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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  1. Uncle Ocelot
    Uncle Ocelot
    January 1, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Was there ever any doubt?

  2. NoobSmoke
    January 1, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    RE 7 is my personal goty

  3. goodbyejojo
    January 1, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    it was a great year, making the choice of picking goty’s difficult.

  4. DrearierSpider
    January 1, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Great year for gaming, and niche gaming in particular.

  5. Envy-Noson
    January 1, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    This is fine.

  6. 2501
    January 1, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    The booty, and nothing but the booty.

  7. GameZard
    January 1, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Horizon Zero Awards continue to lose. HA!

  8. Mr0303
    January 1, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Congrats. From what I hear the game definitely deserves all its praise. I may play it at some point.

  9. chaoguy
    January 1, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    It speaks volumes that Niche’s GOTY is almost identical to the community GOTY.
    For once we have writers that understand the medium and the audience!

  10. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    January 1, 2018 at 6:10 pm


  11. Muten
    January 1, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    It hurts me to see that some staff members have a wrong opinion :^)

  12. reblinds
    January 1, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    good to see it’s a game PC gamers still bitch about not being able to play

  13. RPGEndBoss
    January 1, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    I still like NieR, for the record.

  14. Donwel
    January 1, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    I’d really recommend it, personally. Definitely one of the better games I’ve played and the music is absolutely fantastic. Truly deserving of GOTY.

  15. Donwel
    January 1, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    There were few good games this year (shit it’s last year now), but because of that the gems really did stand out so it’s difficult to choose between them. Nier is probably what I’d have gone with, RE7 is a good shout though. Anyway hopefully we all have a decent new year full of excellent games.

  16. PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS
    January 1, 2018 at 8:58 pm


  17. GamesGoodMeGood
    January 1, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Good to see no mention of Feminazi: Zero Dawn.

  18. -blank-
    January 1, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    Man 2017 was a great year for games

  19. UnpluggedBeta
    January 1, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    That’s just because the staff hates strong and independent women.

  20. GameZard
    January 1, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    And cave women as well.

  21. Mr0303
    January 2, 2018 at 2:02 am

    The demo didn’t sell me on it. The constant switching of gameplay styles was off putting and I didn’t enjoy the hack and slash bits – they felt rather clunky. I’m also not a fan of multiple endings in games. Eventually I may give it a try .

  22. Russia Good
    Russia Good
    January 2, 2018 at 2:13 am

    Good that it isnt Fart of the Wild, well deserved

  23. BaronKrause
    January 2, 2018 at 2:24 am

    In reality there is 1 ending story wise. One unlocks the next, which expands upon the previous one, etc. (C/D are just slightly different versions of the same thing).

    The rest are all comical joke bad endings that fly by in a few seconds that you can trigger by doing things ingame at the right moment (like running away at specific moments in boss fights).

  24. entropy
    January 2, 2018 at 2:28 am

    You must be thinking iTards.

    But I do so love to hear the butthurt of kids whose single mother’s welfare won’t cover the cost of an entry-level gaming rig.

  25. Mr0303
    January 2, 2018 at 2:29 am

    Doesn’t sound really good in terms of storytelling, but I guess quite a few people like this style of delivery. Not my cup of tea though.

  26. BaronKrause
    January 2, 2018 at 2:31 am

    You really should try it as most the acclaim for the game is in its story delivery.

  27. Mr0303
    January 2, 2018 at 2:34 am

    At some point I will. If Square release a complete edition or the game becomes available via PS+ I’ll definitely give it a playthrough.

  28. CyborgNinja
    January 2, 2018 at 3:43 am

    Lots of interesting games from the staff.
    Have heard a lot of good things abut Nier, might pick it up in the future.
    Been meaning to play one of the Persona games.
    Mario looks fun but I’m not willing to buy a Switch just yet.

  29. Madbrainbox
    January 2, 2018 at 4:30 am

    Glad to see Elex is getting some love.Pb moved in the right direction with this one.

  30. Alex Drake
    Alex Drake
    January 2, 2018 at 4:51 am

    Uhhhh I played it and finished and 100% just fine on PC

  31. Feniks
    January 2, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Currently on route C and yeah its the game this year that I’ll remember the longest.

  32. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    January 2, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I hope I get the chance to play Nier and Persona soon. Both sound great!

  33. GuyGuysonEsquire
    January 2, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    NieR: Automata? That’s a weird way of typing “Hollow Knight”.

  34. GuyGuysonEsquire
    January 2, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Well, NG employs actual like gamers instead of failed movie reviewers and hipsters, thus the result.

  35. GuyGuysonEsquire
    January 2, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    That aren’t western AAA-rubbish.

  36. Alex Drake
    Alex Drake
    January 2, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    keep deluding yourself

  37. SinkingSage
    January 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Ha? The game is on PC.

  38. SLoWMoTIoN
    January 2, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    2017 was a great year for gaming. Couldn’t get into Nier though, it was too boring for me even with the tight gameplay and robot ass. Oh well.

  39. SLoWMoTIoN
    January 2, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Random trivia

    The mangaka cancelled this manga after people where breathing down his neck for the lack of anime sales.

  40. Mr0303
    January 2, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Well that’s lame.

  41. Hubbles
    January 2, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    probably my pick as well. but 2017 really wasnt a great year of gaming for me. i was disappointed by almost every game in one way or another. yes, nier too.

  42. MasonF2
    January 2, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    Hollow Knight was amazing, though. Indie of the year.

  43. Alex Drake
    Alex Drake
    January 2, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    It was good. Not the best though. I had no emotional reaction from it whatsoever other than frustration in some parts >_>

  44. Kakaku
    January 2, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    What made Nier Automata boring for you?

  45. SLoWMoTIoN
    January 3, 2018 at 10:05 am

    The world and lore. I couldn’t make myself care for the characters. Also playing as 9S.

  46. Alex Drake
    Alex Drake
    January 3, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    You knew nothing of the lore or the world >_>

  47. Kyle Key
    Kyle Key
    January 12, 2018 at 12:33 am

    Horizon is far behind Zelda, but easily going to take second place in terms of GotY awards, so what were you saying? https://gotypicks.blogspot.com/

  48. GameZard
    January 12, 2018 at 3:37 am

    Not with that game being as shitty as it is.

  49. Kyle Key
    Kyle Key
    January 12, 2018 at 3:53 am

    It’s a real tragedy that someone like yourself, cursed with terrible taste, is blind as well. It’s already a fact that Horizon has more GotY awards than anything besides Zelda, the proof is right in front of you, if only you could see it. There’s nothing for you to dispute, haha. You can cry yourself to sleep now.

  50. GameZard
    January 12, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Sorry kid but I don’t like SJW games where you play as a fugly cave woman at 30fps. I am a PC gamer so I have higher standards.

  51. mike castor
    mike castor
    January 18, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    It’s definitely top 5 in my list.Take a look at this for similar articles

  52. mike castor
    mike castor
    January 18, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    All excellent games for sure. My favorite is odyssey.Take a look at this for similar articles