There's something truly magical about the world of Xenoblade Chronicles X. It's massively open from the get-go, full of interesting vistas to discover and crazy monsters to slay. There are a ton of characters to meet, and your actions on Mira can affect what happens to the residents of New L.A. and the various alien races you'll meet during the course of your adventures. Combat is refined from the original Xenoblade, emphasizing teamwork and the timely usage of arts to take down your foes. The story is surprisingly non-linear for a Xeno game, but it works to parallel the non-linearity of the world and there are plenty of interesting twists and turns along the way. The music may be divisive, but it's hard to deny the energy it brings to just about everything in the game, from exploring humanity's new home to taking on a massive tyrant with a team of decked out Skells. It's not a perfect game by any means, but the whole package is just so undeniably cool and fun that you can't help but love it.
Writeup by Caitlin Argyros
Read our review of Xenoblade Chronicles X
Obsidian is responsible for so many near classics that were hamstrung by budget or time limitations that, fair or not, the company itself started to get a reputation for putting out brilliant but flawed products. The Kickstarter for Pillars of Eternity meant that Obsidian had, at last, a chance to do things entirely on their own schedule. The question became whether or not they were capable of delivering. The answer was not only a glorious affirmative for fans of classic isometric RPGs, but an affirmation that Obsidian is capable of great things if you just let them work until the thing is done, gosh darn it. Unashamed of its obvious influences from the Baldur's Gates and Icewind Dales that are unassailably crystalized in the nostalgia centers of our brains, Obsidian not only embraced these old school conventions but were unafraid to introduce new elements and systems all their own. It's a tremendous achievement and a blast to play, but it is also a validation of what we've always suspected Obsidian was capable of if they were just given the chance.
Writeup by Dave Yeager
Read our review of Pillars of Eternity
This was by far the closest of all reader votes: Pillars of Eternity was a mere 2 votes behind Xenoblade Chronicles X for the runner-up spot, while Xenoblade was only 2 votes behind Trails SC. You really can't go wrong with any of these titles.