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Game of the Year Awards 2017

We pick out some of the best titles from the year that was

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Introduction  |  Gameplay Awards  |  Special Awards  |  Genre Awards  |  GOTY

Best Story
best story 2017 Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus winner badge Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

"Though the premise for the story sounds relatively straightforward, what happens within these parameters is anything but. The New Colossus has a lot of cutscenes and dialogue, with an overall larger focus on storytelling than its predecessor. Fortunately, this is a story worth paying attention to, as it boldly tackles racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and all of the nasty stuff that has been normalized under a fascist regime. Scenes will go from funny and light-hearted to brutal and heartbreaking in a flash, with abrupt tonal shifts, vivid imagery and dialogue that would make the likes of Quintin Tarantino proud." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Horizon Zero Dawn, Yakuza 0, What Remains of Edith Finch


Best Graphics (Art)
best graphics art 2017 Cupheadwinner badge Cuphead

"Cuphead’s aesthetic is unique and feels authentic. It’s easy to look at the game and drool over the hand-drawn animations, and each boss battle has its own unique setting. There are many moments where the bullet-hell nature of Cuphead means you’ll be so focused on maneuvering the character and looking for safe space, you’ll hardly have time to appreciate the art of the game. It almost makes you wish that you were watching someone else play Cuphead so you could fully enjoy the game’s art-style." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: Persona 5, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pyre


Best Graphics (Technical)
Best Graphics (Technical) 2017 Uncharted: The Lost Legacywinner badge Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

"It wouldn’t be an Uncharted title without it pushing the processing power of the console to its limits. Even using a launch PS4, the game looks absolutely astounding, with amazing colors and lighting, beautiful scenery and gorgeous vistas, and fantastic effects. And equally as impressive is the attention to detail in the environments and the facial animation of the characters, which is impeccable and packed with lifelike detail." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Horizon Zero Dawn, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Forza Motorsport 7


Best Music
best music 2017 Cuphead winner badge Cuphead

Composed by Kristofer Maddigan, the Cuphead OST features nearly 3 hours of original jazz, early big band, and ragtime music. Each song is played by live musicians, including a 13-piece big band, 10-piece ragtime ensemble, a solo pianist, a vocalist, a tap dancer, and a few surprises."The music is fun and true to the time period of the 1930’s animation." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: Destiny 2, Nex Machina, Persona 5


Best Sound Design
best sound 2017 Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice winner badge Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

"Hellblade is one of the best arguments to-date for why binaural sound recording in video games should be looked into more. The ability to isolate certain sounds to particular ears allows Senua's many voices to pour in from every angle, affording a constant sense of disorientation that communicates well the degree of strain the protagonist is under. Turning corners would often be met by frets of paranoia, and my attempts to find my way around were constantly berated by jeering laughter. In many cases the voices appeared to quarrel amongst themselves, which left me constantly doubting their intentions." - Charlie Nicholson

Honorable Mentions: Forza Motorsport 7, Horizon Zero Dawn, Star Wars: Battlefront II


Best Atmosphere
best atmosphere 2017 Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice winner badge Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

"Much of Senua's odyssey surrounds the corrupted "Hela"; a torturous alter-world of jumbled memories, fears and - somewhere deep in there - reality "as is". The world changes as Senua grows more distressed; illuminated Norse runes spatter the field of vision, while various auditory hallucinations gnaw Senua constantly in attempt to confuse, frighten and mock her actions. Pathways might suddenly disappear from sight, requiring you to use special archways to see things clearly, or a malicious voice may purposefully lead you down the wrong path. As a result, you're left in waters similarly uncertain to those of the game's heroine; an effect entirely befitting of a game that seeks to explore intense psychological stress." - Charlie Nicholson

Honorable Mentions: Prey, Resident Evil 7, Yakuza 0


Best Voice Acting
best voice acting 2017 Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus winner badge Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

"The New Colossus has a lot of cutscenes and dialogue, with an overall larger focus on storytelling than its predecessor. They are all well produced with excellent voice acting. The resistance are made up of a diverse cast of well developed new and returning characters who add a lot of texture to the narrative, and the villain is thoroughly evil and highly memorable." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Horizon Zero Dawn, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice


Most Memorable Character
Most Memorable Character 2017 Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice winner badge Senua (Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice)

"Ever since Heavenly Sword, Ninja Theory has been something of a motion capture extraordinaire, and the expertise certainly shows through the integration of Melina Juergens. Alone an expertly vulnerable play of fury, exasperation and (more heartbreakingly) sheer numbness, Jeurgen's performance is impressive considering the constraints motion capture acting presents, but her presence within the tormented world of her character is so well transcribed into Unreal Engine that it never once felt forced or out of place." - Charlie Nicholson

Honorable Mentions: Rachel Amber - Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Mae Borowski - Night in the Woods, Aloy - Horizon Zero Dawn


Best Original Gameplay Design
Best Original Gameplay Design 2017 Pyre winner badge Pyre

"While the words “unique gameplay” are thrown around a lot, it’s rare that developers are actually inventing a new type of game. Usually the mechanics and systems are easily described by a tradition of what came before them. Even something like Supergiant’s previous effort Transistor felt somewhat familiar in terms of its mechanics. But Pyre is an invented sport, like Blood Bowl or Quidditch - something riffing on familiar sports motifs, but new nonetheless. It asks so many interesting questions of the player all while inventing gameplay mechanics and fast-paced action that I think some long-running sports franchises would be jealous of." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, What Remains of Edith Finch, For Honor


Best Singleplayer
Best singleplayer 2017 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild winner badge The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

"That landscape is what makes Breath of the Wild something special. It’s a game that begs to be experienced with pauses to make camp out in the wilderness, or to have strange ruins catch your eye and distract you from the main quests. I loved finding the safe havens of Gorons, Zoras, Gerudos, and Rito throughout the world and learning about the traditional Zelda races, but after every dungeon was complete I always found myself excited to be back on the road, wandering the kingdom again, scaling towers to unlock a little bit more of the map and see what lay beyond the next horizon. I loved exploring the world so much, that I even found where it ends." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: Horizon Zero Dawn, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Prey


Best Multiplayer
Best Multiplayer 2017 PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds winner badge PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

"Though it can certainly be very frustrating to play for the better part of thirty minutes only to die from an unseen sniper without firing a single shot yourself, the flip side is that when you do have a good round and the many variables align in your favor, PUBG can offer up some of the most intense and exciting moments gaming has to offer. Quick matchmaking and a huge playerbase allow PUBG’s Battle Royale mode to shine, with each round playing out differently thanks to a randomized ever-shrinking play area keeping things fresh after hundreds of hours." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Splatoon 2, Cuphead, Destiny 2


Best Gameplay
Best gameplay 2017 Cupheadwinner badge Cuphead

"The craftsman-like expertise of Cuphead's gameplay is truly impressive. I've played my fair share of 2D side-scrolling action games and this is about as good as it gets when it comes to the second-to-second action. As you master Cuphead, you truly feel like a champion. Each fight pushes back, testing your skill, and it can be a struggle to get to that victory screen, but as you perfect your ability to control the little animated protagonist, the reward is a delight. Cuphead demands perfection, but gives you the tools to actually perform flawlessly. This kind of well-crafted challenge is difficult and it's astounding to see Studio MDHR execute it with an almost nonchalant attitude." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: Horizon Zero Dawn, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Prey


The Awards continue on the next page!


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