This year has offered quite a number of great titles across all platforms. From handheld RPGs to an overly-hyped first-person shooter, there's been something for everyone. Though I haven't had the chance to play all of them, there have a been a few that really stood out to me for numerous reasons. Another thing that actually surprised me was how this year was more about the handheld titles for me.
Below are the top four games as well as an honorable mention that I've been enjoying that can be debated on being placed in a Game of the Year list.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
I need to preface this by saying that I am currently playing through Persona Q. However, after nearly 20 hours in and completing two of the dungeons, I can easily say that this 3DS title is a must-play for fans of the Persona series (well, Persona 3 and Persona 4) and the Etrian Odyssey titles.
Bringing the casts of Persona 3 and Persona 4 together, Persona Q offers the ability to create a party with your favorites from both games. It's a great fan-service title that gives us that opportunity to see the two groups interact together as they work to solve that mystery behind newcomers Rei and Zen's memory loss and the formidable tower that looms above the world they were teleported to.
Ah, Bravely Default... As one of the first games I played earlier this year, it really impressed me with the combination of traditional JRPG elements with new features, such as the battle system. The cast is lovable, though some more than others, and the soundtrack is one of my favorites.
The battle system allows you to skip a turn or two in order to deal extra damage the next round. Want to use a move that could put your turns in the red/negative? Be ready to have to wait for those turns to build back up. The story can be a bit lackluster and slow at some parts but I did think it helped to make the characters shine. Especially Edea and Ringabel.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Whenever you have a game that is tied into a popular TV show or movie, there is always that risk of it missing its mark. Luckily, Obsidian Entertainment managed to capture the charm and humor from South Park in South Park: The Stick of Truth. Who would have thought that mixing South Park with RPG elements could lead to a worthwhile adventure?
In South Park: The Stick of Truth, you're the new kid on the block and get thrust into the war between elves and humans. Your party member, whom can be one of the four main guys or Butters, helps make the sometimes overwhelming odds seem like child's play. Hijinxs range from harmless fun to potentially offensive material. Nods to different episodes are littered throughout the game. If you love the show, then you'd enjoy what felt to be an interactive episode (or full-length movie).
Life simulation games can be fun and a great way to escape from the sometimes harsh realities of real life. While Animal Crossing has always given players that chance to turn their neighbors from possibly annoying humans to cutesy animals (who can still be annoying) as well as do the mundane chores as paying off your mortgage and saving bells to don the best looking clothes you can buy, Tomodachi Life offers a more laid back experience.
There's no cute animal neighbors, there's no worries about Tom Nook breathing down your neck if you don't get that last million bells paid, and you don't even have to worry about making sure the Miis make it to the potty in time. Tomodachi Life lets you bring your Mii and the Miis of your family members/friends/famous celebrities/other random folk to your own island where you play mini-games to win prizes used to earn money to purchase clothes/food/interiors/trips.
Honorable Mention - Destiny
When gamers first heard about Destiny, there was a lot of hype given for the first-person shooter by Bungie. Yes, the story is lacking and there are numerous rinse-and-repeat missions. But there is something that has me coming back to it. (And it's not Peter Dinklage, sadly.) Perhaps it's the community (it's definitely a top reason) or the cool looking armor. Maybe it's the potential that lies hidden beneath its issues.