RPGFan's 2017 Holiday Buying Guide
Not sure what RPG to get for that gamer in your life? Or maybe yourself? We've got you covered.
12.10.17 - 8:34 PM
The holiday season is upon us, and that means it's time to cross some things off your shopping list. 2017 was a killer year for games, and the amount of quality titles is a little overwhelming. But have no fear — we're here to help! We picked the best RPGs, adventure games, and visual novels that were released this year in an effort to make your shopping experience a little easier.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Ideal for: Players who love big, open worlds.Horizon combines a fresh, pre-historic future setting with an engaging plot and a unique combat system that sees you hunting robotic dinosaurs for their parts. In our review, we said that "not only is it one of the best action RPGs [we've] played in a while, it's also one of the best games [we've] played in a while."
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Ideal for: MMO players, Star Wars fanatics.More than just a remaster of the original title, The Zodiac Age makes the game's AI-programmable-combat even more interesting with the inclusion of a job system. We greatly loved it: "Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is more than just a fun game; it's an achievement for the RPG genre as a whole."
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix and 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue
Ideal for: Lovers of casual combat and emotional narratives.The Kingdom Hearts series is one that needs to be finished from start to finish, and with these two collections, you can get the full experience in HD on your PS4. Kingdom Hearts, Re: Chain of Memories, II, and Birth By Sleep are playable in the 1.5 + 2.5 collection, along with movies of Re:coded and 358/2 Days. Meanwhile, 2.8 provides Dream Drop Distance and 0.2 -A Fragmentary Passage- along with a movie, Back Cover. In our review for 2.8, we said that -A Fragmentary Passage- was "an incredible epilogue to Birth By Sleep."
Persona 5 (also on PS3)
Ideal for: Fans of heist movies and stylish, turn based combat.With a sharp visual style, incredible soundtrack, and great dungeons, this fifth entry successfully combines teenaged rebellion with addictive gameplay. Ultimately, we felt that Persona 5 was a "celebration; not simply an iterative entry, but one that effectively calls upon its 20 year history to create something of a capstone to the series."
Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon
Ideal for: The young and the young-at-heart.Enhanced versions of 2016's Sun & Moon, the latest in the Pokemon series, brings new features (and new end-game content!) to a pair of games we thought had "arguably the best storyline in the series."
Monster Hunter Stories
Ideal for: Those seeking a casual RPG experience.This simple, turn-based spin-off of the Monster Hunter series is great for those looking for something familiar and unique all at once. We said it "maintains the essence of what makes Monster Hunter great" and praised its "strong" battle system.
Ideal for: Fans of Zelda and Animal Crossing.A mixture of simulation and action-RPG, Ever Oasis puts you in the role of both a hero that must manage their town and venture out into dungeons to push back the creeping Chaos. We felt that the game had a "solid gameplay loop" and lauded its gorgeous visuals.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Ideal for: Players who appreciate strategical gameplay.A remake of the Japan-only Fire Emblem Gaiden, Shadows of Valentia introduces new elements to the series (such as dungeons) while taking away classic ones (such as the weapon triangle). Our verdict was that Valentia was "an old-school Fire Emblem, for better and worse, but mostly for the better."
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (also on Wii U)
Ideal for: Players who crave adventure.One of the best reviewed games of all time, Breath of the Wild is a no-brainer for any gamer. With a large Hyrule to explore and hundreds of mini-dungeons, it's biggest shakeup to the classic Zelda formula yet. We praised the game's "huge and interactive open world," and were amazed by its "impressive attention to detail."
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Ideal for: Those who want a lighthearted, kid-friendly strategy game.In a crossover that no one expected to work, Kingdom Battle combines both franchises into a charming strategy game with surprising depth. We said Kingdom Battle was "a game that Switch owners should really consider picking up."
Fire Emblem Warriors (Also on New 3DS)
Ideal for: Hack-and-slash fans.In yet another crossover, this game combines Fire Emblem characters with Dynasty Warriors gameplay. The result is an experience that successfully uses elements of both series (the weapon triangle, massive crowd-destroying action). We thought it was "one of the deepest and most engaging games the Warriors series has done to date."
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Ideal for: Fans of addictive combat systems and anime.The most recent pick on our buying guide, this installment of the Xenoblade saga takes the series into a new direction that's heavily inspired by anime. Luckily, the addictive (and extremely deep) combat system is more refined and enjoyable than ever before. We adored that it offered "one hell of a grand adventure," and even said it's a good reason to buy yourself a Switch!
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (also on PS4)
Ideal for: Murder mystery lovers.The Danganronpa series, which tasks you with finding whom among your peers is a killer, is known for shocking plot twists and unique characters (who end up dropping like flies); V3 is no exception. We felt that V3 was "a wild ride which will leave you feeling both hope and despair," and said it was "yet another excellent entry in the series."
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds
Ideal for: Fans of both otome visual novels and historical fiction.What do you get when you mix romance with samurais? An incredibly compelling experience. We enjoyed Kyoto Winds so much that we said, "this game has potential to change people's minds about otome visual novels."
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (also on PS4)
Ideal for: Those looking for fast-but-smooth combat.It's another adventure for Adol, and this time he's got an entire island to explore. The exciting, party-based combat is enough to satisfy any action fan, and we said that Ys VIII was "beautiful and exhilarating."
South Park: The Fractured but Whole (also on PS4, PC)
Ideal for: Fans of both the show and comic superheroes.South Park's humor may be divisive, but the enjoyable gameplay of this sequel — which ditches the fantasy theme of its predecessor for one of superheroes — sure isn't. We thought that TFBW had "combat and class systems with surprising depth," and was "an excellent follow-up to 2014's The Stick of Truth."
Tacoma (also on PC)
Ideal for: Sci-fi fans looking for engaging narratives.The unforgettable journey of Gone Home captivated many, and The Fullbright Company's subsequent feature continues the developer's trend of emotionally-charged narratives. It may take place on a space station instead of a house, but Tacoma still features the DNA of Gone Home; that is to say, you'll slowly uncover the lives of the station's crew. We said that Tacoma is "a well-done narrative adventure," and loved its inclusive, diverse cast.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Ideal for: Those looking for a long, rewarding experience.If you're in the need for a lengthy adventure and love classic RPG gameplay, Original Sin 2 is the game for you. We felt that this CRPG offers "an experience that requires focus, attention, and strategy," and said it was "simultaneously refreshing and engrossing."
NieR: Automata (also on PS4)
Ideal for: Action game fans (who enjoy philosophical themes).This acclaimed sequel is perfect for fans of action games like Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, as well as for anyone who enjoys a good, thought-provoking sci-fi narrative. A landmark action RPG, we thought that Automata "oozes with quality and polish," praising its "tight and superbly responsive" controls."
Night in the Woods (also on PS4)
Ideal for: Lovers of indie cinema.Those looking for a more casual experience can't go wrong with this character-driven adventure gem. Night in the Woods offers characters we described as "genuine" and "loaded with personality and a unique voice." We praised its authentic dialogue of the Millennial generation, and gushed about its "eye-catching style."