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Reader's Choice Best Of 2017 Awards

by Jeff Cork on Jan 04, 2018 at 12:29 PM

Every year, the Game Informer staff is locked into a conference room that seems to grow smaller with every passing hour. The task? Coming up with the best games of the preceding year, including the recipient of the coveted game of the year nod. Harsh words are unleashed, feelings are bruised, and only our corporeal forms shuffle from the process intact. But enough about us. In addition to our awards, we open up the process to our readers, letting them answer an online poll to determine what games were the standouts. Today, we’ve got all the results – and some of them may surprise you.

In keeping with tradition, we’re rolling through each category while providing a little context for each of the results. And per usual, don’t blame us if you find something that seems a little hinky. You voted for these things, after all. If you didn’t, perhaps you’ll join us again next year and make your voice heard. 

Best Sony Game – Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerrilla Games’ post-apocalyptic, open-world title had quite an effect on our readers. A whopping 36 percent of respondents (more than 6,400 of you) called it out as the best game on PlayStation in 2017. The next-closest game, the RPG Persona 5, received close to 16 percent of the votes, with third place Nier: Automata garnering about 11 percent. On the other end of the spectrum, Matterfall brought up the rear with .12 percent; at least 21 of you thought it was the best Sony game from last year. Be honest: which of you guys works at Housemarque?

Best Microsoft Game – Cuphead
We’ll be diplomatic here and say that the field for the best Microsoft game of 2017 was…carefully curated. OK, fine. There were only 10 titles to choose from, in contrast to the larger pools that Sony and Nintendo players had to choose from (at 22 and 25, respectively). Cuphead was the clear winner, gathering nearly half of the votes. At 49 percent, you can’t get much closer. The next game was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, at 16 percent, showing that the power of brand recognition may resonate with players more than a stable frame rate. Third place was a near tie, with only 49 votes separating Forza Motorsport 7 and Slime Rancher.

Best Nintendo Game – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Get used to reading the words “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” on this list. Nintendo’s sprawling adventure pulled nearly half of the votes, like how Link…pulls the Master Sword…from its stand. Or something. Almost 8,500 of you thought it was the best game from Nintendo in 2017. Next up was Super Mario Odyssey, which received about 27 percent of the vote. Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon round out the top three, with 5.66 percent of readers putting the strength of their votes behind the 3DS game.

Best PC Exclusive – Divinity: Original Sin II
On the PC front, things were a little more closely divided. It was still pretty much a blowout for first place, though. Divinity: Original Sin II took the top spot, with about a quarter of voters (that’s 25 percent, for fans of numerals) giving Larian Studios’ RPG their endorsement. VR fans were enthusiastic, too, with Fallout 4 VR and Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality coming in at second and third place (and 14 and 12 percent of votes). Hollow Knight was a close fourth, at 11 percent.

Best Mobile/Handheld Game – Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon
Two (or three, depending on how you want to look at it) Nintendo games took the first few spots in the best mobile/handheld category. Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon was the top reader pick at nearly 26 percent, and MercurySteam’s Metroid: Samus Returns followed closely with about 23 percent of the votes. South Park: Phone Destroyer was next, at 11 percent. Believe it or not, 114 of you put Bye-Bye Boxboy as your favorite. Don’t worry – this is a judgment-free zone.

Best Action Game – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Ah yes, the “action” genre. No, it’s definitely not a catch-all category for things that don’t fall into more specific buckets, and how dare you even insinuate such a thing. While the definition may (or may not) be a bit nebulous, our readers knew what they wanted: Zelda. Breath of the Wild captured our hearts and also about 27 percent of reader votes. The top three was basically a repeat of the best Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft categories, with Horizon Zero Dawn (17 percent) and Cuphead (10 percent) lining up behind Zelda. Once again, team Matterfall came out, though in significantly smaller numbers. Three of them called it their favorite action game. Perhaps they considered Zelda and Horizon RPGs and Cuphead a platformer, and then did what felt right to them?

Best Adventure Game – Life is Strange: Before the Storm
What a hella surprise! The adventure-game category was dominated with coming-of-age tales, starting with Life is Strange: Before the Storm’s top-slot position. Night in the Woods was a close second (13 percent, compared to Before the Storm’s 14 percent), followed up by The Walking Dead: A New Frontier (11 percent), and What Remains of Edith Finch at 10 percent. 

Best Co-op Multiplayer – Cuphead
Do people really like Mugman? Is cursing more fun when you’re doing it with friends? Cuphead was your number-one co-op game of 2017, or at least 18 percent of you said so. Destiny 2 was next at 16 percent, followed up with Splatoon 2 at 8 percent. It was a good year for the number two, come to think of it. Divinity: Original Sin II, Call of Duty: WWII, Star Wars Battlefront II, Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire, Knack II, and Dragon Quest Heroes II all had their advocates in this category. Unfortunately, those other games didn’t have enough votes to crack the top two. 

Best Competitive Multiplayer – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was 2017’s breakout hit, which is why its winner-winner-chicken-dinner position makes so much sense. About 23 percent of voters said it was the best competitive multiplayer game of the year – more than second and third places combined. For the record, those also-rans were Splatoon 2 (9.69 percent) and Injustice 2 (9.41 percent). They were close to each other, but PUBG didn’t have much to worry about in this category.

Best Fighting Game – Injustice 2
This was a bloodbath. Injustice 2 trounced the competition, grabbing nearly half of the votes. Tekken 7 was next up, but it only got 16 percent of the votes. The Switch-exclusive Arms got 10 percent. There may not have been a particularly crowded roster of challengers, but it’s clear that passions run high among DC fans. 

Best Racing Game – Forza Motorsport 7
Gentlemen, start your griping! Nearly 40 percent of readers picked Forza Motorsport 7 for the top position in the racing category, nearly lapping Gran Turismo Sport at 18 percent. It was a photo finish for fourth position between Need for Speed Payback and Dirt 4, at 12.82 percent and 12.50 percent, respectively – a margin of about 50 votes.  

Best Role-Playing Game – Persona 5
Atlus’ Persona 5 was a stylish standout in 2017, and our readers agree. About 20 percent of you all called it out as the top RPG of the year. South Park: The Fractured But Whole was next up, at 16 percent, with Nier: Automata rounding out the top three at 14 percent. South Park over Nier, eh? OK…

Best Platforming Game – Super Mario Odyssey
Here we’ve got the rout to end all routs. Super Mario Odyssey was such a dominant choice that it barely seems fair to call out the other entrants. But I’ll go ahead and do it, anyway. Odyssey took the top spot with nearly 68 percent of the votes. Sonic Mania was second, with 10 percent. To put it in perspective, Sonic had 1,734 fans in his corner, while Mario had an army of 12,105. Curiously, Little Nightmares was next. The atmospheric game got nearly 9 percent of votes (1,576 of them, since we’re on a numerical roll).

Best Puzzle Game – Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together
This is it. Well, it’s something. Believe it or not, the best puzzle game category was the most skipped one of the bunch. Almost 11,000 of you blew past it without even bothering to vote. Don’t worry, we won’t take it personally. Those of you who bothered sticking around decided that the Nintendo Switch game Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together was the best puzzle game of 2017, with nearly 24 percent of the (paltry) votes. Monument Valley 2 was next up at 19 percent, followed by Puyo Puyo Tetris at 15 percent. I can probably just say whatever I want here, since you’ll just end up skipping this entry. Butt farts applesauce toilet.

Best MMO – The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind
Last year, Bethesda Online gave its Elder Scrolls Online players a chance to return to Vvardenfell. According to readers, it was a voyage worth taking. About 40 percent of voters gave it their best MMO endorsements, followed by Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood (28 percent) and Ark: Survival of the Fittest (20 percent).

Best Rhythm/Music Game – Just Dance 2018
No, this genre isn’t completely dead! Seriously! Just Dance 2018 captured the hearts and minds (and votes) of our readers, with 39 percent of them saying it was their favorite rhythm/music game of 2017. Rock Band VR was next up at 33 percent, and Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone rounded out the top three at 28 percent.

Best Shooter – Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
In a genre dominated by deathmatch and other multiplayer modes, the single-player-only Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was an anomaly. Players seemed to enjoy its story-based approach, giving the game a resounding chunk of votes in the best shooter category. About 29 percent of voters gave Machine Games’ title their vote, with Destiny II getting 14 percent in comparison. Ten votes separated Splatoon 2 and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (2,438 versus 2,428, respectively).  

Best Simulation Game – Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Nintendo’s second major foray into mobile gaming (as in phones) paid off. At least, it did by this metric. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp took honors in the best simulation game category, as well as 34 percent of the votes. Slime Rancher was a close second, with about 30 percent. And third place? How about something called Hunting Simulator, which got about 12 percent? If this is any indicator, our readers would prefer running errands for animals instead of shooting them.  

Best Sports Game – FIFA 18
EA’s soccer/football game once again took the readers’ top honors, earning close to 19 percent of the total votes for best sports game. NBA 2K18 was second at 13 percent. In one of the poll’s biggest squeakers, only two votes kept 2K Sports’ game above Mario Sports Superstars, which landed in third. Everybody’s Golf was the fourth-place sports game, pulling in about 11 percent of the total. 

Best Strategy Game – Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Ubisoft’s Rabbid/Mario crossover was one of 2017’s least likely pairings, but it ended up being a winning concoction. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle made a strategic play for first place in the best strategy game category (wordplay!), taking in about 27 percent of the votes. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen was second at 18 percent – with nearly twice as many votes as the next closest game, Halo Wars 2. The Elder Scrolls: Legends and Fire Emblem Heroes were at a near tie for the fourth spot, with 10 votes dividing the two games. Have I already said that your vote counts with this thing? Don’t blame us!

Best Remastered/Remade Game – Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
This one was another blowout. Crash Bandicoot fans made their voices heard in this category, showing their love for the N. Sane Trilogy to the tune of 23 percent of  the votes. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe pulled in 15 percent of the votes, followed up by the L.A. Noire remaster’s 8 percent. Considering the N. Sane Trilogy essentially rebuilt the old PlayStation games from scratch, it’s fitting that it took the top position over what was essentially a port of a great game with bundled DLC and a restored Battle Mode. No judgment, though.

Best VR Game – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is one of the more effective uses of VR technology out there, and readers came out to support the game in the best VR game category. It took in nearly a third of the votes (32 percent), with two of Bethesda’s games in the next few slots. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR and Doom VFR took in 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively. 

Game of the Year – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Finally, it’s time for the big one. Unsurprisingly, this was the least skipped category in the entire voting process, with about 3,900 of you either accidentally closing the tab before voting or realizing that you weren’t up to such a heavy responsibility. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild took the number-one position, with about 19 percent of voters choosing it as the best game of 2017, without any caveats or genre qualifiers. Horizon Zero Dawn was next at 10 percent, followed by Persona 5 (6.43 percent) and Super Mario Odyssey (6.19 percent). Inexplicably, Injustice 2 was right after Mario, at 4.64 percent of the vote. Just think: If those 3,900 people who sat this one out rallied their forces, we could be looking at a world where Injustice 2 was in the top slot. It really makes you think, doesn’t it?

On the subject of really making you think, here’s something to ponder as we wrap up. The following games each received a single, solitary vote for game of the year. Again, we’re not judging. Maybe we’re just a little confused?

  • Birthdays the Beginning
  • Cat Quest
  • Dragon Quest Heroes II
  • Kingsway
  • Loot Rascals
  • NHL 18
  • Nidhogg 2
  • Rise & Shine
  • Snipperclips: Cut it out, Together
  • Super Lucky’s Tale
  • Syberia 3

See you next year!