10 - 6

The bottom half of the top ten offers an interesting mixture. Horizon: Zero Dawn earned a very nice reception at E3 and many would be expecting to see the Dragon Quest 3DS remakes come in almost next to each other. The excitement for Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE perhaps comes as a bit of a surprise given its departure from what everyone initially expected to come from a Fire Emblem-Shin Megami Tensei crossover.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4) - Official Site
Pub: Sony | Dev: Guerrilla Games | Release: 2016 (NA/EU)

When Guerrilla Games announced Horison: Zero Dawn, I was pretty much throwing money at my computer screen. A game featuring a female protagonist who hunts mecha-dinosaurs in a half-futuristic, half-prehistoric world? Colour me intrigued and surprised. Considering this is the developer of the Killzone series, I was confused that they were developing an RPG, let alone one that promoted a feminist heroine who people would want to cheer for. She FIGHTS MECHA-DINOSAURS PEOPLE! That alone should make you want this game. While I may be fangirling the basics of this game, I'm pumped to see how Horizon: Zero Dawn is going to turn out. Even if it's disappointing, I still get to fight dinosaurs, and that's just plain awesome. - Sam Wachter

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (3DS) - Official Site
Pub: Nintendo | Dev: Square Enix | Release: 2016 (NA/EU)

When I first played Dragon Quest VIII back on the PS2, I wasn't a fan of Dragon Quest games. I went into DQVIII thinking this was going to be another Final Fantasy style game and was super disappointed. I thought it was an interesting story, but it was long, grindy, and super slow. Eventually, I gave the series another shot with Dragon Quest IV and V which helped me get a better grasp on how these games were designed. I fell in love and have wanted to return to Dragon Quest VIII for a long time, so this releasing on 3DS is a great thing for me as having it in portable form will make replaying this long title so much easier. - Michael A. Cunningham

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

South Park: The Fractured but Whole (PC/PS4/One) - Official Site
Pub: Ubisoft | Dev: Ubisoft | Release: 2016 (NA/EU)

Leave it to Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and, of course, Obsidian Entertainment) to conceive and deliver an RPG that was the polar antithesis of the rugged, jaw-clenching seriousness of western RPGs and the flamboyant acrobatics of androgynous JRPG heroes and heroines, while paying ample homage to their influences. South Park: The Stick of Truth broke new or at least rarely trodden ground as a wildly hilarious comedy RPG that actually took itself, and its craft, seriously. Not only did it deliver on the high comedic expectations set by its source material, it proved that a licensed property can deliver a compelling experience while engrossing the player in its established universe. While not free from scrutiny, particularly for its combat, the game planted its tongue firmly in its cheek as it put the Skyrims, Mass Effects, and Final Fantasys in their places. This year, Parker and Stone are returning, and The Fractured but Whole will hopefully offer up another tasty dish of offensive humor and biting satire. But fans of the show really wouldn't want to have it any other way. - Pascal Tekaia

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (3DS) - Official Site
Pub: Nintendo | Dev: Square Enix | Release: 2016 (NA/EU)

People may remember my stance on the PlayStation incarnation of Dragon Quest VII, yet I'm actually looking forward to trying the game again? That is correct, because the raw material of DQVII could be fashioned into something enjoyable, and the word from across the Pacific is that this took place. Building a world up piece by piece, from a single island into continents that span the globe — that's a pretty good concept for a title. Slimming the bloat down and making the class system into something a little less grind-intensive and more user-friendly would certainly work out all right, and again this is the word from across the Pacific. There is every reason to support Nintendo giving this series one more chance outside Japan, and with a remake that actually improves upon the original in numerous ways too? Absolutely. - Mike Moehnke

Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE

Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE (Wii U) - Official Site
Pub: Nintendo | Dev: Atlus | Release: 2016 (NA/EU)

When this game was first announced back in 2013 along with a purposefully vague teaser trailer, fans speculated as to what sort of RPG "Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem" would be. Likely no one expected the strange urban fantasy Wii U title with a heavy focus on idol singers and other aspects of the Japanese entertainment industry that is Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE. Reception to this development have been mixed, but Genei Ibun Roku looks nothing if not unique. I think this game is strangely charming, with the many ways it has woven elements of the Fire Emblem and Megami Tensei series into it, its turn-based combo-focused battle system, and some great music. It is not the straightforward mashup many people were expecting, but it has taken a turn which while goofy in some respects, I can't help but be intrigued by it. - Cassandra Ramos

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