If You Wrote A 2021 GOTY Blog Or List On The Site, POST THEM HERE!

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ZombiePie

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#1  Edited By ZombiePie  Staff

Alright everyone, even though Giant Bomb's 2021 GOTY coverage will not start until some time in January 2021 I noticed many of you on the site have already published your GOTY lists and blogs! As the person who compiles community-made content every week for the Spotlight feature, I decided to make this thread to hopefully make my life a little easier and also give all of you an extra platform to promote your stuff.

So, if you made a 2021 GOTY list or blog, POST IT HERE! Remember to use the "List" button, right next to the Tweet button, in the WYSIWYG editor or taskbar so everyone in this thread can see what your games are and why you included them.

Look at me being an expert at MS Paint!
Look at me being an expert at MS Paint!

And before you ask, there will be community voting this year. No, I do not know exactly when it will start.

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big_denim

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ZombiePie using MS Paint is my 2021 game of the year.

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Nodima

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infantpipoc

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The short of it and those still hang in 2021

. Tales of Arise
Game of the Year 2021. No.1 with a bullet.
. The Legend of Tianding
The one hangs near No.1 Reason for hanging: going the extra mile in terms of form
. Hitman 3
No. 2 of 2021
. Death's Door
No.3 of 2021
. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
No.4 of 2021
. No More Heroes III
The first one hangs near no.4 Reason for hanging: suitable plate cleanser
. Record of Lodoss War-Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth-
The second one hangs near no.4 Reason for hanging: being similar
. Metroid Dread
No.5 of 2021
. F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch
The one hangs near no.5 Reason for hanging: the more modernized one on more powerful hardware
. Scarlet Nexus
No.6 of 2021
. NieR Replicant
ver. 1.22474487139 No.7 of 2021
. Super Mario 3D World
Only the Bowser's Fury part the one hangs near no.7 Reason for hanging: meaningful additional contents in the re-release
. Tsukihime: A Piece of Blue Glass Moon
No.8 of 2021
. Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
The one hangs near no.8 Reason for hanging: horror/thriller visual novel without the dating sim pretense
. Mass Effect Legendary Edition
No.9 of 2021
. Chorus
The one hangs near no.9 Reason for hanging: the air support head to no.9‘s ground fight tail on the same coin.
. Laid-Back Camp
Have a Nice Day! No.10 of 2021
. Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir
The one hangs near no.10 Reason for hanging: being the polar opposite.
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slax

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https://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion-30/so-we-doing-a-goty-top-ten-list-or-what-or-my-top--1900135/ Am I doing this right?

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#8  Edited By yyninja

Funny enough didn't list any games released in 2021 but still had a great time going through my back catalog of games.

My 2021 GOTY list

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ZombiePie

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#10 ZombiePie  Staff

done up to here

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wilsown

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Here's my list for 2021, thanks for putting these together!

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willin

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The list function for me is busted so here's my list right here!

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Humanity

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I liked these game in < 2021 >

1. Hollow Knight
Released: A while ago In 2021 I started getting into Twitch thanks to a second monitor courtesy of work at home. I found this streamer that I really liked and his playthrough of Hollow Knight really motivated me to get back into this game. A while ago I had made really decent progress but then fell off near the end. I thought with the mazelike nature of the map it would be nearly impossible to simply pick the game up from where I left and finish it but turns out it wasn't that hard at all. Not only did I finish Hollow Knight but I beat the additional end boss and capped the experience off at 101% completion. Amazing game, had a great time.
2. Resident Evil Village
Released: May 7 I was never really that into Resident Evil or classic survival horror. I love Dead Space but thats about it. After seeing all the praise this game was receiving, and having just purchased a shiny new next gen console I decided to give it a shot. Village is a great game and I had a ton of fun. It manages to mix things up just enough where a coward like myself didn't have a heart attack. The story is goofy and the implications for what came before and more so what is going to come after are really out there. Mold huh.
3. Katana Zero
Released: 2019 This is another one of those Game Pass backlog gems I was able to finally get around to. At first glance Katana Zero seems to be another one of those post-Hotline Miami hyper gory, one hit kill, super stylized affairs. Looks can be deceiving though because the game manages to weave a pretty interesting narrative that ties together some key gameplay mechanics in really interesting ways.
4. Scarlet Nexus
Released: Jun 25 I've written a lot about Scarlet Nexus, probably because no one else was talking about it and because something deep at the core of this game kept me coming back for more. At it's core Scarlet Nexus has an interesting combat system and some great style which makes it pretty fun to play. Everything else surrounding this is pretty bad. Ultimately I enjoyed the gameplay and extremely streamlined level design that basically funnels you forward down a long corridor of baddies. Wouldn't mind playing a sequel.
5. A Plague Tale: Innocence
Released: 2019 From the makers of Microsft Flight Simulator 2020, Plague Tale was never really high on my radar after the initial Giant Bomb Quick Look back when we still did those. It looked like another one of those go hind behind a wall while guards walk their rounds sort of thing. Surprisingly the gameplay and story REALLY go places. Mechanics continue to evolve throughout the course of the game and plague ridden France is truly a site to behold. I am now very excited for the upcoming sequel.
6. Omno
Released: Jul 28 Omno is a game that I haven't heard anyone talk about. Another small indie that passed by unseen and unheard. Thanks to Game Pass I was able to give this a shot and it was a really relaxing bite size adventure - a perfect indie experience. Although the gameplay is drastically different, the minimalistic graphic style and protagonist kept reminding me of Little Big Adventure from way back when. If you have Game Pass and want a nicely structured semi-puzzle adventure game with real smooth feeling traversal mechanics I highly recommend you give it a chance.
7. Recompile
Released: Aug 19 The closest thing we will get to a Tron game this decade, Recompile is another indie Game Pass gem. Taking place entirely inside of a computer, the aesthetic of the menus and levels are all top notch retro-Tron-grade-magic. The gameplay is no slouch either. Although sometimes a bit wonky the Metroidvania-lite feel of constantly unlocking new abilities is a great hook to an already fun action adventure.
8. Psychonauts 2
Released: Aug 25 Many thought it can't be done, but Psychonauts 2 not only delivers but surpasses expectations. A great action platformer with a wonderful story and a delightful cast of characters - Double Fine finally deliver a game that plays as good as it looks. Absolute must for anyone this year and I would guess, a classic for years to come.
9. Unsighted
Released: Sep 30 More Zelda than Metroid, Unsighted is an action adventure with some interesting ideas and great gameplay to back it all up. I would recommend going to the menus and instantly turning off the time limit placed upon both the player character and all the NPCs. While this is the "way it was meant to be played" by the dev team, Unsighted is best played at your own pace, allowing you to dig into all the corners of the world looking for secrets and just enjoying the experience.
10. The Ascent
Released: July 29 What amazing style! The Ascent is dripping with the sort of cyberpunk you might read about in a William Gibson novel. It is also an extremely fun action game that has fast paced gunplay, and amazing graphics to back it up. In general just a really fun twin stick shooter that doesn't reinvent the genre but it certainly leaves it's mark.
11. Forza Horizon 5
Released: Nov 5 I thought I was out but they keep pulling me back in! I had a great time with Forza 4 and thought the next iteration of the series couldn't possibly hook me the same way. Well many hours later here we are, I'm back at it 3 Staring speed traps, collecting cars, trying and failing to make nice looking liveries and generally having a great time.
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Cyklone

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MindBullet

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Games that defined my 2021

1. Nioh 2
It's kind of cheating, since this is a remaster of a 2020 game, but I was lucky enough to get a PS5 this year and one of the first games I played on it was Nioh 2 Remastered. It might be the only game on this list I'm still actively playing, and possibly one of my top 5 favorite games of all time, so... Yeah, it's my #1 for 2021. It has it's quirks for sure, but if you want to experience a soulslike action game with a ridiculous amount of customization and a dash of Japanese history, or just need something to tide you over until Eldin Ring, I'd definitely recommend giving it a try if you haven't already.
2. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
I remember trying to play the first game on 3DS, but the muddy graphics and agonizing control scheme made it exceedingly difficult to put significant time into. I tried playing the mobile version at some point, and while I think that's a superior version, I still couldn't give it it's due. Stories 2 managed to remedy most of, if not all, of those problems. The Switch version maybe has it's issues, but I personally didn't have a problem with it. The characters and monsters are all cute and charming, and the battle system is the perfect blend of simple and just tactical enough to be engaging. I think the premise is really fun, and would love to see more done with the MH:Stories franchise.
3. Monster Hunter Rise
Not really sure what to say beyond it's Monster Hunter. I'm one of the (probably many) people who got on board the Monster Hunter train with World, so I can't really speak on how it compares to previous entries. I can say that the addition of stuff like the wirebug and palamute were really fun and introduced a new dimension to the maps and fights that feels like a significant evolution of the gameplay. The base defense mode was pretty bad, though. I played through to "the end" and just kind of fell off. I'm hoping that the PC release will get me back in, and maybe open up the opportunity to play with people I know.
4. The Forgotten City
In a year dominated by Loop Games, The Forgotten City was probably my favorite. Unravelling the mystery was genuinely compelling, and the ways the game helps you along were really interesting and made the repeating nature of the loop less of a chore. The final boss encounter had me sweating and laughing in equal measure, it's definitely something you have to see to believe. It's not a long game, I think I finished it in two sittings, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in a short mystery story to work through.
5. Deathloop
When this first came out, the more I played it the more I fell in love. The Dishonored games are some of my favorites ever, and the ways Deathloop approaches and addresses the ways those games did things was intensely interesting to me at the time. However, now that I've finished, it feels like the more time I spend away from it the less I like it. With Dishonored, the first thing I did after completing it was start up a new game. With Deathloop, I don't know if I'll ever go back. It's kind of painful to think about, because I can totally see what they were going for here, but I think that ultimately this is a game that manages to be less than the sum of it's parts.
6. Inscryption
I know this game kind of took the games coverage world by storm, with a lot of people singing it's praises and begging the rest of us to play it. I'll admit, that's the only reason I bothered picking this up. I can see why this is so highly regarded, but at the end of the day it's still too much of a card game for me to fully get into it. Even the "surprises" or whatever you want to call them didn't really do much for me. Maybe I've played too many games that pull similar stunts. I want to try to put more time into it at some point, but it became too much of a slog for me personally.
7. Tales of Arise
This was the game I had the highest hopes for this year. It released around my birthday, so I had it pre-ordered and even set aside some of my time off to really sit down and enjoy it. After spending a couple hours with it, I got a sinking feeling in my gut. I wasn't liking it. I put more time into it, I saw how well it was doing critically and in sales, and I told myself I just needed to give it more time. Every hour just pushed me further and further away. My feelings towards it got so bad that I actually started wondering if the Tales franchise has been terrible this whole time and I've just been in denial. I went back and played a couple other Tales games, including digging out my PS3 and putting a dozen or so hours in Xillia. I still like most of those games! I just don't like Arise. I'm glad it did well, and I hope whatever comes next takes what worked here and improves on it, but Tales of Arise is easily my Most Disappointing game of 2021.
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sometingbanuble

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2021 has been a pretty good year for me. Found new employment which has kept me from looking back at past employers. You know the ones where they seem like so much a part of your life that you might have to use your vacation time to go to their family member’s funeral because, “it’s like a family here.’ *Puke Emoji*. That’s all behind me in the rearview mirror.

2020’s gaming put 2021 in a tough spot. I wasn’t able to do much with my waking life besides game. I had an extended period of unemployment. Was necessary for mental health and it has served me well. During 2020 I bought every game that existed that I ever wanted to play. I paid full price and markup for everything. I rejected, and still reject playing Animal Crossing because that game is about going out and living your life and you couldn't/cant. I beat everything I wanted to beat from years ago. If I didn't beat it I currently own it and it’s just stowed away. My reluctant game of the year from that year (as someone much more message board famous than I wrote about in a review) is the terrible Last of Us 2. As far as a game that I played in 2020 that was my game for the year it would be Arkham Knight. I am so hyped in 2022 for Gotham Knights and the Suicide Squad, especially since Suicide Squad seems to have its roots in a Sunset Overdrive playstyles. The following are a list of unreleased games that I will be picking up:

Ollie Ollie World - A combo pack of Ollie Ollie 1 and 2 is currently on sale for $3.99 on the eshop

Starfield - Hopefully I have a Series X by then. Also let’s hope there is no multiplayer or non-man sky promises (fulfilled or not) between now and then. I need a crafted world not a chance to be teabagged in yet another game.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderland - I love Borderland games. I can’t find the time to go back to Borderlands 1 or the Presequel. I loved Tales of the Borderland as my favorite tell-tale game and the rare game to make me cry. Hopefully this game is making fun of the witches and warlock games in a genre that I can’t stand. Elden Ring? Count me out. Though Final Fantasy XV made enough of a mark on me that if FF16 is announced before i get my hands on a Series X then.. Let’s not think about that. There’s nothing in life that I need less than both a series-X and PS5.

As far as existing games that I own that I want to get to, I've decided that I want 2022 to be the year of the replay. I haven’t replayed much more than FFXV in the last 20 years and there’s stuff that i’m probably misremembering or might have more of a fondness for since i’ve mellowed into a person that now has the patience for cutscenes and the ability to suspend the game whenever i want to be more contemplative about what i just experienced. These games are the games i hope to revisit (games that i've beaten before):

Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3 - I made the mistake of beating the first game using only the plasma cutter. I think that’s how that game should be played. I wanted that achievement. Do you have that achievement? In some of my unposted reviews of games I called Dead Space 2 and 3 some of my favorite games of all time. What’s that about? I need to revisit them. I might watch this dead space dvd that I've owned for 15 years, for the first time. Will that make sense of everything? Is there another person on this board that has anything to say about the whole dead space universe?

Arkham Knight - I love most things about batman. The old campy tv show is alot of fun. I like all of the batman movies including the one's i'm not supposed to. Batman V Superman is a great movie. Justic League is dope as well. I can't wait for my Batman to sparkle in the 2022 Batman film. Beat this game during the 2020 pandemic. My one word review for this game would be "tough." Not tough like difficult but tough like a 2 year old a daycare with a band-aid under his eye and a little baby cast on his right arm after a long day at day care. He's gone through some stuff, mostly of his own making, but he made it and he's up for more. When you're playing soldier you're going to get dirty.

Sunset Overdrive - This game had my thumbs going raw more than any since the NES day. I glossed over the weapon types but this game is so self aware that i'm sure there's some great writing about each weapon and something pretty cool about them. If this is how the suicide squad game plays please sign me up. I'm just hoping that the suicide squd is not next years outriders or marvels game. Make it next year guardians.

Metro 2033 - I played through the game the first time entirely in Russian. I think some games should be played in total immersion. I actually picked up the book years ago and still haven’t been able to finish it (moreover even really get started i think i’m 50 pages into a 500+ page book). English this time. I think I have an idea of the Russian cadence.

Splinter Cell Conviction - I liked that game. I won’t like this upcoming Splinter Cell game. I loved the Hitman 1 and 2 games the most when staying at home for 18 hours was socially responsible. I don’t have that kind of patience anymore.

State of Decay 1- Now that I finally understand those systems and what the game wants from me I can play the game correctly from the word jump. Whatever State of Decay 2 and whatever State of Decay 3 is aren’t for me.

Here are the games that I spent time with this year. I was running around living my best life and did not have time to game which I find more positive than negative. In superlative mode:

Pokemon Go - Game that finally fizzled and good Riddance - when it came time to finally get back into the world in 2021 i realized how stacked against me Pokemon Go was. I wasn’t in the spending money camp.I was in the let me grind the way people grind for a battlepass gameplay style. I walked 5 or 6 miles a day. I spun pokestops. I made appointments on my phone to get up and take gyms and get my coins. I went to destinations 100s of miles from my house and was able to tour and walk spaces just looking at my phone getting more information than a seasoned tour guide. But this game never rewarded me with anything. I somehow lost the ability to nominate gyms which was a huge motivator for me to keep playing. There was no multiplier. I should be able to walk 5 miles and spin 100 gyms and get double, triple and quadruple xp. Something has to give. The developers aren’t playing the game. Spoofers are ruining the game. I spent a good portion of the year playing. I finally did some irl trades with friends of mine. I played and conquered this game. Since its release this is the longest span I've gone without opening a pokemon go article. I’m done.

Control - Game i finally finished thanks to Gamepass and XCloud - I can’t remember how i came to play this game. I don’t know if it was a purchase that i traded in (i think it was) or if was on gamepass. Either way i was done with this game. I wasn’t having fun with this game until it came up on gamepass. I didn’t care about there either. It wasn’t until i streamed it (instananeously, no loading) on my iphone with razer kysha snap on controller that i could stream from the cloud that i finally finished it. No i don’t recommend XCloud AT ALL. But for something that you can just play on your phone and just walk around to collect items and read it was a good way for me to just browse menus and read lore instead of browsing message boards. The game is wholly unplayable on wifi/5g and I don't recommend it. But as far as a way to just patiently appreciate a menu xcloud might help you power through an instruction booklet or read about enemy characters. Recommend for $1. See you then gamepass

Quake 1 - Game that would have prevented me from graduating from college if i played it new - When I was in college I had a playstation and didn't dare do much but type my papers for school on my laptop. I didn't dream of playing games there. I still dont play on a pc. I played this on gamepass and it was just great fun running around and finding hidden doorways and exits in multiplayer. I gave the single player a whirl and enjoyed that immensely as well.

12 Minutes- Biggest gaming disappointment in the last 10 years - I love when games use celebrity voices. I love games that seem like they came from an era when I was playing edutainment games at my local library. I thought this was the game. I tried and tried so hard with this game. There’s nothing here. It was so hyped. I feel sorry for anybody that plays this game. The marketing person that strategically launched on gamepass and then later launched on playstation deserves a raise. I’m sure the review Bell Curve has enough people loving the game that they can charge full price and make a mint. If this game comes up in any search engine here is my review (with intentional typos). Don't buy 12 minutes! Dnt by 12 munits! Bont duy 1 minutes! Didnt bye 21 minutes! Dont bi 13 mandibles!

Minecraft - Game that is not for me and i know that now - Got a wii-u and purchased this game. Yadda yadda back story and i tried really hard to like this game. You very much need someone in the room with you to ask you what you’re doing to motivate you to keep playing this game. This is like a child's refrigerator art. The child doesn’t even like it and just wants the parent to validate their work. Not for me.

Minecraft Dungeons - Game that has a mature counterpart that is too edgelord for me to try - Minecraft Dungeons is Diablo 3. I’ll never care about Diablo 3.This game was fun and i enjoyed everything about beating it other than the gatekept levels behind a paywall. This is one of those games where the box will say ‘definitive,’ or ‘game of the year,’ edition and still sell you stuff. Give it all to me.

Recore - Game that was probably much much worse at launch but how would i know - This game has companions that were absent during launch. I don't know which ones and I don't care. This game was fun for me in 2021. It cemented the idea that i love 3rd person games even more than first person. Since i retired from online multiplayer why am i still playing first person shooters.

Streets of Rage 4 - Game that i played while i waited for Scott Pilgrim to come out - I played this game at the beginning of my 2021 is the year of 2D gaming. The game is okay and a typical beat-em up but it’s just not fun for me. A gamepass play no harm no foul. Did not finish.

The Ascent - Game that taught me being Day 1 on a game will only get me so far but it does get me caught in message board hype but i dont need that to generate a thread- I kind of enjoyed this game but then it started to just send me fetching things back and forth between areas and i didnt know where I was. Name your locations and maybe use real world settings (USA bias would be nice) so I can know where I'm headed, or even better yet let me name them at the start of the game, during the game, or something. It's why people name their RPG characters after friends or enemies. It's cyberpunk. I promise to use a dollar sign and emoji for new los angeles.

My Friend Pedro - Game that’s just a tech demo for sale - One of the first games i beat for the year. Nothing special

Cadence of Hyrule - Game that captures what i thought the computer was looking for from players all along, rhythm - *Unbeaten full length review soon* GOTY for most adored Game for 2021

Hades - Game I can’t wait to see what happens next but i doubt I’ll ever get around to it again - I got a switch while on a 2 week out of town vacation. I needed something to do during my down time. $300 was a pretty good deal. Picked up Hades, Bioshock Collection, Cadence of Hyrule, and Scott Pilgrim. That is such a collection of games I’m set for a trip to Hawaii this March. I justified the purchase and now have a 1-game out membership with gamefly so on my next trip i can aspire to beat a game and then drop it off in a mailbox while away and something new will arrive when i come back home (does Gamefly work in Hawaii?)

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order - Game i enjoyed so much that i forgot to add it to the list. Question mark - Well i enjoyed the hell out of this game. I called it my 2019 game of the year. I composed this entire post and didnt remember it. I beat it. I wrote a review for it. I enjoyed this game. Maybe because it gives me a little, very little, dark souls cred. Writing reviews is very important if for no other reason than you forget what you play unless you write it down. This game will go on my replay list for 5 or so years from now. Enjoyed it.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Game of the year that came out this year that I've only put 2 hours into - License music, custom music, and it’s own curse words colloquialsims make GoTG my favorite game of the year. I’ve barely played it. I have let it sit idle on my TV (I turned off the suspend/shut down mode) just so I could enjoy the music. The game feels like uncharted and the marvel game rolled into one. It’s what a good spiderman game would look like if they finally realized that i’ve been unimpressed with open world since Sunset Overdrive. It’s what I want Wolverine to be (If i can snag a PS5 before series-X then wolverine might be that reason). The dialogue is fun and varied, the graphics are unpredictable since I don't know the comics (everything in spiderman is just going to be modeled on real world objects… big whoop). It has a free upgrade to series-x performance (maybe wolverine isn’t that compelling) so i can see a game i actually find myself gazing into the world with ray tracing (Control doth charge). It’s got active reload and bullet time. It doesn’t have an store currency and no multiplayer to speak of. I might actually try on all of Peter Quill’s uniforms as well as the rest of the team and actually care. I might rewatch the movies and appreciate them even more. I might ride the ride at Disney. I might sign up for comixology and read the comics. There’s a lot that I might do. But what I know I will do. I will play the hell out of this game. *Unbeaten** *Review coming soon* *Game of the Year 2021*

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This year I have been able to get my hands on a PS5, which means I have been busy catching up with the last few generations of Playstation games I've missed. My highlights being the first time playing Bloodborne and Demon's Souls. Besides that there were plenty of Game Pass games I enjoyed on PC and I even dabbled in some Apple Arcade.

So, I have been piecing together something of a list of my favorite 2021 releases. I wasn't sure if the new Nier version was even eligible so I put it at the bottom. Psychonauts 2 was everything I hoped for as a fan of 3D-platformers. It feels great to move around in, the characters are all so witty and fun to talk to. The levels look amazing and each one has such a distinct style and the gameplay was built around their theme. The story was paced nicely, building slowly until you got to the last hub area where it felt like the stakes were really on. Combat was also a big step up from the original game. Honestly I didn't stop playing until I had collected everything there was. Well done Double Fine!

2021 GOTY

1. Psychonauts 2
2. Deathloop
3. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
4. Halo Infinite
5. Death's Door
6. Age of Empires IV
7. Resident Evil Village
8. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
9. Lost Judgment
10. NieR Replicant

Then there are some 2021 titles I haven't had the chance to play, but I'm very interested in trying in the future: Returnal, Scarlet Nexus, Kena, Ender Lilies, Solar Ash, Demon Turf.

My most anticipated game of 2022? It's Elden Ring of course!

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danielkempster

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Hey ZP, I've just finished putting together my traditional "end of year top ten list" blog for this year:

My End of 2021 Awards

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sgtsphynx

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#21  Edited By sgtsphynx  Moderator

Made my customary list, though I did limit it to the five games I could write more than a phrase about.

Sgt Sphynx's Game of the Year List 2021

1. InscryptionI don't normally care for card-based games, but this one just hit perfectly for me, the combination of run-based gameplay, one might say rogue-like, and the way the plot unfolds. The ending was just perfect in my opinion.
2. SableThis was my number one for a good while, then it battled with the next game on the list and came out on top. Then Inscryption came out of nowhere and was just almost tailor-made for me. Anyway, this is about Sable, and I should talk about Sable. This is an absolutely, stunningly beautiful game. Not just in the visuals, but in the lonely journey the main character takes on a voyage of self-discovery. I did everything in this game (except find all the grubs, though I do intend to start a new game and follow a guide of where they all are so I can check them all off) because I just enjoyed existing in that world. It is very melancholy to discover the history of the world and why everyone wears masks.
3. Metroid DreadThey finally put out a 2-d Metroid game that isn't a remake and it was phenomenal. I got 100% of the items and map before going to fight the last boss. Behind puzzle games, this is my favorite style of game and I have been playing Metroid games since the very first one on NES. I think this has taken the top spot of my favorite Metroid game from Super Metroid.
4. In Other WatersThis game may have come out in 2020, but I played this this year when I wanted something I could take my time with and didn't want to need to react quickly to. Like Sable, this is a game about a journey, this time it is not self-discovery, it is the hunt for a missing acquaintance/co-worker. During the game, the player is directly addressed as the player takes the part of an unknown AI. I won't say more as that would give away too much of the plot and the history of the world the game takes place on, but again, it is a rather melancholy game. Right up my alley apparently.
5. Loop HeroSomething about the smaller games this year. On paper, this game shouldn't work for me, but it is almost an idle game, and it did allow me to have it on while I was working when I was just trying to gather resources. Also, the plot is right in line with my likes and interests. I don't know, I can't really explain it, but this game has just stuck with me.
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TFP's Top 10 Games of 2021

1. Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars
Number 10 It is very weird to call a game directed by Yoko Taro “comfy”, but Voice of Cards fits that description. An old school turn-based RPG with a fun, card based aesthetic, Voice of Cards doesn’t reinvent… really anything about the genre, but its interesting characters, great soundtrack, and great presentation go a long way.
2. Fights in Tight Spaces
Number 9 While last year’s Hades proved that I could actually play and enjoy a rogue-like, as long as that rogue-like had great writing and Supergiant’s fantastic art and music, Fights in Tight Spaces proves that I can enjoy a card focused rogue-like as long as it’s got amazing style and occasional hilarious interactions with simple mechanics. Despite being a card game, the combat’s flow and animations pack some real weight behind the moves you play, and setting up enemies to get shoved around the board to attack their allies is so satisfying to pull off.
3. Monster Hunter Rise
Number 8 As someone who was familiar with what could be charitably called “The bad old days” of Monster Hunter, the newer entries’ streamlining and increased accessibility has been pretty exciting to witness. What started with Monster Hunter World continues with Monster Hunter Rise, adding a bunch of cool new mobility options, fun Palico and new Palamute mechanics, and just making the experience of hunting monsters easier to get into. I do wish that modern Monster Hunter endgames of “Just grind constantly while fighting monsters that will kill you in around three hits” were a bit more designed though. Especially the case in this game, where you have to grind so many hunter ranks just to unlock additional late game monsters that instead kill you in two hits
4. No More Heroes III
Number 7 Suda51’s gonzo conclusion to the No More Heroes series manages to pull together so many disparate parts from Grasshopper’s entire oeuvre that it seems like the game could fall apart under its own weight at any moment. It probably does at times, but the end result, if you have any enjoyment of any Grasshopper game, is incredible. Where the previous game, Travis Strikes Again, felt like an explanation of the how’s and why’s of Suda51’s directorial style, No More Heroes 3 feels like it’s saying “Okay, you learned the how and why. Let’s crank everything to the max and hold on for the ride.”
5. Cruis'n Blast
Number 6 This game and another, Hot Wheels Unleashed, could honestly probably be co-number 6’s. They’re both amazing arcade-style racers that provide exhilarating speed and fun, with a bunch of unlockables and style. The reason I chose Cruis’n Blast as the representative for the list is that I think its strengths in track design, bombastic style and presentation, and raucous 90’s arcade soundtrack give it the edge over Hot Wheels Unleashed’s tighter driving mechanics and more expansive single player mode. Both games, however, are just pure fun and it’s great to have such great options for non-open world racing games in a year.
6. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Number 5 Easily one of the greatest technical showpieces for new hardware, Rift Apart just goes to show that in terms of fun to use imaginative sci-fi weaponry, tight platforming, and Saturday morning cartoon-style action-adventure, it’s very hard to top Insomniac Games. The new planets Ratchet and Rivet explore teem with life and detail around every corner, which makes exploring them so much fun to do. The Dualsense controller’s adaptive triggers make using the various new weapons so much more reactive and interesting to use. I could go on, but I suppose the easiest way to compress this is that the game feels like one of the first truly “next generation” experiences compared to what was available on PS4 and Xbox One.
7. It Takes Two
Number 4 I feel like Josef Fares and his team at Hazelight’s greatest strength is their versatility. Not just in going from a solely single player, somber fairy tale of a game where you control two characters simultaneously to a solely multiplayer game that’s a two-fisted crime tale to It Takes Two, another solely multiplayer game that’s equal parts family drama and absurdist comedy. But the fact that over the course of It Takes Two there are so many different mechanics over each area that are so wildly different that the game never feels like it gets old. It juggles so many emotions, from triumph and humor to abject horror and despair, without feeling cheap or inappropriate. It Takes Two manages to balance everything nearly perfectly, and going through it with a friend just makes the experience that much more worthwhile.
8. Life is Strange: True Colors
Number 3 Freed from having to work their story in as a prequel, Deck Nine’s second attempt at the Life is Strange series’s stands head and shoulders above their previous outing, and also manages to be the best entry in the series since the original. It combines an eminently likable main cast in an interesting locale with a deeply compelling mystery, that outside of one fairly contrived coincidence that doesn’t particularly add anything manages to be both emotionally resonant and intelligently unfurled over the course of the game. New protagonist Alex Chen’s supernatural empathic powers are also interestingly presented and utilized in unique and fun ways to solve problems for the townspeople. As a final note, while Deck Nine’s last game, Before the Storm, introduced me to the band Daughter, I was already well aware of Angus & Julia Stone, the musicians they chose to provide most of the soundtrack for this game. That person, who keeps picking the bands to do their soundtracks, still needs a raise, because their album is the best video game soundtrack of the year.
9. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Number 2 Extremely poignant and a beautiful examination of multiple kinds of grief are probably not the descriptors most people would think of looking at the cover art for this game. And yet that’s exactly what this game is. Sure, it’s also got solid action, some incredible humor in parts, and all the graphical bells and whistles you want for a big, bombastic, expensive comic book adaptation in the year 2021. But in reality, all of that is a bit of a fake out. A false promise, if you will. Much like director James Gunn’s excellent versions of these characters on film, Eidos Montreal uses their humor, their outcast nature, and their, at least before the MCU happened, minor status in Marvel history to transform Star-Lord and the other Guardians into something more than just “cool space people.” One of the rare games that feels like choices actually matter, the central conflict between the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Universal Church of Truth can have drastic consequences depending on the player’s choices. Finally, as stated above, the game is extremely poignant, and a beautiful examination of multiple kinds of grief. Seriously.
10. Lost Judgment
Number 1 Look. I’ve done these lists for ten years now. In three prior lists, a game from RGG Studio is number one, with an additional two lists having an RGG Studio game at number two. I think, by now, you should understand that I enjoy these games. But I don’t really go for the 100% completion, at least, not before Lost Judgment. This is the first RGG Studio game I got every Trophy in. Every town mission. Every god-forsaken victory in Fighting Vipers, or Cho-han. Because this game is truly outstanding. And I mean, sure, you can say there’s a certain amount of “playing to my interests” at play here. I love detective fiction. A decent chunk of this game’s mystery revolves around the death of a high school teacher, where when you investigate the high school there’s a precocious student who leads a “mystery research” club. A high school detective, which, again, if you have read any of these lists you would know is another thing that points to “For some reason Sega decided to make a game exclusively for TFP, and I guess if other people like it too that’s nice.” But it’s also so much more than that. If it wasn’t impeccably written, if the new additions to the combat weren’t extremely fun to play with, if the trademark Yakuza series “We are starting with a small crime but that small crime was done to cover up something that literally affects the entire country of Japan as we know it” didn’t escalate just right, I don’t think I would’ve felt compelled to complete everything in the game. All those things were true, however, and that’s why it’s my game of the year. Thanks for reading!
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#23  Edited By jaqen_hghar

I'm not a writer, so the writeups is always messy messes. But here is my, I think, final list for this year.

To make it easier for myself I also didn't restrict it to only 10 games, so all of my honorable mentions are also on there. Which puts it on an even... 28 games. Top 5 is ordered. 6-10 is not. And everything after are honorable or not-so-honorable mentions.

Edited it out because adding a game to the list means it doesn't order them right. So here is a link instead:

Game of the Year 2021

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imunbeatable80

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I'll just leave a link to mine. Here .. It is not your typical GOTY as I never play games that come out in the same year.

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#25  Edited By serryl

TOP 10 GAMES I PLAYED IN 2021

1. Hitman 3This was my entry point into the Hitman series; I believe I chose well. Within 30 minutes of playing the free tutorial, I knew I was hooked on Hitman's blend of espionage, absurd comedy and top-tier sandbox design. Hitman 3 (along with the other two games in the recent trilogy) is now my most-played game ever. When I finally set it aside, it wasn't from boredom but to allow time for playing anything else on my backlog. This was an addicting, near bottomless pit of delight, and I can't wait to hop back in someday. If you haven't played yet, I recommend you try the free starter edition as soon as possible.
2. NieR:AutomataMy biggest regret with Nier:Automata was that I spoiled the "final" ending for myself years back during Giant Bomb's GOTY talks. This story (and the eventual payoff of that ending) is perfect and moving in a way that can only be achieved in video games. Sure, it does all the things a good video game should: tight combat, good platforming, awesome music (I own the OST). However, the story is what makes this unforgettable. My game save may be gone now, but I look forward to doing it all over again in the future. Bravo!
3. Psychonauts 2The original Psychonauts is one of my all-time favorites, and I've sung its praises to anyone who'll listen. While Psychonauts 2 doesn't surpass the first game, it's still an incredible work of art. What I love most is how each "level" offers unique visuals and gameplay mechanics all while reinforcing the story. It's a masterful example of what interactive storytelling is capable of. I didn't enjoy Doublefine's changes to the combat, but everything else was flawless.
4. SpiritfarerThe first line of this game's official description reads, "Spiritfarer is a cozy management game about dying". I don't think I've ever seen such a short summary for a game, but it's accurate. The impressive thing about Spiritfarer isn't the art style or sound design or animation or story. Those are fantastic, but what impressed me most is that the game's structure reinforces what it says about how some of us manage heavy emotions like grief and regret. I was so preoccupied harvesting my crops and sheering sheep that I didn't stop to dwell on who my passengers were and where we were all heading. I just enjoyed my little moments with each of them, and (as in real life) that was a lovely gift all by itself.
5. Ori and the Will of the WispsI think Brad mentioned on the Quick Look that Ori and the Will of the Wisps looks as good as you remember the first game looking--until you view them side by side. I didn't think 2D artwork could get prettier than the first game, but Moon Studios have handily outdone themselves while proving that they can successfully experiment with new ideas. I can't wait for what they do next.
6. EastshadeWhat I appreciate most about Eastshade is that it offers a rich, first-person, open-world experience completely without combat. I like shooting things, as the next game on my list shows, but I also like variety. There was a point in Eastshade where things were a bit spooky, and I found myself moving very slowly through the environment and checking all around me for a surprise attack. Then I remembered it wasn't that kind of game. This game offers a safe space, where you can adventure, explore, learn, paint, and ultimately let go of apprehension. Let's just say I needed that in 2021. If you haven't yet, I recommend you check out the developer's postmortem of the game on their devblog (https://www.eastshade.com/postmortem-eastshade). It's a fascinating look at the business of indie development.
7. Halo InfiniteOn one hand, I'm not surprised that the latest installment of my all-time favorite shooting series is on this list. On the other hand, 343 Industries have been unsteady caretakers of the series, and I wasn't sure what their long-term roadmap was. With Halo 5, it seemed like they wanted to experiment and escape the long shadow cast by Master Chief. I had fun with that game, but it didn't "feel" like Halo to me. Halo Infinite is an incredible return to form, and I love it. The story is weak, largely amounting to a grand reset for pieces on the board, but the gameplay is the evolved combat I've been waiting for. I almost never bother with PvP multiplayer, but Halo Infinite's combat is so fun I didn't want to stop after the campaign ended and the map was nearly cleared. Against all odds, 343 Industries have gotten me interested in online Slayer matches, and I applaud that achievement.
8. State of Decay: Year-One Survival EditionLast year, two things happened that gave me a taste for zombie horror (so to speak): 1) I finished the TellTale Walking Dead series (#stillnotbitten), and 2) I got hyped by the teaser trailer for State of Decay 3. I don't know how I missed this when it was released for XBLA, but I can't recommend it enough if you want that gripping, post-apocalyptic, survival experience. It was also funny playing this shortly after Watch Dogs: Legion and realizing the whole "play as anyone" idea wasn't as new as I had assumed. As with Watch Dogs, State of Decay is as fun as you make it. Losing certain characters in this game felt more brutal and memorable than in any other I played all year.
9. Streets of Rage 4I have to be in the right mood for side-scrolling beat'em ups, but Streets of Rage 4 kept me coming back. It looks gorgeous, and I like how varied the playable characters feel. My only frustration was in realizing very late that the default character, Axel, is not good for beginners--especially with the difficulty as high as it is. Thankfully, the accessibly options can be used at any time, so I was able to tap those to get Axel past the final boss. Now that I've unlocked all the modes, I look forward to jumping back in with Cherry and her sweet guitar.
10. Yakuza: Like a DragonThis was my first Yakuza game, and I quit playing 40hrs in after reaching a difficulty spike in chapter 12. Most reviews I read had prepared me for the spike, but it was even worse than I anticipated. This game still ranks on my list, because I loved most of what I played in the first 11 chapters. The turn-based combat is as silly as the trailers imply, but it's also satisfying. Yes, there are a huge number of cutscenes, but the story and characters are great; the mini-games are too. Everything the game threw at me prior to chapter 12, generally felt fair and well checkpointed. While I was really bummed by the difficulty spike (and didn't feel like grinding to overcome it), Yakuza: Like a Dragon was a ton fun, and I don't regret my time with it.
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#26 FinalDasa  Moderator

Best of 2021

1. Unpacking
Life ain’t easy. It’s an unpredictable ride that, at its worst, feels isolating and lonely. It can be all too easy to slip into the idea that our experiences and struggles are our own, alone. Unpacking showed me that it’s okay if life doesn’t always move upward because you aren’t the only one. We all make the best with what we have and keep moving forward because one day we’ll reach that nice home, with people we love.
2. The Gunk
Sometimes you need that 80 hour, open-world adventure game to while away the hours. Sometimes you wanna suck up a bunch of gunk. None of the puzzles are too easy or too hard. None of the hazards feel too dangerous or deadly. Just like with SteamWorld Dig, The Gunk is the right balance and pace that always left me feeling satisfied and happy.
3. Hitman 3
There’s a strange fear I believe a lot of players sometimes have after completing a very good game. That it’ll never happen again. Would there still be enough creative juice left to fill yet another world of pure assassination? Turns out, pretty easily. There’s the Knives Out level, the German club, or the massive winery and vineyard all of which keep the haphazard world of Hitman alive.
4. New Pokémon Snap
Pokemon are adorable and cute. Let me stare at the Pokemon as they do adorable and cute things: the game. Littered with the right amount of secrets and unlockables to reward those willing to put in the effort. But still offering that right amount of immediate joy if all you wanna see are some Pokemon hanging out together.
5. Loop Hero
I feel that some games lay bare their design loop a bit too often. Loop Hero takes the basic loop and spices it up. I love that the game never explains itself. I love that the simplicity is deceptive. I love that I don’t need to pay total attention to it. Loop Hero is a great game when you want something to play without making it your entire hour. Engaging and casual all at the same time.
6. Jurassic World Evolution 2
The first game had some good ideas but they felt stretched thin. Although the sequel doesn’t layer on too much, it expands the idea of creating your own dinosaur park in the right ways. Since I was a kid I always wondered how a properly put together Jurassic Park builder game would look like and for my money, this is the one.
7. Halo Infinite
It wasn’t much of a surprise to watch Halo slowly fall off over the years. The many sequels and side games weren’t bad, they just weren’t reaching the peak the franchise had been known for. Watching Infinite get that feeling back while adding in the open-world elements is genuinely refreshing.
8. Babble Royale
I don’t really like Scrabble. I get frustrated and stumped staring at those letters. And I sure as hell don’t know enough words that contain the letter Q. Babble Royale manages to add just enough items and time crunch to make that pressure a part of the game. I don’t need the best or longest word, I just need a word to survive. You can wildly guess with your letters, praying you to find a word to get you out of trouble. Or slowly plan out your expansion toward another player only to be beaten by that elusive S. Scrabble with killing, what could be better?
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Always enjoy doing this, here's the blog link. I'll be setting this up as a list on my profile later but prefer to write it as a blog entry first.

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#28 chaser324  Moderator

You can find my list here.

Overall, a pretty good year for games. It was lacking a lot of the flashy blockbusters that have been hit the hardest by COVID related delays, but there was still plenty of stuff out there well worth the time.

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#29 ZombiePie  Staff

I genuinely wonder how many present-day user get all of the references on this list.

You tell me.

2021 GOTY & Giant Bomb Community Callbacks

1. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
ArbitraryWater's 2021 Game That Allows Them To Write About How CRPGs Are BACK BAYBEE For 5,000+ Words Right, so, yes, this game is still a proud resident of "JANK CITY." That said, it might be one of the most "authentic" video game adaptations of a tabletop game. Besides handling major technical issues, Wrath of the Righteous addresses almost all primary complaints with 2018's Pathfinder: Kingmaker. It expands Kingmaker's ruleset by adding more character options and classes and, more importantly, introduces the Mythic Path mechanic. With the ten possible Mythic Paths, you finally have the ability to change your RPing experience leaps and bounds. For example, how a Trickster goes about the game's story will diverge massively from a Lich or Aeon. And for those that want to see the world burn, the game dares you to become the "Swarm-That-Walks." The ways you can fundamentally change your experience mechanically and narratively is simply outstanding. I will warn you; this is NOT a game for CRPG newcomers. The interface and messy UI are bound to intimidate and confuse people. While the turn-based combat is far more fluid and interactive than Kingmaker's, those that lack that baseline will likely still view Path of the Righteous as "clunky." And when it comes to the character sheets, Path of the Righteous definitely does a better job of guiding you through the process of leveling up a character and allocating skill points. However, that process can still take a shocking amount of time, with the initial character creation process at the start easily clocking in at the one-hour mark. A single playthrough will also last you about 80 to 100 hours. And unless you are willing to dedicate that amount of time for multiple playthroughs, you will not notice the small touches that show the care that has been put into this game. But should you put in the time, you will be rewarded with one of the most in-depth and comprehensive CRPG experiences made in the last ten years short of Original Sin 2 or Pillars of Eternity. And I know there are at least a few of you sickos, like me, where that is worth something.
2. Psychonauts 2
Best Game To Play While Listening To Brad Muir Play Ska Music I was not a huge fan of the original Psychonauts. While I certainly appreciated a handful of the game's set pieces, I struggled to reconcile its controls and more frustrating bits. When the game expected a level of platforming precision it couldn't provide, it drove me up the wall. Correspondingly, Tim Schafer is a designer I have always found to have ideas that don't always fit the games he publishes. Like many, I found Brütal Legend to be a game that crams too many mechanics into a single package, and I did not enjoy Broken Age at all. Hence, when Psychonauts 2 was first announced, I was not one of the many people lauding the series' return. Well, here we are, and Psychonauts 2 narrowly cracked the top position on my GOTY list. It seems odd to praise a Double Fine production for its writing, but in the case of Psychonauts 2, such flattery is well-earned. The improvement this time around is that the game's main narrative better ties into the set pieces and the locations Raz explores. Additionally, the progression from one level to the next is greatly improved, and the game avoids the trap of its environments feeling like a series of disparate vignettes. And the overall platforming, as well as the core mechanics, are flat out better this time around. I felt the customization and character progression systems were a bit too stingy at times, but that's a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things. It is one of the most memorable character explorations of the year and a pure visual treat from start to finish.
3. Forza Horizon 5
Trace/PsEG Presents We Are Race Night's 2021 GOTY Where's GTxForza when you need them? Forza Horizon 5 is the most fun I had with a video game all year. You can race around a beautiful rendition of Mexico at your own pace or with friends whizzing by you. The game also deserves credit for making a strong first impression and never letting up. I knew I was hooked from the moment I helped a bunch of goofball scientists explore a caldera. And when the game's customization options become available, you can dash around with whatever livery suits your fancy. Obviously, Forza Horizon 5 was always going to be a playground. Still, with the many multiplayer and solitaire options available to you, it's hard to imagine anyone not being able to make a racing game experience tailor-made in Forza Horizon 5 to their needs. Speaking of which, no commendation to Forza Horizon 5 should go without mentioning its accessibility options. While some features, like the ASL interpreter, are unfortunately siloed as a separate download, the game still deserves praise for its efforts to engender more people into the gaming fold. Some features in the game, like a slo-mo toggle and alternate subtitle fonts, should be included in virtually every major release. As someone with severe myopia, I would add the lack of larger fonts for the HUD and GPS is still a bummer, and I think it is time for all racing games to allow players to toggle off camera shake. These nitpicks aside, it is a giant leap forward for the franchise and hopefully games in general. While some continue to beat the old war drum that games are meant to "pose a challenge," Forza Horizon 5 allows you to do exactly that with sliders and toggles that can be flicked within seconds. Hopefully, what Forza Horizon 5 accomplished will be echoed in future releases, especially AAA budget games.
4. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
2021 Game Mento And I Will Use To Get More People Into Visual Novels I like the Ace Attorney games regardless of what shape or form they take, and I'm not apologizing for shit! Are there repeating cast members who still need you to help them through the same false crime accusations as last time? YUP! Do these two games completely sand off Ace Attorney's darker and more meditative themes? YOU BET! Is the learning curve harsh if you haven't remained up to date on the series' latest mechanics? It sure is, and that might be one of the worst parts about it! But you know what? It's still more Ace Attorney, and that's a good thing in my book! Also, much like Tales of Arise, this game was masterfully localized when you consider it is far more reliant on puns and references to Japanese culture. The translation team here did a goddamn good job, and I will not hear any arguments to the contrary. With two games included in the package, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is one of the best value propositions you will find this year, especially on Switch. Both games showcase impeccable character designs and pleasing environments. The ensemble cast is a ton of fun, and the overall writing is an absolute riot. The new mechanics I warned about earlier are clever once you wrap your mind around them, and they add some much-needed variety to the Ace Attorney formula. Despite this being the umpteenth Ace Attorney game I have played, I did not feel like I was "running through the motions" once I got past the prologue. And the OST has some bops that are worth putting on your playlist. This is probably the 2021 title I'd recommend if you need a video game-based pick-me-up.
5. Super Mario 3D World
(Note: This is for Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury) Claude Presents The Best Game To Play On Your Goddamn Nintendo Console Is this a "new" game, is it a remaster, or is it DLC? That has been the heart of a month-long debate between Marino and me, your arbiters of Giant Bomb's wiki. Regardless of where you stand with that question, I think we can all agree Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is a must-play Switch experience. If all this involved was Super Mario 3D World, but on the Switch and with a few Switch-based mechanics, I'd still be down to clown. Super Mario 3D always felt like the better compromise between the franchise's 2D past and 3D ideals than New Super Mario Bros. Also, the game increasing the base speed of the characters is a game-changer. It makes this version the definitive 3D World experience, especially for those that missed it the first time around. And then there's Bowser's Fury, the subject of rampant fan speculation and YouTube video essayist navel-gazing. For what it is, I appreciated Nintendo trying something different with one of their Mario game templates. While at times sparse, the initial rush of exploring the game's hub and its surrounding world was dazzling. However, Bowser's Fury being the Mario franchise's first "true" open-world endeavor means there are expected missteps. Polygon called it an "improvisational rumpus room," and that's a pretty apt description. Likewise, I do not understand why the game has zero chill with announcements and interruptions, especially when you reach its end. I'm equally conflicted about the game constantly switching from day to night and you needing to worry about Bowser belching fire from a mountain. However, when taken at face value, which is to say it's an experimental toy box, there's some funning around to be had with Bowser's Fury.
6. Tales of Arise
Pepsiman And Bowl-of-Lentils Present The Best Localization of 2021 I am of the controversial opinion that it is perfectly OKAY to place a game you started but did not finish in your GOTY list. Even if I were not, I would likely still make an exception for Tales of Arise this year. The game provides all of the in-depth JRPG hooks we all know and love about the Tales franchise with a handful of exciting additions. Arise's countering and dodge mechanics are welcomed augmentations to the franchise's legendary LMBS-based combat. And as suggested by the subtitle of this entry, its localization is highly laudable. The amount of text that has been seamlessly translated into eleven supported languages is nothing short of a miracle. Furthermore, the English and Japanese voice acting, while wonky in parts, quickly come to embrace the story as it starts to find its stride. More importantly, Tales of Arise has the visual upside and charm of Tales of Zestiria but with the pacing of Tales of Berseria. Yes, the game tasks you to control another intrepid group of misfits divided by a conflict, but it's another case of a story being "more than the sum of its parts." The game does not relent with its moment-to-moment action, which further feeds into its combat being buttery smooth. I had a ton of fun giving each member of my party their fair shake before settling on my "Final Four." Nonetheless, the game does a pretty good job of opting all of your characters into the fold as equal stakeholders both mechanically and narratively. It's hard to get upset at a Tales game handing audiences yet ANOTHER amnesiac protagonist when things look and play this well. And unlike in Berseria or Zestiria, I didn't hate 70% of the minigames. The finishing mechanic is still bullshit, but the cooking in this game is still a fun timesink.
7. Inscryption
Matt Rorie's Card Game of The Year To spare everyone the "I hate card games, and this was a tough sell" spiel that has been repeated a thousand times already, I will bring up a different point of contention. I HATED Inscryption's second act! I understand why it exists and why it resonated with other people. Contrariwise, it goes on way too long and lacks none of the environmental storytelling present in the first and third acts, which are my favorite aspects of the game. The game having a whole block with no escape room puzzles felt like a massive misstep in my mind. More fundamentally, despite the hours you spend slogging through that second act, it doesn't conclude all that well despite it building up to an epic conclusion. And its third act, while a partial return to form, doesn't quite reach the same heights of the first act, and that's party because it is contingent on your actions in the last two set-pieces. But HOT DAMN is the first part of this game AMAZING! Whether you are listening to cards beg for you to spare them or looking at misplaced body parts, Inscryption is visually discordant and disturbing when it is at its best. And trying to force the game to surface its ulterior motives is worth talking about as well. I did not invest as much time in the ARG as I would have liked, but I love what I have seen of it thus far. And much like Daniel Mullins' earlier works, when things start to congeal, you can't stop playing. Despite my earlier complaints and personal quibbles with card-based combat, I knew this was an experience I wanted to see to the end.
8. Halo Infinite
Game That Causes Gamer_152 To Talk To You About Their Favorite Eric Nylund Book And The Halo Anime For Two Hours Award Will you look at that? Yet another game on my 2021 GOTY list warrants a short paragraph in which I equivocate its weaknesses. At least with Halo Infinite, we, as a community, being on a website that is currently hosting the best review of the game on the entire internet, know what Halo Infinite's many faults might be. The single-player campaign doesn't quite come together despite the initial promise of its open-world format. Too many of the game's combat puzzles involve you moving from one side of a silver and grey corridor or bridge to the other. The multiplayer isn't without faults either, with the progression system and Battle Pass still not quite where they should be. Nonetheless, the game is an absolute romp online. The grappleshot, while not the most revolutionary idea, leads to a ton of chaos I think the past two Halo multiplayer experiences have been lacking. And everything in the game feels "good" as well as distinctly Halo. All of the viral Tweets and social media posts about the game show that Halo can still be itself while the rest of the industry stops trying to copy its form. Finally, with Halo Infinite, I feel 343 has finally made a game that isn't trying to chase after a popular FPS zeitgeist. And when it comes to the campaign, despite its inherent storytelling messiness, by the time thing finally wraps up, you get the sense 343 have found a logical spot to continue the franchise. My only hope is that the next time we see Master Chief, it will not be another soft reset.
9. WarioWare: Get It Together!
Dalai's "Suck Shit Through A Lead Pipe Marked 'Shit Delivery System'" If You Don't Play This Game Award Okay, I will admit that this is far from the best WarioWare game available. Though there are many options, the single-player modes are way too short and occasionally unsatisfying. The many characters and their abilities are all over the place, which might fit the game's manic nature, but for me, it highlighted the most significant issue with Get It Together. Excluding Game & Wario, this might be the WarioWare game with the least amount of longevity. There simply isn't enough to unlock or discover in the game to allow it to punch at the same weight class as some of the better entries in this franchise. HOWEVER, it's still a goddamn good time. The variety of art styles and minigame gimmicks is impressive. Trying to nail the timing for the minigames in high score runs or endless modes requires practice and is as compelling as it was when the series first debuted. The boss battles alone are worth the price of entry and still plead the case of why the WarioWare series is the superior Nintendo party-game franchise compared to Mario Party. Its pick-up and play qualities make it one of the best "Family Game" experiences of 2021, and at least here, you don't have to listen to an asshole book for hours. It's just a plain old fun experience and an easy recommendation for those of you out there that have Smooth Moves in your "Top Five Best Wii Games" list, and, before you ask, I'm there with you.
10. Necromunda: Hired Gun
Dave Snider Presents 2021's Eurojank Game of the Year I know. How in the world can someone rightfully justify placing Necromunda on their 2021 GOTY list instead of Metroid Dread or Hitman 3? For one thing, I am a broken husk of a man. Second, my tolerance for "Eurojank" is higher than that of a normal human being. Something about pulling up this game's tech tree and seeing a twisted mess of contradictory sub-mechanics and skills nodes gets my blood pumping. Much like any eurojank game, this thing shoots for the stars as if it were a BioWare or Bethesda joint, but with one-sixteenth of the budget. Hired Gun's dialogue ranges a colossal delta of quality, but you can tell they tried. That said, the story is pure schlock, and the process of playing the game is a nightmare at times. Oh, how I howled in agony whenever I died during a combat sequence because the game ties multiple inputs to the same button or key. And why any game with light RPG mechanics would fail to have an equipment menu boggles my mind. It is also worth mentioning how Necromunda is set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. And to be expected, it struggles to process the often incomprehensible mythos and worldbuilding of 40K. No matter, being able to slide around levels while punching and shooting fools like I'm playing a low-rent Vanquish is still a lot of fun. Similarly, even when the game falls flat on its face, you can't help but feel compelled to give it a participation button to clip on its shirt.
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#30  Edited By BeachThunder

GOTY 2021

I'm just linking to the list here. Using the insert list function ruins the formatting =/

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Top 10 Games of 2021

1. Immortals: Fenyx Rising
This game is extremely underrated and deserved better. I remember every person was shitting on the voice cast and script and while yes it isn’t very good its not the worst. Plus I played as the female character whos voice acting is way better than the male. But that is all everyone could talk about was the glaring negative and comparing it to BOTW to which I would think is very unfair because it does stand out on its own due to the combat being way more fun and engaging than in BOTW. The “shires” in this game I also found way more satisfying and interesting than the ones in BOTW and you didn’t mind about the combat shrines in this because the combat is so fun. I enjoyed the side activities and puzzles as well. While yes, I wish there was a little more to find when exploring I think if they get a second crack at this game it would be really good. This is the one game that i constantly still think about and will occasionally picked up and play do a few of the side stuff and put back down and I do intend to try and do everything in this game at some point ( I did get this on Switch and perfect for that). This game is also really cheap now, so pick it up when you can, but everything that everyone said negatively about it behind and enjoy the game for what it is and make up your own opinions on it.
2. BioShock Infinite
This is the HD and the DLC Burial at Sea I wasn’t sure if I was going to put this on the list due to I played and beat both when they came out. My ultimate decision with putting it on is that its my first time replaying the game since I first played it back in 2013. I also replay the original Bioshock every couple of years, but never chose this because while I did like it, I didn’t hit me like the first one ( i wrote a review on this website about the game). Replaying that completely changed that opinion. The I forgot most of the story and even some of the twist which made it all super enjoyable and exciting again. Columbia is also an awesome place to explore much like Rapture. I also even enjoyed the combat more the second time around and while I didn’t use the sky rail too much, I did have more fun with it overall. I remember when the game came out people who liked it all of a sudden quickly turned on it and I think now enough time has passed for those people to replay it if they haven’t already. Burial at Sea is also super cool, going back to Rapture and even seeing it live and well even for a little bit is something I always wanted. The DLC wraps it all up in a short package and add unique mechanics that separate the 2 parts and makes them their own. This game did change my original mind on the game which I rated it 4 starts but I would but this at a 5 out of 5 now.
3. Control
This game is super and has one of the coolest moments in a video that I have not experienced in a long time. Super fun to play, super cool story and universe. I will say I wish the game wasn't so grey and also wish it ran better on PS4.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
This should be Skyward Sword HD This game has the best combat in any Zelda..Hear me out. Every Zelda game is either a top down and press A or side step awkwardly and swing the sword. While yes most enemies in this game you can just wiggle the sword back and forth, and yes it doesn’t always work like its supposed to and can get frustrating, but when the sword is working like you want to work its works incredible well and you do feel like like swinging the sword and dueling the enemies. The fact that this game was on the Wii and also has BOTW elements blows my mind. This game has great dungeons, fun exploration, and fantastic music. Please do not listen to the people who have this game on the bottom of the Zelda list since its probably closer to the top of mine and above Ocarina, try it out and see for yourself.
5. Super Metroid
I thought the internet was going to be wrong with Super Metroid as they are with most nostalgic Nintendo games, but they were absolutely correct on this. Fantastic class game. The only downside is that this game is pretty playable to figure out not too cryptic but there was on place I did have to look up to continue that I wish it did a better job presenting.
6. Castlevania Advance Collection
What a collection of games. They are all very similar, but with slightly different mechanics in each. I think the games do progressively get better and I have to grind a lot in Circle of the Moon. I hope they make the DS collection since though games are now stupidly expensive for no reason. I didn’t play much of Dracula X but I do intend on trying to beat it one day.
7. Astro's Playroom
First time playing a PS5 and that controller blew me away. I thought it was super cool and the game itself is fun, I could only beat it, due to it was at my brothers house and would enjoy collecting everything once I get a PS5 down the road
8. Donkey Kong Country
I played this one at a friends house while we drank and took turns, but this time I finally beat it on my own (yes still having beers) but you all know it is a terrific platformer with great music.
9. Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures
THIS GAME IS: AVGN 1 & 2 DELUXE. ( I couldn't find it on the site so I just put the first game) I have been a huge fan of the show, picked up the first one on steam years ago however no controller support so I never played much. That said I think 2 is better than 1. This has great platforming, its tough but fair, and while yes there are a lot of AVGN references, I would recommend to anyone who likes a challenging 2-D side scroller its made really well.
10. Pokémon Unite
As someone who enjoys MOBAs I really have a good time with this and will still pop in from time to time. Does it have issues like the pay to win stuff, yes, but you can look past it if you play casually and I do find as the abilities are happen it can be really hard to see what is going on.
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#34  Edited By Undeadpool

Oh GB's site jank, never change. My list is properly numbered in the actual link, so check that out! Also for my Honorable Mentions!

Game of the Year...2021

1. InscryptionI actually really DO like card and deckbuilding games, but I am not terribly great at them. I tend to like to build up and clash rather than try and find the quickest route to the most damage or game-breaking combos that can't be countered, but the funny thing is: Inscryption wants you to do the latter. Even has cards and characters that encourage you to break the game and find shortcuts and combinations that cannot be beaten, because...Inscryption isn't REALLY a card game, is it? When you'll realize that can be right off the bat as one of the cards immediately begins to tell you that it's trapped, that you shouldn't listen to the strange, hulking guardian of the cabin, that he's not playing by his own rules, so why should you? And that might start to make you think, well just what IS Inscryption? Inscryption is a game that takes a certain glee in messing with the player's expectations and even question the nature of videogames, of data storage, of internet fame, and even urban legends. Playing more like an actually effective creepypasta (think more "Candle Cove" or SCP Foundation, and less "Sonic.exe" or "Jeff the Killer"...much, much, MUCH less those last two) but to say much else would be to tip the hand a little too much. That's not to say the game's all sizzle and no steak, there's quite a bit of a very basic card and deckbuilding game, but by keeping things simple, it leaves the door wide open for those like me who play a little more seat-of-their pants and less agonizing over every single move and trying to have the perfect run every time. After all, all you have to lose is your identity.
3. Marvel's Guardians of the GalaxyAnd speaking of unexpected surprises, after the phenomenally disappointing "Avengers" game that felt like a solid single-player experience crushed beneath the weight of studio meddling and greed, shoving microtransactions and other "LIIIIIVE SEEEEEEERVICES" (to quote the great James Stephanie Sterling) into a frame that couldn't support them, Guardians of the Galaxy bursts onto the scene with a character-driven narrative that feels more Mass Effect than Marvel Heroes, and that's not a bad thing. Picking up after the Guardians' ranks have welcomed Rocket and Groot in, and in the wake of a massive galactic war against Thanos and his chitauri legions, the people are suffering from PTSD on a galactic scale, and this game neither wallows in misery nor ever lets the player forget that this wasn't just some adventure where everyone came together against a common foe, it was a war in which a LOT of people died and so many more lost someone. The perfect breeding ground for a cult promising hope and asking so little besides Faith... Taking some deep cuts from the comics, but having the characters feel a bit more like their fleshed-out movie counterparts, Guardians of the Galaxy does what I wish more comics-based videogames did and carves its own path while not completely forsaking what came before. All to an absolutely kickin' '80s soundtrack that celebrates the New Sincerity with inclusions like "Don't Worry, Be Happy," "Hangin' Tough," and "Never Gonna Give You Up" as the absolute bangers they always were rather than the emblems of disaffected jadedness and hatred of all things corny that they became.
2. Persona 5 StrikersLast year, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity absolutely blew me away with its mix of musou action and heartfelt, high-end storytelling, so much so that I declared this game would have quite the hill to climb. Instead of climbing that hill, Persona 5 Strikers just went around it in the best possible way. Barely recognizable as coming from the same engine as recent Dynasty or Samurai Warriors games, games that seem more like they want to sell you a proper game piecemeal and putting in as little effort as possible to innovate, Persona 5 Strikers takes the wonderful characters and settings of Persona 5 and plunges them into an action-focused, intensely kinetic battle system that feels like it gels with the tone of the game seamlessly. This isn't simply a side story with the window dressing of a great RPG, this is a completely different game that continues the story into the next year, and checks back in with some of our favorite characters. Makoto and Haru are in college, Ann and Yusuke are looking into higher education, Ryuji's pondering his future in track and Futaba's just happy to be making friends in her second year, and this really does feel like catching up with old friends after coming home for the summer. It's not perfect, the choices are completely inconsequential and I'm a little disappointed that you can't rekindle the romances, or even very close friendships, that the previous game left off, but it's understandable that they couldn't include EVERYTHING in this already full package. Like Persona 4 Arena before it: this game is a fantastic example of the breadth that these games can encompass.
9. Fights in Tight SpacesAnd now for something...completely different. A deckbuilder John Wick/James Bond hybrid that gets the styyyyyyyyle and impact of both those things, but sadly lacks a great deal of the personality or plot that made them truly classic. A few flaws with imprecise language also bums me out (if you're going to sell a game on precision play, you need to meet the player on that), the game is still endlessly replayable for how quickly it jumps off and how quickly it can be gotten through in a single run.
8. UnpackingJust pure meditative joy. Sometimes gets a little frustrating with everything having a "place" and a lack of labels meaning you'll sometimes be scratching your head on what an item actually IS, but the music, the sound effects, and the little insights into a life being lived makes this one absolutely joyous to play through. Or just sit and idle with. THRILLED that they devs didn't feel the need to insert a "twist" or a massive downer at some point because that's what's expected from games like this, and just allowed the player to actually be curious and investigating who this person is and what they prioritize in their lives.
5. Mass Effect Legendary EditionThis could've been higher, but putting it above #5, despite it being nothing more than an excellent re-release of three excellent games felt disingenuous to games that tried and succeeded at doing something truly wonderful this year. That being said: this game gave me a lot of closure that even I wasn't really aware I was needing with a series who's ending I always liked, but always rang a little hollow to me. There's little more to say other than: if you haven't played Mass Effect, there's no better way to experience it. And if you have? It's truly amazing experiencing it with a singular continuity at your own pace, and with ALL the story DLC present and accounted for. They may have killed Mass Effect, but at least we got an absolutely wonderful memorial service for it.
10. Curse of the Dead GodsThe roguelike that came the closest to dethroning Hades, if only for a week or two, Curse of the Dead Gods is a more vicious, directed experience than a great many other time loop games, or games that integrate player failure/character death into the narrative fabric of the game, but what it lacks in story and character, it makes up for in sheer VOLUME of play-styles. Daggers, whips, swords, axes, throwing weapons, shields, cursed items and trinkets all fundamentally change the way the game is played, and perhaps if more of them had spoken to me, I'd have ranked the game higher. As it is: it's a very well done one of these.
6. Resident Evil VillageI don't know what all the fuss is about, I KNOW how hawt tall women are, I've been married to one for almost a decade now. A follow-up to a great game that goes in its own direction and still manages to achieve greatness. The previous game tried its hand at a couple of different genres: the crazed family of hillbillies, the mold creatures, the bugs...oh GOD, the bugs, and SAW-style trap rooms, but there were so many more to plumb, and that seems to have been the idea here. Vampires, werewolves, mutant sea creatures, and a mephitic doll face blank-slate vanilla Ethan Winters, who finally gets to show a little bit of character and carve a path for himself this time around. The problems are minor and rampant in the genre as a whole, and yeah, the plot could've been solved if certain dumbasses just stopped and explained what was going on, but that's not what happens in a horror movie/game. Balancing corniness and camp with harrowing nightmares and legitimate family drama, all before tying a bow on the Winters family's story and leaving things wide open for a myriad of directions, it is nice to have consecutive excellent Resident Evil releases that aren't remakes.
4. Loop HeroSometimes a game just needs a hook, and the notion that the world has ended already and now must be rebuilt from the memories of those who survived certainly is an interesting one. A game that plays itself but never becomes so boring that you can just let it be is another one, and the story as told from some of the monster's perspectives, the idea of the world being made up of things we love and hate and dislike and enjoy is a fascinating one too, but honestly? The loop is what got me on this. The want to go just a little bit further and learn just a little bit more about what's going on in this world was enticing enough to make this one of my most unexpectedly played games of the last year.
7. Ys IX: Monstrum NoxAs I get lower in the list, I find I have less to say because inclusions of games becomes self-evident, so for this I'll just say: I didn't know how much I needed a throwback JRPG that still felt modern in how it respected the player's time (fast-travel, fast-shopping, fast-grinding) but apparently it was exactly what I needed to carry me through the middle of the year slump. Fun, inventive, and evident of a series that has grown comfortable in its own skin without becoming complacent or lazy,
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Heeeere we gooo!

Games of the Year 2021

1. Monster Hunter Rise
I put in a minimum of 500 hours on the Switch port and will put in at least 1000 more on the PC port. I loved this game and its newly introduced mechanics enough to (poorly) Time Attack/Speedrun a few monsters, learn multiple weapon types, and make 12 different sets for my new main weapon: the switch axe. I will admit that despite my hours I jumped off the bandwagon a wee bit early but that was due to the allure of the modding scene for Monster Hunter World, knowledge that I could do all of the newly introduced content on the PC port at 60 fps, and admittedly a lack of strong incentive outside of cosmetic rewards to continue into the extremely late postgame. That is hardly enough of a detraction to keep this game from being my GOTY hands down.
2. Shin Megami Tensei V
While I didn't finish this game due to losing momentum on it, getting sick and having IRL issues come up, I put over 130 hours into this game within a week or two of its release and wasn't even halfway done. The mechanics are as awesome as ever and they added elements of more open exploration and verticality which freshen the old dungeon crawl experience. I feel that the atmosphere and characters are weaker than in Strange Journey, IV, Nocturne and Soul Hackers but it stands on its own and has its own trademark mechanics and feel.
3. Final Fantasy VII Remake
The intermission DLC brought me back to the game and drove me to not only play through its added Yuffie storyline, but to attempt taking on more of the postgame challenges along with other things I'd not gotten around to the first time playing through the base game last year. The combat mechanics are one of the primary drivers of what I love about this game and what Yuffie and her comrade bring to the table fail to disappoint. I just hope that in the next game she isn't as grossly overpowered and fully kitted out as in the DLC, because she will without question be carrying the rest of the party around with ease in that scenario.
4. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
This metroidvania harkens to the mechanics of the DS/3DS Soma playstyle Castlevania games in which your enemies' attacks in effect are summoned and used by you. The secrets are myriad, the atmosphere and art style beautiful, and mechanics perfectly tuned in such a way as to make you feel like a god when used in creative ways. Easily among the top in a very crowded and competitive list of entries within its genre.
5. Sable
I will not spoil much of the game other than saying this: In my opinion this is the only open world game to properly copy/be driven by Breath of the Wild's formula for exploration. Every other game I have seen that claims to do so only dips their toes out of fear that they will lose the player's interest by not inundating them with constant map markers or the half baked guidance of blowing wind, birds flying or running foxes every 5 feet. This game very well would've taken #2 or #1 if not for the fact that it released in an unreasonably glitchy and broken state. Without question, when the issues are rectified this will be a game I return to. Possibly many times.
6. Trials of Fire
A single player roguelite deck builder with hex based combat semi reminiscent of duelyst mixed with semi-open world RPG exploration and mechanics. It was fun and I beat the game a few times however from my experience with it, I soon found myself preferring specific characters for specific roles with specific cards/equipment/playstyles and in turn did not experiment and did not engage with its replayability. With that said I found the game quite enjoyable during my 31 hours playing it and would not be surprised if a patch or two has already shaken up or rectified my concerns with it. It is likely a game I will return to in the future.
7. Loop Hero
Yet another roguelite game that I reached near the end of. It was interesting to experiment with and had novel systems but I cannot lie about the fact that the end challenge was a difficulty wall I wasn't willing to climb and I let the game go. I don't think I can really describe the mechanics of this game in a way that does it justice, however I can assure you it is definitely something unique and different. If you want a challenging new roguelite with novel mechanics to tackle this is most certainly for you.
8. Griftlands
A roguelite deckbuilder with engaging story beats and impactful decisions that uniquely change up each run. At almost every impasse you have the option to build your deck around and decide to either engage with a novel interpretation of dialogue/haggling/arguing to deal with the problem or fairly standard turn based combat gameplay akin to Slay The Spire. I beat the game once or twice and unlocked another character to play with. I admit that the game was relatively fun and the replayability through decision making engaging for a while but I was not a fan of the dialogue side of the gameplay. I also found the combat side of things relatively simplistic when chosen as my sole method of engagement after being tired of dialogue.
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#39  Edited By Ginormous76

I clicked the list button, but it seems to have the games in the order I added them to the list, not in the order I have sorted them. So, here's the link:

https://www.giantbomb.com/profile/ginormous76/lists/ranked-played-games-of-2021/371458/

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  • Couldn't get the list button to display the list in order, so just going to copy paste the text. The list is here: https://www.giantbomb.com/profile/zor/lists/goty-2021/371596/
  • 1. Metroid Dread

    NSW, 2021: A 2D Metroid game, that is rather hard. Took me about 13 hours (probably more, not sure if it counts times where i died and respawn) to 100% it. Completed: The game. Probably got the worst* ending (like unlocked the fewest things), but still enjoyed my time with it, and taking my time with it. It a metroid game, and i like that genre. Now the difficult was a bit of a problem, mainly with the parry timing. Which got me thinking that Nintendo is one of the few major companies out there, that doesn't do any kind of assist stuff with their current games. And that feels dated and out of touch. Hopefully that change and start doing that soon. As for the game stuff, yeah, look good, decent music, good controls, like the story, pacing and design were amazing. Would rate it higher, if the parry system was easier, or they had a build in assist option to make it easier.
  • 2. Psychonauts 2

    PC, 2021: An action platformer, with a lot of content, a bit too much, but even with that, it is still a great game. Completed: The game. Got to the ending, got most of the items on the way. Thinking about going back, but there are a few bugs preventing 100%ing it, so i might not. The game length is a bit too long, there like 20 levels or close to that. And it would have been better around 15 or so. But beside that, it was a lot of fun, exploring, good story, dialogue, gameplay, and such.
  • 3. Resident Evil Village

    PC, 2021: A fun action horror game, with FPS controls. Overall less scary than 7, well, the doll part was more scary. But good enough action. Plus, easy enough to cheat at, so that's cool. Completed: The game, and merc mode. Still playing around with some of the extras, but am thinking i'll be fully done with it soon. Well, until the dlc comes out, then i might be back.
  • 4. Axiom Verge 2

    NSW, 2021: A metroidvania with a focus on exploring and melee combat. Beat the game in about 10 hours, got 88% of the items, and 98% of the map... never did figure out that last 2 percent, and i won't. Not that its a bad game, i rather enjoyed it, but there little reason to get 100%... so i won't. Also, at this point, i would just be playing it with a guide to figure it out, cause i don't have any idea on how to get to the last few places and items. Completed: The game. The story was, and is, the worse part of this series. It is rather confusing. And the UI is just bad, really, really bad. Didn't like the melee combat, but it works well enough. But the exploring, abilities, graphics & audio somewhat, and overall gameplay was great.
  • 5. The Ascent

    PC, 2021: An action rpg similar to diablo. In this one, it is cyberpunk theme, and you have guns and such. I like parts of this game a lot, but overall... it has too many issues to be rated higher. The visuals, and controls are great. I enjoy the theme. And most of my time with it. The problems though, are too much. First, it is buggy. I ran into two blocker bugs in my playthrough, which is made worse, when considering that this game came out 3 months ago. Those bugs should never have been in the game in the first place, and second, they should have been fixed by now as they should have been a priority. The other big problem is the camera. It is fix, and the user doesn't have control of it. This is a major problem since this is a game where you shoot, so having enemies off screen for like half the time, is a big design flaw. The other issues with it, like boring upgrades, limited weapon selection (it was ok, but should have been better considering the setting), a bad fast travel system (so too much going places), and just dull mission design (every mission is basically, go to point X, kill things on the way there, and then when you get there, and maybe flip a switch, and then kill more things). Completed: The main quest and some side quests. After i beat the final boss, i ran into another blocker bug, and when i reloaded my save, it started me before the fight... so, nope, not going to do that again. I check, i have the achievement, so am out. Had a fun time for a bit.
  • 6. Halo Infinite

    PC, 2021: Playing through it. Liking the open world parts, not liking the normal level parts. The open world feels like a ubisoft/tomb raider mix, with good fps stuff. But the normal levels are just dull, go from point a to point b. Also, the story overall is bad, and told poorly. Presentation factors are good. Upgrades are dull. Game doesn't feel like it does anything new or interesting. Don't like the MP, it works, but i prefer big fps matches, which this game does not offer. Completed: The SP campaign. And my impression from before didn't really change. The open world stuff was fun, but shallow. The SP story missions were bad, and a slog to get through. Don't like the MP, it is solid, but it isn't in the style i like.
  • 7. Loop Hero

    PC, 2021: A mix of a idle game, a rogue lite game, and a deck game. There a character, which you don't control directly, who wander on a set path, a loop, and you place tiles, via the cards in your hand, on the board that summon monsters, or give buffs. The goal is to put enough of them down to summon the boss, and defeat them. In between runs there a town, where you spend the resources you got from killing monsters and such, to build stuff, to buff your character for the next run, or to get new cards for you deck. Completed: The game, mostly. Defeated the first 3 bosses, 3 times each to see all their text. And the final boss, once... it looked like there was dialogue for 6 wins against him, but i don't have the interest to do that. I was able to cheat to increase my stats, which is the only reason why i was able to finish the game, and then i cheated more at the end, to full build the town for my own amusement.
  • 8. Scarlet Nexus

    PC, 2021: An action jrpg that controls like an action game like DMC. The story is alright, visuals are good, VO work is great, and overall it was fun. However, like most jrpgs, it just lasted way too long. Also, it kind of jumps the shark, when it comes to character stories, near the start of the third act. Thinking back on it, and a large reason why i completed it, was that i was a sunken cost fallacy. I had spent so much time on it, i wanted to see the ending, even though, i wasn't having fun with it at the end. Completed: The game, Kasane playthrough. Didn't try the other character playthrough, didn't play to from the start, and the long length made it less likely. Took about 25 hours to complete, and it would have been better around 20. Also, the character stories jumped the shark when you party went from 4 to 9. It easy to get invested and care about 4 characters, but upping it to 9, near the end of the game, just killed the mood. I started skipping it, for all of them, soon after that point. Also, the side quests were bad. And combat was shallow. The game does have a lot of charming parts. And overall, i enjoyed my time with it, but if i had never played it, i wouldn't have missed anything.
  • 9. Humankind

    PC, 2021: A 4x game that tries to be like Civ, but with some notable differences. Such as, there are no builder units, or any non-combat units really. There are settlers and such later on (late game) but even those can fight. Diplomacy is mostly the same, handle differently, but overall the same results. Combat is the big change. So when armies fight, they fight on the map, like a 5 or 6 grid around the combat location, and units get placed, and its kind of a TBS combat game then. And well... it doesn't work fully. It might in a sequel or two, but in this one, it just doesn't work. It tries to do the terrain 1 to 1, but that a problem, and often armies can't get setup, and it just feels bad. Another big change is the starting turns. In this one you are a roaming tribe hunting animals for a bit, and then you find outpost, and turn one of those into a city. Oh, output/city stuff, yeah, that a big change too. Areas can be cliamed via outposts, turn into cities, or attach to cities. You can't just build anywhere like in Civ. Lastly, you pick a new civ every era, and that is ok... not great, but ok. Didn't feel like it added much to the game or genre. Overall, like most 4x games, the pacing is a problem, i found by turn 50 or so, i was usually just clicking next turn, to wait for anything to happen, cause buildings and such were taking like 5-infiinte turns to happen. So yeah, felt slow. So i started cheating, and even then, it took me like 12 hours for a tiny map game. Completed: 1 game, and am good. It was fun, but i don't feel the need to play another round. I don't see how the next round would be any different. Since you pick a new civ every era, you kind of do it all in one game. The special units don't seem that different/crazy, and no one has a big unique thingy. Its a good start, hopefully they continue the series, and if they do, they go deeper into some of their system, and offer 'wacky/sci-fi-ish' choices and such
  • 10. New Pokémon Snap

    NSW, 2021: New Pokemon Snap plays a lot like the old one, which is ok, but not good. The player is in a cart, on a rail, and they go through a course for a couple of minutes. During this time, they can look around and take pictures of the Pokemon in the area. There are a few special abilities, which usually get the pokemon in the area to do different things, which you can take pictures of. There are photo rankings, and score boards. But those require an online account. Overall, it is a semi relaxing experience, if you let it be one. There a few things you can do if your serious (like trying to get the rare photos, and such), but if like me, you don't care, then its rather easy. Completed: The game's story in about 9 hours. Had fun taking pictures, but didn't have people to share it with, so i fell off after the story.
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beard_of_zeus

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#41  Edited By beard_of_zeus

If anyone cares:

GOTY 2021

1. Fuga: Melodies of Steel This game somehow manages to balance being hopeless and hopeful, mixing the horrors of war with a cute, ragtag band of animal children. And did I mention the children are riding around in an unstoppable, enormous tank that you can choose to sacrifice them to in order to use their life force for an ultimate attack? (Obviously, I would not do that, I am not a monster, I grew to love all the characters).

This narrative is paired with a really fun gameplay loop and battle system that requires a decent amount of strategy. You have to also engage with an entire metagame of improving your tank's facilities, progressing the relationships between characters, growing and cooking food, etc., all with a limited number of action points to spend on doing so.

There is also a very good battle that does some great storytelling via gameplay which really stuck with me (although you only see it on the bad ending route...yes, I did play through this game twice. Also yes, I did lie earlier, I may have stuffed some children in the soul cannon..). This medium doesn't do enough of that, so it really strikes me when it happens. I recently read that cyberconnect2 hasn't recouped their dev costs on this game, which is depressing to me. I suppose that is one of the risks of switching to self-publishing. I hope more people play this game!!!

2. Psychonauts 2I can't believe this actually turned out so well after such a protracted development. It is supremely creative and inventive in a lot of ways; the level designs and theming are second to none. And I was very impressed with how deftly it handled the topics of trauma and mental anguish, honestly.

3. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the KnightsThis game is why Metroid Dread did not make the cut, I think it is a much better example of the "Metroidvania" genre than the actual Metroid game that came out this year. Don't get me wrong, I had a lot of fun with Dread, but it felt more like a fun action platformer to me because of how much it keeps you on the critical path, and didn't give the player a lot of opportunity to explore.

Ender Lilies is beautiful and haunting, with a big world to explore (and you actually get to explore!), fun combat, a lot of cool upgrades (both required and optional), etc. It has a lot of nice quality of life things like tons of fast travel points, and a VERY detailed map. It is not the traditional "graph paper" map, instead much more expanded out. You can see the actual size of rooms, with very clear connections between all the doorways. It also does the modern Resident Evil thing of color-coding rooms to tell you when you have completely cleaned out of room of all items.

4. Undernauts: Labyrinth of YomiI love DRPGs, and Experience (the developer of this) has made quite a few (Demon Gaze, Stranger of Sword City, Operation Abyss/Babel). I have mostly enjoyed them all, but this is definitely their best game for my money.

Undernauts eschews the boilerplate anime storyline/visuals of a lot of Experience's past work for a beautiful look that reminds me more of their horror game Death Mark. And the narrative of Undernauts is two types of horror: the horror of a mine full of monsters trying to kill you coupled with the horror of exploiting workers and labor for capitalism's sake.

Mechnically, it is a solid game, with a couple twists on the genre that I really liked. One, you are actually modifying the dungeons by doing things like building doors, bridges, and ladders as part of your mining job, and the levels are smartly designed around this. Two, in battle, you have buffs that you can use and recharge that do things like guarantee your party goes first or hypercharge all your skills. Deciding when to use these is a big part of the strategy for some of the harder battles. And overall, this game removes a lot of the cruft of the genre to the point where I think I would recommend this to people wanting to try out the genre.

6. Ys IX: Monstrum NoxLike SMT, this is one of those series that I adore (luckily this game came out in February, so I finished it no problem, unlike SMTV), so you know this was gonna be on my list. I really liked the story in this game, it goes to some cool places by the end, and there is a lot of references/callouts for long time fans of the series in this game that also serve the plot in some ways. The movement/exploration mechanics they added in this game are great, being able to run up walls and basically grappling hook around is really fun.

7. Death's DoorThis is a humorous, delightful, slightly melancholy action adventure with fun combat and exploration. Just a really well made game that I had a lot of fun playing. The writing was funnier and more charming than I expected, especially for the boss characters that you meet.

8. Scarlet NexusThis was a game I went into without knowing a lot about, the American cover art looks like a new Killzone game, and I did not realize it was secret anime. I ended up really enjoying it from top to bottom - super fun combat, a lot of likeable characters that are fleshed out pretty well with far more dialogue scenes that I had expected, all encased in a wild plot that definitely goes places.

9. No More Heroes IIIThis game probably brought me the most unabashed joy this year. It constantly up-ended my expectations over and over. It has so much style, it's ridiculous. You know whether you are in for this game or not, it is definitely for people who already like this series.

10. Marvel's Guardians of the GalaxyThis was my biggest surprise of the year. I don't really care that much about Marvel stuff, and I bought this on a bit of whim during Black Friday because there was a lot of positive buzz. But I really enjoyed it! Some truly great writing and characterization, and a story with a far more emotional core to it than I was expecting.

5. Dungeon EncountersI'm glad Square Enix finally let Hiroyuki Ito direct a new game, you can DEFINITELY tell this is a game by him. It is barebones, stripped down to just well-designed game mechanics, and there is a lot more depth to this game than it might initially seem. You gain a lot of skills over the course of the game (assuming you are actually exploring the dungeon floors) that change how you explore and battle.

This game will definitely not appeal to everyone, but everything about it clicked for me. This doesn't surprise me, an interesting battle system is like 85% of my enjoyment of a JRPG. It's interesting comparing this game against the 100 hours I spent on Bravely Default 2 this year (which falls in the pile of really fun battle/job mechanics, but boilerplate story). I played Dungeon Encounters for less than half that amount of time, and got the same kind/amount of (or even more!) enjoyment out of it. Maybe there is something to be said for just cutting out the cruft of a game - develop a good story, or just don't have one at all.

EDIT: I don't know why my number 5 shows up at the bottom, so be it

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#43  Edited By morecowbell24

Honorable Mentions:

Games I need to play or finish that might've made my list

10. Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon - Just an action puzzler that's more fun that it should be.

9. Metroid Dread - It's the best Metroid has been in a long time, though I suppose that's more do to Nintendo's neglect than anything. Mostly surprised MercurySteam delivered, since I actively dislike 2 of their 3 Castlevania games.

8. Resident Evil Village - Doesn't quite match the highs of 7, but still a very good Resident Evil game.

7. Inscryption - Acts 2 and 3 are fun twists, but Act 1 is where this game truly shined.

6. Loop Hero - Deckbuilding always seems to be fun when it shouldn't and the same goes for autobattlers. So this is a double whammy

5. Skul: The Hero Slayer - Great varied combat through the exchanging of skulls.

4. Griftlands - I was particularly struck by Rook's campaign. Smith's was also very enjoyable. Sal's was very meh.

3. The Forgotten City - Great writing and an effective use of the time loop trope that's becoming so popular.

2. Halo Infinite - Halo's back, still wish Brutes weren't a thing, but this game has handled them better than prior entries. Also this game made me feel like Spider-Man.

1. Deathloop - While I do wish it wasn't linear in the end, I enjoyed this game far more than any other. Great characters, writing and the action was very satisfying. Also spy stuff.

List button didn't work right, here's the link

https://www.giantbomb.com/profile/morecowbell24/lists/best-of-2021/370508/

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For some reason using the list button messes up the order of these, but they do have the correct number next to them at least. Here is a link to my GOTY page.

2021 Game of the Year

4. Hitman 3
Not as much to say about this as it is another Hitman game, but that was exactly what I wanted. The new levels, especially the one everyone talks about were really inventive and fun, and I love the fact that I can play through the levels of all three games in this single game. I think this one may be forgotten by a lot of people since it came out so early, but it is still a blast and deserves to be high on the list.
5. Halo Infinite
This one is another game that I had my expectations set pretty middling before it launched, but I was cautiously optimistic. Well as soon as the multiplayer was released I was impressed. It worked fairly well at launch with only a few small issues and felt a lot like classic Halo with some quality of life improvements. This game actually ended up being my first game finished in 2022, after trying to finish it as my last game of 2021. The campaign ended up being a ton of fun, with both a mix of classic Halo style missions with the new open world style. While the open world part of the game seems to fly by pretty quickly, I think that is actually a plus. I am tired of open world games that have TOO much to do in them. The grappling hook added a ton of fun, and I hope they include that in these games going forward.
1. Psychonauts 2
Psychonauts 2 was EASILY my top game of the year. Between the style of the game and the 3D platforming goodness, this game was perfect for me. I had my reservations before the game finally came out with all it went through in its development, but I was SO happy with how it turned out. The first game has really fond memories for me as it was one of the first games I played with my wife on the original Xbox. It was pretty rad to get to now, so many years later, get to do the same with the sequel.
3. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
This one really came out of nowhere for me. I had no expectations what so ever, and pretty much ignored the game before it released. Then I started to see and hear lots of rumblings about how actually good this game was, so around Christmas time I figured I would get it on a discount. Once I started playing it I was immediately impressed with the look and style of this game, it really looks and feels like Guardians of the Galaxy, but still distinct from the movies. While the gameplay may be fairly simple, I really enjoy the combat and using the other Guardians for big moves. Throughout the game there is a lot of banter between the characters which actually seems to be well written and entertaining. I am still in the process of finishing this as of writing this, but honestly the time is flying by.
13. The Medium
This game came as a COMPLETE surprise to me as I generally stay away from horror games as they rarely ever pull me in. It is funny that one that a lot of people seem to have not enjoyed very much is the one that hooked me in. I don't know if it was the fact that it was the first new console exclusive I played or what. I thought the story in the game was really interesting, and the actual game play was fun, although pretty simple. I actually thought the dual reality hook was really cool and interesting.
8. Loop Hero
Here is another game that seemed to get a bunch of buzz that I had not even heard of. It looked right up my alley, and the price point made me pull the trigger right away. I ended up hooked and played it for quite a few hours. I never did finish the game, but I plan on going back to it and putting some more hours in to it for sure. I really enjoyed the game play loop of planning, running, finishing, and starting again in this one, which can be hit or miss in other similar games.
12. New Pokémon Snap
I had been wanting a new Pokémon Snap for so long. The original on the Nintendo 64 is a game that go back to every once in a while to this day. I do feel like this one doesn't really hold up to the original, but it is still pretty fun on its own. I am not super high on the progression in the game, and I don't have nearly the connection to most of the newer Pokémon as I did those originals. The visuals are super nice on this, and it fits really well on the Nintendo Switch.
7. Age of Empires IV
Age of Empires II is probably one of my most played games of all time. I did enjoy and play quite a bit of Age of Empires III as well, but almost no game can top Age 2 for me. In comes Age of Empires IV and it really brought me back. While I have not really put enough time in to compare it to the older games, I am still really enjoying it and am super happy Microsoft put this out. Who knows, maybe after playing it more I could change my mind, but as of this point I am loving this.
2. Forza Horizon 5
The Forza Horizon series continues to be a series so good that I actually put a huge amount of hours in to a racing game, which is a genre I don't typically dive too much in to. The graphics and setting are super nice, and really help carry the game. However, the best part of this for me is playing it on the Series X with the fast loading. I have seen this game run on an Xbox One and the load times are BRUTAL, which makes me appreciate this one even more. The thing I always appreciate about this series is the way I have so much control over the difficulty. I do not possess the skills to play a realistic simulation racing game, but with this game I can control each individual aspect where maybe I want some things to be a little more difficult or realistic, while still for instance using the driving line.
10. Cyber Shadow
Another game I did not finish, but really enjoyed what I have played thus far. I absolutely love these 2D throwback games when done well, and this one plays extremely well. There are a lot of other 2D retro style games that just don't feel good to play, but this one actually feels like it could have been an evolution of a game had they not moved in to 3D.
11. Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time
This is probably the game I have put the least amount of time in so far on this list, but I am really enjoying what I have played so far. Crash Bandicoot is really a nostalgia trip for me, but this one really still plays well and has much needed improvements. The difficulty is still Crash Bandicoot levels for sure, and this feels like a real love letter to those original games.
9. Kena: Bridge of Spirits
I am not super far in to Kena, but it made a big impression on me pretty quickly. This has to be one of the best looking games I have played, with a combination of the fidelity with the art style that I absolutely love. I had actually forgotten about this one from the launch of the PlayStation 5, but then received it for Christmas and was so glad I did.
6. It Takes Two
It Takes Two finally feels like what they were going for in A Way Out. Any game I can get my wife to play with me is a win in my book too. While I wasn't blown away by the story, it was still engaging and entertaining, but the game play is where this one really shines. I really enjoyed figuring out puzzles, platforming, and fighting bosses along side my wife.
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  1. Kena: Bridge of Spirits
  2. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  3. Unsighted
  4. Life is Strange: True Colors
  5. It Takes Two
  6. Sable
  7. Unpacking
  8. Lost Judgment
  9. Valheim
  10. Lost Judgment
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I released my 2021 GOTY blog two days ago. But here's the link to the Blog for anyone interested. Its a long read with 7000+ words I know, but wanted to talk about many of those games in good detail.

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#48  Edited By AV_Gamer

Best Games of the Year 2021

1. Psychonauts 2

I'm so glad I took advantage of the Game Pass holiday deal for PC. It allowed me to play this masterpiece of a game. Not only is it an improvement over the first game in every way, it's also an evolution in 3D platformers in general. I see now, why many people were upset this game got overlooked at the so-called Game Awards.

2. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Before I played Psychonauts 2, this game was going to be my number 1 pick. But don't let that keep you from playing it. It's another great entry in the series that takes full advantage of the PS5 power. It also introduces some endearing new characters with Rivet, Kit, and Glitch. However, the slight setback is that it is in a lot of ways, more of the same formula, including making Nefarious the villain once again, which is becoming tired. He doesn't have the charm of Bowser, or Eggman to keep being cast as the villain. They need to find an new villain for the heroes to face in the next game.

3. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

This game was surprising to many, including myself. I'm not a big Guardians fan. I think the movies are okay, but I never read the comics or watched the animated series currently going on for a while now. But it didn't matter. This game is really a must play. Don't dismiss this game because you didn't like Avengers, even though that game had a decent story mode about Ms. Marvel. Yes, it's by the same people, but without the endgame mode that was a very obvious online cash grab with no real focus. This game is strictly narrative and better for it. They capture the mood of series almost perfectly. And I can even stand Star Lord, even though he's still a tool.

4. Resident Evil Village

This game proves that REVII wasn't a fluke and a surprising good game by a desperate Capcom. They knew what they were doing and it shows in this well done, action based sequel. Not only do the graphics and overall presentation stand out, but the villains you face throughout the game are quite memorable. Yes, everyone knows about Lady D, but Heisenberg is the real stand out villain of the game. I enjoyed finally defeating him. And the mercenary mode is also very well done and fun, like a modern arcade shooter you'd play in the arcades. Overall, don't miss this game.

5. Halo Infinite

The year long wait was worth it, because Halo Infinite turned out to be a pretty good game. Both the multiplayer and the campaign are decent and opens a lot of possibilities as the where the series goes next. There are a lot of big updates planned as well. Did I mention the multiplayer is free and just as good as many paid for entries, stealing the thunder from both Call of Duty and Battlefield entries in 2021.

6. Scarlet Nexus

What can I say, if you like Anime, you'll love this game. If you don't like Anime, you'll still like it as a quality action adventure game. The combat is really fun and evolves as you play, the storyline is very Anime, but also very good. As a fan of Eva, myself, I really like it. No, there aren't any giant mechs, but the conspiracy based story is very similar in execution. Heck, even one of the main characters father looks like Gendo Ikari, Shinji's father.

7. Returnal

Returnal is a game that grew on me. I got it because I enjoy a good bullet-hell game. And while I'm kind of buried out on Rouge-likes, even though I will play Elden Ring, this game was an exception. The game play is challenging, but not brutal. Like you can go directly to the next area after beating the boss, unlike Hades for example where you had to fight the bosses over and over again. There are also power up and gadgets you permanently collect, which make repeat runs more tolerable. The main character is interesting and I became engaged in her backstory and how she got caught up in a time loop on an alien planet.

8. Metroid Dread

Samus is back and looking better than ever... in 2.5D or whatever they call it. Yes, the side scrolling Metroid, the best version of the series (sorry Prime fans) is back. And once again, Nintendo hits it out of the park. The game introduces a lot of cool new power ups, along with some of the classics. And interesting narrative where Samus has to stop a series of killer bots hunting her while figuring out what happened. And great boss fights. Might be the best 2D Metroid since Super. I'll let others debate that.

9. Twelve Minutes

If you love a good mind bending mystery in the spirit of Albert Hitchcock, then you'll love this game. The set up is simple, a husband comes home to spend a romantic evening with his wife, but something goes wrong when a stranger claiming to be a cop visits. Now, if you think I just gave you spoilers, then you have no idea. Just play the game and be blown away but the story telling and many plot twist. Oh, and it has an all star cast of voice actors, if that makes you blush.

10. Warframe

Finally at number 10, Warframe. Yeah, I know its not a 2021 game. The game is much older, but its latest story driven update that was years in the making came out in 2021, and it was worth the wait. I don't want to spoil it, but it brings closure to the Lotus situation, which loyal players know much about. Its epic in scale and almost as long as a story campaign you pay money for, with multiple possible outcomes. You'd have to complete some quest before you can access the latest story, because you need a lot of stuff that is attached to those quest to play the latest one as it all comes together. I wonder where the makers of this great FTP game go from here.

And those are my picks.

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