The Niche Gamer 2017 GOTY is NieR: Automata

This is the Niche Gamer staff game of the year selection for 2017.

While there were a ton of amazing games this year, the overall winner for the Niche Gamer staff 2017 game of the year is – NieR: Automata. Another excellent game, Persona 5, came in second place. All of the mentioned games are excellent and worthy of your time.

Without further adieu, here are each of our staff members’ picks for their own personal game of the year, for 2017:

Brandon Orselli’s pick – NieR: Automata

The original NieR holds a very special place in my heart, so it makes sense that I was overjoyed Taro Yoko was making a sequel of sorts. While 2017 had a bunch of incredible games and picking a GOTY was really difficult, I’d have to go with NieR: Automata. The game doesn’t disappoint in its style, performance, presentation, and of course – its story. It’s the sort of game that makes you want to kill yourself instead of feeling all those things we humans (and maybe androids) call emotions, and that’s a good thing. In an industry inundated with lame stick-pixel games and “me-too hero arena shooters”, having an experience so cohesive and so original that drills down to the core of your perception of reality and humanity is nothing short of spectacular. By industry standards and trends, this game shouldn’t exist and yet it does – it’s amazing, and it deserves all of its success. Glory to mankind, congratulations to Yoko and everyone involved.

Rory Hutchings’ pick – NieR: Automata

Thinking about 2017 and the many amazing games I played, this was a very hard choice between two different games. Persona 5 was everything I wanted and more. It had a great cast, wonderful music, was a fun ride through out the game. However, I really have to give my personal game of the year to NieR: Automata. Yoko Taro’s games have never been huge hits but this one hit it out of the park. From its face pace and fun hack and slash gameplay, wonderful music which I have listened to almost daily since its release, terrific characters, and story that by the end of the game made me believe existential nihilism. It has been a long time since a movie, book, or a game hit me as hard as it did and I thank Square-Enix, Platinum Games and Yoko Taro for this experience, and for 2B’s thighs.

Michael Winton’s pick – NieR: Automata

My game of the year is NieR: Automata for the plain fact that it’s arguably the most well crafted game I’ve ever played. Everything is superb – the narrative, the music, the fighting system, the mechanics, the story, everything. The only complaint I have is it wasn’t longer and had more content. I’ve never cried playing a video game in my 36 years on this rock, growing up playing Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior. I bawled my eyes out by the time I got to ending E in NieR: Automata. I defy anyone to play the game to at least that point and not question what it means to really be human and why we exist in this mortal plane.

Carl Batchelor’s pick – Elex

I truly feel that Elex is not only the best game of the year, but the best CRPG to come out since 2015’s The Witcher 3. The amazing visuals, the engine stability, the non-linearity, the large world, and that wicked combat system…I’m halfway through my second trip and still love it as much as the first day I picked it up. The game gets a bad rap from most sites because of its European styled “wonky” gameplay and physics, but anyone who has played Gothic knows that’s not a big issue. Overall, it’s just a fabulous CRPG that ticks every box on checklist and is the most complete and perfect game I’ve played in years. I’m dying to see them continue the series after the cliffhanger ending and hope the sequel is to this game what Gothic 2 was to the original. Kudos to Piranha Bytes.

Cody Long’s pick – Persona 5

I’ve been a sucker for Shin Megami Tensei Persona games since the third game, and the most recent series entry does not disappoint. Dripping with style and charm in equal measure, it’s hard to find many things in Persona 5 to complain about. When my most valid criticism is, “I don’t know which girl to romance and it’s killing me inside,” you know you’ve probably got a winner on your hands.

Alexis Nascimento-Lajoie’s pick – Persona 5

Persona 5 continues the trend of refining its core gameplay mechanics to the point of it easily being the best entry gameplay wise in the series, and what I feel is a gold standard for turn based JRPGs. The presentation is also second to none, with no other game I can think of coming even close to matching its style and aesthetic, to the point where even the UI is fucking amazing. Top that off with a acid jazz inspired OST and you have an incredible package. While the story might be lacking compared to other entries in the franchise, and it might run a tad long for some peoples liking, I feel as though every other component makes up for its shortcomings to provide one of the most memorable experiences this year. With 200+ hours dedicated to it already, I definitely see myself picking this game up again for another playthrough sometime in the near future.

Matthew Sigler’s pick – Super Mario Odyssey

When it comes to my game of the year, it isn’t a discussion: Super Mario Odyssey. Its design is impeccable, its graphics are beautiful, and its music is stunning. With the way the game rewards experimentation, tightens and expands the platforming, and changes the norm with Cappy, Odyssey truly feels like what the past thirty-two years of Mario games have lead up to. I only wish we can get more soon.

What was your game of the year for 2017? Did you vote in our first community game of the year poll? Sound off in the comments below!

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