Game of the Year 2017 continues right here, right now, with some more talk around a bunch of categories! Today, we discuss the best “Free” games (available via PS Plus, Xbox Live Gold or other services), the best Surprise, and finally, our most anticipated games of 2018 (and beyond, in some cases).
BEST “FREE” GAME
It’s been another year of people complaining about the titles they’ve received as part of their subscription for whichever console they use, however, there have been some fantastic titles that have made their way to the platforms – and here are our picks for the best.
Kieran suggested this quirky title, free on PS Plus earlier in the year, saying Whilst the core gameplay in Type:Rider sums to a fairly basic platformer the way in which it’s presented is something of a marvel. I’m incredibly biased when it comes to anything that dips its toe into the world of design but Type:Rider does it in such a way that’s incredibly captivating.
For the most part Type:Rider is a relaxing platformer with puzzles that don’t rely on too much of the old brain juice but it’s filled with pieces of information to the past practices of typography in design, all of which are genuinely interesting to read. Those without interest in the design world may very well find the whole game to be boring but this is the first time I’ve read, and wanted to read, the information collected within the game. Maybe it’s a sign of my age but in a sea of games that are designed to grab your attention by the balls Type:Rider’s relaxed and informative game design really appealed to me and lent an increased appreciation for typographical design to boot.
Deb said Sony’s 3D Platform port was her favourite title to come to PS Plus: I loved Tearaway on the PlayStation Vita and was originally worried how such a game that utilised so many of the consoles unique elements would transition over to the PS4. This fear was easily quashed and it made me fall in love with the series again. It demolished boundaries with its clever gameplay mechanics that broke the 4th wall and it made the paper crafts really come alive. The puzzles and story were full of joy and it’s adorable as hell. It really is a series everyone needs to experience, especially when it was free!
This one was a real surprise. I was expecting a fairly innocuous teen adventure game, but what you get with Oxenfree is a creepy, deep mystery story, that contains a lot of different layers. Your actions shape the game too, and with a killer electro soundtrack, multiple endings and interesting changes on multiple play-throughs, this is a ghost story that will keep you hooked. Robin’s take on Oxenfree, there!
Andy suggested: Terrifying and brilliant in equal measures, Until Dawn cemented Supermassive Games as big hitters in interactive storytelling. A bona fide classic that is easily the best thing to hit PS+ in 2017
Just Cause 3
Jonny: Just Cause 3. I don’t think there’s been much of special note in the free games lists this year, but JC3 is at least ridiculous fun and the perfect throw-away blast of an action game to be giving out in PS+
WINNER – METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN
Was there any doubt? Our Game of the Year for 2015 stunned everyone by becoming available for free this year on Sony’s platform. The epic stealth title provides a stunning variety of gameplay, with hours upon hours of content available to everyone, and if you had PS Plus this year, you can now play it for free!
A category that had a few entries for a couple of different reasons, one title really shone above everything though. Let’s take a look at the runners and riders.
Life is Strange – Before the Storm
Robin: The main surprise with Before the Storm was that is didn’t shit all over the legacy of the first game. The original game is one of my favourite titles of recent years, and despite being developed by a completely different studio, Before the Storm captures the same teenage angst and heart that was so central to Life is Strange, providing a fascinating back story for the events of the first series.
Charles: I had no idea it was coming, but I got hooked for a solid couple of months!
Yomawari – Midnight Shadows
Deb: “This game looks cute!” I said. “I don’t think it will be that scary.” I said. Well I certainly ate my words and underestimated the power it would hold over me. The heart-wrenching story gripped me with with despair and admiration. It successfully made me cry and turned me into a nervous wreck! The ambience and invocation of our inate fears and senses was superb and I have just been blown away ever since. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
WINNER – MARIO + RABBIDS: KINGDOM BATTLE
A game that leaked earlier in the year to everyone’s bewilderment, Mario + Rabbids ended up becoming an excellent addition to the Switch lineup, with an adorable fusion of two franchises that really shouldn’t work together, but somehow end up being a tremendous amount of fun.
Jonny: Legitimately thought this would be a boring mess, but instead found a hilarious and incredibly accessible strategy game. An excellent entry into Mario’s catalogue
Matt G: Even though I don’t have a Switch yet, this was the game that’s made me realise I want one. Playing it at EGX was amazing fun and I can’t wait to get my hands on the console to play it in full.
Ben: Far better than it has any right to be, Mario + Rabbids took two franchises that couldn’t be more different from each other in terms of tone, and threw them together to create a wonderful XCOM-lite strategy game that’s got a perfect natural home on Nintendo’s hybrid system
MOST ANTICIPATED GAME
The hype is real with these next few games, but should we believe it? We’ve been burned before, but this lot are chomping at the bit to become our next lot of contenders for GOTY.
Jonny: Most anticipated game? Death Stranding. Because I think it’s going to be a fucking car crash.
Robin: It most likely still won’t launch next year, and will probably be delayed again – but Shenmue 3. I’ve been waiting over 16 years for this game, what’s another year? Now whilst we wait, how about Shenmue 1&2 HD?
Kieran: There’s plenty to look forward to in 2018 but give me a game by ex-Playdead dev, steeped in mystery and caked in a Stranger Things x Limbo glazing you’re onto a winner.
Technically Somerville hasn’t been announced as a 2018 title so I”m going out on a whim here (if it falls to 2019 please direct all messages of complaint to Ben Ward) but boy oh boy does it tick all the boxes. The teaser, released earlier in the year, shows very little but gives a glimpse of just how stunning this game looks. It’s the somewhat stalkerish nature of Twitter thas has me wholly hyped though as I’ve been checking out some snippets of gameplay during its development. Somerville has a nod to 80s/90s sci-fi with an overarching air of mystery that I really cannot wait to experience. Roll on 2018 (or 2019).
Red Dead Redemption 2
Matt G: Give me more GTA on horses, please. That’s all I need.
Metroid Prime 4
Andy: All we have is a logo. That’s all I need.
WINNER – SPIDER-MAN PS4
Undeniably, our winner is Sony’s Spider-Man exclusive, slated for next year. With a stunning gameplay reveal earlier on in the year, it topped our list, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it!
Gari: Being a diehard Spider-Man fan and a huge fan of the brilliant Dev team insomniac, I was blown away by the gameplay reveal that came out of E3 2017 and super excited to see more of the game in 2018. While the game isn’t based on other Spider-Man material we’ve already seen and is its own story and design, it still sticks to the ethos of who Peter Parker/Spider-Man is. Spider-Man for the PS4 is shaping up to be incredible and I for one can’t wait.
Charles: The footage that’s been released so far has me beyond hyped, I can’t wait!
Ben: Being in the room when this was unveiled is a memory that will stay with me til I die. A proper “hairs on the back of your neck” moment, this is a game I’ve followed with intense interest since that day. I cannot wait for this to drop, with Insomniac at the helm, and Sony’s coffers funding it, I think we’re in for an incredible session with Peter Parker.
And there we have Day 2! Join us tomorrow where we’ll run through some of the games that didn’t quite make our top ten…