Metal Gear Kevin’s Great GOTY Debate

For me, the GOTY debate lies firmly between The Outer Worlds, Obsidian’s spiritual successor to the Fallout series, and Persona 5, a 3 year old Playstation exclusive that I’ve been playing for the first time this winter..

The Outer Worlds

I have been a Fallout fan since Bethesda’s release of Fallout 3, which sparked my fandom through Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, and, for an unfortunate 150 hours, Fallout 76. Not having any experience with Obsidian’s original Fallout and Fallout 2, Fallout: New Vegas stood out to me consistently in its use of factions, skill checks, and deep dialogue choices. F:NV hit a variety of buttons for me.

It was with this in mind that I anticipated the release of The Outer Worlds, a sci-fi adventure generally more linear than its predecessor, but much more focused. The Outer Worlds shines in its character creation and the development of the companions that you meet along the way, featuring a much more interesting and satisfying combat system, specifically the weak points mechanic, than some of the clunkiness featured in the open world Fallout titles. Factions feature interesting interactions with each other, and the game provides a lot of opportunities to make evil choices. Moral relativism is back, but that’s not all!

Dialogue skill checks are back, baby!

This game is absolutely dripping with Obsidian style and humor, and I’ve already played through it twice. The Outer Worlds is a very close contender for Game of the Year for me.

Persona 5

Typically not a fan of JRPGs as much as western-style RPGs, I was expecting to deal with a lot of design choices that I don’t normally enjoy. However, from the moment the title sequence starts, this game is very cool. The combat systems, characters, and story are keeping me both engaged and slightly (i.e. significantly) addicted to the gameplay.

This is a long game. I’m 58 hours into it with no indication of how far I have to go, and the game opens up into a world that, while contained, feels expansive. I’ve had the opportunity to binge this game in long sessions, which is ideal for Persona 5. This game would suffer a bit from pacing issues if you were only playing it in short, 30 minutes sessions. With that said, the length and level of immersion that Persona 5 exhibits is a plus for me precisely because I have the time to dive in and swim around in it.

The characters feel like authentic high school students and the interpersonal relationships are placed front and center. The interactions amongst the thieves and their classmates always feels accurate despite some extreme circumstances.

Game of the Year – Persona 5

So, which is my Game of the Year for 2019?  West v East for RPG champion. I could give it to The Outer Worlds for the intangible factor of them releasing an RPG while Bethesda continued to hurt any goodwill their fans retained by releasing the hot mess that was Fallout 76. For the juiciness and deliciousness of Bethesda getting fucked by Obsidian with this release, I could easily pick The Outer Worlds.

With that said, I have to give my Game of the Year award to Persona 5. Persona 5 is deep and dense, but well worth the investment of time and energy. I’m literally playing it right now.

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