Let’s not waste any time. On to the awards!
Considering this game is from the mind of Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, expectations were high. Fantasian builds its world through dioramas where players can interact with NPCs and explore dungeons. The battles feature a unique skill-based system where players can strategically plan out attacks to hit the enemy’s weakness. The narrative becomes more complex in the second of the adventure as players are taken on a true adventure that we wish was available on other platforms already.
Indie: Death’s Door
It’s not every day you see motifs of death and doom combined with feathery cuteness in the same game. Two-person team Acid Nerve was clearly inspired by Studio Ghibli when designing Death’s Door, an aesthetic little indie game starring a young crow employed as a reaper of souls. Presented in an isometric top-down view reminiscent of old school Legend of Zelda games, Death’s Door excellently combines a dreary atmosphere and an enticing narrative with smooth gameplay and unique puzzles. If you enjoyed Acid Nerve’s first game, Titan Souls, then you’ll definitely be impressed with Death’s Door.
Remaster: NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139
Yoko Taro knows how to meld heart-wrenching narratives melded with comedic instances, and NieR Replicant exemplifies those traits. Despite being a remaster of a PlayStation 3 era title, this remaster feels modern with updated combat, progression, and general game feel. It’s an excellent entry point into not only this specific game but the NieR sub-series as a whole. If you enjoyed Automata or are even remotely curious about the tragic worlds born from Yoko Taro’s mind, Replicant is a definite purchase.
DLC: Final Fantasy VII Remake INTERmission
Final Fantasy VII Remake receiving DLC was an unexpected, yet hesitant venture many were uncertain about. However, Yuffie joining the fray made its existence worthwhile by default, and thankfully, the DLC’s quality proved to be undeniably phenomenal. Boasting a newly realized and addicting Fort Condor minigame, brand new combat mechanics, and stellar boss battles, INTERmission is an excellent appetizer for wherever the Remake effort next goes. If you enjoyed the initial Remake release, INTERmission is a no-brainer purchase on every level.
OST: NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139
NieR’s exceptional quality is synonymous with its soundtracks. Automata became critically acclaimed for various reasons, and its songs were among the peak of why. Still, Replicant initiated this following Drakengard, and the remaster’s updated arrangements are truly sublime. Just like Automata, Replicant somehow manages to masterfully provide an array of comfortable background tunes and thrilling, tense battle themes. It’s no wonder this has been voted so high on the list, and we doubt anyone would complain regarding it.
Narrative: Lost Judgment
RGG Studio has developed an extraordinary talent for swift, consistent releases boasting considerable quality in just about every way imaginable. Lost Judgment follows this admirable trend, enhancing the stakes from the original Judgment tenfold while also crafting its own identity. The story is truly gripping, feeling more like a detective thriller than ever before, and it more than solidifies Takayuki Yagami as a hopeful mainstay for the Yakuza franchise going forward.
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