Personal Game of the Year – 2021
I’m not a big one for award shows. My interest largely lies with the new releases that get teased alongside and I didn’t even cover that this year. Er, or last year either. Last time it looks like I did was for the 2019 awards. And I’m not changing tack now! That moment has gone. But, given the year we’ve all had I started to think… It wasn’t all bad. What would be my game of the year?
Nothing immediately jumped out at me, actually.
For one — perception of time this year has been extra difficult and that’s never been a strong suit of mine anyway. So what even came out this year? I’uno!
Had to look it up. My short list for games that actually released this year ended up being:
- Aliens: Fireteam Elite
- Dyson Sphere Program1
- Forza Horizon 5
- Loop Hero
- Nioh 2 (PC)2
- Tales of Arise
Game of the Year — That Actually Released This Year
Runner up: Outriders
After the recent New Horizon update, Outriders was certainly the title that released this year that I spent the most time with 57.6 hours spent ingame, with potentially more in sight over the break. Some friends and I continued pushing through the challenge tiers and made it right through to CT15 but still haven’t finished the final expedition.
So it was a close thing to be sure, but when I consider which game I had the most fun with this year? It wasn’t quite Outriders.
Winner: Tales of Arise
Tales of Arise wasn’t entirely without issue. It has some really sketchy ‘DLC’ available for a start, and the end of the game did walk a fine line toward making the entire thing feel like it outstayed its welcome…
But even with that in mind? Tales of Arise was a joy to play, balancing RPG with a fairly detailed action-combat system with a good set of characters layered over the top. I still haven’t jumped back in after seeing the credits roll to dive into either the end game content or the new game+ mode — and I may never — but I’ll always think fondly of my time with the game. All 50.4 hours of it. :)
Game of the Year — No Matter When it Came Out
But wait, there’s more! I tend to play at least as many, if not more, games in a year that aren’t brand spanking new releases. If I throw out the release year consideration and look to what I played this year, does the picture change?
My shortlist for this one ended up including (in addition to the ones already mentioned for having released this year):
Runner up: Cities: Skylines
While I haven’t put in nearly as many hours this year as I did last year (103 hours last year, a bit under 30 hours this year) — Cities has become something of a classic for me. Something very unlikely to be removed from semi-regular play until Cities: Skylines 2 finally comes out. Given we’re still awaiting official recognition of such a project even existing yet — that wait is likely to be a while yet.
There was some speculation with the very long gap between DLC packs (well, between substantive DLC packs) that Cities 2 was in the works. Recently the Airports DLC was announced, probably just to thumb the nose at people making these claims… but… Surely Cities 2 is in the works, right? Right?
Winner: Black Desert Online
I rather thoroughly burnt myself out on BDO at the start of the year in playing through one of the Seasons, but I can already feel that it wasn’t a permanent burn out. The itch to return could occur at any moment. The call of the seas, or perhaps to perfect my node and worker network — or heck, just the super fun action combat of a new class might do it.
I spent just under 150 hours in BDO this year and the breadth and scope of the game really makes me appreciate the lack of such in any other MMO I might consider playing.
Next time I go back — I hope it isn’t so close to the tail end of a season, so I can just take my time with it a little more. :)
So That’s Me…
What about you? Any stand-out favourites for the year as a whole? I had to go back and review what I’d even played this year rather than having them at the tip of my fingers — but reflecting on them now…
Well… Let’s just say, most of the games in my lists here have every chance of dislodging my randomly selected game of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla in no time flat. I noted in a comment to Pete already, but my first few hours of AC:Valhalla haven’t really agreed with me so far… Although as I also acknowledged, that might be somewhat because I was chasing down map markers as opposed to just ‘playing’.
But then… Given some of those mapmarkers can have skill unlocks behind them, it’s a tricky spot to balance!
We’ll see… I think some of my go fishing / play all the things and see what sticks mood might be returning. I’m OK with this if so though — part of this whole random selection ‘thing’ was just to get back into gaming again, so mission accomplished on that front. :)
- I wrote this as a guest post for Magi, but then ended up barely covering it here!
- This one is cheating a little — I barely touched the game on PC; my experience is with the PS4 version when I couldn’t wait any more.
- Although this specific edition actually DID release May 6th this year, Metro Exodus first released February 2019.