2021 was an interesting year for a few reasons, the up and down of lockdown, some surprise releases and in our case a little switch around in staff and output.
We’ve asked all our writers to come together and provide a list of their best, their worst and the most anticipated game as we often do, read on to find out what our collective crew came up with!.
Powah Dunk. @PowahDunk
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy came as a complete surprise to me considering the mostly meh content that was Avengers, a title I personally enjoyed but would be lying if I didn’t point out it missed the mark in just about every section it could at the expense of being a “live service” game.
Guardians of the Galaxy manages to fuse the Cinematic Universe which is the most popular version of the Guardians with some of the comic lore in the most natural fitting way. You’re introduced to the Guardians in a way that you already know them but learn more through the many well written interactions between not only the main cast but the plethora of side characters you meet throughout.
While the story takes forever to build it doesn’t feel like a grind, it has this “Freak of the week” feel to it until it all pieces together and is carried by the humour of the Guardians and the frankly hard hitting sections at times that you really wouldn’t expect.
While the exploration sections felt a little like a parody of Uncharted at times the combat only reigniting you to Star-Lord was a genius move, allowing you to feel like the leader and less like an over powered tank you fly around the battlefield and assist while busting some of your own kick ass moves.
The soundtrack is amazing, the script is on point, the gameplay works and the combat is addictive while not there quite enough, Guardians of the Galaxy made my year by not only being an excellent comic franchise game but also a really REALLY enjoyable title with a great run time.
From start to finish something wasn’t right with this title, after only recently getting into the Darius series and adoring Darius Gaiden, I was so excited to finally get to play this title that I’d heard so much about from people who had played the Vita/Steam versions of the game.
Initially released in a double pack with G-Darius this title was firstly split into two separate titles which screamed warning signs and then when it dropped and it was missing one of the key modes alongside the buffet of DLC that was available on Steam things started to stink.
While the gameplay is still fun and quite addictive, the aspect ratio is unacceptable in Handheld mode and the “quest” mode that was in the Vita and Steam releases with near limitless content alongside an adjusted view mode making it ideal were gone making this a rather bare bones port with a few gameplay modes chucked in to make it seem like a good deal.
It was a real let down and forced me to purchase the game on Steam for a more complete package and frankly a much, much better time.
Most Anticipated 2022
This is a firm toss up between either Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (If it actually releases this year) or MONARK by NIS. While little is known about either these two titles represent some of my fondest gaming memories, obviously Zelda is a given for most people who grew up in the NES/SNES era, MONARK is a new title by NIS and developed by some of the minds behind the early Shin Megami Tensei titles.
While I remain cautious about MONARK, a fresh title from the minds who made some of my all time favourite JRPGs is almost too inviting to pass up AND it’s not another Persona spin off!.
GOTY: Death Stranding: Directors Cut (PS5)
Could there really have been any other choice? Not really. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart could maybe be in with a shout, but even as a long time fan it didn’t quite fire on all cylinders for a next-gen outing, and there’s also Returnal which was fantastic. That leaves Death Stranding, a game that could feasibly have had a hat-trick of GOTY awards given it’s 2019 PS4 release and the 2020 PC port. Safe to say the game is one of the most intriguing for last generation, but not only that its one of the best games I’ve played for a long time so I’m finally giving it an award. Sure the story & graphics etc. are great, ultrawide on PS5 is a must, but it’s the gameplay for me that I really enjoyed – even on a triple dip with the PS5 release. The game pretty much just shows you where you need to go and then says ‘off you go’, up to you how you get there. Traversal is brilliant on the game as you manage routes & cargo, always trying out different routes now I’ve triple dipped too, with the added tools on the directors cut offering some different ways to get deliveries done. The story sports that typical Kojima zaniness, and I wouldn’t have it any other way really. If anything Death Stranding shows Kojima still got it an can flourish outside of Konami.
Let-down of the Year: Battlefield 2042
To be honest I haven’t really been massively disappointed by anything this year, just a few games that took a wrong turn or ended up feeling a bit below par. Sucks I’m having to put Battlefield in this section as long time vet, but with Battlefield 2042 I have little faith it can improve for numerous reasons and probably won’t return anytime soon. Imagine cutting single player to focus on multiplayer too and then end up cutting a laundry list of features and changing fundamentals of the series, such as the class system for operators, and expect it to click with veterans. May try again later in the year to see how things are, but it just doesn’t feel much like a Battlefield game to me, maybe that’s why I’m disappointed seen as all I wanted was a 128 player Battlefield. Another somewhat disappointing game would be Halo: Infinite. Waiting an extra year due to a delay to end up with a multiplayer Beta & 10 hour clone of Far Cry for the single player ain’t exactly what I was expecting of an old favourite. Thankfully the multiplayer is pretty good so it’s not quite as bad, well it needs more content soon, but at least its not as mundane as the single player. Imagine paying £59.99 for that, I guess sometimes GamePass shows its worth.
Most anticipated 2022: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Sisters vs. Sisters
As someone that started a gaming site I don’t actually have much of an idea of when or where games are to be released, usually they just seem to spring up on me out of the blue. So long as there’s some Nep or Senran on the way then I’m usually set for the year. Luckily we do have Hyperdimension Neptunia: Sisters vs. Sisters which sees the sisters heading into an unknown area of Gamindustri to take on Mobiage, a play on the idea of mobiles destroying handheld gaming as the sisters are based on PSP, DS etc. Unfortunately no western release yet but its set for Japan in April – may import in the meantime. For Senran kicks there’s the Switch port of Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars to look forward, I have reviewed the PS4 version before, which will be worth a look if the port is good. Other than that I’m quite keen on Scorn, though it wouldn’t surprise me if that gets delayed yet again into next year. There’s plenty of exclusives from the big three set for this year that no doubt has the anticipation of many, but I’m honestly a bit meh on AAA games for the most part, the only one I’m looking forward to oddly enough is Gran Turismo 7. For some reason I always enjoy them even tho I have little interest in cars. I’ll be waiting to see how they other AAA games turn out, even if it means not being there day one.
GOTY: Boyfriend Dungeon:
Didn’t think I’d enjoy a dungeon crawling dating sim, yet here we are in January and I’ve just gone back to it to finish off some bits I missed first time. A brisk 10 hours and you’ll have met a clubbing nympho goth, a world-famous criminal artist and a pastel emo kid with a crow for a best friend. I’ve never felt more emotionally involved with a arty criminal and I’m happy we crossed paths. Not the type of game I’d have played at all, but they say opposites attract. I can’t wait for the dlc to go back again and play with some more hilts.
Letdown of the year: Back4Blood
Should have been the soft reboot of Left 4 Dead, instead it just reminded us of how much we still actually miss Left 4 Dead. It had some good ideas but really felt like a barebones sequel or even just a level pack. Hopefully Turtle Rock turn it round and pad B4B out quite a bit and give us the game we’ve wanted for nearly 10 years.
Most Anticipated of 2022: Elden Ring
Wasn’t going to be anything else, after watching a teaser of the network stress test in November. Everything we’ve loved about FromSoft games in the last 13 years is being merged into a big open world. I can’t think of anything I’ve been more excited for since Dark Souls 3. I’m expecting big things, and even if it’s half as good as I’m expecting, it’s still going to easily be my GOTY.
GOTY – Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
Final Fantasy XIV or to be more accurate the Endwalker expansion while the game is nearly 9 years old I’m giving myself a technical pass with Endwalker despite the slew of games this year. Ehe continuation of the story along with the closing of the current arc was handled very well and quickly became my favourite expansion. I’ve finished the main story I’ve continued to play the game, for the sake of players that haven’t gotten through the many many hours of the game from the base to the current content I won’t go into details of the story and fans will likely know what to expect in terms of game play all I will say is that is easily the best part of the story in my opinion and relit the fire in me to see it through to completion and beyond.
Let down of the year – Biomutant
I’m going to have to call Biomutant out for this one I was so excited for this title before its release but most of said hype I had fizzled of very quickly, to be clear I didn’t dislike it as such more that it failed to be what I was hoping for and thus in turn failed to grip me and ultimately fell into the backlog pile under the heading “maybe give it another chance if you run out of games” and there it has stayed since around two weeks after launch.
Most Anticipated: Digimon Survive
Digimon Survive I love the Digimon games through and through while I will admit there not always perfect its a series iv played to completion and enjoyed repeatedly and the fact there going in a new direction with it only serves to peek my interest
Game Of The Year – Metroid Dread
2021 was a fantastic year for gaming, with something for everyone to enjoy. It had everything from horror games like Resident Evil Village to action platformers like Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. But in my opinion, the best game of the year was Metroid Dread. A new 2D Metroid game was the last thing I expected to be released this year, after being in development hell for the last 15 years before being announced at E3. The long wait for the game was definitely worth it with the game being one of the best in its genre with fantastic level design and incredibly satisfying progression that kept you playing for hours just wanting to get that next upgrade so you can uncover more of the games secrets. The games combat is fast paced for normal battles, which makes the more slower paced EMMI sections of the game feel that much more intense. The boss battles of the game are a real highlight, being just the right amount of challenge for you to lose over and over again without the game feeling unfair and giving great satisfaction when you finally win. The game is also a perfect length that doesn’t overstay its welcome and gives the game great pacing. Overall, I feel the game is definitely worthy of all the praise it got on release and I personally cannot wait to see what’s next for the series, hopefully without the 15 year wait this time.
Biggest Letdown of the year – Balan Wonderworld
Back when Balan Wonderworld was announced, I was actually really looking forward to the game from first impressions, It looked like a great platformer that could’ve had some great mechanics with a distinct visual style and had some big names heading up its development team. Unfortunately, the game didn’t live up to expectations, with strange design choices and gameplay that felt almost too faithful to early 3D platformers. One of the more bizarre decisions is having every button on the controller do the exact same thing and restricting jumping to specific costumes, with costumes themselves feeling restrictive as each one only had one ability. The story of the game was also very vague if you haven’t read the games novelization, released separately around the same time as the game. That’s not to say the game is all bad, however, as the game did have some great ideas. The musical theatre aesthetic was vibrant and stands out. The music of the game also fit the games theme very well along with its brilliantly animated cutscenes. Unfortunately, the gameplay of the game paired with the graphics of the game feeling dated held the game back from becoming a new successful IP in the 3D Platformer genre which is a real shame since the game showed real promise.
Most Anticipated 2022 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild 2
2022 should be a great year for gaming with some massive releases like Elden Ring, God of War: Ragnarök and, if we’re lucky, Final Fantasy XVI coming out this year. I also think games like Triangle Strategy and Kirby and the Forgotten land are going to be fantastic. However, the game I’m most looking forward to is Breath of The Wild 2. Admittedly, we don’t know much about the game outside of a few short trailers and that it has a 2022 release window, we don’t even have a proper title for the game yet. Having said that, everything that has been shown for the game has looked fantastic and if it’s anywhere near as good as its predecessor, we’re in for a great game. Being a direct sequel to one of the most universally beloved games of the generation, expectations are naturally incredibly high for this game and hopefully it lives up to its hype. Breath of the Wild is arguably my favourite game for the switch and I have been looking forward to the sequel ever since it got revealed back in 2019 and I have faith in the development team that they’ll be able to create a game that lives up to its lofty expectations.