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


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ŴGame of the Year 2021

 

A1. Guardians of the Galaxy

 

if only because, unlike a lot of other great games this year, I really wasn’t expecting it to be good at all.

like all the others, it isn’t perfect (particularly the combat drags towards the end and it’s basically unplayable with however I’ve set my soundbar up - half the dialogue just fades out when your team aren’t directly in front of you, though that can be fixed with headphones).

 

A2. Last Stop

 

For the pitch perfect scrum session and an actual contemporary take on London.

 

A3. Psychonauts 2

 

for existing, and really showing what can be done with inventive, stylised art and some imagination - rather than another grim, grey and brown dystopia.

 

A4. Forza 5

 

I’ve played a lot, and the very short cycle times to playing it more really help. Of the games here, this is the one I’m most likely to play more of this year.

 

A5. Deaths Door

 

A Zelda game on other platforms!

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Yakuza: like a dragon

 

i bounced off all previous Yakuza games, but it turns out I just needed it to be more of a ridiculous rpg than a brawler and have an Afro haircut at its heart.

 

B2. Miles Morales.

 

Which was in many ways better than the first game because it tightened everything up. On this list because I didn’t get a PS5 till this year…

 

B3. Hitman 1, 2, 3

 

which is cheating a bit, since it’s really Hitman 3: but bringing all the games together in one giant murder simulator, along with all the additional levels I’ve bought and never succeeded in completing over the years, got me through the best part of January and February.

with, finally, a couple of silent assassins too.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. They’re all scum.

 

I’m not so sure it’s a disappointment, because that would imply some level of surprise. Perhaps the disappointment would be the bit where California seem to have screwed up part of their case against blizzard in some federal horsetrading.

 

Z2. Forza’s networking issues.

 

A surprise for something so polished.

 

Z3. Ratchet and Clank

 

Bought for the shinies, and the innovative use of the SSD. The shinies were shiny, but in service of a game that took zero risks with art or gameplay: none of the invention of Psychonauts or the Artful Escape or Genesis Noir or (you get the picture, or in the case of R&C you don’t). The SSD use was precisely what we’d cynically guessed from the trailers: canned footage which may as well have been a video, portals to (with one exception) tiny areas elsewhere in the map.

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Guardians of the Galaxy

 

actual funny voice acting

 

S2. Returnal

 

i suspect: certainly I could hear what the zealots have been talking about when I’ve played in headphones.

 

S3.

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Psychonauts 2.

 

variety, but a cohesive sense of style.

 

V2. The artful escape

 

barely a game, but lovely to look at.

 

V3. 

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Psychonauts 2.

 

W2. Guardians of the galaxy

 

W3. The forgotten city

 

timey-wimey in multiple ways.

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. Game Pass. If not Game Pass, then Xbox.

 

Led to me playing far more varied games than I otherwise would have done. The whole of Outriders, MLB The Show, a whole range of indie games on both PC and Xbox.

The PS5 is simply rendered a Sony exclusives machine.

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Devolver.


almost solely for their NFT video.

 

—-

 

I’ve not played enough returnal for game of the year voting, and similarly I’m only halfway through it takes two. They’re both clearly very good though. See also Unpacking, which I intended to play before this post… (now completed: I think what it does with its storytelling is nice, but it’s not going to shift my writing nominations).

 

I have briefly started inscryption and wintermyth (?) - and suspect wintermyth would score on the writing front if this voting was in February. But they’re on PC which limits the time I can be bothered to spend playing them.

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1 hour ago, footle said:

and it’s basically unplayable with however I’ve set my soundbar up - half the dialogue just fades out when your team aren’t directly in front of you,

That's not the game's fault, I use a soundbar (via PS5) and don't have this issue. Still, it's your No1 game so, YAY! :D

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29 minutes ago, Thor said:

That's not the game's fault, I use a soundbar (via PS5) and don't have this issue. Still, it's your No1 game so, YAY! :D


yeah, I think I have the settings slightly wrong in game because I was mostly using headphones.

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@footle - Great choices as they are, your B choices don't qualify, they still need to have had some meaningful new version realeased in 2021. DLC, new platform etc.

 

Maybe next year we should have a Best game of '21 I only played in '22. 

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1 hour ago, Benny said:

Yakuza LAD came out this year on PS5 so it's definitely eligible in that category. Sort of assumes you played it on PS5 though.


yeah, I don’t particularly care about the B choices 😄 though it is one of the problems of doing a game of the year poll in December / early January - much of what was released in late November/December can miss the boat.

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Hitman 1 & 2 are arguable as they are newly available in the Hitman 3 engine; presumably you'd need to pick only one of them. Hitman 3 is very clearly a category A entry only, though!

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Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Tales of Arise

The best JRPG of the year, probably the high point of the tales series. The story and characters are typical of the genre but are elevated by the production values. This is a well made game, it has depth to the systems and the combat. Feels satisfying to play. The best all out adventure of the year. Feels like a real next gen spin on the formula.

 

A2. The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes

In Man of Madan the characters were irredeemably unlikable. The setting worked but that was about it. In Little Hope there was very little depth to the writing and a lot of the things the characters did just didn’t make sense. With this game they’ve finally nailed the writing and most of the technical problems are gone too. I found it engaging throughout and at times looks fantastic.

 

A3. The Last Stop

Not my most played game but one of the ones that stuck with me the most. The feel of London, of modern Britian, it felt authentic and gave us something we haven’t really had in games before. Refreshing and although the ending was silly, it fits the genre. 

 

A4. Eastward

Nothing this year has come close to the density of the art, style and beauty of Eastward. The actual game behind it lives up to expectations too. It does take a while to get going and does have it’s difficulty spikes but the atmosphere keeps you playing. I worked for me in the ways that Metroid Dread and Sable fell short on. Substance.

 

A5. Overboard

Everything here is perfectly made, perfectly structured. It’s funny, addictive for the time you spend with it. Another brilliant concept by Inkle and probably the first game they’ve made where the cracks don’t show. With each game they are getting stronger, I think they aren’t far off making something truly amazing.  

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Tetris Effect Connected

I enjoyed but did not love this game on PSVR, then PS4 .. This year on Xbox and Switch it has finally connected! Very much into it now. May have even made it my game of the year (if it hadn’t come out already). The depth, the quality of the design, the atmosphere and the music. Might even prefer it to Rez. 

 

B2. Beyond A Steel Sky

Revolution Software. I’m glad that they are still going. The performance on the Switch is not great, you are stuck outside the city for too long, but despite that, this is a well written, warm and very well crafted adventure. Lives up to their legacy titles.

 

B3. Dragon Quest Builders 2

The first game was full of frustrating boss battles which felt at odds with the slow pace elsewhere. I hit a brick wall on it and gave up. Tried the demo of this on PS4 on release, but found it poorly paced. However with the arrival on Xbox (and gamepass) I gave it another go. It is pretty awesome. Basically the first game but more of everything. Those annoying button mashing bosses are back but this time everything else makes up for it.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Metroid Dread

I stupidly got sucked into the hype and paid full price on release for this. Ended up giving it away. I thought it was too hard to start with, it felt mean, it felt cheaply made, very bland, repetitive. I know that a lot of people like the game but I hated just about everything to do with it.

In the Metroid series, I liked the GBA games and the Prime titles so thought I would like this. I would say that the Shadow of the Beast remake from a few years ago does a better job with its own respective series.

 

Z2. Sable

This had such an air of mystery and potential about it for years that it would always have trouble living up to it. Found it pretentious, boring and overly scripted. Just too many conversations that were just bullshitting and not getting on with the actual game. 

 

Z3. Psychonauts 2

I wanted to like this but it suffered from everything bad about the first game. Like Sable it wants to waffle on about all sorts of things for what feels like hours without actually letting you play and then when it does it feels like an old PSX platformer. Although it has some great scenes and inventive designs, the actual platforming hasn’t moved on and for every fantastically creepy section there are two more that are featureless and generic.

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Overboard

Exactly spot on. Perfect for this type of game.

 

W2. Beyond A Steel Sky

The sheer amount of script and the consistent quality of the writing is one of the best things about the game.

 

W3. The Last Stop

Human, funny, realistic (as long as you forget about the last portion of the game!)

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. Switch OLED

Was hard to decide as this year I’ve gone back to Xbox, while still having my PS4 and have got back ino PC again (and I still use my Vita); but the Switch is definitely my most played.

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Bandai Namco

 

Didn't think they would end up my top but when I narrow down games released this year that I played/enjoyed, no other publisher comes anywhere near close.. Tales of Arise, Scarlet Nexus, Dark Pictures, Pac Man 99 and the non-switch versions of Mr Driller all came out in 2021.

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Game of the Year

 

A1. Guilty Gear Strive

Everything I had hoped – not only the best looking game in the genre, but actually does an incredible job of keeping the series’ charms in-tact while massively lowering the bar to entry. The rollback netcode is utterly magical and has properly legitimised online competition, enabling the fighting game scene to stay competitive through the pandemic when in-person gatherings were impossible.

 

A2. Bowser’s Fury

I don’t want to go back to traditionally designed Mario levels after this utterly captivating slice of what-could-be! I think I would have enjoyed the game even more if Bowser’s interference was made less frequent, so I could luxuriate in the various challenges at my own pace, but the mixture of exploration and authored platform challenges makes this game a joy from start to finish regardless.

 

A3. Deathloop

All the fun of Dishonored’s powers and clockwork level design put in a wrapper that allows you to enjoy it without the stress of feeling pressured to play non-lethally/non-perfectly. (Aside: I always go into those kind of games telling myself I will play non-lethally, but if it all goes to shit I’ll live with my decisions, but invariably I just end up ruining the experience for myself with incessant reloading). Anyway, I love how rewarding it is to repeat levels, eventually mastering them in such a way that you can play as loudly or quietly as you like. And for most of the game the threat of Juliette invasion is a lovely element of tension that occasionally forces you out of your comfort zone.

 

Some good funny dialogue and a very moreish gameplay loop make for a captivating experience up to about 2/3 of the way through the game, at which point the walls seem to close in on you. Sadly, what once felt like a massive, unknowable playground begins to feel extremely limited and the game just vomits high level equipment at you, completely removing the need for any decision-making for the rest of its duration. A wonderful game that could have been an all-timer if given more time in the oven, I reckon.

 

A4. Returnal

An extremely satisfying combat system which unfortunately doesn’t hold up to the promise of its rogue-lite structure because of the extraordinarily wonky difficulty curve, which just drops off a cliff once you make it far enough. Don’t get me wrong, it feels incredible making progress through the game the first time, but I was hoping for more replayability considering the genre, and even the sublime-feeling combat fails to keep you engaged once victory begins to feel more like an expectation than a hope.

 

A5. Guardians of the Galaxy

It’s murky looking and the combat is messy, but it's surprisingly compelling. EDIT: Now that I've finished this, damn, this basically was Empty Calories: The Video Game. Enough quips and banter to get you through the simple traversal and repetitive combat sprinkled with the occasional chat with a crew mate about how trauma exists and is bad.

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Disco Elysium

This is fully an apology vote since I didn’t play this the year of release. A truly magical experience.

 

B2. Control

I love this genre of fiction. I love the aesthetic. The story is ultimately a little thin, but I had a whale of a time playing. I only hope that for the sequel they stop trying to explain the weirdness so much. Just let shit be weird, Remedy!

 

B3. Blazblue CentralFiction - Rollback update

ROLLBACK NETCODE FOR EVERYTHING!

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Voting in this category is a bit weird, tbh, it seems a bit odd to be talking about how certain games didn’t meet expectations alongside the human suffering and greedy corporate practice that goes on within the industry. Feely doubly weird to be ranking that stuff, tbh, and since don’t have much to say on those matters beyond condemnation, I’m just going to focus on games themselves.

 

Z1. Metroid Dread

A decent Metroidvania lessened by finicky controls, tedious trial and error EMMI sequences and overly long boss fights. What is it with 2.5D metroidvanias falling foul of this? Granted it’s not as bad as Bloodstained, but they still feel like they test the player past the point of tense uncertainty, becoming sheer endurance tedium. Also, the game is so linear you never really feel you get to know the play space as well as any other entry in the series, a clear failing highlighted by the lengths the  game goes to to pinpoint collectables on your behalf.

 

Z2. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut

I was really looking forward to replaying this extraordinarily beautiful game but couldn’t get beyond the first hour thanks to the utterly grating narration VO.

 

Z3. Deathloop

This game has one of the most intoxicating beginnings. A brilliant premise, a promisingly huge and detailed world which rewards both repetition and experimentation, and some interesting decision making expected of the player right from the outset. It’s a real shame that by the time the game narrows down to its final stretch it trivialises its own challenges, undermines any difficult strategic decisions made, and removes any sense of player agency. It was probably impossible to design a more satisfying final third, let alone implement one, but it left me with the distinct sense the game was unfinished.

 

Sound Design of the Year

 

S1. Returnal

 

S2. Guilty Gear Strive

 

S3. Deathloop

 

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Guilty Gear Strive

 

V2. Deathloop

 

V3. Returnal

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Deathloop

Charming world and characters.

 

W2. Guardians of the Galaxy

Some good laughs in this.

 

W3. 

 

 

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. PS5

 

 

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Sony

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Just reading the Edge Awards and I’m reminded of a game that I thought might have had more support in this thread, but seemingly it hasn’t happened. Is everyone over Monster Hunter Rise? Can anyone even believe it came out in 2021? 🤯 

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11 minutes ago, Calashnikov said:

Just reading the Edge Awards and I’m reminded of a game that I thought might have had more support in this thread, but seemingly it hasn’t happened. Is everyone over Monster Hunter Rise? 


It was in my top 5 for a while but Exo One took its spot.

 

It’s weird really, I had a good time playing it and it’s amazing how good it looks on the Switch. But I personally never had any multiplayer sessions with mates like I did with World, so a lot of the compulsion to grind for new armour sets etc just wasn’t there. 
 

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7 minutes ago, Calashnikov said:

It all makes me think Monster Hunter in general is just some hipster l337 shit that many folk simply pretend to like for kudos and credentials but ultimately they don’t give a fuck about it :lol:


Nah World was the real deal.

 

I think in general a lot of people on this forum are older and don’t do much online Switch stuff. Also we don’t have commutes/work trips/holidays any more so maybe it didn’t sink it’s teeth in like it would have in the before time?

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1 hour ago, Calashnikov said:

Just reading the Edge Awards and I’m reminded of a game that I thought might have had more support in this thread, but seemingly it hasn’t happened. Is everyone over Monster Hunter Rise? Can anyone even believe it came out in 2021? 🤯 

 

It was second in my list. I've only played MH4U, World and Rise, but I thought Rise was the best of them - I was completely addicted to it when it came out and played it solidly for about a month. Unfortunately, it's a very difficult series to get into and the tutorials are crap, so I imagine that would have put people off. It also came out earlier in the year; recency bias is very much a thing when it comes to these sorts of end of year awards.

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Game of the Year 2021

 

A1. Guardians of the Galaxy - I loved the films and it's been a long wait for Vol. 3, the Game hits all the right notes.

 

A2. Age of Empires IV - I put many hours into AoE2, this almost feels like coming home.

 

A3. Returnal - Feels great, excellent graphics & soundscape, I hope to put more time into it this year.

 

A4. Bowser's Fury - Great twist on a great game.

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

 

B1. Wreckfest - Played the heck out of this on PC, started again on PS5. Utterly sublime racing fun.

 

B2. Super Mario 3D World - I played SMW many times on the Wii U, great to have it again in portable mode. Bowser's Fury was a bonus I did not expect.

 

B3. Hades - Just one more go!

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

 

Z1. Ratchet & Clank - I should have known better, I found the PS4 version rather boring. It's very pretty, enjoyable in places, can't say much more for it.

 

Z2. Forza Horison 5 - Another one where I should have known better (at least I didn't pay for it), a weird unfocused racing game - lots to do, nothing seems to matter, I just don't get it.

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Guardians of the Galaxy

 

V2. Returnal

 

V3. Ratchet & Clank

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Format of the Year

 

F1. Xbox (Game Pass)

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

 

P1. Microsoft

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Edited my list for a last minute The Forgotten City add, which is superb. I've not actually managed to finish the game before the voting ends but it's easily one of the best and most interesting games of the year so deserves a spot regardless.

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Game of the Year 2021

A1. Metroid Dread

A2. Streets of Rage 4: Anniversary Edition

A3. Virtua Fighter 5: US

A4. Pokémon BD/SP

A5. Bowser's Fury

 

Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

B1. Cyberpunk 2077

B2. Streets of Rage 4

B3. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. No F-Zero

Z2. NSO N64 Emulation

Z3. The console/GPU supply chain

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Streets of Rage 4: Anniversary Edition

S2. Metroid Dread

S3. Virtua Fighter 5: US

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Metroid Dread

V2. Bowser's Fury

V3. Virtua Fighter 5: US

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Is this a video game forum or a fucking book club?

W2. 

W3. 

 

Format of the Year

F1. MiSTer

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Sony

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Game of the Year 2021

A1. Hot Wheels Unleashed

A2. Metroid Dread


A3. Guardians of the Galaxy

A4. Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection

A5. Cruis'n Blast

 
Game of the Year (premiered anywhere pre-2021) 

B1. Super Mario 3D World (switch) 

B2. Mushihimesama  (switch)

B3. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (stadia)

A day to Night difference between this and the switch version in terms of loading times and graphics. Quick, silly, and more or less mindless fun and wonder, this epitomizes my current taste in games. I think it's a bona-fide classic, and almost as good as Metroid Dread, which while equally dumb 2d-fun, somehow  manages to make me 32 years younger, wherein I  easily imagine myself lost and hunted on an alien planet. 

 


Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Z1. Monkeyball
 
Z2. rllmukforum.com mostly ignoring Hot Wheels Unleashed

This isn't a finger-pointing type of disappointment, rather, a personal, existential doubt of my gaming tastes. I see the best arcade racer since f-zero gx, and my favorite forum mostly says mum. Sure, the graphics are boring, but the sense of speed and in-the-zone cornering hits the sweetest highs possible in gaming. This isn't my all-time favorite racer, yet arcade racing games are my favorites. 

Z3. 

 


Sound Design of the Year


S1. Guardians of the Galaxy

S2. Metroid Dread
 
S3.


Visual Design of the Year


V1. 65" Sony Bravia TV

OLED tvs offer the biggest jump in graphics I've witnessed. 

What prompted all this was the supposedly great value of the stadia Cyberpunk/chromecast  promo. Suddenly after years as a Nintendo only gamer, I could feast on high-powered computing. Soon thereafter, I realized having a tiny unit with low res was a waste. The only sensible choice was a $$$ tv. And what a tv. It makes old games and movies new and different. It's like when I was a dumb college student wondering what a movie would be like while high.

 

V2. 


V3.

 
Writing of the Year

W1.


W2.


W3.

 
Format of the Year:

F1. stadia


Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Capcom

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6 hours ago, SuperCapes said:

I am struggling to understand Edges Deathloop praise honestly. But maybe that's just me being old and cynical. 


 I think @imp nails it. I played it solidly for two days in the summer after a bit of a scare, and it was great - but it also means that it ends up effectively on rails as to *how* you break the loop, and there are some guns/methods that are just overpowered so outside of just deliberately causing yourself chaos and hardship you’ll have to deliberately play to stretch the games boundaries.

 

I’ve still never, for example, when deep underground in a complex full of art

Spoiler

Shut off the reactor


But if you’re willing to play in slightly less efficient ways, and explore what your various powers can do to try and work around as well as straight through some of the levels, you’ll have a good time.

 

one of those “it probably couldn’t be everything we dreamt of” games and still something that could be completed by the vast majority of players: instead it’s a timely-wimey hitman with blink powers.

 

but with the timey-wimey and character stuff taking centre stage, and therefore only one eventual solution (after multiple different solutions on the way there)

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@footle I feel you for sure, I just did not get hooked in straight away like those who loved it, so it just didn't work for me. I think if I was to put my finger on what I hated the most was that mid 2000s style level transitions. It opens and you are inbetween levels numerous times. Found it really hard to find my feet with that alone, nevermind the way it handles being below what I was expecting at its budget. 

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