By Jeff Neuenschwander / February 4th, 2016
Welcome to the 4th annual oprainfall Gaming Awards. Today starts a three day journey as we reveal our favorites from 2015.
It’s quite amazing to think back to the first year. We were coming off of our campaigning days with Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story releasing and Pandora’s Tower just around the corner. And in a way, the first oprainfall Awards was a celebration of our campaigning days, with Xenoblade sweeping through several of the categories easily. The 2013 awards on the other hand were a bit more open as many excellent games released, creating deep fields in nearly every category. And then there was last year when we pretty much handed everything to Shovel Knight… well, except for Game of the Year. But it’s always been fun debating this with contributors and readers alike. The collective mind never quite lines up how you would expect and can always surprise (see last year when Neptune and Bayonetta won Hottest Gal and Best Hero respectively). Just something to keep in mind as we go through the nearly 20 categories over the next couple of days.
Anyway, all new fully released games (no Early Access games) as well as remakes with enough new content are eligible for an award — character, aesthetic or console. Console categories are for exclusives to those consoles. Those that are multiplatform will be put into a separate category. Game of the Year nominees will be determined by winners of the console categories, which also includes Best Download-Only winners. Also, there will be spoilers throughout the next three days, so consider yourself warned.
And as always, we begin with Character Day. But before we get to that, we start with our award for Best Download-Only Game. To reveal that, we bring out the boss, Steve Baltimore.
BEST DOWNLOAD-ONLY TITLE
2012: The Walking Dead
2013: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies
2014: Shovel Knight
STEVE: Just because it didn’t come in a shiny box, doesn’t mean its not a great game. Here are the nominees:
This side-scrolling strategy RPG won many over with it’s Steampunk Western style and unique gameplay. You can master over 100 different weapons while using a free aim system that allows you to bounce bullets at your targets. Featuring some great sprite graphics and a soundtrack from the well known Steam Powered Giraffe it’s pretty obvious this would be in the running for an award this year.
This Visual Novel / Strategy title took me by complete surprise when I reviewed it last year. This one not only has a top notch story with some cute and sexy characters, it has one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time. Throw in pretty deep and challenging Strategy gameplay and you have yourself one pretty damn good game.
If you’ve listened to our podcast you have likely heard me go on about this one a time or two. This was one of my favorite games on the PlayStation Vita in 2014, so when the updated version will actual online multiplayer hit the PS4 last year you can bet I was excited. Featuring a massive world to explore, a great story with plenty of character interaction, and some great MMO style combat you will easily get sucked into this one and spend 150 hours of your life with it as well.
This Indie RPG has won much praise from fans and critics alike for it’s great storytelling and unique combat system. As a child exploring the underworld you will encounter “Monsters” these beings have been banished from the surface following a war against humanity. You must now decide if you will kill these creatures or be friends with them. Each of your decisions will affect the story in some way. This could be in the form of dialogue changes or possibly even the entire story outcome.
- Pokémon Shuffle
This puzzle game based on the Pokémon universe took fans by storm last year. The gameplay was simple, yet addictive and players spent many hours batting it out to gain more Pokémon. Being free to play it meant even more fan could get in on the fun. This is one of the few Nintendo published titles to actually release on the iOS and Android platforms.
AND OUR TOP DIGITAL DELIGHT IS…
You mix moe girls with a great story and some wonderful Strategy gameplay, and you come up with one pretty impressive title. It didn’t hurt that Fruitbat Factory did a fantastic job localizing this game and it’s pretty easy to see why it is our favorite download-only title of last year.
Up next, we look at the character awards.
Bloodborneeiyuu senkiHyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2Hyperdimension Neptunia UMetal Gear Solid V : The Phantom PainMoe ChroniclePersona 4: Dancing All NightPokémon ShuffleSenran Kagura 2: Deep CrimsonSteamWorld HeistStella GlowSword Art Online Re:Hollow FragmentSword Art Online: Lost SongThe Fruit of GrisaiaThe Witcher 3: Wild HuntUndertaleYakuza 5