This year is coming to an end, and unlike other years, I haven’t quite played any game this year that could take the place some of my favorite titles of all time.
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And so, I went back to some of my favorites, and discovered some titles from the year before in 2021. While it’d be quite surprising to see not a single title in 2021 making the cut, I do believe that we had a lot of good releases delayed from this year due to the pandemic. Nonetheless, here are the top 10 games I played this year.
DualShockers’ Favorite Games of 2021 – Md’s Top 10
10. Rocket League
I have had quite a love-hate relationship with Rocket League, but it is one such game that has been my constant over the years. My experience with Rocket League is probably the epitome of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Unlike other eSports games out there, Rocket League is one such game wherein you don’t see improvements on a daily basis, but you will still come back to it.
The revenue model of the game has changed quite a bit after the Epic Games acquisition but its popularity has risen considerably after it became free to play. With the rate at which it’s growing, Rocket League could soon get ahead of many other eSports titles out there.
9. Pokemon Sword and Shield
I hadn’t played a Pokemon game in years after I lost my 3DS, and the first game I picked up after getting a Switch was Pokemon Sword and Shield. A number of franchises have actually deteriorated or changed their direction altogether, but with Sword and Shield, I got the perfect experience of playing a Pokemon game, along with the added flairs of better visuals, mechanics, and gameplay.
What I loved about Sword and Shield is that it just cuts down some of the useless busywork from the Pokemon titles. Definitely, using Fly, in the beginning, was quite fun in the previous titles, but over time, it gets quite boring, and the developers did an excellent job of omitting these things. Even the DLCs have done an excellent job of providing a fulfilling experience, and it is one of the very few games I wouldn’t mind playing all over again.
8. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Now I have been a diehard Assassin’s Creed fan since the first game of the franchise was released. In fact, it was the trailer of Assassin’s Creed 1 that compelled me to buy a gaming PC. However, I kind of lost my connection with the franchise after it took a new direction with Origins. I tried to get into Origins and Odyssey a number of times but I just couldn’t.
However, that changed with Valhalla. Let’s be real, if you are looking for an Assassin’s Creed game, you are not going to get it from Origins onwards. However, if you look at Valhalla as a standalone game, it just excels in quite a number of departments. There are still some pacing issues and the game does feel slightly dragged, but apart from that, the Norse mythology has been excellently integrated into the game. All in all, it has rekindled my interest in Assassin’s Creed franchise, something which Origins and Odyssey couldn’t do.
7. Immortals Fenyx Rising
Ubisoft comes under the scanner a lot for its reused open-world formula and how it draws from other games, but Immortals Fenyx Rising is one such game that has managed to stand out despite facing both of these hurdles. Many consider the game as a Zelda clone, but it does have enough unique elements to stand out on its own. What I personally loved about Immortals Fenyx Rising was the narrative, which manages to add quite a unique touch to the game.
6. Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice
This game has a special place in my heart because it marked the beginning of my journey as a video game journalist. The first ever article I wrote was a review of this game, and I revisited it this year after the ray tracing update. Even after three years of its launch, Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice still boasts certain elements which come close to none. The way the developers have managed to build the entire atmosphere of the game via the sound and environment is something many AAA titles fail to do. The sequel is hands down one of my most anticipated games.
5. Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales
All of us might be aware of the various controversies Marvel’s Spider-Man was surrounded with at launch, especially the puddle one. It might be quite debatable, but I truly believe that the Spider-Man franchise has dethroned the Arkham games from the pedestal of the superhero genre. There is barely any aspect in which the game falters, and the same can be said for Miles Morales as well.
While it is just sort of a filler between the actual sequel to the first game, it still manages to deliver on all fronts. Swinging in NYC is still one of the most fulfilling experiences you will ever have, and Miles’ cool new powers makes the combat even more exciting.
4. Mafia: Definitive Edition
In the past couple of years, my game time has dwindled significantly, and if a game doesn’t appeal to me in the first couple of hours or so, in all probability, it will be going into my backlog and I will never be touching it again. When I got my hands on Mafia earlier this year, I wasn’t expecting anything great, although I had heard quite a lot of good things about the game when I was a kid.
However, the game managed to keep me hooked for its entirety. It’s one thing to remake a game and it is totally another to build a remake of Mafia’s standards. The controls, the mechanics, and literally every aspect of the game feels like a modern day AAA title, and still the game manages to stay true to its core premise. It is hands down one of the best remakes ever.
3. The Witcher 3
If there is one game that I go back to every year, its Witcher 3. For me, it is my all time best, and even several years after launch, I am yet to play a game that can take the place which this game has in my memory. In fact, even if I keep the main game aside, the DLCs on itself are better than most games that have come out recently. I might be sounding like a biased fanboy here, and while I accept the issues the combat has, I still believe it is the best all-rounded game of all time. Period.
I have a strong inclination towards fast paced games, and while I love narrative heavy games, at times it is quite fascinating to play a game that doesn’t emphasize that much on the narrative. Ghostrunner is one such game that just got me hooked from the go. It is one of the most gratifying experiences you will have while playing the game, and getting past each platforming segment is just a treat. Most of the game is just pattern recognition, but the fact that there are multiple ways to get it right is what makes it so unique. With a sequel already in the works, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next game in the franchise.
1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
While I definitely love the Soulsborne genre, I kind of feel at times that the combat and gameplay in Dark Souls and Bloodborne is a tad too slow as per my liking. With Sekiro, all those issues are mitigated and it turns out to be a perfect Soulsborne game for people who are looking for faster gameplay.
Many believe that Sekiro is even tougher than the Dark Souls games, but I think it has more emphasis on muscle memory than the other games out there. The reason for that is that it relies heavily on the parries, and once you have got the muscle memory right for that, you know nothing can beat the sense of reward of a beating a Soulsborne game, right?
Check out the rest of DualShocker’s staff Top 10 lists below and our Offical Game of the Year Awards winners:
December 20: Jo Craig (Staff Writer)
December 21: Natalie Schmidt (Freelance Writer)
December 22: Dean James (Freelance Staff Writer)
December 24: Kyle Knight ( Staff Writer)
December 25: Shivam Gulati (Senior Staff Writer)
December 26: Mehrdad Khayyat (Senior Staff Writer)
December 27: Md Armughanuddin (Head of Content- India)
December 28: Iyane Agossah (Head of Japanese Content)
December 30: Sam Woods (Managing Editor and EIC)
December 31: Game of the Year Awards 2021 Official Winners Revealed
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