It’s almost 2018, and how is it almost 2018? It was 2010, like, yesterday, and it feels like only last week that the unsubscribe link in our newsletter broke (again). Wait, no. That was last week. Actually, you know what, it’s time for 2017 to finish up. In the meantime, though, let’s talk about those games we’ve loved the most, ever and forever, this year, before it’s next year and we totally forget they even existed.
So… I hope this actually came out this year – I am fairly sure. It’s been a long year, and I don’t remember exactly. If I’m wrong then write a letter to the editor – someone will scold me. Anyway, my game of the year is PUBG. To explain why, here’s Smoke Weed Every Day (Dubstep Remix)* Snoop Dogg. It’s the song I sing to myself when I get home, except I change the words so it’s “PUBG every day”. Then I play the game. It’s flawed, unstable, and uninspired, but every game is different and there’s nothing like winning your first chicken dinner. Nothing!
Honourable mention: PlayStation VR
I know this isn’t a game but the PlayStation VR is something you should play with before you die. It’s slick, easy to use, works better than you expect and is a load of fun. I’ve never had this many people in one office/lounge wanting to try something out. Even a simple thing like pouring water into a cup is a fun experience. Well done, PlayStation.
* NAG doesn’t support or otherwise endorse smoking weed every day. Don’t do drugs, kids.
Tarryn van der Byl
What? I must’ve clocked, like, 100 hours of this game already. If I didn’t choose it as my GOTY, everybody would think I’m some kind of reclusive nerd who doesn’t ever leave the house. Which I am, but that’s totally irrelevant. Besides, Destiny 2 is lots of the fun stuff. It’s the first expansion that sucks. BUT THE GAME WAS SUPER RAD, OKAY. I’M NOT EVEN MAD.
Is it better than The New Order? I don’t know, but The New Colossus is an excellent follow-up to one of my favourite first-person shooters, like, ever. It’s practically a Tarantino movie masquerading as one of the sexiest video games on the planet. The story is utterly compelling, the characters and their performances are properly captivating, and the bits with the shooting are top-fuggen’-notch too. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has heart bursting from every seam, and I love it for that.
Special mention: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I’m obsessed with my Switch, and Breath of the Wild is a must-have adventure for Nintendo’s system. It’s massive, it’s gorgeous, it’s almost obscenely inventive, and it’s easily one of the finest open-world RPGs in existence. Also, this game gave me a horse and let me name it Dr. Tickles, so there’s that.
More special mentions, because Tarryn did it too so why not:
Super Mario Odyssey. Full Throttle Remastered. Splatoon 2. Doom for Nintendo Switch, because MORE DOOM BUT NOW I CAN PLAY IT WHILE I’M IN BED WITH YOUR MOM. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun. Oh, and Titanfall 2, which launched in 2016 but Tarryn did it too so why not.
Forza Motorsport 7
Forza Motorsport 7 has cemented itself as my favourite game this year, taking the top spot above everything else, and putting the franchise in a new direction for Turn10. It’s one of the few games that don’t use loot boxes or microtransactions to gate progression, it looks stunning, the audio quality is top-notch, and it still stays true to its roots with tons of customisation, a huge selection of cars, and a lot of great tracks tochoose from. Unfortunately, getting into the game could be expensive – as I mentioned in my review, the Ultimate Edition is the only version of the game that could be counted as a full game – but the base version is also not a bad buy.
Special mention: Star Wars Battlefront II
For its service in acquainting us with a glimpse into the very darkest timeline for the gaming industry, Battlefront II deserves an honourable mention because it made people realise that gaming should never be about the grind.
I’m still a little anxious to reveal my game of the year. Bugger it, here it comes. It’s FIFA 18, and I don’t care who knows it. I guess that buildup is superfluous since it’s up there in my heading, but still. EA Sports’ latest football outing caught me by surprise this year, not because it’s the best football game ever made (it is), or because it’s got some of the most impressive sports game character modelling of the all time (it does), or because its controls are as tight as a very tight thing (they are), but because it’s the only game that grew on me and stayed with me.
I knocked a few balls around and wrote a review, and usually that’s the end of it, but with FIFA 18 I kept playing. And playing. And spending real money on FIFA Ultimate Team card packs. And playing. I was totally taken by it – yes, it’s really just the Ultimate Team mode I bother with, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t the only game I actually feel like playing when I have time to play. We’re often on a schedule to play specific games to get a review done in time, but whenever I was off the clock, FIFA 18 was, and is, the game I fire up without even thinking. I’m being honest about this – no other game has taken up more hours for me this year than EA Sports’ big money spinner. And I don’t care what my fellow NAG staffers say [you’re fired – Ed.].
Special Mention: Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Also worth a mention: What Remains of Edith Finch
Personally, one of the best things a game can do is have style, a certain flair that easily sets it apart from anything else on the market. To me, that game is Cuphead. The game simply oozes a unique, Fleischer-inspired, almost nightmarish, style. Any screenshot could be a lovingly hand-drawn still, and the level of detail extends to every aspect of its presentation. Put simply, nothing else looks like it, and the game will be just as gorgeous ten years from now.
It also helps that it plays amazingly, and is a fantastically masochistic co-op experience.
Special mention: Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
Nobody really expects innovation from a Pokémon game anymore, just more ‘mons to catch. But Sun and Moon shook up the formula in a welcome way, and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon just heaped fanservice on top. An excellent send-off for Pokémon games on the 3DS.
Bonus special mentions, because bonus special mentions:
I didn’t play a whole lot from 2017, I just really got into Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword. But the Prey demo was fun! And Wolfenstein 2 looks badass!