2017 has been an absolutely packed year for amazing games. To many, it has been the strongest year gaming has seen in the past decade, and it’s a hard point to argue when you look at all the fantastic games that have been released. We’ve had great sequels like Resident Evil 7 starting off the year, Yakuza 0 (technically a prequel), Persona 5, Destiny 2, Wolfenstein 2, and even a Zelda and Mario game to name just a few. Then there’s been the slew of new IPs like Horizon, Hellblade, Nioh, and a huge surge in smaller indie tiles getting tons of attention like Cuphead, Hollow Knight, and Golf Story.

Obviously that’s leaving out a ton of fantastic games worth being Game of the Year in their own right, but the point is that there have been so many amazing titles hitting our consoles and PCs this year that narrowing down a list of even five Game of the Year contenders, let alone picking a winner, is the most difficult it has been in a long time. Which, I might add, is probably the best problem a gamer can have. Granted this year also had it's share of issues with a few games...but now isn't the time to focus on those. Let’s check out the first of many lists we’ll be seeing over the next month or so of Game of the Year contenders starting with The Game Awards.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

From the moment this game was released, it had carved out its spot as a game of the year contender. The hype for this game was so monumental that at one point the game itself had sold more copies than there were Switches to play it on. Somehow, despite the heavy burden of all that hype and expectations, Nintendo reinvented Zelda yet again in a game that is certain to be argued for years to come as the best 3D Zelda title.

Super Mario Odyssey

I could basically take everything I wrote for Zelda, change the name to Mario, and it would still be accurate. A return to form for a beloved character that invents new and fun mechanics within beautiful and varied worlds with literally hundreds of things to do and collect was bound to wind up on this list, if not every GOTY list we see.

The love for this game is just as strong as Zelda’s, but in a very different way that is what will probably be the determining factor when people are forced to decide which Nintendo game stands as the best.

Persona 5

The long-awaited entry in the fan-favorite JRPG series finally made it to the west in the beginning half of this year, and boy was it worth the wait. No other game on this list has the sense of style, of personality, that oozes from every frame of this game. The music, characters, designs, even the menus are all a treat to the senses. The game itself is about as perfect a representation of what a Persona game can be. The combat is razor sharp, intuitive, and streamlined, and the story can take well over 60-70 hours depending on how much of the world and characters you want to experience.

The only thing I can see holding this game back from the others is the limited widespread appeal JRPGs have to the wide masses of gamers.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

The new IP from Guerrilla Games was a technical showpiece at E3 2015, and two years later it was just as impressive to play at home. This open world game had a solid combat system, amazing graphics and attention to detail, and hours of content to explore. What many may not have expected this studio to deliver was the strong narrative and compelling characters brought to life in this new world. In just about every sense, this new IP did everything right.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

The black sheep of the list is saved for last. PUBG, as the kids call it, is the only early access game on the list, which in itself raises some speculation as to whether or not it can qualify as GOTY if it isn’t technically released yet.

What can’t be denied is how much of an impact this game has had on the gaming landscape this year alone, not to mention the effects it will continue having in the future. The game has already sold over 20 million copies this year alone, blowing huge, established, franchise out of the water, and has the most concurrent players ever recorded on steam. Clearly, this game has a lot of weight behind it, but will its multi-player only, single mode style gameplay be able to win out over Mario, Zelda, and the like? We know the answer in terms of sales, but we’ll have to wait to see who comes home with the award.

Which of these five do you think deserves the GOTY award? Or maybe your pick isn’t even one of the five nominated? The season for arguing over amazing games has come, so we may as well get it started here. Just make sure to keep it civil.