After a relatively poor showing in 2015, the 3DS came out all guns blazing this year, with hit after hit after hit. Especially if you love RPGs, the 3DS was a treat this year- from Fire Emblem to Dragon Quest to Final Fantasy to Monster Hunter to Shin Megami Tensei to, of course, Pokemon, the Nintendo 3DS was firing on all cylinders in 2016. Picking just six games to narrow it down to? That was tough. Picking one out of those six? Even harder. We somehow did it, but it sure wasn’t easy.
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
Nintendo and Intelligent Systems decided to follow up on the excellent Fire Emblem Awakening by creating not one, but two new Fire Emblem games- one that would be catered towards the newer fans of the series that had come on board with Awakening, the other for core fans of the classic games. Birthright was the game for Awakening fans, and it lived up to its billing, providing gamers with everything Awakening did, but better.
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
On the other hand, Conquest was the game for fans of classic Fire Emblem, and it did not disappoint. With incredible map design, varied missions and encounters, and nail biting difficulty, Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest was the true skill of anyone’s mettle as an RPG player this year.
Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse
The follow up to 2013’s Shin MegamiTensei IV was an excellent game, that addressed just about every single flaw that that game had, while also further improving all of that game’s strengths. Better characterization and more intriguing storytelling coupled with some long overdue changes to the series’ gameplay systems make Shin MegamiTensei IV Apocalypse one of the best RPGs of the year.
Pokemon Sun/Moon are arguably the best games in the series- the seventh entries feel fresh, rejuvenated, taking the series towards new frontiers for the very first time since its inception 20 years ago. With gorgeous graphics, a beautiful soundtrack, a great campaign with some actual good characters and storytelling, and the time honored Pokemonformula, Pokemon Sun/Moon are among the best games of the year, and must haves for any 3DS owner.
Monster Hunter Generations
Capcom’s follow up to last year’s Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate with Monster Hunter Generations mixes things up, with Hunter Styles letting players basically pick ‘classes’ to suit their playing styles, Hunter Arts letting them pick powerful moves to use in a pinch, and the ability to play as a Felyn providing newcomers another way to get acquainted with the reams of mechanics Monster Hunter has. Generations is probably the best Monster Hunter game yet, and by extension, one of the best games on the 3DS.
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice
Ace Attorney stays winning, and this new entry in the series is probably one of its best outings- which is saying something, given that these games are almost always so good. Spirit of justice embraces the series’ penchant for wacky, supernatural shenanigans, and with some sharp, witty writing, and varied cases and investigations, delivers a thrilling visual novel that fans are likely to love.
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
It was a hard year, with a lot of great games to serve as competition- so it’s a mark of just how great Conquestreally was that it managed to prevail over all these other games. Its incredible mastery over game design ultimately makes it tower over all other games on this list, makes it one of the best games of this year, and the one that we are most likely to keep returning to.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.