By Jonathan Falu / January 25th, 2017
2012: Xenoblade Chronicles
2013: The Wonderful 101
2014: Shovel Knight
Gameplay is arguably the most important part of any game. After all, it’s hard to play any title when it’s bugged with, well, bugs and many other issues, like a bad camera, horrible AI, etc. And with so many games with good gameplay this year, the choice was not easy to make. Every year, those of us at Operation Rainfall vote for games/characters for certain categories. Some of them were pretty close, neck and neck as the deadline for the votes were coming to a close.
So without further ado, here are Operation Rainfall’s Top Five Games with the Best Gameplay of 2016!
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir
NA Release Date: June 7, 2016
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
The original Odin Sphere was a near perfect game, but its incredible difficulty combined with a bad framerate made it harder for players to get into. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir manages to improve on the combat by revamping the combat system, and not just by getting rid of the slow framerate. The new combat system allowed near unlimited movement, allowing you to rack up huge combos and gracefully move about the battlefield. The game also includes the original gameplay through Classic Mode, allowing fans of the original to enjoy the game in HD. And regardless of what mode the player is on, using alchemy is encouraged for the various effects it has in combat, even if you just want to move on quickly to take down the last boss of the stage. It is hands down one of the best HD remasters, and worthy for any owner of the PlayStation 4 or a Vita.
NA Release Date: November 18, 2016
Pokémon games have come a long way from the original Red and Blue games on the Gameboy, slowly evolving over the years. So it says a lot when fans have continued to support the series even now. Pokémon Sun and Moon still has the same combat system as previous games, though it changes things up with more than just a few new Pokémon. Old Pokémon are revitalized with new looks and Types via Alola forms, such as Sandslash, Raichu, and many others from the first generation. New moves are also added through the use of Z-moves, creating some powerful moves that look great as well. And Sun and Moon have also gotten rid of HM’s entirely, meaning players are no longer limited to putting moves on their Pokémon just to get by some obstacles needed to progress. Pokémon Sun and Moon is most certainly a game that changes a lot of traditions with the series and creates a surprisingly good experience.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
NA Release Date: June 24, 2016
Platform(s): Wii U
Never in my life would I imagine a combination of Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem would turn into a bright and colorful game centered around idols and music. And yet, it seems to work, earning much praise for its gameplay elements. Shin Megami Tensei games usually reward players for taking advantage of weaknesses, and this one is no exception, allowing for extra attacks to an enemy through Session Skills. The game also opens itself to extra strategy by allowing players to switch allies out of combat, making those party members all the more important to a fight. Despite not feeling quite like it belongs to either series it took inspiration from, it manages to put on quite a beautiful performance.
Final Fantasy XV
NA Release Date: November 29, 2016
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One
After spending ten years in development, many had doubts that the game would do well. Other games stuck in this cycle tended to not do well, with Duke Nukem Forever being a prime example of a game being delayed and handled by so many people. And yet the gameplay of Final Fantasy XV has been a bold one, straying away from many elements of previous Final Fantasy games. It’s more of an Action-RPG, yet simply running into a fight is not the answer, unless you like a monster knocking you halfway across the area. Preparation is needed through knowing what the enemy is weak too, prepping magic bombs just in case things go south, and cooking with Ignis or eating at the Crow’s Nest and other food stations. Even gaining experience requires some thought, as staying in certain places can reward the player with a bonus. Adding to that are Prompto’s photos during the day. Even if they are not all good, they do provide some entertainment, like Prompto taking a picture of a Courel pinning Noctis to the ground.
Now if only we got a Final Fantasy XV cookbook. If you are looking for ideas to make you popular on YouTube, you may want to invest in that idea. My stomach will thank you.
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse
NA Release Date: September 20, 2016
The original Shin Megami Tensei IV was a good game, but the combat could have used some improvement. Thankfully, Apocalypse manages to surpass the original on many levels, but especially on the gameplay front. Partner AI, for example, has been improved greatly, and won’t really try to make an enemy smirk by using the wrong spell or attack. And there are a wide variety of partners to choose from as the story progresses.
The infamous Hama and Mudo spells were also reworked to only do instant kills with a smirk status effect. This made them more valuable in combat, as they could do damage, and lessened the possibilities of a game over from a chance encounter. Even bosses, which may not be instantly killed from such spells, can be weak to them as well, allowing the spells to serve more than a single purpose.
And now for the moment, you have all been waiting for! Which game made it as number one for Best Gameplay!?
The answer is…
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse improves marvelously over it’s predecessor, showing that it can not just retain what made the original Shin Megami Tensei IV so great, but change elements that fans have been dying to see for a long time. It manages to create a new, fun experience while also offering a very challenging time should the player pursue that too. It’s a game that just about anyone can get into thanks to its difficulty system. With a wide variety of demons to collect, great partner AI, and so much more, how could we not love this new entry into the series?
It’s for these reasons that Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse manages to summon its way into our hearts, and earns the title of Best Gameplay for 2016.
2016 awardsAtlusFinal Fantasy XVGamefreakNintendoOdin sphere: LeithrasirOperation RainfalloprainfallOpRainfall AwardsOprainfall game awardsPokemon Sun and MoonRole Playing GameShin Megami Tensei IV: ApocalypseSquare EnixVanillaware