Winner: Yakuza: Like a Dragon
It all started as an April Fools’ joke. A turn-based Yakuza game? Bwahahaha! How ridiculous! Little did we suspect that the team at Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio were already well into the process of turning everything we knew about Yakuza on its head! By taking the framework of a Yakuza game, adding in compelling turn-based combat, an endearing new protagonist, party relationship mechanics, a deep love of Dragon Quest, and more mini-games than ever, they created a game that is easily one of the best RPGs of the year. If the beat-em-up combat always scared you away from the Yakuza series, then Like a Dragon is the perfect place to start with this beloved series!
by Jonathan Logan
Runner-Up: Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal somehow manages to improve on the already excellent Persona 5 with many quality of life improvements that address most players’ concerns regarding the pacing of the game. In addition, the third semester content provides us with a great arc for the primary rival as well as the best villain of the game. As long as you have the ability to push through a 110+ hour game, P5R is one of the best JRPGs of this console generation, hands down.
by Nathan Lee