It was a close call this year, with the editors split evenly between Xenoblade and Mass Effect 3 for Game of the Year honors. Days of vigorous debate and arguments were had in favor of and against both titles. In the end, however, Mass Effect 3 won by a hair.
Marking the end of almost a half decade of storytelling, Mass Effect 3 concludes the various storylines and conflicts established in the prequels, with player choice making a significant impact in each scenario. Which characters live to see the end, which races deserve salvation, and which allies attend the final battle all depend on Shepard's previous choices and performance. The character development and writing are both excellent and rounded out by a beautiful soundtrack and impressive visuals. That's not even mentioning the improved combat, character progression, and weapon customization systems that allow for a variety of different playstyles.
While some might find issues with the third entry in the Mass Effect series, it is indisputable that the game made an incredible impact on both the industry and players. Xenoblade may represent some of the best JRPGs have to offer, but Mass Effect 3 shows what the culmination of five years of passionate storytelling and character development is capable of.
Xenoblade Chronicles is undoubtedly the highlight of this year's slim Wii lineup. This tremendous, imaginative adventure truly pushed the system to its limits and proved that creativity trumps raw graphical fidelity any day. We raise our Monados in celebration of Monolith Soft's achievement and look forward to what the future holds — no visions necessary.