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My top games of 2021

On 12/22/2021 at 05:43 PM by SanAndreas

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Another year of gaming comes to an end. I guess it was kind of a sleepy year for games if you like big tentpole titles, but I honestly found plenty to play. Almost all of my gaming was done on Switch, which is set to pass both the Wii and PS1 in total install base by the end of the year. I didn't really bother pursuing the PS5 or the XSX|S this year, as there isn't a lot on those systems to justify a purchase.

5. Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (Falcom/NISA)

I actually enjoyed this game, set in the Ys world's version of Paris and the Bastille, more than I did the excellent Ys VIII. Adol has been struck with a curse that turns him into a Monstrum, a group of demi-humans who are supposedly terrorizing Balduq, which keeps him confined within certain areas of the city. The game's flow is interspersed with segments where Adol is a prisoner within Balduq itself. It has one of the best casts of characters in the series to date, and I really dig the soundtrack. The Zelda-on-speed gameplay is still just as fun as ever.

4. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin (Capcom)

I actually dug this game more than I did MH Rise. The turn-based RPG game play appeals to me a bit more in this case, and I hope Capcom will continue on in this verin. 

3. Tales of Arise (Bandai Namco)

The Tales series may very well have found its Final Fantasy VII, or at least its Persona 5. Namco really stepped up their game in the graphics and gameplay departments, after the lackluster reception the past few games after Xillia received. 

2. Metroid Prime (Nintendo)

 We finally got a new Metroid game after ten years, based on a prototype for a follow-up to Metroid Fusion. We finally get to see Kraid rendered in 3-D graphics, and he gets his own day in the limelight out of the shadow of his cohort, Ridley. This game is brutally difficult. No matter how many power-ups you find, the enemies will always be able to more than keep up with you. They also turned some conventions of Metroid on their heads. For instance, you don't get the Morph Ball until well into the game, so you have to learn to survive without it if you're an experienced Metroid player. With this game being possibly the most successful Metroid game to date, hopefully Nintendo will have more adventures for Samus soon.

Game of the Year: Shin Megami Tensei V (Sega/Atlus)

First unveiled the year the Switch launched, the wait for this game was well worth it. It's like a M-rated Pokemon with more effort put into the story. Set in both present-day Tokyo and a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, it plays almost like a turn-based Japanese Fallout. I'm about 20 hours into the game and there's still lots to do. This is one of the best RPGs on a system with possibly the best RPG library of any console to date.


Monster Hunter Rise (Capcom): I liked MHS2 better, but MH Rise, now the best-selling third party Switch game of all time, is still a great game with plenty of content.

Atelier Ryza 2 (Koei Tecmo): Bandai Namco and Atlus aren't the only companies who have upped their game in recent years. Gust has really made some improvements in their famous alchemy-based series, which now sees Ryza exploring ruins after she finds a magical artifact, and the Atelier series is now a pretty respectable competitor.

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town (Xseed): I tried this game out when it was made free for a few days, and ended up buying the full version. I use farming and city sim games as a way to relax, because it's rewarding watching you reap the results of your game play strategies. My history with this series is uneven. The last one of these games I played was Harvest Moon 3-D: A New Beginning, and before that it was A Wonderful Life on Gamecube. This game somewhat reminds me of AWL, though its interface is a lot smoother.

Ghosts n Goblins Resurrection (Capcom): I've been on a kick with this series this year. Ghosts n Goblins was probably my favorite Capcom NES game. I played through and beat the arcade versions of Ghosts n Goblins and Ghouls n Ghosts on Capcom Arcade Stadium, and Super Ghouls n Ghosts on SNES Online. I can't even get past the first level of this game, but it's still incredibly fun. You can choose paths that follow either Ghosts n Goblins and Ghouls n Ghosts. You can also try turning the difficulty down, but even at the lowest difficulty settings this game is brutal.

Bravely Default 2 (Square Enix): This series, which started as an homage to FF 1-5 on 3DS, makes a fine return on Switch. I haven't gotten too far into it yet.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo): I'll preface this by saying that Nintendo didn't put a lot of effort into remastering Skyward Sword for the Switch beyond smoothing out textures and upgrading the entire game to 60FPS. But it is so much more playable without the Wii motion controls, and that means I can actually enjoy the story and dungeons more. So I will definitely give it points for that.

So that's my year in gaming. I've actually had a good time in gaming, which I kind of needed because this year has otherwise been a crappy year for me. Next year looks to be really good, though, and maybe I'll try and pick up a PS5.



Cary Woodham

12/24/2021 at 07:38 AM

If I had more time, I would've love to have played Monster Hunter Stories 2 and Tales of Arise.  At least we both have Ys 9 and Metroid Dread on our lists.  Be sure to read my GOTY blog if you can!


12/24/2021 at 07:35 PM

Didn't play much new this year. Inscryption looks like the most interesting game that came out, to me.  I just got a PS5, and I use X Cloud, so I'll be catching up on last gen games I couldn't run on PC or were exclusives. I'm engrossed in Bloodborne currently. Also want to try Monster Hunter World, Sekiro, DMC5, Persona 5, and a few others.

Speaking of MH, is the main progress loop the same as the mainline games? Hunt monsters, use their parts to craft gear to fight more monsters?  If so, could be interesting with TB party battles.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

12/25/2021 at 12:39 PM

My GOTY is right now a tie between Halo Infinite and Metroid Dread. After that, Ratchet and Clank, Psychonauts 2, and Deathloop. Was a pretty good year for games with me too. Felt the indie scene could have been better though, some good games but nothing on par with Hades, Celeste or Dead Cells.


12/27/2021 at 03:24 PM

Real excited to try Monster Hunter Stores 2 and SMT V. I haven't even set up my new Switch, though. Too busy moving this week. 

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