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 John Cal McCormick.
Oh baby, you had me at steampunk-metroidvania-starring-an-anthropomorphic-bunny-with-a-giant-metal-fist. I loved F.I.S.T., honestly. I 8/10 loved it at least, back when I reviewed it in September. It's a really beautiful game at times, and even though I would have had the review written two days earlier if it wasn't for the final boss kicking my head in, I left with a positive vibe because for most of the game it's just a joy to explore. We desperately need a sequel to this. Maybe instead of a fist the bunny gets a massive foot. Call it S.H.O.E. Or just stick with F.I.S.T. 2. Whatever, I'm not making the game for you.
I'm actually a huge Ratchet and Clank fan. Like, massive, right back to the PS2 days. These are easy, breezy platformers that take a weekend to finish and sometimes that's exactly what I want. Rift Apart is one of the best in the series for my money, with some astonishing set pieces, gorgeous worlds and character designs, a wonderful new co-protagonist in Rivet, and loads of Dr. Nefarious - one of my favourite ever gaming villains. It's perhaps a little too slight in playtime, and I could have used a few more zany weapons, but I spent a couple of days grinning from ear to ear playing this. If anyone important reads this, please bring back the lava gun from Ratchet 2. It's all I want.
I'm the sort of weirdo that loves to play games non-violently - I curse up a storm whenever Solid Snake gets seen by a guard, and if anyone discovers that I'm not really a qualified plumber in Hitman then I'm starting the level again. In RPGs I love having the option to chat my way out of trouble and so Disco Elysium was seemingly purpose built for me. Fabulous writing, some absurd characters, a malleable protagonist, a compelling mystery, and mostly non-violent throughout, Disco Elysium is one of the best games to hit PlayStation consoles this year.
2. Hitman 3
Hitman 3 is just more Hitman, really, but you can never have too much of a good thing. It's a bit like saying pizza is just more pizza. I could have a pizza for breakfast and I'd still be okay with having pizza for lunch and dinner. It would rule. I'd do it every day. Of course, then I'd end up thirty stone, welded to the couch and shouting at my girlfriend to come wash my back with a rag on a stick, until inevitably the overwhelming stress that my excess mass places upon my vital organs is too much and I slip silently into the great beyond. So I suppose in that scenario you can have too much of a good thing. I really like Hitman 3 though.
Returnal. Returnal, Returnal, Returnal. I have zero shame in telling you that when I beat Returnal my final play time was 124 hours. It was absurd. I just kept dying. 124 hours! I've had jobs that didn't last that long. This game kicked my ass repeatedly for weeks, but I kept coming back. And the reason I kept coming back to Returnal was the moment to moment gameplay — which is about the best I've ever experienced in a third person shooter — and the sense that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to do it next time. I didn't want to be beaten, and eventually, how glorious it felt to win was actually worth it. A hero? No, I wouldn't say hero. I'm just a simple man, doing what needs to be done.
What do you think of John's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree or berate in the comments section below.