CGMagazine’s Game of the Year 2017- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

CGMagazine’s Game of the Year 2017- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

As we head into the exciting year of 2018, we close out on what was a phenomenal year for gaming. From January until December, 2017 was the launch year for countless memorable experiences that resonated and dug their way into the hearts of players around the world. It’s for that same reason CGMagazine’s Game of the Year discussions are always a hard-fought battle. After a preliminary poll, hours of in-house banter and a GOTY Podcast, we narrowed our sights on five games that we consider to be the best the industry has to offer in 2017.

Through an intense contest, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out on top as CGMagazine’s winner for Game of the Year. The competition wasn’t weak though with the likes of Nier Automata, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole nipping at its heels for the top spot.

CGMagazine’s Game of the Year 2017- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (image provided by Nintendo).

Speaking from personal experience, the moment I picked up my new Nintendo Switch and booted up the game for the first time, I knew The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was going to be something truly special. From the beautiful, cell-shaded graphics to the immersive gameplay and its captivating score, Breath of the Wild is a game I believe everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime because it’s an unforgettable journey. The moment I left the Plateau and started to explore the rich overworld of Hyrule gave me a feeling of freedom that no game in this genre ever has. By letting go of the player’s hand, Breath of the Wild promoted me to actively discover the world, uncover its hidden treasures, go off the beaten path and learn to live off the land in unique ways. That feeling of never knowing what was just around the corner was the driving force for me to experience everything the game had to offer as I chronicled my adventures and marked up my map. We may have all experienced the same ending in Breath of the Wild, but how we got there was our own unique story and one we couldn’t wait to share with friends.

In his own game of the year list, Derek Heemsbergen had this to say about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:

Breath of the Wild is a supremely important release in a year packed full of standout titles. Not only did it debut alongside Nintendo’s new console as a show-stopping demonstration of everything it can do, it redefined Zelda as we know it. Elegant and restrained, there’s a sense of fulfilment inherent to the mere act of discovery in Breath of the Wild. While other games incentivize exploration with material rewards, Breath of the Wild successfully convinces the player that their feats are rewards in and of themselves.

CGMagazine’s Game of the Year 2017- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 1
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (image provided by Nintendo).

Breath of the Wild‘s sheer volume of things to do (or “content,” if the word is more palatable) is hugely impressive. It’s the sort of game that every player approaches differently, thanks to its beautifully realized mechanical language. Objects in its world behave and react with a natural sort of logic that is immediately understandable, even to unseasoned players. Plus, with two sizeable pieces of add-on content now available, there’s even more reason to revisit the game nine months after its release. Mark my words: Breath of the Wild is going to be influential for a long time to come.”

Runner-up of the pack is Super Mario Odyssey, showing that Nintendo is back in full force as a developer and continuing to deliver powerful experiences for players of all ages to enjoy. One such player being our very own resident movie expert, Phil Brown. Here are a few excerpts from his recent article describing why Super Mario Odyssey was his personal GOTY:

Super Mario Odyssey was both a celebration of Nintendo’s past and a promise to the future. Proof that the company can tickle our old pleasure centers while still providing rich and deep new gaming experiences that can match other AAA titles. My game of the year is a game that I’m still playing months later, either to find pesky stars and secrets hidden throughout or simply to re-experience moments that delighted me to no end the first time. It’s a masterpiece. Something that seems so simple that you can fall into it, yet is so deceptively massive that it rewards endless replay. Simply put, it’s hard to imagine a better Mario game. This is one title that I actually anxiously await DLC for and I know I’m not alone.”

Game of the Year 2017 Nominees (Based on Staff Vote)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Super Mario Odyssey

Nier Automata

Horizon: Zero Dawn

South Park: The Fractured But Whole


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Cole Watson’s reviews of Assassin’s Creed Origins and Gundam Versus!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

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Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) Review – Cold Steel to Warm your Heart

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) Review - Cold Steel to Warm your Heart

The end of the year is a special time in gaming. The holidays are crammed head to toe with highly anticipated AAA releases, and everyone seems eager to tell you their personal picks for the game of the year. It’s extremely easy to forget about all the high quality games that came out earlier in the year, like Resident Evil 7 and Nioh. I had completely forgotten Horizon Zero Dawn came out this year, and it took Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds for me to remember how much I liked it.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) Review - Cold Steel to Warm your Heart 5
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) – gameplay image via Sony and Guerilla Games

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds is the first expansion made available to 2017’s premiere game for robot dinosaur hunting and Bluetooth earpieces. This expansion increases the map side to include the frostbitten lands to the far north and their strange, sometimes alien vistas. Players will be able to access the new content as soon they’re loosed on the open world beyond Mother’s Heart, however, new players should put a little hitch in their get-a-long before they attempt those icy peaks. The Frozen Wilds are recommended for characters around level 30. While that isn’t a hard and fast number, I can tell you from experience that a level 11 Aloy is going to need to be on her A-game if she wants to punch a robo-polar bear.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) Review - Cold Steel to Warm your Heart 2
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) – gameplay image via Sony and Guerilla Games

Beyond the tentacle looking architecture of the Grave-Hoard lies The Cut, a wild, frozen expanse inhabited by hardy Banuk hunters and dotted with steaming hot springs. It turns out there’s some weird “daemon” about and it’s been infecting the local machine with its funky mojo. Mind you, this is completely different funky mojo than the corruption getting into the southern regions, a decidedly more angry and shadowy. Additionally, this daemon seems to be silencing the spirit, a mysterious voice that the local shaman has taken to praying to. All of this madness seems tied up with the grumpy looking mountain spewing black smoke in the distance, but the local tribes don’t seem to be terribly keen to check it out any further.

Through the course of this expansion, players will not only explore these savage lands and their frigid bounty, but also challenge a local tribal leader, explore a deserted dam, and track some not so great hunters trying to skip out of a bill. The Frozen Wilds offers what may be the best thing an expansion to Horizon Zero Dawn could offer; more to do in an already excellent game with stunning graphics, top-notch voice acting, and fun gameplay, and thankfully it’s not all just more of the same. The Frozen Wilds offers some significant quality of life additions that affect the base game experience as well. Mostly, a new skill tree is available from the start that allows for the deconstruction of resources and materials for cash, more options for mounts, and ways to repair overridden machines. Additionally, it is now possible to add modifications to Aloy’s trusty spear, and even a new weapon type to be found out there.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) Review - Cold Steel to Warm your Heart
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) – gameplay image via Sony and Guerilla Games

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds is a great expansion to an already stellar game, but it is certainly not without its faults. While the side quests are a bit more diverse than the base game, the fun side activities, hunting grounds, set collections, get lumped into the main quest line. Now, I would have probably done this anyway, but these sorts of activities are best served at the players own discretion, rather than having them forced upon them.

If you enjoyed the initial release of Horizon Zero Dawn then you have nothing to lose going into this downloadable content. It’s a fairly significant time investment and, while it doesn’t do anything new with the patented Horizon formula, The Frozen Wilds is jam-packed with side quests, ravenous machines to hunt, and an interesting story. The new enemies are interesting to fight and the new region is a joy to explore.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) Review - Cold Steel to Warm your Heart 4
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) – gameplay image via Sony and Guerilla Games

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Lane Martin’s reviews, such as The Lion’s Song and Sexy Brutale!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Super Mario Odyssey,  The Evil Within 2, and Cuphead!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Picking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn

Picking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn

Understanding the world and backstory of Guerilla’s AAA beast Horizon Zero Dawn begins with a look at Aloy, PlayStation’s newest heroine portrayed by Ashly Burch. A glance at her hazel eyes and her stoic face can both dazzle with its impressively realistic animations and, simply, surrender the essence of a misunderstood female outcast. A glimmer of Aloy’s hair impresses with its amount of polygons—but the Metis-evoking dreads are also capable of telling a tale of long sunburned hours traversing a green expanse. With Horizon Zero Dawn releasing on Feb. 28, fans are examining the game just this way—at all angles—desperately trying to unearth the answers to the game’s world. And the key seems to lie in the relationship between technology and humanity.

Read morePicking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn

This E3 Was The Year Of Colour

This E3 Was The Year Of Colour

This year’s E3, more so than any other, showcased a plethora of colorful video games. Everywhere you looked, there was a game that sported an eccentric, and visually extravagant art style that further helped the game look, and feel distinct. Suffice it to say, it seems developers have finally discovered color palettes that aren’t so callous – there was barely any gray, finally! Usually indies take visual risks, and really do interesting things with the tools that they have at their disposal. This year wasn’t any different.

Cuphead, which is being developed by two brothers who formed their own studio called Studio MDHR, was one of the highlights of E3 2015. Wonder why? The game looks like a breathing, and playable 1930s cartoon coupled with distinct mono sound, and nostalgic character designs. It seemed everyone wanted to get their hands on the game, and it was one of the best games on the show floor. Camp Santo’s first-person exploration game Firewatch is yet another indie game that simply looks stunning. It gives off a grand canyon, Wild West vibe with its heavy use of orange and yellow. The colors pop, and complement the narrative and gameplay mechanics.

firewatch-4
Firewatch

But outside of indies, triple-A studios are also getting in on the artistic action. Besthesda’s Fallout 4 looks markedly different from Fallout 3. The latter game just always looked so bleak, depressing, and quite uninviting, and understandably so. Fallout is about exploring a post-apocalypse setting fresh off of a nuclear bomb going off. But Fallout 4’s Boston setting, from what was shown so far during Bethesda’s conference, looks as if it actually does contain sunshine! Who would’ve thought!

Though of course there’ll most certainly will be places to explore where the average person wouldn’t want to step foot in, but the game mostly looks brighter than anything Bethesda Game Studios has done so far. Sony’s Guerilla Games also revealed a new IP, titled Horizon: Zero Dawn that contains lush, green foliage, quirky enemy designs, and distinct character designs. Even though it is essentially a post-post apocalypse world, it still looks inviting due to just how visually pleasing it looks.

Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn

This artistic trend shouldn’t be surprising however, it’s actually quite expected. This console generation did not have the benefits that the last one did in terms of having a huge technological leap. The jump from PlayStation 2 and Xbox to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was a drastic change from experiencing games from SD to HD. That was a markedly huge difference that was easily spotted by the average consumer, and thus helping to justify them purchasing these new machines. This isn’t the same case now, as the differences are quite minor for most people.

The natural progression will, and currently is consisting of creating games with breathtaking artist directions. Developers have to wow people with just how zany, and eccentric their games can get. Something like Cuphead probably wouldn’t be able to run on Xbox 360, and it actually is an Xbox One console exclusive. That’s a game that will entice people to purchase a new console, and be once again enchanted by what these new machines can do. Photorealism, and the push for grittier looks should be, and actually is, fading away.

Cuphead
Cuphead

Nearly every game that was on the show floor – Uncharted 4, The Last Guardian, Halo 5: Guardians, Star Wars Battlefront, Mirror’s Edge, Yarny, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Firewatch, Cuphead, Drawn to Death, etc. – all are just visually fun to look at. Actual art design seems to be finally taking over, and this not only allows for prettier games for people to play, but for said games to actually do something original, and refreshing. May it long continue.

The Best of E3 2015 – Reid

The Best of E3 2015 - Reid

The E3 press conferences are, if past events are any indication, something of a preview for the 12 months to come. Not only do they reveal upcoming videogames, but the general tenor of the industrys mainstream during the following year as well. And so, with this in mind, it seems worthwhile to go through a few of the most heartening  trends and announcements from this years E3 press conferences.

Read moreThe Best of E3 2015 – Reid