Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023 ~ Editors’ Awards: Scott Clay

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023: Editors' Awards

The Go Away Rean Schwarzers Award

I’m seeing double here: four winners! Congrats, Rean Schwarzer, you somehow won this award again for the fourth time. So yes, notice the plural. There are two of them now. Yep, two of them. I can see the developer meeting now. 

Falcom: Everyone loves Rean, so what’s better than one Rean? Two! 

Wrong, Falcom. Wrong! You know what is better? Zero Reans. At least he can’t win it next year. Right?

Rean from Trails into Reverie, the man who won't go away

The Best Game About Bodies of Water with Stars In Them Award

If you thought this was about Star Ocean, then you don’t know me very well because Star Ocean SUCKS! But Sea of Stars? Now that game is amazing. I have been a fan of Sabotage Studio since their Ninja Gaiden-inspired side scroller, The Messenger, and have been waiting very patiently for Sea of Stars. And boy, did it not disappoint. The game is beautiful head to toe and accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack. It also helps that it’s a blast to play, with some engaging combat and a rewarding puzzle approach to dungeons. It tops it off with some great characters and fun overall story. More than I can say about some other games about stars in water. Wait, what’s that? They made a good Star Ocean game?

OMG They Made A Good Star Ocean Game Award

The impossible has happened, everyone. Somehow, some way, they made a good Star Ocean game. Dare I say it, a great Star Ocean game. I used to love Star Ocean 2 until I went back and played it and realized how horrible that game is in retrospect. It had a horrid translation, lackluster combat, dropped plot points, and a rushed story. The only good thing about it is the hilarious voice acting. It made me realize that almost every Star Ocean game is plain bad to mediocre at best. So when I heard they were remaking Star Ocean 2, I was very skeptical. But I will gladly eat my words because Star Ocean: The Second Story R is actually great. It fixes everything wrong with the original and then some. It sets a standard for bringing retro RPGs into the modern age, and I couldn’t be happier. Do them all like this!

The party running through a forest in Star Ocean The Second Story R

Better The Second Time Around Award

Octopath Traveler was one of my favorite games of 2018, but it wasn’t without its faults. So you have to love when developers look at their old games and say, “This was good, but we can make it better.” And that’s exactly what you get with Octopath Traveler II. It has everything that made the original game great, with almost nothing that was lacking in the original. Don’t sleep on Octopath! It was one of the best RPGs of the year by far.

“Oh God He’s Hot” Award, AKA The Double Spinning Edge Award

Double Spinning Edge! Double Spinning Edge! Double Spinning Edge! Double Spinning Edge! Double Spinning Edge! Oh god, make it stop. Oh wait, nevermind, Rex died again from getting aggro. No, but seriously what the hell, Monolith Soft? You can’t do this. He’s Rex. He sucks. You can’t make him hot! That’s not fair!

Rex wielding a green glowing sword in Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed

All joking aside, the Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed DLC was fantastic and it hurts to say goodbye to this trilogy for the final time. There will probably be a Xenoblade Chronicles 4 or some equivalent in the future, but the trilogy with all these characters is over now, and that brings a tear to my eye. A fantastic DLC with callbacks and easter eggs for all Xeno fans to enjoy. Can’t wait to see what’s next from Monolith Soft in the future!

Scott Clay

Scott Clay

Scott streams games for our Twitch channel almost every night! He enjoys playing games on stupid hard difficulties, creating unnecessary challenges for games that don't need them, speedrunning and telling everyone why Lunar 2 is the best RPG ever made. You should stay awhile and listen!