Here we are with the middle section of our categories. For our third day of The Free Cheese Game of the Year 2017, we vote on:
- 2017’s 2016 Game of the Year
- Best Remaster
- Hottest Mess
- Best DLC/Expansion
- Best Old Game That We Played This Year
2017’s 2016 Game of the Year
This category is for the game that we kind of missed in the prior year. For one reason or another, this game slipped us by and we didn’t get to it until after its release. Usually, it’s a game that had we spent more time with it in its year of release, we’d likely had a different conversation. It’s not to say that our previous Game of the Year wouldn’t be such, but this game would have changed our final outcome for sure.
The clear winner for us was Hitman. We didn’t discover Hitman until the beginning of this year, when we saw some other outlets playing through it. Even still, we hadn’t taken the plunge. When IO Interactive was sold its independence from Square Enix, the developer opened up its beginning stage as a free entry to the world. It was here when we first dove in and we fell in love so quickly with the game that we’ve been keeping up with a weekly series that it spawned.
Runners Up: Dead by Daylight • Ratchet & Clank
Crash Bandicoot: The ‘N’ Sane Trilogy & Metroid: Samus Returns
Often when we revisit a game we remember from long ago, we find that it hasn’t held up to what we expect from games today. Sometimes, a game might stand the test of time and prove to be the masterpiece that we remember it to be, but often we’re left wishing we hadn’t taken off the rose-colored glasses. Thankfully, the developers and publishers of the world are keeping those classics alive by way of remastering the worlds that we once loved. This award goes to the game that does it best.
Or the games that do it best…
For the first time in The Free Cheese history, we cheated an award and gave it to two games. We were split right down the middle on this one and truly couldn’t come to a break on one end or the other. Crash Bandicoot: The ‘N’ Sane Trilogy and Metroid: Samus returns are both instances of games that don’t necessarily hold the same impact as they once did, but born again to not only give life to their inspiration, but a renewed life for the franchises they’re a part of.
Both titles are the first releases in either franchise for the better part of this decade and signify a potential return to the respective series that we’ve long been waiting. In the case of Crash Bandicoot, the remastered versions of the games use the engine from the third game, and run the original games through it with brand new assets. For Metroid, the developers reimagined the entire game of Metroid II, bringing modern design sensibilities to a Game Boy game. We’re excited to see where each franchise goes, as much as we were excited to play through these classics yet again.
Runner Up: The Nonary Games
This award goes to the opposite of our Favorite Industry Moment. It’s the award for the thing that we really wish didn’t happen. It’s that singular action or collection of mistakes that left us with a perplexed look shouting, “What?”
EA, sadly makes a lot of sense for this award in 2017. It began in March with the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda. We’re used to playing games with bugs and in 2017 we’re even used to playing “unreleased” games that we’ve paid for. The difference was that this game was “released” and sold as something complete. It didn’t help that the game became an overnight collection of GIFs and memes. To make matters worse, it fully sets up a sequel along with the promise of more content for this release that EA would later announce were not actually going to see the light of day.
A few months pass and bring us to a very bizarre E3 showing from EA, who started off the week of festivities with a Saturday conference hosted by influencers. It wasn’t that we believed the influencers shouldn’t have a moment in the spotlight, just that it maybe was the wrong moment to give them.
In October, EA announced the closure of Visceral Studios, the development team largely known for the Dead Space franchise who was now hard at work on a single-player Star Wars game modeled after Amy Hennig’s Uncharted series, penned by the writer herself. To make matters worse, we learned just shortly after the closure of Visceral that EA was acquiring the developer Respawn, seemingly having closed Visceral in order to make way for the acquisition.
Lastly, the launch of Star Wars: Battlefront II has been one of the strangest in video game history. Before the game was technically purchasable in a store, players were discovering the difficult scaling that in-game progression took and how unbalanced the rewards for playing seemed to be. In fact, it was all very obvious that such scaling was in place as a way to push and promote the game’s microtransactions.
For brevity, we’ll call it here and just say that EA had one of the worst years in the public eye (at least for us), and is this year’s winner of Hottest Mess.
Runners Up: Jim Ryan • Nintendo Switch Online
End of Zoe (Resident Evil 7)
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was a surprise on many levels. Its first demo showed us a world much different than we’d come to know with games in this franchise. It too seemed to fill the void left in P.T.’s wake.
The game tells the story of your interaction with the Baker family through the eyes of Ethan Winters as he searches for his wife Mia. It was one of the more impressive stories of the year but it left the player hanging for a full resolution until the release of End of Zoe. With this DLC, we were able to see the proper conclusion to the Resident Evil 7 story, and prepare ourselves for what is next to come.
Runners Up: Konami Characters & Expansion Mode (Super Bomberman R) • Spark of Madness (Dead by Daylight
Best Old Game That We Played This Year
We play a lot of video games. You’ve already seen by now how we don’t always get to everything in the year of release. Sometimes, a game or an entire franchise can pass us by for years- sometimes decades. This award goes to the game that had the greatest impact on us this year, although it wasn’t necessarily released anywhere near this year.
Collectively, we had not all played Dark Souls but for those of us who did, we felt it helped to guide us in a post-Bloodborne world. As we itched for more of FromSoftware’s talents, Dark Souls was ready to kill us in the best way. Following in the footsteps of Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls refined the process and paved the way for games like Bloodborne to find release. It swept the gaming population by storm and this year, we learned why. It’s punishing but fair, through and through, and it takes us on a journey unlike any other. It’s a game that we know will continue to influence the industry for years to come, and we’re happy to call it 2017’s Best Old Game That We Played This Year.