2021 Game of the Year Frontrunners: what are they, for you or more broadly? Pick 3-5 please :)

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BisonHero

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#1  Edited By BisonHero

As the title suggests, I'm just curious to hear what people are feeling.

2021 strikes me as a tight race of pretty-great-but-not-mindbendingly-good, compared to 2020's "it's clearly Hades" or 2017's "there are 14 games that should all be GotY, what the fuck." I imagine some of you are already starting to write out top 10 lists, but no pressure, you don't have to order your response.

What are 3-5 games from this year that seem GotY caliber? GotY for you personally, or likely GotY for Giant Bomb's site list, or GotY across all the gaming critics and commentators?

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ll_Exile_ll

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Nothing is a clear GOTY for me. In some years it's obvious, but this year was one where I had a handful of games I enjoyed a lot, but none really stand head and shoulders above the others.

If I had to choose, I 'd probably go with Valheim over the others on my short list by a small margin. I spent about 150 hours in a server I ran for a group of friends and we all had a great time playing it together. It's not a complete game yet, but it's still likely the most fun I had playing games this year, due in large part to everyone in my group really getting into it.

Another game on my list would be Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. Just a really solidly made cinematic platformer. It's really nothing more than a really polished and well put together "one of those," but it's still possibly my favorite in the series, right alongside A Crack in Time.

Guardians of the Galaxy was also excellent. The quality of the story, writing, and characters really surprised me with how good it was. The presentation was also pretty impressive, and I'm a sucker for well implemented licensed music and this game certainly has that.

Finally, Inscryption. Just a totally unique, weird, and unexpected experience. The creativity on display was a joy to experience, and the actual card battling was competently executed as well.

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Efesell

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FFXIV Endwalker, number one with a bullet and no hesitation.

I was leery about the new look and style of Tales of Arise from its previews but it came in and became my favorite in that franchise.

Scarlet Nexus is a ridiculous whirlwind of anime tropes but it's got a powerful aesthetic and I happen to like anime nonsense so I was all the way on board.

Beyond this I'm afraid the rest of the years games fall in that zone of things I probably liked a whole lot but have lost track of when they came out because time isn't real.

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Nodima

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As a bystander, it seems like Deathloop and Inscryption are locks for pretty much every list that comes out (they're on both The New Yorker's and Polygon's so far) with Forza Horizon 5 and Psychonauts 2 right behind.

My most high-stakes bet: I'd wager that for the publications that rate It Takes Two, it will almost universally be near the very top of the rankings. But for the publications that bristled at its story beats, it won't make the list at all.

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laughingman

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Neo: The World Ends With You is on the top of my list. It has style for days, a number of well-developed characters, and enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you entertained throughout.

Fuga: Melodies of Steel is another contender. It's heartfelt and affecting, and its twee appearance hides a game of surprising depth and complexity.

I have to give some consideration to Dungeon Encounters, but I don't think it's going on anyone's list. It does one thing, but does it extremely well.

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yyninja

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Take this with a grain of salt since I honestly haven't played any of these games yet, but heard good things about:

  • Inscryption
  • Psychonauts 2
  • Deathloop
  • Metroid Dread
  • It Takes Two

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SethMode

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#7  Edited By SethMode

@nodima: this is such a weird post. "As a bystander"? What?

Anyway for me it is Psychonauts 2 without a doubt. Both hilarious and introspective, and it got rid of the bad platforming shit (enough at least). It's the best example of innovation through iteration IMO and just in general has made me excited to play littleraly anything in that world.

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Nodima

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@sethmode: Hah, probably reaching too far out for an interesting word. I just mean, all my opinions aside, thinking back on podcast discussions, review scores and general sentiment, those two games seem like two that are going to rate quite highly on professional publications' lists in the next few weeks.

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imhungry

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#9  Edited By imhungry

Won't be in line with general frontrunners but FFXIV Endwalker is definitely top of my list and it's not anywhere close.

Coming in below that, in no particular order, would probably be Inscryption, Psychonauts 2 and Monster Hunter Rise.

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Broshmosh

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Warioware Get It Together, Deep Rock Galactic Invasion Update, Phantom Abyss

I don't play a lot of new games when they come out, especially if they are very expensive. Warioware was an exception and I love it, even though I can't play it for as long as I used to play Warioware Touched - having more games to play and less time in which to play them has that effect.

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infantpipoc

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Tales of Arise, for it ate up a whole month of free time like my favorites of the last 2 years.

Hitman 3,for it delivered on my expectations.

Death's Door, for the pleasant surprise it brought duribg the dog's days of summer.

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jstaunton

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@sethmode said:

@nodima: this is such a weird post. "As a bystander"? What?

I imagine he's in the same boat as me, ie hasn't played many "2021" games or has mostly just heard GOTY discussions.

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DinosaurCanada

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#13  Edited By DinosaurCanada

Right now gonna go with

  • Halo Infinite
  • Potion Craft
  • Forza Horizon 5 despite being basically the exact same game as 3 and 4 which almost adds to why I like it
  • Scarlet Nexus bein just kind of comfy for some reason
  • Nier Replicant ver whatever. im glad that out of Automata's insane fluke success i managed to get a (more) finished version of this great story (lots of familiarity and comfort food this year) (also needs some patches)
  • Deathloop, a really tight feeling game I can do dumb shit in despite it not really clicking the way I wanted it to and the structure being like two notches too layered

we're gonna have Loop Hero round out the top 5 7. I know you said 3-5 but i couldnt help myself. Honorable mentions are Chicory for just seeming like it's pretty awesome and New Pokemon Snap which should not have had grinding but haha look a Pinsir

Overall a neat year of releases despite not beating a single one of these games I talked about while buying more games than ever. That is healthy I think

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SethMode

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@nodima: fair game mate. I wasn't trying to really give you shit either, it just struck me as odd.

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AV_Gamer

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#15  Edited By AV_Gamer

2021 has been a slow year to say the least, but some good games came out. I don't know if its good enough for a full top ten list, if that is being done this year at GB.

Here is my quick list of top games:

Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart: Another solid entry in the series. Rivet is a nice addition to the cast.

Resident Evil: Village: Capcom proves with this action packed sequel that RE: VII wasn't a fluke.

Halo Infinite: Microsoft delaying the game after that disaster first look event really paid off. I'm sure Craig is happy.

Returnal: Yes, its another rouge-like which is starting to get over done in the gaming world. However, this game is a fun and challenging bullet-hell version of the genre.

Tales of Arise: Easily the best Tales game to come out in years, and might be one of the best entries of all time.

Metroid Dread: Samus is back in her element. Need I say more?

Top games I haven't played yet:

It Takes Two: I likely will never play because of the forced co-op.

Deathloop: I'm still deciding if I want to play it or not.

Forza 5: I know I'll like, but I haven't played it yet.

Scarlet Nexus: I'll likely play it some time next year.

Psychonauts 2: Currently playing the first game and wondering if I should just skip it and jump into the sequel.

Nier Replicant ver 2021: Liked Nier Automata a lot and will being starting this game very soon. Might add it to the list later.

Oh yeah, I'm currently playing Guardians of The Galaxy. I'm liking it so far. Will finish it during the Christmas holiday and decide if it belongs on the list or not.

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hack1501

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2021 has been a great year for games for me. Right now my top five are:

  1. Wildermyth
  2. Hitman 3
  3. Jurassic World Evolution 2

  4. Resident Evil Village
  5. Tales of Arise

I really sunk some time into all of the games on my top 5 and had a blast with them, especially Wildermyth. I do still want to get to Psychonauts 2 and Inscryption but I'm not sure I will have the time before the end of the year. I'm currently still making my way through Tales of Arise but I think I am getting close to the end.

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Unpacking, Get in the Car Loser, Life Is Strange: True Colors, Boyfriend Dungeon, and Scarlett Nexus all seem like they will line up near the top of my list in some order. Fights in Tight Spaces could also end up in there if I'm able to finish it.

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Panfoot

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#18  Edited By Panfoot

1. Guardians of the Galaxy

2. Deathloop

3. Resident Evil Village

4. Adios

5. The Medium

I really didn't play a ton of actual 2021 release games, but still, I was shocked at how good Guardians of the Galaxy was. I understand (some) of the criticism of Deathloop but I still had a great time with it and I hope they add more to it or make a sequel down the line. Resident Evil Village was a pretty big personal disappointment for me coming off of 7, but it's still got good stuff in it and I still did end up sitting down to scour everything I could out of it. Adios was just a neat little "walking sim" type of thing that did a good job with it's story and interactivity. The Medium...wasn't great, but not awful either, it's more just here because I didn't play much else.

The only 2021 game that I'm leaving off is Halo Infinite, the multiplayer is a lot of fun but lacking in maps and modes, but the campaign is the one of the most disappointing games i've played in years. The grappleshot can't make up for one of the most generic ubisoft open worlds out there, the most bland and boring story missions of the series, and a really poorly told(seriously, 90% of those cutscenes are 2 characters talking to each other with the location not really mattering, this could be a school play!) and just not good story. If this is "the next 10 years of Halo", then i'm a Halo multiplayer only guy I guess until the 2030s.

(Also best old game I played for the first time this year is Yakuza 0, I am all in on that series now)

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TopCat88

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#19  Edited By TopCat88

Is there any news on GB's game of the year stuff? Late Dec as it used to be or sometime in the New Year?

My GOTY is Halo, but I can see It Takes Two being the consensus choice.

Predictions:

1. It Takes Two

2. Halo: Infinite

3. Guardians of the Galaxy

4. Psychonauts 2

5. Forza Horizon 5

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PeezMachine

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#20  Edited By PeezMachine

In no particular order:

  • Griftlands
  • Old World
  • Inscryption
  • Hitman 3
  • Loop Hero maybe? it can fight it out with Beast Breaker for this spot

A few strong as-yet-unreleased-in-full games like Against the Storm, Timberborn, and Valheim, but personally I consider them ineligible until 1.0.

And in my personal bammer: Deathloop, Humankind, Dice Legacy, and Surviving the Aftermath.

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BaneFireLord

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This was mostly a backlog year for me and very few of the new releases grabbed me much. Of the new releases I played, my personal top 3 are Deathloop, Inscryption and Age of Empires IV, in more-or-less that order. None of them were mindblowingly amazing. Hell, despite being my GOTY Deathloop was downright disappointing compared to Prey and Dishonored 2. It's either testament to what a middling year it was or a testament to what a mark I am for Arkane's stuff that it still beat out the competition.

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ajamafalous

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Mine are:

1. Diablo II: Resurrected
2. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
3. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

which probably does not match a single other person's GOTY list.

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Ginormous76

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For me, it was a much, much closer race than I would have thought. It comes down to Resident Evil: Village and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and it was really, really tough to decide between them. I had to get really nitpicky.

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Shaunage

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Returnal is an obvious winner for me.

The rest of my top five is probably something like:

Metroid Dread

Resident Evil Village

Halo Infinite

Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart

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clagnaught

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In no particular order: Hitman 3, The Forgotten City, Ratchet and Clank, Tales of Arise, Life is Strange: True Colors.

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RimTiggins

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Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye. Absolutely loved my time with it. Beautiful, sinister, intriguing, scary. Can't wait to see what the devs do next.

Only played a handful of other games this year but they were all disappointments. I'm still annoyed by how aggressively bad Twelve Minutes was, Inscyption completely lost me after the first act, and I binned Halo's campaign because I couldn't stomach another identical sequence of metallic rooms and corridors.

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TheRealTurk

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For me, none. There was a lot of good but not great this year. I suppose the closest I played were some things like Ratchet & Clank or Psychonauts 2. Those were fun, but I don't myself going back to them and I doubt I'll have strong memories of them in 4 or 5 years.

So I guess my GOTY title is vacant?

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Oxygenard

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For me Returnal will definitely be my GOTY. I felt it ten minutes into the game that I would love that game.

Right now my top 5 is:

1. Returnal

2. Metroid Dread

3. Death’s Door

4. Forgotten City

5. Resident Evil Village

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Rich666

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1. NieR Replicant remake

2. FFXIV

3. Monster Hunter Stories 2

4. Ender Lilies

5. Resident Evil Village

Honorable mention: Elden Ring Beta

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noobsauce

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#30 noobsauce  Online

Halo Infinite

Psychonauts 2

Hitman 3

Chivalry 2

Deathloop

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noboners

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In no particular order since I haven't finalized my list yet:

It Takes Two

Moonglow Bay

Halo Infinite

Chicory

Axiom Verge 2

Honorable Mentions that will probably make it too:

Back 4 Blood

Tales of Arise

Sable

Bravely Default II

Did Monster Hunter Rise come out this year?

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Big_Denim

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#33  Edited By Big_Denim

* Psychonauts 2

* Deathloop

* Death’s Door

* Guardians of the Galaxy

* Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart

* Halo Infinite

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MisterFrodo17

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@topcat88: You might've already seen by now, but they said they're going to be doing GOTY in January.

I unfortunately have finished very little that came out this year; it's been a lot of backlog and multiplayer stuff. I'm having a great time with Halo Infinite, though I'm still early in the campaign, and Resident Evil: Village seems right up my alley but I'm also early in that. Also I bought NEO: The World Ends with You, but I haven't played much yet (I'm still trying to beat Paper Mario from last year).

So right now my top two frontrunners that I've finished/close to finishing are Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (which I know probably wouldn't count for a site-wide GOTY, but it's my personal list so why not), and in a big surprise for me, Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm a sucker for Marvel stuff, but even I wasn't expecting to enjoy this game (and particularly its story) so much. I'm bummed it's apparently not selling well because at this point I'd absolutely be up for a sequel.

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K3llogs

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@rimtiggins: Everybody is endlessly singing Inscryption's praises. I was beginning to think I was the only person who wasn't in love with it. The first act was fine. The card game was serviceable and the visuals kept me interested. The second act lost me immediately.

Nothing really stood out to me this year as an obvious number one (caveat that I haven't played Metroid Dread yet). Games near the top of my list:

- Death's Door

- Axiom Verge 2

- Unpacking

- Loop Hero

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#36 prl412  Online

I think it'll come down to one of these:

  • Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart
  • Resident Evil: Village
  • Metroid Dread
  • Forza 5
  • Hitman 3

Not sure if everyone at GB had a crack at Ratchet. Also, there's been a distinct lack of Hitman related content such as Hitsmas/etc.

I can honestly see something like Forza 5 bringing the team together (except maybe Gerstman) and taking the top spot.

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AV_Gamer

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@prl412 said:

I can honestly see something like Forza 5 bringing the team together (except maybe Gerstman) and taking the top spot.

From the videos and commentary I've seen, Jeff G had nothing but good things to say about Forza 5. However, I do believe Halo Infinite stole the thunder away and he will be arguing for that game, even though he has admitted more than once that its just another Halo in an average open world setting seen in many other games.