Way Too Many Games’ GOTY 2017
What a year it’s been for gaming! After a lot of voting, debates, and passionate arguments, the Way Too Many Games team finally has a verdict on our top games of 2017. Cue the drumroll, draw the curtain, let’s get this show started.
Melina Juergens for Senua in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was an all around success. From its strong storytelling to the noteworthy motion capture, Ninja Theory was full of surprises for us. But none so surprising as the work of the talented Melina Juergens. Juergens is a photographer and video editor who worked with Ninja Theory on DmC: Devil May Cry both editing for their marketing campaign, and modeling as Dante’s mother. After modeling for Senua, Juergens ultimately fell into the role during screen tests. Since then, she took home an award from this year’s Game Awards for her memorable performance. Here’s to seeing more of her acting in future games. Perhaps a Hellblade or DmC follow up?
Game soundtracks tend to come and go very quickly with only the rare standouts. Composed by Keiichi Okabe and Keigo Hoashi, NieR: Automata‘s soundtrack stands out above the rest this year. With a fully composed score and choir, the game’s soundtrack dances through different genres, often evoking feelings of something ancient and mechanical. Many of the melodies are reminiscent of the MIDI songs from earlier JRPGs such as Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. I believe that Okabe and Hoashi’s work is what all other titles should be aspiring to.
The long awaited indie turned double platinum had us begging on our knees for a release date. After its original announcement at E3 2014, Cuphead went dark during much of its development process. Only resurfacing a few times prior to E3 2017, excited fans had almost given up, but a late Q3 release proved to be more than worth the wait. Cuphead‘s boss-centric battles, nostalgic side scrolling levels, and beautiful 1930s inspired artwork come together to create a masterpiece. Each boss offers a uniquely individual challenge that players will need to be patiently observant in order to defeat. Thanks for coming through for us Studio MDHR.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice delivered a wonderful story filled with mystery that gripped players from start to finish. At the open, players know only that a darkness has covered Senua for most of her life and she is haunted by voices that no one else can hear. She’s seeking her lost love, Dillion, and we know only that he lies somewhere in the realm of the gods. It’s in the best interest of Surtr, Vahlraven, and Hel to stop Senua at all costs, throwing never-ending waves of drauger at her.
Told in the style of the mankind vs gods tales of classic Greek and Norse mythology, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice manages to capture the emotion behind the insurmountable odds that have carried such stories through centuries. In what was perhaps the writer’s greatest feat, we came to care about Senua and her plight long before her back story is revealed late into the second act. Bravo Ninja Theory, and here’s to seeing more of your team’s talent.
2017’s Game of the Year is…
NieR: Automata‘s reception during the game’s announcement was indeed a mixed bag. Fans of the original were disappointed that it wasn’t a direct sequel, while others found results of the free-form camera to be downright laughable. While it did improve the game’s general reception, even the downloadable demo failed to amaze.
But how wrong we were to judge so soon. NieR: Automata released this year on February 23rd and quickly proved to gamers that it deserved far more credit than we were initially willing to give it. While the existential story itself is good, it’s the method of unfolding 2B and 9S’s stories that makes NieR: Automata so unique.
2017 was filled with underwhelming AAA titles, but it turned out to be the year of the underdog. Here’s to another year of great gaming in 2018.