Ben's Game of the Year 2017

Man, this one just isn't fair. Every year I write about what I'd consider my favorite game released during the previous year, and normally it's pretty easy. Sure there will be a few games I have a hard time picking between, but this year? I don't even know where to begin... So, I guess I'll start at the beginning?

Gravity Rush 2 - Although I prefer the first game over it, Gravity Rush 2 is the game that finally ended the story from the original game. It's a series that is very special to me, and I was happy to see it get the treatment it deserves. At least for awhile. Sadly the game's online service is shutting down next month, and the series has ended. Even so, it's a game series well worth playing if you haven't yet, and it was a nice way to kick off 2017.

Resident Evil 7 - This game was unforgettable. Not only did it return to a more classic Resident Evil style (being set in a confined location, puzzles scattered around, limited resources, and other horror survival elements), but it's also the game that brought the series to VR. And it terrified me. It's nearly impossible to explain to someone what it's like going through the game in VR unless they've seen it for themselves, but trust me, it's something you would never forget. Assuming you are brave enough to put yourself through something like this. Then, to top it off, a free expansion story was released just this month at the end of the year. So not only did we get to begin the year with this, but we get to end it with RE7 as well.

Tales of Berseria - Releasing the same day as RE7, ToB is easily one of the best Tales of games in years. It's a game that fixed nearly every issue with last year's release, brings to the table a much darker story, and it has a great cast of characters. The new island setting and pirate themed story is also a really nice change of pace, and the game runs at a nice solid 60 fps. While the game still isn't built specifically for the PS4, it's nice to see they made use of the new hardware in at least some ways. (It's cell shading is really nice too. As is that opening theme song by FLOW.)

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD - While not completely a new game, this mini collection is really nice. Featuring an HD remake of Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance from the 3DS, this collection adds improvements of it's own to DDD, and also gives us a short look at the upcoming KH3. With a mini episode featuring Aqua to help bridge the gap from Birth By Sleep, and a movie showing another side of the mobile game, it's a must play for those who are interested in next year's major release. Especially for those who never got a chance to play DDD when it first released.

Yakuza 0 and Kiwami - I'm mixing these two together here. The Yakuza series has always been popular in Japan, but it's been neglected here in the US for many of it's releases. Cut content in games like Yakuza 3, and late digital only releases of other titles have kept it from really shining here in the US. Heck we didn't even get the Wii U collection of 1 and 2. With 0 however, this finally changes. The game is a massive arcade style beat em up series, with a huge city to explore, hundreds of hours worth of content, and MANY mini games for you to play (including SEGA arcade classics). It's got a crazy deep story, and all of this continues into Kiwami as well. They are two games well worth the time to play, and it's really nice to see SEGA give us a proper localization of them.

NIOH - Team Ninja is back! NIOH is a samurai based "souls" style game. At least, that's how a lot of people think of it. In reality this game is Team Ninja's return to form. Featuring a level structure and gameplay style similar to the original (modern) Ninja Gaiden, NIOH takes that and puts a souls twist on it. An energy bar limits your attacks and movement, but with the inclusion of the Ki pulse system and perfect timing, that energy system almost fully goes away. Rather than standing back to rest, the game encourages you to stay into the action, and dodge or ki pulse with perfect timing to regenerate your stamina to keep going. The game is a mix of main missions and "ninja trial" style side missions, and is sure to give you a challenge with loads of customization options. In short, it's a really fun game, and it's nice to see Team Ninja return. (Now where's a proper Ninja Gaiden 4?)

Super Robot Wars V - Now this one is mostly just for me, but man. Super Robot Wars V is great. Featuring characters and units from popular mecha series such as Gundam, Evangelion, and Full Metal Panic, this game also introduces non mecha to the mix such as the sci-fi classic Yamato. The game's a solid tactical RPG that's loaded with content, and a must play for fans of the genre and series included within it. Although it wasn't brought to the west like Project X Zone 1 and 2, it was translated and released in Asia so western players can still play it.

Horizon Zero Dawn - Another solid PlayStation 4 exclusive. This game mixes an open world RPG, with a "monster hunting" style. While it has your standard western RPG style quests, the real star of this show are the massive robotic animals you have to fight, as well as the ancient "advanced" ruins you come across and explore. It's a game that tests your skills to take down massive beasts, but it also gives you a story of mystery to help push you forward. It's a really fun game, and something PS4 owners should at least try.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Here it is. A game fans have waited MANY years for. And the result? Pretty impressive! Rather than playing like a standard Zelda game, BotW is more of a survival/adventure game with heavy RPG elements. You have a massive open world, you can freely climb up anything, you can freely walk anywhere, and you have loads of hidden secrets to discover. The world is lively with NPCs going about their daily life, there are tons of quests to complete, and it's story is fleshed out and filled with mystery. (Not to mention all the little detail in the game like setting fields on fire and using the heat to fly higher with your glider, or cutting down trees to make a bridge to cross a gap... Or eating food to keep yourself warm.) The game really is impressive, and was well worth the wait. Plus mix in the fact that it's a Nintendo Switch launch title, and you have something that's really special. It's easy to see why so many people feel this is this year's GOTY. (But is it mine?)

Super Bomberman R - While not a huge release, it is also very much a huge release. Bomberman, long thought to be dead, has finally made his return, and follows a classic style. It was also a Switch launch title, and was one of THE games to get to play with friends. While it may not be the "best" game released this year, it's something that deserves at least a shout out.

Nier Automata - This game is something truly special. The latest entry in the Drakengard/Nier series, Automata focuses on androids fighting robots on Earth so that they can one day make it safe for humanity to return to it. Set place thousands of years after the previous entry, the game really is something you have to see for yourself to understand. Featuring a mix of gameplay styles, it's a unique title that is prepared to shock you at every turn. At first what seems to be a generic semi-open JRPG, soon becomes something different with a much deeper meaning behind it. Easily one of the best games to come out this year.

Mass Effect: Andromeda - Finally! The new Mass Effect is here and it was! .......... Well, it's really mixed. Honestly I like it for what it is, but it's really not something worth the wait. Nor is it my game of the year. You can still have fun with it though, and the later patches have improved it from what it was.

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games - Also an old game, but something worth bringing up. The Zero Escape series is one of my personal favorites, and both 999 and VLR have amazingly shocking stories that everyone should really see. This collection not only includes both games, but it also features a remake of 999 with full voice acting, and updated HD sprites for the new consoles. This is also the first time it's been released as a full game on something other than the Nintendo DS (iOS novel version is just that, a novel), so it's the first time many people actually get to play it. The game also has an "adventure" mode which cuts out the novel style descriptions, so its possible to skip past most of the disturbing content that makes it a "horror" game.

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 HD - Not much to really say here, except that it's a collection that includes Kingdom Hearts 1, Chain of Memories, a movie version of 358/2 days, Kingdom Hearts 2, Birth by Sleep, and a movie version of Re: Coded. Along with 2.8 HD, this collection finishes bringing the entire KH series to the PS4. It's loaded with content, and great for fans and newcomers alike.

Persona 5 - Yet another long awaited game was finally released in the US in 2017. Persona 5 is a game that not only builds upon previous entries in the series, but it also improves nearly EVERYTHING about it. Gone are the fully randomly generated dungeons (outside of a short side dungeon), and now in their place are fully realized stages. Not only are these new dungeons fun to play through, but they introduce new unique gameplay elements to the series, and really play off of the phantom thief theme the game has going for it. Persona 5 is also a game that's filled with style, and it has music you'll be humming for years to come. It's something all JRPG fans with a PS4 (or 3) should be checking out.

The Silver Case - This unique classic visual novel by the one and only Suda 51 might not be the best game to release this year, but it is one fans of his should check out. Focusing on a police force and a detective as they solve multiple related cases, this VN is one that really stands out, and has you questioning what is really going on. Of course it's an old game so it can be a bit dated, but it's still worth your time if you enjoy this sort of thing. Especially since the sequel will be out next year.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Another old game being rereleased, but for many this may be their first time playing it. Originally a Wii U exclusive, Mario Kart 8 was one of the lesser played games in the series due to the Wii U's sales (although it did help sell the console), and it was often criticized for lacking content other Mario Kart games had. Well, Deluxe fixed that. With a full battle mode and other new content added, this is easily one of the best Mario Karts to date, and a must have for Switch owners. (And this is coming from someone who originally didn't like the game on Wii U.)

Puyo Puyo Tetris - Not much to say about this one either, but Puyo Puyo is a very fun puzzle game, and Tetris is, well, Tetris. Mixing the two creates a very unique game of its own, and something fans shouldn't miss out on.

Farpoint - A PSVR exclusive that is a must play for those who own one. Although it may seem like a generic first person shooter set on an alien planet, what really makes this game shine is the fact that you are "there." Mixed with the VR aim controller, this is an experience that will really blow you away. The feeling of physically side stepping and spinning my body around to dodge and shot gun blast a flying enemy out of the air is something I'll never forget, and I can't wait to see more games like it. While the story is only around 5-6 hours long, the added challenge modes give you a reason to return time and time again. Well, that and co-op and the new pvp  mode.

Fire Emblem Echoes - The remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, Echoes takes the Awakening style and uses it to recreate the original classic. Not only is this the first Fire Emblem to feature full voice acting, it's also the first in the series to be different. Rather than being a pure tactical RPG, Echoes mixes in standard JRPG elements such as dungeon crawling, and is more stat based than class based. Attacking enemies on the field or in a dungeon will trigger a turn based map battle, but winning said battle will net you exp for your entire party. It's a unique twist on the standard formula, and a lot of fun. Not sure how many years the 3DS will have left, but this is a great send of title for the Fire Emblem series.

Utawarerumono - Again, not a game for everyone, but something worth bringing up. The Utawarerumono series is a pretty popular one in Japan, and has even seen multiple anime remakes. It's a visual novel with tactical rpg elements, and a shocking story that keeps players hooked. 2017 saw the release of both the 2nd and 3rd games here in the US, and also was the year when the series was announced to have a future. Yes, that's right. Not only is the first game being remade after all these years, but new entries are on their way as well, and it's looking like we'll actually be getting them. (Hopefully.) It's a game series worth it for visual novel fans, but it's not for everyone.

Tekken 7 - Tekken is back! Putting aside the meh story mode, and lack of extras at launch, there's no denying this solid 3D fighter. The console version of this has been a long time in the making, and it feels great to finally get to play it. It's a must have for fans, and for fighting fans in general.

PREY - Sadly underrated (and hated by many fans of the original), PREY is a fun adventure that should really be given a chance. Set in a space station filled with aliens that can transform, PREY has you explore the world to unlock new power ups and and abilities, which in return can be used to discover new areas and advance through the game. It's almost Metroid like, and it gives you a lot of fun tools to play around with.

(Man, there's still more...)

Wipeout Omega Collection - Wipeout is a great sci-fi racing series. While it's no F-Zero, it really is the next best thing (and for some people, it's even better)! Featuring crazy sci-fi tracks to race through at high speeds, this collection not only includes Wipeout HD (which is basically three games on it's own), but it has the newest entry as well, which was previously released on the Vita (which also included Wipeout HD, so I guess this is really more of a remake of the Vita game?)! It's a game packed full with content, and to make things even better it's getting a PlayStation VR patch next year. Although it isn't a new game, it's one many may not have gotten a chance to play.

Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood - I figured I should at least mention this as well. Stormblood is the newest expansion to FF14, and it's a BIG ONE. After finally dropping the PlayStation 3, Stormblood allowed Square-Enix to lift many of the limits previously set, and greatly improve the game in many ways. Chocobo no longer act as party members and can be summoned by each person in the 8 man party (and minions can be summoned along side chocobo), they added in the ability to swim (and go underwater), new areas based off of Asia were added to the game, new classes like the Samurai were added, all previous classes and their attacks/combos have been revamped, and a new 60 + hour story was added. Of course a lot of other things were changed as well, but it would take multiple pages to even attempt to explain it all. In short, this was a huge upgrade, and is a game of it's own. Too bad when it launched I spent the first 9 hours or so waiting in line... Great way to spend my day off of work!

Valkyria Revolution - A game that is sadly hated by many, but not as bad as many make it out to be. Rather than being a tactical RPG like the mainline series, Revolution takes an MMO style approach to it's battle system. Instead of commanding units, the game plays out fully in real time with a party based structure. The idea here is to build a small party, customize their skills/hotkeys, and then plan out your attacks as you take on mobs of enemies and large bosses. At first glance it seems like a hack n slash, but over time it evolves into more. Using skills to buff enemies and debuff yourself, using AoE attacks to clear out large mobs, using knock down attacks on bosses to land some hard hitting back attacks, casting haste to speed up your cool down times, and using elemental attacks to hit weaknesses are just a handful of the things you are asked to do in this game. Anyone who is used to how MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV play will already have an understanding of this party system, but newcomers may be completely lost. Sure the game isn't that hard, but it is a lot more fun when you play it the "correct" way.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst - What's sad about this game is, it's a mini 8-bit style adventure that's been in development for a short amount of time, and it's better than MN9 in every way. In fact, it's technically a "reboot" of Mighty No 9. Reusing all of the same bosses and stages from the original, Mighty Gunvolt Burst actually makes the game much better. While the levels are "returning" stages, they have actually been redesigned from the ground up, and the bosses have been tuned up as well. Mix in multiple new playable characters, and the ability to customize the bullets that fire from your gun, and you have a unique classic style Megaman clone that IS worth playing. Again, it's everything MN9 should have been.

Final Fantasy XII - Yet another old game being brought to the new generation. FF12 is one of those games that has a split fan base. On one hand a lot of people love it, but on the other you have those who hate it. Whatever side you're on though, you  might be happy to hear that the new port improves it in multiple ways. Not only is this game based on the Zodiac release we never got in the USA (which has the very much loved class system), but it makes improvements of it's own. Now you can choose a second class to go along with your main class, and you can speed up the flow of the game with the press of a button. Of course graphics have been enhanced as well, but it's really these other two improvements that steal the show. Mix those in with the improvements from the Zodiac version, and you have a much better FF12 experience. I personally wasn't a huge fan of 12 back on the PS2, but I did enjoy the port.

Mega Man Legacy 2 - Another collection of old games worth your time. This time it's Mega Man 7, 8, 9, and 10 (and all their DLC). Perfect game to play before 11 releases (which I'm still in shock that it is actually happening.)

Sonic Mania - Best Sonic game in YEARS. It's made by a group of die hard fans, who's fan games you may have actually played. With this one being backed by SEGA though, they've really stepped up their game, and their result is a throw back game that all fans should play.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy - The sendoff Uncharted game. Lost Legacy takes place after Uncharted 4, and focuses on Chloe (who was first introduced in Uncharted 2). It's a game that helps bring closure to the series, while also expanding on some of the ideas brought in by Uncharted 4. While it may not be as long as 4, it is much more action based, and a lot more similar to what we saw in Uncharted 1. In short, it's a fun game, and a must for fans.

Monster Hunter Stories - A spinoff to the Monster Hunter series. This full story based JRPG takes the classic MH themes and setting, and turns it into, well, a JRPG. Featuring a turn based battle system and monsters to capture, the game has a huge semi-open world, and tons of monsters to fight and collect. It's a unique game that has even spun off it's own anime, and it's a lot of fun. Sure it's mostly fan service for Monster Hunter fans, but that doesn't stop newcomers from enjoying it too. It's one of those games that keeps the 3DS worth owning in 2017.

Ys VIII - The best Ys game yet. This action rpg has Adol crash land on a deserted island, where he must explore the world, find other survivors, and work together with them so that they can escape. Of course there's a lot more to this story than that, but that would be a spoiler. Bottom line though, this is a really fun action adventure game (which is also Metroid like), and the largest Ys game to date. Sadly there's a shotty translation, but that will be fixed early next year. The team is currently in the process of rerecording the voice acting and rewriting the script, so those who are interested may want to wait till next year. It's still a great game gameplay wise though.


Metroid: Samus Returns - Speaking of Metroid, 2017 saw the return of the series. After being dead for quite some time, Metroid returns to it's roots on the 3DS, with a new Metroid Prime game on it's way for the Switch. As for the 3DS game though, it's a complete remake of Metroid 2, with tons of new features added in. Rather than simply "remaking" the game, Return of Samus is technically a new game of it's own, using the Metroid 2 story as a base. In other words, even if you've played 2 before, you'll find that this is not actually the same game. With that being said, it's also the first classic Metroid game to be released since the GBA days, so this really was a big release for fans.

Danganronpa V3 - The crazy visual novel/anime/novel/whatever else series returns, and this time with V3. Can't say anything about the game due to spoilers, other than the fact that it's a visual novel that focuses on kids killing each other, and the class trial to prove who is guilty and who is innocent. It's a crazy fun, and crazy unique series, and a must play for fans. As for newbies? You need to start with 1. Good thing this year also saw a release of the 1 + 2 collection!

Gundam Versus - A really fun arena based arcade fighter. The game pits teams of two against each other in high speed mobile suit battles, and is simply a lot of fun. While it does lack in single player content, the gameplay and online makes up for it. Of course there are also 1v1 and 3v3 fights, but ranking is all about the 2v2. Sadly this was a reboot for the Versus series so it doesn't have as many mobile suits as the previous entry, but what is there is still nice (and close to 100 at the time of this article). More will be added in the future, so don't let the current roster turn you off.

Fire Emblem Warriors - Building off of Hyrule Warriors, 2017 saw the follow up in the form of Fire Emblem Warriors. Also a Switch (and New 3DS) game, the title has characters from Fire Emblem 1, Awakening, Fates, as well as a few older titles, battle it out to gain control of different maps. It's pure hack n slash action, but with Samurai Warriors Chronicles 4 player unit switching, and commands that can be issued from the game's map. It's a game that still requires FE style tactics, but with your standard warriors style gameplay.

The Evil Within 2 - The next game from the "creator" of Resident Evil. The Evil Within 2 is a horror survival title that fixed many of the issues of the previous, and also mixes in a more open world rather than linear stages. It's still pure horror survival however, with very limited resources, and with horrifying monsters ready to kill you around every turn. Stealth is key, and exploring is both a major risk and a reward. Again, might not be the "best" game released this year, but it is a fun one.

Chaos;Child - Yet another visual novel, and one in the Science Adventure series at that. While Steins;Gate is a widely known popular story, Chaos;Child is the follow up that many felt rival it. I can't talk about the story without spoiling, but it's one of those games visual novel fans should really check out. Although it can be a bit... Disturbing to say the least.

Destiny 2 - Yes, it's Destiny, but it's also an improvement over the original. It's also on PC, and that alone is a huge improvement. Fans of the series knew what they'd be getting into with this, but I figured I'd at least bring it up. It was a pretty big release this year, and it's something that'll be around for a long time.

Assassin's Creed Origins - This one was a shock. The AC series has really been a mixed bag over the past... 10 years? And by this point it seems like it's been done to death. People going into these games know what to expect, and a lot of people are tired of it. Then Origins came out and changed everything! Rather than being the AC we all know, Origins is a full on massive open world RPG, with an improved combat system, loot drops, dungeons to explore, and it has an interesting story. The ancient Egyptian setting was also a nice change of pace, and the scale of the game and it's world is impressive. This is AC at the best it has ever been. (Although, I still would consider 2 and 4 favorites of mine.)

.hack//GU Last Recode - Old games yet again, but this time it's different. The .hack series has been out of the picture for quite some time, and fans have been begging for a new game, anime, novel, manga, or just about anything else. Fans just wanted to see their long running beloved series return, and this year they finally got their wish. Last Recode is a remaster of the original three .hack//GU games (which are often considered the best in the series), with an added 4th mini episode at the end. It features multiple improvements across all three games, and it also holds the series' future in it's hands. How well this game sold will determine the series' fate. Good thing it's a fun classic JRPG, and a pretty good starting point for new fans. Sure you'd miss out on quite a bit, but at least it does include the summary of the original .hack 1-4.

Sonic Forces - Eh, I already shared my thoughts on this game in my review a few posts back. Long story short... See Sonic Mania...

Skyrim VR - I know, I know. Skyrim is an old game, but it's also an old game I hated. Yep, that's right. I don't like Skyrim. Not a big fan of it's fantasy setting, or its fetch quests, or generic dungeons, or it's combat. Personally I prefer Fallout. That being said, I LOVE SKYRIM VR! At the time of this writing I've already put 50 + hours into it, and I've only seen about 1/10th of it's world. Although the quests can get a bit annoying still, actually being "in" that world yourself changes everything. Again it's not something you can really explain to someone who's never tried it, but trust me, it is impressive. Walking up huge mountains and looking out over the world below you, seeing snow fall, getting jumped by a pack of wolves as you go to open the door of your house. All of these things are something you'd have to experience for yourself to really understand, and they are moments you'll never forget. Skyrim is a huge game, and it's also an amazing world to live in. Heck, it even gives you a reason to walk everywhere rather than simply warping from place to place. Just seeing the world around you is enjoyable, so why would you want to cut some of that out by fast traveling?

Wolfenstein II - Putting aside it's marketing team, Wolfenstein II is a fun follow up to the previous release. While it may not blow you away, it's a game fans of the previous game will most likely enjoy. It's yet another fun game released in 2017, and that's why I'm including it on this list.

Tokyo Xanadu eX+ - What happens when you mix Trails of Cold Steel with the Ys series? You get Tokyo Xanadu, that's what. While this game may not be some big budget AAA release, Falcom really knows what theyr'e doing when it comes to their game series. They put a lot of love and care into each release, and that passion continues to show. With Tokyo Xanadu you have a real world inspired setting, with a Ys style combat system. While outside of battle the game plays like Trails of Cold Steel (game uses the same engine, and reuses a lot of the same resources, and has many NPCs to talk to throughout each day), dungeons themselves play out in real time with you fighting your way to the end. Using a Ys style weakness system, the game has you swap between characters to deal greater damage to enemies, and it also grades you on your performance. Although the story itself may not be the most original thing you'll ever see, it doesn't change the fact that it's a fun little JRPG that fans should be checking out.

Mario & Luigi Super Star Saga - Yes, ANOTHER old game, but this one is different. Mario & Luigi Super Star Saga is the GBA RPG that started the series, and it's also the one that many consider to be the best (well, either that or Bowser's Inside Story). It's an extremely fun, quirky game, and it's also one not everyone has gotten a chance to play. 2017 changes that however, by releasing a remake of it on the Nintendo 3DS. Featuring quality of life changes, as well as the added features from the original Japanese version, this game is no doubt the definitive version. While the game was already a stand out title on the GBA, the new features only serve to make it even better. It's a must play for fans of the series, and a great starting point for anyone new. (Well, it is the first game after all.)

Super Mario Odyssey - Yes, this game came out earlier in the year, but I'm going by the order I played them. That being said... This is the game I've been waiting for since I was 11! Super Mario Sunshine is one of my favorite games of all time, and I've always wanted a follow up to that. A game with open ended levels, and plenty to explore. Sadly, I had to wait twice my life + a few years for that to happen. Man... But anyway, Mario Odyssey really is a game that was worth the wait. It's a huge grand scale adventure, and a great throw back to older Mario games as well. It's a must have for Nintendo Switch owners, and easily one of the best games in the series. (Nintendo really went all out this year.)

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - What can I say about Xenoblade? Amazing. Yeah, that about covers it. Building upon the first two releases, Xenoblade 2 is a large scale grand adventure that you can easily lose yourself in for hundreds of hours. As a Nintendo first party, they really went all out for this release, and all their hard work shows. Honestly there's just way too much to explain about this game... It has a nice cast of characters, an interesting "blade" system (where you summon other characters to fight along side you and power you up), the world is MASSIVE (and takes place on the backs of giants similar to the original), it has a really good story, and an improved MMO like battle system. If anything, this is one of the MUST HAVE games on the Nintendo Switch, and it was well worth the wait. 

Need for Speed Payback - I know, I know, maybe this one shouldn't be on the list either, but oh well. Although Need for Speed Payback had a pretty horrible release, patches have since cut back on a lot of the game's issues. Although it isn't the best racing game out there, it is one I had a lot of fun with. It's a simple open world arcadey racer, with some fun set pieces, and some solid driving. Drifting in the game is a lot of fun, and the story was your classic "so bad it's good" type of story you'd expect from a NFS game. Yeah it's a let down that there's no cops in the open world, and the game does seem gimped in a few other areas, but again, I still have fun with it. Needless to say, it's not my GOTY choice.

So, with all of that being said... What game do I pick? There were so many this year that I either loved or liked, and just picking one of them really isn't easy. So, I guess I'll have to go with my "original" choice...
Persona 5!

It's hard for me to put into words what Persona 5 means to me. Persona 3 and 4 were both special, but Persona 5 is on a whole different level. The moment I put that game in, I was hooked, and I never wanted it to end. I loved the cast of characters, I loved the story, and I just loved the whole game in general. The new combat system maps attacks to buttons and greatly speeds things up, the ability to talk to shadows is a nice feature to see returning (it was last in Persona 2), the unique dungeons were fun, stealth attacking enemies to get into battles became addicting, and the game's style simply blew me away. The soundtrack was amazing, the cell shaded graphics were amazing, the menus and loading screens and battle result screens made every other JRPG look dull, and I loved the fact that the game was finally fully 3D. Just everything about the game pulled me in, and when it was over I wanted more. In fact, I went back in and 100%ed it!

Although Persona may not be a series for everyone, it's become one of my favorites. Persona 5 surpassed all of my expectations, and it made me hopeful for the future. Atlus really outdid themselves this time, and I'd like to see them do it again.

And with that, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for reading, and I hope to see you all again in the new year!

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