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 assistant editor Liam Croft.
It may only be fifth on my personal list, but Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was probably the most pleasant surprise of the year. Nobody really expected it to be anything special after the lacklustre reveal, but Eidos Montreal managed to prove it’s not just Insomniac Games putting out quality superhero games on consoles. The lengthy, story-focused campaign brings back the personalities we’ve come to know and love and makes them all the more exciting with thrilling combat and fun exploration. With a rocking soundtrack to boot, this is fun, fun, fun. An essential playthrough for a comic book fan.
Why does it feel like everyone forgot Persona 5 Strikers came out this year? Seriously, we got a genuine sequel to the masterpiece that is Persona 5 and nobody is talking about it! Except me, of course. I loved this one. The different combat system was fast and it was an absolute joy to once again follow the lives of Ryuji, Ann, and undisputed best girl Makoto. Persona 5 Strikers is a worse Persona 5. But like, when Persona 5 is one of the best PS4 games ever, that still makes Strikers pretty darn good.
Playing Psychonauts 2 without a smile beaming across your face the entire time sounds like an impossibility. Absolutely bursting with charm, charisma, and comedy, the return of Raz a whole 16 years later was a real gaming highlight. I quickly bounced off the original game since it’s far too dated at this point, but this sequel is truly something special. Wonderful characters, an enjoyable story, and engaging platforming action make Psychonauts 2 one of this year’s best. It’s not quite a masterpiece, but it’s close. Real damn close.
I don’t like rogue-likes. I love Returnal. I wouldn’t say Housemarque turned me into a believer, but I love its approach to the genre as Selene attempts to escape planet Atropos. Haunting environments set the stage for supremely intense bullet battles along with boss fights on a whole ‘nother level. I could replay the encounter with Nemesis over and over again. Outstanding stuff. Returnal made me love a rogue-like, and that’s not something I thought I’d ever say. A special game from what should now be considered a special developer.
As the biggest Resident Evil fan on staff, it should come as no surprise that Resident Evil Village tops my personal list for 2021. I consider it the best instalment in the franchise since Resident Evil 4, surpassing everything in between with an excellent campaign full of memorable moments and characters. It even avoids the series’ cliché of a poor final few hours, so you kind of have to consider it up there up with the best based on that alone. Lady Dimitrescu was great, the factory haunting, and Mother Miranda disturbing. Resident Evil Village is far and away my favourite PS5, PS4 game of 2021.
What do you think of Liam's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree or berate in the comments section below.