So 2021 was a weird year for me when it came to gaming. I wasn't in the mood to play too many titles for some reason. I played a few during the first half of the year but spent most of my time this year living in FFXIV. But I enjoyed what I played so I will post those as well. A massive amount of big games from 2021 are still in my backlog but I'll get to them this year. If you don't see a big release not listed here, I didn't get around to playing or finishing it. This is basically everything in 2021 I played so there are some I liked and some I didn't like so much.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker - Before I talk about EW proper, I want to backtrack a little to my return to FFXIV. I got back into the game during the summer from its new found popularity with streamers and I decided to focus on playing some new jobs and the endgame. I was a DRG main for literally three whole years since I started. I never played anything else. I finally got my fill when the endgame became too frustrating as a melee DPS. So I swapped to other jobs like DNC and MCH. I quickly fell in love with them and enjoyed most of the endgame with them. I farmed and did a bunch of activities to gather rare mounts and minions (which I've continued to do so).
Once I had my fill of those, I decided to finally get into the true endgame...crafting and gathering! I've always been broke as a DPS main so I decided I need to make money so I can afford cosmetics and gear I like without asking my buddies for money. I soon became an omnicrafter and omnigatherer after a month or so. I enjoyed (most) of the job quest stories and had a new found respect for people who focus on this side of the game. They weren't wrong, there's a struggle at points but once you maxed out your jobs and can craft/gather the best stuff, money rolls in pretty easily. I'm no longer broke! Finally!
Anyway, time to talk about EW. This was a fantastic expansion and conclusion to the Light/Dark arc. It manages to take everything you ever experienced from the past to make this a super rewarding and emotional journey. The people you've met, the places you've been to and the enemies you fought. They all mattered. I haven't cried as much as I have in the past for any game. So many scenes were so well written and directed. Loved the new characters and revelations. The music was once again amazing as well. Soken and his crew can do no wrong.
Anyway, I was sucked in from the beginning to the end and if you've been playing from the beginning, then you're going to love it. Just make sure to do all the raids, trials and most side stuff before you jump in for a much for fulfilling experience. You'll be glad you did. FFXIV is now side by side with FFVI as my favorite FF of all time and one of the greatest RPGs ever.
Gnosia (True Ending) - A ridiculously cool VN mixed with horror and Among Us style vibes. The story was really great with some interesting characters. The concept and execution for the gameplay was really well done from a small unknown dev. I do admit that the only flaw with this game was it needed way more scenes and dialogue with the characters you meet. There should've been way more character development and unique moments. I can't help but hope there will be a remaster in the future with more content or maybe even a reboot of some kind. It's definitely worth playing. The game hit me in ways I didn't expect.
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir - I've never played the original games but this remake was fantastic. Beautiful 2D art with some insanely detailed backgrounds. Awesome rearranged music. The story was fun to follow and figure out. I was quite surprised how emotional it got and what twists and turns were hard to predict. It's a simple and grounded story that takes me back to those simpler days. Definitely worth playing if you enjoy classic detective mysteries.
Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind - Same thoughts as Missing Heir except this one is far more creepy and darker. But the mystery was super intriguing and the gameplay was improved so I enjoyed it a bit more. Since this is a prequel, you can actually play this first and not be missing anything.
World’s End Club (True Ending) - This was made and published by the Danganronpa and 999 creators so I had to check it out. It wasn't what I was expecting. Even though the game featured some pretty cool twists and story moments, it wasn't quite as engaging as I wanted. The gameplay was more platformer and puzzles and it was pretty janky/buggy at times. The overall story was okay with some very memorable characters. But I feel some of it could've been fleshed out more. I liked the art style and the in-game 3D backgrounds were quite detailed even on the Switch. The soundtrack was also not all that great. I don't usually say bad things about the music in a game but it was very amateurish. It's definitely not anywhere as good as the devs' previous works but it's worth checking out if you're curious.
Monster Hunter: Rise (Story Ending) - A fantastic follow-up to World. The improved mobility really added to the gameplay. Everything felt faster and more fluid. It made fighting the monsters way more fun. The new music was amazing and I loved the ancient Japanese style themes. I really enjoyed the game a lot but I do admit that the technical limitations from being on Switch really hampered parts of it. The events weren't as grand or unique and the limited players in lobbies really made it feel smaller. Which is why I cannot wait to replay this on PC with a visual upgrade. It's going to be even better when I get to play it all over again and enjoy the true visual splendor as intended. Still good. Still fun.
NieR: Replicant (All Endings) - I never beat the original version. I remember I didn't hate it but I fell off and played something else and never came back. I finally decided to give this another shot with the remake. The improved visuals were definitely great and the soundtrack is still INCREDIBLE. I really loved the story and characters. I can understand why it was so beloved. But I hated the quest design so much. Way too many fetch quests and backtracking through the same areas ad nauseum. I was just forcing myself to get through it because I was so invested in the story. There is payoff to this tedium but I think Automata did it better. I wish they redesigned some of the quests steps to make them more digestible. Overall, I still enjoyed my time with it. There were some truly gut wrenching moments.
Returnal (Secret Ending) - A ridiculously cool and challenging arcadey game. Amazing art and audio design. Very fun with tight controls and frantic combat. Some of the enemies were balls hard. The story was quite interesting and very out there. The biggest surprise was how good the VO was from the main character. She was stellar and carried the game's narrative. It was quite the experience.
Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERmission DLC - Yuffie was done super well in this remake. I loved her and her interactions with all the other characters. She was super cute and charming. Combat was much improved and more fun. The visuals looked even sharper and more grand than the base game. While I enjoyed the story, it still felt like a side story and certain characters weren't with us as much as I liked. But this is a must play since it ties into the main game and there are some crucial scenes that need to be seen. The new soundtrack was great and the Fort Condor minigame was super fun.
Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island DLC - A fantastic follow-up to my GOTY last year. This DLC features a great story on its own that also connects directly to the main game. The new island was fun to explore and all the new characters were enjoyable. I wish it was longer but I was really happy to revisit this world. Still gorgeous to look at and fun to play.
Guardians of the Galaxy - This was a huge surprise for me. The marketing and trailers looked so bad and I was coming off a sour taste from the Avengers game. I wrote this game off pretty early but I'm glad I was wrong. Everyone told me how good it was so I decided to check it out. Not only was I floored by the amazing dialogue but the story was actually very well written and directed. The VO in this game is stellar and features some of the best facial animations I've seen. Combat was simple but fun and the soundtrack was super fun. Lots of great 80's tracks. If it wasn't for Endwalker, this would've been my GOTY. I loved it so much and I want everyone to check it out. It was awesome from start to finish.
Halo: Infinite MP Beta - Really enjoyed my time with it. Ran smooth and was fun. My only gripe were the way they released and sold cosmetics. I also didn't like the progression system. I haven't touched it after the campaign came out so I'll get back to it soon. Which reminds me that I need to play the campaign soon...
12 Minutes - There's always one even though I didn't play much this year. But this game was super disappointing on many levels. I loved the concept and style but the actual game was not great. It was janky and restrictive with what you could do. I also did not like the story and the revelations. I think it could've gone in so many other directions but it ended up being much worse. I did enjoy the VO from the celebrities involved. They were fantastic. But they couldn't save this game from it's somewhat lackluster plot.
There it is. That's literally all the games I finished in 2021. There's a handful I'm still playing. I hope to get around to finishing them this year. Thanks for reading.