Final Fantasy XV was worth the wait. It dubs itself as a Final Fantasy for fans and first timers, and that's exactly what it is. FFXV has won a slew of accolades for RPGFan's Games of the Year 2016, and it's quite rightfully won the number one spot. Sure, it's a very divisive Final Fantasy title, but what makes the game so special is that it's so much fun to play. Not once do you get bored of running around with Noctis and his gang. These four heroes are the core strength of the game; you feel as though you're embarking on your very own road trip with them. Can you think of another RPG that emulates that feeling? But perhaps the best way Square Enix's latest entry in the Final Fantasy series can be summed up is to say that it's the perfect modern fantasy JRPG. You drive around a landscape in a slick car, your characters have phones, but out in the lush wilderness there are dangerous creatures and fantastical beings that lurk beyond the safety of the Regalia. The world looks stunning, the game plays fantastically, and the music is to die for. Congratulations, Square Enix.
Read our review of Final Fantasy XV
With Final Fantasy XV releasing right at the end of the year, it can be hard to remember other RPGs even exist. But Trails of Cold Steel and its sequel are equally worthy of being remembered and deserving of accolades. Cold Steel lays the foundation for a sweeping story of conflict and uncertainty, introducing players to important characters and the troubles plaguing the nation of Erebonia. Cold Steel II takes that groundwork and runs with it, raising the stakes as players find themselves in the middle of a heated civil war. Both games feature a satisfying turn-based combat system, a large cast of likable characters, and excellent music to accompany the dramatic events that unfold. It's not a stretch to call Trails of Cold Steel I & II the "total package," so if you've been looking for a quality JRPG experience, look no further than these two exceptional games.
Note: Due to its late release on December 22, 2015, we were unable to include the first Trails of Cold Steel in last year's awards and still post them in a timely manner. Given that the two games are two halves of one story, we opted to combine them both for 2016's nominations.
Read our review of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
Read our review of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
With all of the awards these two games have received, it's hardly a surprise to see them at the top of both the staff and reader awards. Nor is it surprising that in both cases, the votes were relatively close. Clearly, Final Fantasy XV and the Trails of Cold Steel duology are worth the investment of your gaming time.