Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023: Best Combat

GOTY 2023 Best Combat Octopath Traveler II

Winner: Octopath Traveler II

It’s no small task to improve on Octopath Traveler‘s combat. Every skill is so carefully chosen to make the Break/Boost system work together with the visible turn order to create a thoughtful, strategic experience in the original. Somehow, though, Octopath Traveler II improved on the best in the business to create something even better. The new latent abilities for each character give everyone their own identity, along with giving you a lot of additional options in combat. With these additional tricks in your bag, the developers smartly crafted even more challenging bosses to test your skills against, and every time you feel like you’re “breaking” (heh) the battle system, they throw another challenge your way to up the ante. It’s an incredibly satisfying loop, and easily deserves our award for Best Combat in a crowded field this year.

by Zach Wilkerson

Runner-Up: Final Fantasy XVI

One of the best parts about the Final Fantasy series is that every entry is drastically different than the last. Often, this includes an entirely new battle system that shakes up the series altogether. With how lackluster and disjointed Final Fantasy XV‘s action combat was, Final Fantasy XVI had its work cut out for it. Not only did Creative Business Unit III have to prove that Final Fantasy could do action, they had to prove that the series could do it well. Thankfully, with the combat director of Devil May Cry and Dragon’s Dogma at the helm, Final Fantasy XVI came out swinging with one of the most in-depth, flashy, kinetic, and exciting character action RPG hybrid battle systems in recent history.

by Des Miller

Readers’ Choice: Best Combat of 2023

Winner: Octopath Traveler II (28.1% of votes)

Runner-Up: Baldur’s Gate III (25.9% of votes)

Zach Wilkerson

Zach Wilkerson

After avidly following RPGFan for years, Zach joined as a Reviews Editor in 2018, and somehow finds himself helping manage the Features department now. When he's not educating the youth of America, he can often be heard loudly clamoring for Lunar 3 and Suikoden VI.