My Games of 2021

Ugh. What year is it? 2021 is over, so now I can talk about the games I played throughout the year. I was originally going to rank the games that I came out in 2021 that I played, but I ended up playing a lot of uninteresting titles. If you want me to talk more about Mario Golf: Super Rush again I can try, but that was already a struggle previously. So, this year I am going to shake things up and talk about my top ten favorite games that I finished this year. There is a good mix of new and old titles in here and it makes for a more interesting write for me. To give you an idea of how slow I am with things, here are two honorable mention list with games I wanted to play and games I started but haven’t finished.

Games Released in 2021 That I Had Interest Playing, But I Never Bought

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny
Pac-Man 99
Poison Control
Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139…
Resident Evil: Village
Chivalry 2
Cris Tales
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir
Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
Legend of Mana (Remake)
Pokemon Unite
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
Psychonauts 2
No More Heroes III
Sonic Colors: Ultimate
WarioWare: Get It Together!
Cruis’n Blast
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Metroid Dread
Far Cry 6
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles
Voice of Cards: The Isle of Dragon Roars
Forza Horizon 5
Dungeon Encounters
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (For the lols)
Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX
Super Robot Wars 30
Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator

Games That Came Out In 2021 That I Played, But Didn’t Finish

Persona 5 Strikers
Bravely Default 2
New Pokemon Snap
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
Scarlet Nexus
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition
Back 4 Blood
Shin Megami Tensei V
Yu Gi Oh! RUSH DUEL: Dawn of the Battle Royal!!

Top Games That I Finished This Year

10. Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City

“Hie thee to the ocean city… To the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. A journey to the blue depths… To conquer the shadows of night. Though you know not what this means, you go towards Armoroad. What awaits is time’s end; death’s demise. A tempestuous dream… To push away the unfathomable dark and bring light to Armoroad… A stormy adventure begins…”

Creating my list was hard, but I knew I wanted to include this game. Etrian Odyssey III was one of the hardest games I have on the DS. My gaming knowledge was new to dungeon crawlers and understanding party compensation.10 years later, I have become an adult with a better understanding of how things work. I went from not understanding how certain abilities could be helpful to finding ways to make my party unstoppable. The mix between dungeon crawling and finding treasure out in sea made the game enjoyable for many hours. The game left such a big impression on me that I went out and got the other games in the series to slowly play through the story canon games in the series. I will report my thoughts when I finish the series twenty years from now.

9. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

The trend this year was finishing games that I’ve put off for years. I was really excited to play through this game when it first came out, but I found myself playing chunks at a time since I had started grad school at the time. Motivation went south fast when the definitive versions came out and sour my mood when I learned that you couldn’t transfer your progress to the newer, shinier version. So instead of starting all over, I chipped away at the base game and finally finished it this year. 

Dragon Quest XI is a comfort game for JRPG players. It is simple and friendly for newcomers while also engaging for series veterans. The story and setting make this an adventure worth playing while never feeling stale. There is always something to see, something to do, and challenges around every corner. I still need to finish the post game and eventually play through the definitive edition one day, but that won’t be until a while from now. I did write a post about this game back in October.

8. The World Ends With You: Final Remix / NEO: The World Ends With You

Yeah I’m cheating with this one. I couldn’t decide on which game I liked more over the other since they both have their high and low points. Ultimately I decided that if you put both together, you get a great game. The World Ends With You took me places that I wasn’t ready to go. The themes of your world ending when you refuse to live in it struck a chord that I never really thought about. It opened a new viewpoint that I was unaware of and kept the optimistic flame in me going. It’s sequel doesn’t do the theme justice, but it did deliver an improved gameplay formula that irritated me in the formal. Both games had me playing them whenever I had the free time to do it, and that’s coming from someone who ignored the original game when it came out. I am sad that NEO didn’t do well enough to Square’s expectations, but here’s hoping that the series can continue with new characters, locations, and a stronger emphasis on its theme.

7. Castlevania Advance Collection

I’m still cheating! When I learned that the Gameboy Advance Castlevania games were being rereleased, I got excited. Symphony of the Night is one of my favorite games and the advance trilogy share the same formula. While most games in the collection were better than others, I enjoyed my time playing through all four games. If you would like a more of my thoughts on the games, I wrote a post about them last month.

6. SaGa: Scarlet Grace – Ambitions

This was a surprise to me when I was looking over my options. The more I thought about this game, the more I remembered my playthrough and the adventure I went on. SaGa: Scarlet Grace has the charm and formula of a SaGa game that is also friendly for newcomers. The almost endless possibility of how your journey could play out makes finding and making decisions fun since you have to figure it out yourself (almost literally since there are not many guides). My journey with Urpina was a daunting one, but rewarding in so many ways. The other three protagonist are still waiting for me to take them on, but I am in no rush to get through theirs (especially since I started playing other games in the series). I wrote about my experience with the game back in August, so you can get the full read there.

5. Xenoblade Chronicles

The award for the game that took the longest time for me to beat this year goes to Xenoblade Chronicles. In hindsight, I could have finished this game a long time ago, but similar to Etrian Odyssey, my dumb young brain didn’t understand how to play the game logically. Xenoblade mimics a MMO game style where understanding how abilities and status modifiers matter. Once I understood this, the game became much more enjoyable to play and finish. It was a bit bittersweet to finally cross this game off my list since I was really feeling it. My advice if you want to play the game is to get the definitive edition on Switch. It is a really good game and worth playing. And yes, I did write about it as well as part of Love Your Backlog month.

4. Dark Souls Remastered

This is one of my proudest gaming achievements. I had no intention of finishing this game anytime soon, but the more I played and got into it, I was determined to see it through. I’m glad I did since the reward was definitely worth it and I felt accomplished. The original Dark Souls may not be my personal favorite out of the series, but it is now the one I am most comfortable with. There are parts in this game that I dread doing again, but I’m not afraid of facing them anymore. It is somber that I finally get to cross this off my list, but with other games in the series to keep me busy for the next four to nine years, I think the experience will make me a better player.

3. It Takes Two

There is a reason why this game won Game of the Year. It is a well-developed game. I played this with Kat the entire way though to the point where we couldn’t stop playing it. Everything felt well designed from the locations to gameplay to how everything relied on how cooperative you and your partner had to be. The story still irks me in several places, but certain moments make it up for being heartbreaking or hilarious depending on the type of person you are. I wish the game had more to do after the campaign since Kat and I were eager for more. If Hazelight Studios can expand on this gameplay and create something more inline with this, then it would be an instant buy from me.

2. Monster Hunter Rise

A new year, a new Monster Hunter game to play through. For me personally, I enjoyed Rise way more than I did with World. Rise fixed a lot of my personal issues with scaling down the bloated environment and making them smaller and more interesting. I like exploring the maps in Rise since there are things to discover like artifacts from the previous era and remnants of epic battles. My favorite is the Frost Islands where you can explore a destroyed ship and follow the skeletal remains of the monster it was fighting throughout the entire map. It’s details like this that I wish existed in World to make my time getting lost more interesting.

Besides the map, the mobility and how fast the game plays now made for interesting hunts. The Wire Bugs are one of my new favorite additions to the series and offers a lot of elements in and out of battles. I felt “meh” at first with the Wyvern Riding mechanic at first, but once I figured out how take advantage with the controls, it became fun to use. Rampage quest are still a struggle for me. The idea is to have multiple people with you during them, but my lonely self had a hard time maintaining everything that was going on. They do present a nice change of pace and strategy, but it does feel like it was meant to be played with others.

Other than that, the new monsters introduced had their fun gimmicks and quirks. I thought the Magnamola would be a pushover since I had no real difficulty up to it, but it quickly put me in my place when it decided to fly all of a sudden. The two new elder dragons are no pushovers either since they utilize Rise’s gameplay and your understanding of them. They are neat fights and made me say a swear or five. Outside of all of that, I’m happy Rise brought back interesting and creative designs for weapons and armor. It was something I was missing and happy to have back.

I never did write a post on Rise for one reason or another, but there is a lot that I can talk about. I originally didn’t have this game high on my list, but after replaying it this month, I feel in love with it all over again. On the fence if I might double dip and get the PC version when it comes out. I may actually finish Sunbreak when it comes out. The offer still stands if anyone wants to play online.

1. Tales of Arise

Tales of Arise is not a perfect game. If I had to rank it with the rest of the series, I would put it as maybe my fourth or fifth personal favorite. The game has a lot of good qualities in it, but there are glaring issues that hold it back from being up there for me like Symphonia and Vesperia. So why is it my number one game this year? From beginning to end, I could not stop thinking about this game. I wanted to explore everything this game offered and complete each difficult challenge that was available. I tend to avoid doing ridicules challenges in Tales of games, but Arise kept me engaged throughout. I didn’t find the characters annoying outside of battle and their struggles kept me invested. Even though I felt the story wasn’t on par with other titles, it did through me off guard at times and only decided to get complicated at the last minute.

Even as I write this, I still find it hard to explain why this was my favorite game I played and finished this year. There is something to say here about acknowledging all the faults it has while still finding some enjoyment out of it. I may never write about this game because I can never find the true words that I want to say. The best I have is that it is good despite its flaws. Rather that is good or bad is left to the individual. All I know is that Arise was my favorite game that I finished and completed this year.

So that’s all I got. Sorry if it is not the follow-up from last year’s presentation, but there wasn’t a lot of excitement from my gaming bubble. Let me know what some of your favorite games were this year that you finished.

My Current Top 100 Games! (Minus 90 of Them)

If my math is correct, this post should be my 100th post here on Tales From The Backlog. I am surprised just like you all that I am here to celebrate this occasion. I already surpassed 100 follows on the blog a while ago, but I didn’t do anything at the time to commemorate it or anything. With this, I thought it would be a bit more special to do something for the one hundredth post on here. I do want to thank all of you who enjoy reading my random posts on video games and whatnot. Hopefully I can keep on doing it for a while longer and continue to grow.

As the title suggests, I was going to share my top 100 games, but quickly realized how hard that was. I got stuck around 50ish games until I gave up on that list. So instead I am cutting that number down by 90% and sharing with you my top 10 games instead. If I make it to my 200th post then I will share ten more with you, and by the time I get to my 1000th post you will have my full list. Picking your top 10 is never an easy tasks since you have to decide and debate what your favorite games might be out of all the possibilities that you may have. As someone who has played a lot of games, it is hard to narrow down the list and declare just 10 of them as your favorite. After time and consideration, I have narrowed down what I consider my current top 10 games of all time. This list will probably change over time as long as new games keep coming out. But where ever they may fall in the future, these games will have a special place within my collection.

10. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I-IV

This has become one of my new favorite series in the past few years. I randomly picked the first game up in 2018, but didn’t play it until the following year. The story in this series instantly hooked me with its insane plot twists and well thought out characters and their development. The only downside of this series is that it takes a lot of time to get through each game with this story connecting to others in the series; Sky with 3 games, Crossbell with Zero and Azure, Cold Steel with 4 games, Hajimari no Kiseki that came out last year, and now Kuro no Kiseki that comes out this year. That is a lot to commit to one series, but one that I will get to over the years.

Besides the story, there is a lot of variety when it comes to customizing your character’s skills. Each character has a Master Quartz attached to them that can be leveled up to unlock skills and raise stats (you can equip two at a time in later games). Along with that, regular quartz can be attached to each character to give them extra stat boosts, magic, and special benefits. It works almost like the materia system from Final Fantasy VII. Even though some characters have specific strengths in one area, it is nice that you have to option to outfit characters with a healing spell just in case you need it. It is a fun system to hunt down quartz that can strengthen your character’s build and it is one of my highlights.

The writer’s paid close attention to the story and nothing feels out of place or left unsolved. Everything connects throughout the events of the story even though an answer to a question doesn’t come up until the end of each game. Every character has their own development that’s continues to grow in each title. Even background characters have their own progression and story that doesn’t need to be there, but it is there if you want to learn more about them (or are going for the achievement). It makes the entire saga feel like a living world where characters not important to the plot may have connections with others characters and the overall world. It is a little frustrating to hunt all of these character notes and missing one feels like a let down, but it is worth it to get a sense of everyone’s struggles and viewpoints with all the events happening.

As of writing this, I am on part 4 of Trails of Cold Steel. I had to take a break from the series since I will spend over almost 100 hours on my first playthrough. I will finish it by the end of the year and cry my eyes out like I have for every ending in these games. I do have the Trails in the Sky games ready to go next, and I’m still up in the air if I want to play Azure and Zero. If JRPGs with good storytelling, attention to detail, excellent battle mechanics, and waifus all over the place, then I highly recommend giving these games a chance.

9. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons

When asked what your favorite Zelda game is, most people will go with one of the console Zelda titles (Link to the Past, Ocarina, Majora’s, Wind Waker, Breath of Wild). For me personally, I love the Oracle games in the series. If I had to pick one out of the two, it would probably be Seasons since it is the one that I had as a kid (wouldn’t play Ages until it came out on the 3DS Virtual Console). These games are just fun and have a lot of creative tools and mechanics that aren’t used in other Zelda games.

Each game focuses on a different aspect of the Legend of Zelda series. Ages focuses more on the puzzle elements of the series, while Seasons has a lot of combat areas in it. This doesn’t mean that each version is lacking the other element. Both games are great in their own merit and present a great Zelda title when played together.

Speaking of which, this is the only Zelda title that has two different version that you can link up for one super adventure. After you finish one title, you can transfer your save data via a password and continue your adventure in the other game. You won’t be able to bring over items, but you can transfer rings that you collect to help you in the next game. If you finish the second game with your save data, you will be able to unlock the true ending and face off against feral Ganon to bring the story to a close.

What makes me like these titles over the other Zelda games is the presentation of the games. I like the 2D top down Zelda titles over their 3D counterparts. The changing of the seasons mechanic is one of my favorite puzzle elements in a Zelda game, and I wish they would bring it back (they keep bringing time travel and passing between worlds). The dungeons are always fun to do, and the items that you get can be used in creative ways. If these games ever got the same treatment like Link’s Awakening did, I would be all over those (even though I have a soft spot for the Game Boy ascetic.

8. Star Fox 64

In space, no one can hear you scream. They instead can hear a space bunny tell you to do a barrel roll in your versatile aircraft machine. Star Fox 64 is one of those games that I played as a kid, but didn’t start to enjoy it until my later years. There is something fun about this rail shooter is fun to play over and over.

Star Fox 64 is not a long game or difficult. You shoot down baddies in each stage and fight a boss at the end. The replayability comes from exploring each route in the game since you can only follow a certain path based on what you did in the previous stage. You want to go to Sector X instead of the Asteroid Belt? Then I hope you knew that you had to fly under the arches in Cornelia to trigger the event to change paths. Each mission will result in a “Mission Accomplish” or “Mission Complete.” Mission Accomplish means that you did the right thing to continue on the path for the “good” ending. Mission Complete means that you completed your mission, but you missed something to finish your true goal. There is no road to a bad ending, so there is nothing to get discourage if you don’t get the true ending. Sometimes, it’s just fun to play the other areas if you are tired of trying to get the true ending.

Star Fox 64 is one of those comfort games that you can play and not feel stressed about anything. This is probably one of the few games that I like to play on the N64 over the 3DS version. The 3DS version polishes up all the textures in the game and looks impressive in 3D mode. There isn’t much different in the game however besides if you want to play with traditional controls or gyro motion. I prefer the abomination of the N64 controller when playing this game due in part to nostalgia.

7. Mega Man X

Possibly the first action/platformer game that I played on my own outside of Mario and Sonic. At a young age, this game should have been difficult or intimidating to me since all fast, paced games gave me anxiety. Mega Man X was different somehow that eight year old me could blast through all eight stages with no problem (playing it over and over helped a lot). The spider boss in the first part of the Sigma stage was my roadblock back then, but 20 years later and I now can finish this game in one sitting. There is a lot to love about Mega Man X from the music, stage design, and the mavericks that you fight against. I also have to thank this game for giving me the X in my user name.

There is a lot that I can say about this game since it is a perfect game in my opinion. The classic Mega Man formula is there with finding enemy weaknesses to help you greatly in their fight. What Mega Man X does differently however is having the stages be affected by ones that you complete. The lava in Flame Mammoth’s stage giving you trouble? Defeat Chill Penguin first and his stage gets frozen over in the process; making the stage easier. Defeating Storm Eagle before tackling Spark Mandrill will get rid of the electric sparks that come from the floor, but it will turn the lights off in some rooms; so it is a double edge sword in those regards. This can make for some fun replayability if you want to fight a Maverick with their stage intake or not.

The power-ups for X are great as well, even though at a young age I only got the feet and helmet upgrades. Each upgrade gives X an new ability. The feet upgrade gives him a dash which should always be the first thing you get when starting this game. The body upgrade reduces damage you can take, and the helmet can break obstacles above you. The Mega Buster upgrade that you can get by finding it or from Zero can charge your regular shot to a third level, and charge up your secondary weapons for cool new effects. You can also get a one shot Hadouken attack that make refighting the bosses a joke at times.

I enjoy watching speedruns of this game since it is easy to follow and see how other people play the game. It is one of those games that never gets boring no matter how many times you play it. Me placing it this “low” on my list doesn’t mean that the other games are better than this. It just means that at this time, this is where I would stick this game on my list. This is the oldest game on my list, and the fact that it still has a strong impression on me says a lot.

6. Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3

Back in 2014, I purchased my first PS3. The first game that I got for the system was Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3, and I never regretted that decision. The only exposure that I had to this game was playing it with a friend one day and finishing the campaign in one sitting. This was my first introduction to a musou game and I quickly learned that I am a fan of the genre. The Mobile Suit Gundam ascetic helped with that (and I’m still haven’t watched the full series).

Musou games are simple. You just plow through hordes of enemies and complete your objective. Some strategy is needed when you have to determine which areas to conquer to give yourself an advantage or to get rid of powerful enemies. There is also some challenge if you play it on the hardest difficulty where all of a sudden you feel like one of the papercraft enemies against general units. This simple repetitive motion of mowing down enemies left and right might sound boring to most, but I find it relaxing and a good way to get my stress out.

I was on the path of completing all the missions and getting the platinum trophy for this game, but my data got erased when my first PS3 died on me. It was a devastating lost for me and I have yet to go back and finish everything again. This doesn’t mean that I’m bored with the game. When I first did it, I was living at home with not much to do with my days not working, so playing this game for hours helped with passing the time and distracting my brain of worries. Maybe since I’m done with school for good, I can revisit and lose myself in the heaps of scrap metal again.

5. Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver

In my opinion, this is where the Pokémon series peeked. This was an amazing remake of Pokémon Gold and Silver on the Gameboy. Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver showed how massive a Pokémon game could be with everything from the original game plus tons of additional content to keep trainers busy for a long time. I choose SoulSilver when it came out since I was the one with the Silver version when it came out.

New features in this version included the additional story and content from Pokémon Crystal with Eugene’s quest to find Suicune, choosing between playing male or female, and more to do with the Ruins of Alpha. Surprise features included the Pokéathlon (a mini game contest area), the ability to rechallenge gym leaders on certain days, a new battle frontier, the return of the Safari Zone, and the best feature ever, having your Pokémon follow behind you. This feature isn’t locked behind a certain area or restricted to certain Pokémon, all Pokémon available in the game can follow you everywhere. If you bought the game when it came out, you also got a pedometer called the Pokéwalker included. It was a really neat pedometer that you could transfer one of your Pokémon to and walk around with them to level up, grow affection, and get neat rewards for walking around. Sadly mine meet its fate with the washing machine one day.

I could talk all day about how these versions felt like the definitive Pokémon game that people wanted for forever. The improve visuals and changes to the battle mechanics made for great battles and customizations of teams. Daily events made replaying the game fun since certain things only happened on that day. Each gym leader’s gym got some redesigns that made going through their gym interesting with their specific themes. The only downside to some of the content is that it is locked behind special items that you could only get during special events (like the Celebi event). You could trigger these events with hacking tools, but aren’t necessary unless you really want to see those events.

For me, no other Pokémon games can top these. I find myself constantly revisiting this version since I just have so much fun with it. Pokémon Silver was an important game for me when I first got it back in 2000, so having this remake brought back good memories and quality of life improvements that made this the definitive version to play. I’m not going to say Game Freak is lazy these days or incapable of creating new games in the series like this. Games need to innovate and create new things to avoid being the same concept with a different coat of paint. I’m happy that each version of Pokémon is something different so that I can go back and replay the older titles if I want to experience it again. All I am saying is that I would love for a future game to go as hard as this version did just to test my love for this game.

4. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

“What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets.” I first heard this line of dialogue just five years ago and I became hooked. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night came out in 1997, but it wasn’t until 2016 that I was able to play it. I was hooked on this game from beginning to end and was left wanting more after I finished it. The gameplay, visuals, music, and design all felt cozy and left me feeling sad that I didn’t have the opportunity to play it earlier in my life.

Symphony of the Night was the first Castlevania game to fall into the Metroidvania format. You explored Dracula’s castle from top to bottom and you would return to areas one you found powerups to help you travers the castle further. What makes Castlevania different from Metroid is the RPG element of the game. Alucard is able to level up and equip weapons and armor to help boost his stats to help him in each area of the castle. You are also able to learn spells and acquire familiars to help you along the journey. I think this is why I preferred SOTN over 2D Metroid titles since I can change up my playstyle just a little bit to make playthroughs interesting each time.

Despite loving this game, I have never 100% completed the game. I’ve never finished the Richter playthrough despite that being a whole new experience. I think I just like playing as Alucard since I have more options available to use than Richter. Nevertheless, I just love playing through this game whenever I’m in the mood to do so.

3. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

What I have come to learn is that your first Monster Hunter game is usually your favorite. Monster Hunter World introduced a lot of new players to the franchise, and will probably go down as one of everyone’s favorite in the series. Old school players will praise Monster Hunter Freedom Unite as one of the best Monster Hunter experiences out there. I’m not one of them. I was introduced to Monster Hunter with Monster Hunter Tri, but Tri is not my favorite Monster Hunter (for various reasons). My favorite (so far) is Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

Why 4U? A number of personal reasons. Monster Hunter games are not renowned for their story, but I enjoyed the story in this game. The idea of becoming the hunter for this small caravan and traveling to different locations was fun and different from just being a village monster hunter. Every new character you picked up on the caravan offered a new service for you to use like mending, crafting decorations, and cooking. It just felt like a tall of a wondering caravan who would go to places and help resolve monster issues before returning to the guild headquarters. I just enjoyed that.

Besides the story, I really enjoyed all the monsters that you fought. The Gore Magala was an interesting monster that rewarded you for being aggressive and punished you for being too cautious. Monsters affected by the Gore Magala’s virus were fun aggressive variants of themselves, and it could affect all monsters in the game. Of course there were other great monsters in this game like the Dalamadur (a snake like monster that you fought on a platform), the Seregios (a wyvern that cuts you), and the Gogmazios (an elder dragon covered in oil and a dragonator). The Gogmazios fight in particular is tied to one of my best memories in gaming that I really need to write down one day.

Outside of that, this title was the first Monster Hunter game that I really got to play with others frequently. I managed to have a group of four friends that would meet up and play through the G rank missions in the game. Sitting around and hunting together in the same room is a complete different experience than just playing online alone in the room. The sense of comradery of helping each other and celebrating together after a successful hunt is an aspect that I miss and wish I could experience more. Monster Hunter Rise on the Switch could itch that feeling, but I don’t have many people around me anymore to meet up and play together.

I also miss the fun and creative weapons, armor, and quest that were in this game. In my opinion, 4U had some of the best armor designs that felt creative. There were a lot of collaborative events in the game with Universal Studios Japan (USJ) that came with different armor and weapons that looked silly, but added charm to the series. There were also Nintendo dlc where you could costumes and weapons from Mario, Zelda, and Metroid. I will never forget doing the Three Virtues quest to get the Link armor set and weapons. While armor layering didn’t exist back then, you could add a rainbow color changing setting for your armor that was really cool.

I don’t know if Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will continue to be my favorite in the series if the gameplay continues to evolve with every title. But the pure sense of enjoyment and how much of a badass that I felt while playing the game will never leave me and always hold this game fondly. I once considered this game as my favorite game of all time, but I have since scaled it back down.

2. Persona 4 Golden

Have you ever played a game that really resonated with you in a way that helped you understand yourself better? For me, Persona 4 helped me realize who I was and to never pretend to be someone I’m not. That is the theme of Persona 4. Pursuing your true self.

If you haven’t played Persona 4 (PLAY IT!), you follow a bunch of high school students as they try to solve a murder mystery taking place in their town. Most of the playable characters find themselves a victim of the killer, who kills their targets by placing them in the TV world. In the TV world, the person is confronted by a part of them that they try to hide from others. This could be a crazy wild side that you don’t want people to see or denying a part of you that makes you “you.” Regardless, if they are unable to come to terms with this part of them, they are killed by their shadow. Accepting your shadow grants you the power of a Persona, your true self and source of power to fight the shadows.

Each Persona game has its own personal theme to the story. Persona 3 is all about accepting the cycle of life and death and not being afraid to live life. Persona 5 is all about rebelling against your nature and how society expects you to act and behave. Persona 4‘s theme of accepting who you are is a deep one that I hold tightly. In the past, I was that kid who was ashamed of the way I looked, talked, acted, and sharing the interest I had. I was (and still a bit to this day) a mute who was afraid to share anything about myself out of fear of being judged by others. Now, I am confident in my individuality and never doubt myself about who I am. Persona 4 didn’t fix that for me, but it did make me realize that I need to have confidence in being true to myself.

I choose Person 4 Golden on my list because it is the best version of the game. The dungeons and presentation may not hold a candle to Persona 5, but the story and characters are what keep me coming back to it. This is another one of those games that I really love, but have not 100% done everything. I completely skipped the Marie content in Golden and meant to play a second time to get everything. The best thing about Persona 4 Golden is that you no longer have to find a PlayStation Vita to play it! It came out on Steam last year and runs pretty good from what I’ve seen (yes I immediately bought it when it released and have yet to touch it). It may not be the flashes game in the series, but it is my personal favorite and has a great story to it.

1. Tales of Symphonia

I had to really ask myself if this was my favorite game of all time. The answer that I gave to myself was “of course.” Tales of Symphonia is my gold standard when it comes to JRPGs. An amazing story, great characters and development, a fun combat system, and events that keep you guessing what’s next. It may seem like a game that follows tropes that we are familiar to these days, but playing it when I first could back in 2007/2008 (around that time), I was surprise of how well made of a game this was.

Tales of Symphonia follows the story of Lloyd Irving as he helps his friend Colette on her journey to bring salvation to the world. Things don’t pan out well once Lloyd finds out what Colette has to sacrifice in order to complete this task. What comes next is a tale of learning the truth behind the journey of salvation, enemies becoming friends, friends becoming enemies, traveling between worlds, plot twists coming out of every left field, and a social commentary about racism, the rich vs. the poor, and trying to help someone who has lost their way. I wasn’t expecting all of these elements to be covered in a sixty hour game, but Symphonia tackles all of its themes and produces a well written story that is entertaining and somber.

My brain is a little scattered on the order of Tales games that I played, but I think Phantasia was my first, then Legendia, then Symphonia. Phantasia on the GBA is a mess, and Legendia had its ups and downs (the music if phenomenal though). Symphonia took my issues from those games and gave me a game that I had little to no complaints about. The action combat in this game feels perfect to the point where I’m not lost in the dazzle of the visuals, but never bored watching the techniques and spells on the field. The party composition also matters since they cannot be changed during battle and require a little though about who to bring in. An argument that some characters feel like a waste (like Persea and Regal), but I feel like their inclusion helps with the balance of physical attackers and magic users (something I feel earlier Tales game disregard). Speaking of which, I love using the magic users like Genis and Raine when playing multiplayer since I just get to sit in the back and not fight the camera to focus on me.

I don’t really know what else to say about this game. Unlike other games on this list where I haven’t finished everything, I believe that I have done everything in this game (maybe minus the coliseum). I just never have a bad time playing this game and could possibly be content just playing this for the rest of my life. It is a game that I can always go back to and just try new things to change up my play session. The battle dialogue will never get old for me (Pancake time! Stalagmite!) The last time I played it I just learned how to use union attacks effectively and I realized how big of a mechanic I had been missing. It is just one of those games that I find fun to play and never disappoints,

What was disappointing was Tales of Symphony: Dawn of the New World which was…

So that is my current list as of June 18, 2021. Will my list change over the years? Probably since there were other games that made it on my list before. Making a list like this is not easy since I enjoy most of the games I play, and they each offer a different experience from one another. The same would happen if I made a list of games that I absolutely hate playing. To end this massive post, I would like to say that your favorite games don’t have to be one’s that are critically praised or the “best games ever made.” Your favorite games should be the ones you enjoy the most and have value to you. Forget what other people may say about your opinions, because at the end of the day opinions are just that.

Thank you for reading! Go out and play your favorite video games. And I will see ya when I get back from my vacation.


March 2021 Gaming Report

Time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough of it lately. Luckily my time spent this month was on the productive end, and I got to experience an emotion that I haven’t in a while, bliss. At the beginning of the month, I was highly productive and engaged in the games that I was playing to the point I would just mess around instead of focusing on finishing it. During the second half, I shifted my focus to things here on the blog and I now have a backlog of post that are close to finish or in the edit pool. I know all of this wonderful production is going to come crashing in April, but I’m going to endure and keep my eye on the prize in August.

Finished Games

What’s this? Danames found time to actually finish some games instead of building his collection for once? I hear the snark; and yes, I did find time to finish a couple of games this month. The first was thanks to Kim and Genni’s annual Love You Backlog event, where I finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii. I wrote a whole post about it, so you can read my thoughts there. I was still struggling to figure out if I enjoyed the game, or if the Wii’s limitations prevented me from enjoying it. I did have the definitive version for Switch ready to play whenever I finished the original, and ever since playing that I determined that it was the Wii’s fault for holding this game back. I do plan on finishing the definitive version since I’m enjoying it so much, and it is holding me over until the drought for physical copies of Xenoblade 2 exit the black market.

The second game I finished was supposed to be for last month’s Pokémon Creator’s Catch collab, but it was a struggle for me play constantly. That game was Pokémon Ultra Sun. As you can tell from my post, Sun and Moon rubbed me the wrong way when I finished the original. Ultra Sun is more of the same from the base game, but with extra content and a new postgame chapter. The post game looks interesting, but sadly this game has given me a really bad sunburn. I probably won’t touch it for a while, and the next Pokemon game I’ll play will probably be the Diamond and Pearl remakes (the redemption arc).

Games Added This Month

Ha ha…ha ha ha…

Let’s not talk about what was added to the collection this month. In my defense, most of them were free or donated to me (and due to blood oath, they will stay with me). Some come from the wake of digital store fronts closing and leaving some games inaccessible without a crime lord’s bank account. We are seeing this with the closing of the PlayStation Network Store for PS3, PSP, and Vita later this year. This sucks since these digital store fronts have been the cheaper option for playing older games without having to sell a kidney or three. More importantly, now that they are closing, I now have to go on a shopping spree to buy titles that I don’t have yet, creating this disgusting feeling of consumerism that I don’t like. At least games on these stores are cheap and can be redownloaded after the store closes; which was one of my biggest concerns.

Outside of that, Monster Hunter Rise came out and that will be the state that I’ll be in for a while. I would love to play this game online with people I know, so if you want to find a time to hunt together let me know please. Otherwise I will finish all of the village quest by next week and move on to the next game while playing this on the side. I will save all my thoughts on the full game at a later time.

Plans For Next Month

I think I have more blog post plan for next month more than games to play. As of writing this, I am listening to the Bravely Default soundtrack that was recently released on streaming services (the music is so good). This makes me want to start Bravely Default 2 since I keep hearing good things about it. I think my burnout from the first game is finally over, and maybe I will double dip by playing Bravely Second on the side (I doubt it). Other than that, I’m started planning out a road map on what I want to do next after I’m done with school in August. The more I draw the idea out, the more I’m looking forward to it since it will be the best thing for me and the accumulated that I’ve built up in the past 3 years. I’m looking forward to sharing it with all of you come August.

And that I all I have for this month. You would think that at this point I would know how to close these things out, but you know…I don’t.

Thanks for reading,


I Am Now Ready for Monster Hunter Rise

Last year when we got the news of Monster Hunter Rise, I was excited but cautious. The trailer looked interesting and showed off a new world and ascetic for the series. The use of the new Wirebug mechanic to zip around the map looked very interesting and it made me wonder what cool tricks I could pull off. However, something was bothering me with what I was watching. It looked like Monster Hunter, but to me, it didn’t feel like Monster Hunter at base value.

I think part of it has to do with the two latest games in the series, Generations Ultimate and World. My expectations for both games were flipped when I first played them. I thought I was going to love Gen Ult since it was classic Monster Hunter that I enjoyed and I was going to hate World since it felt “dumb down” for a western audience. World ended up being a fun game that felt easier than other games, and Gen Ult felt frustrating to play. I don’t know if the influence of World had something to do with it, but even with Generations on the 3DS, something just felt “off” with the game. With Rise, I wanted to be excited but didn’t want to be disappointed with the end result.

On Wednesday, January 7th, a new showcase for the game was shown along with a demo of the game. I don’t tend to play a lot of demos, but I was really excited to play this one. This was a chance to play a version of the game and form my own opinion on it. So how was it? After playing 2 hours of the demo, I can comfortable say that all my doubts of this game are gone and it has the potential of being one of my favorite games in the series. After taking some time observing and learning some new things, I have come up with my initial things that I like a dislike so far. I expect some of my feelings may change when the full game is released.

  1. A great mix of environment detail from World that is easy to understand and navigate.

    While World was very pretty to look at, and seeing the game in HD was a treat, none of the environments stood out to me. The Ancient Forest for example was a great opening level that taught you a lot about the new mechanics. To this day though, I still get lost and confused when trying to get to places. The details felt too great at some points and I could never appreciate the small things since the world was the main attraction. Rise doesn’t have the great detail of World, but that makes it better to play in my opinion. The map is smaller so I can take the time to understand my surroundings and I can appreciate the little details when I see them. The Shrine Ruins that you have access to in the demo is more interesting than any locale in World (in my opinion). There is something about going up and down the waterfall and then viewing the desolated shrines ruins that is hidden in the forest and swamp that just feels good to be in. I can easily understand how to get to places without having to remember specific location marks that I have to constantly remind myself to follow.
  2. The return of unique and creative weapons and armor.

    Plan and simple, I love that we are getting creative weapons and armor again. It was one of the biggest things missing from World that made things a bit bland. The game feels colorful again and I’m looking forward to see the other designs in the game. From the demo, I like the Switch Axe weapon and armor since I look like a character from Kingdom Hearts, and the design for the Hunting Horn set was really impressive.
  3. Quality of life changes from World are included.

    One of the best things World did was speeding up the game. I know some people were fond of taking a victory pose after taking a potion, but I appreciate not having to stop the action to run to a different area to restore health and remove status aliments. Being able to stay in the action and take care of anything (minus resharpen your weapon) keeps me engaged and in the battle at all times.
  4. I didn’t know I needed a canine companion along with my feline, but I love it.

    So who wants to race palamutes when the full game releases? The palamute is a new companion to the series that is badass. You are able to ride it to traverse faster and use recovery items while riding. I still love Nico the Palico, but I am definitely going to do my best to create Repede from Tales of Vesperia in game.
  5. I have new things to learn and master.

    Finally, the wirebug mechanic is a fun tool that I’m still rattling my brain around. One of my complaints about Generation Ultimate was that you had several styles you could chose from, but had to take time to be familiar with all of them. With a simple, dedicated new mechanic, I can take my time to practice it and get more familiar with it over time. This new addition is something new for me to learn that is going to take hours of practice to get used to, and I find that exciting.

And now for my minor complaints. The first one is another new mechanic introduced to the game, Wyvern Riding. It feels good to pull off and being able to control any large monster you are facing. What I’m not to jazzed about are the mechanics when riding. You have to hold the R button at all times to be able to move the monster. I know realistically it is hard to tame a wild animal, but it makes the controls a bit stiff when trying to do things. Another minor complaint I have is that I feel that there are a lot more inputs to remember to do things. During my playtime, I felt like I was constantly forgetting how to do certain inputs and it was frustrating not pulling off certain things. I will take this as me being rusty and obviously not being familiar with new mechanics. Eventually that issue will be taken care of once I’m able to practice more.

So those are my initial impressions. There are other little things that I didn’t notice at first like how your character is more talkative than usual. Your character will say hints about monster behaviors that is excellent for new players if you are not observant. I am very excited to play this now, and I’m upset that I didn’t pre-order the collector’s edition when it was in stock. The demo is available until the 31st of January, so if you want to try it for yourself go for it.

Thank you for reading,


From Sword to Bowgun. Recommendations On Which Weapon Is Best For You In Monster Hunter World

There are a lot of weapons to choose from in Monster Hunter. Each one plays differently and determining which one you will like the most takes time and practice. Luckily, there are a ton of guides out there to help you become proficient with your weapon of choice. Today, I would like to list each weapon out and give out my suggestions on each one. I have played with most of weapons on this list, but there are some that I have not spent a lot of time with. To help me show off these weapons, welcome my apprentice June! She mostly focuses on bowgun skills and reports what she learns to me.

Sword and Shield


The classic weapon for beginners and those who like to slash and protect. The Sword and Shield is one of the most balanced weapons in the game. What they lack in raw power, it makes up with high elemental damage and status effects. The weapon is light to provide fast attacks to compensate for the low damage output. Monster Hunter Generations introduced Oils that can be applied to the sword and shield to improve its performance. This combined with the shield make any challenge a fair fight.

Recommend for:

I recommend this weapon for people who are new to the series that want to use a slashing weapon. It is perfectly balanced with an offense and defense play style that help players get an understanding of the game mechanics. I also recommend this for anyone who is left handed since the sword is always in the left hand.

Dual Blades


If you want to be fast and aggressive, the dual blades are you weapons. Probably the fastest weapons in the game, Dual Blades sacrifices defense for all out attacks. What makes dual blades special is the Demonization ability. When this ability is activated, you gain a boost in attack power and can perform deadly combos and increase evasion time. The ability will drain your stamina gauge, so it is best to use this ability wisely. If you manage to fill the demon gauge before time runs out, you can then go into Archdemon mode and continue your assault.

Recommend for:

If you want to be a demon on the field and Naruto run, then Dual Blades are the way to go. They are a tricky weapon to use since you are always vulnerable if you get stuck in a combo or can’t evade in time. The sharpness of the weapon also decreases fast due to all of the constant attacks. When you get comfortable with fighting certain monsters, I would recommend going in with dual blades just to have some chaotic fun.

Great Sword


My personal weapon of choice! The Great Sword trades speed for massive damage. While you do become one of the slowest members on your team, each hit from the great sword will do a considerable amount of damage to any enemy. You are limited to vertical and horizontal slashes, but proper wielders while find ways to chain these together. The vertical slashes can be charged to deliver a more powerful blow, but leave you open and has a great chance of missing your opponent. The sword is also big enough to be used as a shield when things get dicey. This however will make your sword lose some of its sharpness.

Recommend for:

If you like big swords and dream of being Cloud from Final Fantasy, then this is the weapon for you. The great sword takes a lot of practice to get used to, but once you become good at it you will feel appreciate the power it holds. If you fancy dealing a lot of damage then go with this weapon.

Long Sword


Despite being one of the most popular weapons in the series, I have not used the Long Sword as much. Take the length and power of the Great Sword with the swift attacks of the Sword and Shield and you have the Long Sword. The Long Sword provides no defense like the Great Sword, but users are able to perform hops and side steps with each attack. Like the Dual Blades, the Long Sword comes with its own ability called Spirit Attacks, Once activated, the user will need to fill the Spirit Bar by attacking an opponent. Once filled, the user will need to activate the Spirit Attack and land the final hit to increase the user’s attack power. There are three levels to this bar which encourages users to continue their assault or risk losing their power up.

Recommend for:

I wouldn’t recommend starting off with the Long Sword if this is your first time playing. Like the Great Sword, it can take some time to learn the flow of the sword’s movements and how to evade properly. Like the Dual Blades, it is rewarding once you can build up your attack gauge and go on an all out assault on your opponent. If you favor a more technical weapon, then you can’t go wrong with this.



Another classic weapon. Unlike the swords that can cut their opponents, hammers are meant for bashing. This bashing can leave monsters stunned and open the door for more pounding. The Hammer can be charged up to swing the player and deal consecutive damage. While it is a slow weapon, it is faster than a Great Sword and can deal more damage than the other. There is no option to block incoming attacks, so knowing how to evade is key; or strike at the right moment to knock them out. The Hammer is also good at destroying parts off a monster; which is super helpful when grinding for materials.

Recommend for:

If you want something outside of swords to do damage, then the Hammer is the best option. I can recommend new players to the Hammer since it has the highest damage output out of all the weapons and it is easy to use. With some practice, the Hammer can carry the weakest hunter to feel confident in taking on some of the larger, scarier monsters at close range.

Hunting Horn


I feel that a lot of people overlook the Hunting Horn. No one wants to use this weapon, but are happy to have people in their group who knows how to use one. The Hunting Horn functions like a Hammer, but since it is an instrument, you can play melodies for various effects. The Hunting Horn has basic attacks, but each attack input adds a note to a music staff that you have. Once you have specific notes on your staff in the correct order, you can play your horn to buff you and your teammates. These buff includes earphones, health recovers, defense boost, etc. The hard part comes from remembering the attack patterns you need to do in order to create the recital that triggers the effects.

Recommend for:

If you want to play with friends but want to take on more of a support role, please use the Hunting Horn. While the horn is perfectly fine as a weapon on its own, the true benefit of it comes from buffing and helping others. This is a perfect weapon for beginners who want to join in on hunts and learn monster mechanics without the fear of dying quickly. Practice with the Hunting Horn can also help with the transition to using the Hammer later on.



The main attraction to the Lance is the humongous shield that in included. Lance users can be granted a defense boost thanks to that shield. While the shield is impressive, the Lance has a few tricks of its own. While defending with the shield, the user can still attack with the Lance; granting safe attacks while defending yourself from attacks. The Lance can do forward thrust as well as an upward slash. When the moment is right, you can charge at your opponent and deal massive damage from the attack. Just watch your stamina meter as the charge will drain your stamina.

Recommend for:

While the idea of being able to attack while defending sounds neat, it does limit your mobility to move around. The Lance is a heavy weapon, so new players might find it difficult to pack up and move when needed. If you desire to be a tank in a group, the Lance sets you up perfectly to draw the monster’s attention while the rest of your team can go crazy.



Another personal favorite of mine, the Gunlance takes a page from RWBY and puts a gun in a lance. Functioning almost like the lance (with shield and everything), the key feature is the firing mechanic in the lance. Gunlances come with shellings that can be fired and reloaded multiple time during a fight. The drawback is that the shellings cannot be shot at a long distance, so you need to get up close to deal the damage. Another thing to look out for is the heat gauge. The gauge fills up whenever you fire a shell, but will decrease anytime you attack with the lance normally, evading, get hit, or not fire at all. The benefit of increasing the gauge is to increase the attack power of your normal lance hits. This basically leads to a strategy game of maintaining heat while not overheating or cooling off. For a special attack, Gunlance users can use an attack known as the Wyvern’s Fire. It is a charged attack that fires a blast from the top of the lance. This is the Gunlance’s powerful attack and can destroy the heaviest of armors that monsters have. Using the Wyvern’s Fire will cause your Gunlance to overheat, which you will have to wait for it to cool off before you can use the attack again.

Recommend for:

If you feel confident in keeping up with the Gunlance’s mechanics, it is a fun weapon to use. If it sounds too complicated, I recommend using the regular Lance since it is just as powerful. If you are already familiar with Monster Hunter, I would recommend this weapon to you if you want to switch things up and use a fun weapon that is tough to master.

Switch Axe


The Switch Axe is my second favorite weapon; mostly because it carried me throughout G Rank in 4 Ultimate. This fun weapon can switch between two different weapons. In its normal form, it represents an axe that has fast swinging actions for quick powerful hits. It’s second form represents a Great Sword, but is less powerful and faster to swing. The fun in using the Switch Axe comes from building up the energy meter in axe mode, and then using that stored energy in sword mode to unleash deadly attacks. Each switch axe has a different phial attached to it with different effects with most of them being status effects. Pair this with the rapid attack rate with each swing, this weapon has great usage for most fights.

Recommend for:

The mechanics of the Switch Axe makes it easy for anyone to understand. If the Great Sword is too slow for your taste and the Long Sword is a bit too plain, then I recommend trying the Switch Axe out. If it is not to your liking, the the next weapon on the list might suit you better.

Charge Blade


The Charge Blade functions similar to the Switch Axe. The weapon starts off like a Sword and Shield, and can morph into an axe. While in SnS mode, attacks will fill up a gauge that is used to fill phials. With phials, you can unleash powerful attacks while in axe mode. You have to pay attention to the gauge. If you do not “charge” you blade when the gauge is full, your attacks will start to bounce off your target until you do so. This can cause some frustration when you fail to realize your attacks aren’t connecting due to a filled gauge. The phials are the same as with the Switch Axe.

Recommend for:

If you like the idea of Sword and Shield but want a little more power, the Charge Blade can be fun. Having to focus on when to charge your blade and avoid the penalty can be a hassle for new players.

Insect Glave


One of the most interesting weapons that was introduced in Monster Hunter 4. The Insect Glave acts like a staff that the player can use to hop and fly around their opponent for fast, fluid attacks. The other interesting part of this weapon is your insect partner known as a Kinsect. The Kinsect functions as a secondary weapon to the Insect Glave that can level up and upgraded independently. The Kinsect can also attack certain parts of a monster and boost your stats. The boost do not last as long as a Hunting Horn’s boost, so you will have to constantly attack certain spots to reapply those boost.

Recommend for:

Do you wish to fly across the battlefield like an angelic Valkyrie and send a giant bug to do your bidding? Despite its looks, the Insect Glave is a powerful weapon and has enough accessories to carry you through to the endgame. With enough practice and learning how to use the Kinsect effectively, the Insect Glave is good for new players and seasoned veterans.



The Bow is the easiest long range weapon to use. It has unlimited arrows that can be used and does not require reload time. The Bow comes with special coatings that certain bows can use to add status effects or attack boost to your arrows. Attacks can be charged to power up your attacks at the cost of stamina. Introduced in Monster Hunter World, Bow users can make it rain arrows to deal moderate damage in a wide area. The Bow does not provide any type of defense, so evasion and dodging is the only means of protection. The rate of firing may not be as fast as the Bowgun, but users do have more mobility available to them to evade and set up attack distance.

Recommend for:

If you like to play range but dislike the Bowgun, the regular Bow has you covered. The mechanics to the Bow is simple enough for new players to understand and requires less maintenance with ammunition. Being a ranged weapon does make you vulnerable to monsters that charge at you or fight in close range with hunting solo. This weapon is best used for newcomers within a group until they get a feel for it to hunt solo.

Light/Heavy Bowgun


The last weapons we are going to look at are the light and heavy bowgun. Both versions have their similarities but also have some elements that make them different. They both require ammunition to use; which you have to stock up on before each hunt. Each Bowgun can use specific ammo with light bowguns specializing in elemental and status ammo, and heavy bowguns going for different attack ammo and a larger capacity. Light Bowguns are seen as a support type weapon since they have a wider range of support ammo and provide greater mobility. The Heavy Bowgun deals more damage than other range weapons, but has low mobility and requires constant setup. The advantage of the Heavy Bowgun is that a shield can be attached to it; along with other modifications that both bowguns can use.

Recommend for:

Both bowguns have their advantages, but share the same problems with mobility and ammo management. If you want to take a back seat and help support your friends, then the Light Bowgun is more helpful than the heavy one. If you want to bombard monsters with heavy firepower, than the Heavy Bowgun has no competition.

And that is all of the weapon types (whew). If you would like to know more about each weapon type, I recommend reading the monster hunter wiki on each type. I frequented it while working on this post. Say thanks to June for helping me with modeling (now if only she was more diligent with training…).

Thanks for reading,