Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2021 ~ Editors’ Awards: Audra Bowling

RPGFan Games of the Year 2021 Editors Awards

Top 5 RPGs/Visual Novels:

1. Final Fantasy XIV

Granted, I haven’t been able to log in to Final Fantasy XIV since Endwalker dropped due to the congestion issues, but I had a blast this year catching up on the story expansions and switching my character’s job to Samurai. Hopefully, I’ll be able to actually play it again soon!

2. The Vale: Shadow of the Crown

I was immensely impressed with The Vale when I played it earlier this year: a traditional RPG experience that relies solely on audio to tell a detailed story, with gameplay for players both with and without impaired vision. I loved getting to experience Alex’s adventures firsthand in such a creative way.

A person with a sword and shield standing in a landscape with sunset in the distance in The Vale Shadow of the Crown

3. Dark Deity

Dark Deity is a strategy RPG that took me pleasantly by surprise. The gameplay and bonding events reminded me of recent Fire Emblem games, but with unique and clever twists that help make the title stand on its own!

4. Xuan Yuan Sword 7

A fantasy take on a historical Chinese setting, Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is a surprisingly personal experience as you journey with siblings, a childhood friend who studies Mohism, and a clockwork talking parrot. I loved how the party interacted with one another and their reactions to the overreaching and thoughtful narrative. This action RPG was another welcome surprise!

5. Cupid Parasite

Cupid Parasite is a fun, zany, and enjoyable otome visual novel experience where you take on the role of Cupid as she tries to help arrange marriages for five of Los York’s most infamous bachelors. I adored the colorful visual style as it fits perfectly for the wacky cast, and the music is so much better and catchier than it has any right to be!

Favorite Graphic Adventure: OPUS: Echo of Starsong

This sci-fi narrative adventure is absolutely beautiful and incredibly moving. OPUS has stayed with me long after reaching its truly heartfelt ending!

A man speaking to a woman below him in Opus Echo of the Starsong

Favorite Remake/Remaster: Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

I utterly adored the Mass Effect trilogy when I first played it, and getting the chance to do so all over again was something I couldn’t pass up. Even in 2021, these games are still a phenomenal RPG experience!

Favorite Switch Port: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

I played a lot of Switch ports this year, but I think out of all of them I enjoyed my time finally playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic the most. The Force is still strong with this one, even almost twenty years later!

Favorite Backlog Game: Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger is a classic through and through. It easily deserves all the hype and praise that has been heaped upon it over the years. I’m so glad I finally got the chance to play it!

Favorite “Surprise!” Game: Gensō Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki

Suikoden: Woven Web of the Centuries is a game that I’d imported back when it first came out on the PSP to support a series I love immensely. Thanks to a wonderful fan translation, I was finally able to play it in 2021! While it isn’t the strongest Suikoden title, the game is still an above average JRPG and reminds me enough of the series that I’m glad I was at last able to put my copy to use!

A woman standing on a castle wall in Suikoden Woven Web of the Centuries
Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling is a reviewer for RPGFan. She is a lover of RPGs, Visual Novels, and Fighting Games. Once she gets onto a subject she truly feels strongly about, like her favorite games, she can ramble on and on endlessly. Coffee helps keep her world going round.