With thousands of votes counted for some amazing games, we can finally reveal the winners of the games of the year, and the one that took home supreme glory as the overall best game for 2017. It was quite a year for games, and the glorious winners reflect that brilliantly. Here are your chosen few in each category.
Top Arcade Game: Cuphead
Cuphead wasn’t an easy game to play, but it sure was fun. It was created as a throwback to classic 1930’s era cartoons, so think Steamboat Wille, but in color. Beyond just the graphical style, developer StudioMDHR also made the difficulty extremely high, which in itself was like arcade games of yesteryear, at least when compared to most games today. Cuphead was not a game for everyone, but those who did play it really enjoyed the unique title, and everyone could appreciate the artistic style and throwback motif.
Best Adventure Game: Assassin’s Creed: Origins
With the series seemingly in decline, Ubisoft probably knew that they needed a big boost this time out, and came through with Assassin’s Creed: Origins, a series that took us all the way back to ancient Egypt and the dawn of the Assassin order. Featuring a massive open world, players took the role of Bayek, who acts as a Medjay, which is a sort of ancient Egyptian sheriff. This is a great excuse for doing all kinds of quests from helping a poet put on his play to protecting a village against hippo attacks. Assassin’s Creed: Origins offered nearly unlimited fun, and brought glory back to this classic series.
Family Friendly Game: Skylanders: Imaginators
Skylanders: Imaginators is one of the best, and most unique, family friendly titles ever created. Featuring cool statues that hold and save in-game characters through the use of a portal, it’s checks all the boxes for both action adventure gamers and collectors. But even that was getting a little passé, with the concept originally coming out years ago. However, Skylanders: Imaginators added something new in the form of blank crystals that could be built up into any heroes players wanted. Released in 2016 for most consoles, the game came out again for the Nintendo Switch last year, which qualified it for these awards, and lead to new votes from thousands of adoring fans.
Best Shooter: Call of Duty: WWII
Perhaps 2017 will be thought of as the year that many titles got back to their roots. If that is the case, then Sledgehammer Games and Activision’s Call of Duty: WWII fits right in. After years of lukewarm titles featuring future war scenarios, Call of Duty got back to its root with a full campaign set during the heart of World War II. In single player mode, players will do everything from hitting the beaches on D-Day to sneaking through a gestapo headquarters as a female spy to driving miles behind enemy lines to try and rescue a Jewish solder captured by a hateful Nazi commander. On the multiplayer side, we got treated to both claustrophobia-inducing street maps and long-range killing fields. And the game is still fully supported, with new maps and DLCs being released constantly by Activision.
Sports Game of the Year: NASCAR Heat 2
Another story of refresh and redemption, the original NASCAR Heat game has a lot of problems, but got a major upgrade with the release of NASCAR Heat 2. Developer 704 Games sequel to the original brought a ton more action to the track this time round. This includes realism, like adding the Monster Energy, Xfinity, and the Camping World series available to conquer. You can even compete in a whole career with your favorite driver in championship mode, driving against some vastly upgraded artificial intelligence. NASCAR Heat 2 lived up to its name, and got the checkered flag for sports titles.
Top Strategy Title: Supreme Ruler: The Great War
Strategy titles experienced a resurgence in popularity recently, with games taking players everywhere from fantasy kingdoms to deep space. But BattleGoat Studios Supreme Ruler: The Great War completely stood out from the pack by offering a deep strategic campaign, solid artificial intelligence opponents, and a historical realism that you just wont find anywhere else. Set just before World War I, Supreme Ruler: The Great War lets players take on the role of almost any nation that existed at the time. Play it straight how things really happened, or branch out and try some really innovative strategies to see how things might have been. Featuring nearly unlimited replay options, gamers can take their nation all the way into the distant future, or crash and burn anywhere along the way.
Best Simulation: SpinTires: Mudrunner
SpinTires: Mudrunner from Saber Interactive is the most fun you can have at three miles per hour. Unlike most driving or racing simulations where you go as fast as you can, navigating some of the most challenging terrain on Earth in a Soviet-built monster truck requires more strategic thinking. And these are work vehicles, the kind that real people drive to their worksites in remote parts of the world for mining or to collect timber. It’s hard to imagine a white knuckle experience when going so slowly, but that is what SpinTires: Mudrunner, the sequel to the SpinTires game of a few years ago, offers to appreciative, mud-soaked simulation gamers.
Best RPG: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Shattering expectations, and providing a reason for people to buy a Nintendo Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild breaks all the rules about what makes up a role-playing or even a Zelda title on the Nintendo platform. One of the biggest open-world RPGs around, the vast land of Hyrule is completely open for exploration. Even after the main campaign is finally completed, gamers are still finding a lot of things to do in the game, puzzles to solve and even side quests. It’s clear that Breath of the Wild not only ups the bar for Nintendo games, but for RPGs in general.
Puzzle Game of the Year: Gorogoa
Gorogoa is a remarkable achievement, when you consider that every stunning panel was hand illustrated by solo developer, Jason Roberts. Working through his development studio, Buried Signal, Roberts has created one of the most stunning indie puzzle titles in years, and that is saying a lot given that independent developers tend to push heavily into this genre. It’s actually difficult to describe the game, though our reviewer said it combined some of the mechanics of Myst with elements of hidden object games to create a gorgeous Celtic knot of images. If that does not make you want to rush out and try Gorogoa, then perhaps it’s new Puzzle Game of the Year victory will.
Best Story Elements in a Game: Attentat 1942
The hauntingly beautiful Attentat 1942 game has already picked up a lot of accolades, like a nomination in the Excellence in Narrative category at the 2018 Independent Games Festival Awards, so it was no surprise when it also earned a Gameindustry.com Game of the Year nomination for Best Story. Attentat 1942, which isn’t always easy to play, is a serious video game that shows the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia during World War II from the perspective of civilians who lived through it, and what they had to do to survive. It’s a perfect example of how videogames can become art, and earns yet another award, the Game of the Year for having the Best Story.
Most Immersive Environment: Destiny 2
Picking up where the first game left off, Bungie’s Destiny 2 gave players more of everything with the new game. In addition to shoring up some of the elements, like plot, from the first game, that also meant really concentrating on the insanely gorgeous environments that made players really believe they were fighting on different planets, in space and throughout a ruined Earth. Even the ships got a bit of an upgrade, so they were a bit more than just fancy loading screens, instead being one more element to help immerse players into the sci-fi experience that is Destiny 2.
Best Soundtrack: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
The biggest news about Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was probably the fact that this was the first title that developer Naughty Dog created since Nathan Drake retired from adventuring. But in the background, quite literally, was a killer soundtrack that tapped into all the flavor of the game’s beautiful India setting. Beyond just the atmospheric music as our new heroes traveled along, was the traditional, movie-quality soundtrack that accompanied every chase, every gunfight and every exciting, adventurous moment.
Top Videogame Character: Dan Lazarski from Observer
The Developers over at Blooper Team have given us some amazing characters, but really went over the top with Dan Lazarski from Observer. Lazarski is a detective in a Blade Runner like universe, so why not pull in legendary sci-fi actor and Runner alumni Rutger Hauer to voice him? That’s what they did, and the result is mesmerizing. Hauer might be interesting just reading the phonebook, which is a good thing because some of the longer dialog sequences within the game might start to grind with a lesser actor. Instead, we are treated to a powerful performance as Lazarski battles his own demons alongside a particularly deadly case in this broken, dystopian world.
Best Mobile Title: Snoopy Pop
Mobile gaming is more popular than ever, which might explain the enormous number of votes cast in this category. The undisputed winner is Snoopy Pop, a free to play game that has the famous Peanuts gang, and especially Snoopy, working together to save Woodstock and his friends from a rampaging group of colorful bubbles. The gameplay is simple to learn and play, yet challenging enough to keep players coming back for more. And, not only does developer Jam City keep adding more levels on top of the 100+ already in the game, but much of their profits, made from optional microtransactions, go to help animal charities.
Top Nintendo Switch Game: Super Mario Odyssey
It’s a good thing that Zelda won for RPG, because, in a surprising upset, Mario and his latest adventure, Super Mario Odyssey, takes home the crown for the Best Nintendo Switch game of the year. Super Mario Odyssey finds our hero hot on the trail of his nemesis Bowser, and trying to save Princess Peach, who has gotten kidnapped again. This time he does it with the help of a sentient hat, and through a bunch of different worlds where some look cartoonish and others are more like New York City. In this way, Super Mario Odyssey offers classic gameplay with a decidedly modern twist that is just a heck of a lot of fun to play.
Best PC Game: Divinity: Original Sin 2
When Divinity: Original Sin 2 was released, our reviewer said that it was the best PC RPG to come out in years. And although it didn’t quite make the vote in the RPG category thanks to Zelda, it easily captures the crown for PC Game of the Year. Divinity: Original Sin 2 captures the magic of PC RPG gaming in a fantastic way. The world is gorgeous. The combat is balanced and extremely tactical. And the storyline is interesting, with engaging main characters and even a great supporting cast. One wonders if the game might one day make it over to consoles, because on the PC, its earned a legion of fans, and this year’s GOTY vote for the PC platform.
Top PlayStation 4 Game: Horizon Zero Dawn
Oddly enough, it’s not often that an exclusive title captures a GOTY platform award. But Horizon Zero Dawn easily makes that leap for PlayStation 4 gamers. This is one unique game, featuring titanic, robotic dinosaurs roaming around amid a gorgeous background of snowcapped mountains and pristine forests. Into this world our player, a fiery girl named Aloy is dropped. Players are tasked with hunting those robots using a bow that is both futuristic and retro at the same time. Horizon Zero Dawn is one of those games where you can spend a lifetime just exploring the world, but there is also a deep plot to keep things interesting too. It is this unique blend of styles that helped garner the votes to declare Horizon Zero Dawn the PlayStation 4 Game of the Year.
Best Xbox One Title: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Few games have such a rich heritage as the Wolfenstein series, going all the way back to the Apple II version. A lot has changed in gaming since then, but the wolf is still among us. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is billed by developer Machine Games as an adventure title instead of a shooter, because they wanted players to experience the whole gamut that it has to offer. And they were so right about that. Besides being a solid shooter that has earned rave reviews, it also has a powerful story that is not at all safe for work. And, on the Xbox One X console, the game can really tap into all that new hardware, making it look incredible as well. All of that makes Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus the Xbox One Game of the Year.
Overall best Game of the Year: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
Players used to the wildest of wild times voted in mass to declare Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands as the overall game of the year for 2017. And why not? This amazing firecracker of a game features a ridiculously large open-world map that pretty much encompasses the entire country of Bolivia. Taking on the role of four ghosts, special forces operatives with no direct connection back to the United States government, you fight a vicious drug cartel on their own terms, which is to say, without any rules. And the cartel is ruthless, fighting players in the air, over water and on the ground, in villages, cities and the deep jungle.
And even though it can take hundreds of hours to finish the main story, developers Massive and Ubisoft Paris are not sitting on their haunches. Many DLC packs have already been released that expand the game in unique and interesting ways, and that includes both single player and multiplayer additions. Ubisoft has even announced that a second season of DLC content, featuring special guests from other games, is in the works. So, it looks like we will be playing Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, the overall winner for 2017’s Game of the Year, well into the future.
Developers: 704Games, BattleGoat Studios, Bloober Team, Bungie, Buried Signal, Guerilla Games, Jam City, Larian, Machine Games, Massive, Naughty Dog, Saber Interactive, Sledgehammer Games, StudioMDHR, Toys for Bob, Ubisoft Paris
Platforms: Android, iOS, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One