Our first awards were always supposed to give you guys a say about what has been great and what has been not so great over the past 12 months. Whether that is telling us what games you love or what fellow Monkey has impressed you the most, we have to say that the volume of responses we got from you was staggering and really rather lovely. There are some shocks in there as well as winners you might have already guessed, but it’s been fun finding out what you think and we thank all of you for contributing, even Rob_The_Editor, who mainly voted for Minecraft. Anyway, your winners are…
Game of The Year:
Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerilla Games brand new IP, Horizon Zero Dawn, was released last year to near universal acclaim. It has swept almost every awards show it’s been part of and has entranced gamers with it’s smooth action, beautiful vistas, incredible world and some deft storytelling. Aloy’s world of giant mechanical beasts and the mysteries of the far past that the game hints at join with solid gameplay and characters who will stay with you to make HZD simply one of the finest games of this generation. HZD won this vote by a landslide, it wasn’t anything like close. If you haven’t already played this game yet, the Monkeys all agree that you should.
Non-PS4 Game of the Year:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Last year, to most people’s surprise, the biggest selling console didn’t belong to Sony or Microsoft, but instead, was the Switch, Nintendo’s Home/Handheld hybrid machine. Part of the reason for this stunning success was undoubtedly their latest Hyrulian Masterpiece, LoZ: BotW. Once again Link is off to save Hyrule from professional irritant and pig-man, Ganon, but this time he does it in a vast, open-world Hyrule that feels alive for once. Sporting incredible new (to the series) game mechanics, breathless set pieces, a real sense of awe and wonder and something new to discover around every corner, BotW might, just might, be Link’s greatest adventure.
Best Indie Game:
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade is unlike anything most gamers have ever seen before. With amazing graphics, an incredible performance from the star voice actor and gameplay that starts great and only gets better, it’s hard to believe this is an indie game. Then you look at the incredible story, the small price tag and the lack of microtransactions and you realise that this is definitely a small indie studio and that they just happen to be very talented.
Best Role Playing Game:
Horizon Zero Dawn
Not strictly an RPG in the truest sense of the words, HZD does however have some of the most common RPG tropes such as XP, crafting, and the unlocking of new skills and abilities. Sure, it’s more of an RPG Lite, but I’m not gonna say no to Aloy, she’s fucking deadly with that bow.
Best First Person Shooter:
Destiny 2 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Our first tie and one we didn’t see coming. Of course Destiny 2 retains the first game’s impeccable gunplay, but it feels slower and you somehow feel less powerful than you did in the first game. D2 has a lot of problems, but it looks like the Monkeys still love that great Destiny feel, even if they don’t love the game as a whole. Wolfenstein II was also a bit of a surprise, albeit a welcome one. W2’s gunplay might not feel as excellent as D2’s, but its hyper-bombastic storyline, frenetic gunfights, sheer absurdity and that scene with Hitler, means it’s a game that will live long in the memory of anyone who played it.
Best Horror Game:
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
A very strong category, with a lot of games nominated, ended up being donkey punched into oblivion by the Granddaddy of the genre, Resident Evil. A switch to first person, while still crucially feeling like Resident Evil, was exactly the shot in the arm the series needed after the by the numbers, uninspired and just plain shit, Resident Evil 6. Always tense, often claustrophobic and littered with fiendish puzzles, Capcom’s latest foray into horror is, in many ways, as good as their first.
Best Co-op Game:
Bungie’s latest has sometimes felt like a joke or an experiment in how to piss off the most amount of people at once, but it still has something. When asked about the game’s shocking lack of endgame after launch, Deej (Bungie Community Liaison) said the “friendship was the true end game”. Now, while that statement is totally bananas, it has a grain of truth. Friendships are forged on the Leviathan and in the Crucible. I’ve cheered for someone’s first Eater of Worlds completion, I’ve laughed my tits off at seeing someone drop their 42nd Mob Justice and I’ve sniggered at “Dog Bottom”. I’ve played with a lot of you and I’m sure I’ll play with more, because playing together is the one thing D2 gets right.
Best Racing Game:
Need for Speed: Payback
The 23rd NFS game takes our Racing gong amongst stiff competition this year with it’s mix of tight but arcadey driving, a rich and full open world and some of the most heart pounding racing action of the series to date. While not perfect and too arcadey for some people, NFS: Payback still had enough in the tank to take our chequered flag.
Best Action/Adventure Game:
Horizon Zero Dawn
A closer run thing than in most of the categories because of a strong showing by Assassin’s Creed: Origins, HZD nevertheless takes home another Monkey-shaped statuette. An incredible game that really does feel like an adventure, HZD takes many already familiar elements, does them well and combines them in ways that makes all of the action breathless and adventuring an absolute joy.
Rainbow Six Siege: Year Two and Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
Of course Aloy was going to turn up here too, her DLC took us to a new area of her world, filled with threats old and new and fleshed out more of Guerilla Game’s remarkable world. A slight change in tone added more layers to an already remarkable game. The Frozen Wilds was just a one off compliment to the main game, unlike R6’s content drops last year. Drops that ultimately re-invigorated the game, giving it balance, new areas and increasing the game’s longevity, Ubisoft managed to really start to turn the tide of opinion on not only the game, but of their own reputation. Eight new Operators and four new maps were just the start of a year in which possibly the greatest Tactical FPS of them all cemented its reputation as the thinking gamer’s shooter of choice.
A lot of things are wrong with D2, we all know that. Hell, even mainstream media knows it, but the sound isn’t one of them. Keeping up their excellence in this department, Bungie gave a score with all the orchestral majesty D1 had, but added more modern influences. Whether it’s the syntho thrash urgency of some of Titan’s missions or the sweeping strings and mellifluous swells of the earlier score, this is pretty much as close to ear sex as you can get (excluding actual ear sex).
Horizon Zero Dawn
A story full of themes of ancient ecological disaster and the uneducated remnants of a humanity left behind has been a standard Sci-Fi and Fantasy trope since the 70’s, really, but HZD manages to capture it in a way that appeals to a far grander demographic than the works of Ursula K Le Guin or Margaret Atwood, but builds on the foundations those great ladies left and continue to leave. A strong female outcast is shunned through no fault of her own and becomes strong through her moxie, bravery and using nothing more than her own skill. Aloy eventually discovers the first tantalising threads of history that could help her to weave a kinder world for her people. Strong characterisation and a plot that gallops along when you let it, make HZD your favourite story this year.
Best PS+ Game:
Just Cause 3
I’d like to say this one was close, but it wasn’t. Turns out that it doesn’t matter how buggy a game is as long as you can blow shit sky high and laugh yourself silly along the way. JC3 is an absolute triumph of sandbox madness with some of the best movement around game maps you’ll ever see. Oh, and explosions. So many explosions.
Best New IP:
Horizon Zero Dawn
I did not see this one coming.
CD Projekt Red
How do you build a gaming developer? CDPR did it by focusing on one thing, doing it as best as they could, listening to fans on how they could improve that thing and then putting all of their money into making that one thing better. In an age where great companies and IP’s are mowed down in the face of profit and marketing, CDPR are the developer we all secretly hope we’d be. They don’t compromise, they don’t squeeze you for money and they care if their product is dogshit or not. Isn’t that all we want?
It was quite a year for Ubisoft, one in which they finished the turnaround from “synonymous with everything bad with gaming” to “actually, their pretty good now, your argument is invalid”. Throughout the year they rolled on with making R6 a better game than many thought it could be, made slight amends for Watch Dogs with its pretty good sequel, completely reinvigorated the tired Assassin’s Creed series with Origins and look to be actually talking to their communities more. Well done, Ubi.
Worst Game of the Year:
Star Wars Battlefront II
We all know what happened. We all know why this game is here. It’s deserved and, as my colleague MPF argued in this very piece, perhaps might be one of the most important things to happen to gaming in a while. It still blows, though.
The No Man’s Sky Award for Biggest Disappointment:
Destiny 2 had been out for two days when the top post on its subreddit stated “Destiny 2 is miles wide, but only inches deep”. That statement is as true now as it was then and, arguably, is the best review of the game I’ve ever read. D2 didn’t just disappoint the new players and casuals it dressed so garishly to seduce, it disappointed the hardcore players that were its main selling point. They took a game that took three years to get great, stripped the greatness from it and acted shocked when we told them that it was terrible. They’re trying hard to fix it, but it might be too little, too late.
It’s hard to think of a company more loathed than EA. To be fair, most of their shittiness comes from them as a publisher, but they do develop and are about as loved as a bleeding vaginal wart on a first date, so here we are.
Even for a company as loathed as EA, 2017 was a hell of a year. Starting with Mass Effect: Andromeda, a game that started life as a meme and had the same facial animation as I do after two grams of MDMA, EA then quietened down by anyone’s standards until they decided to close Visceral Studios in October. Killing the Dead Orbit studio after an apparently failed Star Wars game. Then came a real game changer. The kind of shitstorm that makes Mickey fucking Mouse pick up a phone and Belgium pass laws. The Star Wars Battlefront II loot box debacle. It turns out that people will complain when it gets too much and EA are the kings of too much. Next year, they’ll make you pay for the ball in day one DLC for FiFA.
Monkeys of the Year
R6 Operator of the Year: Shady
It’s your mama, Game Captain, and the girl you’d break both your arms for, Shady. The Queen of Cucumbers had this to say:
“I am truly honoured that people nominated me for monkey of the year for siege. Am sure half of you are pity votes, come on look at the stats, and the other half….. well….. some of yous don’t read things properly. That’s not a shock. But I wanna thank all my R6 boys for putting up with me, and carrying my ass all the time. I feel like I am your lord Tachanka of Siege. Bloody useless at playing siege, but definitely well known and respected by all. 😊 and of course not to mention everyone here on this server who have made gaming so much more fun for me. *you know who you are 😘* and at least I can say I’m not bottom for real this time 😜”
ESO Vestige of the Year: Taylor
It’s your GC and Guildmaster, Taylor. He’s very shy but I managed to squeeze some words out of him:
“Thank you to all who have nominated and voted for me. I am very happy and grateful to be part of this community and hope that we will continue to grow and have just as much fun together in the future as we did this past year. A special thanks to all the ALMSIVI, the gods of Heavy Sacks and, of course, Saskia.”
PokeMaster of the Year: KTrizzle
Whether it’s fish, Pokemon or sexually transmitted diseases, your boi KTrizzle’s gotta catch em all. Here he is thanking you in his own, incredible, words.
“Good day my fellow trainers and aspiring Pokemon Masters. First of all I would like to thank Arceus, my friends and family, the Academy (that’s a thing people say, right? Haha), and most of all you people for voting for me. It is an honor to receive this award, and it has been my pleasure to serve as your Pokemon League Champion through this formative year of our league. I am excited to see what this next year will bring and I hope our numbers continue to grow. Once again, thank you so much for the support, I look forward to working with and battling with you all in the future. Keep calm and train on.”
Destiny Guardian of the Year: bellsybell
He probably only got this because he’s so old he remembers the Golden Age. Anyway, this is what he had to say when he was sober.
“Well, this is embarrassing. It should have gone to Connor or Jav because I’m shit at the game. That doesn’t mean I’m not flattered and proud that you nominated and voted for me, it just means you’re all mental. Love you guys, Thanks.”
Overwatch Agent and Fortnite Squad Mate of the Year: Genji
You know him, I know him, he’s ridiculously good at gaming and is as lovely a fella as you’re ever likely to meet. That’s probably why he scooped two awards this time out. Here’s what our resident OW carry has to say:
“It is an honor to be voted best Overwatch and Fortnite Monkey. Thank you for all the games and having faith in me. I look forward to playing more games with everyone, and if you ever need help, feel free to ask me at anytime. Here’s to another year of great gaming.”
So there you have it. Our first awards are in the bag and we’d just like to thank you all for all the responses and all the games. Here’s to another year of ganking noobs.