All things considered, 2017 has been a stellar year and a significant comeback from a dismal 2016 where the industry seemed to be spinning on its wheels. With 2017, the excellence of the industry has once again reclaimed its’ foothold over the core consumer, owing much indeed to the exemplary lineup of titles, ESPECIALLY FROM JAPAN. We are halfway into 2017 and it has already proven out to be a disaster for our wallets with so many quality games and Nintendo’s console coming out. Here are our picks for GOTY contenders till June 30th 2017.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
This is my first Zelda game, and for someone who idolizes Kratos and revels in the fury of DOOM, it might have been easy for me to shrug off the Tee-hee and Ya-hoo hoo of Zelda. Instead I love exploring the world of Hyrule. I have 100% exploration versus about 30% of the story. I have spent all my shrine points on Stamina and have scaled cliffs way before they were supposed to be climbed. Zelda is to me what GTA is to most people, a sandbox where I can do what I want. Also they are never gonna fix that durability mechanic.
It would be easy to compare Nioh to Dark Souls and Bloodborne. But Nioh is not difficult, it just requires application, and caution. I have died more in Nioh because I got complacent than because of any lack of skills. Nioh is as polished a game as you would ever see. Its risk reward payoff is excellent and sometimes a battle is won just by a change in your approach and choice of weapons. It’s not designed to make you grind your teeth, but it will make you sweat, and for that purpose Nioh is THE game to play this year.
Prey is not just a proud successor to the Looking Glass studio legacy, it is in all but name THE next true-blue ‘System Shock’ game. Featuring complex, multi-tiered gameplay and tense, detailed (and rewarding) exploration. Sloppily labeled as ‘Bioshock in space’ by some fairly clueless outlets, it is a far more rewarding, challenging and complex game than Irrational Games’ 2007 title. Eschewing Bioshock’s strictly linear structure and half-developed mechanics, this one is a full on ‘Emergent Sim’ that prides itself on letting the player make his/her own build and solve the mystery of TALOS-1 in a manner of his/her choosing. It’s one of the best games of the year and all but raises the bar even higher for upcoming actual System Shock games.
Nier: Automata is definitely one of the weirdest games this generation and in a good way. It’s mix of hack n slash, twin stick shooting and side scrolling gameplay mechanics really keep it from getting stale throughout the running length, gameplay wise. The idiosyncratic nature, emergent gameplay elements, the micromanagement of certain in game elements and well thought out secrets are just the tip of the iceberg for this game. It’s most striking feature is the narrative, the story of which, is not only engaging, but also attaches itself to a lot of dark themes, philosophy, existentialism, moral ambiguity, humanity and lots more. Even after completing the game, there are so many mysteries, so many unanswered questions; thinking about it long after completion can’t be helped. It is one of the most undiluted pieces of art in a very long time.
Persona 5 is the JRPG of this generation of consoles and all the hype and anticipation leading up to it was well-deserved in my opinion. Aside from being a worthy upgrade over it’s (still) stellar predecessors , it’s one of the most thematically relevant games of recent years and one that takes a giant microscope to modern society and very intelligently dissects its’ various issues, without ever going nihilistic or misanthropic. It’s a true epic with an unprecedented scale that dwarfs its’ peers and seems to be developed with nary a compromise. Filled with an incredible story, ridiculously fun gameplay, an amazing sense of style and another legendary soundtrack (as per series standards), it’s a game that had heart, soul and attitude to spare. And one of the best games of this console generation.