AI: The Somnium Files is the standout game for me this year, and it was ultimately everything I wanted and more. I was afraid I was setting my expectations too high. However, this game took my expectations, loaded them into the cylinder of a gun, and shot them away into the heavens.
Persona 5 Royal is everything I could want out of a re-release. The game’s style and charm shine brightest in this version as it made an already great game even better. The balances and new additions were based on long-time fan criticisms, and it’s evident that the developers used it as a foundation to update this adventure while still throwing in some quality-of-life changes that I didn’t know the game needed, but ended up loving anyway.
Final Fantasy VII Remake pulls no punches. The story feels complete as the entire story builds up to a fantastical ending sequence that has me running out of compliments. This game is something of a marvel to experience, which has me eagerly awaiting the next installment. It’s easy to see how much respect the developers have for this story and these characters during every minute of this adventure, which made it difficult to put down, even for a minute.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition offers the best way to experience this timeless RPG for again or for the first time. The improvements to the game’s graphics, UI, and battle system make many complaints about the Wii release a thing of the past. Furthermore, the added Future Connected story content bridges the gap of loose story arcs and paves the way for the future of the series.
I don’t think Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin can be classified as one single genre. It’s blending of farming and action only scrapes the surface of what this game actually offers. Still, by looking at those two pieces alone, there is a ton of excellent moments of gameplay to experience. Yes, it’s very much a farming game, and yes, it is full of action, but these two systems run seamlessly alongside a beautiful story and brilliant presentation.
The House in Fata Morgana borrows the moves of classic tragedies, performing events past to demonstrate the tragedy of the current. It is impressive how little time it takes to understand the motives and dreams of the Rose Manor residents, even when they fall to their lowest extent. The storytelling, art style, and music harmonizes its themes of vintage times and freely mold each scene from childish hope to shock and terror. Having every game in this series on one of the most convenient gaming systems for visual novels makes it very difficult to argue its value.
Nier: Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is a beautiful experience and exactly how you should play this amazing game. Upon finishing, it’s easy to say that it is unequivocally one of the best games I have ever played. This story emotionally moves players with the help of its character-writing, intense action, and somber tone, making it easy to immerse yourself in their world.
Guilty Gear -Strive- is the premier fighting game for the next generation of gaming. At launch, the experience feels complete with an in-depth single-player, robust multiplayer, and plenty of great extras. It has, without a doubt, the best 2.5D graphics featuring unreal fluidity in its animation. The gameplay is superbly refined and engaging, featuring a roster of imaginative characters with uniquely contrasting fighting styles. What once was an obscure fighting game has now become a genre leader, like a small-town rock band selling out stadiums.
Catherine: Full Body is the full Catherine experience and presents some of the best moments of gameplay and storytelling from any game I’ve played to date. The game’s newly added scenes and features will make it feel new to those who have played before, but if it’s your first time than you are playing the best version imaginable.