In my book, this game belongs next to Bravely Default as a contender for game of the year yet more than likely it will be overlooked in favor of Pokemon OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire or Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Mind you, I own ALL of these games.
Fantasy Life is what happens when an action RPG and an anime have a baby. If the art style looks familiar, the game is published by Level 5 but produced by Studio Ghibli (Ni No Kuni: Curse of the White Witch). Fantasy Life takes ideas used in other games and makes it their own: You have the open world objective-driven style (Skyrim), the ability to switch classes at will (Final Fantasy III and Bravely Default) and even an expansion thrown in for the hell of it.
My guess is the canon Life (Class, Profession, Job, etc.) for the storyline is Paladin but that’s just my 2-cents. There are 12 classes..er, Lifes in the game and you can switch to any of them by simply talking to the Guild Master in Castele. The classes can be separated into 3 categories: Combat, Crafting and Gathering. The 12 classes are Paladin (Combat), Mercenary (Combat), Blacksmith (Crafting), Carpenter (Crafting), Miner (Gathering), Woodcutter (Gathering), Fisherman/Fisherwoman (Gathering), Cook (Crafting), Hunter (Combat), Alchemist (Crafting), Tailor (Crafting) and Wizard (Combat). The cool thing about how Fantasy Life does it that sets it apart from both Bravely Default and Final Fantasy Tactics is once you learn a new skill as one Life, you retain all the perks except the stat boosts when you switch to another.
Overall, I give Fantasy Life a 10/10.
As I said at the top, unfortunately it probably won’t even be considered for Game of the Year. The problem with these Industry-run game of the year nominations is they always either poll a small group of folks or they decide on it before the game’s actually released. Ah, well. I don’t need someone paid to review something to tell me if I like something or don’t like something. I’ve been proven wrong both ways in recent years so…yeah.
Let’s see…I have reviews of Ys: Memories of Celeceta (Vita), Warlords of Draenor, The Pokemon Trading Card Game (Game Boy Color; 3DS Virtual Console Title). Pokemon OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire (when they’re released) and Persona Q: Shadow Labyrinth (when it’s released) coming down the pipe. After those last three games are released I’m sure I won’t buy any more video games until maybe Anime Boston. My backlog’s long enough as it is.