This week in video games, December 4, 2017: Horizon Zero Dawn returns with the excellent Frozen Wilds

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      This week, Capcom Vancouver releases a game and Vancouver's Piranha Games preps for a batallion of MechWarriors to land in the city. Plus, how you can participate in—and watch—the 2017 Game Awards. But first, The Frozen Wilds extends and expands the wonderful Horizon Zero Dawn.

      The Frozen Wilds a welcome return to the thrilling world of Horizon Zero Dawn

      Horizon Zero Dawn, the PlayStation 4 exclusive, is easily my favourite game of the year. Released in the spring, the game features a fantastic female protagonist, Aloy, in a fully realized world that is intriguing and captivating.

      The game's first expansion, The Frozen Wilds, opens up a new area on the vast map of the game. It's a cold place populated by the Banuk culture, and along with some new machine creatures and weapons, it is a main-storyline mission with a handful of errands to complete.

      The events of this expansion further develop what you'll have discovered while playing this open-world game. You don't have to complete the game to start the Wilds, but you'll want to have gotten your version of Aloy to level 30 or higher or you'll find the tasks a bit too much to take on.

      The writing and character development are equally excellent here, and I was so happy to have a reason to go back to the game, to embody the intelligent, competent Aloy, to have her draw back the bowstring and take aim.

      More Aloy, please, Guerrilla Games. More Horizon Zero Dawn. Soon.

      Puzzle Fighter brings Capcom characters into PVP battles

      Developed at Capcom Vancouver, Puzzle Fighter is a twist on the Tetris falling-object puzzle game for Android and iOS devices.

      You select a main character and can add up to two support characters as you advance in the game, defeating opponents by matching up coloured gems that fall from the top of the screen into a game board. As you make matches, your characters attack your opponent's characters.

      You can actually play against other gamers, each working on your own game board and even sending blocking gems into your opponent's board.

      Puzzle Fighter includes characters from a host of Capcom games, including Chun-Li, Ken, and Ryu from Street Fighter, X from Mega Man, and even Frank West from Dead Rising.

      It's available now and free to download.

      MechWarriors converge on Vancouver for championships and news of MechWarrior 5

      Don't be alarmed if you see cosplayers wearing giant-robot costumes this weekend. They are probably MechWarrior fans.

      A mech is a giant suit of weaponized armour and MechWarrior is a world in which video gamers fight and do battle with their mechs, which are individually customized and personalized by the players.

      Vancouver studio Piranha Games is hosting the third annual MechCon event on Saturday (December 9) at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront.

      Events taking place that day inlcude the final competitions in the MechWarrior Online World Championships, with three teams looking to win a grand prize that is in excess of US$60,000.

      Piranha is also giving attendees the chance to play a demo of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, the first single-player game in the series in some 15 years.

      MechWarrior is also a board game, and the event will have space available for tabletop play as well.

      Tickets for MechCon are available through Eventbrite.

      Game Awards pit Link against Mario

      Nintendo has two games in the running for game of the year in this year's Game Awards. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey are both exclusive to the Nintendo Switch platform. Also nominated for game of the year are the multiplayer hit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Persona 5, and (my pick) Horizon Zero Dawn.

      The 2017 edition of the Game Awards are being held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Thursday (December 7).

      Canadian developers are up for some awards, with Ubisoft Montreal picking up up a nomination for Assassin's Creed: Origins (best action/adventure) and EA Vancouver's FIFA 18 is on the list for best sport/racing game.

      Studio MDHR, which has staff all over Canada, picked up four nominations for the platformer Cuphead (best action game, best score, best art direction, best independent game), and Night in the Woods, from Infinite Fall, was nominated in two categories: games for impact and best independent game.

      You can cast your vote for your favourites and watch the event live on a host of platforms, including Facebook, Mixer, Twitch, and Twitter.

      Games released or releasing

      • de Blob, the charming arcade puzzler in which you, as a blob, have to return colour to the world, has been remastered by THQ Nordic and released on PS4 and Xbox One.
      • Steep: Road to the Olympics: the skiing, snowboarding, extreme-winter-sports extravagnza from Ubisoft, gets an Olympic-themed expansion for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.
      • Destiny 2 gets its first big narrative update with Curse of Osiris for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.