Every week on The Free Cheese, we ask a question about video games. We, the editors and contributors, answer that question and post those answers in an article format for you to read and respond to. It’s a conversation that we start, and you continue.

Today is the last day of the third month of the year, bringing us to the end of the first quarter. Usually, January, February, and March are pretty vacant with only one or two titles that stand out. 2017 has already provided a number of games to both be excited about and to start considering when we have Game of the Year conversations later this year.

Like mentioned, the first few months of the year are when I find myself catching up on last year or discovering something new from another time. I instead spent the first two months playing a lot of Let it Die, a game I wish had come up more in our Game of the Year conversations last year, and I’ve been playing a lot through new releases.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is currently my favorite game so far in 2017. The theme of the game for me was “discovery.” The game offers that theme through its world exploration, item acquisition, and in the ways that it breaks the Zelda format. I kept finding myself excited to find something new, which says a lot about the previous state of the Zelda franchise.

It’s still difficult to talk about this game without saying anything, because so much of what makes the game special is the discovery. I played through without looking anything up on a guide. I relied solely on myself and conversations with friends, which I think really helped play into the excitement with the game.

I’d be cheating the world if I didn’t also mention Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment and NieR: Automata. Specter of Torment somehow surpassed the original for me. Specter Knight’s movement and platforming feels really natural in a way that Plague Knight never did. The entire world has been built from the ground up, very much providing a sequel to the original while the story acts as a prequel. It’s an incredible game that I hope didn’t get ignored in the beginning of a busy season of releases.

NieR: Automata impressed me when I played the demo a few months ago, but the game has continued to impress as I play further. What began as a repeat of the demo at the beginning of the game has become a really great action RPG that evokes the best of Platinum Games with an interesting Ghost in the Shell overtone to the story.

This could be the easiest question I’ve had to answer for this segment. The answer is Horizon: Zero Dawn. My reason you may ask? It’s the only game I have completed so far this year.

Seriously though Horizon: Zero Dawn is an amazing game. The story of Aloy and her quest to discover her history is a fantastic one that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. The true highlight of the game was the combat and the strategy involved. The game went much deeper than I expected with the mechanics and they were awesome. These two things kept me playing all the way to my platinum trophy that I am proud to have acquired.

There are other candidates that I’m currently playing or want to get to though. Joe has been talking up Nier: Automata and that is something I’m interested in. I have finally started playing Mass Effect: Andromeda. While I don’t think it would take over Horizon, I want to give the game the shot it deserves. That’s about it though. I can’t think of any other games that I’ve played that could be a contender.

Wait!

I forgot about MLB: The Show 17. These games are always amazing! I can’t wait to dive in for the thousands of innings I will play this year. I feel good about this list of games. Horizon: Zero Dawn is something that everyone should be playing because it truly is an amazing experience.

Ok ok because I feel as if I will be fired from the site for about the tenth time, I guess I have to mention The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Is it worth buying a Switch for? It probably is. In the few hours I’ve played, it really is an amazing game. It’s not fair for me to pick between this and Horizon at the moment, because of amount of time I’ve put into each. I will eventually get back into Zelda, but it won’t be because I need to, it will be because I want to and that matters when it comes to game of the year conversation.


So, what is your game of the year so far? Did you grab a Switch to play Breath of the Wild? Are you exploring the lands as Aloy?

We’ll check back in with this at the end of June to see where we stand six months in.

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Posted by Joe Dix

Joe is the creator of The Free Cheese. He eats a lot of pizza and takes thousands of pictures of his pugs Oswald and Earl every day. He has a disorder that causes him to believe that he is Batman and his favorite video game is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

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