This guest list is brought to you by former Fanbyte production intern and The Sims lover Jae, who worked with us during the summer of 2021. Love you, Jae!
It’s crazy to imagine that we’re already wrapping up 2021. In just a few days, we will enter 2022 — a new year of all-new (and some old) games to experience. I want to point out that this list of games I played this year may contain spoilers, however, so if you see anything you plan on playing, I suggest skipping over those. But while we still have some time left in 2021, here is my GOTY list.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Although I played a lot of games this year, none really took first place like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. But what really made that game number one for me was sound design. My God, the way the sound tries to capture psychosis (a theme prevalent throughout the game as the protagonist suffers from the condition).
I’m someone who thoroughly enjoys horror games. but this one was pretty unnerving for me. To have voices spatially appear left, right, and behind you throughout the entire game — only to find out those were your voices all along.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Besides Hellblade, Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla surprisingly became my second most-played game of the year. This is in no way, shape, or form condoning the behavior for which Ubisoft executives have been under massive fire lately. My experience with the game actually started prior to reports of sexual misconduct became public. I truly love open world games, though. I’m a big fan of Red Dead and Grand Theft Auto. There are just endless possibilities with copious amounts of gameplay and new missions, often via DLC. It’s just a game that you can pick up and mindlessly play. I think that’s what I enjoyed about it. I mean, the Assassin‘s Creed storyline has become entirely too convoluted since Ezio‘s era, but I won’t get into that right now…
The Sims Medieval
Now who would I be if I didn’t throw The Sims a spot. Let’s spice it up a bit, though. I’m pinning down the The Sims Medieval, specifically, this time around. This spinoff comes from The Sims 3 era, but it was so unique and different from general Sims gameplay. You had several scenarios you could play as multiple characters. I mean, you could design your character so you could be a queen, a mage, or healers — the list goes on and on. You’d collect herbs and minerals to create poultices as a healer, for instance, and perform surgery on other Sims in little mini-games. The concept was just cool and unique to the game overall. And so, during quarantine, I rediscovered the pack and The Sims (while my Mac would still play 32-bit games to be played…). Since then, I’ve unfortunately had to move The Sims back to my PC (because Apple sucks).
This game alone needs no introduction. It was recommended to me by one of my good friends, after I complained to her that I needed more games on my new Switch. Geez Louise, people, I couldn’t put it down. What really drew me in immediately was the obvious influence of Greek mythology. I am such a nerd for all that stuff and seeing the relationships of the gods played out like that was a win. The power-ups, or “boons,” gifted by the various gods were also sick because they were themed according to those gods that granted them. My favorites were from Poseidon, Artemis, and Apollo (I’m a big dasher, you see).
Kingdom Hearts 3
When I tell you that I waited 14 years for this game to come out, know that I was ever-so-impatient to play it the entire time. When I finally played Kingdom Hearts 3, I was living with my boyfriend. Playing Kingdom Hearts together became a couple’s bonding moment. The storyline, in my opinion was okay. It didn’t get good until you got to Arendale (the world of Frozen). It was so cool to finally see a Pixar movie (Toy Story) featured in Kingdom Hearts! Issues arose when, because we thought we were all that, we played the game in “critical mode” (the hardest difficulty). Now you might be asking “Jae, what were you thinking?” Well! Let me be the first to say how dang easy the lower levels are in terms of combat. But with critical… I can’t count the number of times me and my partner chucked our controllers because of the difficulty.
Story Of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town
This game is the freaking definition of kawaii. I also play Animal Crossing, but I wanted something a bit more structured and story-based. I bought the game on a mere whim but immediately fell in LOVE, people. It ended up being more dynamic than I anticipated — with relationships built between the townsfolk, deep lore, and interesting spirits (themed after forests, water, lava, etc). I was pleasantly surprised at how “magical” it ended up being.
Humankind was a nicer version of Civilization (and this is coming from a major Civilization Revolution fan from 2008). The research system was a bit friendlier for me, yet strategic. I learned new terrain and how to navigate building multiple, functioning cities. The Religion and Government functions were straightforward. I really enjoyed the graphics and art pieces of the game, even though the combat took me a bit to get used to.
I’m basically throwing this on here as a joke, but 12 Minutes? This game was a fucking trip. To be honest with you I didn’t even finish it. But it was a fun experience because me and my boyfriend had a blast trying to figure out the puzzles (which were kind of stupid to begin with). Can someone explain to me what kind of Game of Thrones incestuous narrative ending this game came to? You end up marrying your half-sister? Because her father had an affair with your mother, who was a nurse…? I won’t even get into any of it. I’m only doing this here because it made me and my boyfriend love/hate each other just a little bit more.