We’re going to wrap up our look back at 2017 with our Game of the Year awards for various technical categories. Let us know in the comments what games you would have picked.

Best Music:

Runners-up: Destiny 2, Rocket League

Winner: Persona 5

The music in Persona 5 is an eclectic symphony of genres that sources itself from jazz, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and gospel. It shouldn’t work. You shouldn’t be able to run around a beautiful animated version of the Tokyo underground, listening to the same song on loop, as you try and find an NPC for some random side quest. It should be like every other JRPG, where eventually you sift through the menu, find the BGM scale, and move that all the way to the left so Spotify can play another playlist for you to veg out to.

But it doesn’t, the piano notes hitting with the synth undertone plays like rain outside of the window, a perfect backdrop to the urban fantasy of Tokyo as you slip through the underground metro to classic backdrops ranging from the crosswalks of Shibuya to the fishing spot of Ichigaya. The sharp notes of the string instruments clashing with the electric guitar and symbolizing the awakening of power within the characters transitioning to a sudden stringendo as the guitar takes over and moves the song into a sudden rise in tension as you face off against a boss.

The standout has to be the moment the Phantom Thieves, the main character and his crew of misfits, embark upon their plan to steal the hearts of their targets, the wealthy and powerful that oppress society. The empowerment of the bass in the song creates a feeling of excitement that can hardly be compared to in any other soundtrack this year. The flow of the music builds a momentum that instantly makes what could be generic heist planning moments fun and exciting, adding to the artistic atmosphere and helps build the momentum to the point of execution

The style of Persona 5, its art direction and its story, would fall apart without a phenomenal soundtrack to tie it together. The mix of a grifter’s story with fantasy isn’t uncommon, even in the niche urban fantasy genre, but a massive part of what makes Person 5 stand out from even the other entries in its franchise is this soundtrack. An audio sucker punch that incorporates a combination of audio flavors that shouldn’t work, but does so with exceptional capability. It’s so good, you’ll never see it coming.

-Cameron Abbott

Best Graphics:

Runners-up: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Call of Duty: WWII

Winner: Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon made a big splash on PlayStation 4, and PS4 Pro especially, with it’s checkerboard 4K resolution and bright HDR colors. It’s among the best looking games ever released despite not being available on PC. Horizon also won our overall Game of the Year award, and you can read more about it there.

-David Quigley

Best Story:

Runners-up: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Call of Duty: WWII

Winner: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

For all intents and purposes, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a shooter’s shooter. It gives players the ability to equip multiple weapons, dual wield them and mow down Nazis. If you added in some Rock music and demons Wolfenstein would look like, Bethesda’s other high octane shooter, Doom.

Yet, within all that flash is substance that has been put in by MachineGames through the game’s story. The New Colossus picks up right after The New Order and players take control of Captain William “B.J.” Blazkowicz in his fight against alternate history Nazis. Sure there are big explosions and gore but it is the reasons that those things happen are where Wolfenstein II shines. There are themes of family, love, and sacrifice in this shooter that makes players wonder if they are really playing an action-adventure and not a visual novel.

-Patrick Okolo

Best Multiplayer:

Runners-up: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Destiny 2

Winner: Fortnite

There’s no doubt PUBG brought battle royale gameplay to the masses. It wasn’t the first nor last to do so, but for now, it’s a mode that seems here to stay. When it came time for our VGN voting, we thought Fortnite is a more enjoyable game. It originally launched with co-op vs CPU gameplay, but later famously released it’s Battle Royale update and rose quickly in popularity. While the basic ideas of 1 vs 99 and a continually shrinking field of play are the same as that of PUBG, Fortnite focuses on base building, destructibility, and has much smaller maps. The construction and destructibility make for unique encounters almost every time. Players can throw up walls in a pinch for cover, or build massive sniper towers and hole up. The smaller map forces gunplay more often. You can easily make it to the top 10 in PUBG without seeing another player, which is tense, but if you’re looking for more action Fortnite delivers.

Best Acting:

Runners-up: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Winner: Horizon Zero Dawn

The world of Horizon Zero Dawn is brought to life by the performances of Ashly Burch as Aloy and Lance Reddick as Sylens, among others. As you move through the world Aloy constantly is interacting with other characters and the environment, and the acting is critical in making everything feel like a real place. Horizon also took home our overall Game of the Year award.

-David Quigley

Best DLC:

Runners-up: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, Crypt of the NecroDancer: Amplified

Winner: Rainbow Six Siege: Blood Orchid

This was the first content update after Operation Heath, which pushed everything back a season to focus on the core game. Blood Orchid brought three new operators and a new map to Rainbow Six. The Chinese operators Ying and Lesion bring the respective abilities to throw a flashbang bomb on attack and sticky mines on defense, with the new map being set at an abandoned theme park. The canceled Polish update meant the two operators were split up, so Blood Orchid also had a bonus defender, Ela, who has concussion proximity mines.

-David Quigley