Phil Orona is recurring contributor and brother of Super GG Radio.
5. Monster Hunter Rise (Nintendo Switch)
Monster Hunter returned this year with a vengeance. It brings all the good of the previous entries and adds some new mechanics. Being the 6th entry of the mainline series, (I almost had my triple 5s!) The new setting of Kamura Village and new monsters to hunt, keeps the franchise from feeling stale. Feeling more like an evolution of Monster Hunter World rather than a massive leap, it manages to make key improvements in game pace, monster utilization and quest organization. This game is a must of Switch owners.
4. Fortza Horizon 5 (PC/Xbox)
More fun than Forza Horizon 4 despite all of the bugs. With Mexico as the backdrop, it is a refreshed experience for offroad shenanigans and rally car hooning. Get dropped out of a plane into a race against motorcycles through the jungle or drive up to an active volcano while it is in the process of erupting, only to race down the rocky slope to escape its wrath while cutting right into an already in progress race to win?! This game brings over the top excitement at every major in-game event.
3. Shin Megami Tensei V
It may not have the heart of the Persona series, but it isn’t supposed to. It’s the OG Shin Megami Tensei and it’s damn good. From the ominous feeling of death being constantly around the corner, to the surreal environment of a post apocalyptic Tokyo, this game continues its Heaven vs Hell scenario as outlined in the original SMT. Accept no substitutions!
2. The Forgotten City (PC/Xbox)
Wow, this game is like Myst, Thief, and Steins Gate all in one. Battle is almost optional and should you fail, “It’s Groundhog day!” This refreshing entry originated as a Skyrim mod and has taken a life all its own. Although it isn’t a very long game, It will keep you coming back to achieve its multiple endings enclosed within its tiny but beautifully rendered city. Despite its short run time, this game is a master class in storytelling that “Triple A” publishers should take note of.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (PC/Xbox)
See, Square Enix? You don’t need a live service to make a really awesome game! Guardians of the Galaxy really dives deep into the team’s lore, tells a great story and is fun as hell. This was the stand out of the year after the failure that was Marvel’s “The Avengers”. The voice acting and chit-chat dialog in the background is just fantastic. With more and more companies trying to push the live services model, Guardians makes a case for the tried and true format.