GOTY 2017 | Number 4 — Horizon Zero Dawn

Post-apocalyptic robot dinosaurs. These are prob­a­bly the only four words that needed to be spo­ken in the pitch meet­ing that green-lit Hori­zon Zero Dawn. Piv­ot­ing away from their first-person shooter com­fort zone, Guer­rilla Games shocked every­one when they announced Hori­zon Zero Dawn. This open-world action game is, in my opin­ion, the finest work the stu­dio has put out to date. The com­bat sys­tem is fun and diverse, with a mul­ti­tude of options to approach any encounter. There’s plenty to do as you explore the world, with side-quests that feel more per­sonal than the “go there and get that” fare of other games. The story is top-notch, with a vibrant world full of inter­est­ing char­ac­ters and fea­tures an out­stand­ing per­for­mance by Ashly Burch as Aloy. It’s also one of the best-looking games to come out this year from top to bot­tom. Hori­zon Zero Dawn more than earns its spot as the 4th best game of 2017.

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GOTY 2017 | Number 6 — Nier: Automata

Not often enough does a story in a video game leave you as speech­less as Nier: Automata left me when I played it this past year. Start­ing off as a fairly com­mon “how human are robots” type of tale, it esca­lates with each end­ing. Even­tu­ally, the places it goes will leave you a quiv­er­ing pile of per­son­i­fied exis­ten­tial dread that few nar­ra­tive media forms have been able to match up to this point. Nier: Automata also sports some of the best char­ac­ters of the year and man­ages to make good on their arcs more often than not. In a play of classi­ness, not often seen in huge games like this one, it will even let you buy any of the game’s tro­phies after you com­plete the game so you can enjoy it with­out wor­ry­ing about com­plet­ing every last thing. Many of the mechan­ics in the game can be used in sur­pris­ingly cre­ative ways and there are a few side-quests that are just as good as the main story. Nier: Automata def­i­nitely deserves the spot as the 6th best game of 2017.

NierBentamata