GOTYLY2018: Game of the Year, Last Year (2017)


My favorite game last year was Night in the Woods, and that hasn’t changed. As a Cis White man, too much pop culture is made “For people like me” to the point where sometimes you don’t even realize it. But NITW is one of the few games that has really personally resonated with me, from the setting to the characters, its feels on point to some of my experiences.

If there was any game that I feel a ton of people slept on it was Detention, a game that i feel that has gotten a lot more buzz recently than when it was released. A great application of horror based on horrific events, its a stomach tightening, rather short game that knows what its doing.

I played about 10-15 hours of Breath of the Wild on a roomate’s switch during what would be considered the midgame. My opinion on it was basically “yeah, this is pretty solid” It was ranked pretty low on my top 10 list for last year as basically a “Yeah i didn’t really get the full experience/Maybe too much hype going in that i was bound to be a little underwhelmed.” Now that i have my own Switch, and am experencing the game holistically, i can say that this game is absolutely wonderful on almost every level. Maybe that will change as i go along, but i’m having a blast. I don’t know if i’ve soured on any game i played last year. I kind of regret spending as much time playing Nioh last year, a solid game, but compared to some of the great games i’ve had to catch up on, it was clearly not the correct choice. Also after the 4th time trying to get into Opus Magnum, i’ve come to the conclusion that it, and probably zachtronics, just aren’t for me.

I haven’t really replayed much from last year because there is still so much stuff that i hadn’t played yet. Hollow Knight coming to consoles gave me the excuse to play it and if Zelda wasn’t charming me, would easily be my favorite game i’ve played this year. Horizon Zero Dawn was a stellar open world game with jaw dropping vistas and excellent set pieces. Dishonored Death of the Outsider is imo the peak of the franchise, one that actually came in with a great narrative to go along with its great world and level design. All were stellar titles. I havne’t even played Super Mario Oddessy yet, though its on my list, another game that i know i’m going to love.

I think 2017 towers over 2018, in terms of how i view it. That being said, thats on me i think, considering a lot of the biggest games in 2018 just weren’t my thing. (Monster hunter world, RDR2, Smash) (though i still haven’t played things like HItman 2 or The Missing and i know i would love those games
, so again, also my fault.)

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I completely forgot about Prey. I replayed it this year after having given it a shot last year and bounced off. I thought about giving Mooncrash a go but I _hate_roguelikes of all shapes and sizes, and a huge part of why I love Prey is the argument Talos One makes about labour and ethics in tech. I now work for a fintech company and the similarities are… unsettling.


It’s hard to say how you would feel about Mooncrash then. It has less plot for sure though I quite liked what was there. But It’s not really a roguelike as much as a set of challenges that take cues from the roguelike resurgence with some plot elements. I would say it’s worth checking out but be ready to spend a few hours, maybe 2 to 3, to get past the first bit where the rogue elements are strongest to get to the bits you will like more.

/end tangent


Turns out Rain World actually came out on switch yesterday! I will honestly probably buy it a second time. I found Dark Souls Switch was super immersive as a game to play with headphones while wrapped in blankets in bed and I’m curious if RW would also work well like that since it is also an all-consuming hyper-atmospheric experience of a game.


I decided that I do not like Rain World but I think I am going to buy it again because I love banging my head against things that descriptively are perfect for me but in practice are not


I dunno if you’ve seen the google doc linked in this tweet but it has really good explanations of some of the movement abilities that the game itself does not really explain at all. Some of these I figured out on my own when I played but a lot of them I had no idea about. Might make the game more enjoyable to slam yourself against repeatedly lol

Honestly another reason I’m gonna buy it again is cause I just want to give those developers more money for making something so ambitious and weird. Even if its a game of suffering and pain that I dunno if i’ll ever actually be able to finish, I love almost everything about it.


I actually got pretty good at movement, but I so frequently found myself chased in circles by enemies and returning to the same safehouse when the rain starts, having made zero progress, that I ended up giving up. Anyway I respect the game, I’ll probably try it again in the future, and most likely that will be on Switch (assuming it runs well).

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I’ve loved many 2018 new-to-me games from last year; Yakuza Kiwami and 0, Nier Automata, Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy and XCOM 2: War of the Chosen have all but earned places in my pantheon of Great Games. (I would have called for Getting Over It’s induction before today’s Waypoint Radio about clones vs. homage; now I recognize I really must play Sexy Hiking before I feel comfortable with that.)

But my game of the year last year was Persona 5. I’ve seen a few more of its warts this year as my partner plays through the game and finds its high highs and its lows, but I still think my ideal game is probably the Persona model. Its integration of time; of a great battle system; of a lovely cast of characters; and yeah, of that good good art and music. I love it.

I’m torn now, though, because Breath of the Wild is so totally magical. It is just fantastic. The spare, lonely piano and woodblock portions of the score get stuck in my head weekly. l have picked it up to play again a few times and immediately it just feels like How Games Ought To Play.

In a sense, when I’m optimistic, I hope Persona 5 gets made obsolete by a game with better pacing, less obstructive, unnecessary overdesign (mice and airlocks?!) and less overt homophobia. But apart from a remaster that rewrites the transphobia out of Breath of the Wild, I don’t think that game will ever be “obsolete” to me. Its quiet fields and beautiful greenery made a world I care about too deeply.


2017 was an extremely good year for games I think my GOTY is still Breath of the Wild, it’s just a magical game.

That said I’m mostly here for the question about what games were slept on and deserve another look.

Etrian Odyssey 5 is a big one for me. I actually didn’t get around to it until this year, but it’s fantastic. If you aren’t familiar with the series they are basically highly refined throwbacks to very oldschool dungeon crawler RPGs like Wizardry. Broadly that means they are games where you make a custom RPG party and then go and explore a huge tile based dungeon and fight turn based battles. That may make it sound like a pretty standard RPG but the system and level design for these games is so much better than every other traditional turn based RPG I’ve played that it is effectively a totally different experience. Party composition and the skill trees are really interesting, I have about a million different builds I want to try. The combat is far more engaging than what you would expect form a traditional turn based system, you really need to tailor your approach to each encounter and make full use of all the systems. The level design is exceptionally good as well, there are a ton of clever puzzles and secrets built into and you map the whole thing out using the touch screen on the 3DS. Something about making a map is really soothing.

The series has a reputation of being niche and inaccessible and while my post probably hasn’t dissuaded people from thinking that the recent games have taken steps to be more accessible. They have an easy mode, automapping and mechanics that make it easier to bail out of a bad situation. Despite the hardcore reputation I mostly play them as a chillout game. There is a demo on the eshop that I’d highly recommend if any of this sounded appealing.

Also Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia was extremely good. Earlier in the thread gio mentioned liking it more and more over time and I had a similar experience. It makes a lot of pretty major changes to the game mechanics which I wasn’t initially sure about, but they largely work really well. Additionally the production quality, art and just tone overall was a big improvement over the recent games. I’m really hoping the switch game will take some stylistic notes from Valentia.


[quote=“vehemently, post:1, topic:18799”]
What is your favorite game of 2017? What was it at the time , and what is it now ? If it’s changed, what changed?

My top picks of 2017 were a tie between Nioh and Breath of the Wild - and if we are including DLC - Dark Souls 3, The Ringed City & XCOM 2’s War of the Chosen. My choices have not changed.

Of the categories we voted on last year (click link above), do you feel any games got snubbed by omission?

Battle Chef Brigade was underrated, I think. I also feel that Splatoon 2 deserved more love all around.

Did you grow to appreciate any games of that year? Alternatively, did you sour on any games? Did more time with, distance from, or new perspectives on a given game change how you enjoyed it?

No, I don’t think I’ve really had a change of heart when it comes to any of the games I tried in 2017. I feel generally the same way I did one year ago.

What games did you or others sleep on that were worth the return back? It was hard to keep up with all the great releases, so a lot of us ended up playing last year’s best in 2018. What about you?

I don’t think anyone missed this game, but it was a game that I missed last year that I regret. Yakuza 0! It’s great.

What games were the underdogs of 2017? With so many incredible titles, there’s no doubt that some of them are getting overlooked. What games just don’t get the love they deserve?

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider.

If you could summarize 2017’s year of games, how would you? Was it good? Bad? An antidote? Were there themes you saw crop up in the games that came up?

An amazing year for games (in terms of content).

How does 2017 look now that we’re nearly through 2018?

Still looking pretty good. There have been incredible games that came in 2018, but in terms of critical mass of outstanding ones - 2017 takes the cake.

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I will say it’s a stretch to call Getting Over It a clone. Sexy Hiking, from what I’ve played of it, doesn’t have a narrative and lacks really any coherent level design. Getting Over It has insightful commentary and a lot of really clever level design, along with making it a persistent map which changes the dynamic of progression drastically. It does a lot new with the framework by its predecessor, a fifteen year old game that no one talks about. Getting Over It cites Sexy Hiking as inspiration, which is more than hole[dot]io can claim to do. I’d say that calling it a “clone” within that context would be to say it was attempting to bank off of someone else’s work and innovation without doing any innovation themselves. I would never say Bennett Foddy was doing that.


I took a little time this morning to play some Sexy Hiking and I agree. It’s not that I expected to call it a “clone,” but I was thinking about how Rob referred to us not being able to remember the name of the game Minecraft was expanding upon (which was Infiniminer) and felt uncomfortable not at least checking out Sexy Hiking before declaring Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy one of my absolute favorite games period. Now that I have, I’m comfortable putting Getting Over It in the pantheon - it’s phenomenal.

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Horizon Zero Dawn was my favorite game of 2017, and probably remains so, but if I had played Divinity Original Sin 2 when it came out, that would’ve been a real challenger. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Divinity 2 is my favorite CRPG of all time. The combat, characters, story - every aspect is a step up from the first Original Sin.

A quick story - one of the conceits of the game is that you start out being shipped to an island prison for mages while wearing a collar that restricts your magic ability. You have more-or-less free reign to move around the island…

… Unless you find someone willing to remove your collar. At which point, all the guards turn hostile, and you have little choice other than killing every guard on the island. Any other game, I would’ve loaded a save before that happened, but Divinity does such a good job giving you a completely different experience that I just rolled with it.


If you’re still on the fence about it the Switch version of Rain World runs perfectly acceptably in handheld about 95% of the time. There are a few areas where performance takes a big hit due to amount of physics and effects overwhelming the screen.

I just finished the game this evening and it was a wild, frustrating, transcendent experience. I can’t think of any game in recent memory that quietly awed me as much.


To be fair, the performance suffers on PC, too. Things like the Daddy Long Legs are extremely tough on the framerate.

Rain World is, yeah, one of the most unplayable masterpieces I’ve ever played.

EDIT: yeah, ugh. I think I would love a sequel. I hope Videocult goes on to make new things, but I also think there are ideas in Rain World that are absolutely brilliant that feel buried in there. Like, the lore, the AI, the art-style, the systems design, there are so many amazing things inside this game. It’s just a shame that the frustration attached to it is so intense and will probably push a lot of people away. So I’d love to see what this model of game would be like with a lot of the kinks ironed out. I hope they just make more games in general!


If it also bogs down on the PC during sections like Five Pebbles then I’m pretty impressed with the Switch port. There really is so much more going on with the game technically than it initially seems.

I do think unplayable is a bit too harsh, though. If you only played in the initial release they have changed some things to make it easier like adding more food and keeping your map progress even if you die.


To clarify, I call it an “unplayable masterpiece”, not because I personally found it to be unplayable, but because I suspect for a large swathe of players it will feel that way. Not because of small problems, but the fundamental gameplay loop. Sure, there are plenty of flaws in the game that I think can and should have been tweaked. But even after the quality-of-life fixes they’ve added, Rain World is still so punishing, so unpredictable, and so difficult that I think most people will find the game impossible to finish. Which is a huge shame. It’s a game I would recommend to very few people because of that. I am usually pretty cool-headed when it comes to difficult video games, but Rain World had me gritting my teeth and sweating like an animal.

But it’s also because of all those reasons Rain World is absolutely brilliant. Even beyond the incredible enemy design, world design, and unique system interactions, which per se could have made the game an absolute gem, the underlying themes really elevate the game. The lore and narrative of the world, by the end, shined a light on all that frustration and changed the way I looked at everything I had gone through. The game is incoherent by most standards of game design, but it uses that incoherence to say something that actually affected me deeply. I think Rain World is going to go down as a criminally underrated game for all of this. Its so fucking good

So I call it an “unplayable” masterpiece, but I think more accurate would be an “unforgiving”, “unapproachable”, or “incoherent” masterpiece.

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I like “unapproachable” a lot actually. It feels like it’s pushing you away, but I think it’s less outright antagonistic than many difficult games that struck a chord with the mainstream. It’s more that it’s indifferent to you and people mistake that for hostility.