Recently, The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences had their annual D.I.C.E. awards, awarding the best of games released in 2017. Just like I did with the Video Game Awards, I decided to look at the awards dished out and decide whether I agree or disagree with that award being given to that game.
Just like my previous list, I haven't played every single game on this list, but I will try to be as fair as possible with the games I haven't played. I will be going in random order except for game of the year and any very similar awards which I will put next to each other. Let's get into the list.
Racing Game - Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Disagree
2017 was a very forgettable year for racing games, so it is no surprise the big hit racing game wins this award. Personally, I don't have anything against the game or anything. The only reason why I disagree with this game winning is the fact that this game already released in 2014. Yeah, I know that this one has some new content and whatnot, but I still see this game as a re-release for Switch and not a new game. For that sole reason, I disagree. If this was a new Mario Kart, then I would agree.
Mobile Game - Fire Emblem Heroes - Disagree
I'm not a big mobile game guy, but I disagree with Fire Emblem Heroes winning this category. I haven't played any of the other games and I have only played a tiny bit of Fire Emblem, but knowing Nintendo's track record with phone games and things I have heard about the microtransactions make me lean towards another game. Like I have said, I haven't the games on the list, but I have played the first Monument Valleyand enjoyed my time with it. I personally think that Monument Valley 2 should've won this category.
Handheld Game - Metroid: Samus Returns - Agree
This one was hard for me to choose because I just talked about how I disagree with Mario Kart for being a re-release then say I agree with this one. Still, I have heard of more changes to this game than changes to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and that mixed with how old the game is makes me think that this is practically a new game. On top of that, I haven't played any of the others but I heard a crazy amount of talk on this game for a handheld game. Normally, I would disagree with a re-release, but I can't with this game.
Family Game - Snipperclips - Disagree
I haven't played any of the games listed, but I have heard great things about Snipperclips and DropMix. Before my final decision, I was going to go with Snipperclips. But while I was writing this category, I thought of a game, or rather a set of games, that were introduced to me this year. The game? Jackbox Party Pack games. I just played the newest fourth edition, and that pack released this year. Because of that, I disagree with the choice and say that Jackbox Party Pack 4 should win this category instead. This game is perfect for all levels of humor and fun: from family to friends and any others. On top of that, I would say out of the three party packs I have tried so far (2,3, and 4), this newest pack has the most consistently solid games. I can see why Jackbox doesn't make the nominations, but I still think this one should be at the top.
Outstanding Achievement in Story - Horizon Zero Dawn - Disagree
The only games I have played on this list is Wolfenstein 2 and Horizon Zero Dawn, and even then I haven't completed Horizon. And while I think the story so far in Horizon is solid, I think the other picks are better. Wolfenstein's story is surprisingly great and I actually care about the characters that reside in that alternate Nazi hellscape, and I have heard outstanding things about how close Night in the Woods hit home. Still, I don't want to discredit Horizon, as for that story is also great. I don't know which game I would choose, but I would've loved to see Wolfenstein win as a dark horse.
Role-Playing Game - Nier: Automata - Agree
One of the big things talked about in 2017 was the re-vitalization of Japanese games in the U.S., and Nier was said to be one of those game. The only game I have played in that list would be Middle Earth: Shadow of War, but I am actively against that game winning that award despite my love for the series (act 4, anyone?) Not only that, I have heard many great things about Nier, a lot more than any of the others listed. Not to say those games are any worse, it's just that people are way more passionate about Nier than any of the other games from what I have seen. Many even say it is a major contender for being the top game of the year. Because of that, I agree with this award choice.
Immersive Reality Technical Achievement and Immersive Reality Game of the Year - Lone Echo/Echo Arena - Agree
I decided to combine the two because my thoughts are the same for both. The only game I have played between the two lists is Robo Recall because I just got VR, but I wouldn't go to bat with it. On the other hand, I have heard great things about Lone Echo/Echo Arena. A great story, multiplayer that is fun and free, and the biggest thing: not a shooter game. From what I have seen and heard about the game, I believe this is the right direction for VR. Games like these make the platform great and will lead to future bigger and better VR titles and a wider audience.
Game Design and Game Direction - Breath of the Wild - Agree
Call me lazy and call me a terrible games journalist, but I personally don't think about these awards too much. I understand their importance, but I have never been a good judge on these two topics. For Breath of the Wild on both awards, I think that game is made well, which is why I agree with these awards.
Fighting Game - Injustice 2 - Agree
I'm not a big fighting game guy, but of all of the games on the list I am most willing to try Injustice 2. I give props to Arms for being unique and Tekken 7 for being great (from what I have heard), but in the end I think Injustice 2 is the fighting game of the year. It's barrier to entry is low, its story mode is said to be good, the combat looks like a lot of fun, and the heroes look pretty cool. Again, I am not a fighting game guy, but the fact that I actually want to play this game says something to me about the game.
Strategy/Simulation Game - Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle - Disagree
This game also won best strategy game in the VGA awards, and my thoughts on the game are still the same. I respect the different ways this game spins the turn-based tactical genre and I respect the fact that it is a surprisingly fun product and not some dumb simple strategy game I thought it was going to be. But still, that game runs on for way too long and their are some restrictions to team building that makes me believe another game should've won. Which game? I actually don't know, but I heard good things about War of the Chosen despite being DLC.
D.I.C.E. Sprite Award - Snipperclips - Disagree
The D.I.C.E. Sprite Award is an award given to a game that had a small staff and budget yet was risky and innovative. While I bet Snipperclips fits the mold, I just think the other game fits that mold better. Everythingwas the only game I played on this list, but it was a game that to me that was literally jaw dropping and its philosophy blended well into the experience. Even games I haven't played like Night in the Woods and Pyrefit the mold better than Snipperclips in my opinion. Still, I don't think Snipperclips doesn't belong on this list and I can see how this game won.
Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay - PUBG - Agree
Seeing PUBG win this category win is by no means a surprise. This game pretty much started a new multiplayer game movement into battle royale. Normally, I actually would've disagreed with this game because it isn't really anything new. To me, this is essentially a cleaner version of King of the Kill, I mean the guy who made PUBG, Brendan Greene, helped develop King of the Kill. In the end, I agree with this because all of the other picks aren't anything new either. In the end, this category is more just best multiplayer and not innovations in online play, and because of that I think PUBG winning makes the most sense.
Achievement in Art Direction and Achievement in Animation - Cuphead - Agree
I put the two together because my answer is the same for both: it isn't even close. Cuphead's art style is talked about to kingdom come, but that's because it's so damn good that it could be considered the best art in the decade. It's no shocker this game won those categories, and that is all I have to say about those two.
Action Game - PUBG - Agree
Yeah, this is a great action game. The tense action and incredible feeling of winning is amazing in the game, and losing is a quick process to get you back into the game. I would like to praise Cuphead a bit for being a great gameplay game. I thought the heavy focus would lead to a game that isn't great gameplay-wise, but the gameplay in Cuphead is a lot of fun and was a bigger surprise to me than the art being good. But in the end, I think PUBG is still a better action game.
Sports Game - FIFA 18 - Disagree
I'm not a big sports guy, so I don't have a lot of words for this category. I didn't play any of these games, but I still wish one of the two golf games won. I say that because the other three games are just yearly-released sports games in my eyes. I know some of them have campaigns that are said to be pretty good, but the yearly release stigma still lingers with me with FIFA, which is why I disagree.
Adventure Game - Breath of the Wild - Agree
This to me is as shocking as Cuphead winning art awards. What makes BOTW is the exploration and adventure aspects, so it's no surprise that it wins this category. I don't have much else to say about it, because the gameplay speaks for itself. So moving on.
Technical Achievement - Horizon Zero Dawn - Disagree
I'm not an expert on this award, so I could totally be wrong on this, but I didn't feel like this game was technically amazing. I would say that for Guerrilla's first open world game, it was great. But the game kind of feels like another open world game, no more or less technically able. I think a game like Hellblade was a better technical game as for it pushes how we can convey such things as mental illness. I could be totally wrong on the topic, but I don't see any big unique thing technically with Horizon.
Sound Design - Super Mario Odyssey - Agree
I just say agree because I actually don't know who should win. When thinking about sound design, I always thought Mario had great sound design, but sound design is an award to me that can only really be decided if I played all of the games on the nomination list, which I didn't. So I will go with Mario Odyssey and move onto the next award.
Original Music Composition - Cuphead - Agree
I absolutely love Cuphead's music and I am glad to see it win an award. Not only is it fantastic music that I actually listen to along side the rest of my music (the only video game album I do this with), it is music that can actually blend in with other upbeat jazz music. If I were to play songs mixed with this soundtrack and non-Cuphead jazz to listeners who haven't played the game, I guarantee I can fool them into believing the Cuphead songs are not a video game soundtrack. It's universal, it's great, and it got a well-deserved award.
Character - Senua in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice - Agree
The only characters I have experienced are Aloy from Horizon and Chloe from previous Uncharted games, but I wouldn't go to bat for them. Just like sound design, I feel I need to experience the game to fully understand the characters, which is why I am going to agree with their choice.
Game of the Year - Breath of the Wild - Agree
Shocker. The game winning every GOTY award under the sun won another. Still, it won for a reason: it's a damn good game. Despite lacking in certain areas, as a whole package it is an amazing game and is one of the best ways to launch a system. The game gives you freedom, gives you a great sense of self discovery, fills the world with things to do, and only takes from you your time (which is time well spent) and all of the awards it can take.
Well, that is my list. Now it is time to stop looking at the past and start looking into the future. Let's hope 2018 turns out to be a great year for gaming, just like 2017.