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 editor Sammy Barker.
5. FIFA 22
Oh no, Sammy! Oh no, oh no, oh no-no-no-no! How could you possibly pick FIFA 22 as one of your five favourite Games of the Year? Look, the issues with this series are well-documented, so I’m not going to break a record and dig into them here. I think EA Sports did a good job with this year’s game, massively overhauling the ball physics and animations to make for a title that, for once, actually simulates real football. Do I like it more than Pro Evolution Soccer at its pomp? No, but eFootball happened.
I think in a year with very few true highlights, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart sums up 2021. It’s really good – excellent, even – but it’s not the standout exclusive we’ve become accustomed to in years past. Insomniac Games played this one safe: a nice wholesome story is paired with familiar yet fulfilling gameplay. It’s the video game equivalent of a popcorn movie – an immaculately presented adventure that thrills for 10 hours and then is forgotten forever.
Two sports games?! I think my picks this year reflect the way I’ve been playing games of late: I’ve been less keen on the one-and-done campaigns, and been more willing to dig into individual titles for longer. We live in an era of ongoing support, so a lot of my “single player gaming” has been lost to titles like GTA Online and Dead by Daylight. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with MLB The Show 21 at launch, but Diamond Dynasty has kept me hooked all year round, and it simply has to be represented on this list.
I’m not that big on first-person shooters, so it’s games like Knockout City that really grab my attention when it comes to multiplayer. This one reminds me of Rocket League, although I doubt it’ll have quite the same longevity. The gameplay loop, a mixture of dodgeball and brawling, works exquisitely – buoyed by a snappy control scheme and vibrant visuals. The skill ceiling is really high, which makes it brilliantly replayable, and while I do have some qualms about some of the aesthetics, there’s so much to discover and unlock that the loop becomes really addictive.
1. Hitman 3
As I said back when I reviewed it, it’s really difficult to look at Hitman 3 as an individual game. This is more about the collective efforts of IO Interactive over several years, and as a stealth sandbox it’s practically the perfect package. Every level is masterfully designed, with near-limitless replayability and a wealth of things to discover. It runs at a slick 60 frames-per-second on the PS5, provides some of the best digital tourism you can find on console, and even has a jaw-dropping virtual reality mode as a side-note on the PS4. As my tastes evolve, I’m erring more towards games that provide me with systems and tools in which to explore my own creativity, and this is a murderous toybox of unmatched brilliance.
What do you think of Sammy's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree or berate in the comments section below.