By Josh Speer / February 21st, 2020
2016: Phoenix Wright (Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice)
2017: Protagonist (Persona 5)
2018: Kazuma Kiryu (Yakuza 6)
Without a hero, you don’t have a game. Period. Sure that’s not the only thing that matters, but a hero spurs on the action and draws you in emotionally to their journey, so you feel like you’re right there with them. And sure, not every hero is frankly that heroic, but generally speaking, as long as you’re looking past your own misconceptions and fighting to help others, you’re one of them. For 2019, the Best Hero nominees were pretty distinct, though two are from RPGs. The real question then is why didn’t Kirby win last year? Or rather, will this be Dante’s big year to be crowned oprainfall’s Best Hero?
NA Release Date: July 26th, 2019
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
I know we’re pretty early into this article, but I already have a controversial opinion for everyone – Byleth shouldn’t be one of the nominees. I’m not saying our writers were all wrong to vote for him, rather I am of a mind that avatar characters don’t have enough definition to be dubbed “hero”. That said, I get the point of them is to put yourselves in their shoes, and Byleth succeeds at that, but I just have my reservations. Cause even though I absolutely adore Fire Emblem: Three Houses, that’s pretty much because of all the other characters. There was potential for Byleth, and there seemed to be a story that yearned to be told about his connection to Sothis and the secret behind his birth, but alas those were left as tangents. At best, his tale only felt relevant when his father was suddenly taken away from him and when he ascended. That said, if you’ve got a thing for blue haired men (or women), then maybe you’ll be happy with Byleth as our Best Hero…
Dante (Devil May Cry 5)
NA Release Date: March 8th, 2019
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One
It’s kind of fitting that Dante is now an old man, cause I feel like he’s been with us forever. Which in no way prevents him from causing chaos and ripping monsters apart with glee. I admit it’s been a while since I’ve personally played a Devil May Cry game (I am still working on the PS2 entries), but I can still respect Dante as a bad ass character. After all, he was likely the inspiration for the femme fatale Bayonetta, and if nothing else, it’s fun to join that sort of rebellious warrior on a quest. While it’s true our site generally avoids more mainstream entries, maybe this year Dante had enough firepower to steal the crown as Best Hero.
Yuri Lowell (Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition)
NA Release Date: January 10th, 2019
Platform(s): PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Oftentimes, heroic journeys start one place and end in another entirely. Yuri starts as an orphan, becomes a knight and eventually a hero. But what really makes Yuri Lowell heroic is his desire to bring happiness to others. And it’s that instinct to protect the powerless and fight against oppression that truly make Yuri shine. I admit I have yet to play any of the Tales games, but gauging from fans, it’s a wonderful series. The only real question is – were Yuri’s heroic instincts enough to pave the way to his nomination as Best Hero?
And our winner is…
…oh yay, it’s Byleth
Of course the nominee I was least interested in took the gold. That’s a proud tradition here at oprainfall, especially since I get very invested in the games I’ve played. That said, it’s hard not to be happy that a Fire Emblem character took the gold for Best Hero in 2019. It really is a wonderful game, and while I might have preferred Dante (or Kirby), who am I to tip the scales of justice? Fans of green haired heroes with bendy swords, rejoice!
2019 Oprainfall AwardsBest HeroBylethDanteDevil May Cry 5Fire Emblem: Three HousesTales of Vesperia: Definitive EditionYuri Lowell