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Round 1

No surprise with the first overall pick, it would likely have gone there no matter who was selecting. I was a little surprised that Xenoblade Chronicles X didn't make it in while Tales of Zestiria did, though that was partly my fault for not remembering how closely Adriaan follows the Tales series. Naturally, Zack immediately snapped it up in round two. - Alex

I'm so glad someone else picked Persona 5 so that I didn't have to! - Mac


Persona 5

Pick 1 - Zack Webster
Persona 5 (PS3/PS4) - Official Site
Pub: Atlus | Dev: Atlus | Release: 2015 (NA)

I think most of the people involved with this site, whether staff or reader, are excited for this one. In a maybe-not-surprising turn, the little spinoff that could has actually taken longer to reach its fifth iteration from its fourth than the initial series' hiatus from two to three. The interim has been filled with crossovers, remakes, fighting, TV shows, stage dramas, animated films, and soon dancing, but for the game itself we've heard little, almost to the point where I expect this title to slip past its still acknowledged 2015 release. And even if the game does get delayed, it looks to be well worth the wait.

One only needs to watch the most recent trailers to see that the time put into Persona 5 looks well spent. Dungeons, one of the weaker aspects of Persona 3 and 4, seem to be a lot more varied and involved. The game oozes style from every pore, from the excellent menus to the red-dominated color scheme to Shoji Meguru's wonderful jazz-infused title track that still gets stuck in my head. I can't remember the last time an RPG looked so distinct and memorable from the outset, something that doesn't just look interesting or polished but self-assured as well. At the very least, all the SMT demons will finally make their way to HD, something I'm looking forward to.

My hope that Atlus' silence has been due to focusing on Dancing All Night and once that's out of the way it's time for Persona 5 to shine. Either way, Persona 5 feels like what Nocturne felt like back on the PlayStation 2. We're getting a bang, not a whimper.


Tales of Zestiria

Pick 2 - Adriaan den Ouden
Tales of Zestiria (PS3/PS4/PC) - Official Site
Pub: Bandai Namco Games | Dev: Bandai Namco Games | Release: 10.20.2015 (NA), 10.16.2015 (EU)

A new Tales game isn't a terribly uncommon occurrence anymore. After the dearth of North American entries post-Vesperia, the series has been fortunate enough to receive pretty much yearly installments in the form of Tales of Graces F, Tales of Xillia, Tales of Xillia 2, and Tales of Hearts R. While every new Tales game introduces plenty of things to look forward to, Tales of Zestiria is a big entry for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it's the first Tales game on the new generation of consoles. Although the series isn't particularly well known for its visuals, apart from a couple of standouts like Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Vesperia, the jump to a new console generation ought to have a noticeable impact. At the very least, screenshots show that the sense of scale in Tales of Zestiria far exceeds anything in previous entries.

But there's even more reason to be excited about the game's soundtrack, which partly scored by Go Shiina, a seldom heard composer whose work is almost universally fantastic. He's worked on the Tales series once before, on the oft-maligned Tales of Legendia. However, long-time Tales fans will tell you that the best thing about Tales of Legendia was its soundtrack, and the idea of another Go Shiina-penned score is cause for celebration.


The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

Pick 3 - Alex Fuller
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (PS3/Vita) - Official Site
Pub: XSEED Games | Dev: Nihom Falcom | Release: 2015 (NA), TBA (EU)

There were three options I would've been very happy with taking with the third overall pick, with Xenoblade Chronicles X so very close to usurping my selection. However, the opportunity to once again sample Falcom's The Legend of Heroes setting is just too great to pass up. That left two potential picks, and while the second part of Estelle and Joshua's tale in Trails in the Sky SC is also incredibly high on my radar, I'm excited to see just how much the gameplay, visuals, and other aspects in the series have improved in Trails of Cold Steel.

Nihom Falcom has been known to put in incredible effort in its world-building and story aspects, particularly in its Trails/Kiseki titles, and Trails of Cold Steel should be no different. While Trails in the Sky occurs in the kingdom of Liberl, Cold Steel takes players into the Erebonian Empire and gives players a whole new nation and viewpoint to experience. Thinking about experiencing the height of Falcom's gameplay coupled with its superb storytelling and more excellent music from its sound team fills me with great anticipation. I'm more than ready to dive back into this well-realised world, and with the game's sequel already announced, it's a great time to be a Falcom fan.


Fallout 4

Pick 4 - Michael A. Cunningham
Fallout 4 (PS4/One/PC) - Official Site
Pub: Bethesda | Dev: Bethesda | Release: 11.10.2015 (NA), 11.10.2015 (EU)

The worst kept secret in gaming was finally revealed just prior to E3 and the impact was not lessened at all from all the early leaks. Bethesda dropped a bomb in more ways than one with the company's reveal of Fallout 4, because not only is it coming, it's happening in 2015. I could really get used to these short reveal-to-release windows.

I'll be honest, I've been mostly avoiding reading up on Fallout 4 or even looking at media for the game. Why read more than I have to when the game is right around the corner? Fallout 3 was a gateway game for me. I was never a fan of Western RPGs, but I took a chance on Fallout 3 and fell in love with the environmental storytelling. Walking around an area and picking up a side quest out of the blue is fantastic. This is not the only aspect I love, as the music is just amazing. I love oldies, and Fallout games tend to pick the best for the setting, especially New Vegas. My prior experiences are what have me ready for Fallout 4, even though I wasn't really a fan of the combat. It could be more of the same in that area and I'd still be excited for the new setting, story, music, and characters. Those will be enough for me.



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Intro - Round 1 - Round 2 - Round 3 - Round 4 - Round 5

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