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 Graham Banas.
I love Arkane. Everything they make just has this certain vibe that no one else in the industry can touch. Their latest is no exception. I was expecting a vibrant world with incredible gameplay depth, and that’s exactly what I got. The gunplay is phenomenal, the world is interesting and absolutely loaded with secrets. But perhaps most surprising? The humour. I was expecting a sense of humour that bordered on irritating. Think Borderlands. But instead, Deathloop is genuinely funny. I really wasn’t expecting the game to get me to laugh out loud multiple times, but it sure did!
When it first came out, I kind of hated DOOM 3. The first 2 DOOMs remain some of my favourite shooters even now, but I did not like what 3 was trying to do back in 2004. It felt like iD traded best-in-class shooting for horror elements that could be found elsewhere, and better. But revisiting it in VR was eye-opening. The DOOM I had always loved was still there, not replaced by horror but rather paired with it. I went from having disliked the game so much I never finished it, to beating the entire game and all of its expansions in just a few days. And for a port of a non-VR game, the game really translated spectacularly too.
I don’t like roguelikes/lites. Never really have. But I’ve noticed that these past couple years, there have been games that have finally tested that stance. And nowhere has this been more true than with Hades. Supergiant is one of a select few devs who can make whatever they want and I’ll get it no matter what. That’s why I not only bought a roguelite, but got it day one. And my faith in Supergiant was rewarded yet again. The game is unsurprisingly beautiful, immaculately polished on every level. The writing is exquisite, the voice acting exceptional, and the gameplay is so satisfying that I was hooked immediately. While this isn’t my favourite Supergiant title, I do think it’s their best.
2. Synth Riders
I have a soft spot for VR rhythm games. The genre practically single-handedly keeps my PSVR plugged in, and Synth Riders is definitely part of my regular rotation now. The emphasis on different musical genres from competitors like Beat Saber, Audica, or Pistol Whip helps to set it apart. There’s a lot more music in this game that I personally listen to outside the game, which keeps me coming back a lot more than some of the other titles of the genre. Synthwave and electro-swing hold way more appeal to me than dubstep or DnB. Plus, I’ve yet to see a game solve the problem of long-lasting notes more elegantly than Kluge has here.
Until Kentucky Route Zero came along, Alan Wake was always my go-to answer for favourite game of all time. And for years, I wanted nothing more than to play Remedy’s amazing Stephen King / Twin Peaks send-up on a PlayStation console. And it finally happened. Yes the port is a little buggy, and the gameplay can get tedious, but the atmosphere of the game remains peerless. The town of Bright Falls is one of my absolute favourite game settings of all time, and no matter how many times I beat this game (we’re coming up on 20!) I will never stop loving it.
What do you think of Graham's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree or berate in the comments section below.