And now it’s time… The top five games of the year, according to the staff and writers here at NGB. This year has been astonishing for games, with so many games not hitting our top ten that could have been genuine contenders any other year. With that said, let’s just get on with it, shall we?
5 – PERSONA 5
Nick: There’s something very special about the way Persona 5 infuses its many ideas. A deep and sometimes complex game that balances a mundane daily routine with a dark and twisted narrative exceptionally well -stylised to perfection and addictive almost to a fault.
Deb: The Persona series is one of my most favourite JRPG’s ever and I had been waiting a long time for this latest release in the series. I absolutely love the visual design and musical scores and this release goes above and beyond, it’s gorgeous! The animated cutscenes and voice actors are perfect in their delivery and the story this time has taken a darker yet interesting route. I always fall in love with the characters and their personalities, and uncovering their own personal storylines leads to some deep stuff. The exploration and turn based combat is a returning comfort and the design is so well thought out in every nook and cranny. Whilst some may bore of the day to day routines, I take great pleasure in uncovering the characters daily lives and facing the consequences of my actions; I certainly don’t like failing the classroom questions! Even if you aren’t a JRPG fan, Persona 5 is one you should certainly make an exception for.
Robin: I can clarify how good Persona 5 is a little by letting you first know that I usually hate turn-based Rpgs. Despite that, the Persona series always manages to draw me in through its mixture of everyday Japanese life, fantastical monster fighting and crazy relationship simulation. Building and maintaining your social life and friendships is much more gripping than you would imagine, and the cast of characters are all lovable and relateable, despite the often crazy story developments. The art style and music are also fantastic, making this a tremendous all around package. It is hard to accurately describe a Persona title without letting someone play it, but the success that Persona 5 had this year is more than justified, and I couldn’t be happier that the series has finally found the praise and mainstream success it deserves in the West.
4 – DESTINY 2
Ben: I really, really enjoyed the original Destiny, before dropping off it massively when it started to introduce all kinds of new mechanics with no discernible tutorials given. All you need to know about Destiny 2 is that I’d put more hours into it after 5 weeks than I had into the entirety of the first game over the course of 3 years. A brilliant game that seems to be standing the test of time so far…
Kieran: Destiny 2 can be praised for many things whether for its story, beautiful in-game vistas or technically accomplished audio. These amongst others are valid reasons why Destiny 2 deserves to ride high on the GOTY list but the one thing that elevates Destiny 2 into the annals of gaming history, for me, is its approach to co-operative gaming.
Many games offer a co-op game mode which tends to be the single-player experience with another player. Destiny 2, however, completely knocked my tits off with its raid gameplay. The raid in Destiny 2 is unlike anything I’ve experienced before it and sprays shame on other games claiming to be co-operative experiences. Spread across various stages, each with their own mechanics and systems to learn, The Leviathan raid requires genuine communication between the 6-person party during the 7+ hours it takes to complete it. Everyone has a role to play and success or failure is made that ever more sweet or bitter knowing that you’ve had a hand in the outcome. All of this makes completing the Raid a genuinely exhilarating and emotional experience, something that I doubt I’ll feel in a game again in a long time (until the next expansion).
Nico: By far the game I have played the most this game with 356 hours of total game time and Destiny 2 only came out in September! Destiny 2 combines the spectacular gunplay from the first game with a far better story and loads more activities to do to get you through the “grind”. Easily my GOTY.
Nick: There’s plenty of debate around Destiny 2’s floundering end game and missing game modes that taint Bungie’s sequel, but what can’t be denied is that it’s still one of the finest feeling shooters around that when combined with friends can come together to create memorable experiences and generation defining memories. Whilst it feel like the game is not quite fully realised as yet, a wonderful foundation has been created.
3 – SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY
Andy: Another strong reinvention by Nintendo, Odyssey takes the familiarity of Mario and finds fascinating ways of subverting it. Visually amazing, wonderfully portable and packed full of whimsy from start to finish.
Gari: Charming, fun and an absolute blast to play. Not only does it have some of the greatest level design in any 3D platformer ever, the game also has nostalgia filled moments as well. One of the best 3D Mario titles ever and another plus point to buy a Nintendo Switch for.
Charles: This has been a tremendous effort from Nintendo. It is filled with something for everyone from those that needed a nostalgic kick to those that love testing their platforming ability. The main story is “short” for those that are simply casually playing, yet the 100% completionist will keep going back for hours (speed runners are hitting the 1:20 mark for an any % run, where as it takes 12 hours for a 100%. There’s lots to do.)!
Nick: It feels like Nintendo can’t help but hit everything out of the park right now, and the latest outing from our favourite plumber is no exception. The game is full of charming nods to past Mario titles whilst inevitably nailing new mechanics that I was heavily sceptical about. Now more than ever it’s apparent that Nintendo truly understand what gaming at its core is really all about, and it’s a testament to the year we’ve had that this hasn’t been my top pick.
Matt S: If there was ever any doubt about Breath of the Wild’s credentials as the undisputed champion of 2017, it could only ever have come from Nintendo themselves. Mario Odyssey would, any other year, have been a clear winner in its own right, with the chirpy plumber returning to the same kind of form that made 3D platforming the most popular game in town back in the 64-Bit era. Mario Odyssey is bold, beautiful and crammed with both character and challenge in equal measure. It is new and innovative whilst at the same time, as familiar as your favorite pair of pants. Don’t think: just buy.
2 – THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD
Matt S: Without doubt the best game ever made, expect fans of Microsoft and Sony consoles to bleat about low frame rates and suchlike, but be happy, because if you’ve got Breath of the Wild, you’re part of a select club of gamers who know what true genius looks like. You’ve seen past the marketing, the hype and the utterly pointless fuckery of 4K in lieu of gameplay. You’re here to play a game, man, and Nintendo have you covered. There are no other close contenders for GOTY 2017. Even Nintendo fall short of their own genius, but everyone else? Everyone else is miles away.
Jonny: Not as inventive or shiny as Mario Odyssey, not as funny as Kingdom Battle and not as strong narratively as Horizon: Zero Dawn, But BoTW deserves to be the game of the year for its world building. Hyrule feels more real than any other open-world I can think of; the logic you use to get around makes perfect sense, which is something games seem to get wrong quite a lot.
Deb: I’ll admit, I’m probably not the biggest Zelda fan here but my god, this game is just a masterpiece! The painted visuals and scenery, heck even the whole world just have me lost in its beauty. I can just find the perfect spot at sunset, set up a fire to bake some apples and just forget all my woes alongside the beautiful musical score. I wouldn’t even like to count the amount of screenshots I’ve saved so far! The puzzles and trials are trying and infuriating, yet their completion is so satisfying, as is finding them. The combat gives me the freedom to play to my own style, often observing and sneaking to gain the advantage or going in arrows blazing. I will admit, most of my time has been spent exploring, cooking and hiding from the electrifying storms. I have honestly just lost myself in the beauty of Hyrule helped by the non linear gameplay.
Ben: Having not really been grabbed by a whole host of Zelda games (I know, sue me) aside from Link’s Awakening, Breath of the Wild made me sit up and take notice. I bought the Switch to play it, and the physics alone put it right up there. The way every system interacts with every other system is breathtaking, and the fact Nintendo, of all people, have created a true open world game that makes Skyrim look like a playground in comparison is unbelievable. Without a doubt, this deserves to be up there.
Andy: My most anticipated game for two years running, Breath of the Wild is everything I’d hoped for and yet not! A complete overhaul of the Zelda series, a reimagining of what open world games could be and a mighty warcry from Nintendo in what has been a fantastic year for the company.
NGB’S GAME OF THE YEAR 2017 – HORIZON ZERO DAWN
Ben: Horizon Zero Dawn is an astonishing technical achievement, backed up with a lore and world design that have rarely been bettered in video games. Set a thousand years after the fall of mankind, the fact that a world this great, this huge, and this rich has come from the guys who made Killzone?! Yeah, that stunned me. Leaping on to the top of a Tallneck was a really neat twist on the Assassin’s Creed style towers, and everything else about the world just absolutely suckered me in. The PS4’s best game this year, by a long way, and a magnificent showcase of any shiny new TV you may or may not end up buying.
Andy: While Horizon is essentially ANOTHER open world game, full of towers, ticklist side quests and NPC objectives, it conceals what should be rote mechanics under a strong story and some of the best visuals around. Further proof that Sony is willing to go all out with tentpole AAA titles on PS4.
Nick: It’s not always easy to launch a new IP amidst established games, especially in an open-world genre, but Guerilla Games absolutely hit it out of the park with this ambitious adventure that not only played wonderfully but is perhaps one of the most sublime looking console games ever made.
Deb: Robotic dinosaurs, need I say more to explain how awesome this game is? Okay, I will! This year has blessed us with some gorgeous looking games, with Horizon Zero Dawn being no exception. The visuals are just stunning! As a female gamer, having a strong female lead is always fantastic, and Aloy’s story has been emotional and captivating. Exploring the open world is very rewarding and the difficulty, well it’s certainly been one to make me struggle this year! The combat system took some getting used to, especially when setting traps but I love how it has made me logically think more than others. Now I just need to delve into the Frozen Wilds DLC, as I suggest you do too!
Gari: Horizon Zero Dawn is a marvel of 2017 and one of the best new IP’s I’ve ever played. Not only is it one of the best looking games on the PS4, it has brilliant some of the finest gameplay mechanics and an interesting story that keeps you entertained and engrossed in its world. Horizon Zero Dawn was up against 2 other incredible titles for my game of the year, but due to it being so new and fresh and playing like a dream, HZD gets my vote for 2017’s game of the year.
Robin: What do you get if you cross Tomb Raider with transformers Age of Extinction? Probably something a little bit like Horizon Zero Dawn, but probably nowhere near as good. Dinosaurs are always a big draw for me, so the chance to both hunt and tame giant robotic dinosaurs as part of a massive post apocalyptic conspiracy was way too much to resist. That Horizon was just so much fun to play and entirely gripping made it one of the very best games this year.
Nico: Breathtaking action, a killer story and insane graphics all combine to create a superb PS4 exclusive. Aloy has taken over the hearts of many gamers as the ultimate protagonist, and has truly inspired many along the way.
Matt S: Whilst Horizon struggles to match the breathtaking scale of Zelda or the relentless, imaginative genius of Odyssey, Horizon is nonetheless an excellent game that takes the basic Asscreed model, adds an exceptional heroine and a worthwhile story, then smashes the whole thing together in a beautiful world filled with robot dinosaurs. Robot. Fucking. Dinosaurs. A true showcase of what the PS4 Pro is capable of, Horizon is this years must buy for Sony fans.
And there we have it! NGB’s Game of the Year for 2017 is Guerrilla’s breathtaking open-world adventure, with a bunch of Robot Dinosaurs. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments and we’ll have a good old fashioned chat about it!
Thank you to everyone who’s been with us throughout 2017. It’s been a tricky year for the site as a whole, as well as a few of us personally, but we really do appreciate every single one of you. Join us in 2018, when we’ll hopefully have a lot more up our sleeves to show you. On a personal note, this site means the world to me, and I’m honoured if you’ve made it this far in our list. Give us all a follow on Twitter @official_ngb, and we’ll see you next year.