Winner: Horizon Zero Dawn

Coming out at the very end of February did not keep this title from jumping to the top release on our list. The setting of the game is a post-post apocalyptic world that resembles pre-historic era with the bonus of giant robotic creatures that roam the world. The mix of the contrasting styles gives the world a lot of charm, but the atmosphere alone doesn’t make this game a winner. The protagonist, Aloy, and her journey have a lot to offer to pull players into the story, as well. From her mysterious parentage, her outcast status, her heart, and determination, she has the makings of a powerful female protagonist. Mix this with the strong gameplay of stealth and combat mechanics sets up a fun and memorable experience that doesn’t disappoint.

Runner-Up: Nioh

Samurais+Dark Souls=A great game – though this game is not strictly Dark Souls wrapped in Japanese lore and style instead of the European. Nioh’s comparison to Dark Souls comes from brutal enemies and bosses, along with some features that mimic the well known series. Nioh still has some of its own style and gameplay that make it less of a direct copy. One major difference is the story that is set up. The protagonist, William, was not just a silent self-made character. The script and voice acting contain both Japanese and English. The gameplay allows for a decent number of weapons that become more diverse with the multiple weapon stances that will alter the combos performed. 

Honorable Mention: For Honor

For Honor brings a new look to the brawler genre of gaming with an original control scheme and a multiplayer mode that takes after shooter games. The game’s story conflict involves the main antagonist, Apollyon, fanning flames of conflict between Knights, Samurais, and Vikings. The controls can have a learning curve, but the campaign will ease players into its style of controls. There are five different types of gameplay battles included in the multiplayer: Dominion, a 4v4 territory battle filled with AI grunts; Brawl, 2v2; Elimination battles, and a 4v4 version; Duel is a One on One battle encounter. Lastly, Skirmish is 4v4 Deathmatch.