March 28, 2022 | by Rose
Rose’s Top 10 Games Of 2021 That Aren’t The House in Fata Morgana

I am very tired, two years into a pandemic. This is where the normal spiel about how I feel about games as a whole or the games of this year goes but I am too tired. Imagine I said something wise about the portrayal of women in video games, or like, some insightful shit about NieR or something. Someday we will return to such things, but until then, I need to sleep for like, 3 months.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Neptunia Virtual Stars

The most insane game ever made. Genuinely I want the medium of games to become a place where shit like this is on the reg. You haven’t lived until you’ve played this game.

Toree 2

This game is like an hour long, and it’s exactly what it looks like. Hopping around as a little cute animal in fun little 3D environments….games don’t do this anymore.

Halo Infinite

The campaign is not very good, maybe it can become good in the future. The multiplayer is the closest that 343 has gotten to getting on the level of Halo 3 and Reach. It is still not either of those games, but, again, maybe someday. Absolutely insane they sell armor in this game for 20 dollars

THE TSUKIHIME REMAKE HASN’T BEEN LOCALIZED SUFFERING AWARD

MELTY BLOOD TYPE LUMINA

I got the deluxe version of the new Melty Blood just so I could read the book about the world-building details in Tsukihime Remake. I’m coping.

10. NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139

The only reason NieR is so low, despite being one of my top 5 games of all time, is that for some reason they decided to make this remake just generally worse overall? For years of my youth I pined over the twink protagonist that Japan got and we never did, but as I’ve become older and wiser I realized, “It was much better when you played as an ugly old man who was gay with a book”.

Also Ending E was kind of just like fan-wank in a way I haven’t really expected from the series. I realize that like, this ending was written in a side-story at one point but it feels like such a weird stupid answer to what was once a very open-ended game. Very Strange.

9. Monster Hunter Rise

This is probably the best Monster Hunter they’ve ever made. It has incredible traversal mechanics, fun new moves, and everything has been so cleaned up and optimized that even people I knew who couldn’t stand the series in the past found themselves falling into this one back in March. 

I think the only reason it failed to resonate in any sort of profound way, is that they made everything so streamlined and fast, that you just sort of…blow through it all. Monster Hunter is usually this thing you dump days and days and months into ever-getting better and stronger, but with this one it was so easy to just finish everything that you never really had to grind. I think going up multiple Hunting Ranks from a single quest was just insane, and the loss of Investigations from World that provided randomly generated and difficult challenge quests was felt deeply.

8. Dorfromantik

I don’t really like most chillout games but this one is so peaceful. All you do is place tiles and spin them around to do combos and gradually fill out this cute little picturesque world of trees and animals and rivers and trains. It’s all so cute. I highly recommend giving it a try because it’s just such a perfectly distilled little thing.

7. Shin Megami Tensei V

So I was really hype for Shin Megami Tensei V, and while it didn’t necessarily disappoint I was sort of left going like, “Why did they do these things”. The Breath of a Wild’ification of everything is a dire plague on the medium of games, and while it was a sort of interesting bit of freshness to add to a series that has largely been the same for 30 years, the trade-off of what was lost by its implementation is just straight up not worth it. SMT is supposed to be esoteric, conceptual, mired in aesthetics over a specific substantial idea, and V trades most of that for….I honestly genuinely don’t know! 

Overall it’s a great game, I love seeing my demon friends again with cute new animations and sounds, but, man, it should have been better.

6. Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

It still has the same problems as the normal Ace Attorney games (wasting time constantly), but the change in scenery and cast really worked so well for this game. It’s also surprising to me how earnest the discussions about the opening of the borders within Japan are in this game, and what it meant for their society. However, the next game on this list handles that better I think. Herlock Sholmes is insane, Britain is insane, everyone is insane. It’s great.

5. Full Metal Daemon Muramasa

This is a game that’s almost impossible to recommend because of how intense the subject matter is, but god….it really is a “kamige” as they say. Seeing twists on classic visual novel mechanics, as well as a genuinely cutting and interesting analysis of Japanese Imperialism and ideology, Full Metal Daemon Muramasa is really incredible to me, and I’m so glad it actually got translated all these years after its release because it has reignited my Visual Novel obsession hardcore. 

I would like it if the game was perhaps a little less fetishistic in its more graphic CGs however, even if I understand where it’s coming from. From a country that has an entire modern infrastructure built from the ground up on the suffering of women (Okay I know this is most countries but) I understand why there would be this idea of wanting to critique the sexualized nature of visual novels in relation to that, but it just ends up feeling equally fetishistic in a different way. Such is the nature of Nitroplus. 

4. Guilty Gear Strive

 This is the first fighting game I’ve genuinely loved since Skullgirls. I love Ramlethal. This also made me realize how badly I need to work on my Anxiety Disorder.

3. Metroid Dread

They gave Samus a Devil Trigger.

2. NEO TWEWY

A rare peek into a world where Square Enix still tries to make interesting new games that aren’t pared down market-tested reiterations that become less interesting over insanely long development times. This is a game that shouldn’t exist, but it does. The way that they actually got Nomura to make a game with an insane Gacha-game addicted lesbian, like man, that’s representation.

1. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker

Rose is a video games player, video games writer, and video games thinker from MA. She has a lot of opinions.

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