Fire Emblem: Three Houses
The way the off-days are spent is a bit Persona-like, but I don’t consider it a bad thing when mixing elements from two of my all-time favorite franchises together. The branching story and the way you can develop your characters adds significant replay value, and the presentation and story are all top-notch and make diving back into this RPG/Tactics/Simulation game an absolute joy. Easily my most heavily played game of the year.
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Crowning one title over another over the course of the year takes a lot to do. With plenty of excellent choices both mechanically and narratively, Square and Omega Force’s second entry into the Builders universe just stole the show for me. Having made plenty of strides from the first Builders title, the world building of Dragon Quest Builders 2 just felt easy to get into, pick up and drop when needed and above everything else in class, easy to fix mistakes with both early and late game tools. Adding in a whopping RPG story worthy of the title Dragon Quest? Dragon Quest Builders 2 is something that I still have yet to put down.
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw
What is perhaps one of the best space games of all time, Double Damage outdid itself with Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, so much so that I do not know if they would be able to top it. From the utterly fantastic music and sound design to the gorgeous Cowboy Bebop-feeling ships, to what is easily the most comprehensive and detail ship customizer in existence, Rebel Galaxy has it all. On top of that? Stunning story, great voice acting, and an open universe that allows you to live out your wild west space cowboy fantasies. It is literally perfect.
Whispers of a Machine
Those of you that read my review of Whisper of a Machine would know that I absolutely adore the game. It is an indie point and click mystery game that has you playing an augmented human detective named Vera. Throughout gameplay, as players make decisions on how to approach situations, their will gain additional augmentations that correspond to their playstyle. I found Whispers of a Machine fascinating because it follows Norse mythology for those augmentation paths and it made me question my own beliefs about my beliefs on AI. It is a fantastic indie that I highly recommend to any gamer that loves a mystery with some twists.
Monster Hunter Iceborne
If you were to ask me how much time I’ve put into the monster hunter franchise as a whole, would have to say well over 4,000 hours. Yes, that number is accurate, no, I don’t regret it. The iceborne expansion is exactly what I needed from monster hunter world. It brought in g rank (or master rank now), I got my favourite creature the zinogre back, and it’s been all around a great experience, except maybe that first rajang hunt, but I expect those to go poorly by this point.
Resident Evil 2
I gotta say this is one of those remakes where I’ve gotta give it a nice, slow, appreciative, clap. RE2 was the first game that plunged me into my fear of zombies as a child, but now that fear is my motivator. I was able to use that adrenaline to push through and I came out with one of the best horror game experiences in a while.