GamesBeat news writer Rachel Kaser’s favorite games of 2021

If you’ve heard of the 231st episode of GamesBeat Decides, you already know what my choices are. I explained my thought process somewhat in that show, but I want to expand it here.

As for my personal list, I don’t want to throw back the same list that the Gamesbeat team released earlier this month. So the games on this list are the ones that gave me the most fun this year, not necessarily the most technically exceptional ones. 2021 was a tough year, and if I made it through the game, it should be special.

It's not Phoenix Wright, but I still like it.
It’s not Phoenix Wright, but I still like it.

I’m a big fan of Ace Attorney for starters, so I was excited for it just before The Great S Attorney Chronicles launched. It scratches my two itchs: mystery and historical literature. Getting both with special S Attorney Flair – Banadar defense lawyers, provocative prosecutors and most Extra The characters on the side never – that was all I wanted.

I agree with Mike, who takes a while to steam the game (ironically), but when he’s in full S Attorney swing, it’s a lot of fun. I enjoy the inclusion of a Sherlock Holmes-affiliated character, especially since it’s as shocking for the hero Runosuk as I imagine it would be for anyone named Watson. There is also surprising depth in the mysteries and story, which touches on issues of racism and xenophobia.


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Nice family
Nice family

I have already honored the village in my year-end awards, in which I have to admit that it is not perfect, though it is memorable. But I didn’t need it to be perfect – I needed it to be Resident Evil. While Village Capcom revisits some of the biggest hits in the series – RE4’s gothic European setting, RE7’s gameplay, RE2 remake’s villain design – I can’t say I mind. I enjoyed all those games, just as I enjoyed the village.

There’s something about the On-Form Resident Evil game that really hooks me up. He may not be doing everything right, but he presents even his most ridiculous thoughts and conspiracies with such confidence and passion. Despite the occasional stumbling or unexpected appearance by Chris Redfield, that’s enough for me to play to the end.

Ratchet and Clink: Rift apart
Ratchet and Klank: Rift Apart is going to define the PS5 generation.

When Rift Apart was first announced, the main focus was on how it would test the limitations of the PlayStation 5 SSD. Before I played the game, I couldn’t tell you anything about the story except that it had a female Lombax and another universe. Once I booted it up and started playing, I was having so much fun that the last thing I noticed was the lack of loading time. The game is fun, easy to play, very charming and simple.

Rift Apart seems like a return to the easy times for me – my PS2-era Spy The Dragon days, when I would explore lava level or jungle level in every game. For the record, Rift Apart has both. The game also experimentes with a variety of level designs, with one level being funny-but-clumsy for alien isolation. It has its drawbacks: I still say that the rivet needs a different gameplay than the ratchet. But 2021 was a rough year, and if I had cared enough about the game to see it through to the end, it must be doing something right.

Life is weird: true colors
Life is Strange: True Colors Alex Chen.

I haven’t been a fan of Life Before Strange titles before. I admired what they were trying to do – and God knows there aren’t enough video games to explore the ordeal of being a teenage girl. But something dishonest sounded about them. I personally blame the dialogue. Then comes True Colors and it does everything that the first game did, but much better. Alex Chen is a delightful character, dealing with a whole cadre of personal monsters with empathy and support for those around him. You like to watch it.

I love adventure sports and small-town secrets, so the combination of the two was already a tick in the pro column for me. True Colors is an excellent example of the latter style, with each person having secrets and intricate inner life. Like almost all the other titles on this list, it’s not a complicated or lengthy game. But he does what needs to be done right and well and he brings a smile to my face.

While I enjoy a vast open world, or the smoggasboard of enemies to kill, I enjoy more games that can give me the perfect experience without the need for much fanfare and padding. Unpacking manages to tell a complete, dynamic story with very little text, no dialogue and only a brief look at the characters on screen. Instead, it tells you about the characters through their medium ContentWhile playing, I had George Carlin’s monologue about “stuff”: “Your house is just a heap of stuff and a cover over it.”

Unpacking is complete without feeling short, relaxes without getting bored, and goes deep without padding. No, it will not pump your blood or test your hand-eye coordination limits. But in 2021 I invested more in the life and problems of the anonymous main character than anything I have ever played. Unpacking is a very specific type of sport and achieves it almost completely.

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