By Jeff Neuenschwander / February 7th, 2016
We’ve got one more award to give out before we can reveal our Game of the Year for 2015. To present it this year, we bring back Tom Tolios.
BEST MULTIPLATFORM GAME
2012: Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
2013: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
2014: Shovel Knight
- Tales of Zestiria
TOM: This is a beloved series among the staff at oprainfall, and there are a lot of reasons for that. But none of us expected Tales of Zestiria for PS4, PS3 and Windows to be as good at it was. We all expected it to be uplifting and engaging, with lovable characters working together to overcome a dangerous opponent as they traversed the world and experienced its many wonders. But this game exceeded those expectations, with a battle system as smooth as silk, some of the best graphics we’ve ever seen from the series and all of the same charm and whimsy we’ve come to know and appreciate.
This enhanced PS Vita and PC port of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is an able contender in this category because of everything it still does so well. The denizens of Gamindustri are at it again, and in this chapter heroines Neptune and Nepgear are sent on a mission that will help them shake the rust off in order to take on a new anti-CPU threat. With the expectedly awesome gameplay, colorful graphics, a nearly peerless soundtrack, an engrossing story and a heartwarming group of characters to root for and fall in love with, Hyperdimension Neputnia Re;Birth 3 is everything we were hoping it would be.
This highly anticipated RPG lived up to the considerable hype. Available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, the story of Geralt of Rivia ‘concludes’ with this third and supposedly ‘final’ installment of the long running series, which takes place in a dark fantasy world where creatures of all shades of morality run rampant and the villains aren’t always who they appear to be. Drawing heavily on eastern European folklore, the decisions you have to make are laden with real consequences for the game’s land and its denizens. Visually sumptuous, with a fantastic soundtrack, nearly 200 hundred hours of content, with allies and enemies as entertaining and as intriguing as you might find in the pages of history itself, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a juggernaut of the genre and the hobby.
Fans in the west waited a long time for the tale of Class Zero to be told. And when it finally arrived worldwide on the PS4, Xbox One and PC, it lived up to the anticipation. The story of a group of gifted teenagers used as weapons to fight in a war for dominance is more mature, bloody and unrelenting than the series is known for. With intriguing characters, an interesting mission-based progression system that lends itself very well to replays, deep customization and a gorgeous graphic overhaul from the PSP version, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD gives us everything we love about the series and a little bit more on top of that.
- Guilty Gear Xrd – SIGN-
Fighters are, by their nature, among the most inaccessible of games. Many have complicated combat systems that casuals and even average players will never fully be able to realize or take advantage of. It helps, then, that Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN- for the PS4, PS3 and Windows has such a dynamic, anime inspired visual style and a heavy metal soundtrack to help ease one into their comfort zone with the irreverent fervor that is this series’ calling card. It’s the future, cybernetic warriors called Gears are fighting their way across the world and, each in their own way, influencing the shifts in global power as yet another planet threatening menace rears its head to wipe out everything in its path. Long time fans of the series and its storyline will appreciate the insane story that adds to the Guilty Gear mythos, and for new players it’s a perfect chance to get in on the action and experience the sheer insanity this series has to offer. And oh yes, fighting faithful, this game has the goods when it comes to competitive play.
AND THE WINNER IS….
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
In the end, there can be only one and when you measure the accomplishments of this game when stacked up against all the others, the award just has to go to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It’s a popular choice by many websites, and with good reason. With a morally ambiguous storyline featuring numerous branching paths, decisions that players know will pay equally in dividends and hardship, a dark and inhospitable world where it’s sometimes difficult to determine exactly who’s at fault and who should be punished, this game is arresting from start to finish. CD Projekt Red infused every single quest and side-objective with so much creativity, the stories brave and unflinching and challenging, that the developer-publisher has to be respected for taking that kind of chance in these socially conscious times.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the gameplay and progression systems. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt manages to find a way to engage the player with deep and complex leveling, crafting and equipment options without being overwhelming. Everything you do to help Geralt grow stronger makes sense at a glance, which creates a compulsory experience that doesn’t intimidate but invites further involvement, longer sessions and solid customization that allows you to make your Witcher exactly who you want him to be. And with the majority of the grind being tied to resolving those wonderful quests, you get a healthy dose of fascinating lore that strengthens the game’s overall narrative and breathes true life into a world teeming with potential just waiting for you to access it. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was the one to beat in 2015, and everyone with access to a PS4, Xbox One or PC with the right hardware owes it to themselves to play this game.
And now, as tradition, we come to the point in our awards where we say goodbye to those that died during the past year. And while I’m sure there are some that will expect him on this list, David Bowie, who not only appeared in Omikron: The Nomad Soul but also had music featured in the game, will not be appearing on this list due to passing in 2016.
However, with the passing of Satoru Iwata, David Bowie and, while not in video games he was still a grand entertainer, Alan Rickman, it’s important to understand something. If you or someone you know has cancer, know this: you are not alone. I’ve had three aunts battle cancer during their lives — two just in the past couple of years and one who dealt with breast cancer twice — and all three survived.
It is not a death sentence. You can fight it. So many advancements have been made over the past few decades for you to best this. And if during your fight you feel down, remember the words of Jimmy Valvano: “Don’t give up… Don’t ever give up.”
And of course, if we forget any names, be sure to let us know.
- Ol’ga Vital’evna Yakovleva, a.k.a. Origa, Singer
Gaming Credits: Ar nosurge: Ode to a Fallen Star, Final Fantasy XIII-2
- Chikao Ohtsuka, Voice Actor
Notable Credits: Kalkow from Asura’s Wrath, Gen Fu from Dead or Alive, Japanese voice of Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patroits, Japanese voice of Master Xehanort from Kingdom Hearts, Maxwell from Tales of Xillia, Pope Sergius XVII from Xenosaga Episode II, Jinpachi Mishima from Tekken
- Taylor Negron, Actor
Notable Credits: Double Switch, Batman & Robin
- Geraldine McEwan, Voice Actress
Credit: Miss Thripp from Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures: Muzzled!
- Monty Oum, Artist
Credits: Afro Samurai, creator of RWBY
- Gary Owens, Voice Actor
Credit: Narrator for Space Quest 6: The Spinal Frontier
- Paul Napier, Voice Actor
Notable Credits: The Geezer from Dishonored, Sebastian from Rogue Galaxy
- Leonard Nimoy, Actor
Notable Credits: Narrator for Seaman, Narrator for Civilization IV, Master Xehanort from Kingdom Hearts
- Shinji Ogawa, Voice Actor
Notable Credits: Wolkov from Langrisser I & II, Bato from Ghost in the Shell, Idola Aldercapt from Final Fantasy XV
- Allen Lurie, Voice Actor
Notable Credits: Kenneth Baker from Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes
- J. Karen Thomas, Voice Actress
Notable Credit: Kabla Yurt from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Kirill Vladimirovich Pokrovsky, Composer
Notable Credits: The Divinity series
- Kazuya Tatekabe, Voice Actor
Notable Credits: Dorai Veranos from Project X Zone, Tonzura from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
- George Coe, Voice Actor
Notable Credits: Various roles in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Various roles in Guild Wars 2, Doctor Godera from Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Alex Rocco, Actor
Credit: Big Sal from Fallout: New Vegas
- Christopher Lee, Actor
Notable Credits: Sarumon from the Lord of the Rings franchise (games included), Ansem the Wise from Kingdom Hearts
- Irwin Keyes, Voice Actor
Notable Credits: Brutus from Sam and Max Hit the Road, Frank Madahado from The Secret World
- Susan Sheridan, Voice Actress
Notable Credit: Nicholas from Rule of Rose
- Eiji Maruyama, Voice Actor
Notable Credit: The King of Red Lions from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
- Miyu Matsuki, Voice Actress
Notable Credits: Waka Kumon from Phantom Breaker, Flo Financier from Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, Ariel from Elsword, Lailah from Tales of Zestiria, Claire Rieveldt from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
- Kazuo Kamakura, Voice Actor
Notable Credits: Mister Smee, Cosgworth, Doc, and Geppetto from Kingdom Hearts
- Norbert Gastell, German Voice Actor
Notable Credit: Gus from Lost Horizon
- Brooke McCarter, Actor
Notable Credit: Bang from Double Switch
- Robert Loggia, Actor
Credits: Ray Machowski from Grand Theft Auto III, Adm. Petrarch from Freespace 2, Narrator for Scarface: The World is Yours
- Satoru Iwata, Programmer and CEO
Co-created Kirby, President of HAL Laboratory from 1993-2000, Fourth President and CEO of Nintendo from 2002-2015
BloodborneClannadDisgaea 5: Alliance of VengeanceDungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Sealeiyuu senkiFinal Fantasy Type-0 HDGame of the YearGuilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-Halo 5: GuardiansHatsune Miku Project Mirai DXHer StoryHyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black HeartHyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V GenerationMoe ChronicleMonster Hunter 4 UltimatePersona 4: Dancing All NightRare ReplayRise of the Tomb RaiderSenran Kagura 2: Deep CrimsonSplatoonSteins;GateStella GlowSuper Mario MakerSword Art Online RE: Hollow FragmentTales of ZestiriaThe Fruit of Grisaiathe legend of heroes trails in the sky scThe Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3DThe Witcher 3: Wild HuntUndertaleXenoblade Chronicles XYoshi's Woolly World