By Jeff Neuenschwander / January 29th, 2015
2012: Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
2013: BioShock Infinite
To reveal our choice for Best Story, here is Contributor Dalton McClain
DALTON:Here at Operation Rainfall, story is just about everything. Whether it’s complex and long, or short and to the point, almost every game has some sort of story to it. We have decided to take the very best and pit them against each other to see which is truly the best of the best for this year. The nominees are…
Possibly one of the greatest crossovers ever, here’s a crossover between The Legend of Zelda and Warriors series known as Hyrule Warriors. The game starts with portals opening on the timeline, causing the different Links and villains to collide, as they normally wouldn’t. We see heroes and villains alike working together that we would normally never even see together. A sorceress named Cia opens up a portal after capturing both Link and Zelda, and using their triforce pieces along with hers. Ganondorf is re-summoned and must be defeated, so the heroes from all over the timeline team up to take him down and seal him once again. The story is fairly simple, but is also really effective.
- The Walking Dead – Season Two
This game is the long awaited sequel to The Walking Dead video game by Telltale Games, and it certainly lives up to its hype. Telltale never seems to disappoint when it comes to story, and this is no exception. Set after the events of the first, you join Clementine through her continued trek through the zombie apocalypse. Along the way, you’ll meet new people, make new enemies, and possibly even rekindle old friendships. The story will trigger happiness, sadness, and many more emotions as the story progresses, which makes for one amazing game.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is the latest installment in the Dragon Age series of games. Us here at oprainfall seem to stick more to Japanese RPG’s, but this one simply can’t be passed up. The third installment is really breathtaking and sets the bar really high. The basic story is that a war has started and chaos reigns throughout the land, so much so in fact that someone has an opportunity to break the Veil and open the path for demons to come through. Your job is to stop the war and close the passage. If that doesn’t sound cool to you, then I honestly don’t know what would.
This game is a sequel to quite possibly one of the best games ever released on the Vita. The story here is that you’re at your new school, when suddenly a pink rabbit by the name of Usami appears before them. The floor falls away and the teacher says that they are on a school trip and must collect hope fragments to make their hope grow. All is going well until a black bear named Monokuma appears and takes control of the island. He then tells the students that they must participate in a life of mutual killing in order to escape. Did you understand all that? No? Good, welcome to the game. During this game you will experience feelings that you may not have ever expressed before, such as humor, despair, happiness, etc. The story here will keep you on your feet with many surprises and even a gigantic twist that’ll blow the lid completely off the game. You’ll be on the edge of your seat throughout almost the entire game, and that’s fine by me.
What is this madness? TWO Telltale games on the same list?! Well, when I said before that they have a track record for having good stories, I wasn’t kidding. In this game, you follow Sheriff Bigby Wolf, also known as the “Big Bad Wolf.” The basic lore is that all of the fairy tale creatures have to move to a new town, and they don’t all exactly get along. This game actually made me want to do research to find out about all of the different fairy tale creatures that I encountered, and that was a lot. The game’s story really makes you feel like you’re a part of this story, and that’s a good formula for a great game.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Now this one was really close, but in the end we have to give it to Dragon Age: Inquisition. This game has single-handedly set the bar for Western Role-Playing Games. The story is deep and really intriguing, and it stays that way throughout the entire game. When you hear most people talk about Western games, you may hear Skyrim or Fallout mentioned, but this game far exceeds both of them. Not only do you have to stop a huge war from two of the biggest and most dangerous factions, you also have to close a passage to the Fade, a realm full of demons. Not only does the story sound cool, it’s also really deep and just keeps you pulled into it the entire way through. I guarantee that you will fall in love with this game.
2013: New Super Luigi U
JEFF: When a game that is completed really shines, you absolutely fall in love with it. When you find out that more is coming for it, you get excited all over again. And when that something can even fix the problems from the original release, you can’t help but feel giddy. With that, we are proud to reveal the finalists for Best DLC/Expansion.
- Mario Kart 8: Pack 1
This is actually the second pack to release for the racing as the first was the free BMW karts. But this one brought something people could only dream about before: racers from outside the Mushroom Kingdom. Most notably, Link drove in with a custom bike and kart ready to take on Mario and the gang. Two additional cups plus 4 vehicles are added as well, including the Blue Falcon from F-Zero.
- Hyrule Warriors: Twilight Princess Pack
One of two packs from the game to make the finals, the Twilight Princess pack brought new costumes for Link and Zelda as well as a new Adventure Mode map. In addition, you could also play as Midna in her true form. Awesome!
- Hyrule Warriors: Master Quest Pack
The other finalist from Hyrule Warriors, this pack brings in the Master Quest Adventure Mode map as well as outfits for Cia and Lana. In addition, a special story arc from before the events of the game is added as well as the ability to ride Epona into battle.
- Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
Were you one of those that had issues with the original Diablo III? Well, Blizzard’s got you covered. This expansion fixes a number of issues from the original release as well as adds a number of features. These include an Adventure Mode, the Crusader class, new NPCs, and a fifth act.
- Dark Souls II: Crown of the Ivory King
This is the third of 3 DLC additions for Dark Souls II. The content leaves you a frozen world looking for the lost crown. You are be given new stages, maps, bosses, and equipment to use for your new quest.
AND THE WINNING ADDITION IS…
Mario Kart 8: Pack 1
Simply put, we enjoyed having Link race for the first time. Nintendo, whoever came up with that idea, give them a raise.
BEST VISUAL DESIGN
2013: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Presenting Best Visual Design, we bring back Review Manager Josh Speer
JOSH: For all the categories in the oprainfall Awards, perhaps the one closest to my heart is that of Best Visual Design. After all, I am somewhat of an artist myself, and I love vicariously appreciating the artistry of others. Especially when those others are artists and animators in the video game industry! In alphabetical order, here are our stunning nominees.
- Bayonetta 2
Not only is Bayonetta 2 an utterly stunning looking game, I would venture it’s the best looking game currently available on the Wii U. Chock full of color, detail and amazing cinematic imagery, it makes me forget I’m playing it on a system supposedly incapable of such great graphics. If it were only up to me, I would give Bayonetta 2 the gold right now, but alas, democracy beckons…
- Bravely Default
While not as realistic and stunning as the previous nominee, there’s something really lovely about the visuals in Bravely Default. Everything is a lovely throwback to a foregone golden era of RPGs, where realism came last and story and style came first. I personally love old school styled art, and Bravely Default capitalizes on that nostalgia.
Now this next one might give Bayonetta a run for its money. While Bayonetta 2 is indisputably stunning, the same could be said of Child of Light, albeit for different reasons. The painterly style just oozes charm, which combined with the music and sound effects makes it an utterly beautiful game. Truly a visual highlight of the 2014 season.
- Shovel Knight
Also in the realm of beautiful old school art, Shovel Knight is utterly gorgeous. The pixel art is not only vibrant, but bursting with life, and it renders the world of Shovel Knight in glorious detail. Every area is not only different looking, but radiates a life all their own, as do their inhabitants. Which is a long way of me saying, when it comes to the visual design of Shovel Knight, I can certainly dig it.
- Valiant Hearts: The Great War
There is something truly unique and special about Valiant Hearts. Somehow the paintbrush style of art manages to make the storytelling that much more vivid and dramatic. You might think otherwise, given the serious subject matter being conveyed, but it matches it beautifully. Maybe it was enough to capture our hearts as well.
AND THE WINNER IS…
I have to admit, much as I love Shovel Knight, I am a bit shocked it won this category. Not because it didn’t deserve it, but rather, because I frankly thought other nominees were slightly more deserving. I truly believed the gold would go to either Child of Light or Bayonetta 2, but alas, the shovel is mightier. Just as well, since Shovel Knight is a truly wonderful game, and I’m more than happy to see it succeed.
Bayonetta 2Bravely DefaultChronicles of a Dark Lord - Episode II War of the AbyssDragon Age: InquisitionGame of the YearHatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2ndHyrule WarriorsMario Kart 8Persona Q: Shadow of the LabyrinthShovel KnightSlinkiSuper Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii UThe Walking DeadThe Wolf Among Us