At the end of March, we asked ourselves which game had impressed us the most, so much that we’d imagine it as a potential Game of the Year winner. Now, three months later, we reach the end of June and the halfway mark of 2017.

With one half of the year already behind us, we’ve seen some impressive releases. The year started off strong and kept going through the spring, and as we lead into summer we have even more to look forward to as the resonance of E3 continues to vibrate through our minds.

But the question remains, after six months, what is your Game of the Year so far?

At the end of March, I was really high on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I commended its ability to create a desire for me to discover new things and I loved that it encouraged me to be alone and believe in myself to make it through the game. It let me live inside of that world during an age of connection where everything is a few taps on a screen away. I really love The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I think it is the best game this year.

And, I think that NieR: Automata is better.

When I answered this question three months ago, I made brief mention of NieR: Automata toward the end of my thoughts, having not played through much of the game. After playing through the rest of what NieR had to offer, it’s not only reached the top of my list for this year, but it made the shortlist of my favorite games of all time.

NieR: Automata tells a very intimate story and one that is easily relatable today. I talked about how Breath of the Wild was able to untether me from my technology and get lost for a while, and NieR embodies that idea entirely. It plays with the questions surrounding our dependence on technology and where that could take us. It questions the idea of humanity and shows you how beautiful it really can be to be human.

There is so much about NieR that is only understood through experience, and I’ve had a really difficult time when attempting to put to word my feelings and thoughts about this game. It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced, inside or outside of video games. It transcends its status as a video game and became a life-changing and thought provoking moment in my life. I never thought I’d cry during a top-down shooting game but NieR found a way to bring me to tears even during something as elementary as that.

It’s a truly magical thing and I don’t even know if it would be the same for you. By the time we reach the end of the year, I have no idea if everyone who plays this game will be shouting for it to win like I will but it really deserves the attention. It’s been two months since I finished the game but I think about it almost every day. It’s with me now and it’s become a part of me.

 It’s weird. I feel a little empty about this question. So many great games came put this year and so many I have yet to play or even finish. I value my friend’s opinions when they’re playing a game so some of these games I feel like I don’t even need to play now or at least not right away. Overall, I feel it’s too early to judge, but here’s my potential candidates so far.

Knowing me, you’d think The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would be a no brainer. I’ve only waited a couple years for this game. Yet, here we are at the end of June and I still haven’t finished it. I haven’t been able to give it the proper time lately and when I do, I’m simply not in the mood to play it. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s because I find the idea of exploring such a vast world overwhelming or if I’d rather have enough free time in a day or weekend to indulge myself in this game. Maybe it’s both. I’m happy this game exists, but I don’t feel enticed anymore to play it. I had this problem with Wind Waker (Gamecube). I had to take a year hiatus to finish it. I don’t think I’m in the proper state of mind to play this kind of game. Whatever it is, it kinda makes me sad that a beloved franchise enriched with so much to do still leaves me with a sense of emptiness. The itch I’m craving currently is to have a story that centers around a character that isn’t supposed to be the player. This next game scratches that itch.

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is a game that still sticks out to me this year and I still have yet to finish it. (Why am I so bad at this?) Well, this time it’s because I don’t own the game, but it’s not just that. I played a friend’s copy at his house where he also has PlayStation VR. VR makes a HUGE difference on this game. Being able to look around more articulately in an eerie atmosphere is really speaking to me. This game gives another meaning to the name Resident Evil. They really take it home quite literally. I believe I’m about halfway through the game. If it wasn’t for the VR aspect, this would probably come off as more a generic first-person horror game. Being able to take a closer look at everything and aim more accurately truly bring a new level of depth to this game. I would really love to finish this game before the end of the year. Not sure if RE7 qualifies as my current GOTY since I haven’t completed, but the experiences it left behind in my mind make me want to go back to it.

 I think this is a pretty easy question at the moment. This question could be a lot harder come December though. There are a couple things I still want to play that have already come out like Nier: Automata. There is also a bunch of stuff coming this fall that seems interesting like the new Wolfenstein or Mario. For now though, the answer is Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a special game that needs to be played by everyone. The combined elements of an epic story, impressive visuals, and great gameplay make this game one of the most impressive PS4 exclusives to date. I talk about these things in more detail in my review, but I can’t applaud what Guerrilla Games has done enough. I am forever thankful for the chance that Sony gave Guerrilla to get away from the Killzone franchise.

Horizon came out next to another juggernaut of a game. Breath of the Wild is a fabulous game. Nintendo did a very good job with it and I enjoyed my time in that world. My one major issue with that game is the story they told or lack there of. I know I didn’t spend much time in the game compared to everyone else so it could be on me. However, the game did nothing for me to keep coming back for an 80 hour adventure that could easily happen in that world. As good as Zelda is to play, I enjoyed Horizon more and that’s why it’s my game of the year…so far.

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.

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