It is safe to say that 2014 has been a good year for games. It’s not just that we’ve seen spectacular blockbusters released almost from the start of the year, across all game consoles; 2014 has been a spectacular year for game creativity as we’ve seen indies and arthouse titles find real success courtesy of download platforms.
Our awards this year have been the most popular that we’ve ever seen on the site, with well over 1,000 people voting for their favourite games across 16 categories. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be listing the two highly commendeds (second and third place) and winner of each category, one per day.
The last category for this week is the PlayStation Vita game of the year. While Sony’s powerful handheld console isn’t selling especially well in the west, it’s doing brisk business in Japan, and that has meant that the Japanese publishers have been supporting it in a meaningful manner. So, while the games below might be relatively niche, they are superb games and if you’re a fan of Japanese games, these three should prove that you need to get yourself a Vita.
Just the idea of having Final Fantasy X – one of the greatest JRPGs produced for the PS2, the console many consider the best ever for JRPGs – and then its underrated sequel Final Fantasy X-2 on a portable console was a dream for many. This year it came true, and the package didn’t disappoint. It looks spectacular on the Vita screen, plays brilliantly, and the game itself holds up all these years later on. Essential stuff.
Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland
GUST is a company that has been going from strength to strength since being acquired by Koei Tecmo. Case-in-point is Atelier Rorona. The original game was a great concept let down somewhat by a rawness that suggested that some corners were cut in producing it. The remake completely resolved all of these small issues, leaving us with one of the most charming and entertaining JRPGs for quite some time. If you’ve ever been interested in the Atelier franchise, this is the one to start with.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Monokuma owns our souls. With one of the most brilliant narratives ever written for a game, complemented by some of the most interesting characters and a truly classic villain, Danganronpa is proof that with visual novels, if you make the “story” interesting enough, it doesn’t actually matter if it isn’t all that interactive. Like reading a truly classic novel, every gamer that takes their hobby seriously owes it to themselves to play through this game.
– Matt S.
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