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Star Ocean: The Second Story R winning Best Re-Release is a no brainer. Arguably the best game in the franchise and the one people were clamouring for a re-release of, Gemdrops and Square Enix decided to finally listen to the masses and give them the best version of the series’ second entry to date. The Second Story R offers fantastic combat adjustments to an already great battle system, and its fantastic cast of characters shines through in an already great localization that gets another more than welcome showcase. Its change in art style raised a few eyebrows initially, but it turned out to be highly effective, offering a fascinating bridge between classic 2D sprites and modern 3D locales. The series has had its hits and misses over the years, The Second Story R will rightfully go down as one of its most enduring releases.
Super Mario RPG is without a doubt one of the best RPGs to grace the storied Super Nintendo library. The remake maintains everything that was great about the original game while giving it a fresh coat of paint and some nice quality of life improvements. It rarely feels like an old Super Nintendo game while playing it, with vibrant updated graphics and a wonderfully remastered soundtrack. The timed attack element of the turn based combat system still feels fresh, and nice new touches make it easier to get the hang of than the original. Super Mario RPG remains a great way to get into RPGs, and a breezy adventure for those who already love them.
by Sam Wachter and Mike Apps