This was by far of one, if not the greatest, years ever for video games. It was chalk full of unique games and adventures. There were also a couple of old ideas that were given new life on a brand new system. Each console in 2017 had an outstanding game and it was difficult to pin it down to just five titles. So without further adieu, I would like to introduce you to my picks for Game of the Year. It starts off with everyone’s second favorite Ranger in the land of Mordor.
Shadow of War
The sequel to the hit smash, Shadow of Mordor, comes the Shadow of War. Talion makes his triumphant return to the Xbox One in a massive world. Now that Talion and Celebrimbor have a plan to stop Sauron, these two take the fight into Mordor. Along the way though, their plan gets tripped up by the sneaky Shelob.
Shadow of War continued to build upon the success laid down by Shadow of Mordor. The Nemesis System makes its return and it has been fully upgraded. Now there are more types of Orcs to fight, kill or turn to Talion’s will. There are also more creatures to ride while Talion now has to lead his orc army into castle sieges. This new siege system does a great job of letting players experience the gigantic battles we all saw in the Lord of the Rings movies. Though once you have completed the story, the game comes a rather abrupt stop as the game suddenly becomes a tower-like defense game. To fully experience the full ending of the game, players must grind for hours to hold off Sauron’s invading armies. Do not despair though as we are magically transported to a the cartoon world of Cuphead.
From Studio MDHR comes one of the most unique games I have ever experienced. I have already gushed on and on about this game in the Xbox Games of the Year Awards. What is there not to like about this game? It has boss battles, it has awesome animation and the music is fantastic. While it may be a bit difficult, a little patience and perseverance can go a long way. We all waited for several years for the release of this game and it did not disappoint. Had this come out last year or the year before, it would have easily been my Game of the Year, but these other games were able to take the top spots. The next game on my list is all about bows and arrows and monster robots.
Horizon Zero Dawn
PlayStation hit it big with this game about monster robots set in a post-apocalyptic world. Learn the secrets of this lost world with one of the best new protagonist in years, Aloy. This cunning hunter has some pretty nifty powers while Aloy tries to unravel the mysteries of this awesome world. Aloy is a hunter and hunts a plethora of fantastic robot beasts, that bear a striking resemblance to our modern day animals. Aside from the great gameplay, the graphics of this game will take your breath away. Often times I found myself marveling the scenery throughout the game, and did I mention the story is pretty kick ass as well? Make sure you don’t miss out on this experience because it is a must-play game. There is another game that was just absolutely beautiful and completely takes my breath away.
Zelda: A Breath of the Wild
Hey, listen! Hey, listen to why Zelda: A Breath of the Wild is my runner up to Game of the Year. It was difficult to not give BotW the GoTY, how is that for acronyms, but Zelda was narrowly nudged out by another game on the Switch. Let’s gush out over Zelda for a few paragraphs. For starters, what is there not to like about this game? It still has that gameplay feel from other Zelda’s, but there are a number of new features included into this game. For starters, Link can pretty much climb on anything, as long as his stamina does not run out. Did I mention you have to manage your stamina now? Gone are the pendants and in its place are these neat little puzzles that Link must solve in order to obtain the Master Sword.
While there are a lot of similarities between BotW and other Zelda titles, there are also a lot of new features. Aside from the climbing and stamina, Link has the freedom to explore the entire map from the start of the game. He no longer has to finish the first dungeon to progress to the next destination. Aside from free exploration, Link now has the power to cook up dishes. These dishes either refill his heart meter or grant him some type of protection. This was a great addition, but another game on the Switch took cooking to the next level.
Battle Chef Brigade
Battle Chef Brigade is all about cooking, and cooking well. My choice for Game of the Year is a Nindie title from the gang at Trinket Studios and Adult Swim Games. I never thought I would write such a sentence nor ever entertain such a thought. Yet, here we are and after much soul searching, it came to me in a vision – “Viva La Brigade!”
This phrase is the catch phrase of Battle Chefs, and for good reason. It does a good job of encapsulating just what this game is all about. You may be wondering what exactly is Battle Chefs Brigade? Well here is a bit on the story. It stars a woman named Mina. She has been stuck cooking for her parents’ kitchen for too long. She dreams of bigger venues and ultimately to compete in the biggest competition in the world, the Battle Chef Brigade. Mina’s journey involves a great cast of characters is a great experience. This was quite an unique story and the gameplay had to be just as unique in order for this game to work. Trinket Games did not disappoint.
BCB has two different, yet familiar, styles of gameplay. There is gathering ingredients and then there is cooking. In order to cook the most amazing meal, Mina must venture out to hunt down monsters and fruits and vegetables. This is when BCB turns into a 2D hack and slash platform. Mina will do battle with giant dragons, bulls and flying eyeballs. Then once she has rassled up enough ingredients, Mina must unleash her master cooking techniques.
When it is time to cook, the game takes on a new element. In order to cook amazing dishes players will have to match three spheres of similar coloring, just like playing a game of Street Fighter Puzzle Fighter. As the game progresses the dishes become harder to make as ingredients become unstable. Players will only have five minutes to go hunting and do the cooking before it is time to let the judges taste the food. It is the combination of these two gameplay elements that truly makes this title so distinct. Along with the story and that is why BCB is my Game of the Year for 2017. VIVA LA BRIGADE!!!!