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April 1, 2022 | by Lorelai
Lorelai’s Top 5 Games Of 2021

Game of the year is always somewhat difficult for me, paring down just what might have come close to Game of the Generation Nioh 2 in terms of quality. Taking into account both the fun I’ve had, and the impact a game had on me on a more personal level. It’s funny, I went through about 5 iterations of my top 5, and the only games that were on it every time were my number 1, and number 4. But I sat down and thought long and hard about what the games I played this year meant to me. Sometimes, I might not have had the best time with one of my games, but then the next day, I found something that stuck with me forever. It’s a funny thing, Game of the Year, because I never really know just how to quantify the importance a game may have had to me until I sit down and write it out. With that out of the way, here are the 6 most important games for me this year.

Honorable Mention

No Longer Game of the Generation Nioh 2 Remastered

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Look, I put 500 hours into Remastered because it’s still one of my favorite games of all time. But when it comes to the year, it just barely missed out on my top 5.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

After Square Enix’s Marvel’s The Avengers I didn’t have much hope for this game, but then I watched one of my XIV friends streaming it and it looked… fun. I also found the writing to be pretty entertaining, and so I decided to pick it up for myself and, to my surprise, it might actually be one of the best written games of the year. The game is fun to play, and the writing is smart as hell. Feeling a lot closer to the Abnett and Lanning Cosmic Marvel than it does the movies, it’s the perfect blend of both leading to one of my favorite renditions of these characters. Especially right now where I hate what they’ve been doing with the comics in trying to make them more like the movies, and I’m not really very big on the movies.

4. Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne Remastered

Nocturne is one of my favorite games of all time and it continues to be so. Some really nice quality of life improvements, and not having to deal with Dante from the Devil May Cry series makes it even better for me. I will always love this game, and getting a new and still great version of the same game fills me with joy.

3. Forza Horizon 5

Look, I know some of these streets. I spent a good deal of time in Guanajuato so having a game that takes place there rules. The game looks and feels incredible and kept me hooked for a long time. It’s kind of wild driving into the streets of the city and knowing that if I go through this tunnel just to the left will be a blueish building where there was a nightclub I went to once. You drive through the tunnel and there is a bluish building with no signage. Hell, let’s also talk about the writing, which is shockingly authentic. I loved the story missions in this game because it felt like they did a lot to get the feeling of the area right. It rules to see a part of the world I love so much so lovingly rendered.

2. Shin Megami Tensei V

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Well hey, here is a surprise, I love a Shin Megami Tensei game. I absolutely love this game, from start to finish I was pretty hooked. However, I’m not a big fan of the giant open world levels. It feels a little too open compared to other games, and the only reason this is higher on my list than Nocturne is that it’s something new, and something I genuinely love to play. You still have those moments of walking into a fight with the wrong setup and getting hit by an instant-kill, but the game offers so many ways to build out your character It’s easy to jump back in and solve the issue, leading to it being a lot less frustrating than in the past.

The character building is such an incredible strength of the game that you are never restricted to one build being optimal. I’ve played through with both a magical build and the classic SMT physical build and both felt balanced the whole way through. In Nocturne, magic could work, but you were always incredibly weak until the end of the game. In this, I never felt like I was held back like I was before. This for me makes it the perfect SMT game for newcomers to the series and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

1. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker

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We’re here, the end of a story I’ve been following since its inception. A terrible game that became an ok game that turned into an incredible game. A story that’s only continued to grow and improve and build off of itself since the beginning. I devoured the game, did every single side quest, did every optional bit to see every piece of content I could over the 2 weeks it took me to finish. I cried, multiple times, struck by the beauty of the story it told: one of hope and acceptance and love. I could not look away, and not just because I didn’t want to wait in a queue to log back in. I was hooked, and in the end, it’s been one the most meaningful gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

I’m not saying that to exaggerate. This isn’t a “Game of the Generation Nioh 2” goof, the game has made me who I am today. When I started, I was Chris, someone who always had a beard because If I look manly, maybe I’ll feel that way. Then, through Oulan, I was able to live as someone else. Yeah it might be in a game, but it still allowed myself to be… myself. And that journey, that journey has come to an end and a new one is ready to begin. One of growth and discovery that I hope will not just go another 10 years, but until the end.

So let me reintroduce myself, I’m Lorelai, and Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker is my game of the year.

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