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Game of the Year: Day 3

It's all lead up to this, we craft the site's Top 10 and crown Game of the Year!

Discover the best and worst games of the year with your friends from Giant Bomb.

Jan. 28 2022

Cast: Jeff, Jason, JERF, Jan, Jess

Posted by: Jan

83 Comments

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Yelo

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I think these GOTY streams have been really nice, much a good vibe

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geirr

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Woof, that's a sweet list.

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flameboy84

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Edited By flameboy84

As much as I love Halo Infinite definitely Team Jess in that particular debate. I think there were so many flaws about using Halo's refining of the gameplay from previous Halos but dismissing practically anything good about Psychonauts 2. That game is really not unrefined as people make out, even the original is fine with the exception of the meat circus (I played it first time last year in prep for 2). A lot fo the mechanics such as the ball and the bubble go a long to help make up the shortcomings. Had to laugh when I think it was suggested that Mario 64 has better mechanics...Again another game I beat for the first time recently (hated it back in the day and took me this long to go back to it) it has not aged well at all.

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NameRedacted

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Color me impressed by the quality and civility of the discourse around this year's GOTY deliberations. The assembled duders all have good chemistry with each other and truly understand the compromise that goes into making a site Top 10.

I've never been a fan of the knock down drag out GOTY / Top Tens from years past, which feel less like compromise and debate and more like who can be the most stubborn, "winning" by attrition.

These debates should be celebrations of the previous year's crop of incredible games, not conflicts of personal tastes.

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goosemunch

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@flameboy84: yeah, I'd be curious to know what aspect of combat or platforming in Psychonauts 2 Jeff had issues with. I thought it was pretty comparable to other 3d platformers I've played (including Odyssey, though I'm not claiming it's better). Power switching and the ball balancing stuff were annoying, but I doubt he saw any of that stuff... I wonder if there's preconceived bias of Psychonauts involved or maybe he accidentally played it with TruMotion enabled on his TV.

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maian1

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Jan has convinced me to play Guardians of the Galaxy. His passionate defense of it was a real highlight of a great run of discussions.

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TheDrumkid92

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Damnit Jan, makin me cry and shit

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permanentsigh

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I miss the homies too, Jan

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AV_Gamer

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Edited By AV_Gamer

Austin Walker's Invisible Inc defense was one of the best during these GOTY discussions. Jan's Guardians defense tops that, especially since its in my top part of the list for my GOTY. I'm a 40 plus year old man and I almost cried. Much respect, Jan. I feel Deathloop got done dirty and I haven't even played it yet. Chicory once again felt like the safe choice to prevent serious arguments, but I'll play it and see for myself if its that good. Good GOTY debates overall.

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DonaldB

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Jan's defense of Guardians of the Galaxy was weak. 'The game makes me think of my friends, whom I dearly miss' isn't an argument. At no point did he make a case for the game being good on its own merits, which is the only thing that matters.

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fishbacon

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GOTY made me realize one thing.

Jeff is called Jeffery in the Google doc. Weird.

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cptshazam

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Jeff Gerstmann is still a threat

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emphulio

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You can't spell MVP without Jan!

Thanks guys, I really enjoyed this years GOTY coverage! And Jess, great debut!

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PlayGamesPaddy

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Edited By PlayGamesPaddy

I was not a big fan of playing Psychonauts it was carried by its story and art style. I thought the gameplay got worse later in the game. Ratchet, Mario, and Astro I think are the gold standard of platformers.

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obladi

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I feel good about this. Happy New Year everyone.

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fram

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No Caption Provided

These were fantastic deliberations, and Jess feels like she's been here from the beginning.
Also the gradient across the key art is a wonderful touch!

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KashRZ

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Just wanted to say thanks to the GB staff for the GOTY content. Especially the top 10 lists from random people, I assumed with Alex and Brad gone we wouldn’t get these so it was great to see on the site. Thanks!

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XenonXylophone

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I love this site

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Geralts_gran

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Thanks for all the hard work guys and enjoyed all of the conversations

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Edited By MocBucket62

Amazing year for 2021 deliberations Giant Bomb! Jeff G and Jason were great, Bakalar and Jess are amazing additions for both Giant Bomb proper and these deliberations. But Jan was the MVP this year. He took the straps off for when he needed to. Also that's an amazing list all around. I'm very happy with what ended up being #1. Deserving game!

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Nillock

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Congratulations to Chicory Crocket, your Gundam fighter of the year.

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youeightit

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Edited By youeightit

Jan’s argument for Guardians is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced on this website. It resonated with me so hard and really choked me up. Thank you @Jan

Edit: wow the final list sucks, and most of those games are great. What a weird GOTY this was.

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helenquinn

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the only 2021 game mentioned that i've played is Hitman 3 so i have no opinion of my own about most of these games but i feel like Jeff is (mostly) right about Psychonauts 2 and Jess is (mostly) right about Halo Infinite. i watched streams of these games and i lean maybe slightly more towards Psychonauts solely due to the voice acting in that game being really good and there were funny parts. overall though i was happy that Chicory won and that Jason got a game in because even though i don't tend to like Jason Games i always feel bad that Jason Games get discarded into the Jason Game pile.

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clagnaught

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I really enjoyed these deliberations. Jeff was a good facilitator and everybody had solid moments calling out games they loved. Some really interesting and surprising picks all around.

It's nice to have a return to form between the 2020 and 2021 deliberations. These last couple GOTYs were a lot manageable compared to one of those years where the overall deliberations were 16 or 17 hours long. In years past, I would load up a previous GOTY discussion while driving cross country for the holidays. Some just got too long, I'm not sure I will ever revisit them. Really appreciate the pace and format of these discussions.

The overall GOTY pick seemed to just happen. It felt similar to how Tetris Effect won back in 2018. Back then, it felt like the two main camps were God of War and Red Dead Redemption II, both had their detractors, and a less divisive game won. Sort of felt like the same thing happened here. For a moment, I thought Chicory was going to get cut, but people weren't really talking about it while they were hyping up other games like Monster Hunter Rise and Guardians of the Galaxy to make sure they made the cut.

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Edited By csl316

Jan's Guardians speech is the most epic GOTY rant (not a negative) since Austin's Invisible, Inc. talk.

"Next person that wants to cut this, I fucking cut you."

And as a huge Halo fan, I'm baffled that this is the one that got deep into discussions. The campaign is dreadful, man, and I doubt I'll ever touch it again. I've put in a ton of time in the multiplayer since I like the core combat, but it's average for the series (which is still pretty good). We'll see how they grow it out as it goes, but as it stands... the game's barely on my top 10.

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Onemanarmyy

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Edited By Onemanarmyy

Woahhh Jeff taking swings against Croc, that was totally uncalled for. That little dude just wanted to save the Gobbo's and fuck up Dante for caging them. That's a worthwhile cause!

While it's definitly unfortunate that Jeff missed the translator last year and quit Outer Wilds from there on out, i feel like at that point you should recognize that you don't have all that much to say about the quality of the game outside of the placement of that one item. Either you boot it up one more time after hearing the crew mostly gush about it, to get the translator and get into the game properly, or you decide that you're not going to play it and that you have to rely on others time with the game instead.

One final thought, while i do love the options hitman gives you and i think there's some good level design in that game, Shouldn't that game.. play better? For some reason i'm always struggling with the controls in that game and it takes quite some time for me to wrap my head around it, but it never feels like i'm completely in control of it. I think that gets more in the way of that game, than the combat in Psychonauts not setting a new bar for the genre.

At the end of the day a list with 10 pretty good games (Although Inscryption should probably at least be on the list)

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EphantMon

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Thanks y'all! Amazing list this year, wouldn't be GotY if there wasn't at least a little salt. Still didn't get as crazy as Hitman/Doom 2016.

Still sad none of y'all played Timberborn though...

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Edited By bacongames

Psychonauts 2 good.

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Panfoot

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@csl316: I'm glad i'm not the only one baffled by the praise Halo Infinite has been getting, I've enjoyed the multiplayer a lot but it still needs work(and especially maps), but man that campaign is top to bottom bad. Poor story told poorly, the most bland and lifeless levels in the entire series, and an open world befitting of a lesser liked Far Cry game. The grappleshot is fun to use but....that's kind of it?

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csl316

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@panfoot: There are a few of us.

The game's not terrible by any means. I had some fun with the campaign. But it was such a step back in so many ways. The Halo level in the original was fun, and this recaptures that, but blowing that concept out to a full game just wasn't enough. For me, anyway. Clearly Jeff felt passionate enough about it to bring it this high, but I wonder how much of his fighting for Halo was just him fighting against Psychonauts.

At least Jan made it pretty clear that for him, it was mainly the multiplayer side of things. Which again, is pretty good, but it still feels pretty barebones compared to previous offerings (with Firefight, Warzone, co-op at every launch, even Spartan Ops). They can't even get Big Team Battle to work properly, man. So both sides of the coin have major shortcomings, but this got up to number 2?

To reiterate, I fucking love Halo.

Ah well, at the very least, there were some good discussions with some really cool games. Looking forward to finally trying Chicory.

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Panfoot

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Edited By Panfoot

@csl316: Yeah it's not bad per say, it's just...functional, aimless, obligatory almost. I guess I just figured the shine would start to wash off now that it's been a month or so. I really did enjoy the multiplayer a bunch when it surprise launched earlier, but the cracks have definitely shown and BTB being completely broken for over a month now has done a lot to kill it for me. The Halo MCC is pretty much a forever installed game for me and I still replay those campaigns, but Infinite's campaign I couldn't uninstall fast enough once I was finished with it.

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@panfoot: The MCC really is an amazing package at this point. Leading up to Infinite, I played a ton of my favorite levels from throughout the series. And they're still really fun, so at least I have that if I want my campaign fix.

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hats off to the gb crew for another banger of a GOTY! nuke.com continues to be a source of perseverance and endurance in a games industry (and larger world) that has been undeniably turbulent. staff changes, ownership changing hands, new folks- yall managed it with grace, and since there wasn't really a year-end bookend to drop this comment...well, here it is. thanks for the hard work and passion y'all!

shoutout to @janman for yet another legendary solo defense of a game. i had zero interest in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy heading into this thing- but janthony's endearing personal account has sold me- and perhaps inadvertently underscored why i think game reviews remain increasingly important/relevant (i don't truck with the notion that reviews only function as purchasing advice; in a world where all content is a sub, THE ONLY THING that matters to me when reading a review is the personal experiences of the reviewer...even if they're being augmented by life experience i don't have direct access to).

also special shout out to @voidburger for digging in a little bit towards the end with the discussion surrounding Psychonauts 2 vs. Halo Infinite at #2. i found it incredibly cathartic to have this kind of argument out in the open as it's one i'm often having internally in my head (gameplay vs. non-gameplay elements, and which has more influence over my enjoyment of a game). there isn't a 'correct' viewpoint to have obviously, and different strokes for different folks goes without saying- but as someone who increasingly values games that prioritize using gameplay to evoke an emotional response vs. feel mechanically good and/or fun...i'm deeply appreciative to have thoughtful and passionate staff that clearly and vocally give a shit about these things (to be clear- not saying the other staff don't, but veebz put it out there in a way that resonated). tremendous hire, really looking forward to future stuff!

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echasketchers

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When Jeff went off on Psychonauts 2...that was exactly how I felt about it. Loved these deliberations, the best one in years

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Great talk, shit year for video games. That happens sometimes. I only had 2 real candidates for the top spot and I was already certain they wouldn't get it. All the other ones are kinda okay, but nothing too memorable. That makes it hard to be enthused about a list with kinda good B-list stuff.

Also, good to have knives out Jeff back. Homie went IN, in that way only the G-man can. Ruthless, but not unfair. I hope that stays, for however long.

We did it, we crowned the most okay game champion! Here's to 2022, where things will surely improve and all problems with end stage capitalism disappear!

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kingnarwhal

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Fantastic GOTY with a really chill vibe! Thoroughly enjoyed all the discussions, thanks everyone!

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I loved this you guys (and gal). Thank you for not taking it to a vote and actually breaking stuff down. I'm with both jeff for defending Halo Infinite as the 10/10 it is and with jess for fighting for Psychonauts 2, a game I love but has too good a story and characters for the 6/10 gameplay it delivered. Theis last day of GOTY are now ones I will listen to again in the future when I want to remember 2021. excellent peeps

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X4N

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The last of this was a bit rough to watch for me. Jeff wasn't having another BOTW or Outer Wilds happen to him. I really want to play Psychonauts 2 now just to see how it plays. I usually agree with Jeff on games so I am curious. Him mentioning SM64 though... I'd rather play Yoshi's Island!!

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Suits

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Seems like the least offensive game took the top spot. But those are 10 good games.

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Outer WIlds is like a top 5 game of all time and EotE is a miraculous addition, emotionally and mechanically.

I dont think it needs to be in the top ten

Also, the more time that goes on the more i think we need a better vocabulary around "gamefeel". Like the discussion around psychonauts 2 just feels like the most pointless "i think this feels good" "i don't" wankery with no real substance to what they are arguing. Talk about animations, responsiveness, feedback, audio, mechanics, something.

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Humanity

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@panfoot: Infinite is a really solid 3/5 shooter that doesn’t really do anything new and has a ton of issues weighing down the experience. If you’re the type that can literally block out 3/4 of the game and just enjoy the mindless act of shooting baddies then I can understand how it would rate much higher.

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All around really great GOTY deliberations this year. Jess did a great job her first time around!

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poopshtump

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Rock on Giantbomb

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styx971

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a odd but good list imo again this yr . some surprising yet not entries but hey .. a jason game (mh) made the list and not at the dead bottom so i for one am happy .

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@flameboy84: Except for your take on Mario, I agree. Even there, I still agree Psychonauts 2 is at worst equivalent in the control department. I felt like there were some very bad faith comments made by Jeff.

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Edited By jasperkazai

Only 3 days this year? I guess they at least cut out (some of) the chaff.

Can always count on Jeff G to be the sole person against whatever the indie darling of the year is - this time, Inscryption.

I think a reason why Jan's speech for Guardians of the Galaxy rang hollow was due to the fact that he was solely talking about the story. It really highlighted how GB didn't do a Best Story category this year. The GOTY category should not only be about story, and that argument belonged in a Best Story category.

Jeff G's passion about Halo Infinite felt a bit disingenuous because, as Jess pointed out, it was not that long ago that both Jeffs were saying how "no one cares about the Halo story" on the Bombcast. (Granted, Bakalar was the one who said that quote, but Gerstmann agreed with him. Danny was the one who had to say that's not true.) And here he is now, saying he cares about it? And even saying he was disappointed that story threads from 4 and 5 were finished off-screen? He was saying almost the exact opposite not that long ago. Felt like he picked a horse to back because he really didn't want Psychonauts 2 up there. And I don't even care about Psychonauts - I'd probably put Halo above it myself.

Chicory being at 1 just feels like they gave up and wanted it to be over. They usually do that with the middle of the list, not the #1 spot...

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Edited By AV_Gamer
@styx971 said:

a odd but good list imo again this yr . some surprising yet not entries but hey .. a jason game (mh) made the list and not at the dead bottom so i for one am happy .

Like Jan, Jason made a good argument for his game. Like he said, the developers could have just ported a crappy version of MHW onto the Switch with it running at 20fps at the lowest settings. Instead, they made a new game to run well on the Switch and it ended up being a better game in a lot of ways by cutting the fat of pass MH games, making it easier to play and as a result more fun. Not to mention support the game got with quality updates. It's not on my personal list, but it does belong on the official GB list for that achievement.

@Everyone: About Psychonauts 2. While I think Jeff attacking the game was part of his agenda to get Halo Infinite higher on the list and was mostly off base, I will admit that the dodge feature in that game was poorly done. No matter how well you tried to time it, the enemies attacks still landed in a homing way, worst than some Souls games. The platforming and everything was fine, and it's still made my number 1 game on my list.

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TylerDurden4321

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It's a bit hard to believe that Jeff is the only person here who can see that the act of controlling Raz in Psychonauts 2 feels bad. It is stiff and feels a tiny bit laggy and then you press the dodge button and nothing happens. Why does nothing happen? Animation priority? Well, I don't feel like a platforming action game of this style should have animation priority, but even then, I feel like my attack animation was done for many frames and still nothing happens when I hit the dodge button.

I usually play everything in english, but played the first level in german to show the game to someone and the localization on the posters was mindblowingly good, but just like Jeff I could excuse the controls. Games like Plague Tale have bad controls and are not fun to play, but i can pull through them to see the beautiful art style and nice story, but the nature of the gameplay and suggested pace by the story in Psychonauts - quicker and more lively - just made the shortcomings unbearable to me.

At the same time controlling Halo Infinite with mouse and keyboard on a good PC is in a league of its own. You think shooter controls are done, have been done forever, devs have figured it out, we've seen the mobility, speed and precision in Titanfall 2 and DOOM as well as the sound and immersion in Modern Warfare and yet... here comes Halo Infinite and is slower and has weightier movement, but delivers a physicality and precision in a complete cohesive package that is on a next level. Starting the campaign and aiming and shooting the pistol for the first time, killing the first grunt had me go "damn... ... ... how...? why does this feel...? how the eff did they do this, what is different here?"

And I did give a flark about the story too. Not the story that is told through flashbacks and a million holograms, but the story about what it must be, being Master Chief and having this obligation to duty without even really being part of this mankind that he feels obligated to protect. He has no family, no friends, no plans for the future, yet he does what he does, what he is programmed to do and knows that its right what he does for the greater good. He was sent to hunt the only friend he ever had, someone not human and yet sometimes more human than he ever was, but someone who has turned against what he needs to protect. And most of all I gave a damn about the story of Master Chief warming up to someone new, someone very charming, who liked him right away, but of who he can't be sure can be trusted for reasons that come apparent in one scene pretty late in the game. I thought the relationship between the characters was had many fun moments during the gameplay and sometimes actually touching moments in some scenes. But yea, the action of the plot, when it's not about moments between characters, is really nothing to write home about.

And one last thing: Awesome speech, Jan! You didn't even get into the dad readyness aspect and still totally convinced everyone about Guardians. Amazing. (for the record: that game controlled pretty stiff too, but I can love it anyway)