SwitchRPG Awards 2021 – Gio’s Picks

All SwitchRPG Awards 2021 Content

Unedited transcript:

Top 5 Nintendo Switch RPGs of 2021

With the video game industry still doing a bit of catching up from 2020 and its real world events outside of the gaming industry, we find ourselves enjoying one of the greatest hobbies ever….playing RPGs on the Nintendo Switch. 2021 was not a perfect year for RPGs, we had a slew of ports, remakes, and remasters but it’s not to say we didnt have some diamonds in the rough. If you want to see what some of our other staff members have for their lists, head on over to switchrpg.com or click the link in the video description. So what made my top 5 RPGs on the Switch? I break it all down now and as always don’t forget to like and share this video.


But before I really dive in here I wanted to shout out some of the games I think are definitely worth a look at despite not making it in my top five.

Honorable Mentions

5. Griftlands – Griftlands is a very cool card based RPG where the decisions you make in the game have a tremendous impact in how the world treats you. The combat mechanics are complex but provide you with satisfaction once you’ve figured it out.

4. Monster Hunter Stories 2 – Monster Hunter Stories 2 isn’t much of a hidden gem but it also doesn’t stand out from the crowd. The simple turn based combat may be a bit of a turn off for some but for others that just want some RPG candy, this is it.

3. Ys IX – As said with most Ys games, it’s a solid experience all around. Music is good. Narrative is good. Action Combat is good. Ys IX is a good game.

2. Black Book – Black Book builds an awesome atmosphere stemming from Slavic lore. It has an interesting narrative deriving from its dialogue system and features a unique combat system that utilizes cards.

1. The Legend of Tianding – When I first played The Legend of Tianding, I was first taken back to a time where I was sitting in my room reading comics. The visual artstyle and the way it’s presented is something I haven’t seen done well in quite a while. The combat doesn’t really do anything innovative but it’s very well put together.

Most Disappointing

1. King’s Bounty 2 – In a time where my love for strategy RPGs was at an all time high, in comes King’s Bounty II. The politics, the magic, the world building, the framerate, the resolution, and the sluggishness traversing the world only lead to utter disappointment. The same disappointment I felt when I played Mutant Year Zero on the Nintendo Switch. I’m not a framerate snob at all, but King’s Bounty II got me to the point where it made me physically sick and had to stop playing. There have been some improvements made to the game since I initially played and maybe that means I need to give it another chance but boy I sure hope I can stomach it.


5. SMT V – Shin Megami Tensei 5 does a lot right. The turn based combat is very well thought out and that is mostly contributed by the customisation of all of the demons. Not only can you combine skills of demons but you can create new potentially more powerful demons by fusing a pair together. The soundtrack is really good. There were moments when I’d be roaming around then get into combat and find myself just grooving to the music (Do people say that anymore?) There is a little bit of a learning curve to all of the systems in place and the challenge of bosses and minibosses alike, but I feel it’s all very palatable. Save the game and when you think you’ve saved the game, make sure you do it again because there is no auto save here. I do have some issues with SMT V. It’s not a perfect game by any means. In my opinion it has a mediocre narrative with forgettable characters and the tones of red and brown throughout the game get a little sickening. There are some areas with nice vistas but the overall muddy colors really held SMT 5 back for me.

4. Bravely Default 2 – If you love consuming popcorn RPGs, Bravely Default is the one for you. It has a good all around story, music, and turn based combat with a job system that will keep you coming back for more. Square Enix has essentially brought the band back together. Literally. The chibi graphic art style and the composer have returned to the series. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. As to be expected there is a major shift in graphical fidelity with this iteration. Does Bravely Default 2 do anything new to the series? Some. Did it need to? Maybe. EIther way I highly recommend it.

3. Eastward – If you’ve been subscribed to this channel or listened to the past episodes of the podcast, you know I’ve been touting Eastward ever since it was announced in Showcase a long while ago. True to my initial thoughts, Eastward excels in areas where I expected but falls a little short in one area. The pixel art is amazing along with the dynamic lighting. The characters are interesting and the story seems a bit slow for my liking but good nonetheless. The music in Eastward is probably one of the best I’ve heard in an Indie title in a long time. Absolutely TOP NOTCH. The one area where Eastward falls behind is in its combat. It’s very simple and straightforward and leaves more to be desired.

2. Monster Hunter Rise – I’m going to be truthful here with this title. I did not complete it to its fullest. However I will say that what I’ve played has to be some of the best action combat that I’ve played in an RPG. While I still prefer the Dark Soulsesque type of enemy engagement, Monster Hunter has also been refined in such a way that it is almost mathematical. You get out what you put in. It certainly requires some time investment to fine tune your weapon choice and playstyle. Monster Hunter Rise looks and runs beautifully, especially on the hardware it’s running on. Capcom has done an amazing job at supporting Monster Rise, whether it’s through general patches or the continuous DLC. The Monster Hunter series has grown with each iteration, adding new mechanics with every title and Monster Hunter Rise is no exception. The newest being the Wirebug which allows vertical traversal of the environment and lets you take in some of the game’s amazing vistas. Rampage mode is also another interesting take on the “Tower Defense” genre. Players prepare for an incoming monster attack on the village with hope of surviving and taking down the enemy. There is so much to say regarding Monster Hunter Rise, so if you’re a fan of combat focused RPGs this is one to get.

1. Diablo 2 – Diablo 2 not only brings back some nostalgia of rummaging through dungeons but Diablo 2 was also my most played game this year coming in at over 80 hours. As with all Diablo Games, the fun doesn’t end when you’ve completed the game once. The fight to max/min Diablo is very strong. This remastered version had a lot of much needed changes from the original. An entirely redone soundtrack and a graphical overhaul are the most obvious differences but some important quality of life revisions were implemented to make the experience much more enjoyable. The initial launch of Diablo was met with some server related problems which was to be expected as we’ve seen this before from previous Diablo releases. In my opinion Diablo II probably has one of the best storylines but let’s be honest here, none of us truly play Diablo for it’s story mode. In all, Diablo II is fun to play and runs well on the Nintendo Switch and I highly recommend picking it up.

There you have it! A list of some of my favorites that I’ve played this year. What did I leave off? Was anything snubbed in your opinion? What are your TOP 5 Nintendo Switch RPGs? As always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe.


Gio Pimentel

Gio Pimentel

Content creator for the SwitchRPG YouTube Division and co-host of the SwitchRPG podcast.

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