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Top 10 Games of the Year

So why not have your second blog post ever be a game of the year list ? Let's hit for the cliche cycle, score a trope touchdown, bury a groaner of a goal. Seriously though, this has been a banger of a year for games. It was also a year where we absolutely needed pick me ups. So lets get this stereotypical games blog post started. Coming in at #10......

# 10 - Shindig

So my first ever blog post was about this game and I think it absolutely earned this spot on the list. Read my first blog post if you need convincing, but this game is a must play. It will light your heart up with joy and make you remember why you like games to begin with.

#9 - Forgotten City

This game took me completely by surprise, and I don't mean that I didn't think it would be good. I just don't really like time loop games, as it turns out. Outer Wilds, Death Loop, Majora's Mask, none of them really did it for me. I think what makes this one work so well for me is that it is such a tightly designed experience with remarkably well defined characters. Couple that with an intriguing mystery and I couldn't put it down. This game literally got me through my bout with Covid, so it deserves credit for that at least. Can't wait to see what this team gets up to next.

# 8 - Guardians of the Galaxy

I've seen a lot of talk saying that this game "had no right being this good" and I just don't think that is fair at all. If anything, I think we should be saying that the Crystal Dynamics Avengers game "had no right being that uninteresting." I think the work of Insomniac with Spiderman and Eidos-Montreal with Guardians show us that games can be, perhaps, the best place to tell comic based stories. In fact, aside from Into the Spiderverse, this game is the best Marvel story told in a while. This game's version of the Guardians are now the ones that are in my head canon, and I don't expect Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt to dislodge them anytime soon.

#7 - Death's Door

I'm a sucker for a good Zelda like game. Death's Door exceeds that comparison and becomes something unique and completely distinct. Beautiful visuals, challenging boss fights, and a SUPERB soundtrack round off a complete package. The game feels great to play, has satisfying progression, and, most importantly, doesn't overstay its welcome. I've been back twice since finishing this game just to poke around and its gorgeous, dark, medieval fantasy world. Something tells me I'll be back again.

#6 - Inscryption

Inscryption has been receiving a lot of hype this time of the year and it completely deserves it. The thing that surprises me about the discourse is how "out of nowhere" everyone claims this game is. Daniel Mullins' Games has been doing some absolutely rad things in the games space for years now, specifically with Pony Island. I see this as just another evolution in them doing what they do best; subverting your expectations and delivering remarkable experiences. Go into this one knowing as little as possible. Your experience will be all the better for it.

#5 - Psychonauts 2

Double Fine has made some of my personal faves over the years, but this feels different. Psychonauts 2 not only delivers after a long development, but manages to be a perfect blend of many things. A blend of AAA and indie, a blend of niche and mainstream, a blend of bizarre and relatable. It also tackles mental illness in a very realistic and relatable way considering this is a game about going into people's brains. If the future allows Double Fine ideas to be supported with Microsoft money, then the future is bright.

#4 - Metroid Dread

Funny that a 2D Metroid game is good, right? Seriously, this game is so tight and tuned that it could probably be higher on this list. I had a couple issues with this tough as nails entry into the franchise but not nearly enough to overcome the pure joy I had exploring this space. The story is bonkers, the action is incredible, and the boss fights are epic. Exploration has never been more satisfying and the game rewards both curiosity and skill. For me, this is the best 2D Metroid, and I'm so stoked that it exists.

#3 - Resident Evil Village

It's been a long year so it is easy to forget that Resident Evil Village came out this year. I haven't had that problem as I think about it often. I love everything that this game did. I love that it took the story to the crazy places it did. I love that it built this weird fantasy ghost town for me to play in. I loved the puzzles. I love the over the top characters, looking at you Duke. And, most importantly, I think that it is the most fun Resident Evil to play. It may not be my favorite Resident Evil, but it is damn close.

#2 - Before Your Eyes

If you told me that they made a game that you control entirely by blinking, I would have thought it a gimmick. And while this is a game you control by blinking, Before Your Eyes is so much more than that. The journey you are taken on, reliving a life through the eyes of a soul bound for the afterlife, is incredible. What was initially thought of as a gimmick became a natural extension of my gaming abilities. Blinking was no longer a subconscious physical act but a conscious decision that I was struggling to control. I was trying so hard to blink so I didn't miss a moment and then, bam, I was onto the next scene. This game, more than any other I've ever played, is so effective at accomplishing what it sets out to do. It also has one of the best endings in any game, ever. This game is another example that video games allow for the most creative and effective forms of story telling. It is, quite simply, a beautiful experience.

#1 - Scarlet Nexus

Never underestimate my love of Anime bullshit. And Scarlet Nexus is the BEST kind of Anime bullshit. Bandai-Namco has been killing it lately and Scarlet Nexus is the best example of what new heights can be reached when they allow their creativity to run wild. This game has a compelling narrative that seems melodramatic at first, but quickly evolves into one of the most effective stories of the year. The story of these OSF cadets and their personal relationships budges into Persona-like territory, where your relationships off the battlefield determine your chemistry on the battlefield. Uncovering the nature of the "Others" and the rift in the sky known as the Extinction Belt becomes secondary to just getting to know your party and their powers. You get brain points, yes BRAIN POINTS, that you use to LITERALLY UPGRADE YOUR BRAIN. The combat is glorious, marrying the best parts of Devil May Cry and Astral Chain. The enemy designs are absolutely bonkers off the wall gorgeous. The will they/wont they relationship of Kasane and Yuito is incredible. The visuals are stunning, absolutely glorious on the next gen consoles. It is as if someone nested inside my brain to find out what type of game would make me happy, and then they made Scarlet Nexus. It is, without a doubt, my favorite game of the year.

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