Winner: Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
Was there any doubt? We joked about calling this an annual Final Fantasy XIV award. But jokes aside, there’s a reason so many of us (and 20+ million more) are in love with the game: it’s the real deal. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker is unique in that its main story was self-contained in the release of 6.0, but the subsequent story and content updates across 2022 have been stellar. We’ve been to a mysterious new world, met one of the most interesting NPCs yet in Zero, and now have access to private islands for “casual” (unless you prefer otherwise) farming fun.
Beyond that, we experienced what is perhaps the game’s best-ever 24-person alliance raid, which touches on lore central to FFXIV since before its rebirth, delving into the backstories of the mythical Twelve. Yoshi-P even gave us a peek into major visual updates and more to come with the game’s 7.0 expansion, so the team isn’t showing signs of slowing down.
by Mike Salbato
Runner-Up: Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact launched slightly over two years ago and drastically changed the gaming landscape. Prior to release, a high-budget open-world action RPG that could be played across PC, console, and mobile was little more than a dream. Yet developer HoYoverse – previously known for the mobile action RPG Honkai Impact – set out to make that dream a reality. Since then, Genshin Impact has become a juggernaut in the free-to-play market while proving the games-as-a-service model can work wonderfully when it’s part of the game’s vision from day one. With a massive open world, rewarding gameplay, dozens of exciting characters, and stellar writing, Genshin Impact is almost too good to be true.
by Des Miller