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


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1 minute ago, Benny said:

 

I think there are several voters that have misunderstood this a bit and have assumed it just meant your favourite games you played in 2021 no matter when it came out.

 

Aye. There's a thread for those games already.

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Re-releases, remasters, release debuts on new consoles (eg MS Flight Sim), DLC for a game that existed prior to 2021 and director's cuts are NOT eligible for category 'A'. 

Please vote for these in category 'B'. 

 

Seems pretty clear to me. So looks like quite a few posters have some edits to do if they want their votes to be counted at the end of the week ;)

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In fairness to the people who've got it a tad wrong, GOTY Brexit (or Gexit, if you will) mucked stuff up royally. 

 

I think we're sort-of on track now, but please do message if unsure. If people have made errors, I'll try getting in touch with them on or after the 9th :)

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In putting this list together, I realised I haven’t actually played too many 2021 games this year. Probably as I spent most of the year playing through FF14 in its entirety. So here goes based on what I have played.

 

Game of the Year 2021

A1. Guardians of the Galaxy

Was a tough call between this and Psychonauts for me; I gave it to GOTG just based on the huge surprise it was. Going from 0 to GOTY on my interest meter thanks to this lovely forum. Weirdly the minute-to-minute gameplay is fun but not mind-blowing; it’s the package as a whole (see later entries) that has GOTG sitting atop my list gleaming like the main antagonist of the game.

A2. Psychonauts 2

A game I’ve been waiting 16 years for, and the only disappointment was it wasn’t longer. Endlessly inventive, funny, touching and beautiful. I can see why folks were pushed away by the old school mechanics or story interruptions but for me it was nigh-on perfect.

A3. Kena – Bridge of Spirits

Another nice surprise and another quite old school experience wrapped in a gorgeous shell. The devs are animators by trade and boy does it show. A wonderfully atmospheric ride that only really suffers from a lack of diversity in its environments. And a massive shout out to possibly the best non-gyro aiming system I’ve ever encountered.

A4. Unpacking

What a lovely few hours this was, relaxing and engaging. Figuring out what the game and DVDs boxes were was a highlight; Sticking spoons in the kitchen draw less so. But a lovely story told in a different and interesting way was enough to see it place 4th for me.

A5. Bowser’s Fury

A brilliant reinvention of the Mario formula, only really drops places due to being an obvious proof of concept.

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021)

B1. Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker

More of the same game with a hugely bonkers story.

B2. Sam and Max – Beyond Time and Space

Wonderful remaster of, IMO, the best season of any traditional Telltale game.

B3. Dicey Dungeons

Great twist on the roguelite formula.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Cunts in the industry again, as it will be every year until they’re gone.

Don’t really need to add anything here.

Z2. Mario Golf Career Mode

Another underbaked career mode from Camelot. Not as bad as Mario Tennis but neither is invasive dentistry and I don’t fancy going through that again either.

Z3. The GTA remasters

Enjoyed my re-playthrough of San Andreas but come on Rockstar, this was a massively poor effort for games that deserve better.

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Guardians of the Galaxy

Wonderful soundtrack mixed perfectly with set pieces. The best acting since Witcher 3. Some wonderful atmospherics.

S2. Psychonauts 2

Great acting along with a sweet faux-60s spy soundtrack, what’s not to like.

S3. Artful Escape

Space Opera!

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Psychonauts 2

So much imagination on display in this game.

V2. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

Getting closer to a playable Pixar film all the time.

V3. Artful Escape

Eye-searing visuals. So very close to garish it could have gone massively wrong, but they walked the line perfectly.

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Guardians of the Galaxy

The script to this game really is next level, and it’s brought to life by some of the best performances I’ve ever seen in a game. The characters are perfect, the emotional moments are perfect, the comedy is perfect. Again, it could have gone horribly awry but somehow it manages to hot every beat it goes for.

W2. Psychonauts 2

I could write exactly the same paragraph as above for this game too.

W3. Unpacking

Is there even any writing here? Not in the traditional sense but the way the story is told has to be recognised.

 

Format of the Year

F1. Xbox

Gamepass continues to be worth more than its weight in gold.

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Microsoft/Xbox Games Studios

Psychonauts, MSFS, Forza, Halo. Not all perfect but no other publisher has given us this much goodness this year.

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Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Kena - Bridge of Spirits (PC)

 

An amalgam game for sure, but many of my favourite games have chucked a load of influences in a blender and come up with something special.  This without a shadow of a doubt was my favourite game of the year.  Stunning Pixar quality visuals, a smattering of Uncharted platforming, a little light Zelda puzzling, a big dollop of Pikmin and rather surprisingly a fairly deep combat system married to an occasional Dark Souls boss vibe.   The game flits from charming exploration to intense combat and carries with it a bucket load of charm.  Even the plot is actually quite stirring (yes there was something in my eye on more than one occasion) and the air of something darker under the Disney aesthetic is really quite something 

Spoiler

everyone you meet in the game is dead....no really everyone is dead (including quite possibly the lead) and all you can do is try and help them make peace with that

 

I'll freely admit I was intrigued from the earliest trailers but this was so much better than I expected.

 

A2. Guardians of the Galaxy (PC)

 

Really one of those moments when you feel sufficiently self righteous enough to say - told you all so.  Okay admittedly I didn't approach this with the same degree of scepticism of many on here (as I *whisper it* rather like The Avengers game, single player campaign I must emphasise, single player campaign only).  But anyway, this turned out to be just as good as I hoped.  Sound track to die for, a far better and acted story and script than either of the two movies, stunning visuals and some fun basic game mechanics that are well realised enough to not outstay their welcome through the entirety of the games run time and highly entertaining to boot.  A really fabulous game and will be a real tragedy of Eidos Montreal don't get a shot at a sequel.

 

A3. Psychonauts 2 (PC)

 

Kept us waiting didn't you?  But it was worth the 16 year wait as this ironed out most if not all of the rough edges from the original.  Incredibly pretty and imaginative, sensitively and cleverly written and moreover a really genuinely great traditional 3D platformer not on a Nintendo console.  Thankyou very much Microsoft for throwing all the money required at Double Fine.  

 

A4. Halo Infinite (PC)

 

So the occasionally inflammatory thread on this has pegged this as 'The Silent Cartographer' the game - but then again wasn't that all we ever really wanted from a true new Halo?  Marry classic Halo combat to the open world model and throw in some well choreographed missions and you have the best FPS I've played in well a long time.  It is far from perfect, I'll be the first to admit, although the last third of the campaign is an awful lot better than some might have you believe and actually some of the boss battles are even quite fun.  But anyway its proper Halo, in an open world and with a grappling hook.  What could there be to dislike here?

 

Oh and special shout out to the multiplayer which has managed the impossible and managed to create an experience where even the poor to mediocre players (i.e me) can still have a lot of fun.

 

Okay its not CE, its not 3, but its the best Halo we've had since Bungie left the numbered titles (yes I am including Reach in that statement).

 

A5. The Ascent (PC)

 

A game with a list of design flaws as long as my arm, but through a combination of stunning visuals and a simple yet so engaging game mechanics had me from start to finish.  Its basically a classic forced perspective Amiga shooter with some next generation fizz but its quite impressive how far that fizz can take you.

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PC)

 

Don't think I'm cheating here as nothing here really rises above the remaster level but some elegant work to ME1 makes it still a compelling game in 2021 with some of the more ridiculous components of the original removed and the other 2 games are still cast iron classics, yes I am including 3 in that statement.

 

B2. Quake Remastered (PC)

 

For a game that is now 25 years old, its amazing what a little visual sparkle can do to remind us that somethings never age.  Its still bloody brilliant and now I can actually play it with a controller.

 

B3. Immortals Fenyx Rising DLC/Season Pass (PC et al)

 

Shockingly a season pass that was actually worth the cost of entry (if you enjoyed the main game - and I bloody loved it).  3 sizeable expansions, one riffing just on the mini dungeon/BOTW shrine vibes, the second a whole new campaign with a different visual style and cast of characters and a third doing something completely different (basically crossing Fenyx with Diablo a la Darksiders Genesis).  Setting aside any qualms from this being an Ubisoft game this was a really impressive set of secondary content.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. The fact that basically every large publisher is full of exploitative ass holes - seems I literally can't have ethics now and enjoy my hobby

 

Z2. The fact I still couldn't buy a PS5 even if I really wanted one (and I do want to play Returnal and Ratchet and Clank)

 

Z3.

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Halo Infinite

 

Yes just because it has that theme because is there anything else more stirring than shooting some things up when it starts uo

 

S2.Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Sure its just a mix tape of 80s classics - but such a well chosen

 

S3.

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year


V1. Psychonauts 2

 

V2. Guardians of the Galaxy

 

V3. The Ascent

 

c/f earlier comments

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Guardians of the Galaxy

 

W2. Psychonauts 2

 

W3.

 

c/f earlier comments

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PC (could have been Xbox really from what I played as basically at this stage they are kind of the same but PC has all the other weird and wonderful stuff too)

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Xbox Game Studios

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Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

 

A2. Returnal

 

A3. Life is Strange: True Colors

 

A4. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

 

A5. Forza Horizon 5

 

 

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Mass Effect Legendary Edition

The best gaming trilogy of all time, very nicely remastered.

 

B2. Among Us

A very pleasant surprise! I was only mildly aware of this game until my Destiny clan suggested some games in the run-up to xmas - best £3.29 I've ever spent! Fucking loads of fun, and made for the best new-year's eve of gaming I've had for a long, long time.

 

B3. Alan Wake Remastered

Always loved this game, really enjoyed the remaster.

 

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. The industry still full of sex pests and colossal dickheads.

 

Z2. 12 Minutes

Fuck me! What a load of shite. I haven't been this disappointed in a game since Men in Black on PC over 20 years ago. I remember reading Ultimate PC mag's "review"* of MiB and thinking this is gonna be amazing; then I got the game and ... oh. my. god. I had that same feeling playing 12 Minutes.

*That review is the sole reason for my cynicism toward game journalism as a whole. 

 

Z3. Sony being dickheads with my PS5. My launch machine kept crashing, so I sent it back for repair. Got it back, was fine for about five days before crashing again. Sent it back again, and this time got a replacement. Replacement also crashes, but only when in the menus with no game running; when playing a game it's pretty much rock solid, which as Gorf King once rightly put it, "that's annoyingly put-up-withable". And it is, but what's also annoying is that 50% of the time I boot this replacement PS5 up, it crashes and shuts down before I'm able to start a game. If I had a pound for every time I've seen the "Something went wrong" screen...

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

Not only is the voice acting top-notch, with the soundtrack having a superb selection of '80s hits, but on top of that one of the devs went and churned out a whole album of killer '80s metal/rock tracks specifically for the game. 

 

S2. Returnal

Every weapon is distinct, every enemy pitch perfect, with some amazing music including a stunning take on an old '70s hit that almost had this at No.1 for this category.

 

 

S3. Life is Strange: True Colors

Gets in for the voice acting, which is superb throughout. The soundtrack is mostly excellent but is let down by Kings of Leon. Because Kings of Leon. 

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Anyone not voting for this in this category simply can't have played it. It's stunning! And nothing else this year has come close to the visuals on show in this game. A genuine case of a pixar movie come to life and at your fingertips.

 

V2. Forza Horizon 5

Wintry Scotland in FH4 was fucking drab as fuck, and the overall visuals were decent but not "holy fuck look at this!" levels. FH5 changes that. Sunny (and stormy!) Mexico is a visual feast, almost photo-real at times. It's let down a little by some of the night lighting which, especially in the towns, looks flat and decidedly last-gen even on my beefy PC. However, the fact I can run it at 4k60 without my PC fans going mental is a real achievement in visual technical wizardry.

 

V3. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

Some truly fantastic animation on display here (especially the facial expressions and lip-sync) that really makes the cut scenes come to life, and while it's not quite as good as the above two games on a purely technical level, it's still a really good looking game. 

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

Nothing comes close, not even the excellently written True Colors just below. This is a Hollywood MCU script in a game, touching on some interesting themes, grief and loss being the main ones. It's also consistently funny, and not just a chuckle here, a chortle there, I'm talking proper laugh-out-loud funny. The writing is the reason I played through this four times in a row. 

 

W2. Life is Strange: True Colors

This is very nicely written, and similar to GotG, grief and loss are themes here too, but this goes in some interesting directions, and would actually challenge for the top spot if not for it being quite so heavy handed at times, with some foreshadowing that's a little too obvious, and the final chapter not quite (for me) hitting the highs of the prior chapters. 

 

W3. Returnal

Less is more. What little writing there is in Returnal is really well done, leaving much to the imagination and, most importantly, interpretation of the player as you take Selene on her repeated journeys through Atropos. And yet again, grief and loss are themes here. Fuck ... 2021 wasn't half depressing, was it! 

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PC

Gamepass on PC is superb value, loads of free games on the Epic Store, Steam Sales, GoG sales, the Mod scene. If you have even a half-decent PC you suddenly have a huge backlog of quality games at your fingertips. The consoles came nowhere fucking near this year. 

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Housemarque

who.gif

Yeah, no-one says that about Housemarque anymore, they're now a household name after Returnal.

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Bit late to this compared to usual, been a bit busy but here goes -

 

Game of the Year 2021

A1. Ratchet and clank Rift apart

Despite owning most of the games this is the first one i've completed thoroughly, it looked glorious and that was kind of enough for me, the storyline was typical ratchet and clank and aside from the rift move's it generally played the same but it was just such a fun good looking jaunt. It was just "fun and happy" and we need more of that in what is a depressingly dark world.

A2. Guardians of the galaxy

I did not originally intend to pick this up but I'm glad I did, this was the next film, the story was great, there was plenty of banter and it looked good. I mean my only gripe with it was the limited combat, tying  you into Quill and underpowering him so you had to focus on what your mates were doing.

A3. It takes two

Sadly I didn't get very far through this as my wife got bored / lost interest pretty quickly, what I did play was thoroughly enjoyable, absolutely charming and deserves a spot in anyone's list.

A4. Bravely default 2

It was much of the same, thoroughly charming, typical JRPG story but I do enjoy my turn based combat :) Such a great game and one that will be added to the long term collection.

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Battlefield 2042, I love this series but this is by far the biggest misstep (or intentional step), they have moved fully away from the series with this, terrible maps, addition of specialists, big open zones with no cover. 

Z2. Back 4 blood

I was hoping for a true left 4 dead reimagining, it missed the mark.

Z3. Tales of Arise

I really enjoy these games and was excited for this one, trailers suggested it was going to be quite a step forward in terms of bringing something new to the series. It really didn't and the series feels like it's stagnating a bit.

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Guardians of the Galaxy

It was a guardians of the galaxy soundtrack, I don't really need to say anything here.

S2.Forza 

The soundtrack to this suited the game incredibly well

S3.

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

This for me looked glorious and I know there have been some good looking games but none really compete

V2. Scarlet Nexus, i've gone off these types of games in recent times but there's no denying it's quite the looker.

V3. Bravely default 2 - I just love the art style of this, games like this make me remember it's not all about hyper realistic visuals but that you can make a fantastic looking game with clever art.

 

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Guardians of the Galaxy

The story and script were top notch and I can't really think of anything that comes close this year.

W2. 

W3. 

 

 

Format of the Year

F1. Nintendo Switch

I was adamant I wouldn't pick up the OLED switch, but I am so glad I did, I play mostly handheld and this thing looks fantastic. I had not played much on my switch for a while just because of life commitments and playing handheld didn't give me the same visuals as on my tv and felt a bit lacklustre. The OLED switch though has most of my attention now!

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Microsoft

The only one really to churn out consistently good titles this year

 

Edit - I've just realised I haven't put a 5th in for the first category so I will have a think and try and get one added before the deadline.

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Before reading this thread I barely knew what Returnal was, now I find myself actually wanting a PS5! Oh well, maybe in a few years time.

 

Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Metroid Dread - I do wish it had been a bit less linear and more like Super Metroid, but the minute to minute gameplay is just so slick and fun to play and the overall presentation is fantastic. It helps that it looked amazing on my new OLED Switch too. Some great boss battles too, really hard but always fair so you get a bit further each time. I agree with @Wiper that the controls could have done with some options though, my old hands were pretty fucked by the time I finished it. I don't remember exactly what was wrong with them, too much reliance on L and R for things that should have been on ZL and ZR I think. I could have remapped them at a system level, but...I'm lazy.

 

A2. Game Builder Garage - I put over 100 hours into this in the space of a few weeks, which with the amount of gaming time I get is neither easy or advisable! It's a really accessible way to make simple games, but the restrictions do start to grate when you try and make something more complex. It's a shame there's no in-game sharing hub like Mario Maker, but it's not hard to see why given it's a lot easier to just draw a cock and balls texture than make one out of blocks.

 

A3. No More Heroes III - I love that this looks like crap, and it doesn't give a toss. The important bits are really fun to play anyway.

 

A4. Neo: The World Ends With You - Been playing this since Christmas, it starts a little slow but it's starting to pick up now, and it's just so stylish and fun to play. The original is probably my favorite DS game, so it's amazing to finally be playing a sequel that really stays true to the original. 

 

A5. New Pokemon Snap - Another dream sequel that expands and improves on the original in so many ways.

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Quake

 

B2. Streets of Rage 4

 

B3. Baba Is You (Level editor expansion)

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. The usual wankers still being wankers

 

Z2. NFTs

 

Z3. Not playing Returnal, apparently

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. No More Heroes III

 

S2. Neo: The World Ends With You

 

S3. Deltarune Chapter 2

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Metroid Dread

 

V2. Bowser's Fury

 

V3. New Pokemon Snap

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. No More Heroes III

 

W2. Neo: The World Ends With You

 

W3. Deltarune Chapter 2

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. Switch (OLED) - Love that screen so much.

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Nintendo

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Game of the Year 2021

A1. Valheim

 

One of the best survival/craft games to come out in recent years. Easy to play, lots to build and a simple yet moreish progression route. Basically you start in an easy area, gradually increase your armour and weaponry until you can start visiting the next area, which has better ores which lets you increase your capabilities (including being able to build better stuff). And rinse and repeat. It works well because those higher level areas are shit scary (think visiting Hyrule castle early on in BotW), but the rewards are great. Then as you level up your stuff, they become less scary, until they become trivial. The world is huge, the building system very capable, it's ultimately deserved the massive popularity it gained on release AND the PC Gamer Game of the Year award.

 

I'm sure it will eventually come to consoles where it will no doubt gain a new lease of life. Excellent game and well worth a go.


A2. Hitman 3

 

A fitting end to a classic trilogy, which I had only gotten into in 2020. A few missteps along the way (some levels are a little too linear or too sprawling and empty) and the removal of the Master level achievements is puzzling - sure you can still do it, but it was a nice to get that tick in the box.

 

Overall though, polished, superb gaming, can't wait to see IOI's take on Bond, could be very good indeed.
 
A3. Back 4 Blood

 

Please note, the only time I play this game is with three of my friends and it rocks as a four player coop. No idea if the single player, offline version is any good. But it's hectic and solid shooter. Progression is interestingly handled through the use of cards that can be applied during the game - then reset at the beginning of a new run. New cards can be bought and added to a deck of 15 cards for the next run. Means you don't level up in the traditional sense, it works pretty well. Weapons are so simple compared to something like The Division - just grab a new gun you find on a level, or upgrade a component of your existing one. There are no loadouts, just different characters (with differing skills and starting weapons) to choose from.

 

Then there are lots and lots of zombies and monsters to slaughter, lots and lots and lots... with fun set pieces and most levels being eminently replayable, I think this game got a weird reaction from the gaming community at launch. But *shrug* I've had many a good hour playing it.


A4. Mario Party
 
Bet nobody else votes for this :lol: but as a four player couch based "best of" Mario Party Party game it can't really be beat. Great fun with family and equally enjoyable and frustrating - the cause of many a row and many many laughs. Nintendo polish holding the whole thing together. 

 

A5. 


 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Satisfactory (Update 5)

 

Update 5 brought so many great quality of life features to the game. Making it easier to create those mega-builds that are just so ... satisfying to do in the game. Hundreds of hours down my friend and I are nearing the end game factories, which are on a level that surpasses anything we've built before. Bring a pen and paper you're going to need it.
 

B2.

 

B3.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Creeps in the games industry.

 

Z2. PS5 game costs - I want to play Returnal, but the price of entry keeps putting me off, I am spoilt by PC game prices I guess... Gonna have to buy it when it wins the rllmuk seal of approval though.

 

Z3.

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1.

S2.

S3.

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1.

V2.

V3.

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1.

W2.

W3.

 

 

 

Format of the Year

F1. PC

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Coffee Stain - Valheim, Deep Rock Galactic, Satisfactory and many more - they have an eye for the quirky and interesting.

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Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Returnal.

Fucking immense. A Masterpiece and an all time classic. Nuff said.

 

A2. Kena Bridge of Spirits

Old school, PS2, Zelda style adventure game, blended with cutting edge tech. Focuses on gameplay, is fun and doesn’t water itself down for the mainstream. More games like this please!

 

 

A3. WRC10.

WRC9 was the best rally game since the original Colin McRae. WRC10 raises the bar again - best rally game ever made.

 

A4.

 

A5.

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Train Sim World 2020. (Whatever the latest one is).

Not sure why I like this so much. But I do! Don’t really like trains and shit but there’s something oddly mesmerising and relaxing about this, despite it being........got to get the Gold Medal........got to get to the next station on time........got to watch out for the speed limits........got to try and stop as close to the platform marker as possible. All that and you’re literally on rails! Sounds crap, but it’s not, it’s fucking brilliant! 

 

B2.

 

B3.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Nintendo.

Barely touched the Switch since getting a PS5 at launch. Metroid Dread was ok but nothing special. Can’t even be arsed to finish it......which speaks volumes.

 

Z2. Microsoft.

Still talking a good game........still not delivering. Apparently something half decent is planned for 2026. Oh......it’s just another PC centric snooze fest. Remember when you had quality exclusives like Outrun, JSRF, Crazy Taxi, Afterburner, Rallisport 2, Ninja Gaiden etc? Remember when you had the best versions of all the 3rd party stuff? Remember when Halo was actually good!?!? You do? Well sort it out and start making some decent fucking games then and sign some proper exclusives that make buying your console worthwhile!

 

Z3.

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Returnal.

The 3D audio is sublime. Everything about the audio is sublime. Everything about the game is sublime. Game of the year. Easy! Possibly game of the generation too.

 

S2.

 

S3.

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Returnal.

Just look at it! Absolute class!

 

V2. Kena Bridge of Spirits.

Stunning looking game. Some real jaw dropping moments in it. And thus is classed as a “budget” release. Seems AAA to me.

 

 

V3. Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart.

Astonishing graphics. And this is the PS5 just getting warmed up. Fucking hell!

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Returnal.

A masterclass in drip feeding info and leaving the story open to interpretation. Definite David Lynch vibes going on. That is a very good thing! The way it’s structured.......it’s a work of art!

 

W2. Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart.

Really nice use of its characters and everything ties together at the end, to make a heartwarming, family oriented, Pixar style tale.

 

W3.

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PS5.

So far in front of the competition it’s now ridiculous. Straight out of the gates with Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, Astrobot, Returnal, Ratchet and Clank, Kena etc. Backwards compatibility is game changing. Free PS5 upgrades for tons of games. A huge quality back catalogue in the PS4 means I still have a shitload of games still to work through.....PLUS Uncharted, GT, Horizon all in the next couple of months, Sony are investing in brand new IP, some big announcements are just around the corner and PSVR2 is ready to roll.

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Housemarque.

Resogun is still one of my all time favs. However, Returnal is a genuine all time classic. They’ve gone from struggling to get their games noticed to making a masterpiece and being rightly snapped up by Sony (who’ve had an excellent year).......and they’ve done it without compromising. They’ve proved so many people wrong, who were clueless or had written them off So yeah, congratulations to Housemarque and Sony for proving people wrong. Can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves next!

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Just want to thank @LaveDisco for talking up Dusk in the B category. I bought it on sale on the eShop and it's fucking amazing. Thought I'd give myself 5 mins off work to try it out and an hour later I'm struggling to turn it off. 

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2 hours ago, GokouD said:

Just want to thank @LaveDisco for talking up Dusk in the B category. I bought it on sale on the eShop and it's fucking amazing. Thought I'd give myself 5 mins off work to try it out and an hour later I'm struggling to turn it off. 

 

YES! It's the one game that feels so very, very RLLMUK, that has no traction here whatsoever. So many people playing Halo Infinite's campaign don't realise they actually want to play Dusk  instead. 

 

Was going to be my GOTY until I bought a Quest. And it's only the uniqueness of Resi VR that beats it - by the narrowest of narrow margins.

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Quite a nice surprise seeing Returnal get so much love here. I mentioned it in the thread, but the podcasts I listen to all said it was too hard for them and Edge overlooked it in their awards issue so I was under the impression it was quite unpopular.
 

I guess it really highlights the difference between people in the games press who have to move on to the next thing for their jobs, versus regular peeps who can just get stuck-in and really soak something up, especially if it’s a challenge.

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VOTING TEMPLATE

 

Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Timberborn - Colony builder with a beaver theme, what more could one ask for. Released into early access as easily the best relaxed colony builder since Banished.

 

A2. It Takes Two - Probably the best actual co-op game I've ever played. I say actual, because it really requires each player to do their bit. It probably drags on a little too long but some great memorable moments and I loved the book. "relation-shit".

 

A3. Halo Infinite - I've not had chance to finish the campaign yet and despite the shocking ommision of split screen co-op, both the multiplayer and campaign so far have put Halo firmly back on the map.

 

A4. The Gunk - In much the same way that journey to the savage planet surprised me, this is a similar feeling game that is really well put together and doesn't outstay its welcome.

 

A5. Psychonauts 2 - Rarely do I blast through a game from start to finish but I did with Psychonauts 2. I never got around to playing the first but the 2nd did enough to stand out from the crowd.

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1.

 

B2.

 

B3.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Forza Horizon 5 - Or should I say Forza Horizon 4, which I loved and played loads. I honestly couldn't tell anyone the difference.

 

Z2. Subnautica Below Zero - This only appears because it had so far to fall, and it fell a long way. Massively inferior to the original and also outdone by Breathedge this year. Not a terrible game but still a dissapointment.

 

Z3. 

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1.

 

S2.

 

S3.

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1.

 

V2.

 

V3.

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1.

 

W2.

 

W3.

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PC

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1.

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3 minutes ago, Sarlaccfood said:

Quite a nice surprise seeing Returnal get so much love here. I mentioned it in the thread, but the podcasts I listen to all said it was too hard for them and Edge overlooked it in their awards issue so I was under the impression it was quite unpopular.
 

I guess it really highlights the difference between people in the games press who have to move on to the next thing for their jobs versus regular peeps who can just get stuck in and really soak something up, especially if it’s a challenge.

 

It is interesting. Probably the only PS5 game this year that I have really been annoyed at not being able to play but I really enjoyed watching it and a lot of streamers that I watch had it in their top games despite choosing to play it off stream.

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Despite the impact of the pandemic, this year has been the first year in many, many years where I feel like I've had to leave genuinely great games off my list. Maybe because I've personally had more time at home, to play games, combined with extra access due to game pass etc. Breathedge, starmancer, loop hero and chicory are just a few examples of games that just fell short of the top 5.

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So for Cat B I’ve put Carrion, because it came to Gamepass in 2021. No idea when it actually released on Xbox, but it does have an expansion also. So do I have to check it’s release date and that of the expansion and if neither actually premiered on Xbox, Gamepass or not, in 2021 then it’s not eligible?

 

Also, Cyberpunk I presume isn’t eligible, but when it gets the next-gen patch it will be? Same with Witcher III and the incoming new content?

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Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Forza Horizon 5

 

I've loved every second of the 150 hours driving I've put into this since release. It's not massively different from previous FH games but it's more refined. Similarly to how the car evolved once the basic template of engine, wheels, seats remains from the days of the Model T Ford but now with a variety of options available and purposes of  use. This is a CARPG with a depth that is only hinted at on first play. They've thrown everything in and while there may only be 50% of the game that appeals to me on a regular basis it's so massive that it will continue to be my safe space, first choice, comfort zone game for possibly years to come. The underlying handling and driving feel is both easy to pick up and challenging to master. The infinite possibilities of the 500 cars, upgrades and tuning options alone allow for it to always offer something new to try, beat, master and unlock. The setting and visuals are among the best of the series. The subtle changes to each basic race every week make it a constantly evolving world to explore. As a driving game fan of many years I've seen a once essential genre almost disappear with multitudes of studios disappearing as the appeal of such games declined. The success of FH5 has been astounding to see and shows that racing games can still have a place in the generation to come. 

 

 

A2. The Artful Escape

 

This was a joy from start to finish. From the humble folk roots to rocking out across the galaxies. A simple game that had me smiling with every power chord and cosmic story beat. I should have hated it's "hipster youth/ space oddysey" aesthetic. I should have critiqued it's simplicity and  lack of difficulty. Many did. Some even hated the music. It captured me completely.  Once the familiar tones of Carl Weathers arrived as the Rufus/George Carlin mentor to your Ziggy Stardust adventure arrived I was giddy. I'm never giddy. 

 

 

A3. Halo Infinite

 

I haven't played much of this but a 12 person free for all session  with a group of online friends who hadn't been into Halo for the best part of a decade  was one of the gaming highlights of this year. The non stop chatter of cheers, swears, laughs and death threats from even the quietest among us had everyone declaring it was brilliant and one of the best online sessions we'd had in many years. For that alone Halo Infinite was a triumph snatched from the expectation of mediocrity that it was tarnished with after it's initial reveal. I've managed a short single player session where the gunplay is very satisfying and the open world looks to be very reminiscent of what made Halo so special 20 years ago.

 

A4. 

 

A5. 

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020)

 

It's got the whole world in it's hands. It's got the whole wide world..... Yes it's boring, yes it's not a game, but it's the most impressive piece of software possibly ever released. Everyone is mesmerised by flying over their house. then switches it off. However I discovered the real secret to MFS is to not look down but to go up. It's all about the clouds, the horizon, the weather, the sunrises, the sunsets, the lightning, the rain and the sheer spectacle of planet earth below you. Slap a relaxing soundtrack on, take a wee sightseeing plane up experience the ultimate chill out session of gaming I think you can have these days. 

 

B2. MAD MAX (2015)

 

Thanks to it getting an FPS Boost I went back and finished this in 2021. From start to finish, mopping up 90% of all its content. It's simple and derivative, it's mechanics were already outdated when it launched in 2015. Simple Batman-esque combat and hundreds of near identikit camps to clear out of the same loot.  However it has something that kept me compelled throughout a massive time sink. Since brexit happened I've been predicting out Mad Max future and the coming end of humanity. As grim as Mad Max is and some of it is really grim the joy of blowing up dune buggies full of warboys never gets old. The explosions and devastation you cause with  your thunderstick harpoon is always spectacular combined with the photo mode where you can inspect the devastation and carnage contained in a single button press with car parts flying miles into the sky, bodies decapitated and always a glorious trail of fire and black smoke painted against the backdrop of a wasteland canvas that always looks incredible. 

 

B3. Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)

 

Red Dead 2 isn't just a game. It's a way of life. It's not GTA on horseback. It's not welcoming to the impatient. It's a slow burn novel that builds an appreciation of a time when we were better connected to nature and not everything was available at the press of a button. It's the living breathing world that no other open world game has come close to realising. It may just be a clever illusion of AI coding but combined with a level of detail and animation that I think we may never see bettered, RDR2 immerses the player with such a convincing and rich environment that once it gets you, is hard to let go of. It's my 2020/21 the world has gone to shit outside so I'm going to play this and forget about it all escape hatch. 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1.

 

Z2.

 

Z3.

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. 

 

S2.

 

S3.

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. 

 

V2.

 

V3.

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1.

 

W2.

 

W3.

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1.

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1.

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5 minutes ago, womblingfree said:

So for Cat B I’ve put Carrion, because it came to Gamepass in 2021. No idea when it actually released on Xbox, but it does have an expansion also. So do I have to check it’s release date and that of the expansion and if neither actually premiered on Xbox, Gamepass or not, in 2021 then it’s not eligible?

 

Also, Cyberpunk I presume isn’t eligible, but when it gets the next-gen patch it will be? Same with Witcher III and the incoming new content?

 

Carrion: easiest to start by going to Wikipedia with every game to see if it has an entry. You then rarely even have to click on the details to get the info you need. 

 

Screenshot_20220107-081100_1641543084400.thumb.jpg.aa8058e0fdec1765a7866e7a9008881f.jpg

 

Cyberpunk et al: very easy - under the 2021 rules, nothing you mention would be allowed under category A. They would fall under B. 

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Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Hitman 3

 

A2. Deathloop

 

A3. Metroid dread

 

A4. Psychonauts 2

 

A5. Kid amnesia

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Disco Elysium

 

B2. Skyward sword

 

B3. Super Mario 3d world

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. 12 minutes. 

 

Z2. Nintendo switch online. A cash grab with the N64 game additions. 

 

Z3. Sony/ PlayStation 5. Hugh prices, poor ps plus games, confusion over paid ps5 upgrades and a disappointing second half of the year. 

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1.  Kid amnesia 

 

S2. Halo infinite 

 

S3. Deathloop

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Psychonauts w 

 

V2. Forza horizon 5

 

V3. Deathloop

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Disco elysium 

 

W2. Unpacking 

 

W3. Deathloop

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. Xbox series

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Xbox games studios

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VOTING TEMPLATE

 

Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Returnal

 

A2. Chivalry 2

 

A3. Resident Evil Village

 

A4. Kid A Mnesia 

 

A5. Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. The Last of us Part 2

 

B2. Far Lone Sails

 

B3. Spider-Man Miles Morales

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. No Ridge Racer

 

Z2. 

 

Z3.

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Kid A Mnesia 

 

S2. Returnal

 

S3. Chivalry 2

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Returnal 

 

V2. Kid A Mnesia 

 

V3. Guardians of the Galaxy

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Returnal

 

W2. Guardians of the Galaxy 

 

W3. Raji

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PS5

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Housemarque

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