• Hey everyone, staff have documented a list of banned content and subject matter that we feel are not consistent with site values, and don't make sense to host discussion of on Famiboards. This list (and the relevant reasoning per item) is viewable here.
  • ❄️We captured the snow storm in a bottle!❄️

    You can enable the snow via the button on the bottom left. If you'd like to remove the button, go to your preferences and enable the Hide snow button. Make sure you disable the snow first.

  • Is the Video Game Industry DOOMED? WestEgg, Irene, and VolcanicDynamo discuss in the newest episode of the Famibords Discussion Club! Check it out here!

Site Event (The WINNERS are here, check threadmark!) The Famiboards Game of the Year 2023 Celebration

Irene

Soar long!
Pronouns
She/Her
n-FLl-ZFMn-o.png

ggoty1.png


Hello everyone, and welcome to this year’s Game of the Year ceremony, where we all gather together to write about, talk about and yell about our favourite games from 2023.

2023 was an incredible year, where we participated in touching stories, had fun with engaging gameplay, overcame devious challenges, and just stood still to soak in some good vibes. Some of us grit our teeth as we became invisible, some of us broke into a castle, some of us commanded plants around, some of us spun some webs, some of us became a reptile with wings, and some of us built a hoverbike with five lasers on it.

A few days back, we hosted a prelude event of sorts about the "most anticipated 2024 game", to find out what game your fine folks were looking forward to the most, with the winner being Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

Now, then, it's time for the real deal! This is Famiboard's main GotY event, an event that will run through all of January, running through 16 categories, ranging from art direction and sound, to platformers, RPGs and everything in between, culminating in the grand prize, which will be presented on February 1st.

The nomination process will work so that we all nominate games in batches of 2. We will be nominating games in two categories at once, and the categories will change every 3-ish days. Today, we will immediately start the event by nominating both “Best Action or Best Action-Adventure”, and “Best Art Direction”.

The event will run from today, January 1st, all the way to the day we present the winner, on February 1st. The nomination process will take place in this very thread, where you fine folks will nominate in the current category.

ggoty2.png


To nominate, you only need two things in your nomination:

1. The name of the game in bolded text
2. A motivation

The motivation should be at least one paragraph, but don't hold back on what you want to say - let the passion flow!

Once the nomination process is over, the voting will take place.
Just like with the prelude event, voting will be made in this thread via a ballot, where all who participate will vote for what games you think should win in their respective categories. Voting will go on for 5 days, and after that, the winner is decided.


ggoty3.png


1. You can only nominate one game per category to be added to the voting ballot. You are free to mention and talk about other games, but your top choice(s) is the only ones that will be added. We are encouraging everyone to nominate as many games as possible!

2. The game must be released in 2023, and it must be a new game. Remasters/Remakes/Rereleases are reserved for the “Best rerelease” category only.

3. Any games that are nominated in this thread will be included on the ballot, assuming that they are eligible games of course.

4. Unlike last year, we have decided to include DLC for eligible games, as this year has seen some very sizeable DLC releases.

4. There are two banned games this year that will not be eligible, and will not be tolerated as nominees, those being Hogwarts Legacy and Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty. These games have been banned from Famiboards due to extensive discussion and decision-making between staff members and the community. For more information, the banned contents list can be found here.

ggoty4.png


Best action or action-adventure
Best art direction
Best RPG
Best soundtrack
Best platformer
Best level/area/world
Best RTS/strategy game
Best multiplayer experience
Best puzzle game
Best rerelease
Best indie game
Best protagonist or antagonist
Best narrative
Most badass character
Best comeback
Game of the year


Regarding categories, we would like to make a few things clear:

1. Genres can be a tricky one. The games that practice a lot of genre-blending might get hard to pin down at times, especially those that mix and match action, adventure and RPG. We will follow the general consensus of genre labels as best as possible when judging a game's belonging in a category, but if we feel the need to disqualify a nominated game due to it not belonging in a category, there's no hard feelings involved, since this is all in good fun.

2. Choosing categories wasn’t easy. Some things had to be axed, and some genres mashed together, in order to keep the list varied and interesting. We also decided to cut some categories from last year and add some new ones to keep this year's selection feel more fresh. We would kindly ask people to please refrain from metacommentary about "why isn't x genre/category in the awards?" and the likes.

ggoty5.png


Jan 1st to Jan 3rd - Introduction and nominating Best Action/Action Adventure and Best Art Direction
Jan 4th to Jan 6th - Nominating Best RPG and Best Soundtrack
Jan 7th to Jan 9th - Nominating Best Platformer and Best Level/Area/World
Jan 10th to Jan 12th - Nominating Best RTS/Strategy game and best Multiplayer Experience
Jan 13th to Jan 15th - Nominating Best Puzzle Game and Best Rerelease
Jan 16th to Jan 18th - Nominating Best Indie Game and Best Protagonist/Antagonist
Jan 19th to Jan 21st - Nominating Best Narrative and Most Badass Character
Jan 22nd to Jan 26th - Nominating Best Comeback and Game of the Year
Jan 27th to Jan 31st - Voting
February 1st - Winner is presented
____

Now, let's nominate, and celebrate!
 
Nominees list
tumblr_mdggqtdCFO1qg0cqeo1_500.gif



Current Nominations:

Best action or action-adventure
  • Alan Wake II
  • Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
  • Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
  • God of War Ragnarok Valhalla
  • Fate/Samurai Remnant
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
  • Resident Evil 4 Remake
  • Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Best art direction
  • Alan Wake 2
  • Bayonetta Origins
  • Cocoon
  • Hi-Fi Rush
  • Lies of P
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Octopath Traveller II
  • Sea of Stars
  • A Space for the Unbound
  • Super Mario Wonder
  • Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy

Best RPG
  • Baldur's Gate 3
  • Octopath Traveller II
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie
  • Sea of Stars
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed
Best soundtrack
  • Alan Wake II
  • Hi-Fi Rush
  • Final Fantasy XVI
  • God of War Ragnarok Valhalla
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name
  • Octopath Traveller II
  • Pizza Tower
  • Sea of Stars
  • A Space for the Unbound
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed
Best platformer
  • Afterimage
  • Disney Illusion Island
  • Sonic Superstars
  • Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Best level/area/world
  • Alan Wake II’s Chapter 4- Alan called We Sing
  • Armored Core VI- Rubicon 3
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom- Wind Temple Approach
  • Like a Dragon Gaiden's Sotenbor
  • Pikmin 4- Hero's Hideaway
  • Pikmin 4- Serene Shores
  • Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Piranha Plants on Parade
  • Super Mario Bros. Wonder's The Final-Final Test Badge Marathon
  • Super Mario RPG- Booster's Tower/Marrymore
Best RTS/strategy game
  • Advance Wars: Reboot Camp
  • Fire Emblem: Engage
  • Jagged Alliance 3
  • Pikmin 4
Best multiplayer experience
  • F-Zero 99
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass Waves 4-6
  • Street Fighter 6
  • Super Mario Bros. Wonder
  • Theatrhythm Final Bar Line
Best puzzle game
  • Chants of Sennaar
  • Cocoon
  • Suika Game
  • Void Stranger
Best rerelease
  • Advance Wars Reboot Camp
  • Ghost Trick
  • Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe
  • Metroid Prime Remastered
  • Star Ocean The Second Story R -
  • Super Mario RPG
Best indie game
  • Cassette Beasts
  • Chants of Sennaar
  • Cocoon
  • Monsters of Mican
  • Nuclear Blaze
  • Sea of Stars
  • A Space for the Unbound
  • Tents and Trees
  • Tevi
  • Venba
Best protagonist or antagonist
  • Clive Rosfield (Final Fantasy XVI)
  • Kazuma Kiryu - Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name
  • Kratos (God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla)
  • Kraven (Marvel's Spider-Man 2)
Best narrative
  • Alan Wake 2
  • Final Fantasy XVI
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure
  • Master Detective Archives : Rain Code
  • Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo
  • A Space for the Unbound
  • Venba
Most badass character
  • Castii (Octopath Traveller II)
  • Cidolfus Telamon (Final Fantasy XVI)
  • Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil 4)
  • Link (The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom)
  • Kosei Shishido (Like a Dragon Gaiden)
  • Moss (Pikmin 4)
  • Partitio Yellowil (Octopath Traveler II)
  • Rosado (Fire Emblem Engage)
  • Saga Anderson (Alan Wake 2)
  • Shinigami (Master Detective Archives : Rain Code)
Best comeback
  • Alan Wake 2
  • Alvis (Xenoblade)
  • Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
  • Every Category in the Famiboards Game of the Year Celebration
  • F-Zero 99
  • Final Fantasy XVI
  • God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla
  • Like a Dragon: Ishin!
  • Pikmin 2, God Damnit
  • Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Game of the year
  • Alan Wake 2
  • Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
  • Baldur's Gate III
  • Hi-Fi Rush
  • Fashion Dreamer
  • Final Fantasy XVI
  • Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails Into Reverie
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Marvel's Spider-Man 2
  • Octopath Traveller II
  • Pikmin 4
  • Sea of Stars
  • Soft Kitten Experience
  • Super Mario Bros. Wonder
  • Theatrhythm Final Bar Line
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed
 
Last edited:
Not sure if this syntax is correct, but here goes:

Best Action/Action Adventure.

1. Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
2. A superlative action game that perfectly blends the good parts of modern FromSoftware with what I want in a mech game. Also has amazing music.

Best Art Direction -

1. Hi-Fi Rush
2. Bethesda's best game since Morrowind, and a crime that there is no artbook release yet. Stunning designs, animation work that goes in sync with the music, and memorable character designs all come together to deliver the perfect drug, the perfect drug, the perfect drug.
 
Not sure if this syntax is correct, but here goes:

Best Action/Action Adventure.

1. Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
2. A superlative action game that perfectly blends the good parts of modern FromSoftware with what I want in a mech game. Also has amazing music.

Best Art Direction -

1. Hi-Fi Rush
2. Bethesda's best game since Morrowind, and a crime that there is no artbook release yet. Stunning designs, animation work that goes in sync with the music, and memorable character designs all come together to deliver the perfect drug, the perfect drug, the perfect drug.
I can only wholeheartedly second those picks, as I was planning on putting those forward as well.
 
Best Action/Action Adventure
1. Resident Evil 4 Remake
2. Resident Evil 4 might be an old game turned new, but its updated gameplay mixed with the originals everlasting design principles have turned the remake into one of the best action games ever created. It's a third person game where every choice matters, every weapon upgrade counts, and every parry feels like a life or death situation. The game not following through on the design trends that have come along since the original's release means that there is no cover, there is no safety, and there is no time to relax. It's a third person shooter that plays just as much like a high octane action game as it does a survival horror, and it has made one of the best combat systems ever made even better.

Best Art Direction
1. Alan Wake 2
2. Alan Wake 2 is proof that a great art style doesn't have to be conveyed through cartoony visuals or pixel art. The game's mixture of realistic graphics combined with surreal Lynchian imagery has created an art style where the coffee stains on the table are just as memorable as the apocalyptic nightmare sequences Alan has to escape from. The cinematography is up there with the best directed auteur films, and the use of moody colors and detailed worlds combined with a dark small town noir flavor creates an atmosphere that is at once horrifying just as much as it is comforting. It's a triple A experience with the heart of a double A experience, as if someone walked into a madmen's office and asked him to run free. The Twin Peaks: The Return of video game art direction.
 
Best Action or Action-Adventure:
Maybe going for the low-hanging fruit here, but I'll be the first to nominate The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Not sure what can be said about this game that hasn't already been beaten to death; it does the impossible and improves on perfection in ways I really didn't think they could. The game does an excellent job of knowing exactly how to expand on the freedom-first approach to player-driven adventuring while also making some vital concessions towards providing a bit more purpose and direction that makes everything feel that much more grandiose. TotK takes a world I considered myself confidently familiar with and turned things on their head in so many ways; while I'd initially assumed the primary changes would be the simple addition of the sky islands, I quickly found myself just as eager to discover what sort of changes and developments had occurred all over the once-familiar world map, from the further build-up of Tarry Town to the now-cooled lava fields of Death Mountain

Best Art Direction:
I'll nominate Cocoon. In a game that's so devoid of text or dialog to explicitly guide the player along, a lot needs to be carried by the art, and if Cocoon's art direction weren't as strong as it is I doubt the whole thing would work. Cocoon's art does an excellent job of conveying incredibly alien environments while also always staying very clear and readable, both in a "you need to go here next" sense but also crucially in a "this is which world you're currently inside of" sense that ensures you can never really get lost while navigating Cocoon's potentially-confounding worlds-inside-worlds mechanic
 
Best Action/Adventure Game
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 - Not every game needs to reinvent the wheel, and that case is especially true with Spider-Man 2. The formula for the first game’s success was simple: A satisfying means of moving about a big city with easily digestible tasks around every corner. It worked in 2018, and it still works in 2023. Add in the new Symbiote abilities and you’ve got a recipe that is sure to satisfy.

Best Art Direction
Super Mario Wonder - Remember when 2D Mario was visually interesting? That question used to require a good amount of readhing into the past. Enter Mario Wonder: A 2D Mario that looks as good as it plays! And that’s no small feat.
 
Best Action/Action Adventure Game
I will nominate Spider-Man 2, even if I think it is my least favorite iteration in the franchise. Furthermore, I was initially very cold towards this game. I think it takes a little bit too long to get going. Luckily, once it recovered, it was smooth swinging until I 100%ed my save file.

Insomniac has made some small tweaks to the formula that really go a long way: the wing suit for traversing, replacing the gadget wheel with dedicated buttons, and expanding both Peter and Miles' abilities. This is best Spider-Man has ever felt to play.

The story doesn't quite hit the same way as the first game in the series but I think it's still a great table setter for the next iteration.

Best Art Direction
HiFi Rush. In one outlet, I had this as my Game of the Year. Such a gorgeous game. There's not much else I can say about this. It's such a technical feat.
 
Best Action/Action Adventure Game
Tears of the Kingdom has already been nominated, but I’ll second (or third, or whatever!) that. It’s a stunning achievement packed with fresh ideas. The criticisms I have of it feel so minor in comparison to a game that literally sums up ‘adventure’.

Best Art Direction
Octopath Traveller II. The 2DHD look has always appealed to me but here it’s used to great effect. Verticality, boats and rivers, water and flame effects, light and shadow, and gorgeous sprites. I think it’s just beautiful, like a parallel world where 2D rpgs headed down that line instead of 3D worlds.
 
Best Art Direction

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

(I know it's been nominated already, but I have a lot to say, dang it!)

The New Super Mario Bros. games rarely received rave reviews for their graphics. While there were some charming aspects, the rather utilitarian look and the reused world aesthetics grew tired after multiple entries in a row. Now Super Mario Bros. Wonder comes in with a much-needed visual refresh that marries style and substance into one gorgeous package.

The character models are the immediate standout. Mario and pals have adjusted proportions and animations reminiscent of the classic 2D sprites. They are bursting with personality, featuring delightful expressions and strong key frames mixed in with the fluidity of 3D animation. With lots of new animations for a variety of situations, every action you perform is as clear as it is charming, more so than any previous 2D Mario game. Enemy models have received the same attention to detail. Lots of new touches help to communicate purpose as much as they serve to delight the player. Enemies freak out when you attack them, and likewise they actively hit you when you run into them. Koopa Troopas hunch over to better emphasize their shells, Goombas pout and sit still when they are trapped between blocks, Piranha Plants make it clear when they go in and out of pipes, Rrrumbas gear themselves up to chase you down, and so much more

Worlds in Wonder feature a greater range of environmental variety. World 1, going from a grassy plain to a savanna with optional forest, Swamp, and mountain areas, showcases this from the very start. Future worlds maintain this, from World 2's icy fields giving way to a tall mountain to World 4's mixture of dessert-y desert and mysterious palace. Wonder Effects push this further, with dynamic changes to backgrounds, lighting, character models, and other visual effects. All of this whimsy is paired with consistent clarity, an extremely important factor in a game all about nailing your jumps.

Wonder's impressive looks just feels right, almost like the natural evolution of 2D Mario. This game toozes classic Mario looks but feels fresh at the same time. It so elegantly mixes style and substance for an effortlessly charming experience, one that has me smiling just looking at it.
 
For best action / adventure game I’ll pick Alan Wake II. This game is such an amazing journey between Saga’s adventures in the delightfully weird and occasionally menacing Bright Falls and Alan Wake’s surreal journey through the Dark Place. The flexibility of the game is impressive as it can switch between classic survival horror action and puzzle solving that taps into some of the energy of classic PS1 survival horror games and still go full on action when the situation demands it. The game has its own spectacular setpiece moments as well including most infamously the Herald of Darkness chapter that blends music, live action cutscenes, and guns blazing action together tremendously. While it may have a dodge roll I’m not a terribly big fan of, it’s everything else that pushes it to the top as the best action game of the year.
 
Best Action/Adventure Game
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
This is one of those times when Platinum didn't need to go this hard but they did. This game is a lovely romp through a beautiful world, with simple but satisfying combat, absolutely gorgeous painterly worlds, charming characters, and a unique hook that you're controlling two characters at once and it works. This game even overshadowed its semi-companion release Bayonetta 3 because it just felt like a much more focused and engaging experience. It also walked the line between 2D-Zeldalike and Metroidvania in a way that really gripped me. It was like a quality, modern evolution of the old style of exploration/action games rather than a copy or inspired-by that most modern Metroidvanias tend to be and I hope the industry is taking notes. It was overshadowed I think in a year full of big, big adventure games but it deserves to be remembered among them. And did I mention it's absolutely gorgeous? It would've been my pick for Art Direction as well if it weren't for:

Best Art Direction
Sea of Stars
There is a point in this game where your character gets the ability to change the time of day. Not a big deal by modern standards, but then you push the button to do it and this happens:
fd8f14e596d28ae34da21d57b4a62283_original.gif

The shadows in the game are not baked into the environment. Sabotage Studio somehow managed to incorporate a realtime 3D-style illumination/shadow system into a game with a flat, 2D presentation. And it shows every time your party walks past a torch in a room or a glow in a cave. Light acts like these assets are in 3D even though they aren't (you can see in the gif (watch their faces) how the light and shade move around the characters as though they were 3D models rather than treating them like paper dolls in a 3D environment). It's one of several ways in which this game sets itself apart from other pixelart games, including fluid animations of characters and enemies, dense and detailed environmental assets, drastically varied areas with their own bold color pallets (which I know is normal but they pull it off here to such gorgeous effect), and creative touches to the environments in every single area (yall there's a swamp full of mushrooms with faces in the background and they sing the area theme). To say nothing of the one point in the game that's a massive spoiler but people who played it will know what I'm talking about. That scene was one of (if not the) most visually surprising and exciting gaming experiences I've had all year. This game is an absolute feast for the eyes, elevating what can be expected from indie devs and retro-styled games. Matter of fact, Sea of Stars has me wondering if I should even call pixelart games "retro" anymore, as it really seems to make pixelart look like just as legitimate a modern artstyle choice as cel-shading, hand-drawn, or any other stylized game art.

See that?? This game is literally making me reconsider how I refer to an entire artstyle!! Now somebody else hurry up and nominate Cereza and the Lost Demon for Art Direction because that game deserves to be in this category, too. 😅
 
Last edited:
Best Action/Action Adventure.

1. Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
2. Some of the best action gameplay ive played all generation no question for me

Best Art Direction -

1. Lies of P
Love the horror gothic aesthetic and atmosphere my vote goes to this
 
Best Action/Action Adventure:
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Despite poor performance Jedi Survivor further improves upon 2019's Fallen Order with more combat options, enemy variety, BOTW inspires shrines and a semi-open world hub world. Jedi Survivor's gameplay combined with it's excellent story makes it one of my favorite Action/Adventure games of 2023.
 
Best Action/Action Adventure game
I'll nominate Fate/Samurai Remnant. This is probably the best Omega Force game I've played, with fun action gameplay that's sorta recognizable as being Musou-ish but with a lot of differences demanding more careful play, especially when it comes to more difficult 1v1 type boss encounters. Also has a pretty good story and some nice action RPG elements added to it. One of the pleasant surprises of 2023.
 
I'll go ahead and nominate The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for best art direction.

Satoru Takisawa, one of the industry's best art directors in my opinion, never misses. He and the art team always makes every Zelda game feel distinct, atristically cohesive and always, always, always gorgeous. While I personally preferred the austere, futuristic, techno-fantasy Sheikah design of Breath of the Wild, the architecture and aesthetic flair of the Zonai's lost sky realm isn't exactly a miss in the art department either, with the imposing Temple of Time, the dragon motifs, the tooth-looking pillars, the orange-and-gold trees and the constructs all leaving a lasting impression when it comes to artistic design - with the realm itself greatly enhanced by the amazing lighting engine, responsible for some truly jaw-dropping vistas and views, who in spite of some technical shortcomings can still manage to look extremely impressive.

But it's the character designs that makes this game truly stand out for me. Balancing an attention to detail that borders on the over-designed with a muted, subdued color palette, and patterns and motifs that weave into each other seamlessly. They're all stellar, from Mineru and Sonia to the hottest Link the series has ever seen. Tears of the Kingdom is an artistic home-run as far as I'm concerned. The art team just nailed it.

zelda-tears-of-the-kingdom-large.jpg
 
Best Action or Action-Adventure Game:

God of War Ragnarok Valhalla (DLC)

Valhalla does the impossible: make me enjoy a roguelite. It leans on the character(s) I already care about from God of War 2018 and Ragnarok, while revisiting and recontextualizing the original series. It's rewarding to see Kratos deal with his regret and trauma, and all that is aided by exceptional moment to moment gameplay that reuses and expands upon some of the best arenas and combat systems of Ragnarok. Thankfully, the full game can be completed in under 10 loops (though there's additional content and difficulty options beyond that for those that want more).


Best Art Direction:

A Space for the Unbound

ASFTU_Falling-1-1536x863.png


This indie from a small Indonesian studio features gorgeous pixel art and animation, and also an environment that is rarely depicted in games or international media, specifically an Indonesian town in the 1990s. (Hopefully the screenshots count for a few words.)

Atma-in-Cat-Wonderland480x270.gif
 
Last edited:
The two I would have picked have already been nominated, but:

RE4 would be my action pick for sure. It just nails the action shlock so well same way the original did, but with the added bonus of the knife mechanics which totally enhance the experience.

For art direction, I would have gone with Cocoon. Between its amazing use of colors to differentiate the worlds, and the ability to easily guide you through the game using visuals without any text or dialogue, it's masterfully done.
 
Last edited:
Best Art Direction: Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy
Developer Frozenbyte has long excelled at crafting visually lush and imaginative fairy tale worlds, and Trine 5 is no exception. Every scene is bathed in ethereal radiance and painted in rich, vibrant hues, with a meticulous attention to detail and a keen eye for composition.

Trine-5-4.png


Trine-5_-A-Clockwork-Conspiracy-2023_08_26-22_09_00.png


2OdKg1gN947t55Vq.jpg
 
Now nominating Best RPG and Best soundtrack
Thank you to everyone who nominated a game in the first round. Now we move on to the next batch on categories.


Best RPG and Best Soundtrack

Edit: Friendly reminder. Please casually check post 2 and make sure that I didn't miss your nomination as the month goes on.
 
Last edited:
0
Best Soundtrack: the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
While mostly subtle, the music here are absolutely stellar when the situation calls for it, rising to the occasion in epic and evocative style. Its best pieces can stand proudly among the series greats, which is high praise in a franchise with such a rich history of legendary compositions.





 
Best Soundtrack: the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
While mostly subtle, the music here are absolutely stellar when the situation calls for it, rising to the occasion in epic and evocative style. Its best pieces can stand proudly among the series greats, which is high praise in a franchise with such a rich history of legendary compositions.






seconding this, and will also add that for anyone who hasn't listened to it, Kirk Hamilton has a really good episode of his Strong Songs podcast about all the really cool and clever things TotK is doing musically
 
0
For Best RPG I’m picking Trails Into Reverie which is the tenth, directly connected mainline game in the Trails series and serves as one final journey and farewell to three different casts of characters, plus a handful of new characters as well, and also serves to tease the future of the long running series. Trails Into Reverie triumphantly succeeds by tapping into full weight of the 1,000 hours of RPG storytelling and gameplay behind it thanks to more thoughtful writing across the board. The 50+ playable characters all have their big moments to shine and plenty of the most memorable NPCs in the series return as well. While the story is the main attraction, the RPG gameplay shines brighter than ever especially in the True Reverie Corridor a randomly generated dungeon that you can run multiple times with fresh teams to conquer challenging monsters, find treasure, and unlock an array of exciting rewards. Most notable among them is the largest amount of side content in the series including a number of short stories called Daydreams and a wide array of awesome minigames including a magical girl themed rail shooter, an awesome card game called Vantage Masters that totally rules, and a Puyo Puyo clone called Pom Pom Party among others. The 120+ hour journey through to the very end feels meaningful and exciting throughout it. Trails Into Reverie is easily my favorite RPG of the year and my favorite game of the year, so there can be no other choice, but for me to nominate it in this category. It is an astounding, wonderful achievement.
 
For Best Soundtrack, I’m picking Alan Wake II. While the main soundtrack perfectly sets the stage for the mysterious and menacing adventure, it’s the vocal songs and how they are used and fit into the greater story that proves so exciting. A majority of them are used to conclude chapters and cement the emotions and themes of the game while also giving you a needed break to sort through your thoughts. Others are delightfully found in the game world often off the beaten path and make the world feel all the more rich for it. Of course my favorites are the Old Gods Of Asgard songs that define and elevate the best moments of the game. The mix of gameplay, live action gameplay, and the soundtrack merge together in the absolute peak of the game, Alan’s Chapter 4, simply and delightfully called We Sing which features the incredible 13.5 minute epic, Herald of Darkness.

All of these are best first heard in game so if you do plan to play it I recommend not to click on these, but for celebration purposes I’ll share a handful of my favorites:







There were a lot of games this year where I really enjoyed the soundtrack, but what makes Alan Wake II’s rise above the rest is how much it elevated and enriched the entire experience including thematically. It’s easily my favorite soundtrack of the year and I’ll be thinking about it and listening to it for a long time to come.
 
Best RPG -

1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie
2. I considered putting Trails to Azure here over Reverie, but I think Reverie edges it out just a bit. The only negative thing I can say about Reverie barring it being a bad entry point to Trails, is that the Switch port was pretty shit. Everything else is amazing from the music, character payoffs, and optional content. It is seriously incredible what Falcom pulled off here and I can't wait for Trails through Daybreak this year. Also while I'm not nominating it for best soundtrack, here are some bangers:







Best Soundtrack -

1. Hi-Fi Rush
2. Hi-Fi Rush has the best use of licensed music in any recent game and a superb original score. I would've probably gone with Alan Wake 2 just like @xghost777 did above, but I've not beaten the game yet so don't feel right nominating it from my side. Herald of Darkness is the best song in a game of 2023 alongside Away from FF16 though. So back to Hi-Fi Rush, the team got perfect boss themes, location themes, and even referenced a few other games nicely here. My favorites are below:





 
Best RPG- Octopath Traveller II
I’ve written tons about this across multiple threads, but suffice to say, I think it’s one of the best JRPGs ever made. Exploration worth doing, settlements with their own character, full of NPCs with their own lives. A varied party of heroes that (largely) avoids cliche and finds new and refreshing character arcs. Sea travel and verticality and rivers/boats/bridges all add to things, it’s a whole world to unpack in any order you want. To me, the character Castii is probably my favourite one in gaming at the moment. An apothecary who doesn’t fall into the trope of saintly healer, or last-survivor-of-ancient-race, or love interest for teenage boy. She’s capable, a leader of an entire organisation of questing apothecaries that she hand-picked, and her determination to keep going in the face of utter horror is wonderful. It’s a beautiful contrast with the first game, as she picks up the role of being one of the wiser characters with a word of advice for the younger ones. It was just refreshing playing such a character who was about 30 rather than a teenager for a change. Combat is also extremely fun with the latent talents and rebalancing of the classes pushing the first one’s ideas into a combat system that’s always rewarding clever play and strategy.

Best soundtrack- Octopath Traveller II
Song of Hope and Partitio’s theme have been in my ear all year. It’s a game that uses music to tell its stories, in addition to the background music for each location. The pacing and variety means it’s hard to get bored of them.
 
if this about full games:

best soundtrack - final fantasy xvi

nothing gets more well-orchestrated for the power of motivation than this game's boss music particularly find the flame
 
Damn, missed the noms for best action due to being on vacation, but here are my picks for best RPG and best soundtrack!

Best RPG

Sea of Stars
is not a perfect game by any means, but, for me, it was of the most captivating and well-crafted J-RPG of the year. Great characters, excellent level design, and of course magnificent art direction as pointed above. It's also not very long, which is a big plus for a J-RPG for me. I really enjoyed the storytelling, the little environmental details here and there on the world map, and the Super Mario RPG-style combat system that keeps you engaged. To release a game of this scope and ambition as a second game is a great feat that must be commended.

Best soundtrack


It's gonna be Sea of Stars again for me. Eric W. Brown knows how to make old-school memorable music. Of course, some of it is remixes of music from The Messenger, but still, playing the game and now listening to the OST on Spotify, I'm amazed at how everything in this is a banger.





 
Best Soundtrack: the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
While mostly subtle, the music here are absolutely stellar when the situation calls for it, rising to the occasion in epic and evocative style. Its best pieces can stand proudly among the series greats, which is high praise in a franchise with such a rich history of legendary compositions.







Thank you for nominating and I wholeheartedly agree. This game’s soundtrack is, in spite of being in a similar vein as BotW as well as reusing a lot of tracks, leagues ahead of it, mostly due to having just a wide variety of new and much better and memorable songs. For example, I can’t for the life of me remember any Divine Beast music except for the 5th one (I think) while the Water Temple and Construct Factory music (and all of their variants) lives rent free in my head.

There’s so many tracks I could link to further express my love for this OST. Gloom’s Approach when the way the reverse chants goes absolutely nuts towards the end. The reverberated piano that plays during the frozen Rito Village section. The serene music of the thunderhead isles song, or Ancient Zora Waterworks. The Wind Temple skydive, who is just unbelievably epic.

But if there’s a song I keep returning to time and time again, it’s the light dragon theme. I love how it’s slower and much more mournful that the standard dragon theme to accentuate how the light dragon is different than the other dragons, for its various reasons. Landing on top of it, and hearing this song, while the sun was rising behind me, was one of the very best TotK moments for me.


 
Best RPG
Octopath Traveler II

Best Soundtrack
Octopath Traveler II

@PixelKnight beat me to it but good to see like minds. Some good choices of RPGs this year but OT2 is an easy pick to both for me. After OT1 which is also fantastic released I feared we wouldn't get a sequel but SE saved me by releasing another title. Break and boost battle system is one of my favorites. I love how strategic you can get with it. It feels really good finding the right class combinations and going HAM. Play as Castti she's got the best story ever she's the best. Musical excellence from the first game carried over to OT2. I get chills listening to the soundtrack. the transitions my goodness I can't even. Linking two that are some of my faves. First link has Castti (the GOAT, remember) motif transition. Song of Hope is fantastic too but I won't link that one. Just play the game!!


 
Best RPG -
Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed

Perfect bite size Xenoblade experience that acts as a nice companion piece to Xenoblade Chronicles 3. Future Redeemed sees fanservice done right with the return of beloved characters and gives us a nice lore dump that makes for a fantastic end to the trilogy. The exploration and map design is the best the series has seen with progression being tied to exploration and activities. Future Redeemed represents everything a DLC/Expansion should be with a great 30+ experience with phenomenal story, gameplay, exploration and music.

Best Soundtrack -
Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was already a masterful soundtrack from Mitsuda, ACE+ and Kiyota, and Future Redeemed adds to that with 14 amazing new tracks. Bonus points for bringing back Joanne Hogg to close out the Trilogy.
Future Awaits ~ Joanne Hogg
Redeem the Future ~ Finale
Cent-Omnia Region
 
Best RPG:

Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur%27s_Gate_3_cover_art.jpg


Okay, so from what I've played (very little, since there's a save deleting bug on Xbox), I liked Octopath II better, but BG3 deserves a nomination. Larian put an incredible amount of work into this and it shows. The production values are in another league compared with similar cRPGs, including Larian's own Divinity Original Sin 2, and the level of choice and consequence on display is unmatched by any game of comparable presentation.


Best Soundtrack:

God of War Ragnarok Valhalla



As above, I don't feel Valhalla's soundtrack is at the level of Octopath II's, but it still is worthy of a nomination. Valhalla only has a few tracks, all of which are variantions on previous God of War music. That said, Valhalla delivers what I've craved since GoW 2018 -- a mix of the Norse and Greek themes.
 
Last edited:
Best Soundtrack: Most of my picks for soundtrack have been chosen (Octopath 2, TOTK, Sea of Stars) so I'll nominate:

A Space for the Unbound

I have gushed about this game repeatedly and how much I love the vocal tracks, but the whole soundtrack has an excellent vibe and often more low-key feel to it that really fits exploring the town and getting to know the area.

Some of my favorites:

A nice cheerful, warm track that fits the town and its people:



More synth-y with a nice beat:



The biggest banger on the soundtrack, I love this one's driving and charged feel:



And I can never leave out melancholy piano:



And finally the vocal track that always gets me:

 
Fine ... if no one else will do it ... I'll just have to do it myself ...

e8965a47-87ba-402c-a72c-0f03409cf955_text.gif


Best Soundtrack - Pizza Tower
Pizza Tower's soundtrack is full of great memorable themes with tons of variety, from electronic beats to rock anthems to western affairs. It's probably the biggest hit in indie music since Undertale, and that's without even being on consoles, seriously the music is probably bigger than the game at this point. The energy and infectious melodies just complements the game so well, and there's so many different tones conveyed. This also has the best final boss theme ever in video games, a track that combines rock and sample in an epic 3 part piece.

Just a few of the most memorable tracks to me:
Tutorial themes shouldn't be this good

Boss themes shouldn't be this good

Random ass level themes shouldn't be this good

Final boss music never sounded this good


Though I'll say Alan Wake 2 and Hi-Fi Rush are also good choices
 
Best RPG: The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure
I've got some issues with Azure, but at its core it's one hell of an RPG. A political thriller that takes full advantage of 4 full games worth of worldbuilding? Sign me up for that. If you've stuck with Trails up to Azure, you're rewarded with a story that few other video games can hope to match in regards to what it does best. The problematic elements are still present, but it's easier to appreciate the better parts and ignore its flaws as time goes on.

Best OST: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name
I'm always gonna be a sucker for Yakuza OSTs, and Like a Dragon Gaiden is one of the best yet. There's a lot of creativity here to help distinguish factions from each other, and it works to great effect: Daidoji battles are cleaner and more professional, Kijin Clan battles go hard with the techno to emphasize how crazy they are, while the Watase Family battles are classic-ass Yakuza songs through and through, with some sick guitar riffs and a lot of emotion packed in. So many of the battle themes have been stuck in my head ever since it released, which is pretty impressive considering its smaller scope compared to other Yakuza games.








 
Ok, this is an honorable mention since it is a new track for the collection, but listen to this banger from the GOAT Yuzo Koshiro that he added to the Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection:



Of course the rest of the soundtrack is next level but I don’t know how much of it was really touched up versus the various rereleases, nexus, etc. But that new song is amazing.
 
My pick for best level/area/world is Alan Wake II’s chapter 4 for Alan called We Sing. This is by far the most memorable stretch of the game and is best first experienced in game, so I’ll put my entry here behind a spoiler tag.

Leading up to this chapter in the Dark Place, Alan meets a character named Mr. Door who interviews him like he is on a talk show. This interview is shown as a live acton cutscene and after it ends you can continue your journey in an empty city that eventually brings you to Alan’s apartment. While you had hoped to escape there, you begin a loop of sorts instead that brings you back to the studio.

Instead of redoing the interview normally, this time on Mr. Door’s talk show he says instead of talking for the interview, they’ll sing it. It’s “The Story Of The Journey Of Alan Wake, The Musical!” What follows here is an absurd blend of gameplay, live action cutscenes, and a stellar 13.5 minute song by The Old Guard’s of Asgard called Herald of Darkness. As you wander around the studio stage, clips of the music video are playing around you and the song continues to build as you navigate a maze of sorts and fight off enemies. Halfway through during the epic guitar solo, the combat amps up in intensity as you are given a flare gun (Alan Wake’s equivalent of a rocket launcher) with generous ammo to tackle hordes of enemies.

Overall, We Sing is an incredible, unforgettable sequence that blends absurd humor, awesome action, and rocking music in a way that feels so fresh and joyous. It is undoubtedly my favorite level of the year so I’m nominating it here.

Also while I’m here, honorable mentions to Coffee World also in Alan Wake II and The Final Final Level in Mario Wonder. I hope someone nominates the latter :)
 
Best Platformer
Sonic Superstars
Sorry yall but I gotta go fast, and gotta stay on brand. Despite some issues I (we) had with the bosses, Superstars did what many games have been trying to do for decades: it delivers a game that (for better and worse) feels like an honest continuation of the legendary Genesis Sonic series. I found myself liking the game more with each replay, enjoying the new mechanics for some of the characters and the legitimately pretty visuals. I had my doubts about the 2.5D presentation but I sincerely enjoy looking at this game. It's not perfect but it has the old-school Sega heart, and has the same scrappy underdog feel that Sonic started off with.

Best Level
Super Mario Wonder: Piranha Plants on Parade
I mean, come on. Come on. How many other individual levels had so many people posting "No spoilers but I can't wait for you to get to this part"??

In case anyone needs a refresher:

I would also like to give a shout-out to that part of Sea of Stars but that's more of a "moment" than it is a level or world but boy it's close
 
My nomination for best level is Super Mario Bros. Wonder's The Final-Final Test Badge Marathon.

pc-man.gif


So, this is Famiboard's Game of the Year celebration, where we celebrate what has been good this year, what we have loved and cherished. So I'm gonna be a bit contrary to that and nominate something that we all hate and something that absolutely no-one will vote for - traits that are a true hallmark of a great final level of a platformer, where your skills and perseverance will be tested to the max. Where you through your demonstration and expertise of the game's physics and mechanics can push through the impossible, and emerge on the other side victorious and triumphant.

Screenshot-2024-01-07-083316.png
 
Best Platformer - Afterimage
I'll be honest, I'm not finished this game yet, but I absolutely love what I've played of Afterimage up to this point. It's everything I love about metroidvania games, which for me is being able to spend hours wandering around exploring and trying to check every corner of the map. The game controls great, looks gorgeous, and has tons of platforming and combat challenges. Also the double jump introduces one of the more fun pogo mechanics I've seen, which if used in a smart way can let you reach some really tricky areas relatively early.

Best level/area/world - Pizza Tower final boss and ending sequence
I was honestly shocked how much I loved the ending to Pizza Tower. Like the game itself was fun enough but the way the final boss and the sequence afterwards wrapped up the game was just so surprisingly satisfying for me.

The final boss fight itself was a ton of fun. It was like a gauntlet with like 4 distinct phases and I think I liked all of them. But the boss fight alone probably wouldn't have done it for me. The escape sequence afterwards is really what made this just feel perfect. Escaping the tower and grabbing all the other characters on your way out was just so weirdly satisfying to me. Overall just felt like the perfect way to end this game.
 
Best Platformer
Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Come on, you all knew this was expected. But it's well earned! Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a fresh, exciting spin on a classic franchise, one where subtle changes and fun levels mash together for the best 2D Mario in decades.

The controls are spot on, some of the best the series has seen yet. While the NSMB games had solid movement, sluggish turning and some bland 3D animations decreased the good game feel. Wonder addresses these thanks to those gorgeous keyframes and better ground turning. Everything is clear and feels good to perform.

The power up diversity is, once again, some of the best the 2D series has seen, with four powers that are all useful and interesting for platforming and enemy combat. No situational powers like the Mini or Mega Mushrooms, no kinda awkward to control powers like the Koopa Shell, no powers that aide only in movement like the Propellor or the Flying Squirrel, no redundant powers like the Ice Flower/Penguin Suit combo. We got pure goodness instead. Some great original concepts like Elephant Mario playing with size and extra power like a juiced up Super Mushroom, and other powers reinventing older concepts like Bubble being a better Bubble Baby Yoshi. Can't forget the Drill, a brilliant power that focuses on great interactions with the environment and close ranged combat/protection. No stinkers, all fun to use, polished to a fine degree.

Then we got the badges, a seemingly minor addition that does a lot to help tailor difficulty or give you fun moves to play around with. Who needs a floating power when you have your cap to do it? Anyone can be Luigi with the Floating high jump badge! How about the crouching jump from Mario 2? Maybe you want to make the game easier with Exclamation Blocks like World. Or maybe you want to make the game more challenging with invisibility or Jet running. So many options to make the experience yours, so many ways to play and replay levels.

And we gotta talk about those levels! The focus may not be on difficulty, but we have surprise after surprise, finely tuned enemy after enemy making for fun setpiece after fun setpiece, all at whatever pace you want since we no longer have to worry about timers. And then you add in Wonder Flowers, and then everything in a level gets turned on its head. Enemies charge after you or flood the level. Levels follow music or rhythm. Maybe you become one of those clever enemies and you get to use their mechanics! It's the wild energy and variety of the modern 3D Mario in 2D, one that constantly had me smiling across both single and multiplayer adventures.
Best Platformer
Sonic Superstars
Hydrogen bomb vs coughing baby, coming right up!
 


Back
Top Bottom