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Best Re-Release

Best Re-Release
Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster

The year was 2001 and a company named Squaresoft ruled the RPG world. Fresh off of its most successful period with PlayStation, the opening act of its flagship franchise on the then new PS2 would prove to be one of its most memorable. It was a game changer for the series, one many could argue began the series' eventual downfall. But in 2001, there was just Final Fantasy X. It was the first Final Fantasy for a new generation of RPGamers, and in spite of its numerous flaws — long, unskippable cutscenes, poor translation and voice direction, some absolutely inane story decisions, and so on — we always look back on it with fond memories. Some well-directed CG cutscenes are just the backdrop to the best combat in the series. The battles are quick and strategic, party members can be switched mid-battle, and during the main game every party member — sans Kimahri — is given something to do. The fact that Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster also comes with Final Fantasy X-2 is just icing on the cake. The X remaster alone is worth the price, especially for North Americans, as this is the first time the International version has become available for the region. The quality and care this game received is a showcase that, if nothing else, Square Enix can still release a polished product when it wants. Now, could we make the cutscenes skippable?

Best DLC

Best DLC
Fantasy Life

Fantasy Life by itself already offers a ton of content, so those who forgo the Origin Island expansion will likely not feel that they are missing out. For those who do purchase this DLC, they will get even more things to do with their Lives. There is an all-new storyline with some charming new characters, more banter with the already established personalities, and some interesting insights into the world of Fantasy Life. The titular Origin Island itself is a large area filled with new resources, items to find, monsters to fight, and challenges to take on. The level cap is increased and every life now has an additional rank to achieve. There is a new friendship level mechanic with NPCs and even two new types of pets: birds and baby dragons. Nine dollars might seem a bit steep, but Origin Island is certainly worth the money.

Most Played / Most Completed

Most Played / Most Completed
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy

There's something to be said about Bravely Default's ability to draw on the nostalgic feelings of RPGs from Square's younger days. While far from being universally loved by the RPGamer staff, this was the one 2014 release that the vast majority of our crew had to try. Between the popularity of the 3DS and a curiousity over Square Enix making a new back-to-basics RPG, there was no question of if staff members would pick up Bravely Default, but when. As you've likely heard by now, the game starts strong before going in a questionable direction about halfway through that players either hate vehemently or tolerate begrudgingly. Bravely Default was our staff's most played and our most completed game from 2014, so even if we didn't all think highly of the last few chapters, we still enjoyed them enough to see the credits scroll. The fun combat and job systems hooked us on the gameplay even if the game's over-arching design became a problem, the protagonists were morons, and the story tread water when it wasn't drowning. If anything, this game's positive notes helped build goodwill by hitting the nostalgia cord exquisitely. Even though the total package didn't resonate with us all, it clearly showed an interest in this style of game and a longing for a return to the old days of Square. Here's hoping the upcoming Bravely Second can improve on the failings of the original, because it's obvious that there's a fan following.

Best Non-RPG

Best Non-RPG
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

We know that story-based games are the bread and butter of RPGamers, so it should be no surprise that our Non-RPG Game of the Year is a very story heavy experience. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is part visual novel, part adventure game, and it's a fantastic experience. A group of high school students find themselves cut off from the outside world by a psychopathic bear named Monokuma. He informs the students that the only way to escape is to kill another student without being caught, and the fun begins from there. There are story segments where you can interact with other characters, times when you can explore and investigate the school, and trials involving the whole class once a murder has been committed. The game features a wonderful cast of seemingly cliché characters that prove to be much more than they initially let on. Anyone who enjoys story-based gaming should check Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc out.

by Cassandra Ramos, Michael A. Cunningham, Zack Webster

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