Winner: Final Fantasy VII Remake
First, they got playful. It’s just what you wanted. Your high-fidelity bombing mission, your Reno grudge matches, your Buster Sword flexing. They leaned into your dragon-summoning power fantasies, your “heartfelt adoration” of Tifa, all that goodwill and honeyed, late ’90s nostalgia. It’s a trip down memory lane, to the simpler times. But, sweetness on the tongue doesn’t last forever. It’s been 23 years, hasn’t it?
Your demands hang like a weight around this game’s neck. Deviation is not acceptable. “This is wrong,” you think. “Stop taking this from me.” But, this isn’t yours. You don’t own it. And, as your fanboy levels reach a fever-pitch, the point is struck: your fandom isn’t a mandate. Maybe that credit roll came with some level of dread. It reminds you this isn’t 1997. You thought you’d taken a step into your shallow pool again, but now you can’t see the bottom, can you?
Oh, don’t worry. I think Hell House is rad too.
by Eva Padilla
Runner-Up: Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
With the release of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, all other versions of the game are now obsolete. The vistas of Bionis and Mechonis have never looked or sounded better than on the Nintendo Switch. The quality of life improvements made in the remaster help Shulk and his pals tackle their quests with ease. Though the Future Connected epilogue doesn’t add much, the story is just the cherry on top of an already near-perfect game. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is still every bit as much of a classic as the original Wii release but with improvements that make the overall experience smooth as butter.
by Tyler Trosper