5) Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae
Okay, so maybe it's cheating a bit to include a demo on a best-of-the-year list, but I think that Episode Duscae is still deserving of a spot. To me, this glimpse of Final Fantasy's future is a hopeful one that shows Square Enix is willing to accept fan feedback and committed to making the best game they possibly can. Thanks to Episode Duscae, I am much more confident that Final Fantasy XV will end up being a very enjoyable game.
4) The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
After Ocarina of Time got a 3DS remake, it's little brother getting the same treatment was basically inevitable. Majora's Mask is one of the strangest games in the Zelda series, but also one of the most interesting. Sure, it has fewer dungeons and the three-day time limit shenanigans can get kind of repetitive, but it also bucks the Zelda tradition in really interesting ways, particularly with its varied (and remixed for the 3DS version!) bosses and uniquely oppressive atmosphere. This game goes to some dark places...and I'm really glad I finally got a chance to experience it.
3) Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
Wow, I had forgotten how much I love Dragon Quest. Sure, Dragon Quest Heroes may be a Dynasty Warriors-esque spinoff title, but it still embodies the spirit of the franchise. The enemies are adorable, the writing is surprisingly sharp, and Toriyama's iconic art style looks fantastic in HD. With the 3DS remakes on their way stateside and (hopefully) more news about Dragon Quest XI on the horizon, Dragon Quest Heroes makes a worthy appetizer.
2) Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
There's no beating around the bush — Type-0 was originally a PSP game and it shows. The often jarring HD version may be blighted with annoying motion blur (which has since been patched), ugly models, and a lamentable English dub, but the core game remains one of the most interesting Final Fantasy experiences to come out in a long while. The battles are fast-paced, each member of the staggeringly large playable cast has their own unique combat style, and the music...oh wow, the music is incredible. It feels like a relic of the previous generation...because that's exactly what it is; if you can get past that and are a fan of the series, I think it's well worth a look. I enjoyed it, at any rate: first Platinum trophy!
1) Xenoblade Chronicles X
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...there was Xenogears, a little Squaresoft title that paid homage to/gratuitously ripped off Neon Genesis Evangelion. Then there came Xenosaga, a curious multi-part experiment that met an early demise. It was a dark time...when out of nowhere, Xenoblade Chronicles released on the Wii, and it was one of the best RPGs ever made. Xenoblade Chronicles X has a tough act to follow; is it as good as its predecessor? Well...it's difficult to say, because despite the "Chronicles" in the game's title and a similar combat system, X's roots are planted in the soil that grew Gears and Saga, with an added emphasis on exploring the game's vast world. But, holy crap, what a world it is! I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the scale of Xenoblade Chronicles X is unprecedented among JRPGs, and that alone puts it in my number one spot for 2015. Now if you'll excuse me... those indigens aren't going to slay themselves.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
We have an entire podcast series detailing Final Fantasy Tactics, so my firsthand experience with the title (and all my embarrassing mistakes) can be enjoyed by our readers. Suffice it to say, I'm glad I finally got this one off my to-do list. Sure, it's pretty grindy and the difficulty curve is all over the place, but Final Fantasy Tactics has an epic storyline and some of the most in-depth class customization in the series. Now, if only we'd get a proper sequel...
Mario Kart 8/Super Smash Bros for Wii U
Oh, what's that, you say? Mario Kart 8 and Smash 4 came out in 2014? Well, I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of this AWESOME DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT.