While it technically wasn’t my highest rated monster collecting game this year if you look at my reviews, it’s the one I feel most excited about this year as it managed to give me the joy of playing a fun new monster collecting JRPG with the nostalgia from an old one I love. I’m still bringing my Pokeball Plus with me on the go with intent to go back to it and together with the way they upgraded it, I think a great job was done capturing the magic of the “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” feel of Pokemon and I truly hope the way they managed to make old Pokemon feel as smooth as a modern JRPG should will be carried onto future Pokemon games as well.
With great story and a big world, there are so many things to love about Yakuza 6. The activity-filled city of Kamurocho is the perfect backdrop to the story and can have you doing things from playing old arcade games to seeing a guy having a fight with his girlfriend that leads you to watching cam girls, and it really lets you do an insane variety of things while getting to know Kiryu more. Then there’s the great main story thats cast of twisted villains that are also very human make all the conflicts of Yakuza 6 highly compelling, topped off with Kiryu having multiple layers to his personality as well. While Yakuza 6 was my first Yazuka game even though it’s the last in the series, the game stands more than well enough on its own and its 20 hour journey felt like it never lost its heat with its thrilling story has stayed with me enough to make me want to play the series from start to finish, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Its beautiful retro visuals with modern touches and the unique ideas in its gameplay make Octopath Traveler like nothing else I’ve played and with eight character stories to witness, there’s a fair amount of content to make the experience worthwhile. It’s a great fit for playing on the go with everything you can do in it over its many hours and the way its chapters are divided, and for the fun I had with its many systems on the go, it was definitely one of this year’s most enjoyable portable experiences.
While a lot of people could argue that Torna, the Golden Country is just DLC, something I really like about it is that it can be bought as a standalone game or as DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and the experience felt as complete as a full game, complete with the story arcs and replayability I’d expect. At 20 hours long and as a prequel, it’s a fantastic jumping in point for anyone looking for an introduction to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and also a great way to continue for those looking for more to do and the 20 hours I spent in it flew by as both a fun and emotional journey that captured how great Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is its story moments that add meaning to the original while being a fantastic story on its own.
There are lots of things in it that aren’t necessarily new, but rather JRPG systems just done well, such as its turn-based systems and towns full of shops to aid you in journey like you’d expect, but it’s those little details in between that make this world so appealing. Its towns are full of NPCs that have clearly all been lovingly designed to have some sort of personality and the special attacks in battle with flashy visuals show off the charm of its likable cast in this simple but good system. The cast’s story journey could be considered very typical of JRPGs as the story focuses on a fight between light and darkness, but the way its arc make this into an epic journey makes it feel anything but. With addictive systems that work well to the cool Akira Toriyama drawn monsters you can ride and fight in its lovingly designed world, these things give it so much to like and is pretty much a must play from this year’s lineup of games thanks to all the things that make it special and make it the game I’ll look back on most fondly as my favourite JRPG of this year.
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