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The Rllmuk Game of the Year Awards 2021 - Voting Thread!


Treble
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27 minutes ago, Sarlaccfood said:


I mean it had a bunch of new content but okay cool.

 

Streets of Rage DLC?

 

Cool. I've also clarified the criteria in the first post. 

 

I love the SoR4 DLC but I can't include it I'm afraid. The intent is to celebrate new experiences made capable through innovation (rather than expanded experiences) or by release on a new format that means more people can access it (for example, I'd expect Xbox Deathloop to be eligible for 2022's list). 

 

As with Qazimod, please do write up your experience with either or both and I'll include them in special mentions :)

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2 minutes ago, Treble said:

 

Cool. I've also clarified the criteria in the first post. 

 

I love the SoR4 DLC but I can't include it I'm afraid. The intent is to celebrate new experiences made capable through innovation (rather than expanded experiences) or by release on a new format that means more people can access it (for example, I'd expect Xbox Deathloop to be eligible for 2022's list). 

 

As with Qazimod, please do write up your experience with either or both and I'll include them in special mentions :)

 

Okay I think I get it now. The Tetris Effect reply probably confused me.

 

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Game of the Year

 

A1. Hades

 

A2. Forza Horizon 5

 

A3. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

 

A4. Halo Infinite

 

A5. Death's Door

 

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Psychonauts 2

 

Z2. Metroid Dread

 

Z3. Halo Infinite

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1.

 

S2.

 

S3.

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Hades

 

V2. 

 

V3.

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Hades

 

W2.

 

W3.

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. Xbox Game Pass/Series X

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Insomniac

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Game of the Year

 

A1. Returnal

 

A2. Metroid: Dread

 

A3. Kena: Bridge of Spirits

 

A4. Wildermyth

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. MS Flight Sim

 

B2. 

 

B3. 


Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Deathloop

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Returnal

 

S2. Radiohead: Kid A Mnesia 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Returnal

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Returnal

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PC

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Housemarque

 

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Still in flux, but here we go:

 

Game of the Year

 

A1. Inscryption - In a year where SMTV releases, I wasn't expecting something else to top the charts, yet here we are. A game that champions storytelling by gameplay, bombards the player with various means of narration, an absolutely astounding soundtrack, and throws an entire kitchen sink of emotions at you. It's borderline required to play in my eyes.

 

A2. Shin Megami Tensei V - An absolutely grand JRPG, that really took the presentation and accessibility elements of Persona in its stride. The only downer is it isn't the magnum opus that was SMTIV. But then again, not a lot is

 

A3. Back 4 Blood - I was really worried Turtle Rock shit the bed from first impressions, but a combination of sticking the landing and being on Game Pass meant me and my friends had a rip-roaring time with the campaign. Furious action, great gunplay, looked and ran fantastic on PC. Can't wait to get back to it with future expansions.

 

A4. Nier Replicant - The original was a great story and great soundtrack in a shit game. They fixed the 'shit game' part and made it a really great way to experience another Yoko Taro joint. 

 

A5. Phantom Abyss (Early Access) - A fantastic moreish and fun blend of Mirror's Edge style platforming and Spelunky temple-diving suicide runs. Considering it runs even on integrated AMD graphics, watch this be an indie/game pass darling when it's on consoles by next year.

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Quake (Holy Shit All The Formats, 2021, originally 1996) - One of the best shooters of all time, lovingly remastered for the modern era, comes with all the expansions, comes with the Trent Reznor soundtrack that everyone fucking whined about, comes with completely new expansions, comes with cross-platform multiplayer, and on your Game Pass subscription or a pittance elsewhere. Oh, you bought it on Steam? back in 2000 when Steam was new, and the iD Super Pack was the thing that made you buy into the platform? FREE UPDATE. You can even boot into the old version and pick up the WADs like you did before.

Absolutely, one hundred fucking percent, how games should be remastered and treated.

 

B2. Streets of Rage 4: Mr X Nightmare (Probably Holy Shit All The Formats, 2021, originally 2020) - The true game coming back from 2020 that's worth a dick, and now it's a roguelike as well!

Not only does it include three most obvious and most requested characters, they're also incredibly fun to play, come with a comprehensive update that adds alternate moves to every playable character (including, absurdly, the retro Streets of Rage MD sprites and the DLC characters themselves), and the Nightmare game mode is the biggest slam dunk for the series in terms of replayability.

I never expected the fan-made Streets of Rage Remake to ever be beaten, but Guard Crush have made damned sure they're within touching distance.

 

B3. Deltarune - Chapter 2 (PC/PS4/Switch, 2021, originally 2018) - It's more Deltarune. A proper laugh-a-minute story, and some fantastic characters and music tracks.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis To be honest, this is probably very harsh, as the actual game is solid and fun to play. The real problem is that it launched with enough content to occupy the regular player for the weekend, and the endgame boils down to running between the same four spawns spawns in a circle and killing them. Compared to the game it's literally bundled with (the original Phantasy Star Online 2), it's actual wank, and a shadow of its former self. More time in the oven was required, simple as that.

 

Z2. Skatebird - A brilliant and adorable concept, marred by atrocious execution. Had all the poise and grace of a Unity asset flip.

 

Z3. Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance - Didn't really do anything wrong, but it certainly didn't feel right while playing it. Janky animation and was just very mediocre and wasn't exciting to play.

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Inscryption - It's rare when such a soundtrack lives rent-free in my head, but it really does. The mastering of the tracks have that same level of cerebral feedback as Doom 2016, and does some really neat use of sound effects as beats in the music. The cabin's reprisal theme at the end of the game really tugs at the heartstrings, too.
 

S2. Guilty Gear Strive - I like metal, aight? safe.

 

S3. Nier Replicant - Admittedly complete bias, because one of the last things I did before Coronavirus was a global thing was go to the Nier Orchestral Show in London. But still, Snow In Summer is an absolutely stunning opening track to a videogame.

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. The Ascent - Felt more Cyberpunk than Cyberpunk 2077. Absolutely incredible lighting work and aesthetic.

 

V2. Back 4 Blood - Amusingly, the inverse of Forza Horizon 5 - doesn't look absolutely stunning, but is on the list because of how fucking fast things are being pushed through - DLSS optimisations means hordes of zombies swarming you at 100+ FPS, and it's absolutely crazy how fluid everything is.

 

V3. Guilty Gear Strive - I can't bloody believe I forgot about this. Fantastic cel-shading goodness that looks and runs fantastic on anything - Low end computers, previous gen consoles, and the latest and greatest.

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1.  Inscryption - While it's here at the top of my own pile, the story doesn't establish itself by, well, writing. It is, however, an excellent story that presents itself via all manner of formats, and it's brilliant because of it. It's also very hard to talk about without spoilers, but the end interactions are absolutely gut-wrenching.

 

W2. Unpacking - A similar experience to Inscryption, but a fair bit more basic and twee. Still heartfelt in places, though.

 

W3. Nier Replicant - Still wildly over the top anime faire, but the high points are still fantastic and the additional content added to the new version is great.

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PC - The PC format houses my Game of the Year, most of my experiences on Game Pass, and playing switch games via Yuzu at a much higher fidelity than original hardware. And with the Steam Deck, I'm really looking forward to taking my whole library on the go next year.

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Microsoft - Game Pass has mostly dictated the games I buy and play at launch, while big strides in Backwards Compatibility and FPS Boost Games really have breathed life into older 360 games. In addition, the Series S is an absolutely stonking bit of kit - a perfect small and quiet compliment to the hulking rig that is my computer, and even runs Retroarch to the point where you can just slap on Gamecube and PS2 games on it and it'll happily play them. 

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Game of the Year

 

A1. Returnal 

Haxon Cloak soundtrack, oppressive atmospheric sci-fi aesthetic and a tight-as-fuck gameplay loop. It’s like someone made a triple AAA game just for me. 

 

A2. Metroid Dread

 

A3. Unpacking

 

A4. Radiohead Kid Amnesia

 

A5. Exo One


 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Death Stranding Director’s Cut

Such more-ish gameplay and the most amazing art design. Probably the best looking game I’ve ever seen. The Halo Infinite environment did not fare well being played straight after. 

 

B2. Streets of Rage 4: DLC

 

B3. Quake 

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year 

 

Z1. All the abuse allegations coming out and then the people responsible at the top keeping their jobs. Fucking embarrassing to be into video games this year.

 

Z2. Halo infinite Campaign

Never seen a game go from a 10 to a 6 so quickly. Don’t get me wrong I had a good time overall, (and the multiplayer is Master Chef’s kiss) but once you start to see how basic the open world is and it starts taking you down endlessly repeating corridors where you can’t avoid the atrocious storytelling, the shine really comes off. First couple of hours I thought this was going to be my GOTY.

 

Z3. Forza Horizon 5
Like Halo I still had a fun time, but I bought an Xbox for this and was expecting it to be in my top 3 of the year. It really needed more time in the oven though and somehow has a really overwhelming but at the same time loose and directionless sense of progression. Also just shut up everyone! Why is there so much fucking talking? 

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Returnal 

I’ve never played a game with sound so good I don’t need to move the camera round to know something is coming my way and I need to dodge. The way you can use what you’re hearing around you to plan what to do next is essential to progress in the game. Amazing. 

 

S2. Radiohead Kid Amnesia

 

S3. Forza Horizon 5 

Once people stop taking at me, the sound of the engines is wonderful. 

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Returnal 

Giger, Metroid Prime, Denis Villenueve, PT and rain. Lots and lots of stupid sexy rain.

 

V2. Townscaper 

 

V3. Exo One.

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Unpacking
Says so much without using a word.

 

W2.

 

W3.

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PlayStation 5
It’s been dunked on quite a bit on rllmuk this year, but I’ve not had any trouble with mine and at the end of the day it’s been the box that has let me play Returnal, Radiohead Kid Amnesia, Death Stranding Directors Cut and Streets of Rage 4 DLC, all of which I’ve found to be the most interesting and accomplished things released this year. Still an absolute eyesore though. Yeesh.

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Housemarque

Talk about betting everything on such a roll of the dice. They made the game they absolutely wanted to with no compromises to the mass market and they did it within the triple AAA landscape. You just don’t see that anymore and you could tell it was make or break for them. I’m so glad it worked out. 

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Game of the Year

 

A1. Blue Wish Desire
Amazing follow up to the free doujin title "Blue Wish Resurrection Plus". It's more of the same, but it's done to perfection. Stage design is godly, the action is none stop. It's not too difficult and very fun to score.
It was a tussle between this and CCWE for the top spot, I've certainly played this one more, but I think CCWE might have a longer shelf life just on account of it having harder difficulties, so it just edged it there I think.

 

A2. Star Hunter DX
1ccgames have won this year as far as I'm concerned. They release two game, this and Space Moth Lunar Edition and they were both amazing.
Really fun gameplay, great music and visuals. They can do no wrong in my eyes, and I'm really looking forward to see what they do next, although in an interview I listened to they said they're thinking about maybe venturing out from the genre to do something with wider appeal. Hopefully they don't venture out too far!
I could see a twin stick shooter from them being really good!

 

A3. Cotton Reboot
The publishers hired studio siesta (hurricane of the varstray, trouble witches) to handle the arrange mode for this and it paid off hugely.
Some of the boss patterns are designed to be milked, which I'm not too fond of, but I think they kept the duration you can do it for just about tasteful.
It's a bright, colourful, flashy game that's easy for survival but a lot of fun to score and always fun to play through.
 
A4. Space Moth: Lunar Edition

 

A5. Barrage Fantasia
 

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Crimzon Clover World EXplosion
This release took an already great game and fixed all the issues. The arrange modes are like the sort you get in M2 releases where they're designed to bridge the gap between the novice and arcade difficulty modes and make the game more accessible, teaching you the mechanics and how to deal with the harder parts of the stages via stealth while having a great time.

 

B2. Natsuki Chronicles
Qute's best game since Eschatos. A glorious tribute to the old school memoriser horis of old.

 

B3. G-Darius HD

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1.

 

Z2.

 

Z3.

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Zakesta

 

S2. Space Moth Lunar

 

S3. Star Hunter DX

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Barrage Fantasia

 

V2. Star Hunter DX

 

V3. Space Moth Lunar

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1.

 

W2.

 

W3.

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PC

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Chorus Worldwide

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Love me some GOTY chat! Thanks for hosting this year, @Treble.

 

Game of the Year

 

A1. Death’s Door

 

Death’s Door came pretty much out of nowhere and ended up being the best game I played this year, as well as the best indie game I've played since Hollow Knight. I was compelled enough to 100% it, and it's to the game's credit that I never once felt like I had to use a guide to do so. A wonderful mash-up of Titan Souls, Dark Souls, Hyper Light Drifter and Zelda that still succeeds in carving out a unique identity for itself. Excellent music, animation, art style, characters and exploration, as well as some of the best level design and secrets I've ever encountered. The fact that it's made by a two-man team is seriously impressive. Brilliant!

 

A2. Monster Hunter: Rise

 

I sunk about 50 hours into this back in the spring. It’s almost impenetrable for newcomers to the series, and even for people like me who have had a couple of years off from ploughing through Monster Hunter’s layers upon layers of systems, you’ll still need to spend a good few hours reading guides, consulting Wikis and watching videos to teach yourself how to play the game. Push through that, however, and this is the best that Monster Hunter has ever been. The addition of the wirebugs - a rechargeable ability that allows you to zip about like Spider-Man - adds a lot of verticality to the different zones and dynamism to each encounter. Wirebugging out of the way of a charging Tigrex at the last moment or using a bug to set up a punishing silkbind attack on a flagging Diablos is proper *chef’s kiss* satisfying every single time. That being said, I think I’m kind of done with the series now. Like Pokemon, the developers will have to radically change the format for me to get interested again, and I doubt they will as the formula they’ve developed is obviously so hugely popular.

 

A3. Returnal

 

Returnal is an excellent PlayStation exclusive with some of the slickest combat since Dead Cells, brilliantly meaty sound design throughout and an atmosphere that’s oppressive and isolating enough to draw comparisons with Metroid Prime. It’s challenging, for sure, but definitely not insurmountable, especially once you reach the half-way point. The self-consciously ambiguous narrative didn’t come off for me, unfortunately, and I didn’t feel the pull to replay it once I’d reached the credits, but the 25 hours I spent completing this were tense, thrilling and entirely engaging. If you own a PS5 and enjoy shooters then this is definitely one to check out.

 

A4. Forza Horizon 5

 

This was joint first with Death’s Door for ‘Biggest surprise of the year’ for me. I came to Horizon 4 pretty late and it didn’t stick: I found it structureless, confusing and ultimately boring. Initially, I thought this was going to go the same way. It’s got some of the worst onboarding I’ve ever seen in a game: for the first five hours you are constantly plagued with pop ups and notifications about things you don't understand, and which the game doesn't teach you about. Like Monster Hunter, if you can muscle through that, however, you'll be rewarded with an extremely compelling and diverse racer that feels and looks fantastic. The variety on offer, whether that's cars, race types or locations, is what makes it. Once it got its hooks in me, it became an obsession, one I couldn’t leave until I’d found every road, smashed every collectible and completed every event. The most enjoyable racing game since Mario Kart 8.

 

A5. Metroid Dread

 

I was seemingly one of the few people who actually enjoyed 2017's Samus Returns, but this is a better game. The biggest improvement is to the combat: Samus feels wonderfully fluid and nimble in the hands, and mastering a boss that's initially wiped the floor with you, to the point where you breeze through the fight with hardly taking a hit, Souls-style, is fantastic. The parry mechanic that lets you insta-kill regular enemies or seriously damage bosses is simple but gratifying, from beginning to end. Most of all, however, the core Metroid loop of steadily finding power-ups so you can open up more and more of the map is, to my mind, superlatively satisfying, and Dread provides this in spades (which, being a Metroid game, you’d hope it would). It’s addictive and fulfilling, unlocking something new so you can explore somewhere you couldn’t get to before, then finding something new there so you can now go to another new place, and on and on. It’s a hard game to put down. Aside from a few quibbles I had with the controls, this was a great experience, enough for me to immediately dive back in once I'd reached the credits and hunt down every last secret to get 100%. I'm looking forward to what the developers do next. 

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Hades

 

I actually finished the 2020 PC release of Hades at the very start of the year, but its addition to Game Pass in the summer was enough for me to go back and spend another 40-odd hours absolutely rinsing it to get the full 1000 Gamerscore, so I felt obliged to include it in this list. Lots has been said already about the quality of the writing, the score and the visuals, but for me it’s just an endlessly fantastic game to play, to the point where I had to uninstall it after I’d got everything from it. Otherwise, I’d still be playing it now. The best rogue-like (-lite?) ever made.

 

B2. Tetris Effect Connected

 

B3. Super Mario 3D World & Bowser's Fury

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Continuing allegations of abuse towards key figures and organisations within the gaming industry that seemingly aren’t acted upon in a meaningful way or taken seriously. The fact that Yves Gulliemot and Bobby Kotick are still very much in control of Ubisoft and Activision-Blizzard respectively is a blight on the medium.

 

Z2. Deathloop

 

I played this for about sixteen hours and enjoyed myself sporadically throughout, but I also spent a lot of that time feeling confused and underwhelmed. I didn't feel challenged so much as I felt uncertain, and I experienced one bug too many. Ultimately, however, the straw that really broke the camel’s back was how much of a let down I found the ending to be: for a game which is completely focused on setting up ‘the perfect run’, getting to the end of the game, completing this run on my first attempt and finding it entirely unremarkable was hugely disappointing. And my disappointment has only been exacerbated by the number of people and publications who have heralded this as their game of the year. I just don’t get it, and the fact that I seem to be missing out I find very frustrating.

 

Z3. Nintendo’s output, especially towards the end of the year

 

I completed three Switch-exclusive games this year: MH Rise, Metroid Dread and Super Mario 3D World & Bowser’s Fury. I enjoyed all three of these games, but I’m still disappointed with the year Nintendo have had. The Switch OLED, while a lovely luxury item to own, does not include the increase in processing power that I feel the system needs, and since September there’s been little released on the console to arouse my interest. Next year doesn’t look that interesting, either, at least until BotW 2 comes out, and I remain dubious about how well that’s going to run. Add to this a lacklustre E3, nothing whatsoever at The Game Awards, laughably rubbish online support, and, most damningly, still no Hollow Knight: Silksong (!), this has been a pretty crap year for the studio. 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Returnal

 

The ambient, droning music. The chilling, alien noises the enemies make. The delicious THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD of the assault rifle (as well as all the other guns). Wonderfully horrible.

 

S2. Resident Evil: Village

 

Lady Dimitrescu’s footsteps. The noise *that* thing in the basement of the House of Bienviento makes. Heisenberg’s ridiculously stupid accent. Good stuff.

 

S3. Chicory: A Colourful Tale

 

I enjoyed Chicory a lot, not quite enough for it to make my top 5, but Lena Raine’s soundtrack (she of Celeste fame) was the best I’ve listened to all year, providing a distinct theme for each area you visit and effectively evoking a real sense of place, tone and emotion using a variety of different instruments. Heart-warming and propulsive, but also, at times, full of sadness, much like the game itself. 

  

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart

 

Say what you like about the gameplay (I liked it enough to get the Platinum), the technical wizardry on show here is undeniably impressive. Graphics good enough to make you keep playing, just so you can see how the next area or enemy encounter looks. How well it runs is perhaps even more impressive, however: the sheer amount of stuff the game is able to handle on screen at once, while maintaining a solid 60FPS, is genuinely astonishing. There were moments (especially towards the end of the game, when things really started kicking off) where I would go into photo mode and zoom out as far as I could, not to take a picture, but just to marvel at the number of enemies, effects, bullets, explosions and moving parts that were in view at once. There have only been a couple of times since picking up both a PS5 and XSX where I've thought to myself that I was experiencing something genuinely 'next gen', something that wouldn't have been possible on PS4 or XB1, but this game is full of them.

 

V2. Resident Evil: Village

 

Playing this on PS5, with ray-tracing activated, is a sight to behold. The lighting, in particular, is as impressive as I remember the lighting being in REmake on the GameCube.

 

V3. Little Nightmares 2

 

Sadly, I think a lot of people missed this, but I thought it had the best art design of any game I played this year. Some of the monsters are wonderfully creepy, and, again, playing on an OLED, the developers use lighting - or, more specifically, darkness - to great effect. The teacher is the stuff of nightmares (somewhat fittingly).

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Chicory

 

There must be close to a hundred different characters throughout the world of Chicory, all of whom have something funny, interesting or poignant to say, whether they're offering you support or apologetically asking you to do something for them. A lot of the game is spent just chatting to everyone you meet, clicking through their dialogue, but it's testament to the quality of that dialogue that this never felt like a chore. In fact, I actively sought out every minor character I could and exhausted all of their speech whenever I was able to, and lost count of the number of times I laughed aloud.

 

W2. Death’s Door

 

As well as being fantastic to play, explore, look at and listen to, Death’s Door is also very, very funny, with some excellent one-liners. If there was a ‘Character of 2021’ category this year, then it would be a heated duel between Pothead and Jefferson the man-eating squid.

 

W3. Unpacking

 

It might seem a bit arch to include a game in the Writing category that doesn’t have any dialogue, but I thought Unpacking told a simple yet affecting story in a very clever way. A masterclass in show, don’t tell.

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. Xbox Series X

 

I’m lucky enough to own all three major consoles, plus a gaming PC, but the ease of access of Microsoft’s console, my Elite controller and, y’know, Game Pass, meant that I played my Xbox more than anything else this year. It’s a shame that the problems with Quick Resume still haven’t been ironed out, over a year later, but apart from that, the console itself, as well as Microsoft’s support for it, is difficult to fault. I haven’t turned my PS5 on in two months.

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Acid Nerve

 

Mark Foster and David Fenn made my game of 2021, and there’s only two of them. The fact they were able to make something this entertaining, polished and complete is incredible. Hats off.

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Game of the Year

 

A1. Deltarune Chapter 2

 

A2. Inscryption

 

A3. Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth

 

A4. Rhythm Doctor

 

A5. Star Hunter DX

 

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Videogame industry humans

 

Z2. Nintendo Switch first-party drought

 

Z3.

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Rhythm Doctor

 

S2. Get in the car, loser!

 

S3. Deltarune Chapter 2

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Inscryption

 

V2. Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth

 

V3.

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Deltarune Volume 2

 

W2. Get in the car, loser!

 

W3. Inscryption

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PC

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Team Ladybug

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16 hours ago, HarryBizzle said:

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z2. Metroid Dread


Just how fucking good were you expecting a MercurySteam Metroid to be? Dread had no right being as good as it was. If anything it utterly exceeded expectations and then some. I was stunned that they managed to nail it so hard. And I really quite liked Samus Returns.

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1 hour ago, Calashnikov said:


Just how fucking good were you expecting a MercurySteam Metroid to be? Dread had no right being as good as it was. If anything it utterly exceeded expectations and then some. I was stunned that they managed to nail it so hard. And I really quite liked Samus Returns.


Well - spoilers - for me it’s my GOTY, and absolutely the best in the series. 
 

Just best to let the wrong’uns be wrong and not let their wrongness affect your enjoyment. 

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I'll probably add some reasoning later.

 

Game of the Year

 

A1. Returnal - It looks great, it sounds great, it controls great and it feels great. For about 30 hours I was utterly obsessed. The narrative didn't do a great deal for me as I found it rather self-consciously cryptic but in all other aspects this was a triumph.

 

A2. It Takes Two - A wonderful co-op experience which is unfortunately saddled with a unlikeable cast of characters and a script which is mediocre at best and teeth-grindingly irritating at worst.

 

That it is my second favourite game of the year in spite of all this is testament to what an endlessly creative and surprising experience it is when you're actually playing it. 

 

A3. The Forgotten City - A very last minute entry to my list, I have to confess that I haven't yet finished the game in its entirety. And yet here it is at number 3. 

 

For about half an hour I wasn't convinced this was for me. You spend practically all your time talking to a fairly large cast of characters via fairly lengthy dialogue options and I was feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure as to what I should be doing and whether I actually even cared all that much.

 

Eventually you start tugging at one narrative thread, then multiple narrative threads, and before you know it you're plotting how to save a woman from being crushed under a falling shrine while simultaneously wondering how to get into a locked villa while also bearing in mind that you need to stop an election from occurring, amongst a million other small personal stories.

 

Upon accomplishing the feat of getting a homophobe to scrub off the homophobic graffiti he had left on a gay villager's shop, I felt the same small burst of satisfaction I would often feel while playing Majora's Mask. Both games which allow you to take pride in using your acquired knowledge from each time-loop to bring both happiness and justice to a well-drawn and engaging cast.

 

A4. Death's Door

 

A5. Metroid Dread

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z112 Minutes

 

Z2. Mario Golf: Super Rush

 

Z3. Back 4 Blood

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Returnal

 

S2. Resident Evil: Village

 

S3. Unpacking

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Returnal

 

V2. Forza Horizon 5

 

V3. The Artful Escape

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. The Forgotten City

 

W2. Unpacking

 

W3. Death's Door

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. Xbox 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Housemarquee

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2 hours ago, Calashnikov said:


Just how fucking good were you expecting a MercurySteam Metroid to be? Dread had no right being as good as it was. If anything it utterly exceeded expectations and then some. I was stunned that they managed to nail it so hard. And I really quite liked Samus Returns.

 

Poor, singled out HarryBizzle! A fair few of us stuck the game on our list, and two of us even gave reasons. So perhaps they felt the game was too restrictive, which is understandable if they were hoping for more of a Super than Fusion experience. Or maybe the controls made it inaccessible to them as they did it me. Or maybe something else! Either way, it doesn't seem too controversial to have found the game to be disappointing; the glowing response to the game likely raised people's expectations even if they would otherwise expect little of Mercury Steam, thus giving plenty of scope for disappointment.

 

(in my case the whole thing was a rollercoaster, as I initially expected nothing of the game (not a fan of the devs, Samus Returns or the art style first time I saw it), then got won over by the previews and reviews which sounded great, then played the game and found it too painful/risky for my RSI to get into. So from low expectations to high to disappointment)

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49 minutes ago, Wiper said:

 

Poor, singled out HarryBizzle! A fair few of us stuck the game on our list, and two of us even gave reasons. So perhaps they felt the game was too restrictive, which is understandable if they were hoping for more of a Super than Fusion experience. Or maybe the controls made it inaccessible to them as they did it me. Or maybe something else! Either way, it doesn't seem too controversial to have found the game to be disappointing; the glowing response to the game likely raised people's expectations even if they would otherwise expect little of Mercury Steam, thus giving plenty of scope for disappointment.

 

(in my case the whole thing was a rollercoaster, as I initially expected nothing of the game (not a fan of the devs, Samus Returns or the art style first time I saw it), then got won over by the previews and reviews which sounded great, then played the game and found it too painful/risky for my RSI to get into. So from low expectations to high to disappointment)


It was never going to be more Super than Fusion. If you’re going into MercurySteam Metroid even entertaining the notion of that even being possible, then yeah, you’re going to be disappointed. And a mug.

 

It’s not my GOTY, I too would have much preferred a less linear, more Super style experience, with more scope for getting impossibly lost and flummoxed, but those days are done and it was never going to be that. I expected Samus Returns 2, and got something quite a bit better. Impressively so.

 

Sucks about your RSI. The controls should be customisable in this day and age.

 

For me, Dread had no right being as good it was. I strongly kept my expectations in check and went out of my way to avoid previews and reviews and other impressions until I played it myself.

 

I did similar with Resi VIIIage, which wound up being my actual GOTY, and no doubt some others’ Biggest Disappointment :hat: 

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Game of the Year

 

A1. Sp!ng (Apple Arcade) - perfect phone game, it's one of those spinny grab a point and fling yourself thru a level games with stars to collect but its just done so well with such precise controls that I've been playing it daily since it came out. The daily time trial is an exercise in working out where your perfect clean run on a 30s level was somehow 5s slower than the best in the world. They've constantly put out new levels and just before xmas dropped a huge amount of new content. Great game with no IAPs or ads in site.

 

A2. Circuit Superstars (Xbox/Pc) - a game I knew nothing about til the day it dropped and the trailer sold it - from a tiny indie team of 3-4 devs its an isometric cartoony looking race with a proper simcade handling model wedded on. Nails hard and the Top Gear test track time trial became a short lived obsession for a few of us. Racer of the year.

 

A2. Clap Handz Golf (Apple Arcade) - Hotshots Golf dev team do a phone game with touch controls and don't ruin it, what's not to love. 

 

A4. FIFA 21 - I nominate this as played it quite a bit and want to get to 5 (now 4) games. I only play against the computer, I play Arsenal's next fixture every week to predict the weekends match. It's a decent FIFA and plays OK on the X. 

 

A5. 

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. MS Flight Simulator (Xbox) - This is by far my true GotY, it's not really even a game but it's the best bit of software I've seen in a very long time and the scale of the achievement is just mind boggling. It's more of a software toy where you make your own fun, be it finding football grounds in London, like Arsenal's ground in all it's 3d magnificence then laughing at the flat 2D bitmap for Spurs' new £1b stadium, or flying over the channel on a foggy morning from Dover and by random making land at Sangatte, which suddenly hit me far more than any game ever has.

 

B2.

 

B3.

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. PS5 - I can't say how much I despise this console. I hate myself for getting caught up in the scarcity and buying one despite knowing I don't like Sony exclusives and didn't like the PS4, I hate the silly OS which always needs to update itself every time I turn it on (and the pads) as I rarely use it, I hate the silly pads with their floppy sticks and stupid triggers, I hate the noise it makes, I hate how it looks, I hate how all the old PS3 games I bought digitally require a PS Now sub to play again (nope, you can stick that). I can't find a single thing I like about it but hold onto it in the hope that maybe something will come out to make it worthwhile, but even then I'll have to use those pads which I hate. 

 

Z2. Thinking my Switch was my favourite console and realising I'd used it for less than 20h this year. 

 

Z3. Ratchet & Clank - I was desperate to feed my much maligned PS5 something to show it off so dropped the ludicrous digital edition purchase price on this prize turd - not one scrap of the new processing power is used for anything gameplay related, it's a PS2 game for me in a fur coat & lipstick. ooh look particles, neon lights. Yeah sure but it plays like crud and doesn't offer anything this series didn't 10-15y ago. 

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1.

 

S2.

 

S3.

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. MS Flight Sim - they modelled the whole bloody planet, how does anything else beat that ? Sure there were some trees in the middle of most streets/bridges and my house is some random beige box but it's still jaw droppingly astounding in 4k on the X on a big screen as you fly over one of the fully custom rendered areas

 

V2.

 

V3.

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Nothing, I have never played a game for a story and whenever faced with a wall of text mash buttons as fast as I can to make it go away as fast as possible - if the games on Game Pass don't let me do this I delete them instantly. 

 

W2.

 

W3.

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. Xbox X Series

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Microsoft - all those studio purchases pay off when integrated in with Game Pass and the best console money can buy. 

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11 minutes ago, ZOK said:

Hades counts as 2021?

 

In that case we can award Cyberpunk 2077 GOTY again!

 

Hades came out on Xbox and PlayStation this year, so it counts. The long promised PS5/Xbox Series ports of Cyberpunk didn't. Maybe next year, but I don't think anyone really cares any more.

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1 minute ago, Jamie John said:

 

Hades came out on Xbox and PlayStation this year, so it counts. The long promised PS5/Xbox Series ports of Cyberpunk didn't. Maybe next year, but I don't think anyone really cares any more.


You said it - Cyberpunk 2077 is game of the year 2021!

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Game of the Year

 

A1. Returnal - By a country mile the best game I played all year. It is so smooth and satisfying to play, a lot has been made of it's difficulty but it's just a curve. By hour 40 I was a god, a god with a shotgun clearing each biome with feoricity and style. Truly a fantastic game and will be a strong contender for game of the generation. Please give us some DLC Housemarque.

 

A2. Forza Horizon 5 - Yes it's a bit too much copy paste from the previous entry but Mexico is a fantastic map that has provided many hours of fun. A game that can be played in pretty much any way you like.

 

A3. Halo Infinite - This is here by default tbh.

 

A4.

 

A5. 

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Sekiro (PS5) - I gave up on my original playthrough when it was released at the Big Bastard Ape, it was too much of a departure from the other From games I loved and I just found it too difficult and frustrating. So when I saw that it was running at 60fps on PS5 I thought perhaps I should try again and man am I glad I did. This is a masterpiece, once you accept the game on it's terms it really starts to click. Parry parry parry, take the fight to everything you come across, it demands to be played in an even more aggressive manner than Bloodborne and when you do this the difficulty makes sense as you can truly pressure and dominate enemies more than you can in any other From game. Maybe the 60fps made it a bit easier too I don't know but something that I don't see mentioned often with Sekiro is just how bloody good it looks. The art design is through the roof, the palette is gorgeous and the light and colours change as they always do in From games but this time it's even more beautiful. 

 

B2. Hades 

 

B3. Portal 2

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year [n.b. putting 'Treble' will result in a ban]

 

Z1. Deathloop - Some nice graphic and art design can't make up for the really poor gameplay. I strongly regret buying this digitally on a whim because I was bored. Don't believe the hype, it's shit.

 

Z2. Halo Infinite - Yeah it's in my top 5 (it's been a thin year) but it's also a huge disappointment. It has the calssic Halo combat loop which is magnificant but it's been put in a very bland open world which makes it very boring. Hey at least it's not got annoying bosses like that one in Halo 5 right? Right?

 

Z3.

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Returnal

 

S2. Hades

 

S3. Forza Horizon 5 - Car go VROOOOM!

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Returnal

 

V2. Hades

 

V3. Forza Horizon

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Hades 

 

W2. Returnal

 

W3. 

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PS5 by a whisker as nothing else has Returnal or anything comparable in quality.

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Housemarque

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Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Wordle

 

A2.

 

A3.

 

A4.

 

A5.

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. AC Valhalla

 

B2. Strange Brigade

 

B3. Formula Retro Racing

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Activision and the sexual harassment

 

Z2. Ubisoft and the attitude to season passes and dlc

 

Z3. Microsoft 1st party releases

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. F1 2021

 

S2.

 

S3.

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Forza 5

 

V2. Matrix UE5 experience 

 

V3. Formula Retro Racing

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1.

 

W2.

 

W3.

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PS5

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1.

Edited by SeanR
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Game of the Year

 

 

 

A1. Forza Horizon 5

 

 

 

A2.Game Builder Garage

 

 

 

A3.MS Flight Simulator

 

 

 

A4.Shin Megami Tensei V

 

 

 

A5. Super Arcade Football

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

 

 

Z1.GTA trilogy quality

 

 

 

Z2.Advance Wars slipping back

 

 

 

Z3.Console scarcity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

 

 

S1.

 

 

 

S2.

 

 

 

S3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

 

 

V1.Shin Megami Tensei V

 

 

 

V2.The Art Of Rally

 

 

 

V3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

 

 

W1.

 

 

 

W2.

 

 

 

W3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

 

 

F1.Switch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

 

 

P1.Nintendo

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