Halfway through the year, what game is your early GOTY?


Strong choices for weak bank accounts

As June fades away and we enter July, I'm reminded that we've passed the halfway point for the year. But the first half of the year has been absolutely bonkers for good games. Throw a rock in any random direction and you hit a highly acclaimed game, in addition to probably earning a ticket for public nuisance. In fact, asking about it now is probably perfect while all these great games are still recent, because I struggle to think of what else is on the horizon for us in the second half of the year.

Personally, I have trouble deciding between three PS4 games, but if I had to pick an overall GOTY, it'd have to be Persona 5. The designs are slick, the combat was exciting, and the characters are easy to fall in love with. To me, Persona 5 is the total package for choosing my true game of the year.

NieR: Automata is a close second for its story and combat set pieces. It doesn't hurt that the character designs are just plain beautiful, like watching super models fight robots. But the narrative is something so special to me, I can hardly imagine myself playing it again. Meanwhile, from a purely gameplay standpoint, I am deeply in love with Team Ninja's Nioh. If combat design were food, Nioh is finely cooked lobster with indulgent butter spread over those juice claws. 60 frames per second, with nary a wasted frame for animations, combos, and pinpoint perfect control.

So what is the community saying about their GOTY contenders this year?

Dinosir sets the trend for Persona 5:

Gotta be P5 for me. Although I've only played like 2 games this year :p As it turns out making games is a time consuming hobby.

GoofierBrute is going with the breath of fresh air itself:

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is easily my favorite game of the year. Yeah, not everything it does is perfect (the main dungeons are some the weakest in the series) or it's been done in other games (climbing towers and crafting), but it all works really well. The world is really fun to explore (and is one of the few open world games that is actually open), the game is beautiful to look at, the shrines are great, and I know a lot of people didn't like it, but I enjoyed the story, mainly because this version of Zelda is my all time favorite in the series.

I put a 100+ hours in the Wii U version, and while it won't be the first game I get with my Switch, I can see myself double dipping and putting in another 100 hours into the game when I do get my Switch. After Super Mario Odyssey of course.

SrChurros has a definite dark horse pick:

My favorite 2017 game so far is Spark the Electric Jester. Such a hidden gem! But the thing is, I haven't played many 2017 releases this year... so I have a hunch that my GoTY will probably be either The End is Nigh, Night in the Woods (just bought it, heck yeah!) or Sonic Mania!

Gamemaniac3434 is a sucker for emotional masochism:

I'd like to say Nier Automata is a contender and I am now done with ending C and E, so let me amend this comment by saying I both love and hate this game for stomping on my fragile emotions which I'll expand on down below. Salt and Sanc was damn good on vita and being honest its probably my favorite handheld game of the year so far. RE7 was also a very good game-even if the second half had some issues and worries me about where the series is going from here I really liked it overall and had a hoot with it. Specter of Torment was pretty good but I don't know that it held up to the previous campaigns as well as it could have even if it was perty good.

Having finished Nier: Automata, I really don't think its going to get beat this year actually. Its a really great game that-while flawed in a lot of ways-is one of the most special games I've ever played and its a damn good game even if it hurt me in my emotions in a way very few pieces of media have managed to do-so yeah fuck it thats my game of the year. Its pretty special and its hard to think of all that much like it.

Agent9 has a close tie:

Hmm, best is hard to consider. Breath of the wild is certainly at the top of my list with Neir Automata. Right now I would have to say it's a solid tie between the two. we still have half a year so that may change. who knows? something new might even steal the gold from these two games.

LaTerry's Persona 5 choice is twice over:

Persona 5 is hands down my game of the year. I never get tired of playing it. I'm almost done for the second time and am close to getting the platinum. It's been a long time since I've been so captivated by everything that a game does. The characters are so real. One of the most compelling reasons that I had for playing again was that I genuinely wanted to see every confidants max ranks and how they act near the end of the game when they're maxed out.

Hypno Coffin has one for the night:

Still haven't finished it because I buy too many games and get too distracted, but probably Night in the Woods.

Mike Sounder's got a Torchman answer for his choice:

Nier: Automata, Yakuza 0 and Persona 5 are running for my Game of the Year. Although Super Robot Wars V is gunning for 'Most fun Torch has had all year' and 'Thank fuck, I finally got that second season of Shin Mazinger, as well as the rest of Full Metal Panic'. Mazinger Zero gets the MVP award though. The god damn monster can one shot nearly everything in the game except for two bosses and the final boss.

Joel Peterson wants to mention a legendary game alongside a legendary game:

Its pretty tough not to say Persona 5 despite not spending the time I thought I would with it. But that Polybius game has been amazing. I play it every day. Cannot get enough.

Chris Moyse mentions Wonder Boy alongside P5:

Persona 5 for me. I really enjoyed my time with its world and characters. I'm also really into the game's visual style. 
It's not perfect by any means, it has some serious storytelling flaws and some constrictive gameplay elements, but it also has a wicked soundtrack and a cool concept.

Yakuza 0 and Wonder Boy: Dragon's Trap remake are both honourable mentions.

LimoMaker hasn't made a firm choice yet:

At the moment, Persona 5, Horizon, Resident Evil 7 (that's a big shocker), Nier and Zelda make up my top 5. 
Picking out of those will be hard.

Dr.Heat O' Brian mentions Tekken 7 too!:

Persona 5 so far, but Tekken 7, Nier Automata and damn, even Tales of Berseria are pretty good contenders. Then i have Fire Emblem Echoes, Guilty Gear XRD Rev 2 and Wonder Boy. Holy hell, this year is packed with good games, and im even counting the PS4 exclusives.

FakePlasticTree mentions Tales of Breasteria:

Perusona 5, not even a contest there I think. Followed by Yakuza 0, NieR Oh-Tohmata, Gravity Rush 2, Tales of Breasteria, Twails in the Sky Part Dres, Torment, Night in the Woods and A Fragmented Kingdom Hearts subtitle: The game

Oh, and Horizon is also quite fun. Riding robot dinos is great.

GajKnight might be the first mention of Gravity Rush:

Persona 5. 
Nier Automata is close second. Gravity Rush 2 a close third.

I never expected a sequel to Nier, let alone one as incredible as the one we got. Truly the biggest surprise of the year.

But Persona 5 exceeded my expectations so much that I'm still kinda amazed they managed it. Everything is just so good in that game, everything. The best parts of Persona 3 and 4, with some SMT influence, make it the best Persona ever.

Gravity Rush 2 is Gravity Rush but bigger and better. Considering Gravity Rush is one of my favourite games ever, it had to make the top 5 at least.

2Pac Chopra has weird taste:

I haven't really been keeping up with new releases (the ever increasing backlog chides me with mocking laughter) but two games that came out this year I've really enjoyed are Go Go Kokopolo 3D, and Hover *subtitle redacted*. Kokopolo was a really unique game, refreshingly simple. Hover is rough around the edges but with a fantastic core. Some fantastic games I've played this year that aren't new releases:
Technobabylon (point and click done right)
Skullgirls (my first fighter, smash aside, I suck)
Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (fan translation of an ancient PC Engine game)

... yeah I have pretty weird taste.

RiffRaff's gameplay stretches across several different platforms:

BotW easily. I've never been as compelled to just wander and explore like I was (and still am) with that game. So many little details brought me a magical joy. Made me happy. :)

P5 isn't too far behind BotW. Dragged a bit at some parts, but such great style.

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment. I think I enjoyed it more than the core game.

ARMS. Simply fun.

Currently playing Nier and that could be a potential add as well.

I got Prey, Disgaea 5, and ZHD sitting on the backlog shelf.

Larx has a confirmed sighting on the site:

Toss-up: Yakuza 0, NieR Automata, and Hatsune Miku Future Tone.

Yakuza 0 oozes panache and style, delivers a mature plot with side humor, and overflows with fun distractions at every turn. It's peak Yakuza and a thorough delight to reflect upon. Could've done w/o escort missions, mind.

NieR Automata paired Taro Yoko with Platinum and a budget, and it shows oh so nicely. It explores its narrative themes in a respectful manner, for the most part, and it's a real blast to play for most of the trek. Pacing needed tweaks (incl. half the endings), and again, scuttle escort missions, please...

Future Tone surprised me the most. Never played a Project Diva title before it, yet it has seized me like few rhythm games have before, and its volume of quality content is staggering - 224 tracks, meaning finding even 1/3 of them likable means ~70 to replay and enjoy. Does away with prior RNG and frills, to its huge benefit, IMO. Got me into Vocaloid after a decade of abstinence, so I gotta acknowledge its RL extent.

So, yeah. Yakuza 0, NieR Auto, and Miku FT so far. Super-thrilled by all 3.

Siddartha85 has a special mention for Horizon and Nioh:

God, this is tough. Ni-Oh is climbing, which I'm playing right now.
Resident Evil 7 is the best in the series, IMO.
BotW is probably the best Zelda game I've played.

But Horizon: Zero Dawn got me emotional and stuff. I loved it's fiction and that fiction kept getting better. It was as beautiful as BotW. This is the one that stuck with me and even made me cry. And Aloy. I love her. We see her whole life. I hate that she was exiled and hated and never really felt comfortable in the world. I wondered why they did that for a while. But I eventually realized that having no home, no sense of belonging made her the only one that could save the world. I think she is someone that will never be satisfied or happy like the others. But those happy people never really explored, never got too curious, never defied the superstitions. They now live because of this disaffected outsider they messed up emotionally. So yeah, It's Horizon for me.

Also, this random fight with a Glinthawk ranks as one of my most memorable fights in a game this year and it wasn't even a boss.

Xeo really loved his games this year:

Man, it's a tough choice this year. I really like Nioh, Persona 5, Yakuzo 0, Resident Evil 7, Nier: Automata, Zelda: BotW, Prey and Friday the 13th the Game.

Multiplayer of the year certainly goes to Friday the 13th the Game for me. Flawed or not, I haven't had this kind of fun playing an online game with my friend in a long, long time. Even a friend who doesn't really play online much really got into it and we've had some great times with him so far.

The most gripping to me have been RE7 and Prey. Those two grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go until I saw it finished. Prey was a deeper game and was more than double the length of RE7 for me. But on the other hand RE7 really was a return to form for a series I used to adore and then started to become really disappointed with. In that regard I think I'd actually give it a slight edge.

As much as I loved Breath of the Wild I still prefer A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, and even Majora's Mask, actually. (I actually really, really like Majora's Mask.)

Persona 5 might be the best overall for me, but I haven't finished it and I feel cheap in saying it's my favorite in that regard. Though I believe it'll only further impress me rather than let me down. So yeah, so far for now I guess it's Persona 5 as well.

JPF720 is another shout for Tales of Berseria, so I'm curious:

It has to be Persona 5. I've finished my (first) playthrough a while ago, but I just want to play it more and am not really motivated to play anything else; it has consumed my existence!

With that said, Tales of Berseria is a strong contender for GOTY, and outstanding return to form. And I have yet to play games like Yakuza 0 and Nier Automata, which are surely amazing.

And finally TooManyPossoms is time-displaced:

Dark Souls 2. 
What year is it?

So what has impressed you so far this year? I see a lot of reocurring choices but there were some neat alternate choices too.

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Marcel Hoang
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