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 deputy editor Robert Ramsey.
5. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
I had reasonably high expectations for Disco Elysium: The Final Cut after watching the game receive so much praise on other platforms, but my biggest fear was that it would be... you know, a bit pretentious. Thankfully, Disco Elysium is a heartfelt, brilliantly written, and engrossing RPG. It's a cliché, but your choices really do have consequences, and this twisted tale of an amnesiac cop is memorable because of how personal the branching story can feel. "Haunting" is the word I used to describe it in our review, and that still holds true for all the right reasons.
4. Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut
Ghost of Tsushima is one of my favourite games, and Director's Cut just makes it even better. The absolutely gorgeous Iki Island expansion is the star of the show, with its untamed environments and intense main missions making for another excellent story chapter. The PS5 enhancements are also worth mentioning, because at 60 frames-per-second and 4K resolution, Ghost is truly beautiful. In my mind, an open world masterpiece.
3. Tales of Arise
I've been a Tales fan ever since I played through Tales of Symphonia on the GameCube, but in the many years that followed, I always felt like the series deserved better. It took a while, but Bandai Namco finally gave Tales the attention and budget that it deserved with Tales of Arise. It's a blockbuster fantasy adventure, packed with some stunning visuals, endearing characters, and a cracking combat system. I was hooked from start to finish, and I think Arise stands alongside the likes of Persona 5 Royal and Dragon Quest XI as one of the best JRPGs of the last decade.
2. Mass Effect Legendary Edition
For me, 2021 lacked clear Game of the Year winners — the kind of games that have swept awards in years past. Maybe that's why Mass Effect Legendary Edition — a remastered collection — takes the second spot on my personal picks. But honestly, I'm not really complaining. BioWare went above and beyond with this package, tweaking gameplay for the better and giving the original Mass Effect a much needed overhaul. This is the best way to play through a trilogy that helped define my taste in games.
1. Guilty Gear Strive
I think Guilty Gear Strive might be my favourite fighting game, and that's saying a hell of a lot. I've always enjoyed Guilty Gear as a franchise, but Strive transformed my somewhat casual interest into a borderline obsession. It's easily one of my most played games of 2021, and I still can't get enough of its incredible, eye-popping visuals, outstanding heavy rock soundtrack, and immensely satisfying gameplay. As far as the sheer thrill of playing a video game goes, nothing has compared to Guilty Gear Strive in 2021.
What do you think of Robert's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree or berate in the comments section below.
Finally a selection which differs completely from the others.
I was counting on Tales of Arise popping up in this particular list!
@ShogunRok Wanna play some matches?
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is definitely my favourite from this list. I played the originals on Xbox 360 and they're probably some of my favourite RPGs of all time. I think the period where we got RPGs like Mass Effect, Fable 2, Fallout 3/New Vegas was a golden age.
It's surprising how much effort Bioware put into the remasters. They could have just done the bare minimum, or less (GTA Trilogy). I think they had to with the hit they've taken to their reputation with Andromeda and Anthem. Let's hope Mass Effect 5 builds on this success and is something special.
I knew somebody named @Voltan would like this list.
Nothing wrong with Mass Effect Legendary Edition at #2. Honestly, it would be my pick for the best release of the year. The only reason it isn't my personal game of the year is I feel a new game and not a re-release/remaster should get the top spot, but it would have been on my list too regardless. It's a defining series that got a great remastered re-release, and should basically be the benchmark for all future remastered collections.
@KilloWertz I haven't played the ME remasters (as I did play the original and never finished it - just not my thing, I guess) but I did like Tales of Arise - it would likely make my top 5 too.
And Guitly Gear is... you know
@Voltan Maybe it's a good thing I never got into Guilty Gear. The last fighting game I really played a lot was quite a while back (Dead of Alive 4), before the series turned into giant cash grabs.
"Just not my thing, I guess" Or maybe you're a crazy person who has bad taste in games... No big deal though, as you're just one of the handful of people to never get into the series (not a knock this time).
I've yet to play Tales of Arise. The demo turned me off somewhat as I thought some of the dialogue exchanges were quite cheesy, and didn't really care for so much of it being done with no recorded dialogue like Yakuza: Like a Dragon did. I don't mind the still anime style conversations like Scarlet Nexus, but at least a good amount of it had recorded dialogue. I know I'm in the minority this time with Tales of Arise though. I still have been tempted to give Tales of Arise a second chance though, as technically I didn't like Scarlet Nexus from the demo either and ended up loving it.
@KilloWertz Yeah, technically all the demos (for both games) did was show what the combat is like - and even then they unfortunately can’t take the time to explain all the systems.
I don’t think ToA fully accomplishes everything it tries but it’s still pretty good.
Oh yeah Iki Island was very neat. Hope we'll get some news from Sucker Punch Productions upcoming project.
I plan on getting Strive when Baiken drops. I also have Tales of Arise and the Mass Effect Trilogy sitting on the shelf. Really want to revisit Mass Effect 2 sometime. Same with Ghost of Tsushima. Have the PS5 version and need to play the expansion.
I really wanted to like Strive but I just couldn't wrap my head around its mechanics. Nothing against the game itself I'm just terrible at it. It is a bit surprising though since people talk about how accessible it is but for some reason it just never clicked for me. Glad you enjoyed it so much though! I'll just stick to good ol SFV for my fighting game needs.
@CthulhuFhtagn Story mode was the best so far. I think it was around 4 or 5 hrs. Much better than a lot of films that released this year. I still wished they went down the MK route and had some playable fights in there as some parts of the story get you hyped to be a part of it. I also wished they brought back from the earlier games performing specific moves or winning a fight in specific ways to unlock additional story content. Those were really fun.
@Korgon There's an in depth training mode that brings you up to speed from then on its just practice. You can change your buttons to suit your play style.
@CthulhuFhtagn Not sure if you know this (since you haven’t played the games) so just a heads up: Story Mode in GG is basically a movie with exactly zero gameplay
Personally I still need to watch it but I’m all caught up on previous story now, so maybe I’ll give it a go tonight.
The one downside of Strive (especially for new players) is that it has very little single player content beyond the Mission Mode (which is basically a very in-depth tutorial). There’s arcade mode and survival but neither is very interesting.
Then on the other hand it’s definitely more accessible overall than the last few iterations.
@Max_the_German To be fair most of them have been completely different from one another, I've only seen one or two where someone had the usual games one would choose.
OK....due to the relentless praise on this (and other) pages for Disco Elysium Final Cut, along with more than a little curiosity to try something different, I finally gave in and purchased it for £17 thanks to the PSN sale combined with discounted credit.
Can finally take it off the wishlist
My brother from another mother. Our taste in games is so close.
Sure I know it has a good training mode but I don't know I guess I needed a bit more. Or like I said maybe I'm just terrible at the game. I usually feel like I can get a decent understanding of the mechanics in most other fighters I've played but for some reason Strive just doesn't click for me.
The most difficult bits are the dust, burst and roman cancel I find. I usually play against the cpu with the same character in practice mode and try to imitate the same combos and moves. Then up the difficulty the more accustomed I get with the character. Helps that there's awesome music in the background.
Great list @ShogunRok. I must get hold of strive for sure. Have a great new year bro.
Excellent list & hours upon hours of game play in those titles. Think I'm going to have to add Tales to my backlog too, not sure when i'll get around to it but clearly needs to be on there!
From one Robert to another, an excellent list. Disco is the only one I didn’t get to this year but it’s on the dashboard waiting after Death’s Door is done. Strive was my first GG game but I have since caught up on all the lore and went back to X’rd Rev
Nice list. Whilst mine would be different, all your choices are good valid picks in a good year!
Your top clearly shows how bad of year 2021 was for gaming.
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