By Josh Speer / January 26th, 2017
Editors Note: The “Previous Winners” listed below are from before are from years when we had separate awards for both Wii U and 3DS.
2012: ZombiU (Wii U) & Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
2013: The Wonderful 101 (Wii U) & Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
2014: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U & Bravely Default (3DS)
2015: Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U) & Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)
This was an odd year since there weren’t enough Wii U games for their own category, so we lumped Wii U together with 3DS for the Best Nintendo Exclusive. Which isn’t to say there were no good games, just not nearly enough. That’s what happens when Nintendo changes gears and starts focusing production primarily on the Switch. That said, there were still some standout great games release by Nintendo this year. However, being that we are oprainfall, all of our nominees are actually RPGs. Listed alphabetically, here are our 5 Best Nintendo Exclusives.
7th Dragon III Code: VFD
NA Release Date: July 12, 2016
I’m still a bit shocked that 7th Dragon III Code: VFD made it to the 3DS. It’s not like we got any of the previous games in the series, and the 3DS was not a system known for a robust library of RPGs. That’s probably why 7th Dragon was such a welcome surprise. It was a hardcore dungeon crawler with robust character creation tools, a fascinating and mature plot and creative gameplay. I truly enjoyed it, and hope it’s not the last game we get from the long-running series.
Fire Emblem Fates
NA Release Date: February 19th, 2016
I’m actually pleasantly surprised this one made the list since our writers were split down the middle with regard to Fire Emblem Fates. Some, like myself, rather enjoyed the game, despite the censorship, while others refused to give it any attention due to the censorship. But honestly, so long as a Fire Emblem game has complex and entertaining combat and unique personalities, I’m sold, and Fates certainly delivered. It had tons of content, an interesting premise, and a great cast. I may think that in some ways Awakening is better, but I feel any fan deserves to make that decision based on their own experience.
NA Release Date: November 18, 2016
It should be no surprise that Pokémon Sun and Moon made the cut. After all, Pokémon has been a long-running series for a reason, and the latest outing was definitely a highlight. It managed to introduce a vibrant new region, it further streamlined aspects of the game and it provided a robust challenge. Granted, the post game wasn’t as big as I would have liked, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my time with the game. The Alolan forms were intriguing and the Z-Moves added fun strategic elements. And if I never have to use a Hidden Machine again, that will suit me just fine. Pokémon Sun and Moon was a strong entry, and I hope the next game only builds upon its success.
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse
NA Release Date: September 20, 2016
It’s funny. While I was not a huge fan of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse was one of my favorite 3DS games this year. It pretty much fixed everything that was wrong about the original version, while introducing gameplay refinements and new characters that really pulled at the heartstrings. Though I’ve played a few games in the Shin Megami Tensei series, this is the first one I got the best ending and completed the optional dungeon in. And that was no easy feat, let me tell you. It doubled my playtime from just beating the game, but I’d say the revelations that ensued made it well worth it. I really enjoy playing the Shin Megami Tensei games on my portable Nintendo systems, and I cannot wait to see what Atlus has up their sleeves with the first Shin Megami Tensei game to release on the Switch. Here’s hoping it’s so amazing that it makes Apocalypse, a great game in its own right, pale in comparison.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
NA Release Date: June 24, 2016
Platform(s): Wii U
I admit I was a bit thrown by the long wait for Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the crossover game, but it wasn’t what we got. Luckily, the end result was a fascinating, vibrant entry in its own right, and I greatly enjoyed it. It was easily one of the best games to come out for the Wii U this year, and it would have been a shame if it hadn’t made our list. While it definitely embraced the Shin Megami Tensei side of its heritage more than the Fire Emblem side, there was still a lot to love. And let’s be honest, despite the hardware restrictions of the Wii U, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE looked and played beautifully. Best of all, it had characters I resonated and sympathized with deeply. I know this one will be forever relegated to the niche collections of many, but I’m very happy that Nintendo took a chance on Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and I hope they continue to embrace unique and surprising games like it in the future.
We had some heavy voting in this category. While Fire Emblem Fates and 7th Dragon were both great games, neither made the final cut for big winner. We even had a tie between Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse for 2nd.
Which means that the big winner was…
…none other than Pokémon Sun and Moon! I was a little surprised this took the crown from games like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, but I’m glad to see oprainfall can give a little love to a mainstream game like Pokémon. Here’s hoping the advent of the Switch makes next years’ awards even more crazy and diverse!
2016 awardsBest Nintendo ExclusiveOpRainfall Awards