Even though 2017 was an amazing year for games; I really did not play many games released throughout the year; in fact, I played a tiny amount of games released in 2017. It made picking my GOTY much easier than it has been previously though – and that is something that I can get on-board with!
To make matters worse for myself I actually have a number of games sitting on my console that I’ve only gotten round to playing for a few hours at most; (for a multitude of reasons) perhaps my biggest title is Horizon Zero Dawn which I bought on sale a few weeks ago.
All things considered though, I’ve had an amazing year of gaming; it’s just that the ones I was playing were released between 2014 & 2016!
I have no regrets!
As always the rules for GOTY are as follows:
- I must have played the game (sorry HZD)
- It must have been released (in its entirety) between 1/1/2017 & 31/12/2017
- It can not be a straight up HD remaster
3) Friday the 13th: The Game
This was a game that I was hyped for way back when it was called “Slasher Volume 1: Summer Camp”; I was so hyped for the game that I backed it on kickstarter and patiently waited for it to be released, once it did (way back in May) I then patiently waited for October to roll round so I could play it in the season that Illfonic intended…
…and I’m glad I did! When it released it was an unbalanced, unoptimised “mess” with a whole host of server and connection issues – by October Illfonic had gotten the game into a much better shape.
Friday The 13th: The Game (henceforth F13) is quite simply unique, it is an asymmetrical multiplayer game in which (up to) 7 counselors have to survive a night whilst being hunted by another player who is in control of Jason. This is not like the other asymmetrical games you may have played (*cough*Evolve*cough*), this game is actually brilliantly designed and it is an absolute blast to play!
Moment to moment gameplay is extremely tense and it can make completing tasks extremely difficult; the game is brutal with its difficulty and it makes no apologies with making Jason overpowered as all hell – it’s the way it should be for god damn sake! Voice chat is limited to proximity which is a design choice that shouldn’t be overlooked; it means that you can only coordinate whilst close to other players, but it also means that Jason can overhear everything! Whispering is the order of the day and it adds so much to the horror of the experience; it is masterful.
There are a lot of systems in play here; every counselor has individual stats that do make a difference, noise, fear, stamina and time all play massive roles within each and every game. Everytime you see Jason you descend into a deeper fear, making more noise and become less and less stealthy – all the while becoming a bigger target to Jason, and a bigger danger to any other counselors in your vicinity!
Each and every game genuinely plays out differently, there is never 2 games that are the same; and the community (on PS4) is absolutely brilliant; they welcome new players and will show you the ropes – there are also a number of jokers out there who will make your playtime utterly memorable.
There is a lot to love here, sure it’s not perfect and it’s certainly a work in progress but what’s here is so designed to offer the player fun, fear and a sense of accomplishment that it is extremely difficult to not recommend you buy this game; especially as it is on offer at the minute!
I love the authenticity of the experience, the pure fear and horror at every moment (especially when being chased by Jason with the theme tune in full flow) as well as the amazing community make this an absolute winner and one of my favourite games this year!
2) WipEout Omega Collection
WipEout is a game series that I used to adore on PSOne, I played the hell out of the demo on Demo One, I bought that first game and got to grips with its ridiculously twitchy controls. I then bought 2097 and loved the hell out of it; I did the same with Wip3out and then…
…I didn’t play another title in the franchise until University when I was introduced to WipEout HD Fury…
…and whilst it was great fun, I played it for a week and never really went back to it. And I went back to ignoring the franchise until June this year and the release of the Omega Collection. I was ridiculously excited for this release because of the PlayStation retro sleeve the game came in; I was not expecting the game to sink its claws into me as much as it did and I certainly would not have predicted the amount of time I would sink into it eventually placing it securely in my top 3 games of the year!
Let’s start by saying that this is the best racing game of the year, as well one of the most generous titles I have every bought – it is heaving with content as much as it supplies superlative racing action. The game is absolutely beautiful (running in native 4K on PRO), runs perfectly at a full 60 fps regardless of PS4 model and it sounds phenomenal with a soundtrack that would not be out-of-place in an Ibiza nightclub. The visual/audio package assaults your senses and sucks you into the gameworld but it never overwhelms you. The racing takes the centre stage at all times and it is superlative, perfect even!
Everything on track will test your skill; on every level you will have to make split second decisions on when to overtake, when to defend your position, when to use a weapon offensively and when to convert them to energy – making the wrong decision will cost you position or even the race! Sure there’s restarts but it’s all part of the experience – the sense of satisfaction when you complete a tough challenge is hard to describe!
This game looks, runs and plays absolutely perfectly – and again it is impossible not to recommend this game as a purchase; a game that illustrates Sony’s ridiculous strength in-depth of their first/second party library and heritage! Roll on the free VR update!
1) Resident Evil VII
Here it is, my Game of the Year. Resident Evil VII had absolutely no right to be as good as it was, here we have a franchise that Capcom was doing a sterling job is absolutely burying it in a shallow grave of mediocrity…
…but then, in 2016 they showed all us fans that they were listening to us; first they announced REmake 2 and then they dropped this on us. A game that successfully captured what made 1-3 so frightening, so good and brought it all kicking and screaming into the current gen whilst simultaneously merging it with modern-day survival horror trappings and creating a masterpiece. The pinnacle of the genre and a modern classic!
Why did I make a game released in January my GOTY?
To put it simply, PSVR support. I played through the vast majority of this game in VR and it was, not only, my experience of the year but the best gaming experience I have ever had. It turned a scary game into a horrfying one; I spent 10 minutes looking at a door in REVII because I was too frightened to walk through it…
…I also had to take regular breaks after jump scares – a few times these breaks came by my taking the headset off, post-haste! I also had a massive amount of fun; those first few hours are amazing – refusing to open doors because of sounds you can hear on the other side, solving puzzles whilst being chased by the Bakers and getting the living daylights scared out of you at dinner, in the garage, in the old house, in the gardens, everywhere!
I’ve never been so frightened by a game before, I’ve never been so engaged by a game before, I’ve never experienced anything quite like REVII in VR – it truly was a transformative experience. Game changing. Must play!
VR really is the only way of experiencing REVII and I hope that when/if PCVR support gets added you go back and enjoy the ride of a lifetime – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, REVII is VR’s killer app – it changes the experience in a multitude of ways and it creates an experience so intense that it really should come with a health warning! Those dev’s didn’t lie when they said they were holding nothing back from the VR mode; and I am certainly glad they were men of their word!
I absolutely adored this game and with a whole host of DLC released steadily over the year there is a lot of game to enjoy here!
Just buy it!
What was your GOTY 2017? Tell me in the comments/twitter/facebook!
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