Rough year over here in Argentina land but games and anime really came through and kept me distracted enough for me to not lose my sanity. So shout outs to all the workers that created all the games and shows I enjoy and love this year.
GAME #5: The Finals
I’ve been following Embark stuff ever since they dropped that cool ass fuck trailer for Arc Raiders (hope we hear more about that game soon). And I was kinda scared when they pushed back Arc Raiders in their development schedule to develop a first person shooter set on a cringy esport virtual reality called “The Finals”. Thankfully my fears were unfounded because this game rules! The running around feels smoooooth, the shooting is incredibly rewarding, the level destruction works perfectly and it's super dynamic, the game modes create that “anything can happen up to the last minute” feeling and the vibes of the game hit that perfect balance of hype and silliness without being annoying. All these things combine to create this beautiful moment to moment gameplay that even when you are out of the action your brain is in full Equalizer mode to see how to approach the next vault/cashout/encounter. So get a group of friends or enemies (this game is that fun) and get stealing!
ANIME #5: Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War - The Separation
Bruh what the fuck happend here? How did they turn this awful manga arc into one of the best seasons of Bleach ever? If you are not a Bleach fan you should probably skip this, I won't be that asshole that tells you to watch 400 episodes of something, but if you liked any Bleach in the past and dropped the anime or were disappointed by the last arc of the manga you should probably check this adaptation. The changes they did really fix a lot of the pacing issues the manga had in addition to giving a lot of more screen time to very underutilized characters like the “The Royal Guard''.
And this specific season of the arc gets extra points for the opening. It reminds me of Asterisk by ORANGE RANGE and I love that.
GAME #4: Remnant II
Fuck yeah Remnant II. I'm just getting excited thinking about this game! Great shooting, the class system is awesome, the level design is beautiful but what gets my brain juices going in this game are the secrets… secret interactions, secret bosses, secret items, secret classes! omg this game is awesome and everybody should play it, there is no way to explain the fun of this game without giving it a fair try (check gamepass😉).
ANIME #4: Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
I won't tell y'all what this show is about in terms of story just because the first episode is one of the best first episodes I have ever seen in an anime, it sets up the story and tone perfectly. But what I will say is that if you want to see a different, more optimistic and sometimes even wholesome take on the zombie genre y'all should 100% check this show out.
And if you are not going to watch this show at least watch one of the best openings of the year by one of my favorite bands ever.
GAME #3: Baldur’s Gate 3
Listen… you can fuck a bear! A BEAR!!! Bestiality jokes aside I'm still cant wrap my head around just how massively popular this game turned out to be and Im a sucker for Larian Studios games since Divinity: Original Sin!. It’s a D&D turn based combat CRPG like how?! I don't know what to say to be honest just that this is one of those games where I experienced moments that just can't happen in any other game. Like that time a dude gave me explosives to blow up a magical factory of robocops but instead I used that explosive to undo a really shitty deal I made with a demon by blowing him up while one of my guys was renegotiating the terms of the deal.
ANIME #3: Vinland Saga Season 2
I really didn't like the first season of Vinland Saga, it felt really empty for my taste, not a lot going on after the first couple of episodes. But for season 2 they turn the whole story on its head with beautifully crafted character development. Some people might deem this next sentence as a spoiler but I need to tell you about Thorfinn’s journey from stone cold killer who had no feelings toward anyone he hurt or killed to the “I have no enemies” peaceful Thorfinn is something worth seeing. If you are going to watch this, get ready to cry a lot.
I personally have a lot of enemies and a couple of nemesis so I can't relate 😛
Fuck! I even get emotional watching the opening.
GAME #2: Alan Wake II
As a real ass mark for the first Alan Wake, it only made sense for me to be hyped the fuck up for this game. The crazy part is that not only do they live up to the hype but surpass it. I'm such a sucker for everything this game does, from the gameplay to the silly FMV, to the scary FMV, to the musical FMV. I LOVE IT ALL. And Ahti is the best character of the year! Play this game please. I want Remedy to be rewarded for taking risks. I want them to do more weird stuff like this.
Also, fuck the haters. I know this is corny AF, but I love it none the less.
ANIME #2: Frieren: Beyond Journey's End
In this world, elves' lifespan is extremely long making their perception of time warped. When the elf Frieren joins the hero’s party and goes on a decade-long journey that ends with the defeat of the Demon Lord, she doesn't value that time with her human comrades the same way they do. I won't say more about the setting, but fifty years after her journey ends something happens that makes Frieren repeat it in order to understand her and her friend's feelings during their past adventures.
Uplifting stories about loss and grief are very scarce in general, so if you are kinda down or sad or whatever I strongly recommend this show. Oh and this show is hands down the most beautiful anime of the year.
Shout outs to YOASOBI and Milet for dropping these awesome songs for this anime.
GAME #1: Street Fighter 6
I always considered myself a fighting game player in general, I definitely had my favorites like King of Fighters '98, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Dragon Ball FighterZ, etc. But, I never considered myself a “KOF player” or a “DBFZ player” until this year with the release of Street Fighter 6. I'm a motherfucking Street Fighter player. I will try every fighting game that comes out for sure because I love fighting games, but I can't see myself taking any other game as seriously as I do SF6. Every single system in the game speaks to my weirdly shaped brain in a way no other fighting game ever did before. So please, even if you think you don't like fighting games, give this game a try. It’s something really special and very approachable for new players.
And please listen to this character select theme that goes extremely hard for no reason.
ANIME #1: Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2
The sound of the Gion Shoja bells echoes the impermanence of all things.
The color of the sala flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline.
HOWEVER! WE ARE THE EXCEPTION!!!
-Grade 1 Sorcerer Aoi Todo
This anime starts with a really cliche premise: a teenage boy that has the bad luck of getting involved with supernatural creatures and ends up possessed by a demon whose unlocks the power necessary to fight said creatures… but don't get it twisted! This show turns into something very special very quickly.
Jujutsu Kaisen is a great show to recommend to anyone in general, but if you like any Shonen in the past you will love the shit out of this anime. JJK is part love letter, part deconstruction, part critique of the shonen genre all at once. It has great action, awesome characters, it has a power system with very simple rules but, at the same time, it allows characters to have very intricate and cool powers. It has this creepy dark almost horror vibe that works perfectly with the, at moments, heavy and sad story beats.
This is the best Shonen I have ever seen in my life so far. I have not loved a show this much ever since I first watched Bleach back in the early 2000s.
Oh, a little warning. If you watch this show, you are going to get attached to a lot of these characters and Akutami Gege (the Mangaka of JJK) will hurt you for that.
Best opening of the year btw.