Our 2017 Game of the Year and the Runner-Ups

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The Legend of Zelda, Breath of the WildNintendo

It’s that time of the year again and we here at Heavy have narrowed down our top three games of 2017. These titles were decided among the entire writing staff via a vote amongst the year’s best titles. No one person made the decision and we looked for games that offered everything from a solid story, great gameplay, strong art direction, and a general quality above normal titles. Below are top three games of 2017, but first here are a few honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

  • Persona 5
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Splatoon 2
  • Cuphead
  • Nioh

3) Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Resident Evil 7, Capcom

The Resident Evil series has had a rather bumpy ride over the past few years thanks to Capcom’s focus on action over the survival horror genre it helped spawn. Then came along Resident Evil 7 which not only embraced its past but brought the terror to a first-person perspective.  Set in a dilapidated southern plantation, players assume the role of Ethan who is searching for his presumably deceased wife, Mia. This journey leads him on a hellish ride as he is stalked by twisted abominations and the horrific Baker family.

Resident Evil 7 overshadows its competition thanks to the absolutely terrific sound design and atmosphere it produces. The plantation oozes with personality, as every creak, groan, and decoration tells the tragic story of this family.  This title absolutely embraces that grimy Texas Chainsaw Massacre aesthetic, which helps create some fresh scares for the genre.The voice acting and characters are strong across the board, with the patriarch of the Baker family, Jack, absolutely stealing the show.

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Where RE7 really shines is in the meticulous pacing, backed by fantastic gameplay. While players can run and hide, fighting back is also a viable option in this title. However, resources are precious so users will need to scrounge for materials if they hope to endure this nightmare. Puzzles are deliciously devious and the boss fights provide unique, unsettling experiences. Resident Evil 7 is a truly fantastic game that helps give this entire genre the shot in the arm it desperately needed. Providing the scariest gaming experience of 2017, this is a horror game that needs to be experienced.


2) Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey

Nintendo

Coming in at number two is Nintendo’s latest entry in their iconic mascot’s long line of games, Super Mario Odyssey. Delivering one of the best platforming titles ever created, Nintendo has refined and polished Super Mario Odyssey to pure perfection. Set across a plethora of gorgeous worlds, users can jump, dive, butt stomp, and possess their way through these intricately designed levels. The big twist this time is Mario can throw his hat at enemies or specific objects to possess them. This allows the player to control that item, which opens the door for a wealth of clever puzzles and jumping sections.

Visually, Odyssey is an explosion of color and personality, thanks to the great art direction by Nintendo. Characters are memorable, worlds are full of fun twists on existing staples, and hunting for Power Moons is incredibly addicting. It’s shocking just how solid the movement controls feel and Odyssey’s design allows for some truly wacky, creative platforming moments. Every moment feels perfectly designed and selected to not only challenge players but put a dumb smile on their face as well. Super Mario Odyssey is an amazing game and serves as one of the plumber’s best core entries in his illustrious series.


Game of the Year – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild

The first major game released for Nintendo’s new console is also the best of the entire year. Breath of the Wild is a masterclass in game design, offering one of the single most memorable experiences of the modern era. Players once again take control of Link, who has awaken in the land of Hyrule 100 years after Calamity Ganon killed four mighty champions and infected the world with his dark magic. While the story itself is standard for a Zelda game, the unique characters and addition of voice overs help flesh out important, emotional moments. You feel the weight of the world on Link’s shoulders and the stakes feel quite tangible. Almost every person you come across is instantly memorable thanks to their wonderful and often charming personalities.

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Visually this game is astounding, with gorgeous art direction that makes Breath of the Wild feel like a painting in motion. Colors pop and the enemies all have distinct designs that make them easily recognizable in all the chaos. Combat is fast and fluid, with a new durability mechanic forcing users to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. Enemies hit far harder this time around and Breath of the Wild encourages players to experiment. The world reacts in astoundingly realistic ways, so if you think you can do something there’s a good chance it’s possible.

Puzzles are broken up across 100+ Shrines that act as mini-dungeons scattered across the land. These puzzles can range from mundane to jaw-droppingly creative. Many of these stand out as some of the best in the entire franchise and can eat away dozens upon dozens of hours. Couple this with the creative side quests, fun boss fights, varied environments, and outstanding sound design to get the single best game of the year. Breath of the Wild is a title that will define the open world genre for a very long time. In a year packed with amazing video games of all shapes and sizes, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild stands above them all as the best game of 2017/

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