Our individual Game of the Year articles allow our lovely team of writers to share their own personal PS5 and PS4 picks for 2021. Today, it's the turn of reviewer Brett Posner-Ferdman.
The Phantom Thieves of Hearts are back, and better than ever! Going into 2021, Persona 5 Strikers was easily one of my most anticipated games. The world and characters of the original Persona 5 grabbed me more than most games in recent memory, and the thought of a direct sequel was incredibly exciting (in a musou style nonetheless!). Thankfully, the game lived up to the hype, featuring a fantastic new take on the gameplay style. The ability to control each of the Phantom Thieves in a fully 3D action game makes perfect sense, and in some ways, is even better than the original RPG mechanics. And of course, the music is just as fantastic as you’d expect. Fans of Persona and action games, don’t skip this one!
Super Monkey Ball is a series I am incredibly nostalgic for. The original games are some of the best examples of how a concept’s simplicity doesn’t take away from pure fun. After years of lacklustre entries, Banana Mania returns to the series roots, remaking the first three games in an incredible package. From playing the campaign and the minigames, to unlocking all the crossover characters, there was never a moment where I didn’t have a huge smile on my face. The level designs, in particular, are just as great and challenging as they always were, something I hope to see continue in any new entries. Plus, the main theme Hello Banana easily wins the award for the best song of 2021.
In terms of the biggest surprises of 2021, Guardians of the Galaxy easily takes the cake. After one of the worst showings I’ve ever seen at E3, my love of the characters eventually convinced me to pick up the game and I was blown away. Thankfully, compared to the movies, you get to spend far more time with each of the characters, and you really get to see different layers to characters like Rocket or Drax you’ve never really seen before. Combine the fantastic writing with a great story (and plenty of Easter eggs, references, and callbacks for fans like myself), you get an incredible package that will leave you begging for a sequel. And yes, Cosmo is still the best boy and deserves his own game.
There is no PlayStation exclusive franchise that means more to me than Ratchet & Clank. The original PS2 entries were some of the first games I remember playing, so any time a new entry is announced, I’m incredibly excited. While at first glance the game may look like your standard Ratchet & Clank adventure, Rift Apart may very well be the best entry in the series. From spicing up the story and characters (Rivet especially), to the moment-to-moment gameplay, the series has never been so much fun. With next to no loading times and gorgeous visuals, Rift Apart is the perfect showcase for the power of the PS5, and there is no other game that has got me more excited for the console’s future like this one.
When deciding on my ultimate game of the year, a game really needs to blow me out of the water. Each of the other choices on this list had an element that made them stand out, from fun gameplay to an incredible story and characters. However, only one game really encapsulated every element flawlessly. The game’s incredible atmosphere, world, story, characters, and moment-to-moment gameplay made for the experience that has stuck with me even months later. I loved every moment of my time exploring Castle Dimitrescu and the village, meeting some of the most eccentric characters in the entire series that I couldn’t help falling in love with. And while Resident Evil has never been a series known for its plot, the story (and the ending in particular) of Village is easily the best it has ever been. Resident Evil Village isn’t just my game of the year, but it is easily one of the greatest games I’ve ever played.
What do you think of Brett's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree or berate in the comments section below.