Today is New Year’s Eve for the marvelous 2021, so it is with great urgency to announce that the time is now upon us. The new year looms menacingly beyond the horizon. A future wrapped in mystery, a thought that can be overwhelming yet also filled with anticipation. My gaming journey clings to everything I hold dear for 2021. There is a portion of myself that kind of wants to stay behind. If a new year emerges, that will mean I was not able to beat the 99+ games that I have on my backlog. Oh, the horror, to imagine a new year with another great roundup of games—games that I will either not have a chance to play, or games where I will spend every waking minute thinking about them incessantly (looking at you Yakuza series) in the forefront of my puny mind.
A Brief Thought
Alas, here we all are, another year floating by on this spinning rock of ages. Technological advances seem to be increasing on an exponential curve. What used to take decades in all fields of study has now escalated to a point where each year feels like it spawns an entirely new era of evolution and knowledge. Although the world has been dealing with a harrowing pandemic for the last two years, society has also come together to solve problems and promote developments that will further human life. Throughout the year of 2021, I believe many of us continue to remain connected through our favorite interests and hobbies. In my experience this year, the most notable connection has been through the world of video games.
Your Gaming Journey 2021
Did you start your gaming journey for the first time ever this year? Were you consumed by the ethereal embrace of highly anticipated titles like Ratchet and Clank, Halo Infinite, or It Takes Two? How about coming home after a long day of work, and you glance at the stack of unplayed games—and just stare in silence? As you sit alone, an eerie whisper lingers in your ear, “Play me.” Wherever you are in your gaming journey, there’s no doubt that video games keep growing and growing—an unfortunate predicament because comparing the video game industry as a whole each year has become increasingly more difficult. I am also not one to judge the industry on the financial aspect of money. All I know is that 2021 was one hell of a ride for gaming!
On the Twitterverse, there were talks about how this year in gaming was lackluster. Lackluster is an ignorant term and I am confused because every month had a selection of solid games. Starting the year off in January, gamers were treated with Hitman 3, The Medium, and the complete remastered collection for Yakuza. Later in March, we were gifted the game of the year, It Takes Two. March also was a huge month with the addition of Harvest Moon: One World and Monster Hunter Rise. Nintendo fans had a new OLED Nintendo Switch model released in October.
If you still believe in a lackluster year, then there are plenty more titles to list. I mean, just look at Little Nightmares 2, Resident Evil Village, Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139, New Pokemon Snap, Chivalry 2, Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart, Psychonauts 2, Tales of Arise. Honestly, gamers ate really good in 2021. Do not try to lie. I know your wallet is drowning and begging you to stop lol
My Gaming Journey 2021
Video games will always be a huge passion of mine, but I can’t help but feel like I fell short this time. Sure, I played a TON of video games this year. Out of total playtime though, I believe this has been one of my weakest performances. Working full-time, taking care of my newborn daughter, socializing with friends and family, and watching a great deal of entertainment—all of these things factored into my playtime this year. My mental headspace just was not in the game, I guess. That’s probably completely normal. Curiosity got the better of me, so I went through my playlist. As I reviewed the amount of games that I played this year (tracked by achievements on Xbox, trophies on PlayStation, and by memory on the Nintendo Switch), I realized that I actually put a lot of solid time into my gaming journey for 2021.
In regards to the PS4, I only played two games: Marvel’s Avengers and Ratchet and Clank (the remake, not Rift Apart). Quite shocking but understandable as my main game console is the Xbox. I’ll get to Marvel’s Avengers shortly. As for Ratchet and Clank, it is hard to go wrong with any title in the series. No matter which game you pickup, the gameplay is always fun, characters are unique, every planet feels environmentally different, hoverboard racing can be frustrating or exhilarating, and they just immerse you so easily.
At first, I was tempted to purchase Marvel’s Avengers on Xbox due to the multiplayer aspect. I do not play the PS4 enough to justify the extra cost for PS Plus. When I checked preorder editions though, there was a mention of Spiderman being solely for PS4, so that solidified my decision. Gamers took every chance to belittle and hate Marvel’s Avengers. Nobody knew that I, the little Game Gush Gamer, was secretly enjoying it.
It was not a perfect video game, true. Was Avengers terrible? Absolutely not! I was genuinely pleased to experience the coming-of-age storyline. The utilization of a new character (not new to comics, but new to the cinematic medium) who is in awe of superheroes (like me) is just a brilliant idea. Nowadays, almost every Marvel idea is saturated with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, etc… So for me, getting to play as Ms. Marvel was a breath of fresh air. 500 peanut butter cookies awarded!
For the mighty portable hero of the Nintendo Switch, I also only played two games: Kingdom Hearts MoM and Monster Hunter Rise. I relished in Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory for a few months. Replaying all of the soundtracks filled me up with so much nostalgia to my adolescent days. Kingdom Hearts is a series bonded to me from my childhood and I will play every single one of them until I die haha
Monster Hunter Rise rallied excitement for the hunt. I do admit coming off of Monster Hunter World with beautiful detailed monsters to the downgraded Switch graphics for Rise had stifled my playability. I am also a charge blade main which was heavily buffed for World, but a little downgraded for Rise. Hunting horn is my secondary main so I switched to HH on Rise since it was vastly improved upon.
Xbox One / Xbox Series X
I grew nervous looking back through my Xbox achievements. And then I realized I had played many more games than I originally thought. So much, in fact, that it turned out to be well over 50 games. Since I definitely don’t want to bore you by listing them all, I’ll talk about a few of my favorites. Note that these are games I played this year, and may not be games that physically released this year. Let my Xbox Gaming Journey 2021 begin!!
My first 100% achievement completion of 2021. Adios was a spectacular indie game about a rancher whose wife had recently passed away. He worked for the mob, allowing them to dispose of certain “evidence” by feeding “evidence” to the hogs. Over the course of the story, you learn the rancher’s son has moved away and resents him, he’s tired of being lonely, and he’s tired of working for the mob. No more spoilers, but if you haven’t played Adios, I highly recommend it.
An emotional rollercoaster, this one. Highly relatable for anyone who has lost a loved one or maybe grown apart from a dear friend. In Spiritfarer, you befriend wonderful creatures who teach you many different skills and who provide guidance to being the Spiritfarer. One moment, you are having so much fun and learning everything about your best friend. And the next thing you know, you are bawling your eyes out because it is time to say goodbye. The hardest lesson to learn here is the bittersweet taste of letting go. Honestly, Spiritfarer is one of the most fascinating games I have ever played.
Yakuza Like A Dragon
Another 100% completion! The entire achievement hunt took 75-ish hours! Yakuza Like A Dragon is probably in my top 5 video games of all time too. Voice acting-100% combat-100% side quests-100% graphics-100% story-100% endgame content-an angry 110%. You know, many fans were torn because it was the first major change to the series. Not only was the main character, Kasuga Ichiban, a completely new face to the 7 previous titles, but the combat style also converted from third person action brawler to revamped turn-based RPG.
Oh man, the one thing I still can not believe is that one of the most addicting mini games in all of existence is in Yakuza Like A Dragon. I have spent more than 50% (exaggeration but still a hefty slice) of my play time on business management! If you enjoyed the Gwent mini game from the Witcher 3, then there is a huge bet you’d love the business management simulator on Yakuza. My apologies, I would talk about this all day, but I must move on before the New Year arrives. The last thing I’ll say is that the True Final Millennium Tower was a pain in the freaking 🤬🤬🤬 lmao but worth it!
- Going Under
- Raji: An Ancient Epic
- Last Stop
- Dodgeball Academia
- Lost Words Beyond the Page
- Twelve Minutes
- Destroy All Humans
- Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator
- Harvest Moon One World
- Forza Horizon 5
- Starlink: Battle for Atlas
- Ring of Pain
- Lawn Mowing Simulator
- The Gunk
Game of the Year
Without a doubt, hands down, Psychonauts 2 is my GOTY! The first level on its own has enough magical prowess to seduce you for the long haul. If you can honestly get through the prologue and tell me you have no inkling to continue, I may go into a coma. Just kidding, I understand if anyone doesn’t enjoy a game for whatever reason. This one just felt so good to play. Delightfully, I was entranced from start to finish and I feel bad because I never actually played the first one.
Psychonauts 2 does a phenomenal job on a story that reflects on the horror of our own thoughts. A story that helps visualize how our brains may crack due to trauma. I am not providing any details because I want you to experience this game for yourself in it’s entirety. I’m glad this was apart of my gaming journey in 2021. Please, enjoy Psychonauts 2 if you are wondering what game to buy next!
New Year Resolution (Maybe?)
With great sadness, I realize now there are so many games I could have blogged about here at Game Gush Gamer this year. Life seemed to overrun my need to write. Moving forward, I will do my best to not be discouraged to write about what I play. Hell, I may even stretch my blog into Netflix shows and other nerd topics just because I love them. You’ll almost never hear me say that I believe something is bad. Maybe I’m too positive or optimistic about creativity. Who knows?
Happy New Year, Friends and Gamers!
And with that, Happy New Year, friends and gamers! Let’s make 2022 another fantastic year to explore our passions. May your gaming journey be as frivolous and fun as I anticipate mine to be! See you later, cookies.