97 on Metacritic, 97! The Last of Us got 95 and that became the most awarded game of all time. With that in mind I think we can all agree that Breath of the Wild is hot favourite to scoop up the lion’s share of GOTY awards. Many, myself included, thought Red Dead Redemption 2 might be the only game that could rival it, now though, RDR2 has been pushed back into 2018 (side note: stop announcing dates unless you are 100% sure you will release at that time!!).
So if not Red Dead, who could potentially compete with Zelda? 2017 has been a standout year for games so far and we aren’t halfway through it, yet we already have a couple of titles that could give Zelda a run for it’s money, plus some titles releasing later this year that look promising. So let’s look at the candidates.
Resident Evil 7
Kinda unexpected this, as many believe that Resi has been on the decline since 4. RE7 freshened the series up though and was well received because of it. It finally brought the fear back to the series and it should also be pointed out that it’s got to be the best PSVR game out there, I played through the entire game in VR and it was a real ‘wow moment’, like going from 2D games to 3D or like when I played GTA 3 for the first time. This game deserves some love from the critics.
I haven’t played this one myself but I was definitely made aware of it after all the positive buzz it was generating at it’s release. It’s basically made for the kind of person who enjoys the Souls/Borne-style of game that From Software created and considering there isn’t a From game releasing in 2017 (that we know of), Ni-oh is a game that struck a cord and is a bit of a dark horse when award time comes.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerrilla really knocked our socks off with this one. A game that didn’t really do anything new, but everything it did do it did very well and with a level of polish that you wouldn’t often see in an RPG of this scale. It’d be a shame if Horizon doesn’t get some love from the critics later on.
Like Ni-oh, another one I haven’t played yet but another one that kinda surprised everyone with it’s great reception. A mixture of genres, though primarily hack and slash, it seems to have won over many a critic, enough to top Zelda though? We’ll see…
By all accounts, a fantastic sequel to Neatherealm’s DC experiment though it’s in a genre that tends to get overlooked when GOTY awards are being dished out.
Potential GOTY Winners
So those are the titles released so far in 2017 that have some kind of chance of scooping up some awards (though let me know in the comments if you feel I’ve missed some). So from here on, I’m just going to take a stab in the dark and make guesses…
Another fighter so I think it’s at a bit of a disadvantage already, but feedback has been very positive from those who have already played it. Some are putting it up there with Tekken 3 and Tekken 5 as one of the best entries in the series. We’ll find out soon if that’s true.
Middle Earth Shadow of War
Who didn’t love the Nemesis system of Shadow of Mordor? It’s a feature that Monolith are really doubling down on in the sequel, Shadow of War, and it has the potential to be amazing because of it.
Sea of Thieves
It’s been quite a while since Microsoft had a big game to seriously contend for GOTY awards. Rare are behind this, and while they may not be what they once were, Sea of Thieves has got people excited for a Rare game again.
In my opinion, this is the coolest looking of any of the Microsoft games announced this generation, based on videos they’ve shown off that showcased the crazy destruction. Though, MS have been very quiet about this long awaited title and that has led to some concerns over the state that it is currently in. Fingers crossed it hits the 2017 target date and is as good as we expect.
South Park The Fractured But Whole
Delay prone, but after The Stick of Truth, everyone is keeping an eye on this one. This time the gang from Colorado will be parodying the superhero movies that we’ve been bombarded with since…Blade? X-Men?
For all the flak that Destiny 1 caught, few games have acquired such a dedicated fanbase as Destiny, critics among them, and they will flock to the improved looking Destiny 2 on day 1. Look, it’s got jokes this time.
Super Mario Odyssey
It may take a Nintendo game to beat a Nintendo game. Possibly the first huge Switch exclusive (Zelda being a Wii U game and all), everyone on that platform will be looking to grab this, it may even outsell the number of Switch’s sold like Zelda did. A lot of today’s critics grew up playing Mario, it will always have a special place in their hearts and as a result, it could give Zelda some stiff competition.
So what do you think? Is there a Zelda killer among the games I’ve listed…or have I neglected to mention 2017’s true titan? Let us all know how wrong I am in the comments.