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DualShockers' Favorite Games of 2021 - Dean's Top 10

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They may not be the 10 best games this year, but they are my favorites!

December 22, 2021

2021 was once again another year of many ups and downs for everyone trying to adjust to the current landscape of the world. Naturally, for me, gaming served as an excellent getaway from that outside world and with it came a number of great games that I have narrowed down into my personal top 10 list for the year.

This year was a bit of a strange year in gaming for me, as I felt like I ended up missing out entirely on some of the year’s biggest releases for one reason for another. For most years I would have likely had games like Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, or Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on my list, but I ended up missing out on them entirely.

That means that this list could very well change once I do get to games like that, but I chose to focus exclusively on titles I finished entirely or at least the majority of for this list. That is the reason New Pokemon Snap is not on my list, as I haven’t played as much of it as I would have liked to yet. After much internal debate, these are my top 10 games of 2021.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy | Do the Thing Trailer

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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy | Do the Thing Trailer
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10. No More Heroes 3

Once thought to be a game we’d probably never see, No More Heroes 3 was finally released this past August exclusively for Nintendo Switch. While the game did have some flaws, it was very much what you’d expect from No More Heroes.

The combat was fluid and a lot of fun, with lots of new mechanics that had not been in the series in the past. You also expect an over-the-top story as well and Suda 51 does not disappoint, with an outrageous and hilarious story for you to enjoy.

If you want to learn more, make sure to check out DualShockers’ review right here!

9. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

The Ace Attorney series to date has always featured a modern setting in the western releases, but the Great Ace Attorney prequels set during the late 19th century and early 20th century were once thought to never make their way outside of Japan.

That finally changed this year with the release of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, which offered one of the best continuous stories in the series across the three games, as well as providing some really intriguing mysteries to solve. Also, how can you not enjoy having side characters like Herlock Sholmes that are clearly a parody of the famous Sherlock Holmes?

8. Monster Hunter Rise

I will be the first one to admit that Monster Hunter has never really been my thing. I’ve played a number of the games up to this point, including Monster Hunter World, and was able to understand why people enjoyed them but failed to have any of them actually click for me.

Monster Hunter Rise was that game for me that finally clicked and I found myself addicted for a few weeks. The gameplay here was the best the series had to offer in my opinion and the map size really made things a lot of fun. I really did not expect to see a Monster Hunter game on my games of the year list at the start of 2021, but here we are.

7. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

This is a game that I was very excited for in the first place just because I wanted to have Super Mario 3D World available to play on Switch, as I thought it was one of the best Mario games out there and deserved to be on more than just the Wii U.

Nintendo took things another step further though by adding the Bowser’s Fury expansion that potentially showed up what the future of 3D Mario games could be. The open world adventure here was a blast to play, even if it was not that long of an experience overall. With the two in one package, there was no way this couldn’t be on my top games list.

6. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl

Now, this is one that may come across as a semi-controversial pick since a lot of people have been disappointed by these games, but I had a blast while playing through Pokemon Brilliant Diamond as soon as it was released last month.

It felt really nice to go back to a fairly traditional Pokemon game once again, this time with the Sinnoh region that has been a bit underrated over the years. What made the experience even better is the level scaling Grand Underground where you can continue to catch all kinds of different Pokemon at high levels as you play through the game, which adds a lot of replayability to the game.

5. Resident Evil Village

No, this game isn’t on my list because of Lady Dimitrescu, even though she was a very interesting part of the game. It’s on this list because it continued the trend of very high-quality Resident Evil games that Capcom has been giving us over the last few years.

Continuing the story of Ethan Winters, Resident Evil Village ramps up the action a bit more from RE7, while still maintaining many of the horror elements. This story goes in some wild directions that you will only find in this series, which left me very interested in where they will go from here.

To learn more about Resident Evil Village, check out DualShockers’ review right here!

4. Metroid Dread

Even after getting the Metroid II remake as Samus Returns on 3DS, the idea of Nintendo giving us a brand new 2D Metroid game felt like a pipedream. That is what made the reveal and then release of Metroid Dread all the more special this year.

Mercury Steam was able to work on their game design with Samus Returns and used that to create the spectacular Metroid Dread. The game itself is massive and has lots for you to explore, with smart power-ups that make traversing the entire map feel worth it. Adding in a solid plot and you have one of my favorite games of 2021.

3. Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade

This is a game that I very well could have put at #1 on this list due to how much I adore it as a whole package. However, I decided to drop it down a few since the majority of the game was released last year, while we got the brand new Intermission DLC and PS5 upgrade this time around.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is a stellar game that shuts down any notions that they should have remade the full game in one go rather than splitting it into parts. Getting to see the characters and world of Midgar fleshed out is a real treat and doesn’t get old after playing through it multiple times.

The Intergrade upgrade specifically was revolving around the free PS5 upgrade that made the game even better in a number of ways, while also giving us the Intermission DLC. This DLC focused on Yuffie and was a real joy to play through, giving us a decently lengthy experience and some teases for what is to come in Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 2.

2. NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139

While maybe not as surprising as Monster Hunter Rise to me, NieR Replicant being this high on this list for me is one I certainly did not see coming. I had not played the original NieR when it was released back in the day and had only seen a friend play through a bit but didn’t really think much of it.

Then I got absolutely addicted to NieR Automata when it was released on Xbox One a few years ago now. Even with that, I did not expect to love NieR Replicant as much as I did, to the point where it surpassed Automata without question for me.

The gameplay is a lot of fun and kept me entertained, but it’s the story and really how depressing the game allows itself to be that really was so engrossing to me. While the world may not have been ready for this type of story back when the original game was out, gamers are much more prepared for a game as beautifully melancholy as this and that’s why it’s so high on my favorite games of 2021 list.

1. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

This one was a tough one to decide as any of the games in my top three or four could have been #1, but I had to go with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as it’s the game I just had the most fun with this year. I’m also now realizing that my top three games on this list were Square Enix published, which is a total coincidence.

Offering one of the most well-written video game stories I’ve seen in a long time, Guardians of the Galaxy features a well-rounded cast of characters that bounce dialogue off of one another exceptionally well and even has branching story sections based on your decisions in conversation.

Even though the gameplay can get a little tedious at times, everything else props this game up to another level to where it would be worth anyone that doesn’t even care about Guardians of the Galaxy to try this one out. I’m just hoping the game manages to do well enough to get a sequel, as the stink of Marvel’s Avengers seemed to have pre-emptively tarnished this one for a lot of people.

If you want to learn more about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, take a look at DualShockers’ review right here!

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 23: Manisha Priyadarshini (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 29: Rachael Fiddis (Deputy Editor & Head of Stakeholder Relations)

December 30: Sam Woods (Managing Editor and EIC)

December 31: Game of the Year Awards 2021 Official Winners Revealed

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Dean James
@DJamesSC

Dean (He/Him) has been a lifelong gamer ever since he got a SNES as his first game system and has continued to stay passionate about gaming ever since. He has always had a soft spot for most anything Nintendo, especially related to The Legend of Zelda and Mario series. Beyond that, he loves a variety of different games across all platforms, ranging from RPGs like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts to sports titles like MLB The Show.

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