3. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
Rift Apart just knows how to have fun. It’s a rather short adventure because of its quick pace, but it’s densely packed with pure joy and charm. The roster of weapons and gadgets, most of which use the PS5’s DualSense controller to interesting effect, can be hard to grasp at times. But of my three favorite games this year, it has the best accessibility suite of options to help with this, and it’s all the better for it. This game goes to town with beautiful art and animation as well, offering almost filmic quality akin to Pixar’s movies. This game came at a time for me where I just needed a short, fun and exhilarating ride, and it delivered.
2. Monster Hunter Rise
For a long-running series that chooses to evolve gameplay first and foremost, Monster Hunter Rise takes the biggest leap forward and makes other games’ combat feel lacking in comparison. My favorite weapon in Monster Hunter, the Hunting Horn, sees one of the biggest sets of improvements. It made me play the game to the point where it’s in my top three most played games on Switch. The gameplay loop is also improved in general, with streamlined progression and crafting alongside each weapon’s improvements and the addition of the Wirebug.
1. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
In a game that has eight years of worldbuilding, character evolutions and storytelling threads, how does a finale wrap all of it together and stick the landing? Endwalker answers this question with grace and finesse: it has wonderful zones to explore, multiplayer content to fight through and a narrative that looks back at previous expansions while taking players far beyond what’s expected. What’s still surprising to me as I reminisce on the expansion’s story is that each main character had a chance in the spotlight for themselves in one way or another, including those who had less time in previous expansions. Everyone had their distinct place and role in the larger narrative to the point where no one felt left out, save for a villain or two. Accompanied by a soundtrack that enhances each moment of the journey, this MMO is filled with content that, now more than ever, shouldn’t be overlooked.