You’ve seen each staff member’s list. You’ve read about games you played and loved, played and disliked, or never played, but are now eager to check out. We, now, announce the overall Game of the Year recipient at GameLuster. It will be at the top of a list of five games that were chosen by considering each staff member’s list and how games were placed on them. The list and top pick were also discussed by the staff before being finalized.
5.) Super Mario Odyssey
Nintendo’s latest Super Mario was listed by Emmaline, as her only entry, and by Sean, who placed it at #3. Each highlighted the game’s transformation ability, via Cappy, as an essential and refreshing part of the gameplay. Sean said that Odyssey is “pound-for-pound, one of the best games of all time”, loved the “sandboxy worlds”, and praised the soundtrack. Emmaline said that she is “addicted” and that the maps “are aesthetically pleasing and easy to glide through.”
Sean also reviewed Odyssey for GameLuster, giving it a perfect 10 and saying, “Odyssey is a crowning achievement that will stand out in the hearts of gamers for years to come [.]”
It is GameLuster’s fifth best game of 2017.
4.) Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerrilla Games’ open-world action role-playing title was listed by Christine, Simon, and Haley.
Christine, who listed the game in addition to just one other (Pinstripe), said “The world that Guerrilla Games created feels authentic and endless….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.”
Simon, who listed the game as second of three, said, “Every inch of the world is filled with interesting narrative and character, and the echoes of the past in the narrative and ruins of the old world encourage you to seek out answers.”
Haley, whose only entry was Horizon Zero Dawn, said, “The dialogue and voice acting are filled with emotion that never lets up” and “Aloy, the main character, was easy to connect with, and effortlessly pulled me deeper into the game.”
GameLuster gave the game a 9.5 out of 10, saying, “Horizon is a game which really lets you choose your own path. You can follow the story which is brilliant, or you can go out on your own exploring different cities, doing side quests, taking on bandit camps and battling some of the toughest machines the world has to offer. No matter what way you want to approach the game, it has something good to offer.”
It is GameLuster’s fourth best game of 2017.
3.) Persona 5
Persona 5 was listed by Robert, Tow, John, and Sean.
Robert, who placed the game as first among five, said that it’s “one of the most stylish showings of the year, with every frame being a treat to view” and that “unlike most games this year, it didn’t need a big open world with countless side quests or an endless grind for loot to keep things fresh.”
Tow, who listed it as his only entry, noted his “fan bias” towards Persona but said this one went beyond even his expectations: “The game smashed my expectations at every turn, delivering in every department be it art, sound, gameplay or story. Everything was polished to near perfection.”
John, who listed the game second of four, said, “The anime cutscenes are beautiful, the voice-acting professional, and the soundtrack quite catchy. Further, it elevates gameplay and mechanics to a new high. If you’re a fan of the series, this is the next-gen Persona game you were waiting for, and if you’re not, Persona 5 is sure to convert you.”
Sean, who slipped the game in as fifth on his list of five, noted he preferred Persona 3 and 4, but that this entry nonetheless “is an elite JRPG and a compelling showcase that Japanese developers are still producing games with elements that the West can’t entirely emulate.”
GameLuster did not review Persona 5, but list it as the third best game of 2017.
2.) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo’s critically lauded Wii U and Switch Zelda title was included in Robert’s list as second of five, Jorge’s list along with one honorable mention, my own (Trevor’s) list as first of five, and Sean’s list as second of five.
Robert, noting the game’s openness, said, “The game was built to reward curious minds at every turn, and rarely if ever tells the player not to do something. If you want to dress Link up in crazy outfits, you can. If you want to ride up to an enemy on your horse, launch yourself up in the air, and peg them in the head with an arrow, you totally can.”
Jorge, noting that story is told through gameplay rather than each being separate, said, “What drives my enjoyment of the game … is neither the parts in themselves nor the sum of all of them, but the fact that it is a contemporary experience driven completely by the player’s gameplay” and that “Zelda unashamedly wears its medium on its sleeve, its breastpocket even, and shows its courage in a market dominated by visual novels and interactive movies. And for that, it deserves nothing short of my respect and gratitude.” Jorge also wrote extensively about exploration in BotW in his "Going Your Own Way" stories.
Speaking on my expectations for it to be a console A Link Between Worlds, I said, “I expected BotW to be that, if not a “Zelda Scrolls” experience. What Nintendo created is neither of those, and is just as fun and enchanting as if it had been either of those.”
Sean said, “BotW is based on a physics system that "just works," and this change gives players a rare level of autonomy, one that revolutionizes the series in a way nearly as significant as its foray into 3D with Ocarina of Time.”
GameLuster’s Simon Smith reviewed the game, giving it 9.5 out of 10, and saying, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a standout entry in Nintendo’s long running franchise.”
We place it as the second best game of 2017.
1.) NieR: Automata
NieR placed first on three lists: Andrew placed it first of three, John placed it first of four, and Sean placed it first of five. Andrew and John said the game is not only their favorite of 2017 but one of their favorites of all time.
Andrew acknowledged that the game does not appear accessible, but that this is deceiving: “You walk past it on the shelves, marking it off as a “super-complex” Japanese RPG that you wouldn’t understand, even if you tried. And you notice the short skirt on the heroine, 2B, and mark it off in your mind for other reasons. Maybe you’ve seen gameplay, and notice that it looks like nothing more than a convoluted hack’n’slash, and marked it off for that reason. Here’s the deal. All of that is wrong.” He said that, “Everything comes together, all the strings of story and little pieces of dialogue that may seem to be inconsequential at the time, will arrive at the same junction of narrative perfection, coming together to create a beautiful masterpiece of a game.” Further, he shared that Automata “takes the #1 spot for my personal favorite game of all time.”
John said that “I’m not typically a fan of the hack and slash or bullet hell genres, but NieR blew my mind.” He also said it’s probably one of his five favorite games ever.
Sean said, “While not perfect in its execution, Automata's ambitious nature plants it firmly as an experience that can only happen in a video game… The heartbreaking, nihilistic tone evoked by (the perhaps insane) Yoko Taro makes me excited to see where he goes next.”
All three praised the soundtrack.
GameLuster did not review NieR: Automata, but grants it its Game of the Year award for 2017. Congratulations to NieR: Automata, Square Enix, and Yoko Taro!
Additionally, thank you to the games industry for a smashing 2017, and thank you to everyone for reading us.
Here's to more great games in 2018!