Rice Digital Reader’s Choice Awards 2016 – Winners Announced

We asked you all to vote in our Reader’s Choice categories to determine some of the best Japanese games of the year from this excellent year. And you all pulled through for us. Without further ado, here are the Reader’s Choices!




Winner: Gal*Gun: Double Peace

I mean really? Could it have been anything esle? Gal*Gun: Double Peace is perhaps one of the most definitively moe games ever released, though it’s pretty happy to heap on the ecchi too, make no mistake. It’s this perfect blend that really delivers with the tone of this uniquely vibrant rail shooter. In the normal stages players must fend off girls who are desperate to confess their love for him after he’s been hit by a Cupid Arrow that’s too powerful. To do this he must aim at the right places on the girl’s body, striking their weak points for massive pleasure. In the mini games you need to help the main two girls you’re interested in (and who are immune to your love aura) in awkward situations, such as above.




Winner: IT’S A TIE — Both Battleborn photos win

geraintborn-1 geraintborn-2


Geraint: Battleborn is a really good game.

Geraint to Geraint: Yes, Battleborn is a really good game.




Winner: Final Fantasy XV

While we did give Final Fantasy XV a fairly mixed review, we also said that “you can’t overlook the originality and the amount of love that oozes from the true heart of Final Fantasy XV.” There’s definitely a lot to enjoy in this road trip adventure about brotherhood and the love between boys. The back half might have felt a bit rushed, but it’s clear that the central conceit of exploring a world with some great characters is enough to make it rank highly among many of you! Pokémon Sun & Moon came a close second, and deservedly so, as the latest Pokémon adventure is one of the best yet.




Winner: Steins;Gate 0

It’s a fitting victory as the original Steins;Gate was very warmly received last year! This follow-up to the original visual novel is more than just a sequel or even an expansion. It’s a whole new experience that builds naturally on top of what came before, with a lot that prior fans will enjoy, but also a lot of brand new elements. This time dealing primarily with AI as opposed to just time travel, Steins;Gate 0 is yet another fantastic visual novel that’s gotten some much deserved love in the west.




Winner: Crunchy Roll

Even better than instant messaging via the internet. Crunchy Roll have been doing a killer job at legally allowing near-instant streaming of all the latest and greatest anime, and with a huge back catalogue of awesome shows too. They also have a manga app that less people seem to use. 95% of all the best new shows seem to be secured by Crunchy Roll, especially now they’ve partnered with Funimation to close up any major library holes. Being an anime fan has never been easier!





That’s right, the most recent BLAZBLUE game, as well as the most recent fighter from the masterminds at Arc System Works, BLAZBLUE CENTRALFICTION has emerged victorious. It’s worth noting that Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator, the other fantastic fighter from Arc System Works, came a close second. It’s easy to say that CENTRALFICTION is the ultimate version of BLAZBLUE, and doesn’t simply iterate on the fast paced anime fighter, but adds a lot of its own flair too. Coupled with the teaching tools found originally in Revelator, CENTRALFICTION is also one of the friendliest to pick up in the series. Nine for life!




Winner: Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X

It was a tightly run race, but Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X managed to come out on top despite fierce competition. Who would have thought??




Winner: Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

Of all the games up for Remaster of the Year it’s safe to say Odin Sphere probably deserved a remaster the most, so it’s nice to see that reflected in your votes. Vanillaware’s Odin Sphere first released on PlayStation 2 and was criminally overlooked. Leifthrasir is a gorgeous remake of the original, just as polished as their more recent Dragon’s Crown. For many this will be the first time they experience Odin Sphere, which is more than enough reason to call it Remaster of the Year.




Winner: Hideo Kojima

Like a phoenix… Touched for the very first time. Er, I mean, he rises once more. Nobody can keep Hideo Kojima contained, and this has been a huge year for him on a personal level. Now unshackled from the chains of Konami he’s free to do pretty much whatever he wants, and there seems to be no end to people wanting to going along for the ride with him. PlayStation have bowed the knee, Guillermo Del Toro, Norman Reedus, and now even Mads Mikkelsen. This year was just the beginning for Hideo Kojima.




Winner: Dark Souls III

It seemed like it might be a little weird at first to return to the world of Dark Souls so soon after breathing in the fresh air that was Bloodborne. Would it feel like a step back? Here’s a spoiler: it didn’t. Dark Souls III came out without missing a beat, informed by some of the stellar design of Bloodborne, mixed with all the best bits of the original Dark Souls. While we didn’t hate Dark Souls II, Dark Souls III feels like the true follow up we were all waiting for.




Winner: PlayStation 4

Again, this isn’t that huge a surprise. Anyone who tuned into PlayStation Experience will have seen the pure love for Japanese gaming exuding from that press conference. It’s easy at these more mainstream, American events to focus on the huge AAA western games, but Sony did a wonderful job at honouring their Japanese roots all the way through their event. 2016 was a great year for PS4, and Sony aren’t keeping it a secret that they have just as much planned for next year.




Winner: Persona 5

Because what else are we waiting for, really? Persona 5 has won, again, our most anticipated game of next year. If it doesn’t arrive next year I’m going to McFreakin’ lose it. I have played it in Japanese, though, and can say this is the correct choice. Well done, Rice readers.





Not only did you all choose BLAZBLUE CENTRALFICTION as your best fighter of the year, but also as the best game. It’s true that as far as fighting games go CENTRALFICTION has little in the way of flaws. Don’t believe us? Check out our review. Steins;Gate 0, the Visual Novel of the year, came a close second. Just behind that came Persona 5, which only released in Japan this year! But that’s pretty fair.


Thanks for voting! If you skipped any of these games this year then the votes are in — you should definitely check them out!

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