It’s crunch time for us gamers. We need to play all the titles we missed as we deliberate picks for Game of the Year. 2017 has followed the two years prior as another great one for gamers.
The GameLuster staff are picking their GOTYs as I write. After each staff member’s picks have been revealed, GameLuster’s overall GOTY will be determined (easier said than done, I’m sure).
First up, Christine and Dougie share their top favorites.
Christine McGahhey’s 2017 GOTY Picks
Horizon Zero Dawn
The moment I saw that first teaser for Horizon Zero Dawn during E3 I knew I needed this game. There are several great open world games, however this has been my favorite to explore.
Everything about it was made with care and well planned. The weather patterns, different ecotopes, and the creatures are all intelligent and lifelike. The world that Guerrilla Games created feels authentic and endless. Their AI makes every encounter and moment unique. Even when replaying the same events the outcome can be different. Players make choices that really affect the story and feel important. What type of hunter am I? Do I answer in a way that shows empathy or strength? Every decision took consideration on my part. I was fully invested every time I talked to someone or chose my next ability. I love this game not only because I can explore and learn about the characters and machines within, but because I felt like I was part of their world. I learned more about myself through Aloy and connected with her on a deeper level than protagonists of the past. This game made me feel the rush of battle, the calm of a quiet forest, the nervousness of exploring something new or forbidden, and empathy for my tribe.
After backing Pinstripe on Kickstarter I waited anxiously for the game to arrive. This puzzle game was created solely by Thomas Brush and includes hauntingly beautiful artwork, music, and atmosphere. I choose what to buy based on style and overall design, so I instantly fell in love with this game. The story is slowly revealed as you rescue your daughter Bo from the devilish Pinstripe, with the help of your trusty dog George. The game is relatively short and can be completed within a couple hours, however I went back again to unlock more secrets and find anything I may have missed before.
The story isn’t explicitly told to you, there’s a mystery about it. My mind was fully devoted not only to solving the game’s puzzles but to piecing together the story, coming up with theories of what happened on my own.
Pinstripe is engaging, frustrating at times, and simply impressive knowing the entire world came from the imagination of one man.
Dougie Powell’s 2017 GOTY Pick
For me, the choice was easy.
Not only is Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator an amazing, well written game, with interesting characters and heart-warming at its very core, it’s an inspiration to all budding game developers. It was made with Unity on a low budget, but thanks to all the work that the artists, writers and especially the composers put into it, they created a real piece of art. It was published by a Let’s Play channel for goodness’ sake!
Every day I log onto Tumblr and see new ways that Dream Daddy touched people’s lives. I’ve never seen an indie game with such detailed characters. The relationship between Amanda and her Dad in particular is almost unbearably touching!
I’ve played a lot of good games this year. Shadow of War lived up to most of my expectations and indie-game Glo brought a creepy edge to puzzle games. But when I consider all the games I’ve ever played, Dream Daddy already shines out above the classics. It’s my favorite game this year and possibly the best queer game ever made.
Editor’s note: On December 21st, at 9:36 PM CST, a typo was corrected in this story. The line at the start of the second paragraph for “Pinstripe” had read: “The story isn’t implicitly told to you, there’s a mystery about it.” Now it correctly reads: “The story isn’t explicitly told to you, there’s a mystery about it.”