Game of the Year – Persona 5
Samantha – Persona 5 was the first Persona game I’ve ever played. At first I was just happy to see a new high-profile JRPG with turn-based combat, but I quickly fell in love with its story and characters as well. After spending well over 100 hours with it, I felt sad when the time came to say goodbye to the characters I’d grown to love, and it left me excited to try more Persona games in the future.
Shannon – As an antique, I am pretty much over the “school kid is the hero of the world” trope of Japanese RPGs, but Persona 5 overcomes my skepticism by being really, really good and weird enough to be intriguing. It’s interesting with great combat and enough little flourishes to burn a few hundred hours. What more could you ask for?
Diego – It’s hard to top Persona 4 Golden, but Persona 5 managed to meet and exceed expectations in many ways. Even if you can’t get down with the life-sim aspect of the game, nobody can deny that the game’s aesthetic and music are perfectly done. If there’s anything to knock Persona 5 for it’s that it made me feel bad for caring more about dedicating time to my video-game friends than my real ones. Although to be fair none of my friends are as cool as Ryuji or have a spectral motorcycle.
Spencer – What could I say about Persona 5 that I haven’t said in countless articles? Not a lot, so I’ll repeat what I’ve said many times before: Persona 5 is a fantastic game that every fan of RPGs and rich stories alike should play. Full of fresh ideas, Persona 5 excels thanks to its fleshed out and enthralling world, its well-made combat system, and its endlessly captivating characters. I’m excited to play the game again on New Game +, so I can once again hang out with some of the most well-made game characters in recent memory.
Austin – Persona 5 had some pretty big shoes to fill, with the incredible game that is Persona 4. Luckily Atlas took its time with the development and made sure they got it all right. Strong, emotive voice acting, rich character interactions and relationship building brought me into the life of a trouble Japanese high school student. It reminded me of my own social building in real life. The setting reminded me of my trips to Japan, with so many of its real-world locations. The Localization team did such an incredible job at bringing the game to a western audience while still feeling authentically Japanese. Play Persona 5 for its story, its style, and its design.
Runner Up: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild