Here we go again. Another year, another top Ten list that I’ve left till tragically late to finish writing. It doesn’t help that so much good stuff ended up coming out so late in the year. But tradition is tradition and here I am, spending the last ten days of the year talking about my ten favourite video games of 2021.
This list is one of my top ten favourite games that come out in in the year 2021. In the past I’ve been a little loose with the rules and kind of slipped DLCs and expansions into the mix. But with the real rise of service games now, I felt like I finally had to break away and create a list of my older favourite games too. Which you can check out by clicking this link here.
So let’s get into number six on my list:
#6: Pokémon Xenoverse
Played on PC | Released 10th February | Developed by WEEDle
I’m kind of shocked that a fan game found its way onto my top ten list. But I’d be lying if I said this 100% wasn’t one of my favourite gaming experiences of 2021 and most definitely my favourite experience with a Pokémon game throughout the entire year as well.
From Weedle; an Italian based development group, Pokémon Xenoverse uses a combination of assets from both the 5th and the 6th generation Pokémon games to tell a whole new, much more mature story (in comparison to the usual story we get out of the franchise) using the Pokémon as its format, and I was totally enthralled.
The thing that drew me into this game from the moment I laid my eyes upon it was the sheer level of production value behind it. I’ve played a fair share of Pokémon fan games over the years, this is the first one that really stuck with me outside of the first handful of hours. And part of that really does come from how good of a job the developers did in making this game look as slick and professional as they did.
Using a combination of assets from existing Pokémon games, in combination with a ton of original character art that looks seamless when put side by side with original art. The character portraits for original characters perfectly emulate the style of the art from X & Y, not only that the collection or original Pokémon they designed for this game are probably the best collection of fan made Pokémon I’ve ever seen at this scale.
Sure, you always get that one cool looking fan-made Pokémon design show up online, but I really do believe that Xenoverse’s collective original Pokémon knock it out of the park with very few exceptions.
In addition to that, the game’s core narrative surrounds a parallel universe from which “different” Pokémon are leaking through and causing havoc. I’m kind of guessing that production on this game started before Sun and Moon came out, because this game simultaneously makes use of their concept of the Ultra Space while also combining them with that game’s introduction of regional variants.
Giving us fire type Electabuzz and dragon type Gengar. On top of that, Xenoverse does something totally different with the starter Pokémon and their evolutions, as well as adding the new “Sound Type” to the game’s type pool.
I was super impressed with this game overall. While the story can sometimes lean into the more “edgy” realm that fanfiction sometimes can, overall I feel like the narrative is pretty well told. Taking a big focus of the game’s events and being pretty faithful to the type of story you might find in a Pokémon game, while also being a little more mature.
As someone who has become increasingly frustrated with actual Pokémon games these past few years and feel like they’re becoming far too streamlined and hand holding, this game strikes a much better balance of being more challenging and having amazing production behind it at the same time.
This was my favourite Pokémon experience I had all year and I’d really recommend anyone who reads this Google the game and give it a download. It’s free. And it’s gotten some more content since even I last played it.
If you’re not totally convinced, you can read a more comprehensive review of the game by following this link here.
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