thinkin bout butts

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Games that defined my 2021

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  • It's kind of cheating, since this is a remaster of a 2020 game, but I was lucky enough to get a PS5 this year and one of the first games I played on it was Nioh 2 Remastered. It might be the only game on this list I'm still actively playing, and possibly one of my top 5 favorite games of all time, so... Yeah, it's my #1 for 2021. It has it's quirks for sure, but if you want to experience a soulslike action game with a ridiculous amount of customization and a dash of Japanese history, or just need something to tide you over until Eldin Ring, I'd definitely recommend giving it a try if you haven't already.

  • I remember trying to play the first game on 3DS, but the muddy graphics and agonizing control scheme made it exceedingly difficult to put significant time into. I tried playing the mobile version at some point, and while I think that's a superior version, I still couldn't give it it's due. Stories 2 managed to remedy most of, if not all, of those problems. The Switch version maybe has it's issues, but I personally didn't have a problem with it. The characters and monsters are all cute and charming, and the battle system is the perfect blend of simple and just tactical enough to be engaging. I think the premise is really fun, and would love to see more done with the MH:Stories franchise.

  • Not really sure what to say beyond it's Monster Hunter. I'm one of the (probably many) people who got on board the Monster Hunter train with World, so I can't really speak on how it compares to previous entries. I can say that the addition of stuff like the wirebug and palamute were really fun and introduced a new dimension to the maps and fights that feels like a significant evolution of the gameplay. The base defense mode was pretty bad, though. I played through to "the end" and just kind of fell off. I'm hoping that the PC release will get me back in, and maybe open up the opportunity to play with people I know.

  • In a year dominated by Loop Games, The Forgotten City was probably my favorite. Unravelling the mystery was genuinely compelling, and the ways the game helps you along were really interesting and made the repeating nature of the loop less of a chore. The final boss encounter had me sweating and laughing in equal measure, it's definitely something you have to see to believe. It's not a long game, I think I finished it in two sittings, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in a short mystery story to work through.

  • When this first came out, the more I played it the more I fell in love. The Dishonored games are some of my favorites ever, and the ways Deathloop approaches and addresses the ways those games did things was intensely interesting to me at the time. However, now that I've finished, it feels like the more time I spend away from it the less I like it. With Dishonored, the first thing I did after completing it was start up a new game. With Deathloop, I don't know if I'll ever go back. It's kind of painful to think about, because I can totally see what they were going for here, but I think that ultimately this is a game that manages to be less than the sum of it's parts.

  • I know this game kind of took the games coverage world by storm, with a lot of people singing it's praises and begging the rest of us to play it. I'll admit, that's the only reason I bothered picking this up. I can see why this is so highly regarded, but at the end of the day it's still too much of a card game for me to fully get into it. Even the "surprises" or whatever you want to call them didn't really do much for me. Maybe I've played too many games that pull similar stunts. I want to try to put more time into it at some point, but it became too much of a slog for me personally.

  • This was the game I had the highest hopes for this year. It released around my birthday, so I had it pre-ordered and even set aside some of my time off to really sit down and enjoy it. After spending a couple hours with it, I got a sinking feeling in my gut. I wasn't liking it. I put more time into it, I saw how well it was doing critically and in sales, and I told myself I just needed to give it more time. Every hour just pushed me further and further away. My feelings towards it got so bad that I actually started wondering if the Tales franchise has been terrible this whole time and I've just been in denial. I went back and played a couple other Tales games, including digging out my PS3 and putting a dozen or so hours in Xillia. I still like most of those games! I just don't like Arise. I'm glad it did well, and I hope whatever comes next takes what worked here and improves on it, but Tales of Arise is easily my Most Disappointing game of 2021.