Best Adventure Game: Life is Strange
I have to admit, I’ve only played through to about halfway through episode four so far. Regardless, I will still give this game as many awards as I reasonably can, because it’s incredible. If you haven’t played it yet, go play it. Do it. You need to. Your life is not complete without it.
Best Action Game: Enemy Mind
The basic premise of Enemy Mind is that you’re a little alien of some sort that has the ability to take over the ships/brains of your enemies, and from there, it’s a basic space shooter. That ability is really something special, which suddenly makes the game much more strategic and interesting compared to others in the genre.
Best RPG/Old Game I Finally Played: Persona 4 Golden
Another one I haven’t quite finished, but I played through about three-quarters of the game in a weekend when I was free and could barely put it down that entire time. It’s a bit of a grindfest, as JRPGs often are, but I’m the type to put down MMORPGs within ten levels for being too grindy, but the battle system was so good that I barely noticed. Everything about the game has been just generally really addicting and fun.
Best Indie Game: Little Inferno
Cute toys? Check. Very dark story? Check. Setting things on fire like my inner pyromaniac always wanted? Check, check, check, check! There’s something oddly addicting about watching a bunch of fiery particle effects erupt to your mouse clicks. Plus, something went wrong with my gaming laptop that now causes it to overheat like crazy, so for me, this game became super realistic. Play it next to a heater of some sort in the winter, and you’re set.
Most Visually Beautiful: FFXV Demo
This is admittedly a bit of a cheat, but I got to play the Final Fantasy XV demo that came with my copy of PS4 Final Fantasy Type-0, and it’s easily the most beautiful thing I played all year. I don’t usually care too much how pretty a game is, especially given how many indie games I tend to play, but the graphics on this were so breathtaking that I had to take notice. Plus, the characters are a bunch of hot guys. I’m still a bit peeved that there are apparently not going to be any playable female characters, but if there’s any series I’ll forgive for that, it’s the one that already gave me Lightning, Tifa, Yuffie, and Yuna, all of whom I adore. At least I’ll get to run around as a hot, super-well-rendered prince dude, which I guess is a fair consolation.
Most Ridiculous: Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker
Months after reading our own review of this game, I finally got it on a Steam sale and got to experience it for myself. The game itself is pretty fun, but the best part is definitely how ridiculous the mini-games and challenges are. Your client’s date went to bathroom, and you have to identify what part of their appearance they changed? Oh, they just went and dyed their hair a completely different color in the restaurant bathroom within 20 seconds, no big deal. Your client needs to fart; how can you help prevent it? By playing a game of high/low, obviously! The premise of each mini-game is almost always something totally ridiculous, and it’s great.
Best 3DS Game: Fantasy Life
This is the only 3DS game I loved so much that I even bought the DLC for it. I pretty much hate having to buy DLCs separately with a burning passion, but the game is super cute and got me hooked on the story so much that I decided it was worth it for the extra content.
Best LAN Party Game: Hatoful Boyfriend
Despite being single-player and a dating sim, this is definitely my new favorite for LAN parties, at least where there are at least one or two other girls around among many, many guys. In a group of about ten guys and four girls, I got all the girls gathered around it laughing while one of them played for the first time, and then watched almost every single guy pass by and hit the masculinity panic button. You would think that a pigeon dating sim would be so patently ridiculous that it wouldn’t matter what your sexual orientation is, but one after another, they looked over, made some kind of “I’m not into that” or “that’s not my fetish” remark, and scurried away. A perfect way for combatting the sausagefest that LAN parties usually are.
Game of the Year: Life is Strange
Yes, it’s back for a second award. I honestly can’t sing the praises of this game enough. Basically, Life is Strange is a game that’s very near and dear to my heart because of a very personal situation, but even beyond the one scene in question, it’s got fantastic storytelling and addresses many real-life issues that most games don’t bother with. I will admit, it’s got a lot to do with high school drama stuff, and if that’s not your thing, you might not love it quite as much as I do. But, I fully believe that this is a game that everyone should play regardless, because it’s got so much meaning to it that’s so important, and in a sea of games about shooting or being WhiteGuy McStubbleGuns, it stands out as something truly meaningful, and beautiful.
Most Anticipated Game for 2016: World of Final Fantasy
There were several exciting announcements for new games coming out, and I’m looking forward to a lot of them! But, realistically, do any of us actually expect Final Fantasy XV to be out within the next year? Am I actually going to get my hopes up that Kingdom Hearts 3 will come out before the end of next December? I’m insanely happy that they’re remaking Final Fantasy VII, but do I actually think that it’s going to be anywhere near ready to ship for 2016? No, no I do not. So I’m going to get my hopes up for a smaller game like this one, with its cutesy art and adorable-looking new main characters, which they’re not under nearly as much pressure to make as serious and incredible as those other games, and I’ll happily look forward to playing that in the meantime.