|« Michael A. Cunningham Memorial Award||
Game of the Year
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The battle for this year’s top spot has resulted in one of the closest margins of recent years. Either of the top two could easily have taken the title in many other years, but coming just ahead in 2022 is Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles 3. It would’ve been easy for the studio to rest on its laurels after the successes of the previous Xenoblade Chronicles games, but Xenoblade Chronicles 3 shows that it still has all of the ambition that made the previous titles so memorable. That’s not to say it hasn’t taken on board lessons learned, as Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a prime example of being enhanced by maturity and execution with a delightful experience packed to the brim.
More about its individual elements are covered elsewhere in the awards, but Xenoblade Chronicles 3 exudes passion throughout. From its thrilling combat system that makes fun use of class mechanics to its magnificent musical score and world packed full of interesting stories big and small, the game sucks players right in and refuses to let them go for the whole of its runtime. Another fantastic localisation from Nintendo, another stunningly designed world, and a fantastic cast are just further reasons why Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the deserved winner.
FromSoftware has spent the last decade becoming one of the premier developers in the world, and it has cemented that status with Elden Ring. Perfectly blending the tightly designed games in its lineage with a sprawling open map that was as engrossing to explore as it was to look at, Elden Ring is a joy to experience front to back. Couple that with its more approachable style and narrative and it’s easy to see why it was one of our top games of the year, coming within a whisker of taking top spot.
It’s been a long wait for The Legend of Heroes fans to officially play the Crossbell saga in English, and the arrival of the first part, The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero, does not disappoint. The game is packed full of the charm fans have come to expect from Nihon Falcom, and the game does a fantstic job bringing its cast and setting to life. An excellent score combined with strong Japanese voice acting just adds to the game’s welcoming atmosphere. Even though its visuals give proof of its long delay, PH3’s stellar porting work ensures the PC and Switch versions look as good as possible. Meanwhile, its turn-based combat system combines excellently with its difficulty options and features to ensure that those who want a challenge and those here to enjoy its story and world are equally well catered to, helping to make it one of this year’s standout RPGs.
by Alex Fuller and Zack Webster