. In some cases, these games caught fire at the retail level. Some though, oddly sank a bit, only performing “okay”. It’s a shame, since games like Wolfenstein: The New Colossus and Prey probably deserved more attention than they got. But as usual, blockbusters like Call of Duty cleaned up, becoming one of the biggest retail successes of the year.

Our picks for FPS of 2017 are:

  • Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
  • Call of Duty: WWII
  • Splatoon 2
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Doom (Switch)

And the winner is:

Yes, that’s right. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks – Doom on the Nintendo Switch is our FPS of the year for 2017. How is being a watered-down re-release enough to grab the top honors? Well, it’s pretty simple. Doom might be a re-release, and it might be a little graphically inferior to its PS4 and Xbox One cousins, but it’s a phenomenal game that’s tons of fun. And being on the Switch means that it’s now portable too.

And that’s all without saying that it was basically miracle that Bethesda pulled off here, getting the game to look good and perform well on the Nintendo hardware. Yes, it might be missing its SnapMap mode too, but Doom remains a phenomenally fun multiplayer shooter with a loaded single-player campaign. Most importantly, all of that is just as great on the Switch.

Runners up? Those would be Bethesda’s other big shooter of the year Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, and Nintendo’s other big shooter of the year Splatoon 2. Interesting note – Wolf 2 will be hitting the Switch this year. Could we have another repeat-upset?

Best RPG or Strategy title

Quietly, and without much fuss, 2017 was one of the best years for RPGs and Strategy games in recent memory. There were a ton of great games (mainly in the latter category), and that equated to yet another tough vote for our staffers.

The nominees are:

  • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Persona 5
  • Xenoblade II

And the winner is:

This was a really tough category to judge. Only taking our top prize after a tie-breaking vote change, Nintendo’s blockbusting Switch launch title was far and away one of the best games of the year – period. The RPG redefined the Legend of Zelda for a new generation, while expanding its universe with new lore and new themes.

A monster-sized world is the stage for a game that stunned in graphical splendor. And if you dig depth, Breath of the Wild had more things to do than most gamers could possibly even hope to tackle. And on top of just being a great game, it was also just what the Switch needed to get off on the right foot. Breath could do no wrong and remains a must-play in every sense of the word.

As for our runners up, they were Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (a shockingly fun strategy game), Persona 5, and Xenoblade II. No shortage of greatness there.

Best Indie

As usual, the level of excellence that the gaming industry got out of the vast selection of Indies was terrific. Independently developed or published games have taken off in this new millennium, and they don’t seem to be slowing down any. Actually, some of them make the big studio stuff look, well, bad in comparison. That’s rare, but it does happen. This year there were a few that fell into that notch.

Our nominees are:

  • Cuphead
  • Hellblade
  • Tooth and Nail
  • Immortal Redneck
  • This is the Police

And the winner is:

After years in development by the impossibly small Studio MDHR, Cuphead finally appeared on the Xbox One and PC this year. And man, was it a blast. Flat-out stunning graphics and sound accompanied an inventive game with some of the best, tough-as-nails gameplay around. Yes, it might’ve taken a while to get into gamers hands, but Cuphead is a beast and a title that almost every side-scrolling fan should take a crack at.

It narrowly defeated another gem in our voting – Hellblade. Likewise crafted at a small studio, Hellblade equally looks like it could have been produced at a major house. And not only does this game look amazing, it’s also as mature as you could hope. Exploring dark themes such as mental illness, Hellblade might’ve easily taken this category in any other year, and tied RTS Tooth and Nail for silver in our 2017 awards.

Best Family or Kid Friendly title

Family-friendly games are still pretty important to the industry. Sure the mature games and blockbusters are the main draws in this new age, but don’t forget that the kids market is still a monstrously strong one. There’s more than a little crossover too, with massive titles being as appealing to kids as they are to adults. There were a few solid entries in that regard this past year.

The nominees are:

  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Crash Bandicoot Trilogy
  • Super Lucky’s Tale
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Sonic Mania

And the winner is:

Not only was Nintendo’s Super Mario Odyssey a chart-topper, it was also one of the most kid-friendly games of year. The game sent Mario on his first Switch adventure, pairing him with a cartoony hat named Cappy that allowed him to take control (read: possess) most enemies. It’s a deep game that’s packed with content, including a lengthy campaign with more Easter Eggs than you can shake a fire flower at. Right now too, it’s one of the only Super Mario experiences on the platform. That alone makes it a must-play for many.

As for the runners up, one has a somewhat similar feel to Odyssey, and the other… well it actually is a Mario game. It was yet another tie too, with Super Lucky’s Tale matching Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in votes. Either is a great time for kids, though honestly I don’t think there’s a Nintendo fan around of any age who doesn’t like a little Mario Kart now and then.

Miscellaneous

As with every year, there are a few games whose genres don’t quite have enough entries to fill out a bracket for us. But nonetheless, they deserve recognition. This year, fighting games like Injustice 2 and  platformers like Cuphead fell into those categories.

The nominees are:

  • Injustice 2
  • Cuphead
  • Tekken 7
  • Sonic Mania
  • ARMS

And the winner is:

The sequel to NetherRealm’s smash original DC Comics fighting title, Injustice 2 improved the series in almost every way. The fighting was still as flawless as ever, paired with even better graphics and that top notch voice cast. Add in a story that, although not as great as the first game’s, was still head and shoulders better than any other fighting game out there, and you have a recipe for success.

There were a few good fighters out in 2017 though, and Tekken 7 was yet another that took home a win from us. The Bandai Namco sequel ended the Mishima storyline with style, and included a few surprise crossover characters like Street Fighter’s Akuma (in a major role) and King of Fighters’ Geese Howard.

Rounding out the winners is none other than Cuphead. In its second win of the year from us, the platform action affair further proved that it was one of the best games of the year – indie or otherwise.

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And that’s it for part one!

We hope you’re enjoying our “show”, and that you agree with at least some of our choices. If you don’t (or if you do and want to tell us how great we are), please let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to be right back here on BG for our Miscellaneous picks on Wednesday, before we wrap things up for the year with the major awards on Friday. Oh, and remember to check out all the personal selections from our editors, which’ll be posting in-between.

About Jason

Jason
Jason's been knee deep in videogames since he was but a lad. Cutting his teeth on the pixely glory that was the Atari 2600, he's been hack'n'slashing and shoot'em'uping ever since. Mainly an FPS and action guy, Jason enjoys the occasional well crafted title from every genre.

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