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Announcing The Gamer Malaya & Gamer Matters Best Of 2017 Awards!

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As 2017 bows down, we look forward to another good year for video games. But let’s celebrate the past year with one last hurrah with our first very own Best Of 2017 Awards!

That’s right, the crew at Gamer Malaya and Gamer Matters have discussed and deliberate a selection of games that we would like to celebrate its achievements (and berate some that did not). There are 12 different categories for our inaugural game awards, and most of them are not to be taken seriously.

Expect some odd choices, but we believe strongly they deserve the win.

Best Game Being Offered For Free

If you have a PC or an active PS Plus subscription, you should have increased your game library for quite a bunch thanks to limited-time free offers. There are so many good games for free, and here we select what was the best bargain deal being offered for the year.

It was a close battle between Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Watch Dogs, both being open-world action-adventure games by Ubisoft. There were some love from Hatoful Boyfriend, which was free for active PS Plus subscribers in July 2017. Mirage’s tactic to boost its playerbase by giving it for free was interesting, but it only worked for the short term.

In the end, the crew was strongly in favour of Assassin’s Creed IV:Black Flag due to it being a unique experience. It’s a high mark in the series that players should take a look.

Winner: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag 

Honorable Mentions: Watch Dogs, Hatoful Boyfriend, Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty, Mirage Arcane Warfare, Outlast

Best DLC/ Expansion

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DLC are usually optional, but if that’s good maybe it’s worth your money. These DLCs/expansions added more content to the original game which made them worth revisiting again.

This one was easy to choose. We ended up picking Plains Of Eidolon because it has a fishing mini-games.

Okay maybe not just that. The amount of content being added, a new open world with new activities and systems, all available for a free-to-play game is worth commending. The rest of the nominees are great for existing fans, but Plains Of Eidolon has the power to reel in new players.

If you not tried Warframe, this is the best time to do so.

Winner: Plains of Eidolon (Warframe) 

Honorable Mentions: The Ringed City (Dark Souls 3), XCOM 2 War of the Chosen,  Doki Doki Literature Club Fan Pack,  Uncharted The Lost Legacy

Most Surprising Game

We did not see these coming. Either due to low hype and expectations or they were not under the radar, these games surprised us the most for being better than we initially thought. It’s nice to see games achieved more than what we expect, and these games blew us away.

Fitting to the category name, the winner came in as a surprise dark horse entry.We shortlisted a few games for discussions beforehand, but  allowed some late entries should it fit the category.

Nioh was a strong contender being no one expected this to be a good Souls-like game and add more to the formula, but everyone’s favourite free visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club was in the lead thanks to its strong themes which we won’t spoil here.

But the late entry, Localhost, was only brought up in short notice and immediately we were blown away by its concept. It’s Doki Doki but even more upfront. Check out our writer WAm’s list of top games in 2017 to see what it’s all about.

Winner: Localhost

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Honorable Mentions: Pyre, Sonic Mania, Doki Doki Literature Club, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Nioh

Best Racing

Racing games are back again in full force this year, but did any one of them stand out? We pit some of the racing games of 2017 with some of our other favourites of past years (plus one odd pick) to see if any of the new games are good enough. Should you get the new games or stick to some old classics?

This is why we don’t do genre categories, because the entries for this one was.. interesting. But still, there were fun arguments that we had, especially one about how Persona 5 can be considered a racing game (“IT’S A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK!”), but all the shortlisted new titles have some faults and not enough strong support.

But Sonic And All-Stars Racing Transformed took it. We looked at the character list and was amazed, and it as a competent Mario Kart-like on PC, and it has local and online multiplayer. The arguments were so convincing one of us bought the game instantly during the deliberations! To hear Sumo Digital is now expanding recently was also a nice surprise.

We are five years late on this one, but congratulations!

Winner: Sonic And All-Stars Racing Transformed

Honorable Mentions: F1 2017, Gran Turismo Sport, Forza Horizon 3, Persona 5

Best Use Of Loot Boxes

With the loot box controversy of 2017, let’s look back at all the games that are out there right now that uses the loot box mechanic well. It’s not the ideal way to motivate players to keep playing, it could lead to gambling addictions, but there are ways to implement them without insinuating the wrath of gamers everywhere.

Looking back at the list, we were dead set to just declare there are no good loot boxes. Even Overwatch, that is purely cosmetics, have made one crew tired and burnt out of the game for failing to get a skin they wanted so bad. But then we remembered about Injustice 2.

Injustice 2’s gears and loot boxes are not just cosmetics, sure. But the stats only matter in matches where you want it to be mattered and in single-player modes. You cannot buy the boxes with real money and the drop rate was so generous that they had to patch it to make it less likely to get on nowadays.

At launch, Injustice 2 offered the best use of loot boxes, by not monetising it and have the benefits of gears only matter in limited modes.

Winner: Injustice 2

Dishonorable Mention (because most loot boxes are terrible): Star Wars Battlefront II, Heroes Of The Storm, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Middle-earth: Shadow Of War

Best a e s t h e t i c

That’s how the cool kids are calling it, but to us, it’s a celebration of the games that marry the use of visuals, music, sound and gameplay together to make one cohesive theme pop out. These games have style, and a lot of its elements are made to serve form as well as function.

These are all good picks. Nier’s less than stellar graphics has justification in-game (it’s a post-apocalypse, and it hammers down the dreadful themes). Cuphead is worth a mention for nailing the 1930s cartoon aesthetic to a T, an aesthetic we don’t see as often in games. Prey deserves a mention thanks to its stylised look of futuristic art deco plus a synthwave soundtrack (hence, a e s t h e t i c), and Horizon has cool robot dinosaurs.

But Persona 5’s masterful work in realising graphics, audio and even gameplay into a cohesive theme takes the cake. It’s not imitating others and they did so confidently. Most of what we remember of Persona 5 is the UI design, and that’s an achievement in and of itself.

Winner: Persona 5

Honorable Mentions: Nier Automata, Cuphead, Prey, Horizon Zero Dawn

Best Underrated Game

With so many good games out there this year, there are some games that is unfortunately overlooked. These underrated gems are either out this year or last year, but if you have the time next year, you should consider checking these out.

This one was hard to get a consensus on. We have mixed opinions with Mafia III, Titanfall 2 deserves to be here but there was not many supporting it. Hellblade may seem underrated but it is getting tons of critical acclaim. Not much support for L.A. Noire either, despite the game aging pretty well.

But then, an argument for Yakuza 0 was made and we all agreed. The whiplash tones of melodrama and politics of the Yakuza underworld in one scene and another scene is a goofy one where you go bowling, bowl a turkey, promised a chicken dinner prize but got a live one instead, befriended it and made it your real estate manager, needs more recognition.

The Yakuza series has always been able to balance the serious and the silly, and we really wanted more people to see how great this game is.

No Chicken dinners. Justice for Nugget.

Winner: Yakuza 0

Honorable Mentions: Mafia III, Titanfall 2, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, L.A. Noire

Best Waifu

If you spend so much time in games, you might start to get attached to the many colourful characters. But in the waifu wars, there can only be one true waifu. This is by no means the most objective of awards, we just want to express our fondness we have from this characters that stolen our hearts the most this year.

In the end, we cowered our way out of this one and declared all the shortlisted waifus as the winner. It was 30 minutes of us gushing over our waifus (and one husbando). For better or worse, no waifus were being thrown into the dumpster fire and everyone respected each others’ opinions.

Winners: Futaba Sakura (Persona 5), Makoto Niijima (Persona 5), Yorha A2 (Nier: Automata), Yorha 2B/9S (Nier:Automata), Elphelt Valentine (Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2)

Most Overrated Game

We get it. These games have strong fans, many like them. Unfortunately we don’t share the same opinion. We are not saying these games are bad, no. But we just don’t see these games to be as great as what most people are saying.

This one will definitely upset our community. Destiny 2 was brought up, but given that the community around that game is now very critical of the state of the game, it didn’t hang in the list. Same goes to Call Of Duty WWII. Cuphead had some strong arguments, the game got too popular for being a 2D Contra-like game.

But in the end, we just don’t see the magic of the biggest game in the world right now, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). No one on the crew ever touched PUBG and all the big milestones just made us care less.

Again, no chicken dinners here. (But maybe we should give it a go one day)

Winner: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)

Honorable Mention: Cuphead

Most Disappointing Game

There will always be some clunkers. These games could have been the chosen one,to be the greatest games of the year, or even game of the year contenders, but no. They failed. We were looking forward so much about these games, but they failed to deliver.

This was the easiest argument we had. For Honor has issues but most of us were unsure if it even had potential in the first place. Despite Marvel VS Capcom Infinite’s issues with its roster and presentation, it’s still a good fighter. Without the whole loot box fiasco, Battlefront II would be a decent game.

But Mass Effect: Andromeda squandered so many big opportunities that was set up for it. It had a fresh beginning, not much baggage from the first trilogy. It had an entirely new setting where they can make even more exotic locales and aliens. But a lot of it feels like a retread, a barely put together retread of the same thing at launch.

Now that it has been patched up, it’s still a good game in its own right. Our review said it was decent, and one of writers Dave, who had not played a Mass Effect before, found the game to be amazing. But if you know how big this franchise was and to only deliver something average despite all the opportunity to do better, it hurts the most.

Winner: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Dishonoroble Mentions: For Honor, Marvel VS Capcom Infinite, Star Wars Battlefront II

Game Of The Year

This is it. The biggest award, The Game Of The Year. With so many great titles that were released this year, we have to name one that was the most outstanding of them all, based on the games we managed to play this year. All these games are great on their own right, but we had to pick one winner, the one we loved the most.

It was a tough fight between all these games, each having strong support from one of the crew. Resident Evil 7 made the horror franchise creepy again. Persona 5 is just a darn good JRPG, Horizon Zero Dawn made us care about the developers of Killzone.

In the end, Nier Automata is our Game Of The Year. The game makes use of its medium so well that an adaptation to any other forms will not do it justice. The odd requirements to play the game again for more context, the somber atmosphere delivered through its aesthetic, a riveting soundtrack, and an honest-to-goodness action game combat sprinkled with RPG elements make it stand out the most.

Winner: Nier Automata

Honorable Mentions: Resident Evil 7, Persona 5, Horizon Zero Dawn

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Community’s Best Game Of The Year

Over on Gamer Malaya’s Facebook page, we asked our community what it their game of the year. By looking at the comments, it’s easy to see what our fans loved the most this year. And the winner is…

Winner: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)

This is awkward. PUBG won two of our awards that are directly opposite of each other.

Guess we will need to play PUBG then.

Again, we would like to stress out that this is by no means an objective, end-all be-all list. These are the games that caught our attention and what we managed to play. (Sorry Switch fans)

Here’s to more awesome games in 2018! In the meantime, why not check out our summary of the biggest trends in 2017.